So, you may not know this, but the first paid online course launch I ever did (in 2014) was to an email list of only 71 people. For a total of $1350. And some recurring revenue of about $1000 per month after that. And guess what? I ran exactly zero high-pressure webinars (or webinars at all) for my launch, and I sent zero pesky emails, just emails filled with value and information.

It was a crazy time. In which I had no idea what I was doing, but I desperately wanted to get my valuable, organized information out to more people at once—more people than I was able to reach through 1-on-1 coaching and small in-person workshops.

“But, what’s up on this case study though?” You may be wondering.

It’s funny. I was having a conversation with one of my best friends not too long ago—a friend who was definitely around me all the time when I was launching this first product—and they had absolutely, 100%, no idea that my email list had only 71 people on it when I first released this course. And then, they told me it actually inspired them a ton.

That meant so much to me. And also made me realize that the few Periscope broadcasts I’ve shared this in before are not enough to really help and (hopefully) inspire others. I knew I had to make a case study out of it.

And so I did. I made two versions even. A shorter one that you can consume as a podcast and cheat sheet and a longer one that you will be able to watch as a workshop in the near future. For now, may I please introduce you to the audio version.

You can catch it as a podcast episode here (it’s even downloadable). And you can download the accompanying cheat sheet here. Or, you can read below for some of what I cover in a Q+A style. It’s not the whole episode and all the tips, but if you’re short on time or only want to read, the cheat sheet or summary below is for you.

$1350 course launch case study cheat sheet

Course Launch Case Study Podcast Episode

So, some of the main highlights of what I cover are in this episode are:

  • What it means to “scale” a product. (Hint: Scalability does not mean passive income.)
  • How I built my (super small) audience before my launch.
  • How I decided on the topic of my first course.
  • What exactly my first course consisted of.
  • How much (if any) money I had to spend to make the course.
  • How I picked the price for my first course.
  • How long the course took to make and if it was finished when I launched. (Hint: No. It wasn’t.)
  • How I promoted the course and which promotion efforts gave the best results.
  • How much (net) money the course brought in.
  • What % of my total list purchased.
  • What I did after my launch.
  • And more.

Continue “A case study on my first $1350 online course launch”

Oh, hey there. Regina here. Talking about one of the most exciting (to me) forms of content ever. Ever, ever.

Like, my friends, and other epic people that I belong to online communities with, all know that this is the type of content that currently makes my world go ’round. I mean, basically.

Online workshops.

The lovely Tors even said this:
Tors Grantham quote

And here’s the deal. There are a few super valid reasons to start with workshops if you want to get into info products, or build your email list, or create content that you can re-package as an opt-in or bonus, or show yourself as a coach or expert on a topic you’re passionate about. Tons of epic reasons.

Like, 8, to be specific.

Hosting workshops . . .

1. Helps people start to see you as a teacher and an expert in your niche. A great workshop topic, attractive graphics to support your event, a simple signup process, and a helpful agenda/worksheet to go along with it and you will seem professional, experienced, and amazing.

This impression goes a long way whether you’re providing services, trying to line up speaking opportunities, or creating information products, membership programs, or coaching/mastermind groups.

2. Causes you to create actionable worksheets, tips, and content so that you can see if you even have enough material, information, etc. to create a full course/program out of your topic, or if it might be better as a book, or if it should be a one-on-one service, or be left alone as a workshop, or abandoned completely, or done as a collaboration, or made into a group program, etc.

3. Gives you tons of packaging options. You can use your workshop as a free opt-in event conducted live, a free opt-in conducted live and then packaged as an evergreen opt-in or product bonus, a free opt-in conducted live and then sold afterward, or a paid product . . . among other options.

4. Allows you to test out EVERYTHING. It would be horrible to waste time (or money) developing something as intense as a course or book that turns out to not actually work for you or your audience. Developing worksheets, slides, and a script or bullet points of info for your workshop will help you figure out if the content works for you, of course, but actually presenting the information to your audience will allow you to get a real understanding of how it works for them. Was it too long? Too short? Too hard? Too confusing? Just right? Etc.

5. Helps you create a larger product or series as you go. Instead of planning one major resource (think course, online school, etc.) and leaving it looming over you, you’re able to plan it and create small sections/modules of it as workshops. #Brilliant

6. Gives you an additional price point to serve your audience with, as well as a different level of intensity/urgency of information—many times, a workshop will be more actionable and comprehensive than a blog post, eBook, or other type of resource.

Serving your audience at varying levels of need (amount of information, price, learning style, etc.) is a way to show you care and to impress your ideal people.

Continue “The 7 Types of Online Workshops You Can Host”

Truth be told. The first, and second, and every time I’ve published an eCourse, I’ve done something “wrong.” Considering that the whole concept of making money from online courses as independent publishers is incredibly new in the grand scheme of things (we haven’t been doing it for 50+ years like many other forms of business), this is not too surprising.

