AMY PORTERFIELD: From blacking out, to temporarily being blacklisted from Zoom, to getting a little tipsy on live video, to welcoming students who hadn't yet paid for my course, to drenching my team with tequila and sparkling water while live on camera, I've had enough bloopers to last me a lifetime. And while you might think having these things not go as planned during a launch would scare me off forever, I keep coming back, I keep showing up, and I keep growing my business. So today's episode is for those of you who think everything has to be perfect in your business, that if you're going to create and launch a digital course, it all needs to be planned out 100 percent in advance and then go as planned. Well, my friend, the truth is that it doesn't have to be all planned out, and you can have mishaps and still be massively successful with your digital course. The proof is in the pudding, and I've got a whole lot of that for you. So pop some popcorn, kick back, and enjoy some stories from bloopers I've had through my decade-plus of live-launching digital courses.
INTRO: I'm Amy Porterfield, and this is Online Marketing Made Easy.
AMY: I think one trap I see entrepreneurs who dream of creating a successful digital course fall into is thinking that everything from their course to their launch to their set up has to be perfect, impeccable, in fact. And coming from a type A personality, trust me when I say this is one of those traps we have to avoid. I definitely have grappled with this in the past as well. Because what I've learned is that no matter how prepared you are for, say, a live launch, things will get a little bit messy.
My hope with this episode is that you'll see that what you have to offer the world is valuable, and the impact you dream of making is important. And in order to bring those to life, you have to let go of perfection, because even some of us entrepreneurs who look like we have it all together most definitely don't. So if you're just starting out, you shouldn't put that pressure on yourself either. As you'll hear in today's episode, almost thirteen years in, I'm still tripping up from time to time during my launches. It just happens. It's part of the process. But here I am. I've lived to tell the tale, and you will, too. So here's an episode that I hope will bring you some confidence, definitely some laughs, and a whole lot of truth about what it's like to be an entrepreneur with digital-course launches.
Oh, and you’ll even hear a little bit from Chloe, or Cho-Cho as we call her around here, who was once my integrator but now holds down the marketing fort on our team as the chief marketing officer. She has a few things to share about behind the scenes of when things didn't go as planned. I'm baring it all, and you're in for a real treat. Here we go.
All right. Let's go back to September of 2020—not that long ago, might I add—and during this DCA launch, we thought we'd try something new and wanted to offer a really fun and informal happy hour Q&A. So we sent out an email with a fun little cocktail and a mocktail recipe book and said, “Come hang out with me. I'll answer your questions about joining Digital Course Academy and creating a digital course. And we’ll enjoy a little bevvy, and we'll have some fun.” And in true Porterfield fashion, we went all in. We set up our location. We hired a film guy. Essentially, we created a little onsite studio, with a bar and the cocktail shakers, and all the ingredients. Like, we made it a thing.
But we were so focused on making sure that we had everything perfect and all the right questions for the Q&A and having it all set up that we forgot one minor detail, and that was testing the drink recipe before so I was prepared when I went live. I don't mix cocktails on live video. Quite honestly, I don't even know if I've mixed more than two cocktails in my whole life. Like, that's just not my thing. I'm not good at it. I give all the credit to bartenders right now because I didn't know it was so difficult.
So, here's the thing. We went live, and there was a miscommunication with the tech provider and my team. No one could hear us. So we had a tech glitch, which was really super fun. So as they're working out this tech glitch, like, behind the camera, I'm staring at the camera. But behind there's, like, massive chaos. Like, can they hear me or not? I wasn't sure what was going on. And anybody who's done live video, you know that when you think people can't hear you and you're confused if they can hear you or see you, you're kind of off your game, right? I think that's just a normal thing for most of us. So we're working to fix that glitch, and I'm just rolling with it. And the plan was to make spicy margaritas, because if you know me, that's my drink of choice.
So we had all the ingredients laid out, and because we were having this glitch with the tech, I just showed up trying to be super energetic, and I started adding all these ingredients into the cocktail shaker. Now, again, cocktail 101 is probably that you put liquor in and then ice and maybe some lime juice or whatever, and you mix it in the shaker. But in the heat of the moment, I also added all this sparkling water to the mixer. And you can just about guess what's going to happen next. I'm just throwing in all the ingredients, super nervous, like, everything's fine; everything's fine. Didn't follow the recipe at all.
Then, I started shaking the cocktail shaker. And it went everywhere because of the carbonated water, and I literally sprayed everybody. And yes, it was funny, but I was so nervous on the back end with this tech not working, and we're trying to do Q&A, and it was just messy. Eventually, I got some of the mix in my glass, and I remember when I went to go take a drink—because remember, I didn't even follow the recipe I was so nervous, and I threw in a dash of this and a dash of that—that was the strongest margarita I've ever drank in my entire life. So on top of all of this, a couple sips in and I'm feeling it. So I just pretty much created a big, fat mess on camera.
