Episode 193 // Online Courses

September 11, 2018

Let’s talk online courses! We’ve each had different online courses for different businesses in different formats, so in this episode of Being Boss, we’re talking about the pros & cons of online courses, why you might want to utilize different formats of online course delivery, and how to get the most out of your online course.

This Episode Brought to You By:
"Do the one-on-one work. Don't think that just because you've started a business your first thing should be a course."
- Emily Thompson

Discussed in this Episode

  • Big changes for our point of view on online courses
  • Why you might want to start an ecourse
  • Ecourse trends and styles
  • Creating accountability within your ecourse
  • Ecourse formats
  • How we developed the CEO Day Kit
  • Tips for creating an ecourse
  • Busting ecourse myths

Resources

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hello and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:04
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson. And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Today, Kathleen and I are talking all about online courses, the trends, competition pros and cons and the ins and outs. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot bien boss club.

Kathleen Shannon 0:32
Alright bosses Caitlin here works with us behind the scenes here at being boss. And today she's popping in for a minute here to talk about money. Alright, so you work on our team as a contractor and you use fresh books cloud accounting, how has freshbooks helped you with the money side of running your business.

Caitlin Brehm 0:51
So with freshbooks I can either set up automatic invoices for a set amount so either as payments for a project or as a consistent monthly retainer amount. Or if I'm working hourly, I can track my time directly in freshbooks I'm in pull an invoice from the hours I worked. And that way I'm just dealing with strict numbers and facts. I worked X amount of hours so that translates to X amount of dollars, and it keeps those weird guilty feelings at bay.

Kathleen Shannon 1:18
Well there you have it. Fresh books cloud accounting was designed especially for creatives. And in my experience like Caitlyn, it has helped me take some of the guesswork and guilt around charging for what I'm best at. Try fresh books cloud accounting for free today by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss again. That's fresh books comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section.

Emily Thompson 1:44
Now we know our bosses and we know that many of you are looking to easily sell online courses and memberships and digital downloads to your audience. Well, we found a solution for you in podia. Your all in one digital storefront where you can sell your online boss creations in one place. With no technical knowledge needed. No third party plugins required and zero transaction fees start selling today with a 14 day free trial of podia. And as an exclusive offered the being boss listeners 15% off for life by going to podia.com slash boss that's pod aia.com slash boss.

Kathleen Shannon 2:31
All right, so this is our second time to record this episode. Because in between the first recording and publishing, I made a big drastic change in my own online course, which is that I shut it down.

Emily Thompson 2:44
Look at you go. So correct. We recorded this episode a couple of weeks ago with the idea of sharing all we know and experience with online courses. And within just that couple of weeks, those big changes kind of affected our point of view and our message enough that we decided we probably needed to completely revisit this topic. So we've been doing online courses for a really long time. a really, really long time. Seven, eight years, I think at this point, yeah, for a long, hot minute. And we've learned a thing or two along the way. And we know that you guys, all you creative entrepreneurs, especially those who are in the service business or want to, you know, be highly educational, you're at least thinking about or you probably even feel expected to have an online course of some sort. So we're going to be diving into all kinds of topics around creating, selling iterating online courses for your online business.

Kathleen Shannon 3:50
Yeah, and I want to say that I still don't know that I have the right answer and that we are always figuring it out as we go. And so I will talk a little bit more about why I closed my online course are one of them. Because I have multiple, right I've got CEO day kit at being boss, which is alive and well. And it's our freshest piece of content that we've created whenever it comes to the online educational space. But then what I closed down was the braid creative branding ecourse. Now I want to before I get into why I closed it, I want to talk about why you might start an online course and there are lots of different reasons. I think that one of the biggest reasons is for passive income. A lot of people think I want an online course so I can make money while I sleep. And I think that while that is a fantastic idea. It takes a lot of work to have a quote unquote passive product.

Emily Thompson 4:43
It definitely does a lot of work and a lot of long term work. I don't think online courses are the kinds of things that you create you launch once it's profitable, and then you never do it again if you actually want it to be as profitable as you want it to be. It's also not something that you create once and you never touch again. It just makes you money forever. Like that is a complete myth. whenever it comes to creating courses for passive income,

Kathleen Shannon 5:07
another reason might be positioning. So really solidifying your point of view, I think that writing some sort of educational product that you sell online is second best to even writing a book, I think it gives you this anchor point in your business that helps you really solidify your expertise, your point of view and what you want to be known for. For me, I think that this is one of the best reasons to have an educational online course. And then that one of the final reasons I've got for creating my own was that I wanted to reach more people, I had created this one on one product or service, in helping creative entrepreneurs and organizations develop out their brand platform, but I couldn't help everybody. So I wanted to expand my reach and my impact and have something like kind of a middle tier product that you know, wasn't super expensive, or as expensive as it is to work with me one on one that people could go through themselves to figure out their positioning their dream customer, and really clarify their brand and business vision. And so those are lots of great reasons beyond just making money as to why you might want to have a course

