INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: Welcome to another exciting episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and I am so very glad you’re here with me today.
So a few weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at HubSpot’s INBOUND marketing event, which is this amazing conference they hold each year, with endless education about marketing, sales, business, the trends happening in those worlds, and so much more. So I got to sit down and have a fireside chat with the director of new media at HubSpot, the brilliant Kyle Denhoff, and we dove into the secrets of building a thriving online community and paving the way for your success as an entrepreneur. So we touched on a little bit of everything that has helped me grow the business I have today, and we explored the tried-and-true strategies that have propelled me to the success I have today, so we get into all of it.
And now I get to share our conversation with you. So whether you're just starting out on your online journey or you're seeking to optimize your existing digital presence, this episode is your golden ticket. Expect expert insights, powerful strategies, and all of the inspiration you need to craft engaging and rewarding online-learning experiences.
All right, here we go.
KYLE DENHOFF: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to day two of INBOUND. I'm Kyle Denhoff. I'm the director of new media here at HubSpot, working on our podcast, YouTube channel, and Creators program.
And I'm incredibly excited to talk today with Amy Porterfield. I know many of you are probably here, and she doesn't need the full introduction, but Amy's an incredible, successful entrepreneur, the host of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast, and a newly published author. Today Amy agreed to sit down with me and actually talk about the playbook for building her courses, launching her courses, and what she's focused on in the future. So as marketers who are working on our content programs, our go-to-market playbooks, I can't wait to dive into the details with you.
But without further ado, welcome, Amy.
AMY: Hey, Kyle.
KYLE: Good morning.
AMY: Thanks for having me.
KYLE: Thank you for coming. Have a seat.
How's your morning going?
AMY: So here we are.
KYLE: We made it. We made it.
Well, thank you for spending some time with us today.
KYLE: Yeah. How was your evening? Did you have a good evening?
AMY: Had a good evening. We had—Kyle and I got to go out to dinner, so we were with a bunch of people from HubSpot. That was fun. I learned that Kyle's a dog dad, so I already love him. So all good.
KYLE: Yeah. A lot of dog parents at the dinner—
KYLE: —a lot of fans at Netflix. Did you get a chance to go back and decompress after the day and watch a new episode?
AMY: Yes, of course.
KYLE: Of course, right? End the day.
Well, I'm glad you had a good evening. Thank you for coming this morning. And as I mentioned to everyone, we're going to kind of dive into how you've built your business and really try to get into the tactics. And when I first met you, one of the things that stood out to me was your story around moving from corporate to entrepreneurship. And I think that background would really be helpful for everyone. So can you take us to that moment? When did you decide to make that transition and launch your own thing?
AMY: Yeah. I always say that I am an ex-corporate girl turned accidental entrepreneur. I never really had big dreams to have my own business or start my own thing. But what happened was my last corporate job was with Tony Robbins—
AMY: —and I got to travel the world with Tony, work on the content that he does on stage. If you know Unleash the Power Within, Date with Destiny, those are some of the events I got to work on. And while I was there, Tony talked a lot about building your own thing, being your own boss.
AMY: And one day he brought in a bunch of online-business owners into the office, and they all had digital courses, memberships, masterminds, physical products. And they were around this big oak table, and humbly enough, I was brought in to take notes. So I was brought into the meeting to take notes. And Tony said, “Tell us about your businesses.” And they were all guys, and they all were talking about building these amazing businesses. They had creative freedom, financial freedom. They were making an impact. They had a lot of time because they weren't selling one to one; they were selling one to many—
AMY: —and something about what they were doing, I thought, “I don't know what they're doing. I don't know how to do any of this, but I want a piece of it.” Like, I wanted that freedom. And so it was about a year after that meeting that I started to plot and figure out how I would do it. And I ended up leaving my nine-to-five job—
AMY: —and this was fourteen years ago—
AMY: —and since then, I have built a business where I teach people how to take their knowledge and know-how and turn that into a digital course. So that's what I do today.
