How to Make Sure You Actually Finish Your Digital Course
(A Guide / Pep Talk to Myself)
If you’re a business owner, and you’re planning to create and sell a digital course, the #1 challenge standing in your way is… you.
Why? It’s simple:
Entrepreneurs have the most to gain from adding a course to their business — but they often have the least time and energy to do it!
I’m sure that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of world-class digital courses that never saw the light of day just because their creators didn’t finish them.
I don’t want that to be you.
And because I’m currently building 2 of my own courses (what can I say? I’m ambitious), I don’t want that to be me, either.
So here’s what I did:
I wrote a little guide / pep talk to myself to help me follow through, persevere, and finally finish and launch my digital courses. And whenever I feel dangerously close to calling it quits, I revisit it — and it gives me the jolt I need to keep going.
And if you’re busy making your own online course, or just thinking about it, I want to share this pep talk (adapted into a blog post) with you. Maybe it will help you, too!
Sound good? Then read on!
Take it as seriously as your core business
As I said, creating a digital course is fun — but also a ton of work!
And like with any difficult non-urgent work, you’ll be extremely tempted to put it off, using all sorts of excuses: “I’m not in the zone / I need to do more research / There’s another project I have to do.”
What’s the big deal, right? It’s not like it’s essential to your business…
Well, make it essential! You have to — if you want to launch your online course sometime before the heat death of the Universe, that is. *wink*
Treat your course creation as seriously as any other part of your business. Set appointments with yourself, show up to them (even though there’s no one watching), and do the work. You don’t have to do everything in one breathless sprint…
…but you do have to take consistent, imperfect action. Daily effort will get you everywhere.
Speaking as someone who’s believe for the longest time that I “didn’t have time” to build one online course, let alone two, let me tell you:
It’s not about the time you have, it’s about the time you make. Make the time — you’ll be glad you did.
Start a waitlist for your course, or even pre-sell it
Internal motivation is all well and good… but how about you put some external pressure on yourself, too?
Nothing motivates you to finish and launch your online course like knowing that there are people out there who:
- Are waiting for it to come out so they can enroll
- Already pre-ordered your digital course in advance
At the very minimum, you want to start a pre-launch list (also known as a waitlist) for your upcoming course. All you need is a dedicated opt-in page that triggers a confirmation email every time somebody joins the waitlist.
And then you can just repeatedly “tease” the course to your audience through email, social media, blog/podcast content, etc. — and gradually grow your pre-launch list!
Launching to a segment of highly qualified leads will give you higher conversions and more sales than just announcing your course to your entire audience. This is true even for a small pre-launch list, for one simple reason… it’s much easier to sell your course to people who actually want and anticipate it!
For extra credit, you can even start collecting pre-sales for your future course, at a special discount for early adopters. I know it’s scary to charge for something you’re still building, but it’s the best way to prove your course idea has legs and motivate yourself to launch.
Scope creep is the enemy. Only include what’s essential
If you find yourself looking at your digital course in the making and thinking, “Maybe I should add more content…” — don’t. Seriously, just don’t.
You probably feel like you need more content to justify your course’s price, right? Well, I know that feeling very well. I’ve been there. And the problem with this idea is… value just doesn’t work that way.
The value of your online course doesn’t magically scale the more content you add. The value — and by extension, the price — comes from the impact your course makes on your student’s life. The results it can help them achieve. Nothing else matters!
And that means, your course needs to include only as much content as it takes to deliver the promised transformation. Everything else is non-essential, and therefore a distraction from the core material.
You have to resist the temptation to pad your digital course with extra content just because you feel like you should. Fight “scope creep” relentlessly, and leave behind anything that doesn’t serve your main goal.
There are plenty of bloated online courses on the market as is — keep yours lean. This will help you finish and launch it sooner, and even increase your students’ success rate!
When you’re building a course, play to your strengths
I love video as a format, so I felt naturally drawn to creating video-based online courses. But you may not be wired the same way as me.
