You’ve heard the stories…

The people who seemingly became an overnight success, their online course selling like hot cakes, and always posting about how stoked they are to welcome their newest group of students!

But then you’ve also hear about the people who spend months coming up with what they believe is the next best online course idea only to watch it completely tank come launch day, taking all their hopes and dreams down with it.

So what separates the fabulously successful from those who fizzle out?

I’ll be sharing some of the most common traits I’ve witnessed in the online course creator world in today’s post!

Success Trait #1

They carefully design their ‘inner circle’

With most the world spending 8+ of their waking hours working, the topic of ‘what you do for a living’ is bound to come up.

And be it strangers, or your closest family and friends…when you tell people of your plans to drop whatever it is you’re currently doing to put bread on the table, and create and sell courses online instead, you are going to get some looks.

Unless they are in the online business world themselves or know someone who’s had great success with what you’re setting out to do, the reactions you tend to get range from polite concern > extremely passionate pushback.

For whatever reason, the world views your news as an open invitation to share their unfiltered opinions.

Oh, and queue the ‘helpful advice.

Does this mean everybody you know or meet is looking to burst your bubble? Or secretly hoping you’ll fail?

No way! In fact, it’s usually the opposite!

Your aunt, brother, friend, therapist, hairdresser, or soon-to-be ex-colleague may genuinely wish to save you from the disappointment of something they can’t in their wildest dreams imagine going well.

The only experience they have to go off is their own. And in their experience, what you’re doing isn’t possible (or at the least not very probable).

So, does this mean in order to be successful you have to go full-out hermit-mode, hunker down to create your course, and just start avoiding people altogether?


(Jokes! This is prob not recommended or healthy.) 

No! You just have to decide in advance the select few people you’d like to be accepting advice from. 

Look for the people who have been there, done that, or who at least have similar goals and beliefs about what is possible. Then let those people be the ones you excitedly gush about your plans or bounce your ideas off of on the regular!

If someone is ‘poo poo-ing’ your plans, ask yourself whether this person actually has the type of experience you’d purposefully seek out about this topic, and then weigh their ‘advice’ accordingly.

Will the people who aren’t on your ‘approved mentor’ list still feel the need to share their two cents? Almost definitely.

But in these situations, you can decide to either change the subject (‘how ‘bout them taxes?’)

…OR graciously nod and smile, making up your mind never to take it personally, then file it away under ‘loving concern’ and move on with your plans!

Remember, what you are doing is not normal (and that’s a good thing!) 

YOU are looking to build a life way outside the norm, and therefore your path to getting there is no doubt going to look downright crazy to the people who have never travelled it.


Success trait #2:

They do what they need to do to invest in themselves

You’ve bootstrapped your business for quite a while now, and that took a lot of grit and determination! (Go you!)

But one thing I’ve learned about the uber-successful course creators out there is that they aren’t afraid to invest in themselves or their business to get to where their going.

They aren’t interested in DIY-ing the thing to death or spending precious years and resources trying to reinvent the wheel…

…only to have to go back to the drawing board again and again when things don’t go to plan. ‍♀️

They want to know the fastest, most efficient way of getting from point A to B, and once they discover it, they waste no time in getting the education or mentorship they need to see that strategy through.

And you can bet I’m constantly taking a page out of my own book!

Every time there’s a new thing my team or I need to learn for the business, we immediately go out and find out who the expert is on that topic and then find a way to get direct access to their knowledge!

Constantly living in the land of trial-and-error while I learned to create and launch my first course would have not only cost me time and major headaches, it also would have cost me future students (and therefore lots of $$$) as I bungled my way through my first few launches.

There are endless stories of people out there who legit had pretty bomb course ideas, but who didn’t have the whole picture needed to put all those little pieces of the puzzle together, and so their first launch (and second—if they even made it that far) turn out to be a total flop.

Whereas if they had taken the sometimes scary leap to invest in the exact help or tool they knew they needed, who knows where they might be!

Being hella-resourceful is admirable, but—like your future course students learning about your topic for the first time—you simply don’t know what you don’t know!

And therefore it’s way too easy to skip over important steps in the beginning that could have been setting you up for long term success!

So that’s the second trait I’ve noticed that seems to set our ‘go-farther-faster’ course creators apart from those who fizzle out!

They find the person who has already done what they are trying to do, and they accept the gift of not having to spend months and years wading through the same hard-earned lessons themselves!

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Success trait #3

They recognize the thing that intimidates them (and they decide to do it anyway)

Successful course creators see that thing that exists right outside their comfort zone that they know is holding them back, and they make a conscious decision to just step out and begin!

They don’t wait until their idea is perfect, or they feel more confident, or until all of life’s little duckies are lined up in a row (pro-tip: that day is never coming)

They just start.

Then, they stick to doing that thing long after everyone else would have thrown in the towel.

The people out there who seem to have overnight success stories? They were quietly putting in the work behind the scenes longggg before they ever popped up looking fabulously successful in your feed.

Rain or shine, they consistently did the things that other people put off doing, weren’t willing to do, or simply stopped doing after just a few weeks when they didn’t see results.

They did things that don’t come naturally to them, or that they didn’t wake up excited to do (which, when you think about it, is pretty much all that separates a business from a hobby, right?). ‍♀️

If they didn’t know how to do the thing they had a hunch was standing between them and their goals, they found a way to learn it. ( There’s trait #2 again!)


Suggested reading:

Success trait #4

They’ve spent enough time mastering the skill or service they plan to teach

Want to know what separates your course offering from the sea of other creators out there already teaching on the same topic?

It’s all the things you personally learned…from *actual* experience!

It’s the secret tips and hacks that were born out of necessity, because you, yourself, have felt the frustration of learning that skill, or have stood and faced the exact roadblock your student now needs help overcoming.

It’s the exciting ‘Aha!’ moments you had while working tirelessly to hone your skill, and the mistakes you made that taught you how to elevate your offering and be mastering your craft.

People aren’t looking for generic, and they aren’t looking for ‘textbook.’ (If they were, they could pretty easily find some sleepy college course on the topic to be taking instead.)

Your future students are looking to be inspired about what is possible! They are searching for solutions as unique as they are, and relatable stories of someone who’s been in their exact boat, and somehow found a better way.

But without this first-hand experience, and a decent amount of time spent delivering the skill or service you plan to teach, then—at best—your course will be just one big round of up “borrowed” tips.

And those courses, I’m sad to say are already a dime a dozen, and tend to fizzle out after just 1-2 launches.

So how do you know you’ve got enough real world experience to turn your skill into a profitable, genuinely useful course idea that—once created—you can be launching again and again?

Here’s a few telltale signs of someone who’s ready to rock it on the online course creation front:

✔️ You have no trouble consistently selling/booking-out your business, even after raising your rates and charging premium prices for your product or service

✔️ You have a waitlist of people wanting what you offer and there’s simply not enough time in a day for your to be helping them all

✔️ You have a portfolio full of happy past clients or customers and/or real-life case studies of the before/after transformation your future students can expect!

I get! Nothing sounds sexier than passive income…

And it’s super tempting to skip over the 1:1 model and head straight for the 1:many model, knowing the income potential behind it.

But the best way to be creating a successful, lasting course idea is to do the work of learning, testing, and perfecting that skill for yourself, first!

So there you have it! 4 key success traits I’ve observed as I’ve watched many online course creators come and go over the years!

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4 key traits of successful online course creators