6 Lessons Learned from Creating My First Online Course
Last week I wrapped up the first round of my first online course — Be Unmistakable, and it's only just now that I'm having the chance to take it all in and think about how it all went.
I had no clue what to expect, but all I knew was that I wanted to make it as kick-ass as possible, and packed with value. I had just over 140 people sign up for the first round, which was pretty much bang-on my goal — even though I wasn't expecting to actually hit it.
THIS right here, is why I do what I do. Helping people figure out their own path, and getting out there and making shit happen.
I learnt so much through the creation, launch, and duration of this course, so here's a few of the biggest lessons I learnt...
ONE :: Leading up to the launch, tell people what you're working on.
As much as we all loved the whole ‘Beyonce’ thing when she came outta nowhere with a whole new album, I’m not so sure that’d work for anyone else, other than well, Beyonce.
Creating products and selling them is about building trust. Tell people what you’re creating. Give them sneak peeks. Get them stoked for it.
I'm also a big believer in taking people behind-the-scenes of your business. Sure, there's parts you don't want to or need to share publicly, but give us a run-down on what you're doing.
I shared a few sneak-peeks throughout the creation process of my course, and I have no dobut this helped when it came time to launch.
TWO :: Start where you are.
Starting where you are means you're not investing loads of time and money into something you're not 100% sure will be a success.
For this first round, I ran it as a simple email course. I didn't have the time or money to invest in a hardcore Membership site or a bigger version of the course, so I decided to start small, but still make it as awesome as possible.
After the success of the first round, I've just booked myself a developer to build a full membership website for the course which should be ready later this year, in time for the 3rd running of the course, which I'm super stoked about.
So, start where you are.
What's the smallest version of a product you can start with? Can you create a small/free challenge to gain interest? Could you create a small eBook or Toolkit that leads into a bigger eCourse?
THREE :: Launch plans are essential.
I hired my pal Amanda to help me with the launch plan for the course, which was a massive help.
It's do-able to go into this stuff without a clear plan, but to really go big, and to get your product in front of the people who can benefit from it the most requires a bit of planning.
Creating a launch plan means setting out a calendar, and marking dates for anything product-related. This can include pre-launch + launch dates, product-related blog posts, social media updates, social media challenges, all of that good stuff.
If you can, it's also best to plan this stuff out at least a couple of weeks in advance, and have it all scheduled and ready to go, so you're not stressing out and creating content throughout the launch process.
FOUR :: Mailing lists are where it's at.
I learnt this when I launched my first eBook last year, and again this time with my Course.
I sold over 100 pre-sales (my goal was 80 — and even that felt kinda ridiculous), solely through my various mailing lists. The pre-sale was also totally exclusive to the mailing lists only.
But the thing with lists — they have to serve a purpose.
I'm not sure it would work if you didn't put any time or real value into your list, then suddenly come out of nowhere asking them to buy your shit.
I personally don't see the point in having one with zero benefits, so I always try to give my email tribe something extra, in return for them giving me their email address.
Give as much value as you can, without expecting anything in return.
Selling solely through social media + your blog is going to be tough, unless you have a massive amount of traffic.
FIVE :: Go into it with 50% trust, 50% strategy.
I think there's a bit of misconception around digital products, and how you can just create something, chuck it on your website, and you'll make billions of dollars in your sleep. Not true.
I believe this stuff has to be approached with a 50/50 outlook.
50% trust, and 50% strategy.
The trust :: Throughout the whole creation and launch process of the course, I was extremely conscious about the mindset I was in. I wanted to focus on giving as much as possible with the launch, without putting any heavy expectations on receiving anything back.
'Give give give, and be open to whatever comes your way.'
I also had a feeling throughout the whole process that this is the work I'm here to do. I think it's important to notice the stuff that feels good to make, and the stuff that doesn't feel so good, and take action on that. Whether it be to keep going, or to call it quits.
The strategy :: I put a shit-load of time into the launch of this first round, including creating a launch plan, refining the sales page as much as possible, A/B testing various elements of the sales page, plus lots more.
I didn't fuck around, and I wanted to know that I put everything into the launch of this course, to get it out there in front of the people who could benefit from it the most.
I know without a doubt it was this 50/50 approach that had a huge impact on hitting my final enrolment goal for the course.
SIX :: Everything is an experiment.
Here's a few thoughts on this...
- Go into it with open eyes and an open mind. Set goals, but try not to focus on them too much. Put everything you can into it, but release your expectations.
- Take what you've learned from others, and put your own spin on it. There is no step-by-step formula for success.
- Can you set up an A/B test on your sales page (using something like VWO) to see how people react to different layouts, colours, or images?
- Ask for feedback once your product has been delivered. Set up a simple Typeform, with basic questions asking on what people liked, and what they think could be improved on. What can you change or update in future revisions of your product? How can you increase the value?
p.s. I'm working on a toolkit-type product on how to launch Digital Products!
If you're interested in learning more and getting dibs on first access, join my mailing list here.