“I don’t have time…,” says everyone, always.
We’re all busy. Ten busy.
Throw a business and kids into the mix and you can dial that baby up to eleven and beyond.
But there’s one thing I know for damn sure: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result isn’t going to change that for you.
Let’s dive in to today’s Throwback Thursday episode!
Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify
Four years ago, I was a busy new business owner.
I’d quit my 9-5 job and jumped head first into a full time job as a social media manager.
Fully booked from day one, I was.
Yes! Well, on paper, at least.
The problem, though, is that within weeks of starting my brand new business baby, I was not only booked out but tapped out.
I felt mentally drained, with an overflowing calendar and not enough hours in the day to create a damn client invoice (let alone chase them up for payment).
I’d started my business for more time, freedom and happiness but somewhere along the line, things hadn’t quite panned out that way.
To make matters worse, my income had hit a ceiling, and unless I hiked up my prices there was just no way to make a dime more.
Huh, I thought. This business thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Meanwhile, my peers and mentors were telling me I should expand.
“Hire staff!” they said.
“Build an agency!”
The thought horrified me.
Staff, stress, pressure? That’s the exact reason I’d left corporate, and even if I didn’t know exactly what my next step was… I KNEW it wasn’t that.
I started to think about my future.
What did I love?
What lit me up?
And how could I build a business that didn’t require a maxed out calendar, days spent repeating the same information over and over and feeling like I constantly had 10 bosses instead of the one that I’d left my corporate job for?
I started Googling online for answers (as you do when faced with big life decisions… right?!)
I went down the rabbit hole and started to see people online offering programs and courses to help others to learn. Online courses were a THING, it seemed! A $127 billion industry of a thing, to be exact.
I doubled down on my research, and quickly became obsessed.
A business model that would let me combine my passions for teaching with the ability to impact people at scale… AND an income ceiling that wasn’t capped by the number of hours in my day?
Sounded too good to be true.
And of course, that’s when my doubts surfaced…
Who was I to create an online course?
Surely there are people that are far more of an expert than I am?
Where on earth would I even start?
One day, I put my doubts and fears aside and mapped out my ideas.
Social media was my jam, and I knew that the framework I used with my clients WORKED… TOO well, in fact!
That’s exactly why I was booked out 24/7.
As I mapped out my thoughts, I realised that the framework I was teaching them would be perfect for an online course.
And so, the only question became: Did I have the courage to get started?
I thought about the reasons that I’d decided to start my business in the first place.
I thought about all of the tenacity and conviction that it had taken to leave my corporate job and follow my dreams in the first place.
And I decided that I wasn’t going to stop part way through, with half-realised dreams and a reality that hadn’t quite matched up to my visions for it.
I decided to go all in.
For two months, I took on double my usual client workload.
I worked day and night on client projects. Zero social events. Zero fun. All work.
The upside? By the time I emerged, I had $10,000 of savings in the bank… and an idea.
I cut my client load down to just two of my favourite clients, and booked a two-month return ticket to Bali with precisely zero plan other than that I would come back to Australia with a completed online course.
Did my partner think I was crazy?
Sure (though the 8 weeks he spent with me surfing the waves of Canggu soon changed his tune).
Did my friends and family wonder what on earth I was thinking?
Yep (though the pictures of us enjoying evening sunsets with margaritas in hand soon had them wondering who the crazy ones were).
But I did it anyway… and oh how glad I am that I did.
Bali was a trip.
Mornings started with yoga… then work, work, work… and finally long afternoons watching the sunsets before cocktails and dinner.
I spent my days at co-working spaces with swimming pools sipping coconut water out of a shell, and I was kind of living the dream.
Except that the time was spent mostly staring at blank pieces of paper and creating vision boards and not getting very far with my course creation plans.
The thing about doing something for the first time is that you have NO IDEA what the hell you’re doing.
Every time I searched online for an answer, it was like drinking water from a firehose.
As the 8 weeks started to draw to a close, I started to stress.
I had $2,000 left in my bank account, no online course and no idea where to find the know how or roadmap to set me on the right track.
