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If you’re currently feeling frustrated by lack of freedom in your business, I totally get it!

A few years ago, I was a freelance website designer, and while I loved, loved, loved the job…

(I truly did)

…there were a couple downsides about that business model that started getting to me.

Being in Europe, I had to do calls every single week with clients in a completely different timezone. (More than just a little bit annoying constantly having to have to do calls on a Friday night, no?)

Also, taking off time was always a really big debate in my mind.

I could take a week of vacation and spend money on said vacay…but then I’m dealing with the double whammy of both spending the money AND losing out on the income from my business for that week, since as a service based business, my hours were still pretty directly tied to my dollars.

Plus, I had some pretty ambitious revenue goals as we had our eyes on a down payment for a house!

I had already raised my rates as a designer quite a few times, bringing in $5K-$9K per client project (Which is nothing to complain about, obvs! But it was still going to take quite a while to save up that 30% down payment needed to buy a house in Europe.)

So when thinking of ways to solve my predicament, the obvious next step was:

“Why don’t you just start your own web design agency?”

But honestly, that didn’t feel right for me for a few reasons, not the least of which being that managing other people is not my idea of a good time.

I knew that courses ticked all the boxes for me.

Freedom

No meetings

Could be started as a one-woman show (and grown into a very small team if needed)

Teaching and creating content is something that I truly love doing

(Oh, and the business model is fantastic for profit margins!)

So I eventually plucked up the courage to create my first course and sell it online.

If you’re looking to do the same, stay all the way until the end of this post/video, because I’m gonna share with you the exact strategies I’ve used to lead to well over $2 million in online course sales, and my 3 step framework to your own first six figures in online sales!

How to create a 6-figure online course

The 3-part framework to building a course that sells

Part 1: The unicorn course idea

So the first piece of the framework is a unicorn course– a course that your audience truly wants, needs, and are desperate to get in and achieve the promised result with!

Just like a unicorn, your course is clearly unique and has at least one key differentiating factor from what is already out there (just being a cheaper version of something that is already out there isn’t it).

How do you create a unicorn course?

Step #1: Do the market research

The first thing I did (which I highly suggest you do as well) was to refine my course idea through some market research calls.

A perfect example of nailing this is actually one of my current coaching clients of my Course Launch Collective small group coaching program.

One of the participants in this cohort is a couple named Billy and Lydia, and they have a course teaching adults how to learn the cello.

So their original course idea was to teach intermediate cello learners certain piece that is on every cello player’s bucketlist.

It was only once they got on these market research calls with potential students that they realized that this specific course idea was not going to work right now because there was a bunch of technique work that needed to be taught before students would be ready for their original course idea!

So during the coaching program, they refined their idea, completely changing what they were going to be teaching inside their next course offering, still leading perfectly into a course like their original idea in the future (but also making sure their students had what they needed to succeed in the meantime!)

Now it’s possible that you might have a similar challenge with your audience.

You have an idea that you’re thrilled about for your course, but your people just aren’t quite ready for it yet. Maybe you need to somehow bridge the gap, or to teach some more of the preliminary steps before your students and your audience are ready for what it is that you actually want to deliver.

So step one is to do some market research and refine your course idea to be something you are both excited to teach AND meets your people where they are at right now.

Step #2: Define your positioning

Now step number two helping you to develop that unicorn course is to define the positioning of your course.

I’ll give you another example to explain…

(I stumbled upon this from Tony Robbins, which demonstrates my point perfectly!)

Tony Robbin’s ‘Unleash The Power Within’ program is famous for loud music, fist pumping crowds, and just generally a very wild, high energy time.

Now compare that to the new ‘Unleash Her Power Within’ program. Literally the exact same program, but the positioning and messaging are totally different.

I actually did this same thing with my Square Secrets™️ course a couple years back!

I had always sold it to small service-based business owners wanting to learn to DIY their pro-designer looking website.

So my messaging at the time was always “Never be at the mercy of an expensive web designer again! Learn how to build and manage your own site and have the confidence to update and edit your own website any time you need!”

But then over time, I realized that most people were taking that course because they wanted to learn the skill of website design in order to offer web design services for clients!

So I totally changed my messaging to be in line with that.

I started talking on my sales page about how “website design was an in demand service, but in order to successfully land clients, you first need to be good at designing websites and make really amazing websites! So take this course to know the platform backwards and forwards that no matter what your client wants, you can deliver the amazing site design that they have in mind!”

Now the interesting thing about this is that I didn’t actually change any of the course content. It was literally the exact same course. All I changed was the way that I talked about it!

The more aligned your positioning is with what your people really want, the higher your conversions will be.

This means it’s your job to get to know your audience, their desires, their reason for following you or wanting to take your course in the first place…and then craft your positioning and messaging around that!