KYLE: Fantastic. And I think a lot of folks here are also thinking about how to launch their own thing or their own programs at their companies.
KYLE: Once you had that spark, you're like, “I'm going to go do this,” did you wait? Did you have to find resources and budget and a team to build out? Like, how did you go from the idea to your first launch?
AMY: So that's the most beautiful thing about building a business online: you don't need a lot of capital. I didn't have a bunch of money saved. I didn't have a team whatsoever. But what I did have is this desire to figure out how to make an impact but on my terms. Like, I wanted to create something of my own.
And so it took a lot of trial and error. I really didn't know what I was doing the first two years of building this business—
AMY: —but I knew that I wanted to be able to reach many people at one time.
AMY: And I had started out doing one-on-one coaching and consulting, and I did that for about two years, and I hated it.
AMY: I literally created a business I hated. And so I realized I'm going to have to find a way to teach and do what I do, but in a way that I'm not necessarily tied to one person at a time.
AMY: So it didn't take a lot of tools and resources. It was very minimal. Especially with a digital course, you could start out pretty simple. But it took a lot of time because I didn't have a roadmap of what to follow.
KYLE: Yeah. I love that. And a lot of folks today, to your point, it's just their time, and there's plenty of tools to be able to launch something and get it out there and have a bias towards action.
KYLE: “Let's just ship it, see how it goes, and make some adjustments.”
So you mentioned the transition from one-on-one coaching to courses. How did your first course launch go?
AMY: It was a disaster. So my first digital-course launch, I made a whopping two hundred sixty-seven dollars, but I thought I would make, like, a hundred thousand dollars—
AMY: —because social media is deceiving. I looked everywhere and thought, “Well, they're making a hundred thousand. They're making a hundred thousand. Why wouldn't I?”
AMY: And so I launched this course. And at the end of it, the worst part about it—the course I launched was two hundred ninety-seven dollars, but when you back out a few thousand-dollar expenses—
AMY: I made two sixty-seven. I cried for a week. I thought it meant that I wasn't cut out to do this. And luckily, I have a great husband who kind of pushed me back out there.
But the reason it didn't do well, there's two reasons. Number one, I didn't have an audience. And I have a lot of students that come to me and say, “Amy, I don't have an email list. Can I still build this digital course and get it out into the world?” or “I don’t have a lot of social-media following,” and I always say, no matter what you do online, you need an email list. No matter what you do online, you have to build an audience. So I know a lot of people in the audience right now, they work for other businesses. But the most important thing is growing that email list. I think it's more important than anything else you can do in your business.
I live by this motto that if you double your list, you could double your revenue. I really do believe that. And over the last fourteen years, we've generated over eighty-five million dollars in revenue, selling digital courses. But we've done that because every year we're focusing on growing our email list. So that was my first mistake. I didn't really have an email list.
KYLE: Didn't have the audience.
AMY: And the second thing why my product didn't work is that I launched something where I didn't have a 10 percent edge in it, and now I teach my students to have a 10 percent edge.
AMY: So a 10 percent edge is before you ever create anything, in the business you work at now or as a side business that you want to create, you have to have gotten results for yourself or for somebody else before you teach it. It seems like that's, “Of course,” but when you're newer in entrepreneurship, you're just desperate to do something, and so I hurried to get it out. And I taught people how to use social media to launch a book, how to launch a book with social media.
AMY: The funny thing is I didn't launch a book until this year, so why was I teaching that fourteen years ago? I don't know. And I didn’t know it well, so I shouldn’t have been teaching it. So I tell my students, you’ve got to find your 10 percent edge. Everyone in the room has one. You probably have a few, things that you've gotten results at where other people are like, “How did you do that? Show me how.” So that's another area I missed.
KYLE: Yeah. I love that. And the folks who are practitioners who can build up that credibility, to your point, then they can launch things and build that following.
KYLE: And you just need to be able to find what that is so, then, you can start to push things out.
