Episode 103: Create Additional Revenue Through Courses with Ariel Leah Schiffer
Have you ever thought of creating an online course but have no idea where to start? Ariel Schiffer is the Founder of Dreampro, the first-choice course creation agency for entrepreneurs and small business owners. She has over 10 years of experience working with Fortune 50 companies, non-profit organizations, small businesses, and private companies to develop their professional and leadership development programs.
In this episode, we dive into how to leverage courses to create additional income for your business, the biggest mistakes course creators make, and how to create an experience that actually transforms.
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Michelle Lynne: Welcome to Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs to run their business with purpose, efficiency, and passion. Because, while every design is different, the process should remain the same. Prepare yourself for some good conversations with amazing guests, a dash of Jesus and a touch of the woowoo, and probably a swear word or two. If you're ready to stop trading your time for money and enjoy your interior design business, you are in the right place. I'm your host, Michelle Lynne.
Michelle Lynne: Hello, and welcome back to the podcast, everybody. I'm so excited that you're here today. I want to introduce you to Ariel Schiffer. She is the founder of Dreampro and is today's guest. Dreampro is the first-choice course creation agency for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Ariel has over 10 years of experience working with Fortune 50 companies, nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and private companies to develop their professional and leadership development programs. So, Ariel, welcome.
Ariel Schiffer: Thank you.
Michelle Lynne: Fortune 50s. Dude, those are like the big dogs.
Ariel Schiffer: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I used to work for Lowe's Home Improvement. It was super fun.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, my gosh, we had a client that used to work with Lowe's, pretty high up.
Ariel Schiffer: Really?
Michelle Lynne: We'll have to compare notes when we're off camera. Yeah. Sorry, microphone. So technically, we're on camera, but for those of you who are listening. First of all, for those of you who are listening, let me first apologize. My voice sounds like I'm a 90-year-old chain smoker. And all I have to say is that allergies in the Dallas area are real. So it's not real pretty. But we're here and I'm excited to get to know you a little bit better, Ariel. Actually, get to know you at all. We haven't had the pleasure of much other than just a few minutes prior to hitting record.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah. No, this will be fun. I'm excited.
Michelle Lynne: So how did you segue from working at Lowe's or for Lowe's, I guess you probably weren't wearing the apron. How did you segue from there into this type of a role? And then I want to talk a little bit more about your services and stuff like that.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah. So I actually did wear an apron, but only on certain days because I was in the corporate office, but they gave everybody aprons, which was pretty cool. But I, you know, long story short, I got my master's degree in industrial organizational psychology, which is a mouthful.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Ariel Schiffer: Basically, it's business psychology and I focused primarily on learning and development. And that was like the one area of my degree that I just felt like I could really be creative and have fun and make immediate impact. And so I ended up, you know, starting out of grad school, I worked at a bank, I worked at a software company, eventually, you know, went to Lowe's. And I loved it. I was developing employee training programs, I was developing their onboarding programs, professional development, I worked with a lot of leaders, executives. And so I actually, I truly enjoyed what I did. Lowe's was a total dream job too. I eventually ended up leaving because I wanted to just explore my talents a little bit more and stretch myself. And being in such a large organization, they have, everybody's really in a specialty. And so I knew that I had move to another organization, a smaller one, to be able to do a little bit more. And so I made that move. And that was actually when I had this moment of like, I need to do things on my own. Because I don't know if I could do this forever. It was just, it was the opposite of a dream job. And it actually inspired me, I was like, I need to just do something that I could do on my own. And being in learning and development, you're within human resources. So naturally, when you're in human resources, you know, all your friends and family are like. help me get a job, help me with my resume, all that. So I was always, always helping people with that. And I was like, I learned about the coaching world, and I was like, oh, this is interesting. I can help people with their careers. So I ended up becoming a career coach. And not very long after that, I realized, wow, there's so many people in this online industry creating courses, different programs, selling them for hundreds, thousands of dollars. I was like, this is nuts, like people are creating courses all day long. So naturally, I bought a few, you know, as I'm starting my business. And I bought one in particular and it was absolutely awful. And that is what inspired me to actually, I realized I was like, wow, you know, I'm doing career coaching and all this but I'm not super passionate about it. And I really, really miss what I was doing in the corporate world. So I was like, this is the perfect opportunity for me to bring my expertise into this space. And so, you know, several years later, here we are. And it's funny because when I first started doing this, a lot of people were like, I had no idea people like you existed. And I still hear that, you mentioned that a little bit before we jumped in.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh. Yes, absolutely. Like, for those of you who've been following along, for any length of time, know that I have a program called The Interior Design Business Bakery, it's a year long program. It literally started off as a digital course. And it was brutal to, to create it. Like, when I came across you, I was like, oh, where was she when I needed her back in the day?
