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- Who: Maria Marquis
- Website: coachingbymaria.com
- Course Topic: Presenting
- Interesting Stats: 6-figures for the last 2 years
Who are you and what course have you created?
I'm an energetic, status-quo-defying, coach, and consultant. My passion is empowering others – to help them be heard, to discover what makes them unique, to say goodbye to anxiety and self-doubt, and to make their work matter. Leadership is not one-size-fits-all. It's about finding your authentic self and leading with it. I combine my experience as an actor and tenured instructional designer for the world of tech to create unique, fun, and effective experiences for my clients.
What market does your online course serve?
My courses are built for folks who struggle with anxiety while presenting and don’t know how to create an engaging experience. Either in front of a group or while on a call with a client. I specialize in supporting individual contributors and new managers.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
It’s built around harnessing your strengths rather than forcing you to completely change who you are. The course breaks down a nebulous concept (dynamic presenting) into actionable steps to improve your presentation skills by exploring the concept from different dimensions. I cover effective structuring, preparation, delivery for both in-person and virtual, as well as a self-coaching reflection approach.
How did you get into the market?
There was one phone call that changed the course of my career. I was evaluating a bunch of different software tools for my team, and I had dialed into another sales pitch. We were 10 minutes in and I thought to myself…I can't even follow what this person is saying because they sound so bored. All I hear is the monotone.
And then it hit me – this could be the best tool for the job, an idea that could change how my team does business, a big payday for this salesperson, but none of that will happen because they don't know how to share their idea.
Then my mind exploded a bit.It doesn't matter what you say, it's how you say it. How many other ideas get lost because they aren't shared effectively? - Maria Marquis Click To Tweet
It's not fair that the person with the best jokes or flair gets to be heard. You shouldn't have to be an extrovert to win at work. I firmly believe that the world would be a better place if more unique voices had a seat at the table. So I decided to do something about it.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
People are busy, and while I love supporting my clients one on one, I wanted to create an easy-to-follow course that anyone could take advantage of no matter where they are.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/ launched it?
Imposter syndrome definitely reared its ugly head a few times. There are so many online resources on the topic of presenting that I felt like giving up on many occasions.
If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?
I turned back to what I always tell my clients – there is no one like you. I focused on what gets me up in the morning – helping people find their voice.
What's your online course like?
The course is a blend of:
- Video lessons
- Downloadable tools and exercises for each lesson
- Twice monthly group coaching calls
- Monthly individual feedback
How long did it take you to create your course?
From ideation to the building, this course took 3 months. I always start by asking what do my learners need to do to clarify the behaviors I’m looking to build. I then looked at each part of the presentation process and mapped out activities to correspond to each step.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I began by launching a 12-week mini video campaign posted to LinkedIn to start the conversation and share a bit of my style and approach. It ended with a Q&A webinar, followed by the offer of the course itself.
Do you have a lead magnet?
I have several free tools on my website that offer an upsell to my larger offers. This also places the prospects into my email nurture campaigns.
What's the traffic strategy that works best for you?
I found that a slow and steady process worked well for me via LinkedIn. For my 12 topics, I created a set of short talking head videos, a blog post, and a downloadable option. This allowed me to have a full calendar of the content without needing to do weekly work.
What online course platform are you using?
I use Podia.
Do you like it?
I love it! It’s got a clean modern look, they are consistently building new features to improve the platform, and it allowed me to consolidate my website and course platform into one place.
Are there any features you wish it had?
Its email list management tools are not as robust as I would like, but it does support basic broadcasts and campaigns.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
The price point can’t be beaten, and you pay a flat fee rather than a per-user cost. The support staff are also amazing! Super friendly and thorough. I also found the learning curve to be very easy to overcome.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
- Spark email
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
- Promote Yourself to CEO podcast
- Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
I wish I would have launched my mini-course first. It would have been lighter and allowed me to cultivate and more robust email list earlier.
Please share some idea of revenue.
My business has made me 6 figures for the last two years.
Please tell us a little about what the money you've earned from your course has done for you.
This allows me to put more energy into the select clients I work with instead. The gift of focus has been profound! It’s also allowed me to pursue my artistic passions without being worried about the financial impact.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
I feel like I’m genuinely helping people, and creating opportunities for more diverse styles and backgrounds to have a seat at the table. There’s nothing better than helping people be their best.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
One of my clients struggled deeply with confidence, and not feeling like they would ever be able to speak up. They worked with the tools and were able to find contentment at work and be assigned more responsibilities and be considered for a promotion. I’ve also supported multiple folks in making a career transition.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
A course doesn’t need to be massive to be successful. I created a mini version of my course focusing on Virtual Presentations in particular in response to the COVID 19 pandemic which is successful, and a great intro to my style for larger courses.