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- Who: Bianca Sprague
- Website: bebomia.com
- Course Topic: Birth Workers
- Interesting Stats: 200 – 250 people sign-up per teleseminar session
Who are you and what digital training company have you created?
bebo mia inc. is an online training organization that offers education & business mentorship to people around the world who want to work with individuals/families during their fertility, pregnancy, birth, and/or postpartum experience. Through our comprehensive & immersive programs, we connect birth workers & changemakers to their intrinsic value and power so that they can become active participants in changing the way everyone experiences pregnancy, birth & the postpartum period.
Our programs provide students with tangible action items that will create opportunities to gain financial independence. And, we show our students how they can create meaningful & impactful relationships with people in their communities so that the impact of our education is not only felt by the student but those that they come in contact with.
When you take a bebo mia course, you can expect to receive: evidence-based skills training that is comprehensive & accessible; feminist business training (we will teach you that you can make money, love doing so, and NOT participate in patriarchal models of business); trauma-informed, intersectional community support; lifetime membership & continuing education (that means there are NO re-certification fees & alumni receive discounts on all future courses plus tons of perks & their private Peer Support Community Group is left open to stay connected to instructors & peers); and finally when you sign up for a bebo mia course you’re participating in Pay-It-Forward Culture because a portion of every course sold goes right back into our Scholarship Fund for our Maternal Support Practitioner (aka doula training) Program.
What market does your digital training serve?
We offer courses & workshops for birth workers and changemakers. We ensure that not only do folks get the evidence-based information and skills needed to provide amazing care for their clients, we have a feminist business school, to ensure that they can start and grow a successful business.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your online courses?
In a word? Community! Now more than ever, we are aching for connection. Our courses provide a brave space for women and gender-expansive folks to learn, connect, practice, and heal. With our training programs, our students receive free therapy so they can do their work around understanding and healing trauma, making them even better practitioners when they work with their clients.
How did you get into the market?
We provided in-person training starting in 2009 and we received a lot of requests for folks from outside Toronto to access our comprehensive programs. We took the model that existed for training doulas, childbirth educators, breastfeeding educators, and more and flipped it on its head.
Typically the model was a weekend crash course that had no business development and zero follow-up support from the instructor. And, it was logistically unrealistic. It can be incredibly challenging to travel to an urban center for 3-4 days for most mothers who are the main market for birth worker programs. We knew our training needed to be more in-depth, but also accessible. So we moved it online with a live classroom. And we took a deep breath because we weren’t sure our market was ready for this and if we were ready for this learning curve.
Moving online …
When we moved online we were scared that we would lose the ‘touch’ we had created in our brick and mortar space. We were delighted to learn that we actually created MORE connections in the digital space. People from around the world joined the programs (we are in 37 countries now!) and shared their culture and wisdom with everyone. We had 24/7 access to one another. And this is just one of many ways in which the digital space is leveling the playing field for female-identified entrepreneurs. The digital space creates connections and the ability to grow brave spaces in an affordable way.
The online training platform created access for people living with visible and invisible disabilities, parents with young kids, or people who live rurally to take the program. We stretched the birth worker training out over 17 weeks. We added mentorship and a lot of support. 24/7 in fact. We added an amazingly diverse team. Our staff gets to work with their children at home if that is what they want. Our students create their own businesses that they can do with their children if that is what they want. Their businesses are changing the face of reproductive health and supporting birthers in an inclusive, safe, and evidence-based way.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you launched your training company?
We were very nervous as no one was teaching reproductive health and justice online. It was scary for sure! We were confident with our content, we were worried about losing that ‘human touch’ and we wanted to make sure we continued to touch, move and inspire our clients.
What are your online courses like?
We offer a variety of ways to engage with the content as adult learners require this. It also needs to be fun, so we include contests and quizzes. It is important online to not lose the human touch, so we offer open office hours as well as chat groups. We have a very high-touch program which makes all the difference. I know that the costs are higher for delivering a high-touch program, and for us, it is so worth it to create the experience we are committed to as a social enterprise.
How long does it take you or your team to create a new course?
It takes about 5-30 weeks to create a program, depending on the length. We break it down into modules and then write content. The content will be used for the manual, promo material, and slides.
We do offer a course about building a mini-course called Moving Online. This will help folks learn how to make a really strong webinar (or mini-program).