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: It's such a, what a great little niche. Is there anybody else in your, in your world?
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, there's definitely people. I've connected with a few people that do similar things to what we do in one way or another. What's interesting is, you know, instructional design is a very, it's a very niche skill set. It's adult learning, it's, you know, you have to have some level of design expertise, there's just a lot of different skill sets and competencies. And so, you know, to be able to serve as many people as we do on the scale that we do, it definitely takes a team, and a team of people that are good at their own respective areas. So I'm starting to see it more bubble a little bit more. But what's interesting is, and what I appreciate, too, is, I came to this business with instructional design experience, and learned marketing and business and all that. A lot of people, they start with the business and marketing, and then when they have to learn the instructional design skill set, that's where they're like, wow, this is a lot. I don't think this is my wheelhouse. So we do partner actually, with a lot of companies that used to do course creation, and then they were like, okay, this is too much. I don't have the competency. So, you know, we partner with them, which is nice.
Michelle Lynne: That makes sense. Yeah, absolutely. It's a great partnership, in that respect, you guys can do what you do best, and they can focus on what they do best. It's a marriage made in heaven.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: So one of the reasons why I wanted to bring you on here for our audience is because I'm passionate, and I think it's imperative as small business owners that we have multiple lines of revenue.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: And as interior designers, like what does that look like? We have full-service interior design, maybe we have E-design, maybe we have like home staging, or whatever the case may be, where they're similar, but they're different enough that they can kind of play off of each other. But, you know, I want to also preach what I teach. And that is that courses are another great arm to increase your revenue, increase your bottom line. And once you get it rolling, it's this living, breathing entity. But tell me from your perspective, how can business owners leverage, like the power of a course or multiple courses or whatever that looks like? How do you see it like, you and I have the same mentality, but you're on a different side of the perspective. So what are your thoughts on that?
Ariel Schiffer: So many different ways. I think, you know, what's really cool about what we do and who we help is we work with so many different people in so many different areas and niches and industries, like, obviously, we work with a lot of B2B. But we work with a lot of people that are not B2B. And you know what's really interesting about that is, I've seen businesses really take what they know and then like, it's not just about turning your services into a course, even though sometimes that could be the way that you do it. So for instance, you know, if you're an interior designer, and you have a methodology that you use to help your clients and you know, that's what you do in your services, being able to translate that information into a course where somebody could do it on their own. That's obviously one way to do it. But we've also seen,
Michelle Lynne: So like they can't afford an interior designer.
Ariel Schiffer: Right. Right. And so or it might just be somebody who's like, hey, I'm interested in doing this on my own, and I want to do this for my whole home or for other people, or whatever it might be. So that's one leg of it is, you know, turning your services into something that can be a really affordable option for people that is also scalable for you as well.
Michelle Lynne: Right.
Ariel Schiffer: On the other side, too, like there's so many ways to use it in your business. You can use digital products to enhance your services, maybe, you know, maybe it's something that you provide your clients after you work with them in some way, shape or form that helps them continue with what you help them do.
Michelle Lynne: Oh interesting.
Ariel Schiffer: Maybe it's saying, yeah, it could be used as an order bump, it could be used as the backbone of a coaching program. So for instance, you were talking about how you had a course and it turned into this big program. So you can combine it with, you know, maybe it's a done with you approach, maybe it's services where you have a cohort of people and you're helping them and you're providing them that, you know, base-level curriculum, but and they're getting support from you, but it's more scalable. There's ways where you can, you know, affiliate your stuff so, work with partners who, you know, they have your ideal client and you're able to, you know, leverage each other's networks for that. I've had people where they white-label their courses, where they sell the materials of their courses for other people in the same industry and give them the rights to use it.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, wow.
Ariel Schiffer: Like there's so, yeah, there's a lot of ways to use it. I think it's one of those things where the more that you like, if you're listening to this right now, and you're like, okay, I never thought of this before, my brain is kind of exploding. The more that you think about it, the more your brain will explode. And it's just like, what can you deliver in a digital way. You know what I mean? And start to get the wheels turning on that because there's so much that you can do in that space. And again, it's scalable, it's something that, you know, it does take time and energy to put in in the upfront. But it's one of those great things too where when you see the payment notifications rolling in, and you get comments from people and you're like, I already did the work, it's such a relief.
