Confession: I have basically internet stalked Jennifer Bourn for years.
Because let’s be honest, if you’ve listened to Jennifer Bourn talk about business and running a small agency for more than five minutes, you probably have heard something really, really smart.
Through a couple years of following Jennifer online, I heard her talk about her project management system over and over. Interviewers always asked her about a unique automated system she had developed with her husband, Brian, to manage communications with clients. She explained how they used email automation to give clients information and ask for content, without having to do a thing once it was set up.
I think I was not the only person who thought: “Wow—She should really sell her process for this. People would buy it.”
Actually, I know I wasn’t the only person, because now she is selling it. In a more in-depth and guided way than I even imagined.
I was lucky enough to get to beta test the first round of her course, called Profitable Project Plan, and I want to tell you about it.
How I Got Into Profitable Project Plan
In mid-2017, my small remote agency (team of four people) was busy with work, but I found that our projects seemed to drag on and on for months longer than I expected.
So when I saw Jennifer start to promote Profitable Project Plan, I was very interested. I loved the idea of a system that would communicate with my clients and keep their website project chugging along even when I was busy.
I spent a long time poring over the course’s sales page, but I ultimately decided not to buy it. I had already invested a lot of money in learning about SEO, Facebook ads, and specializing in 2017, and those were my focuses for the year. I also am fairly strict with my budget and believe in not investing more than you can afford.
But, I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to possibly win access to the course, so I entered a simple contest that Chris Lema shared on his blog. And it turns out, I was one of two winners!
So in the interest in full transparency, this review comes from someone who did not pay for the course. However, I will always, always write reviews with honesty and never gloss over the good or the bad. In fact, if this course had sucked, I just probably wouldn’t have reviewed it at all and provided direct feedback instead.
What It Was Like to Take The Course
A day after I got the good news that I was in, I cozied in on my couch to watch the first video lesson.
— Sara Dunn (@Sara11D) August 8, 2017
It’s probably important to note that my experience was in the beta launch of the course, and future iterations of this will probably be delivered differently. BUT, here’s what I experienced:
Jennifer sent a PDF of the first lesson materials just in advance, plus a Dropbox link to the resources and email templates.
On the first webinar, she walked us through the lesson, a bonus training called Sales-Free Sales Calls. She pretty much went step-by-step through her written instructions and explained everything, talking straight to her webcam.
Then, she opened the call up for questions. Questions were submitted via online chat, and she answered them without any prep.
What was truly amazing was how open and patient Jennifer was about answering any question that participants asked. She was also committed to staying on the webinar until every question was answered. With the amount of questions even from just 40 participants, some of these calls ended up being nearly two hours long. No complaints, just smiles.
On that note, huge kudos to Jennifer for also being very responsive to requests from participants. For the Contracts lesson, Jennifer had already provided us the full text of her contract. But someone asked if we could see her contract fully formatted, just as she would send to a client. She said “Of course!” and she provided that file for us within a day.
The Course Materials
I think the part of this course that blew me away the most were the prepared course materials.
See, I signed up for a $1200 course on Facebook ads (from a different instructor) earlier this year. It came with no written materials, just 10 recorded videos that the instructor recorded live once and then sold as evergreen course materials. It was kind of disappointing and low-quality, but I thought all online training might be that way.
Even for the beta/initial launch of Profitable Project Plan, Jennifer must have poured hours/days/weeks(?) into the written instructions. Each lesson came with a beautiful PDF explaining every single detail of that phase of the process.
Even without the video trainings, you could learn everything you need to from the written PDFs. They’re that thorough.
Phone Call Scripts and Procedures
I wasn’t expecting this part at all. Not only does Jennifer give away her email automation system, she also outlines every phone call that’s part of her project management process.
She really kicked me in the butt, reminding me of the importance of using phone calls for clarity and relationship building. Even if you’re an introvert like me, you can’t just send off an email and hope the client understands their next steps.
If you’re scared, don’t worry. The course includes a step-by-step call framework for every important call and basically tells you exactly what to say.
In addition to instructions on each phase of the project and scripts for calls, Jennifer basically gives away the farm and lets you have every word of her client management system.
- Pre-written emails
- Discovery questionnaire
- Change order template
- PDF downloads (value-adds for clients on topics like SEO, copywriting, and opt-ins)
So if you’ve been wondering what other agencies send clients for a contract or how change orders are handled, wonder no more. You’ll find out exactly how Bourn Creative does it.