But here's the thing about this ridiculous experience. We all still laugh about it, and it really brought my whole team together. And on top of that, it was fun for the audience because they got to see a side of me that they don't usually see. Like, I just basically said, “I just mixed a drink. Didn't follow the recipe. I might get drunk on camera, and I’ve got this tequila everywhere, and my team is covered in it.”
So we had a fun time with it. I had to let go of that perfectly polished Porterfield way that sometimes I get in that trap, and I know I do, and I just had to go with the flow. I mean, what else are you going to do in that situation? We were live, right? All in all, we survived. We still had a massively successful launch, we have a funny story in our back pocket now, and it all turned out. So I just want to remind you that even when you go live, even when you plan something fun and it kind of goes to crap, you're going to be okay.
All right. So this next launch blooper comes from 2019. This story includes Zoom going down minutes before I was set up to go live on a webinar, with thousands of people signed up for that webinar. And it also includes me blacking out. So let me back up a little bit, and I want to tell the whole chaotic story.
So at the time, I was still living in Carlsbad, and I also wasn't hiring out my studio and video setup at the time. So it was just me and my team figuring it all out, which, of course, we did for years and years. So there we were all fired up, the one-hour reminder email had gone out, and we headed up to my studio in my house to get ready, and Cho, my integrator at the time—as I mentioned, she's now my chief marketing officer, but she was in the integrator role—and she hops on to update the stream, the live stream, and Zoom doesn’t work. And this is how we were going to stream the webinar. So she tries again. It keeps crashing over and over, and the clock is ticking. We are getting close to that fifteen-minute mark, where another email goes out saying, “Hey, we're there. We're getting ready. Come pre-party with us.”
So then, all of the sudden on screen, Zoom—so we're trying to get Zoom up—and all of the sudden, this pop-up box appears, and it says, “There's a known outage on Zoom. The server is down, and we're working on a quick fix. Stay on this page for a minute-by-minute update.” Oh my goodness.
While all of this is unfolding, like I said, our fifteen-minute reminder goes out to our entire email list of those who signed up for the webinar. And then, emails start flooding in from our attendees. “My links aren’t working. I can't get in. This is a wrong link. Something's wrong with your link.” I mean, over and over again. It was a nightmare.
And it was about this time that I blacked out. So, here's the thing. This doesn't happen often. I'm usually pretty good under pressure, but something about this moment, where I knew this was one of the first webinars we did in the launch, meaning thousands of people had signed up, our goals were on the line. I needed this to work. I'd worked so hard on this new webinar I'd created. And Zoom was down. And literally my mind went from, “Oh, my gosh, what are you going to do? These links are not working. Oh, my gosh,” went to “Zzzz.” Like, that’s what it felt like in my head. No words were coming in. I blacked out. I literally don’t remember minutes of the situation.
I know this sounds dramatic, but I think you would understand. You are building a business as well. You know the pressure of the tech working and what's on the line, right? So, like, it was just my blackout moment.
Now, what happened next was important because Cho, who I had mentioned earlier, she jumped in. So let me just have her explain to you what happened next.
CHLOE EUSE: So I had, like, five minutes to really figure out a game plan on how we were going to get this webinar live without a hitch. And so, basically, Amy shut down because she’s preparing mentally to go live in front of thousands of people, and then all of a sudden, I look at her with this blank face, like, uhhh. That’s not what you want to hear when you’re about to go live. So I basically pushed her aside and was like, “Hang on. Move over. I’m going to figure this out.” And I just went into fix-it mode. I think I blacked out myself. I don’t even remember what I did, but I figured something out. I looked at Amy, and I was like, “It’s go time. We’re sending this email out. We’re going to start two minutes late. And let’s do this.” And I just remember her face, just looking at me like, “Are you serious? Are we doing this?” And I was like, “Let’s go. Let’s go.”
AMY: It still cracks me up.
So, in the next few moments, Cho to the Rescue, decided to change the embed code to go to YouTube, redirect the link to our page, and send another broadcast email that said something like, “Just kidding. The original link is broken. Join us here instead.”
But get this. All in all, we were only about five minutes late, which is still a big deal and not ideal when people are just sitting there like, “Is this happening? What's going on?” But I'll take five minutes over much longer any day. And to this day, we still all joke about the day that I blacked out.
Oh, and here's another little charming clip from Cho to really give you a good visualization of just how I looked when I went on live when it finally got up and running.
CHLOE: Amy starts the webinar. It would almost be comical to find the exact webinar it was because you could see the vein bulging out of her forehead as she starts. So, she's smiling, like “H-hi,” but it is like you could tell, anyone that knew her well would know that she was stressing the moment before that webinar started.
AMY: Thanks, Cho, for telling everybody about the vein that pops out in my head when I am nervous.
But here's a big thing we learned from this. Always, always, always have a backup plan locked and loaded. I have a podcast coming up next month all about overcoming tech overwhelm, and I dive in a little bit deeper into having a backup plan. So watch for that episode because it's loaded in value.