Emily Thompson 6:17
right, I also want to throw another one in there. And that is, you know, for those of you who have been creating content for the internet, or creating content period, not even necessarily for the internet, let's say you do in person workshops, or something of that nature, it's such a great way to make concise, all the things that you've been saying for the past couple of years. And that that goes back to that idea of you know, second best thing to a book, it really forces you to take a look at your content, really get concise about what it is that you want to be known for. And really put all of that content that you've been creating, to work for you in a different way, which can be you know, really appealing to people who have you know, 500 blog posts sitting there. And people struggle with finding exactly what it is that they need, or whatever it may be. So that sort of wraps I think around all of them this idea of, of packaging up the content that you've already been sharing. And also if your service is super expensive, it gives people a way to hire you or to buy you and then eventually they could work with you one on one, like after they buy your product it gives it gives them a way to get to know you even a little bit more. For sure. So let's now talk about trends. Okay, yes, I'm ready to talk about trends, if we may. Because in the years that we've been doing this styles have come and gone, for sure where you know, back in the day, I remember very traditional written e courses were a thing where you just wrote out is like a basically a series of blog posts that you bought was basically what the courses once were. video courses have gotten super popular. I really love a nice, easy email course like something that's just delivered to your inbox. So styles of courses have come and gone as including, you know, the additions, the like bonuses that people include. so used to it was just Hey, buy this content, enjoy the thing. And now people want to include all kinds of things with their courses.

Kathleen Shannon 8:22
Yeah, I think the biggest trend I'm seeing is a community component. So including something like a Facebook group, and it doesn't even have to be forever, right. So maybe it's, I'm selling this course or this product, and you get two week access to a Facebook community where we're all going to be diving in together. Or maybe it is a forever thing where people can stay engaged and hold each other accountable and collaborate around the content that you've created.

Emily Thompson 8:50
Right? I do always find communities to be a double edged sword though, where or like, not even a double edged, like eight edged sword are so many like pros and cons comes with community, one of which being you know, you now have this thing that you were consistently responsible for, to being everyone expects it. So you might as well have one. So a lot of people think, but also what happens if no one is engaging, then you have this component of your course that actually isn't valuable to anyone. So I think communities should be something that people take a little more, like go out a little more carefully, as opposed to just which I did not.

Kathleen Shannon 9:31
I went about the compute community component of my ecourse super willy nilly where he's like, yeah, let's open a Facebook group. And I have to say like, as a creative entrepreneur, this is how I go about all of my businesses, visions, I don't think them through very much and that has served me well until it doesn't. And so what I found is that the tricky thing about community is that it's not just you engaging with your customer because that would be them hiring you one on one Is your customers engaging with each other that is the definition of what a community looks like. And so if that engagement isn't happening, it can really be demoralizing. It can fall flat people can be then feeling like they paid for something that they didn't get delivered upon. So I was really clear in the positioning with my community that this is an opportunity for you all, to chat with each other. But I did find that without being in there with all that engagement, it just fell flat. And then there was no endpoint in sight. So I didn't even know how to say like, hey, this isn't really working, you guys aren't really talking to each other. I did go in there and say that because I just say what I mean all the time. So I was like, hey, it's what I'm thinking about archiving this, like, if this is not a value to anybody, I took it off the sales page. If this is not value to anybody, I'm gonna go ahead and close it, people like having access to it, even if they're not using it. So it's just kind of hanging out,

Emily Thompson 10:55
right. And I've also talked to creatives with very successful courses that do not enjoy the community component of their own course, where they become so much more long term responsible for ongoing conversations, and consistently posting and moderating that it actually ends up souring the experience of a course for people who you know, otherwise have really successful online course, online courses. So I think community is one of those things a lot of people just sort of add on, because why not. And it's easy, when it's probably the component that I think should require the most consideration of really whether or not you want the responsibility of having a community component, and if your people will even use it or not, because again, it doesn't offer value if no one's using it. But on the flip side, it can literally become the most valuable part, of course, in some really magical cases,

Kathleen Shannon 11:51
as well. So I love the idea of a more abbreviated community around a launch cycle. So if you have an online course, whenever you're selling it for a certain amount of time, even if the course is always available for sale, maybe you have a launch period, or a push period, where you're like, hey, anyone who buys within the next week gets access to this two week community, there's going to be kind of a challenge. So kind of like those online challenges or 3d challenges that people have, but then tied to the purchase of the course.

Emily Thompson 12:20
Right, I think I think those can be super handy as well. Alright, let's go to the next thing, which is that people need an often expect accountability to actually finish the thing, which is one of the things guys that I have to tell you annoys me the very most, if I can be completely honest with you. And I think this is a pretty crowd specific and I think it's one that we experience a lot with creative entrepreneurs, or with just creatives and or just business people where they need a little or want a little extra hand holding to complete the thing. However, I will say too, I was talking to a friend of mine recently, who does not play in our crowd, by any means, who's completely disconnected and bought a course I think on herbs like an herbal ism course, an online course. And there was no accountability whatsoever. And because I asked her about I was like grilling her on what kind of course this was and what was included and wasn't included. And it was literally just a course where you gained access. Totally for real, do it yourself as you want with absolutely no accountability, and that you were accountable to do it on your own. And I thought until she finished wonderfully refreshing, yes, because she's a boss in her.

