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- Who: Louisa Gabriel
- Website: styleacademyintl.com
- Course Topic: Style Training
- Interesting Stats: 20 enrollments each month with the price range of our courses being $500-$1600
Who are you and what course have you created?
I am a certified image consultant and Stylist, and the founder and CEO of The Style Academy International, an online training school for personal stylists and image professionals. We currently offer 5 online courses; personal stylist certificate program, virtual stylist certificate program, the 6-figure stylist program, the business of style masterclass, and the CEO stylist coaching program.
What market does your online course serve?
Our courses are for aspiring personal stylists who are looking to learn the skills to start their career and current personal stylists who are looking to expand their knowledge and skillset. We also offer business courses specifically for the personal styling industry.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
If you are looking to become a personal stylist or expand your current skills then we provide the most comprehensive online programs to help you do that. Our courses are 100% self-paced study and unlike other style courses there is no time limit for completion.
We continually monitor our training program curriculums to ensure that we provide the most up-to-date training for our students that reflects any changes that occur not only within the styling and fashion industry but also within societal attitudes and preferences. And, because our students receive lifetime access to our programs, they also get access to any new and updated modules at no additional cost.
How did you get into the market?
I have been working as an image consultant and personal stylist for over a decade and after my own experiences trying to find training and education in the styling industry I knew that there was a need for accessible training for aspiring personal stylists. With my experience over the years working with personal clients, along with building a successful personal styling business I felt that I could create a comprehensive course that would give others the opportunity to learn the essential skills and become personal stylists.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
When I initially decided to pursue a career in the personal styling industry I struggled to find courses that could help me develop my skills. I definitely had an eye for style but I knew that if I wanted to be successful I needed to master my craft. At that time there were no courses at traditional fashion schools that offered image consulting and styling outside of fashion design programs so I looked to online learning to help me. The options were extremely limited and the courses that I did find taught a very antiquated system that didn’t really provide the practical skills I was looking for or an approach to personal style that focused on individuality and reflected a more inclusive approach that is being seen not only in the fashion industry but also in society as a whole.
It was these limitations that motivated me to create a course that focuses on practical skills needed for personal stylists, and that provides the most up-to-date approaches and techniques that reflect any changes that occur not only within the styling and fashion industry but also within societal attitudes and preferences.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Like many entrepreneurs I had that voice in my head telling me that no one would buy my course, that I wasn’t experienced enough to teach others, and that the content wasn’t good enough. It was a regular struggle that really became constant right before I was due to launch and I actually postponed the launch 3 times and went back to change things. I felt that the presentations didn’t look professional enough and the videos (taken on my phone) were such bad quality. My perfectionism really held me back along with self-doubt.
I reminded myself that I had been here before…several times in my previous corporate career trying to climb the ladder and break the glass ceiling, and also when I decided to trade-in my 16 -year corporate career to start my own image consulting and personal styling business. I’d made things happen before and I could do it again.
What’s your online course like?
We use an effective combination of learning tools for all our courses. These include; e-books, live action videos, PowerPoint videos, and interactive video quizzes. Our students also complete practical exercises based on specific styling skills to put their skills into action. They receive feedback from me on all practical exercises to really help them hone their skills.
For our certification programs there is also a practical exam to demonstrate the skills learned throughout the program.
How long did it take you to create your course?
I have created multiple courses and each one has varied in the time it took to complete. The first program (the personal stylist certificate program) took the longest because of my self-doubt and the fact that I was focused on the need for it to be perfect in every way. It probably tool me about 9-12 months from the time I created the outline to the content being complete and ready for launch.
Now that I’ve become more confident and stopped trying to make everything perfect it definitely doesn’t take as long and the last program (the virtual stylist certificate program) was completed and launched in approximately 4 months. I also feel a lot more comfortable with the technical side of things now and we have consistent branding templates so the process is much quicker.
In addition, I don’t really have a set process that I use other than I outline the curriculum, decide what delivery method will work best for each topic and then I start creating. And, I don’t script the videos, I make notes of the key things to make sure I include them, but I prefer a more conversation style of teaching rather than formal lecturing.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I had absolutely no launch plan or marketing plan when it came to launching my first course. There was only a website, and I simply used social media to announce it, LOL. I think I offered a 50% discount to try to get people to buy it.
