Episode 121: Should You Launch a Course?

August 16, 2022

Chasing Simple Marketing

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How to launch a successful online course by asking yourself the right questions to determine the right time

How To Launch A Successful Online Course

The typical advice for when you should create and launch an online course is once you’ve created a successful offer. Most course educators suggest waiting until you have a strong 1:1 service offer, and a decent sized audience. But today i’m sharing a bit of an unpopular opinion: that that is not the only way. In fact, we’re going to cover two different types of course creators, the pros and cons of each, the reality of launching a course, three course launch myths, the number one question to ask yourself if you’re thinking of launching a course, and how to pick your topic. It’s a jam-packed episode that you aren’t going to want to miss, so let’s go ahead and dive right in.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

  • Grab the 8 emails I send to my waitlist every launch – a new free resource for you!
  • This week’s action step: send me a DM on Instagram with your topic idea and I’ll help you flesh it out! And be sure to grab my newest freebie – the waitlist email guide!
  • This week’s book recommendation: You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus One reviewer claims that Karen should abandon the obvious cliches in favor of a more original and engaging plot, but I disagree. Book after book, she puts out bangers that I just can’t put down. If you’ve never read any of her stuff, it always revolves around a group of high schoolers, and murder. Completely unrealistic, but well done and a fun and quick read.
  • Find me on Instagram and tell me you completed this week’s action step: @mrsamandawarfield

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Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!

*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.

 The typical advice for when you should create and launch a course is once you’ve already created a successful offer of some sort, most course educators suggest waiting until you have a strong one-to-one service offer and a decent sized audience today, I’m sharing a bit of an unpopular opinion, that is not the only way.

 In fact, we’re going to cover two different types of course creators, the pros and cons of each the reality of launching a course, three course launch myths, the number one question to ask yourself, if you’re thinking of launching a course and how to pick your topic, it is a jam packed episode that you are not going to want to miss.

So let’s go ahead and dive right in. You’re listening to episode 121 of the chasing simple podcast. And I’m your host, Amanda Warfield.

Like I mentioned in the introduction, there are two different types of people that go about launching a course. You have the already successful service providers and then there’s me. What I mean by that is a lot of times you’ll see course educators suggest that you wait until you already have a successful offer to turn into a course before you actually launch your first course.

I did not do that, when I started my blog way back in 2018, which I can’t believe how long ago that was already, but when I started my blog way back then I knew from the moment I started that blog that I wanted to launch some kind of online course, I had no idea what the course would be about. I really didn’t know what I was doing in any capacity.

I wasn’t really sure what a business would look like. Alls I knew was that I was starting a blog on simplicity and that at some point I was going to launch a course.

 And then I spent the first year of having my blog working on marketing. All I did really was create content, try to get on podcast episodes as a guest, be a guest blogger for other websites. That’s all I did for the first year in my business. Thus making me only $100 in the first year, which I’ve shared about before.

And then at the tail end of that first year decided I was gonna launch a course on creating your own capsule wardrobe and I spent months, months creating and outlining and filming all of this parts of this course, it was massive. And here’s the thing, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to go about launching a course.

I don’t think that you necessarily need to be a successful service provider and, I also think that, you know, you don’t necessarily need to jump right into creating a full course. The truth of the matter is, that neither way is easy and they’re both hard in different ways, no matter which type of person you are.

And either way you go about launching a course, launching one is not a fast track to five figure months, which I know we love to see marketing for, right. You know that around here, I always want to keep things real and honest with you and are courses and other digital products, a great way to be able to scale your business, absolutely sure. 

But you can’t just create it and expect people to come, and it’s not a passive revenue stream because after you create a course or even a digital product, you should be continuing to put in time and effort and updates and improvements, and of course, marketing itself. So let’s talk pros and cons.

If you are in that place of you’re already a successful service provider and you have a one-to-one option already, that is doing really well. Maybe you’re totally booked out., maybe you’re mostly booked out, maybe you have a study flow of clients, whatever that looks like you’ve got a service that converts.

The pro of this model is that you already have a network. You already have people around you that know what you do and believe that you’re an expert in what you do. You also already have plenty of experience in your topic, in whatever it is that you’re an expert in. You have worked with many different people, you’ve seen the way that your system and your processes work for different people, different phases of life, different phases of business, so on and so forth. You have a lot of that already in your head, which is going to make, picking your topic and nailing down your messaging so much more simple, than if you don’t have any kind of successful service offer at this point. 