In taking the course, I had a few big Aha! Moments that I wasn’t even expecting to learn.
Several times in her interactions with clients, Jennifer specifies that you should congratulate the client and celebrate with them when they reach major milestones.
For example, she starts the Kickoff Call framework with “Welcome the client to the call and share that you’re happy to be working with them and excited to get started.”
I remember when she said on the webinar something along the lines of
“This is a big deal for your client. They are investing big money with you for their new website. You may do this every day, but they only do it once every few years. Make them feel that you’re excited too.”
I feel like this should have been obvious to me. I’m a pretty enthusiastic person and love me some confetti. But I realized I don’t always do a good job stopping long enough to just say “I’m so glad we’re doing this together. Thank you for choosing me!”
As you can see, the lessons here go beyond email templates and include ways you can in general create a better client experience.
Create a Repeatable Process
There is no need to reinvent the wheel for every project. Even if you don’t use an email automation system, you should document your client interactions and save them to reuse on future projects.
Also a “duh” but once I saw how systematized Bourn Creative’s process is, I knew I had to do better.
Use Your Client Agreement (Contract) As A Tool
Don’t hide the fact that your client signed a contract and only pull it out when there has been a problem or breech. Refer to it often and use it as a guide for your project.
For example: “Per our client agreement, your website includes 8 pages. Let’s talk about what those will be.”
Using a contract this way makes it feels more normal for your client to refer to the terms of your agreement too. I loved learning about this approach to a contract, since contracts tend to feel intimidating and impersonal to me.
Who This Course Is For
A note of caution: Profitable Project Plan is for freelancers and agencies selling website projects to clients.
It is very, very website project focused. We’re talking about getting website content from clients, explaining development to them, what you need to do before a website launch, etc.
I would not recommend this for designers or marketers of other types, doing projects like graphic design or social media or advertising.
To get the most value out of PPP, you should be looking to improve your website design and development process with clients.
Things To Know Before Buying Profitable Project Plan
This Course Won’t Do it All For You
Jennifer does her best to explain and provide tons of copy and paste templates. However, implementing it will be a ton of work.
Here’s what the course doesn’t do for you:
- Sign you up for an email automation service
- Customize the email templates to your name, business, or voice
- Customize the downloads or contracts to your design and branding
- Set up the email automation sequences
- Practice the call templates for you
You will need to do work to really get the most out of your investment. Yes, you’ll learn a ton from just attending the calls, but if you want to really make your life easier in the long run, be prepared to implement.
I think the course now includes a few weeks for implementation, which I think is a great change from when I took it.
You Should Have a Fairly Consistent Type of Website Project
This might be controversial, but there’s my take.
I find this kind of set-it-and-forget-it email automation system only works if your clients tend to share a lot of similarities.
I get the feeling Jennifer created this system working with clients who tend to be individual coaches, thought leaders, and service providers. The materials mentioned things like Speaking pages, gravatars, email lists, and opt-ins.
My agency historically has worked with a wider variety of corporate type of businesses, so these aren’t assets that apply well to a majority of my past clients.
I have chosen not to set up an email automation until I, myself, become more focused on who I work with. Then I can see more value in developing and sending a series of emails that I think are relevant to a majority of my clients.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t get value out of the course, but I know I won’t get the full value of a system until I have my own specialized ducks in a row.
Should You Invest in Profitable Project Plan?
If any of these things sound like you, I’d highly recommend it:
- You have no project management system whatsoever and interact with clients differently on every project
- Phone calls with clients terrify you and you never know what to say
- Selling makes you break out in hives
- You’ve been wondering how other agencies handle things like contracts and change orders
- You experience big scope creep problems on projects and don’t know how to say no in a friendly way
- Clients are always checking in with you, asking “Soooooo, how’s our project going?”
- You (politely) internet stalk Jennifer Bourn and want to find out exactly how she runs her business
Ready to find out more?
I’d be happy to answer any questions from a participant’s perspective. Please comment below!
The not small small print: Links in this article are affiliate links. If you click a link in this article and then buy the course, I may receive a commission. I was planning to write this review before I found out about the PPP affiliate program so I saw no reason not to sign up and possibly get a thank-you if you like what I wrote. If you’d rather not use an affiliate link, feel free to leave here and enter jenniferbourn.com directly into your browser.