KYLE: One of the things—we talked about your first launch, some of your pivots—one of the things that I really envy about your business is you've done a nice balance of branding your courses—
KYLE: —List Builders Society, the growth system—and then, obviously, using your personal brand to grow the podcast and the email list. How do you see that balance? I think a lot of folks here work for brands—
KYLE: —and the brand generally comes first, but we've heard a lot of conversations about personality-driven content, leveraging yourself, your credibility. How do you talk about that balance with your team?
AMY: You know, it is a tricky balance. I love this question because it never really has come easy in my business. I always thought it was one or the other: you're either a personal brand or a company brand. But as I was preparing for having this conversation with you, I realized it really is both. You make a great point. The way you sent me the question around that, I'm like, “Oh, he sees this as both in one company,” and I think that’s so very true. And now that I've looked at my business, it is, I have a personal brand. I mean, my website’s amyporterfield.com. Like, you can't get more personal brand than that. But at the same time, we're starting to expand the business, and other people in my company are starting to show up a little bit in different ways, where I don't want it just to be me.
AMY: And I built a personal brand, but I'd really like to move toward more of a company brand, to have more voices in the company, more faces in the company.
But I will say the personal brand side of it I don't think will ever go away because that is what connects people to me, right?
AMY: It makes them want to know what I know and learn more about me and be connected. But when I think about a personal brand, I always think about, how much do I want to share?
AMY: Right? And my husband is not really big on social media and would love for me to put down my phone 90 percent of the time, and so he doesn't really love me recording our whole personal life. But it's important that I have some of that in my business.
So I made this rule that when I share on social media, especially the hard stuff—you know, people love to know the challenges—
KYLE: Of course.
AMY: —the messy middle, all of that—well, I made a commitment to share the scars, not the scabs. And so when you think—it's kind of gross—but when you think of a scab, a little kid that skins their knee—
AMY: —it’s oozy, goozey. It's still kind of happening, and it's kind of gross. And you're in it; you haven’t really gone beyond it. A scab is something where, if you look at it metaphorically, you’re still in it; you’re still learning the lesson.
A scar is, “I've learned the lesson. I've come out the other end. Here's what I learned.” That's where I think as a personal brand you can add the most value, when you share your scars—you’re honest. You’re open. You’re vulnerable—but you're not sharing when you're in the messy middle, and you don't have a lot to offer except to say, “Look at me. I'm a hot mess. I'm so relatable.” I'm not into that. I just like to wait till I kind of get through it and then share the scars from there.
AMY: And that has served me well.
KYLE: And I love that. The scars, to—
AMY: Oh, thank you.
KYLE: Absolutely. The scars, to your last point, you’ve gotten through it.
AMY: Yeah. I’ve gotten through it.
KYLE: You have the learnings, and now I can actually teach people how to avoid those—
KYLE:—so they don’t get those scars, right?
AMY: For sure.
KYLE: And you've started to share some more personal stuff on your social—
AMY: I have.
KYLE: —alongside your business. That was one of the things you shared in our first call. How have you thought about that content balance of pushing the courses, promoting the podcast, and then your personal life?
AMY: You know, it’s interesting. I'm in a launch right now, and we're doing a lot of social media and a lot of Reels on Instagram—
AMY: —a lot of ManyChat funnels and all that good stuff. And what we've noticed with this launch is I'm sharing a lot of behind the scenes and a lot of the mindset shifts I had to make to get to the place I am today.
AMY: So I'm not sharing a lot of “This is how you create a digital course. These are the steps you take.” I do that in my podcast all day long—
AMY: —I'll do that in educational videos to promote the course. But in my social, I am keeping it more personal, more mindset based, and it's working so well.
But it's funny because I recently—not that recent; maybe, like, eight months ago—I had a video that went viral, and I was so excited because I have never had a viral video. I'm not really good at social. You're not going to see me dancing on TikTok. You're not going to see me do the latest trend. My team would love it, but I can't do it. However, I had this video on TikTok and Instagram go viral.
Now, I’ve been creating content for fourteen years. I've got over ten thousand hours of content creation, and I'm really into professional content: how to create a course, how to grow an email list, how to build a business. So all the content I've taught is very marketing heavy.
