How to launch a course that works FOR you and your business

Everyone is launching online courses these days, but when it comes time to think about creating YOURS, you’re blocked. How many times have these common objections crossed your mind?

  • I don’t have time for this; I have so much face to face work.
  • How can a course fit in my business?
  • What if my course doesn’t sell?
  • It’s too much for me to take on all alone. I need structure!

In this post, I’ll tell you how to silence these common mental roadblocks so you can create and launch a course that works for you.

Excuse #1: I don’t have time to create and launch a course!

This is the number one reason that my clients state for hesitating to launch an online course. I also just talked about this problem in the first episode of my new podcast, which you can listen to here. Maybe you haven’t actually voiced your doubts, but you feel them. It’s that feeling of being packed to the gills as if you couldn’t possibly cram another thing into your day.

The Launch Your Course Podcast

When I left my corporate 9-7 after 15 years to start my own business, I felt overwhelmed too. Suddenly, my work time became my own and the success of my business fell 100% on my shoulders. No matter how hard I tried, I felt like I didn’t have enough time to do it all.

Solution: start time tracking

At some point, I came across the concept of time tracking. The idea is pretty simple – all you need is a little pocket-sized notebook to note how you spend your time for 5 working days. The key is to track EVERY minute of your day. Looking for ways to be more productive, I was intrigued and decided to give it a go. For one workweek I carried around that notebook and tracked my time by scrupulous 15-minute increments. 

On Friday I added it all up: eating and meal prep, client work, email, social media (more about THAT in a second), non-work internet, meetings, cleaning, showering, walking the dog, yoga, sleep, and a few more. The results were nothing short of shocking. I had spent 8 hours on social media, and another 8 hours of non-work internet (texting, podcasts, blogs, Netflix, etc.)

I will never forget that moment. The reality of seeing how I spent my time was nothing short of life-changing. 

In Marie Forleo’s book, Everything is Figureoutable, she tells us how freeing up just two hours a day can make a pretty serious impact. Over the course of a month, this time really adds up. However, she says most people’s reaction is this – I can’t even find an extra two minutes a day, let alone 2 HOURS! Can you relate?

I too, hear this from clients who are curious about creating an online course. In fact, I hear it all the time. They’re in this limbo of:

“I have so much face to face work. There’s just no time to dedicate to creating a curriculum for an online course.”

As Marie Forleo goes on to say, “It’s never about having the time, it’s about making the time.”

An online course could actually help you free up more time, not to mention create an additional revenue stream. So, ask yourself – is it worth making the time?

When it comes to time management, there’s also this idea of seasons, or in business terms Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. The key is to accept the work and beauty of each season, knowing that it will soon be Spring or Q2, with new work and projects.

For me? I’m personally in a season of creating and am gearing up to launch an online course for my new passion project. (yes, I am my own client and I practice what I preach!) It would have been easy for me to say to myself the old, “I don’t have time” line but I’ve dedicated an hour every morning to my new course – for this season. 

While I love an extra hour of sleep, getting up to work on something that moves me forward – creatively and professionally, is giving me an even deeper satisfaction in this season.

So, if you find yourself dancing the “I don’t have time Limbo” yet have that voice inside saying, “Let’s create a course and grow our impact!”, I recommend the time tracking week and giving your assumptions of time a shakeup.

Excuse #2: An online course doesn’t fit into my business model

At this point, you’ve probably read about or taken a number of online courses yourself, but maybe you’re at a loss as to how to create one that works with your business model. After all, we all know that there’s no point in spending 90 days of your life creating a course that just looks good on your website. 

However, it is possible to make an online course that works for you and your business. 

Solution: Think about your own pain points in order to make the course work for you and your business.

Many of my clients are therapists, a field that we might not necessarily associate with online courses. However, no matter the industry we all could benefit from a little automation. 

For my client, Katie Rossler LPC, this was the key to developing her course, Healthy Arguing. Constantly seeing couples with the same issues, she recognized that this repetition was a great place to automate her expertise. Her course addresses her clients’ most common questions, which has allowed her to free up time for helping more couples.