Kathleen Shannon 13:38
That's how the brain ecourse was. And I sent out a follow up email saying, Hey, where are you getting stuck? Are you finishing the course? I don't have the hard numbers on it. But I have experience feeling like not enough people are finishing it. And I don't want a course that people are just going to buy I want a course that people are going to finish. Yeah, and so I've iterated and we'll talk about iterations to help guide people through that still 100% on their own. But I've looked into it and have learned from Papa Seth, Seth Godin betters that I think it's something like one of his first courses, the completion rate was 20%, or something like insane. Don't hold me to that statistic. Seth, if you're listening, let me know what it was. But like, that's Seth Godin. And people weren't finishing his course. You know. And so I think that there is a lot of buying of courses and not finishing courses. I know for myself, I have bought a couple of courses that I have not finished as well. And it just, yeah, people to finish them.

Emily Thompson 14:42
Right. It's super difficult. And that's something that we've had a conversation about several times is I don't either want to create something that no one's going to consume. I want to be creating things that matter and have a positive effect on other people. But at what point do you draw the line with accountability and I think That, I think, again in the creative entrepreneur crowd, especially they are people want that accountability piece, or they need some additional hand holding. And I think that just comes from a very long line of courses that have been created with that. So people doing additional value ads, and we actually did a mini so not too terribly long ago about what it means to just continue adding value and how that actually doesn't make what you offer as valuable. But I also did an Instagram Live, I think last week, if I'm not mistaken, if you guys are not following us on Instagram, you definitely should be Kathleen. And I hop on there quite often. But I got on to talk about online courses and people's people's habits around online courses. And someone said something that totally stuck with me. And I did totally ring true. This idea that creative entrepreneurs, especially see courses as shiny objects that they almost want to collect, like they just want to collect all the courses. And that's a problem, I think. And so all of that to say a trend that we see is people having value add accountability, assistance, and whether that is that community component, or if it's live coaching calls that happen, you know, every week or other week for, you know, a small amount of time after you join the course or whatever, I think there are times when that is completely, completely necessary and actually does add value. But I also love seeing people who just sell the thing and have people be accountable to themselves. I think there's something to be said about offering people something, having them buy the thing, and then them actually wanting to complete it on their own.

Kathleen Shannon 16:51
What else is happening in online courses, I'm I'm feeling like a lot of people are delivering in different formats. So I know for myself, like starting with that traditional, here's the written thing. Here's a workbook, to then thinking about, like, Where are people getting stuck, this is one of my iterations happened in a multiple format, because people learn in different styles. So you mentioned earlier, that video is huge. I've loved podcasting, I loved reading our audio book. And so we turned our course into an audio file because I like learning on the go. Like that's my personal learning style. And so this might be something to think about. Like if you are creating your own online courses, think about how you'd like to learn and think about creating and that style as some of your friends, how do they like to learn and maybe add that into how you deliver your course. And so I wanted to create an audio component where someone could just pop in their earbuds and go for a walk and complete the course that way go back home, do the workbook, but I wouldn't be able to do it on the go. Because that's how I like to learn.

Emily Thompson 17:54
Yeah, I have to tell you, I do love this trend a whole lot, this idea of really taking into account the way in which people learn and recognizing that not everyone learns in the same way. So you're doing a hybrid you're offering you know, written and plus audio or you're doing video and worksheets, or you're doing live coaching and you know, written course material, whatever it may be giving people multiple ways to consume the content, so that you do have the chance for higher completion rates, because people can choose to learn in the way that they learn best. And you're not, I suppose discriminating against people who don't learn in the way that you're expecting them to.

Kathleen Shannon 18:35
Before I close my course, I was getting ready to do another round of iteration. And in these iterations, it really is thinking about what that next format is. And so earlier you were talking about getting an email drip, like a course that's dripped through your email, and I even thought maybe I should just start chunking out the course that they already purchased. But I think part of it is just the intimidation factor of opening it up. And I could just send them a sequence of emails over the next six weeks where they're getting all that content, and they're just reading like a little snippet every single day. And I thought, oh, wow, that would be really annoying. If I started sending out all these emails without telling anyone what I was doing.

Emily Thompson 19:16
Right? I know. And that is that is a place I think where we know what we're talking about iterating where I think you did come to a place where it was just done. No, we're like you've literally delivered any every way that actually makes sense. And well, I wanted to do video,

Kathleen Shannon 19:33
I was like, You know what, I'm gonna do some videos. And then I thought about the idea of putting together my teleprompter, my lights, putting on some makeup, getting in front of the camera, then editing it and all the things that really go into creating video, or the expense of hiring someone to do it for me. And that's where I started crunching numbers. And I was like this just isn't adding up even the amount of time just going into iterating. So again, there are a lot The reasons why I closed on my course. But the idea of iterating and giving it the proper updates that it deserves. Because again, passive, passive income isn't always so passive. But you know, giving it the attention that it deserves. Yeah, I just realized it wasn't adding up. I couldn't do it.

