How long should my program be?
Let’s talk about how long your program should be.
So this is a question that I get asked a lot and I always respond with my favorite answer, which is, “It depends.”
Now, there are multiple factors it depends on when you’re deciding the length of a program, whether that’s the length of modules, the length of a live program, or the length of a group program.
In short, there’s no magic number.
I can’t say, “Oh, you’re building a course on web design. It should be five modules, or you’re doing a course on mindset coaching, it should be six months.”
There’s not this magic number because it’s not a one-size-fits-all.
It’s really important that you figure out what works best for your people, what works best for you, and how you are able to weave these two together into the beautiful program that you’re obsessed with and that gets your people amazing results.
So let’s talk about the three biggest factors that I want you to think about when you are determining the length of your program.
All of these factors kind of come into play with what I like to call the Transformation Sustainability within a program: how long, over what period of time, can our people sustain and keep up a transformation.
Oh, and without those four pesky horsemen coming into play: boredom, overwhelm, confusion, and procrastination.
1. Depth of Transformation
The first factor that I want you to think about is the depth of transformation that we are leading our people through.
This is where I really want you to trust your intuition and do a gut check around how deep the work is that you’re doing with your people in this program.
Is it something where it’s more skills-based, more practical, for example: helping them map out their action steps as part of their workshop or helping them build a sales page?
These types of programs tend to be more tutorials and systems, where you’re leading them through learning a practical skill, opposed to programs where the transformation is more focused on deep inner work.
For example, a coaching program that helps you work through your mindset blocks or overcome limiting beliefs.
This is where you really want to tune in and think about where on the spectrum of really deep inner work to more practical, skills-based your program falls.
In general, with any kind of deep, inner transformation, they need more time because you have more layers that you need to work through.
You may need more time where people have to sit with the work as they do it and reflect on what’s coming up, opposed to a more technical, tactical program type where there are clear, obvious milestones.
This leads us into point number two, how much live access do they get to you or how much extra live support is in the program.
2. Amount of Live Support
These two factors of the depth of transformation & amount of live support have a push and pull aspect to them because the deeper the transformation, the longer the program needs to be.
But the other side to that is the longer the transformation, the more live access we will want to include in the program because that is what actually creates that Transformation Sustainability.
It’s what drives the momentum so they aren’t totally left to their own devices.
And we are all busy, right?
As adults, we have a lot of other things on our plate.
And at some point, your students are going to likely be overwhelmed and potentially start procrastinating by doing other things and lose that momentum to do the program on their own, so by you providing that live access, you can really help them in working towards that transformation.
Now, you may be shaking your head over there because you don’t have any live elements and you are building a program that is completely self-study, but your program is also really focused on a deep transformation.
This is where I’d invite you to look at your learning journey and look at the milestones your people are hitting along the way, and consider breaking them down into smaller courses.
Psychologically, with self-study courses, when it’s a smaller commitment, we, as humans, feel more likely to be able to get through bite-sized pieces of content, instead of a six-month program with a lot of modules where they may struggle keeping themselves accountable.
So I want you to ask yourself: how deep is your transformation and how much live access do they get to you?
Now consider how those two factors play together to be able to make sure that the transformation you are leading your people through is sustainable.
3. What’s sustainable for you?
Finally, the third factor that I also want you to think about is what you have going on in your life.
What works for you?
Something I hear a lot from my clients is when they’re thinking their program needs to be six months, but they want to run it twice a year with no overlap, and all of a sudden they’re running this program all year long with no holidays for themselves.
I had another client who believed her program had to be an eight-month program, but that just felt too long for her.
I say if you’re not feeling excited about the timeline of your program or super lit up by the container you’re wrapping around your program, then it’s time to investigate the length it needs to be.
Can it be a three-month commitment that people can stack almost like a membership model?
Can you again break it up based on milestones that have different programs?
I really want you to think about what’s exciting for you and what are your rhythms or your cadences in your life.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself right now to dive a little deeper into what would work best for you:
- How often do you take a vacation?
- What other things do you have going on?
- What are your other priorities?
- Do you want to have live access?
- How much live access can you sustain for yourself?
- And how does that fit in with your life?
- What would this length of the program look like for you?
When in doubt, you can play around with the power of three. So think three months, six months, nine-month, or 12-month containers. Play around with those numbers and see if any jump out for you.
And if you’re totally stuck, I have free monthly course cafes where you run your program ideas by me and I can help you find a program length that works best for you.
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