More people than ever are finding ways to launch courses and memberships online. It makes perfect sense.
Collectively, the people of the world have more knowledge now than they’ve ever had in the past and offering a course online is a terrific way to share that expertise with the world.
It should be a slam dunk. You know how to do something that other people wish they knew how to do, so you want to teach them how. Creating an online course, where thousands of people will have access seems like a perfect fit.
Before too long, however, most potential course or membership creators realize that launching online isn’t as easy, or as inexpensive, as they’d hoped and their dream of helping others quickly disappears as their funds dwindle.
For the past five years I’ve been in the launch world and have helped countless online entrepreneurs launch their products, courses and memberships online. For all of those I’ve helped, however, thousands more give it their best shot but run out of money long before they’re ready to launch.
Here’s what people do wrong when preparing to launch a course or membership:
Build a Website Instead of an Engaged Email List
Unless you have a virtual storefront where you are showcasing the physical items you sell, you DO NOT need a fancy website when you’re first getting started because no one is going to see it.
Google tells me that 547,200 new websites are created every single day. How many of those brand spankin’ new websites did you accidentally run across today? Me, either.
So many new online course creators spend thousands of dollars hiring a web designer to create the perfect website when instead they should be focusing on building an engaged email list. An email list will allow you to get to know your ideal clients, find out what their struggles are, and then offer them exactly what they need. The more you learn about your perfect client, the more you’ll also gain insight about what your website should include.
It happens quite often that someone spends a lot of time and money building their perfect website only to realize a year down the line that they want to pivot their business to better address the needs of their clients. The problem is, the website has already been designed. How restricting must it feel to stick with a business you no longer love simply because too much money has already been spent on the website?
The technology you do need? An email service provider, a landing page platform, and a way to deliver your lead magnet. That’s it.
Buy “One More Course” to Help Launch a Course
Chances are if you’re planning to launch a digital product online, you’ve purchased a book, a course or some type of program that has helped you figure out the steps to launching. Let that resource be your guide, follow the steps, and get yourself launched.
You don’t need to keep buying courses to learn all the possible ways there are to launch (there are a LOT of ways to launch). You just need to follow the steps of the process you already have.
When you buy new programs, you will definitely learn new techniques. And those techniques are likely terrific and make people lots of money. But adding techniques also means spending more money and adding more time to your launch process. You don’t need more courses.
If you do feel like you need more support or you don’t have what you need to complete a launch, instead of buying a course, consider joining a group program (like my Get Launched! Bootcamp) or buying coaching. Many times it’s not that you need more info, it’s that you need a place to ask questions, get feedback and be held accountable so you can get your launch tasks done.
Sign Up for Platforms and Software They Don’t Need or Aren’t Ready For…
There are many different pieces of software available to help you with the tech you need in order to launch successfully online. There are email service providers, landing page creators, website designers, and course platforms.
Considering the myriad of options available can be overwhelming and it can be very tempting to just ask someone else what they use and then sign up for the same programs. Doing so, however, can be a costly and wasteful mistake. Just because something is right for someone else doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
Before you sign up for any software or services, be sure you know exactly what that service does and how to use it. Use the free trials to go in and try to accomplish tasks in the service you’re considering.
All too often, I’ll start to work with a client and find out they are paying for redundant services or for services they never use because they were too complicated.
It is tempting to want to just sign up for something so you can cross it off your to do list and move on but if, in doing so, you sign up for a program that has bells and whistles you won’t be ready to use for a year, you’ll be wasting a whole lot of money in the meantime.
Once you have decided which service you want to use, don’t sign up for a full year just to save a little money. Make sure that you really test drive the program before you commit to it. If you realize three months in that it doesn’t do what you need it to, you don’t want to have to wait 9 months for your year to be up so you can afford the service you should have joined in the first place.
Experiment with Paid Advertising Before They’re Ready
The last place I see people waste a lot of money when they’re preparing to launch online is to try to set up their own paid advertising without really good training. This is one place where I do recommend you take a specialized course or hire outside help.
Paid advertising can be an expensive venture and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be just throwing money out the window. Even following the advice of well meaning friends who’ve tried something and found success doesn’t mean that the same technique is going to work for you and your audience.
For your first launch, my professional advice is to stay away from paid ads altogether unless you can afford to pay someone to help you. It’s just too easy to spend thousands of dollars without realizing it while getting very little return on your investment.
Focusing on Where to Spend (and Save) Money is the Key to a Lucrative Launch
Creating an online course that reaches hundreds or thousands of your ideal clients and helps them solve their problems is a very rewarding process. By watching your bottom line and focusing on where you spend your money, it can be lucrative as well.