But the con is that finding time to get your course launched well, it’s probably going to be pretty difficult. And if you’re in this space now where you are so busy and you wanna launch a course, but you’re too busy to actually get it launched, come back next week because I am sharing five different tips to help you make time to get your course out there. 

But that’s a huge con is if you are already so booked and thinking, okay, well now my plate’s full and I’m at this place where I can’t raise my prices anymore and I can’t take on anymore clients , how do I find growth? Well, you look to a course and other scalable offers, but how do you have time? That’s a con, so if you are, one already creating a successful service, if you’re not already at max capacity, something to think about, maybe you don’t wanna work at max capacity.

Maybe you want to limit what you can make this year in order to make time and space for scalable revenue. That’s a strategic step you can take to take a step back one year in order to take steps forward in the future. If you are already at max capacity, something to think about for next year, as you let off some clients, you know, maybe thinking about, okay, I wanna take a step back in order to take a step forward.

If you are someone who does not yet have that successful offer, but this is the route you wanna go, it’s again, just something to think about. These are all options if you’re like, I’m neither of these people, but I want to go the route of being a successful service provider, first, I feel like that’s gonna be the best choice for me.

Just think something to think about in the future, not a problem right now, but something for the future to think about for when you are playing need a launch, a course. Now, then you’ve got the people like me. If you can relate to where I was, where, you know, I went into this, knowing that I love being an educator.

I came from a teaching background and knew that I wanted to continue to teach in whatever it was that I did next. But I had no idea what that was gonna be pros and cons to that. Well, a pro is that you have plenty of time to get it created and launched because my only focus at that point was marketing, I had plenty of time to say, okay, well, I’m gonna take some of this marketing time and actually spend it on creating and launching a course.

But because you’re going to be working basically totally from scratch and alls you have is your audience that you’ve been able to build up through your marketing, which let’s face it. If you’ve started from scratch, it may not be a very large audience. You don’t have that audience, and you also don’t have that network of clients who can vouch for what you do.

So that is a con that was a really difficult hurdle that I had to just overcome with strong marketing. When I launched my course on capsule wardrobes, because I hadn’t done that for any clients, I’d done it for myself. I had explained and talked about it over and over again to different people, whether it was friends or podcast episodes, but I didn’t have the experience of doing it with other people.

And so I didn’t have those people who could come in and be like, yes, oh my gosh, I need this. I didn’t have people sharing about the launch itself. The students that bought it did share, but I didn’t have a ton of friends and clients that were like, oh my gosh, check out what my friends’ doing, check out what my clients’ doing.

I didn’t have that. So that was a con of going that route. It also makes choosing a topic. And then understanding how it’s going to fit into your funnel a lot more difficult because you go in and you have 1,000,001 options because you, you may know what you’re passionate about and what your expertise is in, but not, but you may not know exactly how that fits into your audience fits into your larger business.

There’s a lot of unknown when you, when you go about and create a course without having a service to back it up. The other part, the funnel part is that within a business funnel, which this could be a whole of other episode, but essentially you want to have a lot of different pieces that work together to move people from A to B and each offer that you have is just a small piece of that.

So when you know, people come in when my audience members first come in, I have all of these lower priced items in my shop that can help with a wide variety of different things. And it gives them a small win. And then they are, there are some courses inside of my shop as well. And frankly, at this point I’ve got a couple different funnels, but essentially I’ve got these smaller items and then I’ve got some courses and then I’ve got club content batching, which is my signature offer.

This is my main offer that everything else has been built and that’s how I help students get consistent with their content so that they can launch something so that they can see growth on their business so that they can move the needle. That’s my signature offer. And then after that, I’ve got spoiler alert, a mastermind coming up all about how to launch and getting, not just how to, but actually getting a course launched.

That’s coming and then I also have one to one where we work specifically on content marketing strategy and all of these different pieces of my funnel one took years and years and years to figure out, but two, they all branch off of my signature offer, which is called content batching. 

When you start your funnel with no kind of guidelines, that can be kind of interesting, figuring out where it fits and where it will fit long term. So that’s a con to that. It just is, but there are pros and cons to both. And I don’t think that there’s necessarily one right answer for the way that you should do it. I think it just is a matter of where you are in your business, what your current vision is because your facing can always change and it likely will continue to change.