Michelle Lynne: Imagine trying to bake a cake without a recipe. You kind of know what the ingredients are, but you don't know how to put it all together. After lots of hard work and trying different combinations, all you are left with is a sticky situation and a stomachache. Babe, running an interior design business can feel exactly that same way. That is why I created The Interior Design Business Bakery. This is a program that teaches you how to bake your interior design business cake and eat it too. If you don't want to figure out the hard way, and you want guidance to follow, a recipe that has already been vetted, someone that has already been there and done it and will help you do it too, then check out the year-long mentorship and coaching program, The Interior Design Business Bakery. If your interior design business revenue is below $300,000, or if you're struggling to make a profit and keep your sanity, this is the only program for you. You can find that information at designedforthecreativemind.com/business-bakery. Check it out. You won't regret it.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, but I will say that even though it literally took me a year to create my content, and it was gonna be a six-week course, right? Six weeks. Took me a year, because of course, we have a family. And then we have business and all the other things in life to actually do it. So if I were to come to you and say, hey, Ariel, I've got this idea. Like, let's just say it was an idea. And I kind of have the teeth of it. How do you transform that?
Ariel Schiffer: So we work with a lot of people that are in that stage where it's more of like ideation like, okay, I know what I want to create, but like I haven't started, I don't know where to start, like, guide me. So we have a pretty layered experience, I'll put it that way. Because there's a lot of moving pieces. And courses are one of those things where, you know, you probably see ads and stuff all the time, I do and it drives me bananas, where it's like, you know, make your course in a weekend and you know, blah, blah, blah.
Michelle Lynne: Right? They're on crack.
Ariel Schiffer: You definitely can and I'm going to tell you at the end of it, you're going to be like, wow, I can't wait to redo this. So we like to take the approach of, if you're paying us, you probably don't want to redo it right after we do it. So, you know, it goes through multiple rounds. But, you know, the first thing is to come up with a really solid topic, an idea. And, you know, obviously courses have been around for a long time. I've been in this industry for over a decade. But. you know, more and more courses, in terms of like consumer courses are popping up. And it's not an oversaturated, it's not an oversaturated industry. But I will say, you know, if you're introducing new products into this world, it's important for your stuff to differentiate itself from what's already out there, right?
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Ariel Schiffer: So for instance, like, you know, maybe coming up with a one-on-one class is great. And I think having those basics are important. But what's really going to help you sell more of your digital products and really make a name for yourself and help you with credibility, your brand, all the things, is to get really specific about what you're teaching, and really have a niche topic. And when I say niche topics, I don't mean necessarily it has to be something like so drilled down that it only takes you like five minutes to explain it, but more so, like what makes your stuff or your perspective different from other people. So maybe you're teaching something that lots of other people teach, but you're doing it in a really unique way, you know, specific to you, right? So like lean into your uniqueness and your creativity because you want people to think wow, like, where else can I find a course like this, and that's what's going to help them also make that decision to buy.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. And I think that's so true. Because when I was developing my content, back in the day when it was a course, it was called something else. I can't even remember, maybe like a masterclass, I don't even remember what I called it, it was something lame. And then as I was going through and I was building it out and making it more of a program, I was working with a copywriter, and she comes to me, she goes, okay, I've got a really good title if you're like brave enough to do it. And I was like, oh, you know what, what could you come up with that's so weird that I would have to think about it? And of course, it was the Interior Design Business Bakery. But like you said, it's so unique. And it's so specific, that it stands out from the other coaches, because now you can throw a rock and hit an interior design business coach on the corner. But yeah, I think that finding your uniqueness, and she came up with it because I'm always making analogies, like a recipe.
Ariel Schiffer: That is great.
Michelle Lynne: So yeah, it was just kind of natural, it was like, okay, plus, I really love pastries.
Ariel Schiffer: Schiffer
Yeah, have fun with it. Like we have, similarly enough, so we have a, obviously a course on creating courses. It's called Dreampro Course Camp, and it is all camp-themed. And it is like, it is so fun.