Emily Thompson 20:17
Yeah, it can be it can be super difficult to find yourself at that place and to know the next steps and defined it maybe not totally worth it. Which again, brings me to I think shutting down the braid method ecourse it was time, I think perhaps, and like this is also almost just as much my baby. I know. It was you're definitely more your baby. But like, I was like the godmother.

Kathleen Shannon 20:45
You know what, for our listeners who don't know, it was Emily, who prompted me to create an ecourse. So Emily, you had been through the braid method branding process with us as a one on one client. And I mean that your eight years ago now? Eight, yeah, eight years ago. And I feel like you really had your finger on the pulse of online business. And you were like, you guys, this is genius. You need to be reaching more people. This needs to be an online course. And so we did it. And it's really served us well, it has served our community well. And what I realized in closing it down, I got so many emails from people that the course truly had helped people who had completed it. And it was almost sad for them to for people who had purchased it and completed it. I felt like some of them acted almost, they didn't act negatively. But as if it were like a slap in the face, like, Oh, I got so much out of that. And I know that other people could too. And I know that too. But at the same time, whenever I think about the places where my energy is best spent and what I'm best at, right now, it's not doing more online marketing, it really is getting in one on one with my clients. And in creating more of the content that we're creating, like here at being boss and on blog posts and more of that top level free stuff. You're going and giving talks and workshops anyway, all the reasons went into it. But Emily, yes, you are the godmother, of course. And so it is a very sad thing. And it was sad for me too. And it really was not an easy decision. And I know a lot of people got help from the course. But

Emily Thompson 22:17
I also want to talk a little bit. So we're talking about trends. I want to talk about buying habits a little bit because this is also one of those things like being in this as long as I have been the buying habits of people are changing drastically, drastically. And so you know, for you, you've been dripping out a couple of E courses every single month for years, at this point for two or three years since we put it into the current form format.

Kathleen Shannon 22:42
But what do you mean dripping out? ecourses?

Emily Thompson 22:45
Like you've been selling a couple a month? Oh, I've

Kathleen Shannon 22:48
been selling a couple. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 22:49
selling a couple of months of just dripping them out a couple of months over the past couple of years. I

Kathleen Shannon 22:54
thought you meant like a literal like sequence or no, not at all or something. I was not that sophisticated?

Emily Thompson 23:01
No, I'm not. Um, I know you've been selling a couple of them every single month. But it literally took you taking it away for people who wanted to buy it to actually make the jump to buy

Kathleen Shannon 23:11
Yeah, I had a $10,000 month once I took it away, right, which I think is fascinating. Yes. So this sense of urgency. So I want to talk about buying habits too, because as a marketer, and as a content creator, I'm really seeing all the bells and whistles and tricks that go into getting people to

Emily Thompson 23:29
buy and especially for the Brady course, because it's been through so many iterations, we've literally tried them all. We've tried

Kathleen Shannon 23:35
them all. And so I've done cart, open cart clothes, I've done breaking them out, you know, in cycling it and so ventually what I landed on is probably for the past two years, it has been completely evergreen and always available for sale. And I wanted to do this so that you know, whenever people read the being boss book and wanted more from being bought or from braid, or from whatever, they had something immediately that they could buy, right? Without that sense of urgency without telling people I'm taking it away from you in five for one, they're not buying. But here's the thing is that if you don't give someone a sense of urgency, they may never buy and that is to their disservice, they will never get the help that you have to offer. They will never get the thing but that's at the same time. Creating that sense of urgency doesn't always feel super awesome.

Emily Thompson 24:26
And it costs money. It costs money does cost manage a course in a way that has open close cycles. But some people like it and for some people it works for some people it doesn't work i think you know especially for the braid course we'd gotten to a place and I say we because in the shuffle gruffy was still has managed the course the entire time. So it's definitely been you know, both of us here strategizing and then doing the things together and seeing what works and doesn't work but I'm getting to a place where evergreen just felt better but then also watching you close it and watching People finally care. And not that it was finally caring, but finally taking the action, because it was going away, made me sit back and go, huh. Notice,

Kathleen Shannon 25:10
I know, I know, right. And even, you know, talking this out now as I'm having all different sorts of feelings about it, because we do have to market our stuff in order to sell it. And there are some tactics whenever it comes to marketing that help sell things. And I don't think that that's a bad thing. But it's just so weird. Like, it's, it's frustrating to say, I'm taking this away. And that's the only reason why people finally buy it. And as a consumer, I like buying things too. And I like getting courtesy reminders that say, hey, just a reminder, this thing is closing in three hours, and I might not otherwise buy it either. So I'm part of it too,