However, I made one silly video with my husband, who doesn't even use social media, and the video is a little play on how much I love his sexy beard. And so made this stupid video, forty million views.
KYLE: Oh, my goodness.
AMY: My one chance to go viral and it's about a beard. And so I'm mad about it. And I couldn't believe of all the content I've created. And my husband had the audacity to ask me, “So how much money did we make on that video?” “Zero, babe. We made zero dollars. You're welcome.”
AMY: So, yeah.
So I've been creating content for a long time, and social's a very big part of what we do. But I always say, if you're using social in a way that is not getting people onto your email list, you literally are wasting so much time. Like, our number one objective—beyond engaging, beyond connecting—is to get people on our email list, because social media’s fickle, and it will come and go, right? Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk can change that algorithm, and the way you do business will change overnight. But if you have an email list, that's not the case.
A few years ago, actually, maybe a year and a half, Facebook and Instagram went down. Do you remember that day?
KYLE: I do.
AMY: Totally went black. It was like the world didn't exist anymore. And that morning, we just so happened to send an email to a segment of my list about a program I've had for years but they hadn't purchased it yet. So it was an email telling them about, “Hey, I've got this program about list building. You would love it.” Well, by that afternoon, we had made seventeen thousand dollars on one email when social media was down.
AMY: And to me, that was such a great reminder that you do not have to fully rely on social media if you grow your email list.
KYLE: Yeah. And I love that strategic framework because the email list, folks have signed up to hear from you.
KYLE: They want you in their inbox, whether it's daily or weekly. Our Hustle daily email is delivered every day, and we know folks are excited to read those headlines and consume that. And last night we were talking a little bit about our ability to use email to build our business. And so can you just talk through what that life cycle looks like? So you're using social clearly to promote the business.
KYLE: You get people into the email list. How do you get them to sign up for the course?
AMY: Yeah. So this is a big one. Growing the email list, we've tried to look at it as an 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time, we’re offering value; 20 percent of the time, we’re promoting. The biggest mistake I see people make with their email list—and this works for if you're your personal brand or you work for a company—is during a promotion, you're not sending enough emails. If you're not a little uncomfortable with the number of emails you're sending during a promotion, you're probably not sending enough.
And what I mean by that is I, obviously, promote digital courses. Now, number one, email marketing to promote anything is not enough. I really do believe you need a selling vehicle in between the email marketing. So I love webinars. To me, webinars are alive and well, and they have been for many, many years. And I believe a webinar works so well to sell a digital product specifically or any kind of technology because you give amazing value before you sell.
I have this motto when I get on a live webinar, I always tell myself, no matter if they buy or not, they walk away feeling excited and inspired and driven to take action. And so whether they buy from me or not in that moment, I know that they're going to stick around. I know that when they're ready, they're going to come back.
So webinars, you get to teach for forty minutes, and then you sell, let's say, for twenty, and you've earned that right to sell. And when they don't buy from the webinar, that's where email marketing is a big play after that. They've seen the webinar; they know what's going on; they just haven't made a decision yet.
AMY: So we use a lot of email marketing after a webinar to really get those sales.
KYLE: love that. So you're using the webinar to give context, add value, and then follow up.
You mentioned the value exchange.
KYLE: We talk a lot about offering value before extracting value, and we do it through education. I think what would be helpful for folks that are developing their content programs, what is the value you're providing? So what type of content are you developing for folks on your email list and in those webinars before you say, “And by the way, we have this course that may be a good fit for you”?
AMY: So there's two things when I'm offering value before I sell what I'm focusing on. Number one is you have to change their mindset. Where they're at right now, they feel as though they're not ready to buy your software, to buy your product, to embrace this challenge that they've been having. Most people think they're not ready. So half of your battle for your pre-launch, before you sell, is getting them into a mindset of saying, “Okay. I'm ready to do this. Let's go.”