Michelle Lynne: Right? Yes, I think you have to have fun with it.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, exactly.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Ariel Schiffer: And that's really what people are looking for too is, you know, and especially in light of, you know, right now, AI is really hot right now, people are talking about all the things they can create with AI and all that. You know, I will tell you right now, like, please do not think that you can just put a bunch of prompts in AI and pop out a course. You can, but number one, you don't own the rights to that content, so that's not good. But also, aside from that, it's going to be super general, it's going to be very basic. And like when people are buying courses, they're not looking for stuff that they can Google, they're looking for a curated experience that's really providing them exactly what they need. They don't want to feel like they're just getting a bunch of, you know, information overload. Like we're in, we're in the digital age, this is like the information era. We have information. They're looking for guidance, they're looking for,
Michelle Lynne: A recipe? Haha.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, exactly the step-by-step, they're looking for you to really cut out all the BS that they don't need to sift through because you already have and you're helping them get to that result even quicker. So, you know, being really specific, and really having an opinion about the things that you do and teach is extremely important.
Michelle Lynne: I think people are so um, oh, gosh, there's a word that's escaping me right now. But I think people are, we're just so desensitized. We're so desensitized that they need to feel like there's a human behind it. That they need to feel like they're not just being fed a, you know, a bullshit story. Or like you said, anything that you can Google.
Ariel Schiffer: And it makes me think of, so in the corporate world, what I love about what I do now is I work with people who, like, you're creating something, you're really passionate about the people who are buying it, they're really excited and passionate about it. I'm used to the corporate world where like, you're trying to like force people to take like compliance training.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, yeah. You have to do this training.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, and even thinking about when I would create training then, you know, it was always like, the corporate approach was having the voiceovers and the animated stuff. And it was just so like bland and unpersonalized. And so even when I work with my clients now, like, some of our clients will go to a recording studio and get some professional videos and for parts of the course. But to be honest, the best courses are the ones where you are imperfectly talking into the microphone as if somebody's on the other end. Like I don't want you to sound like you are a robot reading a scripture. We give facilitator guides and like you'll know your talking points, but you want people to feel like you're literally hanging out with them and teaching them and that's going to make them feel way more connected to anything. You know, you think about podcasts, you think about, you know, everything, like people want to feel like they're talking to a human not to like just some, you know, stick in the mud.
Michelle Lynne: No, I think that makes perfect sense. And I think that when you show up perfectly imperfect,
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah
Michelle Lynne: It's just like, this is who I, nobody wants to feel like they are less than somebody else. And I think that that intimidation factor or the imposter syndrome is something that it's, it's human nature. So if you show up and there's somebody that's real, I do totally believe that it transforms a relationship, it creates a relationship, even online or whatever, digitally or something. But yeah, I think perfection is perception and it's, you know, it's just not even real.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah. And it's, it's boring, honestly. Like, if you listen to any of the videos that I record, like for my stuff, you'll hear me like, sometimes make a mistake, or I'll laugh about something, I'll make a joke, or I'll recall a story or whatever and it's like, on purpose because I know that on the other end, you don't want me just reading a slide or, you know, showing up like this personalityless person, like where's the fun in that, you know? You think about going to a party, you think about having a class, like you are most engaged and excited about whatever's going on, when you feel like you can relate to that person, when you're enjoying time with them. So especially in a pre-recorded format, how like, can you even more so hold their attention and make them feel like it is worth their time? Because chances are, you're talking to people who are busy.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I love that. And I think that, so for the audience who are listening, thinking, oh, I can never do that because I'm not good enough, or because I can't produce something well enough, I think that that just gives a lot of permission to just show up and be yourself. And it's just like, so, y'all, as you're listening to this, it's just like when you are marketing yourself as an interior designer, you cannot be all things to all people. So you market yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your threats and opportunities, those all go into your bucket when you are creating your copy and your website and all the things. But it's also, you're going to attract people who are attracted to you. Because like there's plenty of ugly houses really. So there's like, there's not a lot of competition, but there are a lot of competition online, people are gonna see your brand and and be attracted to it. But your brand could be sitting next to my brand and sitting next to, you know, 17 other brands, and they're gonna gravitate towards what they would naturally gravitate to. So being yourself is so much easier. That's my point. So much easier.
Ariel Schiffer: Oh, yeah. And even like, when you're thinking about creating a course, and if you're nervous about like, facilitating and all that, like, you know, chances are when you're working with your clients, you're so focused on your job and how you're serving them and how you're helping them and your expertise that like you're not worried about how your voice sounds or this, you know what I mean? Like, focus on the job and so you have to really envision yourself literally just talking to a client and you're explaining things or you're like, it doesn't have to be this, you know, you onstage mentality in front of billions of people, like pretend you're with a friend, like hang out with your people. And, you know, it's not this thing of like, you have to put yourself on a pedestal and be perfect and all. Like, you just need to know a little bit more than the people that you're helping, and they will be grateful for that.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely, I love that. And heck, when you're recording it, just put some tequila in a coffee mug. Nobody will know.