My first sale was an old school friend of mine so I don’t really count that one, LOL. But the first ‘real’ student enrolled two months after launch and I was beyond excited. Then of course, everything went very quiet and it was several months before I had further enrollments. I learnt the hard way that it’s important to have a launch plan, so I went back to the drawing board and created a plan.
Do you have a lead magnet?
I currently have 3 lead magnets that are targeted at different audiences. I have a free video training on how to become a personal stylist which targets aspiring stylists with no experience. The next is an E-guide (The Personal Stylist’s Blueprint) which targets people who may already have started their career but not sure if they have the right skills and knowledge. And finally, a video training on Evergreen marketing techniques for personal stylists. This targets current stylists who are looking to grow their business and may be suited to our business courses.
All 3 lead magnets work exceptionally well to attract leads and get people on our mailing list. We then use automations as part of our strategy to start hitting those touch points and taking them through a sales funnel.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
Outside of our lead magnets, there are two traffic strategies that have been instrumental in our growth. The first is facebook groups and the second is SEO.The facebook group has been a great way to really connect with potential students and gain that trust and relationship that encourages them to purchase our courses and our resources. - Louisa Gabriel Click To Tweet
Over the past 18 months to 2 years our big focus has been on SEO and leveraging our position on Google. Obviously this is long-term and on-going strategy but we are seeing results. Our traffic from Google has increased by approximately 400% and 80% of our students report finding us via Google search.
What online course platform are you using?
We don’t actually use an online course platform. We built student portals within our website where students access the courses through a secure log-in system.
Are there any features you wish it had?
Because it is part of our website we have been able to build it exactly how we want it.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
Because we host our own courses it gives us control (barring any website issues obviously). If a student has an issue viewing a video or downloading a file, we can resolve the issue quickly without having to wait for a third party platform to respond to a help ticket.
I also love that we have full control over the design and layout of our course portals. We actually use color psychology within the design to help motivate our students to work though the modules, and we’ve adapted a color scheme that is recommended for neurodivergent individuals to lessen feelings of overstimulation.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
We use a CRM system to manage our student enrollments and to automate our email sequence for subscribers and our lead magnets.
Obviously use social media, with Facebook (and facebook groups) and Instagram being our two main platforms currently.
We have a blog on our website and I also host a podcast (The Business of Style), which streams on Apple, Google, Spotify, etc.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
Over the past year I’ve actually been watching all Neil Patel’s videos on Youtube and I have to say these have helped me tremendously. With our focus being on our SEO and improving our ranking on Google he has a wealth of information that has really helped me understand SEO and be able to create a solid strategy for The Style Academy International.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?Undervaluing my courses and pricing them too low was a big mistake I made when I first launched. I made the rookie mistake of thinking that in order to be competitive you have to be the cheapest. - Louisa Gabriel Click To Tweet
Definitely not a good strategy for any business and once that I have definitely learnt from. Today I focus on the value of what my courses offer.
Please share some idea of revenue.
We currently average 20 enrollments each month with the price range of our courses being $500-$1600. Our enrollments have doubled since last year.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
One of the most important things the money from my courses has brought me is financial freedom and flexibility. I’m not tied to a desk and can work from anywhere I choose. Because everything is automated in my program, I can earn money when I’m asleep and I’m not trading hours for dollars.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
Having started with 1 program I quickly saw the opportunity for continued learning in the personal styling space and for tools and resources that are helpful for personal stylists. By creating additional courses that advance the skills and knowledge of students of our primary program we have been able to get students returning to us for more training. 87% of our students take additional training and purchase resources after completing one course.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far and I know this is just the beginning and there is no limit to what I can do when I just go for it and believe in myself.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
There are several student success stories on the website that showcase some of our students in their careers since completing our program. We’ve has students go on to work at London Fashion week, start their own successful businesses, gain contracts with the likes of Range Rover and Reebok, we’ve even had former students get recognition in Newsweek and Forbes. Each time I see any of my students posting photos on social working with clients I feel so much joy. The fact that my courses have played a role in their journey toward styling success is amazing.