AMY: Like, by the time somebody gets on my webinar, I'm not convincing them that they should create a digital course; I'm convincing them that I'm the girl that they should learn from. And the way I get them to a place on that webinar to already know they want to create a digital course, now they're just deciding if they want to buy from me, is that pre-launch content, the value you're talking about.
So I do a lot of mindset shifts, but I also do a lot of why? not a lot of how? How? is what people are paying you for, the step-by-step roadmap. The why? why is it important? In my case, what a digital course will do for you, how it allows you to have more freedom, how it allows you to move from one on one to one to many, how you can launch and then have whitespace, and you’re not always, always pushing. That’s what a digital course will do for you.
So I talk a lot about the why? in the pre launch, and then in a webinar, I start to get a little into the how? and then invite them into the course.
And with that, I'd like to shift into just how things are shifting for your team and consumer-behavior shifting. It sounds like you've built your funnel, your content program, you have your social plays, your email list, your webinar, and then the course.
KYLE: And there's kind of this clear path that you want to bring people on. You've been doing this for over ten years. There's been a lot of change. To your point, Instagram's gone down; they've launched Threads. Twitter is going through a transition now. But consumers are moving more to video-based content—
KYLE: —and you've spent a lot of time in the text world and audio world. How are you thinking about that transition? How do you make those pivots as your potential customers are consuming elsewhere?
AMY: You know, I've been doing this for so long that many, many years ago, when I would create courses and deliver content, it would be no big deal to create an hour-long video and just say, “Here's how to do it,” and have several hour-long videos in a digital course. Today you could never get away with that.
AMY: We're talking ten-minute videos. And let's say if you wanted to teach something for an hour, we've got to break those up into ten-minute videos so that people feel like they're getting that momentum. And I blame TikTok and Instagram Reels and all the instant gratification that we get. And so one, I think video is alive and well and still growing within digital courses, digital spaces.
But I think the videos, it's harder to capture people's attention and keep them. So the shorter the video, the better, even when you're teaching inside of a digital course. So all my courses, each video is between ten and fifteen minutes max.
AMY: And so there's just more videos but just easier to get through. So that's one thing we're seeing.
KYLE: And have you made a shift in—you've shortened the video length. Have you shifted your courses and how long they are? Are you just seeing people wanting to stick around for a day, a week, two weeks, thirty days? Like, how long are the courses you've developed for them?
AMY: So I have a few different courses, and some you can get through in the weekend if you're pretty diligent; and others, my signature course, Digital Course Academy, it's nine weeks. And one thing that I’m seeing—and this came out of COVID, is that I think nine, ten, twelve weeks, that's fine for education when you're teaching. But what we've seen really make a difference is you have to have a live component in a digital course.
AMY: The fact that just giving it to them, everything's prerecorded, having them go do their thing, I don't think it works as well anymore. Coming out of COVID, people want that connection. They want to be here in person. And so doing live Q&As on Zoom, Slack channels, Voxer, something where there's more of a real personal touch, I'm seeing that absolutely necessary for your course to be successful.
KYLE: Yeah. That's so smart. We've been talking about our content strategy on YouTube and on TikTok, and you're introducing yourself and personalities at HubSpot. But then what's the next step?
KYLE: And folks really, you know, gravitate towards those personalities, follow those channels. But then, I think you’ve nailed it with the email list—
KYLE: —and the live component because you’re building that community. And then they’re a little more dedicated, they're excited for the next thing you're coming out with, and then you're able to introduce them to the product.
KYLE: You mentioned Slack, you mentioned Events. I met Jaws, your new CEO, last night. How have you thought about expanding your business? So that’s one thing as marketers, once we launch a program, we want to expand it, to your point, into the live sessions and community. When's the right time to build out our team? How do you have your team focused on these different initiatives?
AMY: So recently, about six months ago, we decided we were going to build a coaching program inside of my business, and so we started to build up this coaching program to teach our coach people one on one how to create their digital course. We hired a small sales team. I've never had that before. We have coaches on the team. It was a big deal. So we started to build up the team more to support this. And then, I hired a consultant just to make sure that the health of my business, that my business was healthy and thriving in the right way. And so we brought in this consultant that I really trusted, and he said, “This coaching program that you're going to launch is going to take you off of your core competencies. You're doing too much too fast.”
