This inspiring story is of a rising startup called Learn Grant Writing started by Meredith Noble in the education technology space is helping those looking for a career change learn how to get paid as a grant writer, so they have the flexibility to build a life they love. Here is the story of Learn Grant Writing in Meredith’s own words.
Introduce us to your idea of Learn Grant Writing
We have an online membership program that helps those looking for a career change gain paid experience as a grant writer to either land a fulfilling job or start a consulting business.
We are the only online educator in this space that not only gives you the technical training (in grant writing) but the training and support to build a career. 95% of our members are women, and we are thrilled to help them build fulfilling, flexible careers.
Plus, our mascot is a unicorn, so we have an awfully fun culture!
What’s your strategy story? What led you to start Learn Grant Writing?
I started this because I was tired of getting invited for a coffee to explain everything I knew about grant writing! It was impossible for the lessons to truly soak in, even over a day long workshop. For that reason, I decided to develop an online course that would help others learn to write winning grants.
It has been a wild and interesting journey, learning how to teach online and what people were really looking for. We decided to double down and focus on the segment of our audience that most fired us up.
Here’s a common email we receive:
Hey Meredith and Alex,
I am drawn to grant writing for several reasons. I am looking for a career change, looking to help causes I believe in, and looking to create a business in which I can control my day, my time, my schedule.
For women like Jackie, we built the Grant Writing Unicorn Collective, a membership experience that supports those looking for a career change. Especially with the number of women that have had to return to the home because of Covid-19, and work environments that reflect archaic and rigid 9-5s, we are wholeheartedly committed to helping women create profitable and fulfilling careers.
We are a women-owned startup and my WHY is helping inspire other women to try their hand at entrepreneurship.
What marketing, operation strategies are you adopting at Learn Grant Writing?
Our core method of conversion is a webinar. We have simplified our marketing strategies to direct all leads to that webinar. I have also published a #1 bestselling book on Amazon for Nonprofit Fundraising and Grants that has paid dividends. The book is How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn.
We have also found much more success by truly focusing on ONE niche. It’s hard! It’s hard to not speak to a more broad audience that you know would also benefit from your product, but the moment we niched down, the moment our success skyrocketed. We are firm advocates of one product, one market one conversion method, and one price.
75% of our expenses are for employees. We are utilizing the Slicing Pie method of distributing equity in our early stage startup since we are not paying full-market rates. Our remaining expenses are SaaS subscriptions and a small advertising budget. We are focusing on key partnerships before ramping up ad spend. We review our financial deck every month (set up as accrual accounting) to monitor expenses and projections.
Bottom line is keep it simple!
Any strategy mistakes you have made and what did you learn?
Whatever distribution channel you decide to focus on, go ALL in on it. Pay for training. Don’t wing it. I spent two years trying to figure out YouTube by myself and wasted a lot of time. I finally took an online training, documented our procedures, and hired a talented video editor and now our YouTube metrics are growing every year.
Second strategy mistake was assuming I knew my customer. Have 20+ message mining interviews with them. Record the call so you can transcribe the interview later and study their language. That language becomes the basis of your marketing materials and product design.
Last tip: keep it exceedingly simple. One product for one person converted via one method.
Finally what advice do you have for your fellow entrepreneur readers?
Move fast and make decisions quickly. You might not always make the right decision, but making a decision at all is what moves you far beyond your competition. This is especially important when you start hiring. If someone isn’t working out, and you have provided proper training and support, then move swiftly to let them go before your resentment and frustration builds. Your success will depend on being surrounded by equally talented and driven people. Make decisions quickly and you will move forward at lightning speed!
Disclaimer: The information in the above story is provided by the startup and The Strategy Story takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the product and services offered by the startup. Reader’s discretion is advised.
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