Ariel Schiffer: I love that. That is honestly not a bad suggestion at all. Like you do whatever makes you feel at home, you know, like setup five, like, you know, whether that's a cocktail or whatever your whatever choice is.
Michelle Lynne: Be comfortable. Be comfortable. Yeah. So, Ariel, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you've seen? Like, what do you call them, course creators or content creators?
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah. Course creators. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: There we go. What are some big mistakes that we could avoid?
Ariel Schiffer: Ah, biggest mistakes would be, you know, when you're creating a course for the first time, it is intimidating. And this is coming from somebody who's created like, at this point, probably hundreds. Hundreds and hundreds of courses. And I will say like when I skip steps myself, I get thrown off, I end up doing a lot of rework, I get confused. So, you know, if you really don't know where to start or what you're doing, I highly recommend, whether it be you join a course or you find some information, wherever you do it, have some sort of guide to help you because there are a lot of steps involved. But also, courses really are a cumulative effort, meaning you know, the things that you do in let's say, step one, are going to be important for step eight, right? So for instance, you know, in true instructional design, you're creating your course goals, your course objectives, you're creating your outline, and all these little things connect to each other. And that's what we teach too is just how to do it in the most simple, straightforward, and easy way. So you're not like stressing out, spinning your wheels, changing things over and over, because a lot of people will give the advice of like, just create an outline and then create some slides. And let me tell you, that doesn't even work for me. Like I'm like, you know, for simple things here and there, sure, you know what I mean? Like, if it's whatever, but if you're creating like a full-blown course, there's a lot of things that can fall through the cracks. So I highly recommend, you know, joining something or getting access to something that provides you with that step-by-step and also like being a good student. Like, look at other courses, be a part of other programs, and see what you like, you dislike as a learner. I think sometimes people are so focused on what they want to do and throwing everything that they want into one product when, when we're developing our courses for our clients, they're not even for our clients or for their learners, you know what I mean? Like, I'm like, that's cool that you want it in your course. But let's think about what's best for your learners. You know?
Michelle Lynne: I think that's huge.
Ariel Schiffer: And it always goes back to them. So I think really, a big mistake I see is people have the mindset of they're thinking about their business versus their learner, their client. So when you think about them and you do things intentionally, you can't make a wrong decision. What were you going to say, I see you excited.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, well, I was thinking, I read somewhere, people don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want to buy a quarter-inch hole.
Ariel Schiffer: Yep.
Michelle Lynne: So you're teaching them what they want to know versus what you think they want. You think they want the drill bit, no, they want the hole.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, yep. And I think another, and this ties back to that too, another big mistake that I see is that, you know, people are trying to pour everything that they know into, like one single course or program. Like, I will tell you,
Michelle Lynne: Oh, yeah. Dude, I had to really edit mine like crazy.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah. My course on creating courses is relatively small, I am not teaching you everything that I know, because you don't need to know half the shit that I know.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly.
Ariel Schiffer: So I'm just giving you exactly what you need, no more, no less. And that's kind of my rule of thumb is like, help people get what they want. You don't have to overload them, but also too like, you don't have to just create one product with everything. Because, and I saw a lot of that trending too, especially in the past few years where people would create these extremely long, long duration, long in terms of video length programs. And, you know, when people are looking for digital solutions, an easy way for people to like, opt out and get overwhelmed is for you to put them in front of so much stuff, right? So think a little bit more bite-sized, I think, especially for your very first course is like think through like what's a like one problem, one quick solution that I can provide to people, get your feet wet, and that's also going to make it even easier to market because consumers also don't want to pay more for things that they don't need. So if your course has a bajillion things in it, and they're like, I really only need that one module. Are they going to spend thousands of dollars on it? Probably not, but if you had smaller offerings that were way more specific, they'll be like, oh, that's exactly what I need. Perfect. You know, and it also takes the thought out of, you know, when people are buying so think smaller too.
Michelle Lynne: I love that because you're right, there's so much that we think people need. But it's fluff.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: It's fluff.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: And they don't need to know all the what. Like sometimes you need to know the why so that you can buy into it. But you don't necessarily need to know all of the reasons why.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: It is. It's overwhelming.
Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all, as my interior design business grew, there were some struggles that quickly surfaced. It was balancing, management, just all of the things that come together, and especially when it came to consolidating my marketing efforts, my client relationship management, social media planning, website building, all the things. I felt like Dr. Frankenstein, just trying to tie all of these things together and it didn't really come out very pretty. I thought it would be great if I could find something that would bring everything together into one place. And I believe I have found it. The support of Sidemark, growing your interior design business has never been easier. It will be available this spring. Sidemark is an all-new, all-in-one software that organizes sales, marketing, and business services all in one convenient location. By signing up for Sidemark, you too can get access to all of the essential tools needed to help your business succeed. With features such as a built-in website builder, a custom sales pipeline, email marketing, client relationship management, scheduling on a calendar, and more. This is going to expand your interior design business and make it a breeze. Go online now to join the waitlist at mysidemark.com. You will receive 10% off your first year and get notified of all of the new and exciting updates yet to come. Visit mysidemark.com to start your journey towards successful business growth without the stress and join mysidemark.com today. You won't be sorry.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, and my last one will be, you know, really understand where your ideal learner is at. So you don't want to talk over their head and you don't want to talk down to them, right? So you want to make sure that you're talking at their level. And that's also again, it all ties back to really having a solid niche and topic because that way you know exactly who you're talking to, where they're at in life or business or wherever. But when you can speak to them at their level, it's also going to help them progress through the content easier, because number one, they're going to feel way more connected to what you're teaching, because they're going to feel like wow, I'm in the right place, she's speaking directly to me. But also, you know, when you're talking over somebody's head or down to somebody, if they just feel like it's a waste of their time, or they're spinning their wheels and they can't make progress, they're gonna dip out. And so it's not to obsess over your completion rates, but more so you want people to be along with you for the ride, because that's how they're going to get the results. So speak really specifically to them. And that's a hard, you know, I say it so simply, but it's not a simple thing to do, it's really looking at your entire learning experience, and truly understanding every piece of it. So it seems like a little thing, but it is a big thing and it does take time, and you will develop that skill over time.
Michelle Lynne: I would definitely agree. And a lot of it, because I've had my Interior Design Business Bakery, I think for almost three years now. And I can truly after, you know, a couple hundred people have gone through the program, now I know exactly who my people are. I honestly, I used to think it was people who had revenue of $300,000 or less. But really, it's individuals who have just barely scratched the six figure and want to leap into multiple six figure. And that's a pretty big disparity, like you're at 100,000, or you're at 300,000 for small business owners. So I agree with what you said, give yourself some time, you can think this is who you're talking to. And then just keep your data and your analysis top of mind.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, like always collect lots of data. Get really, I think, especially as a first-time course creator, but just long term is like know the people that you're helping and talk to them. Get information from them, like, obviously, you know, surveys, evaluation stuff, that's great. But like, nothing beats a conversation with a student and just really, you know, learning about them and why they joined and what they're getting stuck with or, you know, when you build those relationships, you're gonna be such a better educator than most people just by having simple conversations here and there. So it's like, stay in tune with the people that you're helping too.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I love that. I love that. So what do I want to ask next? How do you actually create, like, a course or an experience that does transform somebody? Is there a secret recipe? See, recipe. See, I keep going back to those references.
Ariel Schiffer: That is a deep and awesome question. So when it comes to creating transformation, really what you're trying to achieve is a duplicatable result, right? So when you have people go through your course, what you want is for them to do X, Y, and Z and come out with a final result. So when it comes to creating a result, a course that truly transforms, I think the first thing is having a really solid framework. So this is something that we teach as well, obviously, in our courses, like before you just walk people through wherever, like know that what you're gonna set them up to do is actually going to give them what they need, right? And so when it comes to developing a framework, you know, you might be sitting there thinking, like, I don't have a framework or like, what is she talking about? A framework is basically a methodology that, you know, it's the process, right?
Michelle Lynne: Right.
Ariel Schiffer: And so a lot of people that we work with, when we first work with them, we're like, hey, do you have a framework? And they're like, no, or I don't know what the hell you're talking about. I would say 99 times out of 100, they do have a framework, they just haven't articulated it yet, right? They know how to help people. Like, chances are if you want to create a course, it's because you feel confident enough to walk people through a transformation. So when it comes to creating a transformative course, having a framework that is proven, helps you know that okay, when people do these things, and it's not just about the behaviors, it goes into the mindset, all the things, right? So these things are at play more times than not, you know, unless something crazy happens, like they're going to get a result, right? And so when you're thinking through your framework, you need to start with, okay, what do I know so far? What do people absolutely need to know to get there? What do they need to be able to do? And being able to also test that. Like, sometimes before you even create a course you need to test your framework. You need to, maybe it's walking one client through an experience, maybe it's reflecting back on other experiences as well. But once you get down, oh, okay, I see the common threads, all these people were successful, they did these things. Okay, let me see how I can articulate this or how people might experience it. So it's really a mind game.