Emily Thompson 25:47
right? It was really interesting to watch that. And the same, I'm totally guilty of it as well. But it does, like put into some interesting perspectives for me, like what people what people's buying habits are like, and the sort of things that we have to do as online marketers to get people to buy the thing. You know, for being boss, we have the CEO day kit, and that thing is just evergreen, I can't imagine us ever doing Car, Open cart clothes. I mean, that's something that we learned through the being boss course. And then also some that I've done it in the shop graphy as well, where you know, at the end of the day, you're gonna buy it or not, you're gonna do it or you're not, we've created it. And we hope that you know, we create enough value to get you there to see the value to do the thing. And that's all that any of any one who wants to create a course can hope for, I think the thing that I want to say through this is like, you can create the thing and you should if it's like calling to you to create the thing to provide to people in this way. But you are not responsible at some point.

Kathleen Shannon 26:47
I know. And I want to say I've actually learned a lot through our creation and marketing of cod kit. And first off creation wise, is that we were actually taking the tools that we use and packaging them up, like taking the things that we use in our business to plan out things like ecourse sale cycles, one on one sale cycles, where we're making our revenue, where we're planning our marketing efforts, you know, all those things. In fact, it was the CEO day kit, which made me realize that I need to shut down the braid ecourse because it's not where the best use of my time is, as I'm defining my job role, you know what I mean? So, really, I used so believe in that product. And I believed in the Brady course too. But I think there's also this certain element of like really believing in what you're doing. And whenever you can communicate that that's when remarketing becomes easy. And for cod kit, we did get pretty sophisticated with that as well as to when we're selling to people in the sales cycle at a place where they're ready. So I know with the Brady cores launching that eight years ago, I was just blasting out a sales pitch to anyone and everyone on my list whether or not they had already purchased like I was so unsophisticated. Well, I think

Emily Thompson 28:04
we're so much less sophisticated. That's well,

Kathleen Shannon 28:07
so now we have tools where we are only pitching the CEO day kit to people when they're ready for it.

Emily Thompson 28:14
Mm hmm. For sure. So it is it's interesting to think about all that let's talk about like the creation of a course to really quickly though, because, you know, again, we've done all the things of the brain creative e course. We sort of took everything that we've learned from that. And then some that I've done as well over at indie shop biography and rolled it into what I feel isn't like the perfect D course by any means. But I think it is the perfect one. Like after doing years and years of doing it. We took everything that we knew, and created the CEO day kit. And we took everything we knew in terms of like how to create content, but how to deliver content and how to create content that people actually consume.

Kathleen Shannon 28:54
Oh, yeah, I was gonna say I feel like we took everything that we knew and put it in the being boss book. So we've taken everything we know and we've put it in a couple of places, right for

Emily Thompson 29:03
sure. And I'm talking about specifically creating CEO day kit. And we brought in a lot of like current trends. So video, for example, and I think that's probably one that's going to stay around for quite some time. So really looking at some trends, but also looking at some tried and true tactics. So things like worksheets, I think people love a worksheet though I recently saw a comment somewhere on being balls away that they hated worksheets, and I was like

Kathleen Shannon 29:29
yeah, did you hate a worksheet? We might not be the people for you because we like

Emily Thompson 29:36
we love to worksheet everything out everything like I kind of pride. I like to pride myself on being a good worksheet maker. Like

Kathleen Shannon 29:45
speaking of you all, we have a ton of worksheets in our resources section at being boss club for 100% free. Yeah, so if you need a worksheet, go to our website for there for you for sure.

Emily Thompson 29:59
So So yes, all this to say, you know, CEO, J cat was the product of having done this work for so long in terms of the creation of the course. And what we have found works really well at the moment is video, this sort of multi format. We don't have any emails following you through, though I think we may employ some of those in the future, some sort of nudges. Actually, that is a lie. We do have a couple of nudges of like, have you done it yet? If

Kathleen Shannon 30:28
not, here's where you log in those sorts of things. The coolest thing about automating those is that we can't even remember if we have them or not, because you do it once. And then you're done.

Emily Thompson 30:38
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we did launch the yo j kit about nine months ago now, I think, and I will say, has been more or less passive, although not for the past nine months, because we have put a lot of things into like the automation of like funneling it out and selling it, which is where that further passive, passive income creation comes in. But even just nine months into it, we're already planning a new iteration. And by iteration, I mean that you look at the content that you've created, you're selling it, you're delivering it, and then you're getting feedback on it. And this can be feedback from your students. But it can also be your own personal feedback. Like, since Kathleen and I first created this, we've launched the book. And we've sort of grown in our own perspectives and points of view, and we're ready to have CEO day kit reflect this growth. And so we're already nine months into it planning at least a small iteration number one, or we're upgrading the content. And this is the thing whenever it comes to creating an online course, no matter what format it is, whether it's an email course, which is something that I love, and I think as always the one that I recommend for people who want to dip their toe into creating an online course, or if it's something super legit, like an 18, module 500 lesson like video course mega thing that you've created, is that you don't create it, and you're done. You create it, and you iterate it time, and time and time again. So the Brady course, had gone through many iterations in the, you know, 678 years that it was alive. CEO, Jacob is nine months old, only, and is about to go through its first iteration. So it is one of those or I think it's super, I think it's super important to note that whenever you are creating content for an online course, if you want it to serve you for any length of time beyond that first launch or two that you do, you upgrade it consistently.

