I launched my first course on December 4, 2014.
I had no idea what I was doing. But with the help of others further along or smarter than me, I was able to figure it out.
I learned a lot.
Sometimes more than I’d have liked to. Or at least when I consider the time it took.
But like my freelancing journey as a whole, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Because it wouldn’t have turned out the same. You know, “everything happens for a reason” and all that jazz.
Online business, like life is really about the journey – not the destination. You’ll never fully arrive.
There will always be new stuff to learn.
And tons of changes keeping you on your toes. Whether you like it or not.
Even though I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey thus far, there are a few things I wish I’d known/understood up front. And today, I’m going to share them with you.
Consider it your ounce of prevention, pound of cure…
1. You Can’t Please Everyone
By nature most of us are people pleasers.
And not too excited about criticism. I get that – I’m not either.
But you’ll never be able to please everyone. Whether it’s what you write on your blog, your social media updates, your most recent published piece or a course, it’s not going to be the right fit for everyone that lives on earth.
And frankly, you don’t want it to be.
Because if you tried to please everyone, it’d be so generic, it wouldn’t be any good. And it won’t sell.
Just like with freelancing, you need to have a niche for your course or product. A specific group of people (customers) that you’re looking to serve.
And even within that specific niche, not everyone will like what you have to offer. Because we’re all unique – we all come from different backgrounds, have different experiences, etc.
What this boils down to, is that you shouldn’t aim to bat 1,000.
It took me a long time to figure that out, but now that I have, it makes me a whole lot more peaceful. I.e. there’s a whole lot less pressure when it comes to trying to please everyone.
To try and write for everyone. To try and get everyone to like me.
Cuz they won’t. And that’s okay!
2. Launching a Course Isn’t Truly Passive
Both of my main courses to date have been offered as evergreen products. I.e. they’re continuously for sale.
That means that I’m continuously marketing them. And continuously improving them.
It’s just what I do.
It also means that on a monthly basis I profit from said courses. And sometimes it’s via very little effort.
But other times like last month when I was bringing version two of 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success to market, it meant a whole lotta time involved.
And trust me, if you read my income report you’ll know it was worth it. I’m not at all complaining…
It’s just that most people think that courses are the way to passive income. And while they certainly can be, it’s not truly 100% passive.
I don’t know that I thought it would be honestly.
But I didn’t anticipate how often it would consume my thoughts either. I.e. I’m always thinking about how to improve the current courses, how to offer more value in the associated Facebook groups, what new products I can bring to market or if it’ll all fall away.
You know, cuz none of it is guaranteed.
So it’s a semi-rationale fear. Especially when I’m now paying people to help me grow my online business. And I’ve earmarked any course sales or product income to pay these bills (I earmark my client service income to pay our family’s bills).
I guess I’m just saying, that it’s a fair amount of work upfront and it doesn’t end there. At least not if you want to continue to be relevant, grow and help people through your material.
3. It’s Better to Validate Your Idea First
Most people get so excited about an idea for a course or product, that they want to go out and build it right away.
To get it out to market ASAP. Before the competition or the tides turn or something.
I’m no different.
But I’ve learned (thankfully not the hard way), that it’s better to take your time, do your research and make sure that what you want to invest tens or hundreds of hours building is something that people actually want.
Because if they don’t it kinda sucks.
And you probably just wasted a bunch of time. And your confidence probably took a hit.
So don’t build it and then expect people to come and buy it.
Do your research first. Validate your course or product idea. Ask people to pay you for it before you take the time to build it out completely.
You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache in the process. And you’ll be thinking like a real business owner. Not just a hobbyist.
And since this is your business, doing your research and validating your idea first probably makes some sense, right?
Just like you, I learn the most from doing.
From making the leap, investing my time and taking action. But I also like to share what I learn with you in hopes that you don’t have to make all of the same mistakes I did.
If there were three things I wish I’d known before getting into the online courses business, they’d be:
- Don’t try to please everybody.
- Be prepared to continually invest time/effort.
- Research and validate ideas first.
I hope that they benefit you too.
And if you’re looking to break into online courses too, check this brand new and FREE 5-day email course that my friend and internet bestie, Carlos Aguilar and I created: 5 Steps to Creating and Launching Your First Online Course.
Do you have your own course? If so, link up in the comments. If not, have any interest in creating one? What would you want to teach people?