Transcript: How Can I Be The Expert If I’m Just Starting Out?

May 5, 2016

 AMY PORTERFIELD:  Well hello there! Amy Porterfield here. Welcome to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m excited about today because we are going into our second episode of a two-part series all about creating online training courses. 

Last week was all about how to price your course. I know that is a hot topic that comes up again and again. But I actually wanted to backup in this episode and talk to you about becoming an expert inside your online course. 

When I was first starting out about six years ago I remember being afraid of so many different things. One of the biggest things I was really afraid of was putting out content, posting, making videos, and then no one actually reading or watching what I was doing. I asked myself how could I be an expert if I was brand new at all of this and no one is paying attention to what I’m doing. 

In my head I thought that so-called experts have bazillions of adoring fans and they are featured on huge stages and on TV and if you don’t have that kind of clout you obviously must be a fraud. I know that sounds ridiculous but I really felt that way. I think at times you may feel like a fraud as well. At least most of the people I have talked about who are building businesses online at one point or another say to themselves, “Who do you think you are? You really shouldn’t be teaching this. Are you crazy?” 

That little ugly voice rears its little ugly head sometimes more often than not. When you’re just starting out you’re not sure about your content and you’re not incredibly sure about your audience. You’re not seeing the likes and comments that you think everybody else is getting. 

When I worked with Tony Robbins, he used to say we all primarily have two fears:

  1. We’re not enough, and
  2.  We won’t be loved. I know I’m going somewhere different 

here and we’re talking mindset but I think at the end of the day these two fears (we’re not enough and we won’t be loved) hold us back in any area of our life, especially when we are building our online businesses. 

I remember when I built my first online course I was scared I didn’t know the right information, I didn’t have the right content, I wouldn’t attract the right audience, and in the end I wanted to make that connection with my audience. I wanted to be loved by my potential students and I wanted to be respected as an expert as well. 

The truth is now looking back after all these years I truly believe this about myself and my students, you can be the expert inside your online course even if you’re just starting out, even if you’re not swarmed by hundreds of thousands of fans. The truth is, right now, this minute, you are enough. 

I want to share with you five course creation reminders that I’ve used while building my business. If you’re thinking about building a course in the near future or maybe you’ve just felt like a fraud in your business and are getting stuck with the mindset stuff I think you’ll find these reminders incredibly valuable. 

Before we get into it I want to tell you about this week’s freebie. Whether you’re a coach, consultant, speaker, freelancer, or service provider of any kind, owning your own course is a game changer that can have a dramatic effect on your income and impact. It is the biggest key to leveraging your efforts and stepping out of the time- for-money trap that so many entrepreneurs get stuck in and rarely escape. 

If you’ve waited for the right time to take that very first step to creating an online course then I can’t wait to reward your patience with the training that will set you and your business up in an amazing new direction. Recently I have reverse engineered the biggest lessons I’ve learned from five of my own successful online courses that have served over 38,000 entrepreneurs while generating $6.4 million in revenue. 

I put all of those key lessons in a brand new free master class. My live master class is called, “How to Confidently Create Your First Six-Figure Course in 60 Days” and before it’s too late I want you to grab your virtual seat. To do so, go to http:// and you can get your seat now and I’ll see you there live. 

Let’s go ahead and jump in to those five course creation reminders. 

Reminder #1 – Your Newness is an Advantage 

Expertise is a sliding scale. You don’t need to wait until you’re the world’s most sought after expert before creating your course. As long as you’re a little further ahead than the segment you’re seeking to serve and you know you can deliver results (that’s extra important) you’re relative newness can be an advantage that makes you appear more empathetic and relatable. 

I love watching people who are just starting out themselves. They are quirky, they are funny, and they are vulnerable. That’s a key word here. That feels real to me. Just remember, stay true to your personality, really embrace your quirkiness whatever that might be, and let that come out in all you do when you teach lessons inside your course. Again, your newness is actually an advantage. 