AMY: And he said, “I really, I would pause this or just kind of kill it for now.” And we're talking six months of beta testing, money, people hired. But he was right. When Jaws and I really looked into it, we realized, wait a second, we need to pause for a minute.
AMY: So as humbling as it was and embarrassing, I killed a coaching program that was two days away from launching.
AMY: So I had to go to my team and get their buy in that, yeah, we're going to slow this down. But I tell you that to say, sometimes it's easy to start building up your team so fast, and “We're going to do this. We're going to do that.” But what I've learned from this consultant that I'm working with is less is more. And he looked at my business, and I have two digital courses and one membership, and he said, “You could literally double your multi-million-dollar revenue in a year if you would just focus more on what you do well.”
AMY: And I think that's a great lesson for all of us. We're all looking to add and perfect and innovate in our business. And I think that's important. But at the same time, if we add too much, if we do too much, too many spinning plates, and you will absolutely dilute what you do best in your business. And I think that was an important message. So we're not doing the coaching program right now.
KYLE: Yeah. But I think it's also smart to pause, right?
KYLE: Sometimes the decision is to pause. “We're going to pivot, and—
KYLE: —“we'll revisit it.” And I think the focus, to your point, is such an important message. We talk a lot about it with our programs, where we want to try new campaigns, we want to try new promotions, but we know two channels: drive the views and drive the leads. And it's like if we just focus here and we really do perfect it, the business will grow.
KYLE: So that's a great message.
What I’d love to steer to for the audience is where should they start? You've built up this program and this business over ten years. You have the courses, the podcast, the social presence, the email list. If I'm a marketer at a company right now, I want to build up this program, build an audience, what channel or product should they think about launching first?
AMY: You know, and it's such a great question, I think when we think about wanting to build up the business, I do think a digital course—I'm biased, obviously—
KYLE: Sure, sure.
AMY: —but to make my argument, I do think a digital course allows you to offer something that maybe your core offer isn't right for everyone. A lot of people who do one-on-one coaching, consulting, or any kind of service-based business, there's a lot of people that aren't ready for that just yet. And a digital course is a great inviter into a business to get people to understand how you work, what you're about, really get them started so that they want to go deeper with you. So I see a lot of people doing a digital course as a feeder into the business and then selling into ten-thousand-, twenty-thousand-dollar bigger packages when appropriate.
AMY: So I really do think that's a great way to get in. But it really starts with content.
And you know this, coming from HubSpot. I don't think any business today can really thrive without a podcast or a video show. I really do believe if you want to build your brand, a podcast or a video show is going to put you on the map. And I think the secret to it is that consistency every single week.
KYLE: Absolutely. And I think that's an important message, too, because you have to continuously add value and build that audience over time. One of the things we talk about is you launch something, and to your earlier story, it may not work.
KYLE: It may not work. The first month, first three months, first six months, you get a little stale, the audience isn't coming in. How have you continued to change your show and build that and build new audience over time? So have you hit points where the show has plateaued and you're like, “Okay. I need to figure out how I find new audience and bring them in”?
AMY: Yeah. So I've had my podcast since 2013, and we really struggled for a few years to grow the podcast. We were stuck at about five hundred thousand downloads a month and could not get past that. And so I know you had him on your stage, John Lee Dumas.
AMY: He's a good friend of mine. And we went on a trip many years ago, and I was telling him, “My podcast isn’t growing.” And he said, “Are you podcasting every single week?” And back in the day I wasn't. And so that one little shift, “Every single week,” he said, “rain or shine, you got to get your podcast out.” That changed everything.
But then, recently, I had a conversation with him, and I said, “I want to get to over a million downloads a month. I'm really struggling.” And he said, “Two episodes a week. You've got to do at least two episodes a week.” And he was right. The minute we went to two episodes a week, about a year ago, boom, we got there, and now we're averaging over a million downloads a month. And it's also the consistency.