This leads me to way #2 for how a course can work for you. Your course can teach the basics, allowing you to address the more personal issues during 1-1 time with clients. For example, if your therapy work involves a meditation or journaling practice, why not cover this with the course? How would you feel if new clients came in having already been through the first steps of your methods – without face to face time?

Are you known for your signature seminar or workshop? Here’s way #3 – turn it into an online course. My client, Dr. Martin Johnson did just that. I helped him repackage the curriculum and add teaching elements that made his course available to a worldwide audience.

Maybe your therapy is physical, which was the case with my client Stephanie Hunter, a massage therapist. It might seem impossible to automate physical touch, but Stephanie is one determined woman. She worked with me to repackage her service into self-treatment mini-programs for common ailments like tech neck that she knew she could teach anyone to do for themselves. 

The key is to reframe the concept of an online course and think about how to make it work FOR you.

Excuse #3: How do I know my course will sell? 

Overwhelmed with the course creation and launch process and unsure if your idea will sell?

When it comes to creating your course and validating your idea there are a couple of ways to go about it:

Option 1: Go into a closet for several months and create the whole course. Release the course, hoping it’s what your audience actually wants to buy.

Option 2: You create a detailed outline of the course. Then, gather a small group of beta students, and offer them the course at 50% off. Work on creating the content with them, week by week.

Which option would you go with?

Solution: Let me introduce you to the beta launch

The beta launch is our second option. Why does it work so well, especially for first-time course creators?

First, you know for sure you’re creating content your ideal client actually wants. Selling the beta allows you to make adjustments to your messaging. For example, you may think people want a course on how to argue better when they actually want a course on how to get their partner to help out more. These are subtle messaging tweaks that make all the difference in the selling process that dictates the course curriculum.

Second, if you don’t have a large email list or social following yet, the beta launch gives you time to build a fresh audience to offer your course to once it’s complete. You’ve dialed in your offer so you know exactly what messaging to use to attract potential students, building a honed in on the audience ready to buy once it’s complete!

Finally, you get feedback from beta students so you KNOW your course delivers what it promises. In my world, we don’t create shallow courses for the sake of collecting peoples’ money. We create transformations that have an impact, no matter how small or large that transformation might be. By creating each course module with a small group of students willing to give feedback and ask questions, you get pointers that make your course curriculum stand on its own.

Also, you get testimonials! Social proof is huge when you’re selling a new course in the market. Through the beta launch, you’ll work closely with your beta students to create an experience they’ll be raving about after.

Last of all, let’s talk about money. Let’s say you sell your beta round course to 6 -10 beta students at 50% of the price. That gives you an upfront infusion of cash that you can use to hire freelancers to help with course creation: think video editor, graphic designer, tech help. You don’t have to do it all yourself.

Excuse #4: But I need structure and I’m overwhelmed!

Over the last few years, I’ve helped over 70 aspiring course creators through my one-hour strategy sessions. But what I realized is that many of these clients would come back to me after a month or two having made very little forward movement. They would get stuck with details, then life and business would take over, and they’d lose all the momentum. 

Several new clients have even come to me after struggling to create their course by themselves – for years. As a coach and strategist who thrives on helping, I wanted to do more.

Solution: Join an Online Course Accountability Group

This is when I realized the importance of having structure AND support – strategy alone wasn’t enough to get a course launched.

So I created a program that wraps in both and walks you through the process, helping you create and launch your course in 90 days.

It’s kind of like if you were going to climb Mt. Everest – you’d hire a guide to help you train, buy the right equipment, and ultimately get to the summit. It may sound cliché but having a guide who knows the terrain saves you a ton of time, money, and frustrations (and in the case of Mt. Everest, maybe your life!)

Providing this container for my clients also means their course creation moves forward continuously and strategically – creating structure and eliminating overwhelm. Honing your messaging, building anticipation and a fresh list of potential buyers while creating your course and launching, all work in concert.

After 3 months with this program, you could launch your course, and not just one that looks good on your website.

If you’ve made it this far, there’s a good chance you have an online course within you that wants to be shared with the world. If that’s you, I’d love to know more. Do you have time this week to chat? Reach out to me to schedule a call or reply to set a time.