All right, friends. The reason I wanted to share this next launch blooper is that it happened this year, March of 2021. So if you've been following along, hopefully laughing a little along with me, but you might have been thinking, “This is great, Amy. But these things happened a while ago.” That's just not true. I gave you an example from 2019, 2020—just last year—and now this one is from this year. I'm almost thirteen years into being an entrepreneur, and this stuff still happens. Sometimes it's out of your control. But perfection is not what we're striving for, is it? Things happen. We laugh about it. We get knocked down. We stand back up. And we can still have successful businesses, even when things get messy from time to time.
And stick with me because I want to have a heart to heart about that in just a minute. But first, it was March 2021. Here we were, old pros at this launching thing, right? Well, sometimes the mysterious tech universe has other plans for you. Here's what went down. It's kind of mortifying, so get ready.
It was fifteen minutes until we went live on my webinar. So as you can guess by now, out goes the reminder email, “Fifteen minutes. We're starting in fifteen minutes.” And as people start clicking the Join Here link, instead of getting that attendee tag—so if we get a little techie behind the scenes, if I send out a fifteen-minute email saying, “We're starting the webinar in fifteen minutes. Click here to join us live,” when people click that link, I can automatically put a tag behind the scenes in my system that says Attendee because they're actually going to attend live—but instead of getting that attendee tag behind the scenes, they got a buyer tag, and a buyer tag kicks off an email sequence that says, “Welcome to Digital Course Academy. Here are your login details.”
So you have to picture this. Thousands of people just got an email that says, “My webinar’s live. Click here to join me,” and right when they clicked there, they didn't join me on a live webinar. Well, they did, but they also at the same time got an email that said, “Welcome to Digital Course Academy. Here are your login details.” So obviously, somewhere there was a glitch, and our system was broken. And of course, these poor webinar attendees were freaking out, thinking, “Wait. What did I just buy? Wait. What just happened?” So the emails started flooding in, of course. But I was on a webinar live, so I had no clue this was happening. Thank goodness.
The funny thing is—this is a really behind-the-scenes look—I've been doing webinars for years and years and years, and Cho’s been on my team for over six years. So I always see her beyond the camera, and she's giving me a thumbs up, or she's cheering me on, or she's like, “Keep going. This is great.” Like, kind of behind the scenes, mimicking that. I didn't see her once throughout the entire webinar, and I knew—and she was on site with me—I knew something was off, but I had no clue, so I’m like, “I’m just going to keep going.” And so anyway, there was something in my gut that told me something's off.
And then after the webinar, Cho told me what happened. And I have to be honest with you. The first thing I did was laugh because it's so absurd that this would happen. And sometimes you just have to let go and then get to work to fixing it.
So I was like, oh, my gosh. Okay, what are we doing? So then we got to work. We sent out emails. We stopped the bleed so that actually all thousands of people didn't—that didn't happen. The minute we realized it happened, we figured it out and stopped the bleed. But holy cow, what a mess, right?
So even this many years into my business, even having a tech-savvy team, we still have the blips. And life goes on. So I just want you to hear me on that. Life goes on, business goes on, even tech glitches will not make or break you, and they definitely do not define you. I just wanted you to hear that from someone who has had many.
So to say the least, I've had some things go wrong, but here's what I can come to terms with, because I would rather try new things, get out of my comfort zone, and even if things backfire, make a few new memories, because at the end of the day, I'm still standing, and my business is still successful, even if it isn't always perfect. I know you well, and I know that you sometimes pause or hold yourself back from creating that course or creating that online business because you feel you can't until you've got all your ducks in a row, until you've got your plan perfectly laid out. To this day, I still don't have it perfectly laid out. I still have bloopers, and despite those bloopers, I've still been able to build a massively successful business, and you can do the same, dear friend, bloopers and all.
If you're stopping yourself from creating a digital course, and you're waiting for that “someday” when you're ready and it's all perfect, you're going to be waiting forever. This, this is your sign that the perfect day will never come, but this is also your sign that now is the best time to create that course that's in your heart. And I know that can be very scary because what if something does go wrong? Yeah. What if something does? You'll still be able to create a successful business, make an impact, and create the lifestyle freedom you dream of.
So, here’s your next step, a step that isn't scary but is going to move you forward. I want you to go sign up for my masterclass. That's it. Just sign up for my masterclass, Five Little-Known Mistakes Most Course Creators Make and What to do Instead. And just take that first step. You can do that by heading to amyporterfield.com/masterclass. And we'll talk about the most-common mistakes I see people making with digital courses so that you can avoid them. I've talked about all these bloopers, all these mistakes I've made, but you can definitely sidestep a few so at least you have your mistakes as you get going. Now, you're still going to have mistakes, but fewer is always good, right? At the end of the day, following your dream and what's on your heart is bigger than any blooper you could ever have. After all these things, I'm still alive, and you'll live through anything that happens to you like this as well. These moments shape us, make us stronger, and help us to grow as an entrepreneur. So meet me on my masterclass, amyporterfield.com/masterclass. It’s going to be the best decision and next step you can make right now. I can't wait to see you there.
Thank you so much for joining me. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.