When I started, I had less than zero idea what I was doing. I picked a random timeframe (90 days), and a topic I was passionate about (establishing a blog—because I did WordPress for a living at the time), outlined each day, and published a signup blog post. << This first course was a free one by the way. One that I did not even finish. #Shame

Even still, it was valuable to the people that stuck with it, and it became the core substance for a course that would later help me make an unexpected six figures. I don’t say that to be flashy; I say that to encourage you because I still had no idea what I was doing when I released even that course.

But here’s the thing. Releasing courses, learning how to create content that helps, figuring out how to sell your materials . . . it all gets more organized and efficient as you go. Things start to make sense. Things start to flow. You start to see patterns. You become more epic at it. I truly believe we will never become “perfect” at releasing courses or other information products, but we can certainly figure out what works well and set ourselves up to learn more as we go.

So my friend, I’m going to sum up the steps of course creation in a framework I haven’t seen presented before. Mainly because I had to learn this as I went and because I don’t read other posts on courses—not because I’m the only legitimate resource (ha!), but because I want to share what has worked from my experience and from the plans I’ve been able to help others put in place. This is not information I read from someone else’s book some 2.3 years ago. This is stuff I believe in, and I hope it helps you create an online course that delights your audience, matters in the marketplace, and sells well.


1. Position

One of the wisest things you can do for your course from the jump is to plan its position in your market, in your audience’s lives, in your brand, and yeah . . . I’m about to repeat myself, in your market.

Seriously. Even if it’s a free course, it needs a position.

Think about it, on a basketball team, there’s a point guard, but there’s also a post player and a wing. Somebody has to direct traffic, somebody has to take and make those 3-point shots, etc. Okay. Actually. I don’t jack about basketball, so if that’s incorrect, just smile and nod and give me a virtual pat on the head for trying.

But the point remains. The coach doesn’t need to and doesn’t want to put five point guards on the court at the same time. Can we say disaster?

So, if within your industry/niche, there are already 17 metaphorical point guards with similar skills, all playing—why turn out a point guard? And if you do decide to make a point guard (figuratively speaking, here), how will you position said player (your course) to be distinguishable and desirable outside of the 17 that already exist?

Figure out your course’s position first. It will help you know how to frame it for your audience, what to build into it, how to price it, and what you need to produce in order to make it epic.


Continue “How to Create an Online Course That Sells”

Soooo, let’s take a deep dive into how to create an email course or challenge (correction: an epic email course or challenge) that you can use as an opt-in for your email list to grow it wildly and to impress your savvy audience all the while nurturing them and adding tons of value! Now that’s what we call a win-win. And don’t worry, there are only 18 steps to creating this epicness that help turn your audience into customers.

Really, Regina? 18 steps. Are they truly necessary?

Yes, my email ninja friend, they are. We don’t make weak email courses around here. Stick with me, and I think you’ll have several solid ideas and clear steps to make them happen.

1. Pick a topic.

There are so many legitimate ways to generate great ideas for what you want to communicate through an information product. We walk through some of these ideas in our 8-day email course for free, but let’s get into seven of the most actionable idea-generating categories.

For Freelancers:

1. Teach the beginning.
As a freelancer who works on individual projects with clients, you probably have a lot of pre-work, or work you do towards the beginning of your project that can be translated into an information product of some sort—and in this case, perhaps an email course.

For example: When I was freelancing (creating WordPress websites for people), I quickly learned that people needed way more definition and information about their brand and purpose before they started on a website project. In order to save their time, their money, and my time + sanity, people needed so much more clarity at the beginning of a project.

Legit. So, I created a questionnaire, then a workbook, then a little brand discovery process that all my clients went through before really getting started on their project. That workbook was the first digital file I sold (clients got it for free though). It still sells right here. Anyone not willing to go through that process was someone I had to direct elsewhere.

What is it that you need your clients to know, do, discover, create, or understand before they start working with you? What would make your job simpler? Why not create the process as a free email course? You can hit us with videos, worksheets, whatever you want to in an email course. #Epic #MindBlown

Your clients will feel indebted to you since you will be the one who brought such [fun, clarity, organization, direction, etc.] to their very important project. You might then offer a more in-depth group training event or your one to one services.

2. Teach the end.
Can you guess where we’re going here? Create an email course (or perhaps another type of product) that teaches:

  • how to maintain the products you create (ex: best ways to maintain your WordPress website)
  • how to grow what you make (ex: now that you have a website, how do you get traffic to it?)
  • how to get the full benefit out of what you create (ex: now that you have a brand identity, where can you use it? how do you integrate it into your existing platforms? etc.)

3. Show them how to do what you do.
So, if you’re considering creating an email course, chances are you’ve done something epic that you can teach others about, such as:

  • starting a business
  • getting your first few clients
  • letting go of fear and publishing your art portfolio online for the world to see
  • etc.

What have you done in your freelance business that other people ask you about? How about a simple email course or challenge to help them out with it? Your frequently asked questions are exactly the things your audience wants you to teach them.

 

For Coaches:
4. Structure the madness.

So here’s the reality: the steps required to accomplish ________ (vegan ketogenic diets, custom ConvertKit coding, or whatever cool thing you coach on) are simply not that apparent and are truly overwhelming for some of us. Here’s the other deal: you don’t have enough time to coach tons of people through similar processes individually. There’s a cap on how many clients you can take on.