Michelle Lynne: No, that makes sense. Because oftentimes, a lot of what interior designers do is take their skills for granted. So y'all, it could be as simple as how to style your bookshelves.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Like that could be a very basic course that adds, you know, a couple hundred dollars of revenue a month, couple thousand dollars a year or more, you know, if you could add five or ten thousand dollars, that wouldn't suck.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: For just something that you know how to do naturally, and you can verbalize it and put it into a course that's easily accessible. Because maybe they don't need to hire an interior designer, but they want their shelves to look like a magazine. That would be, you know, something that comes to us naturally that is taken for granted. But it could be monetized.
Ariel Schiffer: Oh, yeah. There's so much, I feel like there's so much fun you can have with interior design, too. So I just bought a house, like, literally two weeks ago.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, congratulations, that's so exciting.
Ariel Schiffer: Thank you. You are my first podcast episode in my new office.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, yay.
Ariel Schiffer: But, you know, even like moving in, this is my third time buying a house, but like, you know, just even moving into a new home and like seeing all the things that we want to change and all the, you know, new rooms that we need to decorate, all the stuff, it's like, you know, the renovations we want to do, there's so many things that you know as an interior designer, that can be really, I guess, specified, you know, like, a great example was the styling of the bookcase like, right, that's such a small part of all the things that you know, that people will buy that small part, people are looking for just that one little thing. So how many of those experiences maybe can you create, but also, if you don't want to create a bunch of micro experiences, which you definitely don't have to, like, what is something, like maybe it's helping somebody completely or maybe it's, you know, a guided experience with a group program of like, we're gonna update three rooms in your home or all your bedrooms or whatever it might be. Like, I don't know, I'm not an interior designer. But like, you can have fun with it, you know?
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely, and there's no wrong answer.
Ariel Schiffer: Right, exactly.
Michelle Lynne: But you have to pretest it. Just to make sure it is of interest.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, I would say for sure, like, you know, see if there is interest. A lot of times too people will work with us, and we'll say like, oh, people have been asking for this for so long, right? So I want you to think like, what are people constantly asking you? What questions do you get? Because that is also a really good indication that that is something to create. Like, I was recently thinking about, people DM me about a specific thing like all the time. And so this past week, I was finally like, I need to create something for this. It's silly for me to not do this.
Michelle Lynne: If you're interested, go buy this.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, exactly.
Michelle Lynne: No, I think that makes sense. And there's, yeah, everybody has a different something that people are asking them. And it's well worth exploring that or just after listening to this episode, just maybe thinking from it differently.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah. And one of the very first steps in creating a great course is to do some market research. So, you know, tapping into your existing network, tapping into your existing clients, prospective clients, social media contacts, email lists, ask questions. See what people are interested in, see what their priorities are, see the things that they've been stuck with. Or what are they most inspired by you for doing? Or you know what I mean? Like, just ask a bunch of questions. Like that is one of the best ways to be a great educator and course creator is to just interrogate everybody. Gather information and decide what you want to do with it. It's not about having them guide your business, but it's data, right? Like, look at it, see what you want to do with it.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. I love that. And, you know, I love talking all things business related. But I also like to have fun.
Ariel Schiffer: Cool.
Michelle Lynne: I'm going to pull myself back from this conversation, because I could probably spend another 30 or 45 minutes just chatting. So the next segment is going to be a quick Q&A session, it's just rapid-fire, whatever comes out of your mouth. Okay, so we'll start with, what is your biggest pet peeve?
Ariel Schiffer: Ooh, biggest pet peeve. Lack of attention to detail.
Michelle Lynne: That serves you well.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, like for instance, when people type my name like the font, drives me bananas, or if they type my like business name wrong also drives me a little crazy. So maybe getting my name wrong is actually the correct thing. But yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Thank the Lord I confirmed with you before we went live. All right, what's your favorite ice cream?
Ariel Schiffer: Oh, mint chocolate chip.
Michelle Lynne: How did I know that? Okay, what was your favorite subject in school?