Kathleen Shannon 32:42
Yeah, and I would say not just upgrading the content and how you deliver it, and the platforms that it might be on or you know, all the things that go into the more logistics of it, but then even how you market it and testing and changing that. And so testing and changing cart, open cart clothes and email funnels and live webinars, we even just recently hosted a live webinar, and it works. Right, you know, and so it's just testing and changing a few different things can go a really long way. And just seeing what works and what doesn't. And the same things that worked before will won't always continue to work. And I think that that's the most challenging part, for sure. So

Emily Thompson 33:23
it is it is one of those things where I think everyone always sees online courses is like a silver bullet, like you see people launching these courses that serves them year after year after year after year. But what you don't realize, and what you don't see behind the scenes is how much work actually goes into it consistently. So it's making sure you're marketing it effectively. We've actually updated the sales page for CEO day kit, I think twice in the past nine months. So you know, launching with one sales page testing and changing tweaking along the way, consistently. So we've done that with marketing efforts. We've done that with the sales page, we're now actually going to iterate sort of the back end deliverables a bit. People don't see what goes into the back end as much as they see all the people talking about all the money that they're making from E courses on the front.

Kathleen Shannon 34:14
Yeah, there is so much that goes into it. There is marketing, there's processing, there's the actual delivering, there's all the customer service questions, people

Emily Thompson 34:22
are going to forget their passwords guys, every single time.

Kathleen Shannon 34:27
Every Yeah. And if you do have ongoing, you know, community engagement, like that's the thing. And then there's just a certain amount of web maintenance and systems and commerce like that goes into doing e commerce and it's a lot and you know, even little things like are not little This was huge, but GDPR F and how that affects how you sell courses like it really is stuff that you have to stay on top of whenever you're doing an online business. And here's the thing is with the braid method ecourse I hired You all to help me with it. And it was still just a lot to think about, like, whenever, at the end of the day, it's up to me to make sure that I'm zooming out every single year and iterating the content appropriately. And yeah, I was just, I was ready to move on. But with cod kit, what's cool about it is then I was like, Okay, I also feel like, I hope no one from braid is listening to this, because it's not like cod kid is competing with a braid method ecourse. But I still have something that people that's going to help people like, and that's kind of my first and foremost. And so now I've got the being boss book, I've got the CEO day kit, we've got this podcast, I have a lot of things that can help people in a similar way as the braid method ecourse. And so that was first and foremost. And that's why I created a course in the first place. And so I've got those things, and I didn't have those things, seven or eight years ago, right, I didn't say that on the braid blog. My business partners over there.

Emily Thompson 36:00
Right, um, but in the thing that I want to point out here, too, though, is like, even as we're talking about how hard it is to have a course, I think the picture that we want to paint is a realistic one, where again, so many, especially newbie bosses jump into this idea of like, Okay, I have a website, now I need a course. Like, that's not really the best way to go about it, I don't think and the thing that Kathleen and I have coached on many times, is you have to be, or I think that you should be doing your one on one worked. First, I think you should be making the thing you should be coaching you should be doing whatever it is that you want to be doing first and foremost,

Kathleen Shannon 36:39
well, and really getting to know your dream customer getting to know those people so well that you can create content that you don't have to be there for and know that you were speaking directly to them.

Emily Thompson 36:49
Absolutely. So that is task number one is do the work, do the one on one work, don't think that just because you've started a business, your first thing should be a course, because it's gonna be a big waste of time and energy. And while you're doing all that one on one work, be growing your email list, because that email list is the bucket of people to whom you will pitch a course whenever it's time for you to create it. So after you've done all of that one on one work, you know your process, you know your point of view, and you know, your dream customer like the back of your hand

Kathleen Shannon 37:22
a weight and you're creating content for free like blogging, and yes letters and building trust in that way as well.

Emily Thompson 37:29
Yes, for sure. And I think if you're just going to do one of them, do the newsletter, be emailing the people who you want to sell the course to later. So be doing all of those things. And then once you've done them, and you have that point of view and all of the things, you are then going to create a course. And you're going to do this by taking the things that you know best the things that you want to be known for and creating content around it and whatever way you want to. And again, the way that I like to have people do their first course their first like, toe dip into doing the thing is an email course they are the easiest things to put together. Because you just need your email marketing platform, and you need one that will have an automated sequence of emails, but you also need some ecommerce functionality. So you're going to need to be able to have a way to sell the email course unless you want to try it out as an opt in freebie, which is totally plausible as well. But you'll need an E core or e commerce that preferably will automate to your email marketing platform, or else you'll be manually putting everyone's email address into your email marketing platform to deliver the course. So this is where like, you just have to start getting serious about your website.