And what you foresee in the future, where are you going, what, what are you hoping for and where are you now? Either way it is going to be it’s work, I mean, it’s a business, right? If running a business meant that we all were going to be millionaires, there’d be a lot more business owners in the world. And even with all the work that it is, there are still a lot because of the amazing flexibility and freedom and all of that.

So either way, I want you to understand that yes, this can having a course is an incredible revenue stream. It can be scalable. It’s a great way to work with many people at once versus one at a time. There’s a lot of really amazing things about having a course, but it’s not gonna necessarily jump you fast track to five figure months.

Now some other myths that we may have about launching a course, the first is that you need a large audience. I see a lot of other course educators talking about needing a large audience and this just isn’t true. And I talk about this a lot, where at and point business is a numbers game, right? If you have a hundred thousand people on your newsletter, you’re gonna make more sales during any given launch of promotion than someone with a hundred or a thousand people on their email newsletter.

Even if the person with the large following is only converting at 1%. And the person with the small following has really nailed down their messaging and it’s converting at 10%. There’s still a big difference in sales numbers there so to an extent, the larger, the warm audience, the more sales you’ll make.

But that doesn’t mean that you need to have a large audience in order to make sales. I’ve shared this story in the past, but when I first launched club content batching, I only had about 300 people on my email list and I had a really successful launch with that first launch. And then I, within that year, turned my business from $1,000 in revenue the year before to $13,000 in revenue that year, because of that course launch and all that I did around it with only 300 people on my email list.

That first ever launch of my I call it your cultivated capsule wardrobe course I had, I think, five or six sales with an – I don’t even know how big my audience was at that point, but it was teeny tiny, teeny, teeny tiny and I still had as successful launch for the numbers I had. So, no, you don’t need a large audience, but you do need realistic goals and you do need to understand conversion rates and what to reasonably expect. If you have 200 people on your email list, you cannot expect 500 sales.

Another myth is that you need to have all the tech all figured out. And the perk of doing a live launch, which I highly recommend for at least a couple launches. The perk of doing a live launch is that you don’t need a ton of technology. You really just need a way to deliver the course and to take payments and something to connect your email marketing system with the payment system, if they’re not already connected, you don’t need to have a ton of technology in order to have a successful launch. Now, the more you automate the better and easier and smoother the launch will be.

But you don’t have to have Kajabi and you don’t have to have these giant massive funnels and you don’t have to have all like the best microphone and the best camera. You don’t need any of that stuff in order to have a successful course launch. And then the third myth, I guess, really the fourth, cuz I gave you a bonus earlier, but the third myth is that there’s so much bad education out there that no one is buying courses anymore.

And this just isn’t true, yes, there is a lot of bad education out there, there’s a lot. But that doesn’t mean that no one’s buying courses anymore. It just means that people are pickier about the courses they’re buying. And honestly, I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing. I am very, very strategic in choosing the courses that I’m buying.

I’m very picky about who I’m buying from and who I’m learning from, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. No one needs to have 200 courses that they’ve bought just for one day, and just in case what you actually want is students that are going to buy and go through the course, because it’s what they need right now in their business.

And because they believe in you and because they love what you’re putting out. So you may not get sales just for the sake of sales anymore, but you’re gonna get more loyal students and more interested students and students that are more likely to actually complete your course, which is much better for your business in the long run.

So the question is, should you launch a course. And the answer to this question, doesn’t have to do with your audience numbers. You don’t already need to be a successful business owner and you don’t have to have everything all figured out. Whether or not you should launch a course comes down to whether or not you are passionate about providing education on your area of expertise.

And I do mean education and not just information, which goes back to the whole a lot of courses are terrible out there right now, and could be a whole other topic as well. But education, not information. Are you passionate about providing education on your area of expertise? If, you are, then you should launch a course.

If you’re launching a course simply to have another revenue stream, or simply because someone told you to, or simply because you wanna make more money and have something scalable, that’s probably not the way there are probably better scalable offers out there for you that make more sense and will help you stand out.

You need to be passionate about what it is that you’re selling, because again, nothing’s truly passive and you should be updating and tweaking and fixing any offers you put out in the world, even if they’re quote unquote passive. But if you can say, yes, I’m passionate about providing an education on my area of expertise so that I can serve a larger audience, then you should launch a course.