Ariel Schiffer: Ooh, favorite? Art.
Michelle Lynne: What scares the hell out of you?
Ariel Schiffer: Death.
Michelle Lynne: So what scares you to death? Death. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Ariel Schiffer: I used to be on the armed drill team of my JROTC battalion in high school. I used to spin rifles in high school.
Michelle Lynne: No batons, just rifles?
Ariel Schiffer: Yep.
Michelle Lynne: That's awesome. Innie belly button or outie?
Ariel Schiffer: Innie.
Michelle Lynne: What is your biggest failure, and what did you learn from that experience?
Ariel Schiffer: Ooh. Um, there was a, there was a job I remember that I really, really, really wanted and it was like a dream job to me. And thank God, I didn't get it. Because it drove me to the other job that I got that I actually absolutely hated, which inspired me to start my business. So I'm, like, really glad I never got that job.
Michelle Lynne: It all worked out. So what would you say would be the lesson that you learned from that?
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah, I think it's like, trust the process, you know, and also too, it's this or something better. It's always this or something better.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. I love that. And you just have to remind yourself of that when you're in the middle of it.
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: What does your morning routine look like, Ariel?
Ariel Schiffer: I let the dogs out. I tell my husband to wake up like every five minutes. I drink coffee. It's pretty slow. Like honestly, I'm not, like I'm a morning person, but I don't have like a super strict routine. Like, I prioritize my dogs and coffee and then just see where the day takes. me.
Michelle Lynne: I can appreciate that because you have to let them out. What kind of dogs?
Ariel Schiffer: I have an Australian Shepherd and a mini Australian Shepherd poodle mix.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh, how fun. That's a lot of energy.
Ariel Schiffer: A lot of energy, a lot of hair. It's great.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly. Where do you find inspiration?
Ariel Schiffer: Hmm, outside. Like, I always get inspired when I'm outside. I love, I'm a big lake person. Me and my husband have a boat membership. So we're like, basically, between May and October, I will be on the lake 24/7.
Michelle Lynne: That's awesome.
Ariel Schiffer: And it's just the most, being outside is just inspiring to me. And I think because it's so calming to me, I'm able to really let my creativity fly.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, and it's just some of that whitespace where you don't have to do anything, you can just be. That makes sense. What's your favorite book?
Ariel Schiffer: Ooh, favorite book. I'm gonna have to say all books by Karin Slaughter. She's my favorite author.
Michelle Lynne: Really?
Ariel Schiffer: Yeah. She does like murder detective crime novels. And I've read every single one that she's written.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, really? Okay. I just wrote that down. I love that part of this. Alright, last question. What would you pick for your last meal?
Ariel Schiffer: Ooh. I would pick a ribeye, medium. Something good on the side. Definitely ice cream for dessert.
Michelle Lynne: Yum, yum, yum, yum. Okay, now I'm hungry.
Ariel Schiffer: Perfect.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly. Some mashed potatoes, green beans.
Ariel Schiffer: A good steak dinner. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: All right. Yeah, and a good, thick red wine. Well, Ariel, thanks so much for being on the show today. I know our audience has loved everything you had to say. Can you let the audience know, how can they connect with you? Where are you online?
Ariel Schiffer: So I like to hang out on Instagram. So if you're on Instagram, our tag if you will, or our handle is @dreamprocourses, or you can go to our website, dreamprocourses.com. And you can stay connected to all the things there. But those two places are the best places to be.
Michelle Lynne: Perfect. And they're the same. It's just at dreamprocourses if you're on Instagram, and dreamprocourses.com online. I'll make sure that information is in the show notes.
Ariel Schiffer: Awesome. Appreciate that.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. And for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, you heard me talk about the Interior Design Business Bakery, you can check that out. You can also join our growing community on my Facebook private group, which is called the Interior Designers business Launchpad. And of course, you can find everything on the website designedforthecreativemind.com. And if you have a hard time remembering that it's the same as the podcast. So we'll catch up with you guys next time. Thanks again, Ariel.
Ariel Schiffer: Thank you.
Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all. If you love the show and find it useful, I would really appreciate it if you would share with your friends and followers. And if you like what you're hearing, want to put a face with the name and get even more business advice, then join me in my Facebook group, the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feed. It's fun. I promise you'll enjoy it. And finally, I hear it's good for business to get ratings on your podcast. So please drop yours on whatever platform you use to listen to this. We're all about community over competition, so let's work on elevating our industry, one designer at a time. See you next time.