At any given moment there are many people in the process of launching a new online course or some sort of new product.
They think that this process should move swiftly and smoothly. You would think so, right? You would think that it would just move…at the pace you imagined.
Surprisingly … launching a product doesn’t always go smoothly. Sometimes … launching a product doesn’t GO at all. You can find yourself stuck.
There’s an extensive list of reasons why you could get stuck when launching your course, but I’d like to talk about the TOP TEN places to get stuck when launching a course.
They are worth taking a look at if you have ever struggled with getting to your ultimate destination.
#1 – Thinking Time Will Magically Appear
Let’s be real. If you’re waiting for a day to show up when nothing is scheduled – that day will be here on the day of your funeral. Morbid…but true.
Ultimately…life is going to happen. Life doesn’t care if you’re a doctor, a lawyer, a stay at home mom, a personal trainer, an acupuncturist, a receptionist – Life Fills The Space That You Give It.
Whether you’re trying to get your MBA or trying to build a new house or any large projects that are going to take on – it really just has to be scheduled and HAPPEN. Once it’s scheduled you start working around that time.
A perfect example of how this works is pregnancy. Before a couple gets pregnant their life is go, go, go and they don’t have to keep a schedule. They can pick up and go whenever they want. There is no set schedule. Then pregnancy shows up. Mom gets morning sickness and can barely get out of bed. She is so sick that she can’t cook homemade meals every night. She has doctor appointments, it almost seems like you have to go once a week. And guess what – somehow the rest of life still happens.
Another example is Dr. Stephen Covey’s story of the jar filled with big rocks, pebbles, sand and water and how they represent the important things in your life:
- Rocks = The big priorities, the things that must be done first.
- Pebbles = All of the day-to-day tasks.
- Sand = The daily interruptions.
- Water = Everything else.
#2 – Waiting for Perfection
When you are new to something, your learning curve is super steep. There is so much stuff that you have to learn.
The amount of knowledge that it takes you to go from pure novice to just knowing 25% is enormous. It’s like being an apprentice, advancing to a journeyman, and finally becoming an electrician.
What do you think happens when you start sharing your knowledge? People think that they have to teach somebody how to be a master electrician! In reality, what they really want to know is, how to put in a new ceiling fan.
Human tendency is to naturally over-complicate things, essentially OVER-TEACHING.
If somebody needs to be able to go from 0-10, naturally we want to teach them how to get to 1,000,000. Or maybe we don’t. Maybe we only want to teach them to go to 1,000. Or teach them to go to 100.
It’s about learning to put your expectations of what you teach in alignment with your students expectations of what they want to learn.
Rather than going for being perfect – go to teaching enough.
Teach enough to go from A to B or from B to C or from C to D. You don’t have to create just one course. You can create multiple courses. Any kind of educational program has progression – look at a lawyer for example. One can go from law school, to law clerk internship, to “second chair” lawyer, to partner, to equity partner, to managing partner, etc.
If you keep what you are teaching to a realistic approach – all of a sudden, creating a course becomes much more doable. You’re not trying to create something that is everything to everybody.
You’re just trying to teach something that your customers want.
If you avoid thinking that it needs to be 100% perfect, and go for a really solid C+ in your world, all of a sudden your version of a C+ is going to be other people’s version of an A+.
Follow that and creating your course is going to go smoother and you’ll make more progress, there’s no need to wait for perfection.
#3 – Wanting to Wait Until It’s Ready
There are two philosophies on launching a course:
- Philosophy #1 – We should get the entire course all wrapped up in a nice package and then sell it.
- Philosophy #2 – We should sell the course before it’s created and then once we know that we’ve got customers, we can scramble behind the scenes to create the course – and the customers will never know the difference.
Yes, believe it or not there are many people that will pre-sell and then take people through a course that technically doesn’t exist. There have been multi-million dollar launches to sell a product that’s content did not exist at the point in time in which a credit card payment was taken.
These are one of the things you wouldn’t know unless you are behind the scenes, from a customer perspective – it’s all managed.
Fair warning, if you’re going to do this – you better know your subject matter content or have previously run customers through a beta launch.
You’ll also need to have an idea of what and how you’re planning to teach. Set customers expectations so that they know what to expect; this is going to be taught live, they’re going to be classes every six weeks, etc.
It’s all about having expectations. If you’re the mom and the kids ask you, “What’s for lunch?” And you tell them and they say, “We’re having macaroni and cheese tonight!!!” It doesn’t mean that macaroni and cheese is planned. It doesn’t mean that macaroni and cheese is made. It means that there’s a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese sitting the cupboard and it’s what you instantly thought of.
Have a plan and work toward your plan.
#4 – Trying to Figure Out The Technology
Technology can be intimidating. No matter what kind of course you’re building, figuring out the technology behind it can make you go insane.
Anyone who is new to e-commerce is often surprised at how many online services they need. This can be an overwhelming feeling.
Choices. So many choices. And for any service that you sign-up for, guess what, more choices.
A lot of people think that they have to do everything themselves. Instead of creating content and teaching, they will spend 30 hours trying to set up the perfect website. This is just procrastination. What they’re doing isn’t moving their main goal forward.
You need to understand what you need and then find a way to go get it. Then you can spend your time doing more efficient things.
Plan to pay money for things. And if you want to charge your customers for your courses, you can’t expect to do everything cheap and have everything look halfway done and then expect your customers to pay premium prices.
It has to look decent. It has to be done decently.
Big Internet success stories are rarely the result of one all-knowing, all-powerful, all-capable genius doing everything him or herself. These businesses become successful because their creator has the smarts to realize they can’t do everything.
You may be concerned about finances. If you have no money and want to do it for free, or pay someone $2 an hour to do it go for it and GOOD LUCK. Remember, these people don’t know you. You are a random person on the internet. They’re going to be handing over their hard earned money.
You’ll also need something that proves you are credible, competent, and that truthfully talks about wins that you’ve had. So, if you haven’t launched this product before, don’t put up a page with ten different testimonials saying how great this product is.
Instead, put up a page with ten testimonials that talk about what an expert you are or your character as a person. Something that is real and honest. Don’t stretch the truth and don’t be deceitful.
In order to build a course that people are going to believe and trust in, you need to figure out what you need help with.
You can’t just say, “I have everything under control.” You need to be able to say, “Hey I’m looking for a graphic designer.” Or, “Hey do you know anybody that is an expert on the backend of a website that I can interview?” Or, an introduction to a venture capitalist. Regardless of what it is that you’re doing, you need to understand how people can help you, so that when they offer – You Have An Answer.
The secret to preventing the common mistake of getting so overwhelmed by the choices and the hours of research; find one product that will meet your biggest needs.
#5 – Not Knowing What To Say
Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and you get stuck? What you want to say is right on the tip of your tongue, and you could say something but it wouldn’t be the right thing. You’re worried you’re going to sound awkward. So you just don’t say anything at all.
The only way to say it and start is, to just say it. Don’t worry about how you’re going to feel or how you’re going to sound. Your knowledge is never going to be heard unless you put yourself out there.
When you are ready to begin teaching your course and recording video, you are better off to not be reading from a script. Highlight your main points of what you want to say in an outline form and then just talk naturally.
Look specifically at the camera. Keep eye contact.
The green dot is your best friend.
Be conversational. And if it helps, put somebody across the table from you.
Stay tuned for Part 2 , we’ll discuss five more common sticking points when launching a course – and how to get un-stuck.