But we've tried a lot of things. One thing that's helped us is every quarter we do a podcast promotion. So we take a week of time and we are just focused on getting more downloads and subscriptions on the podcast. We might do a contest that week. We might have a quiz that goes out, where you kind of answer some questions and we give you a playlist of what episodes you should listen to. So we really make an effort to every single quarter focus on the podcast for at least one week in a bigger way than normal. And that's helped also.
KYLE: I think that's so smart. With the podcast, a lot of folks think of it as a distribution play, but it's actually a media product.
KYLE: It needs to be introduced to an audience, and so I think focusing quarterly on a campaign to go reach people… When you launch those campaigns, what are some of the most successful tactics you've seen for bringing new people into the show?
AMY: So one of the ones that worked the best is the one I mentioned. We created a quiz, and it was something about, like, your entrepreneurial style, because that's what I teach. And so they take this quiz, and then at the end, we give them a playlist of the ten episodes—I have over six hundred episodes—so just the top ten episodes they should be listening to based on where they are in their entrepreneurial journey. That worked like gangbusters. And the beautiful thing is after that week, we got tons of new leads, tons of new subscribers, but then, the quiz can live on. We can keep it up on different channels. We promote it on our podcast. So that one has worked really well for us.
KYLE: I love that. And it sounds like you're very focused on building things to be sustainable. I think—
AMY: Absolutely, yes.
KYLE: —we want to fill the leads pipeline. We want to drive those downloads. We run Facebook ads or LinkedIn ads, trying to reach that new audience. But I think what you had just shared is we actually built a piece of content to promote our media property.
KYLE: And then it can live on and continuously build on that. So as you're building the show, one thing that came up, I was in my booth earlier, and I asked folks, “What questions should I ask Amy when we're up there?” And one of them that came up was, “What's next? What's next?” I think there’s a lot of conversations about change in our industry and the content programs. What are you and your team focused on? You mentioned pausing—
KYLE: —the course, but what do the next six, twelve months look like for you?
AMY: So I know this isn't going to seem super sexy or exciting, but it will definitely make a difference. We're focusing on scaling the business right now. We want to hit that twenty-million-dollar mark in a year, in a year's time. And so to do that, I'm doing exactly what that consultant said. We're not going to launch the coaching program. We're going to focus on the core competencies and do more of what's working. And so I like the fact that I don't have a lot of spinning plates in the air. I like that I don't have so many offers people don't know what I'm about. I think it's important that whether you're in a business or you’re a personal brand, when someone says your name or your company, they know exactly what you do. So if someone were to say, “Amy Porterfield,” most people in my world would know, oh, she teaches you how to create digital courses. That is very intentional. And so I want to do less but make more—make more impact, make more revenue—and focus on what's really working and not add a lot of bells and whistles. But at the same time, the things that we do well, I want to expand and do different things. So let me give you an example.
AMY: I've been selling digital courses for a long time, and I do them with webinars, as I mentioned. But I wanted to challenge my team and I and do something different. So two years ago we launched a boot camp, and it was a free boot camp for, like, thirty days, leading into me selling a two-thousand-dollar course. Well, it did well, but not great. It converted at, like, 4 percent, the boot camp. So the next year we said, let's do the boot camp again, but we're going to charge for it. So we charged forty-seven dollars for a boot camp, and it's how to kick start your digital course. And we shortened it. So that's another thing that we're seeing, and I mentioned this, shorter time frames work better for conversion. And so we shortened the boot camp, we charged forty-seven dollars, and we converted at 25 percent.
AMY: So I really do believe there's something about when people pay, they pay attention, and the shorter time frame. And again, from the boot camp, I then sold my digital course through a webinar, and it was just the perfect combination. So I've been selling courses forever, I've been using webinars, but to add a boot camp, it was a whole new challenge.
AMY: And the thing is, we spent seven thousand dollars, not a lot of money, but to learn how to do boot camps. I'm fourteen years in, and I definitely am still taking other people's courses, paying other people to teach us what we don’t know, and that was the best money spent. Someone on my team took the course, learned how to do these boot camps, and they have made us millions and millions of dollars.