Kathleen Shannon 38:46
And then also, I think that's something that's exists now that didn't, whenever we were first developing out the E course, is we develop our own platforms. And we love doing that, because we've got all of the geniuses on our team, but third party platforms. So there are so many platforms now out there where you can plug in your course content, and they're going to have that functionality available to you. And it's not going to be easy, I don't think because you still to create all the content and do all the stuff, right and market it and all the things but it's going to make it easier as far as the actual loading and delivery of the content.

Emily Thompson 39:25
For sure those platforms definitely make it easier in which case maybe an email course isn't the thing that you need to be doing. But I could see email courses being step number one for sure. Some platforms do allow you to do paid email courses pretty easily. But there are some platforms like I wish that we'd had platforms like that back in the building the braid course days.

Kathleen Shannon 39:47
Yeah, me too. would have made me feel so much more

Emily Thompson 39:51
happy. We did. We bought that all from scratch. But I also think those platforms make some of that tech support a lot easier as well. So Whenever someone forgets their password, because everyone's going to forget their password, there's a nice little link there that makes it easier for them to get it than emailing you Though there will always be people who email you even if there's a new email. For sure. So um, so there are some steps that I think everyone needs to take before they, before they dive in, that will make the creation and selling of a course so much easier once it gets time to do it. So it's also things like looking at the kinds of kinds of content types that's going to be most easily consumed, like do your people like to read? Or do they have a super short attention span and just need a three minute video for each of for each of the lessons or whatever it may be? So it's not hard, actually is hard? It's super hard. It's not impossible. How about that? But you record Yes, having a course. But yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 40:54
I mean, I just think it's gonna take time, I think that you need to really think about how much time you have and double that, because that's how long it's gonna take you, right.

Emily Thompson 41:06
And don't be disappointed by a sad first launch or two. Because I think the best courses start slow, they start slow. And then they are consistently and mindfully built up. I think courses that usually take off and do really well that first time. People are the people who run them tend to iterate them less often, because they think it's just going to continue to sell itself. And there aren't as many improvements being made. And not that's definitely not across the board. But I do think that is a relatively common thing. Whenever you're consistently perfecting and making better. It's just going to serve your people better. So don't be discouraged. If you don't sell a million, right off the bat, it just means that you have to keep going.

Kathleen Shannon 41:54
And just remember that it's going to help you with your positioning your expertise and all the things. So I want to make sure to that everyone knows that as hard as we're saying that this is is that it can really be such a good thing for your business, it can be something that you try, it can be an experiment. But also if you don't want to course, you don't have to have one. So I know that whenever I send out that email about closing the Brady course and talking about our intentions moving forward, but having you know, in person workshops and things like that, I got a few emails saying oh my gosh, this is such a relief. Like I didn't know how much I didn't want a course. And this felt like permission to not have one. Again, I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. And I actually do still have a course I have the CEO day kit. So it's not like I've just completely thrown that out. And I loved the course that I had. And I loved putting that time into it until I didn't.

Emily Thompson 42:48
Um, so one more thing that I want to throw out here as sort of myth to bust is this idea that you have to have a course and or that a course can be the only thing that you do, because I think it's a magical unicorn that has a course that gives you all of your revenue, I think we see people like Marie Forleo, for example, who you know, their business is an online course and they make bank doing it. I think that there have been people in the past who have done a really great job with that. But I see it happening less and less. But I think the expectation is still there, that you can do that. And you can believe that you can do whatever you want to do. And I believe that you can do it too. However, I think the reality of it is that you should probably go into it with the idea that a course will give you some good supplemental income. So it's not going to be something I don't think especially not super early on that will take up even half of your revenue or that will make up half of your revenue. I definitely seriously doubt it's going to make up more than 50 and up to 100%. I think it's something that you can realistically believe to make up to 25% of your revenue. If not potentially a little more, I think it can grow into that. But I do want to bust the myth that you're going to launch a course and it's going to make you super rich.

Kathleen Shannon 44:12
Yeah, I love that idea of launching a course and be like, okay, I want to pay my internet bill with this or I want to pay my rent with this. Yes,

Emily Thompson 44:18
yes, it's supplemental, look at it as being supplemental and don't see it as a failure. If it's anything more or if it's anything, if it's not more than supplemental, if that makes sense. I say that right. You know what I mean? Don't think that it's a failure, like it should just be supplemental revenue, but the thing that it's really doing for you is positioning you as an expert. Um, you

Kathleen Shannon 44:41
mentioned Marie Forleo, and I just want to give her a shout out because I think that she is like, we've got Papa Seth and we've got mamma Marie. And the thing is, is that if you want to hustle as hard as Marie Forleo has she's probably put 60 hours a week every week for years into turning B school into what is the Come. And so I mean, I just think it's, it is a lot of work. And this is just coming back to it's not passive. And I think that there's this myth around it being passive. Yeah. I