BUT. There’s not a cap on how many people can benefit from your email course (or other product) that structures the madness for them and takes them through some of the same processes that you would take them through one-on-one.

Bring order and clarity to the process that your potential clients and audience members really want/need to go through. #TheyWillLoveYouForIt. This is a smart and efficient way to build the content for your larger online coaching event too.

For Anyone:
5. One-step wonder.
Yep. Kinda like a one-hit wonder. Except, nothing like it at all. A one-step wonder is an information product (such as an email course or tutorial series) that helps your audience with one simple step. It appeals to your audience because that one simple step is something they’ve been wanting to learn or get past.

Examples: “Learn how to set up your website’s email list sign up form.” “How to set up your new Mac laptop.” “How to configure XYZ plugin in WordPress.”

They get a taste of what it’s like working with you and they get a quick hit in the form of immediate results. What’s one step that people want to take that you’re willing to teach for free? What’s a step that could be part of a larger series? What’s a step that could be part of a paid course?

6. Key results.
Have you achieved some key results that you can teach the methods behind? For example, I noted the specific actions I took when I was growing to my first 100 email list subscribers, then my first 1,000, then my first 10,000 friends and beyond.

Can you think of any key results you can boil down to an email course?

7. Current content.
Sure would be nice if there was a whole blog post on expanding a blog post/series into a book that could also be used to help us expand it into a free email course that we offer as opt-ins to our email lists. Yes?
Continue “How to Create an Epic Email Course (or Challenge) as an Opt-in”

A few days ago I was in Baltimore speaking at an epically useful conference called Blogalicious. So many amazing people were there, it’s almost unfair. And I promise, this post will be about how to create info products, but please just let me share what got me here.

Two of my favorite people (okay, that’s cheating, they’re my sisters) also spoke at Blogalicious. We all attended each other’s seminars and had an amazing time. Check out Mattie of Mattieologie.com in the middle picture below on the left, and Maya of MayaElious.com on the right.

At the end of one of my sessions, Mattie posed a great question to get us all thinking.

Can anyone with information they’re passionate about (and truly knowledgeable on) create an info product?

And my answer was “YES.”

Why? Because I have an IRL friend who runs a chess website that makes a few thousand per month. He teaches people the basics of chess as well as complex moves (or whatever they’re called–I’m not epic at chess) in a membership site. I also have a friend who teaches people how to downsize to a camper and make a true home out of it. She too makes thousands per month from this one course.

In my personal experience, I happen to like talking about freelancing, coaching, and infopreneurship, because other than two briefly successful cleaning and t-shirt businesses back in the day, these three areas are the ones I’ve been able to build profitable businesses from. Whereas I rarely freelance or coach anymore, I still love teaching on how to get started and grow in those areas as well as how to get into creating info products and establishing your empire. I’m deeply in love with creating eProducts and teaching others how to monetize their information.

Today I want to share the three keys to creating a successful info product, my list of both common and uncommon info products, as well as an invitation to join a free 8-day email course on infopreneurship.


Step 1: Pick a Clear + Helpful Teaching Topic

It’s important to pick something clear. What do I mean by this? Your topic needs to be:

  • One that you can explain.
  • One that you can describe the benefits of.
  • One that you know you can be helpful with.
  • One that you feel confident hopping into a Q+A session on.
  • One that you know you can present in a way that helps others really grasp it.

The key is that you will have to position your product. Positioning is about giving your product a distinct place in the market. If your info product doesn’t stand out from the countless other options, you’re making your job as the primary marketer and instructor/creator much harder.

You can position your product as:

  • the ultimate guide to ______
  • an authoritative niche guide to ______
  • the low-cost resource for ______
  • the luxury experience in learning ______
  • the most interactive and community-centered guide to ______
  • etc.

It just has to have a recognizable position. When trying to figure out what position your eProduct will have, consider:

  • what your audience doesn’t need any more of
  • what your audience is not used to seeing
  • how your audience processes new information in your industry (skeptically, excitedly, etc.)
  • the information your audience is currently lacking on your topic
  • the other resources and guides your audience has likely purchased

Think about it right now. Does the product you’re considering creating have a unique position or advantage in your market? What additional features or reconfiguring might help it get there?

The simplest and most noticeable ways to position a product away from its competition are (1) playing with how much it costs, (2) changing how comprehensive or niche it is, and (3) being purposeful about the experience it creates for your customers.

What are the brands with the most distinct positions in your mind?

  • Apple? They position themselves as higher-priced (which is meant to communicate higher value) with a luxury experience (everything from the packaging to the stores in which they’re products are sold is all “ooh” and “aww” worthy).
  • Wal-Mart? They position themselves as the low-cost leader in home and grocery needs with an extensive inventory. They don’t advertise the durability and quality of their items as much as a more luxury or higher-priced brand like Nordstrom would do.

You get the point!


Step 2: Pick the Type of Info Product (That Best Fits Your Audience and Your Information)

Continue “The 3 Keys to Creating a Successful Info Product”