10 Things I Learned From My First Online Course Launch

I have to be completely honest with you.   Creating a profitable high-value online course is hard.

There are so many Facebook ads and social media posts with business coaches claiming that they have made five or six figures in a weekend with their online course and it’s easy for you to do the same. What they don’t share with you is the  work that went into that course well before the launch.

In the past year, I’ve launched my Signature online course Thrive Without The 9 to 5. I can personally attest that it was NOT easy. When I first started creating this course, no one told me about what the experience would be like:

  • The technical troubles.

  • The emotional ups and downs.

  • The amount of effort involved.

I want to do my part to shed some light on what it’s actually like to launch an online course. I am going to share 10 hard truths that no one told me about creating online courses when I was just starting out.

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#1: Creating a course is creating a business.

There is so much involved to get your course to sell and to be profitable.  Having a sales page is not enough. You can't just record some videos, give them a name, call it a course, and expect the sales to start rolling in. You’re going to have to brand your course, create an effective sales funnel, write blog posts, build engagement and excitement, and grow an email list. By the end of all this effort, you'll have a business, not just a course, and you should plan accordingly from the beginning.

#2: There are a lot of ups and downs.

Creating an online course can be emotionally draining. There will be moments of sheer frustration as you struggle to get your technical systems to work. There will be moments of excitement as sales come in. There will be moments of disappointment when no one signs up for your webinar (I’ve been there!). There will be moments of satisfaction, pride, and self-doubt as both positive and negative testimonials appear in your inbox.

#3: You may need to work some long hours.

Even if launching your online course was planned and executed perfectly, you'll most likely be too excited, nervous, and anxious to sleep. You may be spending time handling customer service for students around the world.  You will want to test your sales funnel thoroughly to make sure everything is performing correctly.

#4: Recording videos can be time consuming.

Recording videos for your course modules can take a lot of time. Be sure to rewatch your videos several times to make sure you didn't mis-speak or that you covered everything you wanted to say. Don't assume you can record all your course videos in just a couple of days.

#5: Writing copy doesn’t always come easy.

Writing the copy for your sales page, and other marketing materials, is very difficult. It is the copy that gets people interested. It is the copy that converts your ideal client to become your ideal student. It isn't easy and it takes a long time. Even when you have finished writing it, you'll be making continual adjustments.  My advice is to hire an experienced copywriter to handle this part.

#6: It's the stuff you hate doing that will make your launch successful.

You became an online entrepreneur because you wanted to share your passion with others. You get excited about teaching your material through video. You like planning out your course modules. What you don't like doing is:

  • Contacting colleagues for bonus materials to include in your course.

  • Testing technology.

  • Analyzing your Facebook ad conversion rates.

There is so much more that goes into the making of a profitable, high-value online course that has nothing to do with recording video. But these tasks can't be ignored just because you don't enjoy doing them.

#7: You will get compare-itus.

Most likely, you are in a popular niche.  You will oftentimes check out a competitors program that is similar to yours. You'll read their sales page, download their free materials, go through their entire sales funnel, and begin to doubt every single thing you've done thus far. Remember, your audience is not the same as their audience, even if you are teaching the same material. Focus on growing your own community of dedicated followers and don't waste energy dwelling on the success you perceive others are having. You have your own unique experience and journey and that is what resonates with your community.

#8: You think you can skimp over the minor details.

In the beginning, when you're creating and selling your course, it's easy to focus on the big picture and overlook the details while you're just trying to get new students in the door. But you need to pay attention to the small details from the beginning so you know how to handle any situation that may arise between you and your customers. Create policies and stick to them.

#9: Your first few launches might not be a financial success.

This is the hard truth that is most difficult for new online entrepreneurs to swallow. We all  want our products to sell well the first time they are introduced to the market. The reality is that they might not, and there are many reasons for that. If you hire a coach or enroll in a program which teaches you how to pre-sell your course, you significantly improve the chances that your high-value online course will net a greater return on investment the first time around. Still, there is no guarantee. What’s great about having an online course is that you are continually working to improve it based on your clients needs. You don't have to launch it once then forget about it.

#10: The hard work doesn't end on launch day.

If you want to create a signature online course for your business, you will be constantly working to improve the content and refreshing the material so that it stays current. You will need to offer customer support to your students and solicit feedback about what needs improvement.

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