5 THINGS TO DO (AND 5 THINGS TO AVOID) WHEN LAUNCHING AN ONLINE COURSE
When building and launching an online course — just like building a business — you have to wear lots of hats and do #allthethings.
But one thing’s clear to me after launching over a dozen online courses and growing a multimillion dollar company —
(you like how I dropped that in there, all casual like?)
— What you don’t do is as important as what you do.
Meaning, there isn’t necessarily a wrong way or a right way to create and launch an online course, but there’s definitely a way to waste time… and a way to save time… when launching an online course, that is. (By the way, I teach the latter.)
So, in this blog post, I want to share five things to do and five things to avoid when launching an online course. I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way over the last few years. Now you don’t have to!
(Or at least, you don’t have to learn as many things the hard way because you have this handy-dandy blog post now).
If you’d rather watch and listen rather than read, check out the complete video of this post here:
Like I mentioned before, I’m not just flinging out random advice at you; everything I’m sharing her is based on my experiences creating and launching over a dozen online courses, running dozens of launches, and working with hundreds of course creators in The Course Course and Launchpad to create and launch their online courses. I’m sharing with you what I’ve learned and applied, so this stuff isn’t theoretical; — it’s practical.
Here goes five things to not do (and what to do instead) when you’re launching an online course:
(Pssst… be sure to pin that image above so you can easily reference it later!)
The first thing to NOT do is…
#1. Don’t obsess over insignificant decisions when creating and launching your online course.
I see so many course creators waste so much time over things that just don’t have a big impact on the success of their online course and conversely, they spend way too little time giving their attention to the things that actually do matter.
So many people spend so much time spent stressing over things like choosing a course platform or naming a course, and while both of these things are important, you can also change these things later. Spending tons of time belaboring decisions like these just leads to more indecision. And analysis-paralysis. For many of my students who first come to work with me, trying to choose a course platform ultimately becomes a stall tactic that doesn’t get anyone anywhere.
On the flip-side, so little time and attention is given to far more important things, like validating a course idea, creating a simple sales funnel to sell a course, and of course, selling the actual course. A course isn’t a course about students, yet most new course creators spend so little time thinking about how they’re going to fill up their course, and they spend far too much time thinking about their course platform or course content.
So, don’t deliberate over decisions that just don’t make a big impact.
You don’t need to research course platforms for months or weeks or even days. You can and should make the decision in an afternoon. It’s the least important decision you’ll ever ever make for your course. And you can always change your platform later.
The impact that this decision has on the success of your course both from a profit standpoint and a student standpoint is insignificant. It just doesn’t matter. Like I tell all my students with all their course-related decisions, just chill — and choose. You can always change your course name, platform or even content later.
Getting back to it: the second thing to not do is…
#2. Don’t let worry guide your decision-making when launching an online course.
As humans, there really is no benefit to worrying, but when it comes to your online course, it is especially unhelpful. This advice might not seem very actionable, but hear me out:
One of the biggest concerns we see with both our students and members of our general community is that their course “won’t work” or that they “won’t make sales” or “no one will be interested in it.” Of course there are some actionable things you can do to avoid any need for worry (which you can learn about in this free class), but I want to reframe that mindset now:
Rather than worrying about if it won’t work, what would happen if you focused on what would happen if it does work? Or when it does work?
Instead of worrying about not getting sales, focus on getting sales and let the dreams you have of what that would mean drive you to action — action that will probably result in sales.
Or as I like to say it to my students, you can be data-driven or drama-dependent.
Now, this isn’t just a thing where you say an affirmation and all of your problems are solved.
This isn’t just thinking happy thoughts and then “You’re flying, Wendy Darling! Off to Neverland!”
Nope nope nope. This is real stuff.
And if you get nothing else from this post, the most important thing you can learn when launching an online course is this:
Thoughts are not facts.
You might have a thought as a response to a fact, to a circumstance, but your thought is just a perception of a reality, it’s not necessarily reality.
And if you’ve ever looked at an optical illusion before or you thought you saw something but then realized your eyes were really just playing tricks on you, you know this. You know that perception isn’t always reality. Just because you see something one way or think about something one way doesn’t mean it’s true (or that it even matters).
But your thoughts — they are miiiiiighty powerful. So if you think something, rather if you choose to believe something that maybe is or isn’t true, that directly impacts the actions you take.
Which directly impacts the results that you get.
So if you’re worried something won’t work and if you’re worried you won’t be able to have a successful online course, you probably won’t have a successful online course.
As I like to say all the time — partly because it rhymes:
“The things you believe influence the things you achieve.”
Your thoughts and beliefs are choices. So, choose a different thought and let that propel you forward into possibility. Think of all the things that could go right and all of the things you could have and do with your successful course. That will motivate you.
Hope and enthusiasm can create momentum that moves you forward; doubt and fear does the opposite.
And now I’m going to get off my soapbox…. Because it’s time to talk about the third thing to not do when launching a course:
But first, pin this post so you don’t lose it later! Just use this image (below):
#3. Don’t create a course in a vacuum.
What I mean by that is don’t create it on your own with no input from potential students or actual students or real data.
Do two (more valuable) things instead:
First, validate your idea by talking to potential students. I’m not talking about doing surveys or polls in groups, That won’t give you the real data you need. Instead, have real conversations with real people.