AMY: So one thing I've learned along the way is never stop investing in your learning and growing. You got to spend money to make money. I really do believe that.
KYLE: Sure. And the other thing is you developed another piece of content to promote your business, right?
KYLE: I think you've built that flywheel, that cycle that's extremely helpful, where you're bringing people in through one piece of content and introducing them to another piece of value. With the boot camp, can you share with folks, like, what does preproduction look like? How do you develop? What's the lead time? Are you putting a boot camp together in thirty days? Is it a full quarter? How many people are working on it?
AMY: I love this question. I love this question because one thing that I teach with courses is you make one course and then your goal is to launch it over and over and over again. What I learned from Tony Robbins is that if you keep reinventing the wheel, if you keep starting from scratch, you will slow down your scaling of your business. So you don't want to always start over. So with this boot camp, we did it three years ago and then last year and now we're doing it, like, literally in two weeks, and it takes us—it's so much easier to put together because it's our third time, and that's where you want to get. You don't always want to be starting over.
So probably in the last thirty days, it probably took us sixty days—we’re perfectionists over at my company.
AMY: It’s not my fault; it’s my team. But they’re going to make it great—but probably a good sixty days to get everything in place. But we're refining now, we're not starting from scratch, and that's why we've seen bigger boot-camp enrollment this year than ever before. And I think it's because we're not starting from scratch. We know what we're doing. We just made it better.
AMY: So about thirty to sixty days to get it going.
KYLE: Thirty to sixty. And I think that's a good reminder because a lot of us will try to launch campaigns, get them out the door, thirty days and run that flight. But spending the time in preproduction and planning is just so important.
KYLE: And I think one thing, a message you've mentioned to the group is just the focus, the iteration, and being able to get something out there, and developing that content to bring people in is just so smart.
AMY: Yeah, for sure.
KYLE: So as we're getting closer to time, I think we're trying to figure out a couple of things around what type of content should people be focused on? We talked about your podcast. We talked about the boot camps. The webinars are still in the plans—
KYLE: —for years to come. You mentioned the community earlier, and that's something we've been talking about a lot, where live events, online, Slack community, can you share the details in how you've developed that and engaged your audience?
KYLE: Is it something you're doing up front to bring people in, build a community, and eventually introduce them to your course? Or is it mostly folks who have already taken your course, and you're just trying to reengage and bring them back in?
AMY: I have two types of communities that help run my business. The first one is like the boot camp, so it will be a lot of community building, a lot of accountability with partners, people getting to know each other, and I'm live in the boot camp. So that community is where it all starts. But from there, when people get into my course, like, the nine-week course, I have a private Facebook group. We still use Facebook groups. What we found—I love Circle. I love some of the other options, but people are still on Facebook, and when I take them to Circle, they're not showing up in the community as much as if I just keep them in a private Facebook group. So I still do private Facebook groups. But in my Digital Course Academy, community is everything. I believe people get to the finish line faster in a digital course when they have other people around them that are doing the same thing. So we are intentional about our community. We have many community managers in the group for the nine weeks. It's not just me. And we're constantly asking questions, getting them to talk, putting them in pods, doing Zoom groups. So we do believe that community is a very big piece of this.
But I don't have any private communities outside of when I'm launching—
AMY: —or when my course is over.
AMY: And the reason for that is I do like to step back and not always be on. And so being intentional about when I build communities, I think has helped with that.
KYLE: I love that.
Well, thank you so much.
AMY: Thank you.
KYLE: I think the lessons today, our focus, really starting to figure out what is the one thing I'm going to be great at—
AMY: Less is more.
KYLE: —build that out.
KYLE: Less it more. Build that out with my team. Move on to the next thing and always develop content to offer value—
KYLE: —and then bring folks in.
But Amy, thank you so much.
AMY: Thank you. Thank you all for being here.
KYLE: It was a pleasure talking to you.
AMY: Thank you.