Tell us a little about the process of launching your first course and getting your first enrollment(s).
We offered a teleseminar (yes, that dates us) to promote the first course. At first, we were so excited that we had 6 people register. We now have about 200 – 250 people per session for the same program. We occasionally offer pre-sales for a program to see interest and support some of the creation costs. Even after 10 years of offering online courses, as a team, we get excited about every single person that registers and trusts us with their time, education, and resources.
Do you have a lead magnet?
We have several lead magnets. Webinars work the best for us as our price points are quite high. That’s because we want people to get to know us, ask us questions, and get everything they need to make an informed decision. We do not pressure with time limits, expiring coupon codes, or scarcity tactics. We feel that feminist businesses should want people to make sure that it is the right fit and not have fear or scarcity be a part of that process.
All of our lead magnets are high value and even if folks choose to hang out in our free spaces, we want them to feel good about us as a training organization.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
Facebook ads are still our best traffic strategy for paid leads. Funneling them into the webinar or a Facebook or Instagram live is best for us. Direct sales do not seem to work as well for our product or market. Word of mouth and reviews is our best route for unpaid traffic.
What online course platform are you using?
We use Access Ally (AA) to deliver our programs – the classes are taught live with GoToWebinar with the videos living on (AA).
Do you like it?
We like it a lot. It is female-owned which is important to us.
Are there any features you wish it had?
I wish the reporting features were better!
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
We definitely needed something that was going to live on WordPress. Flexibility and beautiful design are important to us. We have full customization with the program. It also had to talk to InfusionSoft/Keap which is our CRM and stripe which is our cart.
What other tools do you use to run your digital training business?
We have several programs including: Canva, Facebook, Instagram, Google, headliners, Searchie, Streamyard, Zoom, Mighty Networks, and many more!
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
There is not a lot that I like as far as books go (and I read a lot of business books!!). There are some great books that support other areas of business though. The Big Leap, You Have The Right To Remain Fat, Care Work, Pleasure Activism, Woke Racism, All the Rage, and others that are helpful when working with equity-seeking groups and celebrating representation.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
Oh, lots! Not being clear about WHO we wanted in our programs and who we did not want. It is not just about selling x spots! You want people that are excited, generous, caring, curious, etc. depending on your program.
Also – you have to listen to what people what. I know I made programs because thought people needed that, but they did not identify that they did… so it did not sell well at the time. Our alumni later understood the offering, but it was not their identifiable pain point at the time.
Please share some idea of revenue for your digital training company.
We have a 7 figure business, however, as a social enterprise, we invest all of it back into hiring equity-seeking groups, paying a living wage, donating to spaces that need funds, hiring photographers and artists to create original graphics for us, and buying from smaller BIPOC, queer, and women-owned businesses, providers and products. We are very proud of this!
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from running your digital training company has done for you.
Our team is able to make a living wage, work the hours they want and be home with their kids (or can put them in daycare) whatever they choose. Women are underpaid and marginalized women even more so. My team gets to do incredible work while getting paid above a living wage, which is a pillar of our work.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?We want to make sure the RIGHT people are engaging with us. So we are not as picky about the numbers. A small list can create a wonderful revenue stream. - Bianca Sprague Click To Tweet
We have about 20K on our mailing list, and when we had less than 5K in our social media accounts and mailing list, we still had revenue over $500K! It is the power of your list, not the number!
What has creating your digital training business done for you personally?
This is my calling. The work we do at bebo mia is life-changing. It is saving lives as our medical system is killing birthers and their babies. The system is harming BIPOC, Queer, Fat, under-resourced, folks living with disabilities, “too young” or “too old”… We need to support them with well-trained birth workers and changemakers. Our alumni finish and are activists and allies. It is magic. They feel strong and proud and have a revenue stream that empowers them. The ripple effect is magical!
I am so proud every day of what I built and it is so much better than I even imagined!
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
Get a community to support you while you do this. Do not quit your current revenue stream until this one takes care of you. Ensure your partner supports you (it will be a mess if they don’t…. if they refuse, choose which one you want more…really!). It doesn’t have to be perfect, you can tweak as you go.Listen to your students. Be flexible! Make changes if people don’t like some part of your course - even if it is your fav! - Bianca Sprague Click To Tweet