Step #3: Outline the content

Step 3 to creating your unicorn course idea is outlining the content–basically crafting your course so that students actually achieve the promise they joined for.

This is so vital to your long term success as a course creator.

People talk, and very quickly, the internet is going to know if what you teach actually leads your students to success or not.

In the long term, you are going to need testimonials and student success stories for people to trust that your course is legit and worth their money.

So yes, some course creators might be able to hoodwink a few people into buying their course when they first launch, but the reputation of you and your course is what is going to lead to that long term success.

Courses that don’t work don’t stick around long. They don’t make it to six figures and beyond. They don’t make it to the millions you are dreaming of.

So you need to make sure that you are setting up your course in such a way that will actually get the students the results they are hoping to achieve.

How?

By turning the processes you used to achieve that thing into a repeatable process for someone else to be using.

Likely right now if you’re working with clients 1:1, each client or project you take on probably has pretty much the same steps and doing mostly the same work for them, just tweaked or customized here or there to better fit that specific client.

So just look at what’s consistent and come up with a repeatable method that would apply to a lot of people in a very similar position.

When designing you course content, you must think not only about what you want to teach but also the skill level you what your students to leave with.

So think through where they are now, and where you want them to end up. What do you need to teach in order for them to get there? We’re not just going for basic skill level here, but truly getting students to the ability level you want them to be at.

Part 2: Build pre-launch course hype

This is the one part of this framework that new course creators often miss.

Often I see business owners send out one email or publish one post announcing how excited about their new course, thinking this will be enough to get people hyped up.

(It’s not.)

Think about it this way, your potential student literally has 99 problems in their life right now…you need to firmly plant the problem that your course solves as number one in importance in their mind during your hype phase!

Talk about:

  • Why is this problem the one thing they should be focused on fixing right now?
  • How many other knock-on problems will solving this one problem actually fix?
  • Why is it important they deal with this issue now and not five months or five years from now?

So you want to build hype through a strategic, thoughtful series of messages, and a live experience demonstrating your genius, preparing them to be perfectly positioned to be ready to say yes to your course.

You want to get them in a mindset during your hype phase where they are literally waiting for the doors to open so that you are launching to a rush of sales and not an empty room.

Part 3: Create a purchase party

A purchase party is something which inspires your audience to be excited to join and experience transformation your course promises.

When done well, it generally includes an a live experience, and a community where people can feed off each other’s enthusiasm.

It shows potential students what’s possible, engages them in conversation, and gets fence sitters off the fence and into your course before the doors close.

This purchase party is what is really needed to build the momentum, to have your course bust out the gate as wildly successful right from the get go, and even create a little FOMO around your offering.

Selling your course live launch style vs. evergreen

Now there’s a big debate in the online space…

Is it best to open and close your cart (A.K.A a live launch)?

Or is it better to do evergreen sales where your subscribers enter a sales funnel where they experience a pre-recorded, automated sort of mini launch in their own inbox?

Or is it best to to a mix of both???

I would argue that to start, go for live launching where you are actually opening and closing cart (or opening and closing the course for enrollment.)

It is honestly so much easier to master creating that purchase party when you are attempting to do it live and you are launching to a community of people as opposed to one individual person in an automated evergreen funnel.

Don’t get me wrong, I love evergreen course sales and I definitely want that to be part of your online course business model in the long run!

But starting out that way is quite a challenge because you’re missing out on this super important piece – a group of people all eager to achieve a similar goal and encouraging others to go for it as well!

Okay so those are the 3 pieces of the framework to your first 6 figures in online course sales, the Unicorn Course, the Hype and the Purchase Party.

When I chat to people at conferences, co-working spaces and online, sooo often I hear these launch horror stories.

I remember one, I was in Bali when I launched my first ever course a few years back and met a guy who had just finished his launch to NO sales.

He had put together a fantastic course on Google Ads, poured so much love and time into it, opened cart and was just gutted.

And that one case is far from the last I’ve heard.

It’s not talked a lot about in the online world because let’s be real, most people don’t like airing their failures all around the internet, but I’ve met more people than you can imagine who go to sell their course, hear literal crickets and land not a single sale.

It always a really devastating experience and definitely a results in a serious shake to the confidence and I don’t want that for you!

When you get this right, everything we’ve been covering in this video, incredible things can happen in your life and business!

When I nailed this THAT’S when what I call the “revenue rocket” took off. 

$20k launches turned into 50k launches to $100k launches and literally millions in course sales! My work life looks so different from before, I have a level of freedom I never before thought possible and LOVE this business model! Online courses are a dream to run!

To ensure you’re READY before you launch, I put something together for you! It’s my Does my online course idea have 6 figure potential? quiz!

Within 60 seconds it’ll tell you if you are indeed ready to launch that course yet or if it needs a little more work before it’s ready to be launched. 👇

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$2 MILLION FROM ONLINE COURSES | How to create an online course that sells

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