Emily Thompson 45:10
mean, you have to look at the fact that she is doing professional quality free content every single week, all year long for an open cart of what two weeks? Yep. Right. So imagine working your ass off all year long, for a two week selling window like,

Kathleen Shannon 45:28
and then what if it flopped? I mean, he would be in so much debt. Yeah. And I'm sure that like, okay, and this other thing is that we always see everyone's shiny outsides, I'm sure that she's had her own issues or flops or, you know, whatever everyone does. Everyone does. And so it's kind of thinking about, what problems do I want to solve? Right? Right. What problems do I want to have slash solve for? Yeah,

Emily Thompson 45:56
for sure. So we do want to bust also the myth that it's also that it's going to be super passive, people see online courses as being the passive thing that you can do for your business. And though you are very likely to sell some in the middle of night, while you're sleeping, like that's probably going to happen, it's going to feel damn good, you will be working to get those cells in the middle of the night by creating email funnels by sending out marketing emails, by sharing it on social media and doing ongoing marketing. Or by creating the content that gets people engaged so that whenever you are marketing it, they're listening. And you're iterating along the way, as well. So this idea of passive is a little bit of a misnomer. You will still be working for it, for sure. So guys, if you are interested in a course, I hope halfling and I put you in your place, or at least gave you some legit real world expectations around the kind of work that goes into it. But also how gratifying it can be the brain ecourse lasted for years, years. And yeah, it was it was profitable, it helped a lot of people. Right, right. It definitely helped you guys to really get in there with your expertise. And what it is that you wanted to say I definitely see it as like not only a brand positioning thing that you guys did, but also something that helped you grow what your brand was like, there's something about getting in there with your content that makes you better at your content. For sure. And watching you guys iterate this time and time again, I saw you not only up level of course, but up level your own business every time that you did it. And then as to with you know, CEO daycare going at that really made Kathleen and I get really clear on what it is that we wanted to help you guys with. What we want to help you guys with is be serious about your business to treat it, like the serious business that you want it to be, and to give you the tools to help you find success in that. So there's something to be said about the sort of professionalism that it brings out of the content that you're creating and what it is that you want to be known for. It's a really great exercise. Even if you sell none. Even if you sell Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 48:06
yeah, yeah, it takes you from like, I have this idea, I kind of want to do this thing to actually doing the damn thing right

Emily Thompson 48:12
to you doing the thing for sure. And so you know, the Brady course is done. Which is sad. It's bittersweet. It's bittersweet. I feel like you know, closing that chapter on what you guys have been doing on what you want to be known for, really brings you the opportunity to do the next things that you guys want to do. So it's been refreshing to watch.

Kathleen Shannon 48:38
Yeah, and I again, I just want to say that a lot of that is because of all of the quality content that we're creating over here at being Boss, I feel like helps coach people through building their own brand and business vision. And then our one on one clients. That's how people work best with us over at braid creative. And I also love doing workshops and retreats and really teaching people in person there is 100% completion rate whenever I'm guiding someone through a worksheet and person for sure. Isn't that the truth? I completely agree. So I look forward to seeing I continue to look forward to seeing what the world of online courses, you know, moves into because again, a decade later courses are still a thing, like people are still creating them. They're still hungry for sharing their content. And that way, people are still hungry for consuming content in

Emily Thompson 49:31
that way. It's just the way you package and sell it is definitely different now. And I think it will continue to evolve which is an important thing to think about. And I think this is online business in general, like you're not doing in your online business today what you were doing last year and you will not be doing the same thing in your online business next year that you're doing today. Things are consistently evolving. And I think online courses reflect that directly. Any last minute thoughts Kathleen?

Kathleen Shannon 50:00
Oh, no, I just hope that we've either completely encouraged you to do this and to dedicate the time to it and to do the work, or to not do it at all right total permaisuri to not either discourage you or encourage you. But I think that at the end of the day, if someone were asking us should I create an online course I think that both of us might say yes, yes, I think that we would say try it. The most you're going to lose out on is a little bit of sleep and a few dollars depending on how much you DIY it but dip your toe into it, try it, see what happens, right?

Emily Thompson 50:35
But then also like braid, let it go when you're done. For sure.

Kathleen Shannon 50:43
Hey, bosses, I want to tell you about the CEO day hit. The CEO day kit is 12 months of focus planning for your business in just one day. So Emily and I have packaged up the exact tools that we've been consistently using for years that have helped us grow from baby bosses to the CEOs of our own businesses. gain clarity, find focus, get momentum, prioritize your time, make better decisions and become more self reliant with the CEO day kids. Go to college courses, that being boss club to learn more and see if it's a fit for you and your business.

Emily Thompson 51:19
Thank you for listening to being boss. If you're looking for more help and being boss of your work in life accom check out our website where you can find Episode shownotes browser archives and access free resources like worksheets, trainings, quizzes and more. It's all at WWW dot being boss dot club. Do the work. Be boss