When you’re just starting out and you’re thinking that you’ve got to be an expert in “this” before you teach it, I want you to remember a few things: 

¬ You don’t need to be an honorary PhD at an Ivy League school or a world-class authority whose books have been translated in 82 yet to be discovered languages. No one needs this level of expert training in your course. They need you and exactly who you are right now. You know the adage, “Less is More”? Indeed, here, it is. Keep it simple when you’re starting out, stick to  your message, and worry less about translating your message in a million ways to people. Do you, inside your course, teach your content impeccably? Again, your newness will shine through in a really positive way. 

¬ You don’t need to be a blogger or podcast creator extraordinaire. It’s okay if you haven’t been blogging or podcasting for months or years to earn your right to build a profitable online class. Blogging and podcasting for a really long time is not a way to earn your right. To earn your right you’ve got to know your content and you need to know that you can get results. Whether you’ve gotten results for yourself or other people, it’s important that you know how to translate what you’ve done into a lesson so that other people can take those steps and get the results they are after. 

¬ You don’t need to be a tech genius or marketing guru or anything like that. Some of the most profitable online teachers are camera shy technophobes who, despite their hesitation to embark on this project, choose to step up to the responsibility to teach in a profitable, scalable, and impactful way. Be that person. 

It’s hard to remember but we all started out somewhere. I often think of my mentor, Marie Forleo. She didn’t start out appearing on Oprah. She started out as a bartender and from there she grew and grew and grew. Think about the people you admire and remember that they started out at the beginning just like you. 

Reminder #2 – You Have Amazing Teaching Skills 

You might not know of your teaching skills just yet but you’ve got them. If you can hone in on what makes you unique, I call it your secret sauce or your hook, and incorporate it into your teaching style, you will be one of the few online course creators that will captivate your audience one lesson at a time. 

This is my specialty. I think the way I teach makes me unique in my industry. I think that because I feel really confident and really good when I’m teaching and how you feel actually says a lot about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Beyond just that, the feedback I get is always around my teaching style and my step by step and my patience and compassion and all that good stuff. 

I don’t tell you all of that to brag, even though it sounds like I am, but because I want to give you some of my secrets to success in terms of cultivating your own teaching style and how you teach inside your course. 

Secrets to World-Class Teacher Success 

Tip #1 – Sequence and Syntax Matter – Inside your course, being knowledgeable about a topic is really different than knowing how to teach it. The order in which you unveil your content will make a huge impact in your students’ ability to implement it. When you’re teaching, or even backing up more, when you’re thinking about the content you’re going to put in your course, I always suggest that my students create a really fleshed out outline. 

When I’m teaching this outlined process I teach in my course, I tell my students we want to uncover a series of steps or a process or a system. Systems sell. There is no doubt about it. This doesn’t pertain to everybody but it pertains to more of my students than not, there’s got to be some kind of sequence to what you teach and if your students can follow along like they are going on a journey with you as you teach, they are going to get results so much more quickly than if it felt scattered or unorganized to them. 

Again, I want you to start thinking about how you can put your course lessons into steps, a process, a blueprint, phases, or ultimately some kind of system. It makes a huge difference. And, it’s easier to create the content when you do it that way. 

Tip #2 – Set expectations throughout your program –My second secret to becoming a world-class teacher inside your own course, which again, sets you apart from 99% of the competition, is to set your expectations throughout your program. When your students know what to expect and where they are going they are more committed to staying with you on the journey. 

One of the biggest frustrations that I have as a course creator is when my students don’t go entirely through the program. Full disclosure, I’ve purchased programs where I haven’t gone entirely through the program. I probably even have a few that I haven’t even started. So if you ever have what I call “program junkie” guilt, I’ve totally been there. But, those courses that I start and finish all have something in common and that is that the course creators set the expectations for me. 

I don’t know about you, but before I start anything really important I’ve got to know where you’re taking me. It’s kind of like if my husband came home and said, “Amy, we’re going on a hike and it’s going to be a five-hour hike and you’re going to love it.” 

I need some specifics before I go out on that hike with him. I want to know where we’re going, what that hike’s going to look like and all the details. I know that might sound terrible because it might mean that I’m not so spontaneous and that might be true. But when I know where I’m going and what to expect, I’m all in. I’m totally committed. 

