Guest Blog Post by Abbey Ashley.
Have you ever had a GREAT idea that miserably failed?
Maybe you spent hours creating a blog post that no one read. Or maybe you developed a coaching program or course that no one bought.
It’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it?
I know what it’s like to throw months into developing a product that no one buys… Because I have been there.
When I first started my business, I wrote about topics I thought people wanted to learn about. I had an idea for a course, so I ran with it.
I spent MONTHS developing two online courses. I hired babysitters. I worked long into the late hours of the night. I drank waaaay more caffeine than one body should have in an evening.
And finally – I launched! I had an email list of 1,000+ people. In theory, I should have gotten a pretty good response, right?
After three months of working my b.u.t.t. off I made one sale of $149.
I’m pretty sure I spent more in espresso than that.
It was then that I realized I had gotten this whole product-release thing very very wrong.
When it comes to creating online courses or programs, most of us go about it all the wrong way.
The normal process for start-up biz owners goes like this:
Here’s why this doesn’t work.
You haven’t actually validated that people are willing to PAY for the product. Sure, it’s exciting when 75 people say they want to try your course for free… but if people aren’t willing to pay when a dollar amount is attached, it obviously isn’t something they really want.
I’m here to propose a different idea – one that enabled me to go from $0 profit to selling an online course to my same list with a $10,000 profit.
With this method – you’ll actually get PAID to create your online program or course.
Want in on the method? Read on…
STEP #1: Find Your Course / Product / Program Idea
For most of us, this is probably the easy part.
You may have a course, program, or product idea in mind.
If you don’t – simply look at what people are already most interested in learning from you about.
What are your most popular blog posts?
What do people always seem to ask you about?
What process do you know so well that people should pay you for it?
When you find the cross between what you know, what others are interested in, and what people would actually pay you for – you’ve found the perfect course or product idea.
STEP #2: Validate Your Product Idea (the MOST Important Step!)
Now, here’s where most of us go drastically wrong. Once you have your idea – I don’t want you to go out and create the product.
Repeat: Do NOT go make the product!
Here’s what you are going to do instead:
FIRST – Come up with a detailed explanation of your product and a sales page.
If you are creating a coaching program, what will you teach each week?
If you are creating an online course, what will the different modules be?
Instead of writing an entire course or program, come up with a detailed outline instead.
SECOND – Create a sales page where you can accept payment. This can be done through a landing page program like Leadpages or Clickfunnels. You can use a service like Gumroad (which I love), or you can accept payment through Paypal or Stripe.
THIRD – Make a list of 20+ individuals who would benefit from your course or program. These will be people that you have had personal contact with in the past, who you know will really benefit from your program.
FOURTH – Ask them. The best way for you to know if this program or course is worth creating is to actually see if people will buy it. Put a price tag on it of about 50% of what you will eventually sell the course for. Then, personally ask each of the people from your list if they would be interested in a program like yours.
It’s important to make this last step personal. Don’t just send out a mass email or a payment link. Make phone calls. Meet in person. Strike up a conversation and gauge interest, and then give them the opportunity to pre-purchase it.
STEP #3: Get Paid to Create Your Product
How do you know if you should go ahead and create your program or course?
If people purchased it! If you can get 3 or more people to pre-purchase your program, then it validates that others will, too.
The best part? Now you can start creating your program or service and you’ve already gotten paid to do so!
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
I know that this process may be uncomfortable for some. It is SO much easier to hide behind your desk and work on making your program perfect before showing it to the world.
With my last course launch – I was able to set up a sales page and sell $10,000 worth of my course… before I had even finished making it! THAT is worth being a little uncomfortable.
Don’t you agree?
This process can help online entrepreneurs in almost any industry.
Now that my main focus is teaching women how to become virtual assistants, I recommend a similar approach for their businesses.
Instead of spending tons of time and money developing a website – I recommend all of my VA’s get their first paying client first.
I recommend they do this through a “Personal Outreach” email and Tracking Spreadsheet. The whole idea is to offer their services to the people they personally know first. This is done by creating a personalized email to friends, past contacts, and family members, asking if they (or anyone they know) would be interested in learning more about their services.
Want a free copy of the Personal Outreach email and Tracking Spreadsheet? You can grab yours here!
Ready to launch your own successful course or program?
Remember – Validate… THEN Create!
Abbey Ashley is the Founder of The Virtual Savvy. She helps savvy women launch and grow their own Virtual Assistant businesses from scratch. With a one and three year old running around – she spends all her free time (aka not sweeping the floors for the 100th time) working on her business! It’s her passion to help other women create their own income so they can have more freedom and flexibilities to spend with their families.