And it is as simple as that. So you’ve listened to all of this, you’ve decided, okay, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna launch a course. Your next question is probably how do I know what my topic is? Well, if you’ve already got a successful one-to-one service business, whether it’s coaching or providing a service or whatever that may look like, you’re just gonna wanna think about your funnel and the strategy that you’re going to want to implement moving forward.

If you’ve already got that one to one offer, you can either move down the ladder, or you can aim to replace your current services. So if you’re thinking in the long run, I don’t wanna continue to take on one-to-one clients, or maybe I only wanna take on one or two as needed. I wanna replace what I’m doing now with a one to many offer.

You’re gonna want your topic to essentially be the same thing that your service is, or you can do what I have done and you can move down the ladder. So my one-to-one service is all about the content marketing strategy. When I’m working with clients, I am working with them to create the strategy behind what it is that they’re putting out.

So they’re creating a plan and a strategy with me for what they’re saying in their content marketing. However, my signature offer called content batching has nothing to do with what you talk about in your content, it has nothing to do with the strategy behind it. It is simply the step before, which is getting consistent because I firmly believe that if you’re not consistent, the strategy doesn’t matter.

So my signature offer my course, membership, but course it’s all about getting consistent, and the next step after getting consistent is then strategy. So it’s a step down from my one-to-one spaces. So I have one-to-one clients that I take, and I’m not planning to replace those with my course, so those are the two options, if you already have a successful offer. 

Now, if you don’t have a current service more than likely, you probably have an idea about what that course will be about simply by the nature of the fact that you want to jump into creating a course first, instead of worrying about services. However, if you do not one of my favorite exercises for narrowing down where your passions lie, cuz this tends to be a big problem for a lot of entrepreneurs that I talk to, especially those that are in the newer business building phase, which you likely are if this is where you’re at, is that they feel really multi passionate.

And I see new business owners over and over and over and over again say, well, I’m multi passionate. You’re not supposed to be, but I am. Here’s. We’re all multi-passionate people. I have such a firm belief that you are not a business owner, unless you’re multi passionate, because you have to be because there’s so many different hats that you have to wear.

But what you have to do for your business is narrow down into one passion. That doesn’t mean your life isn’t multi passionate in that you aren’t multi passionate, but your business is singularly passion. . And so what I like to suggest to clients and students that are having trouble with this multi-passionate idea is you take all of your passions and you create this multipart venn diagram, and then discover what all of those passions have in common.

And that is going to be a pretty key indicator for the topic of your course and the trajectory of your business, and sometimes it takes more time than just creating a symbol than diagram, but that at least gets you thinking. 

For example, when I first started my business, I was feeling so multi passionate because I was so passionate about education and about productivity and about time management and about simplicity. And I had no idea how to put them all together, and strategy. I had no idea how to put them all together, and it took me quite a few years to figure out that my real passion and where that intersection point of all of those passions were, were helping people with their marketing and managing their marketing well, so it didn’t take over their business. 

And that utilizes all of my strengths of time management and productivity and strategy and education, and there was no way for me to figure that out right off the bat. It took me years and lots of pivots to get here, but that venn diagram is always a good starting place.

And it may help you see some insights about how you can take your first course and the direction you can take it in and the topic to choose. So your action step for this week is to send me a DM on Instagram with your topic idea for your course, and I will help you flesh it out. and be sure to grab my newest freebie, the waitlist email guide.

You can grab that by heading to Amandawarfield.com/waitlist-guide. And this is gonna show you my total outline for the eight emails that I send my waitlist for my course launch. And this week’s book recommendation is you’ll be the death of me by Karen M McManus. So on good reads one of the reviewers claims that Karen should abandon the obvious cliches in favor of a more original and engaging plot.

But I disagree, book after book, after book that she puts out, she puts out bangers that I just cannot put down. I devour these things and if you’ve never read any of her stuff, it always revolves around a group of high schoolers and murder, which is completely unrealistic, but it’s really, really well done.

And it’s a fun and a quick read. You’ll be the death of me in particular is about this group that used to be friends, and they kind of drifted apart and they decided to skip school and then a murder happens and they end up all being connected in some way and yada, yada, yada, so really good book, highly recommend.

And until next time, my friend, I hope that you’ll go out and uncomplicate your life and biz.

Hey friend! Just a head’s up — this post may contain affiliate links!

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