That’s how it works inside courses with your students as well. Let me tell you how I do that. One of the things, like my secret to success inside courses, is that before every single module I have a snapshot video. The way I do courses and a lot of the way I teach inside my course is that I teach people how to first create modules and then create lessons inside that module. 

Let’s say it’s Module 1 and I have three lessons. I start out the module with a snapshot video. In that snapshot video I talk about the three lessons they’re going to learn. I don’t just tell them about what they’re going to learn, I tell them why it’s important. This is a two-minute video. It’s really short but I’m setting expectations so they go on the journey with me. I’m leading you there, come with me and let me show you what we’re going to do. Those snapshot videos make a big difference in getting the commitment from my students. 

Another thing I do is start every lesson inside my course with a slide that says, “Here’s what you’ll discover.” There are usually three or four bullets and I just map out what we are going to learn in that specific lesson. The module is the big picture and now I want to get really focused and specific on maybe one specific tactic or strategy so every single lesson starts with a slide. 

“Here’s what you’ll discover,” is one of my signature slides you will see throughout. I want you to start thinking about what your signature slides might look like. That repetition that my students are seeing builds a lot of trust and affinity as well. 

Tip #3 – Develop your signature teaching style – this is incredibly unique just to you. Developing a signature teaching style will set you apart from your competition and will solidify your relationship with your students. They become die hard students. They will start to love how you teach because you actually took the time to make it very specific and very unique to your personality and your strengths. 

Let me give you some examples of my teaching signature style that maybe you can incorporate in yours. 

¬ In every one of my lessons I have a slide that says, “Where you might get stuck.” This is actually really specific to my Webinars That Convert course. In that course there are some areas where my students might get stuck, maybe mentally or with an actual technique strategy. So much of what we teach has to do with mindset. Throughout a course you want to be inspiring the whole time. Sometimes I’ll teach something in my Webinars That Convert course and I’ll say, “This one might stop you in your tracks because you might start doubting your ability to do XYZ. So, don’t let this part get you stuck. Here’s what you do.” I have special slides to really point out those sticky bits that might stop my students dead in their tracks. That’s one of my signature teaching style points that I put inside my course. 

¬ The final slide in all of my lessons is a slide that says, “Make it Real.” I want my students to take action so I always give them an action item that will help them take action right away on what they just learned. My lessons are usually pretty intense. I have a lot to share because I go step by step. At the end I say, “That was probably a lot but here’s what you need to do next.” I end with that. That’s beyond just setting expectations but it’s my way of taking care of my students. One of my styles is to hold your hand throughout the process and to be patient and really compassionate with you because I know this is all new. So you need to start thinking about your style. I know some course creators that are incredibly sarcastic, super funny in their courses, they lead with tough love, no BS, and are totally different than my style and I love it because it’s them. You don’t need to be like me by any means. You’ve just got to let your own style shine through because they will feel it. They will know  it’s  genuine  and authentic so they are going to go along on that journey with you because they feel you are being real with them. So finding your own signature style is really important. 

¬ Another way to do this is through your unique stories, examples that you have curated, different images that you can share. That also creates a signature style because they get to see you behind the scenes. 

Those are three secrets to becoming a world-class teacher inside an online course. I wanted to leave you with one extra little bonus tip to becoming a better teacher. This one is coming to you straight from my dad, J.B., circa sometime in 1980-something. Here it is: My dad used to take me to school in the morning. When he would drop me off at grade school I would be getting out of the car and right before I shut the door he would always say, “Have a good day, Amy. Remember, listen more than you talk.” 

He said it so many times it’s ingrained in my head. He would say, “Listen more than you talk.” You probably knew I was a talker. I would get “talking” on my report card and get in trouble for it. My dad knew me well. But I think of that now and I think that my dad was a pretty smart guy because when you’re creating courses you’ve got to listen to your students before you create the course, while they’re in the course, and after they create the course. 

You can do this through surveys or private Facebook groups just for your course students. However you want to do it, listen more than you talk. Your students will be happy to tell you what’s working, where they’re getting stuck, and the amazing results they are getting with your content. You can thank J.B. for that one. 

Reminder #3 – Commitment Will Push You To The Front of the Line 

Honestly, I’ve seen so many false starts with course creation from people who just don’t follow through. I have compassion for that because I know that a lot of mental roadblocks get in the way and a lot of false priorities, thinking other things are more important, get in the way as well. 