Then, pre-sell your course — meaning sell it before you create it — that way, you can create your course with your first students from your beta launch and make the course the best it can be with their real-time feedback. This is better for your business because you get paid sooner, better for your students because you get to help them sooner, and better for your actual course because you get to improve it sooner. #WinWinWinWinfinity
Next up, from our list of don’ts:
#4. Don’t use a Field of Dreams business strategy. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come, and this is especially true with online courses.
Think about it though: An online course isn’t really an online course without students. So it’s not enough to just throw some information on a webpage with a buy now button and hope people will show up.
How are you helping people that way? Who are you helping with that strategy, or lack of strategy I should say?
I believe you should look at your online course as a gift. After all, it’s something that can help people, solve problems, and improve the quality of people’s lives.
So if you’re going to give a gift — something special to someone — do you just throw it on their doorstep, wrapped up in a plastic Target bag, and then run away? Of course not.
You would put it in a box or bag that would denote the value, and you’d hand it to them with a sense of endowment, excited to share this special thing you picked out just for this person. Right?
You should launch your course in the same way. Don’t just post and ghost. And don’t just put up a link in a couple places and hope that somehow some way someone somewhere will find the link.
Create an experience for people.
Find your audience, then promote your course to them — this solution to a problem they have — and then give them compelling reasons to take action and join your course ASAP.
This isn’t just about getting sales, though that definitely is the result of a clear and specific launch strategy; this is about getting your course out there to more people so you can help more people.
So, when you actually have a real launch strategy and are thoughtful about not just selling to your current audience but going beyond that, you have the power to dramatically increase both your income and impact. And when you do that, everyone wins.
Now, the final item from our list of don’ts is this:
#5. Don’t spend time to save money.
Instead, be willing to possibly spend money to save time.
Now, if you’re thinking “Courtney, I don’t have time or money so how does this help me???” hear me out:
Time is a major variable in business. The reality is that most of the students who we work with don’t come because they had an idea for a course last week and now they’re ready to create a course using our proven system. Nope.
Quite the contrary, most of the people who come to us have been sitting on their course idea for weeks or months or even YEARS. Yes, literally years of thinking about creating an online course, trying to figure out how to have an online course… but not actually having or launching an online course.
Now, is it okay to take time with some things? Absolutely.
Wine is best when it is allowed to sit and age, and barbecue is at its most delicious when you let is go low and slow. Right?
But business isn’t barbecue. In business, you need speed.
And if you spend too much time doing something that is insignificant, you waste that time. Which means you waste money.
And honestly, wasting time is even worse than wasting money because time is a non-renewable resource.
Money is renewable, you can always get more of it, even if it doesn’t always feel like it, but you can’t get back more time. Once you’ve spent it, it’s gone… and it continues on ceaselessly whether you want it to or not.
So, a successful course creator gets this, and they do something about it. A successful course creator doesn’t necessarily spend tons of money to get their course off the ground. (In reality, you don’t have to spend much of anything.)
But it’s the willingness to possibly spend money to save time that separates a successful course creator from an unsuccessful one.
On the flip-side, an unsuccessful course creator is only focusing on saving money by spending time. And while this might work in the short-term when you’re just getting started, this is not an ideal long-term game plan. This is not a sustainable strategy.
You will almost never see significant business growth by saving but rather investing.
And it’s just logic. Right?
(Pssst…. If you want to go deeper on this topic of wasting time and money when launching an online course, check out this post here.)
So why would you die on the hill of spending time to save money? Instead, why would you not be willing to spend money — a renewable resource — to save time — a non-renewable resource?
When you think of it logically, it just makes sense.
But again, to be really clear, I’m not talking about spending a ton of money, then your course is a success and all your problems are solved. Whee!!!
This is about the willingness to invest money if it means you can shorten the learning curve, get your course created and launched faster, and start helping people sooner.
Maybe for you that looks like hiring a copywriter to create a fabulous sales page for you because copy is not in your skill set and it’s taking too much time.
Perhaps it means hiring a graphic designer to do your slides for your webinar because you’ve spent way too many hours trying to DIY it yourself.
Possibly it means running ads so you can grow your audience, get more leads for your list, and therefore have more students in your course.
Or maybe still, it means seeking out a proven system for effectively creating and launching your online course, much like the ones that you would find inside my programs for course creators (which happen to be linked up right here heyyyyy).
But whatever this looks like for you, the willingness to invest money to save time rather than spend time to save money is paramount to a successful, sustainable course. And business.
If something I said here was of value to you, awesome, share that in the comments below. Give me your biggest takeaways.
And if you want to take it one step further you can share those takeaways on Instagram and be entered to win our weekly drawing. Simply take a screenshot from the video linked up above, then tag my Instagram handle (@thecourtneyshowtv) and post to IG Stories.
We’ll share your post with our audience, and you’ll also be entered into our weekly drawing. (Ooooh prizes!)
Finally, if you want to take things to the next level and work with my team to create and launch your profitable, successful online course and save TIME, we want to help you.
Visit this link to book a strategy call with us and we can map out your game plan for creating and launching your course in the next month and scaling your course beyond that.
We can’t wait to work with you!
HI, I’M COURTNEY!
I’m here to help you build, grow, and scale your business.
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