Maybe you’re a great writer and video production feels scary and complicated to you. Maybe you like recording audio, or creating awesome presentations. So does that mean you can’t create a successful, profitable online course? Not at all!
Because here’s the thing — video courses aren’t the only game in town!
Don’t force yourself to record expensive highly produced videos and learn editing. Play to your strengths! You can structure your course as a series of written modules with PDF worksheets and infographics. You can record audio lessons. You can do basic screencasts of PowerPoint slides with voiceover. You can do an email-only course. You can even make a hybrid course using two or more different formats!
Basically, you can do anything you want.
As long as your material is solid and you teach it in a clear, straightforward way, how you deliver the course content doesn’t matter. So please don’t disqualify yourself from creating an awesome digital course just because you’re not good at video.
(Also: if you’re 100% determined to do a video course and nothing else will satisfy you… you can always outsource it — hit me up for a discovery call to learn more).
Launch your online course before you’re ready
Perfectionism is not your friend. In fact, it’s the one thing that can tank your course more surely than anything that might go wrong during launch.
It’s very easy to spend months and months redoing, tweaking, and improving your course until everything is “perfect.” But it never will be! And the longer you hold off on actually offering it to people and getting real validation (sales) and feedback from the market, the scarier it will be to take the leap.
At some point, you have to accept that done is better than perfect and launch. And the sooner that point comes, the better.
My advice? Launch your course while you’re still working on it. No, seriously. For example, if you have 4 weekly modules done out of 6, just roll it out — and finish the other 2 while your students are still going through the first 4!
Some course creators launch as soon as they have the course structure nailed down, deliver the content live to paying students, record the results, and then turn their sessions into modules and lessons.
The only way to launch your course “wrong” is by never doing it at all. And if it takes a tight deadline and a hungry audience to conquer your perfectionism and get you to ship the thing already… then that’s what it takes!
An imperfect course that you actually launched always beats a perfect course gathering digital dust on your computer. Why? Because the imperfect course is out there in the world, helping people and making an impact! Plus, you can always improve it.
But a maybe-someday perfect course that just sits there… is no good to anyone. Least of all you.
Wanna build and launch a profitable digital course? Start here
If you want to add a profitable online course to your business, then I highly recommend that you don’t try to figure it out on your own. Following a proven blueprint and finding a mentor isn’t just advisable — it’s essential.
You don’t want to be playing guessing games and wasting time on strategies and tactics that don’t deliver. You have a business to run!
And as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to creating life-changing, money-making online courses, no one compares to my friend and mentor, Amy Porterfield.
She’s built multiple 7-figure companies in the online education space, and helped thousands of online entrepreneurs create their dream lifestyle through digital courses. Amy’s Digital Course Academy (DCA) is the best online course creation system I’ve ever seen.
You don’t even have to take my word for it — because right now, you can watch the 1st module of DCA for free and see for yourself!
That’s right: for a limited time, Amy is giving everyone free access to Module 1 of her flagship course creation program. That’s 7 highly effective lessons that will set you up for success — and help you avoid the common mistakes that keep course creators stuck.
Inside, you will learn how to…
- How to create instant momentum with the 7 Most Critical Digital Course Decisions You Need to Make—this will set your overall strategy with handful of few smart choices BEFORE you get started
- Un-stick your course naming confusion with The Art and Science of Naming your Course (hint: the name alone can and will influence your course sales—we need to get this right!)
- Get TOTAL clarity on your course pricing-for-profit sweet spot—nix the dreaded second guessing that comes from letting this important decision go untouched until AFTER you’ve created your course … instead, let it steer how you design your course
- Map out your entire course creation plan and launch dates so that you can know right off the bat how you’re going to sell your program to the types of people who’ll scream ‘ALL IN!’ when you open up the doors to your course
Heads up: this is a limited-time freebie that’s only available until September 2nd at 11:59pm PST — and after that, right back in the vault it goes. So make sure you don’t miss out!