They say diamonds are formed from pressure and you know what? I think they might be right because that type of pressure was exactly the kick in the pants I needed!
In less than a week and with a week left until we flew home, I decided to push through and just create SOMETHING.
I wrote out, word-for-word, my entire online course.
All 40,000 words.
Was it the most efficient way to do it?
Do I recommend you do it that way?
Could I have turned those words into a full book?
Yes (rolling eyes… a BOOK, my god).
But it did the trick.
I arrived back in Australia with… well, a manuscript!
I was too embarrassed to mention to a single soul that I’d done things the “hard way”.
The only problem: I STILL had no idea how to turn it into a course with videos and recorded modules and workbooks, or how to launch the damn thing and actually get people to buy.
By this stage, it was September and I had a big decision to make.
Would I resume with my full client load, knowing full well that I may not have the time or headspace I needed to get the damn thing done?
Or would I push through, survive on less with a skeleton client roster and try to make it work?
I chose the latter.
After two months of hard work, reinventing the wheel, learning and doing things the (very) hard way…
The launch strategy that I’d decided on was a four part video series to warm up my audience.
On the day the final video – with the pitch to purchase the course – went live, I held my breath and waited for the sales to roll on in.
I refreshed my computer.
Over and over and over.
Two hours, and still nothing.
Honest truth? I drank an entire bottle of wine while I waited.
Just as I was about to call it a night and send my sorry self to bed, I heard it.
Cha-ching! A SALE!
I couldn’t believe it.
Two minutes later…
Cha-ching! ANOTHER ONE!
By the time I’d gone to bed, there had been three sales and when I opened my eyes and grabbed my phone to check again the next morning, there’d been three more.
By the final day of my online course launch, I’d made $98,000.
We went to a restaurant to celebrate.
My phone kept buzzing.
“If it gets over $100,000”, I told my partner, “I’m booking a holiday to LONDON!”
Cha-ching. Cha-ching. Cha-ching.
The launch closed with $127,000 in revenue.
I’d never made even close to that amount of money in my entire life, let alone in a single week.
Of course, there was also the mountain of blood, sweat and tears spent over the course of the year building an audience, creating the course and launching it out into the world.
I’d done it the (really really really) hard way.
The best thing about online courses, though, the next time I launched, it wasn’t so hard.
I had the course. The emails. The trainings. And importantly, the systems and processes for creating and executing a killer launch.
All I needed to do was deploy it.
With every launch, it got easier.
There was less work, and there was more revenue.
Digital courses are my entire business model now, and I’m used to sales in my sleep and days without a single calendar appointment.
I thank my old self for the hard work, and for setting up the life I now enjoy.
Was it hard? You bet.
I did it flying blind, making every mistake in the book (hello 40,000 word manuscript and six months spent creating a course I hadn’t even validated) and without a mentor or someone to show me the way.
Was it worth it anyway?
Hell to the yes.
Here’s the thing: Most people won’t do the work. Or to leave what’s comfortable to take a risk on something unknown.
They won’t create space, but YOU could.
And you could have ME as a mentor to help you get it right the first time.
To avoid the mistakes.
The days, weeks and MONTHS focused on the wrong things.
Can I promise a $127,000 first time launch?
I had an audience, email list and a lot of hard work for a long time in the lead up on my side.
And anyway, the best online course businesses involve sustained, strategic growth.
But what I CAN promise you is that if you don’t start now, you’ll still be in the exact same place you are now in 12 months.
Building a digital course business (or revenue stream) requires the step-by-step set up of an ecosystem that marries audience, course creation, launch strategy and scale.
Creating your ecosystem with the support of someone who has trodden the same path you want to is priceless.
Doing it with expert eyes on your work and personalised critique on your assets and strategy is priceless.
Doing it alongside an ever growing cheer squad of others betting on themselves and going all in on a business and life they love…
You guessed it.
Launchpad is the same container I wish I’d had when I was slogging it out trying to piece a million moving pieces together.
If you want to make 2022 the year you finally get launching your digital course and building your irresistible personal brand of the one day list, I’d love to see your application to join us in Launchpad.
Let’s do this thing.