A lot of people also do not finish their course because they don’t treat their course creation as a project. That is truly exactly what it is. I am not here to tell you that creating a course is easy. It takes time, it takes focus (for sure), and it definitely takes commitment. However, when done right, an online course can be your business’s best, most leveraged asset but only when you treat it accordingly and show it the love it deserves. 

If you’re interested in creating courses, I want you to find the time to commit to your course. If you don’t think you have the time then think about where you can save from different areas of your life. You may need to reprioritize your week, changeup commitments in order to make the time to build your course, or get really honest with yourself and ask where you are spending time that you are probably wasting. 

We have all done that, including myself. So, if you do a little tough love with yourself you can probably find those pockets of time that you’re wasting and we can eliminate that all together. This is one of the biggest challenges in building a course, finding the time to create something that is up to your standards. 

Think about who you can team up with to help you hold yourself accountable. Maybe it is someone you can check in with, maybe once a week, just to gauge your progress. I bet there is somebody else out there that is creating a course and the two of you can come together weekly for quick 30-minute calls to check  in  about  where  you promised you would be spending your time, what you’ve got done, and what you need to do the following week. If you schedule that time with someone you will make that happen. 

Reminder #4 – What You Know Has Weight 

When I was first starting out to teach content I did my research, I studied, I made sure I know what I was talking about and that I was talking about areas that mattered. That comes back to listening more than you talk. I listened to my students to figure out what was going on. 

Your perspective is crucial to your students; how you see the world and how you see the content in terms of how you’re teaching it, this matters tremendously. Remember that you are the expert when it comes to your voice, your content, and your audience. They want to hear your fresh take and all the passion and drive you give with it. 

If you’re afraid of your competition, which we will talk about next, don’t be. You have something that differentiates you and makes you stand apart in a sea of experts. Embrace that uniqueness. Again, a reminder, what you know has weight. And you’ve got to believe in the content that you’re going to put in your course. That just might mean you have to push yourself a little bit more to have the confidence in knowing that what you have to share with the world is a must. Your students need it. You’ve got to believe in yourself. 

Reminder #5 – Competition is Good 

Another fear I had when I first started out was that everybody else was teaching social media marketing. There were some huge names teaching it right when I came onto the scene. I thought, “Who is ever going to listen to me teach this stuff?” 

I quickly learned that I could put my own spin on it or differentiate myself by really listening to what my audience wanted from me. I bet you’ve already heard the saying, “Where there’s competition there’s a market.” I believe that wholeheartedly. 

The spin that really matters when it comes to the profit potential of your online course is that where there’s competition there are jaded, disillusioned customers who are more determined than ever to find a real, lasting solution. Your job is to swoop in and be their savior. 

There are so many courses out there that are not the perfect fit for some of the people that have gone through the courses. Maybe they couldn’t relate to the instructor or maybe the instructor taught in a way that wasn’t resonating with them. Even if they have already taken a course about your topic, it doesn’t mean they won’t find your course incredibly valuable. 

I want you to put your own spin on your topic. Again, differentiate yourself by really listening to what your students want from you. Your perspective, as I said earlier, is crucial to your students. Do not worry about the competition. 

There you have it, all five content creation reminders. Over the years I still hear these five reminders in my head every single time I’m creating a brand new course. 

I want to leave you with one final thought. Earlier I told you that you don’t need to be a PhD or a world-class authority with tons of books out there on the marked in order 

to teach the content that you know. You don’t need to be a long-time blogger or a long-time podcaster or a tech genius or a marketing guru. 

Here’s what you do need to be, you need to be a good listener. Remember the lesson from my dad, “Listen more than you talk.” You also need to be someone who seeks to understand. You’ve got to really understand your ideal student for your course. What do they need and want from you? What are their pain points? 

You’ve got to understand what they’ve tried in the past. What hasn’t worked for them? That’s always a telltale sign of what might work for them. You have to be  an empathizer. You need to put yourself in your students’ shoes whether you’ve already been there or maybe you’ve never been there but you really need to understand their needs and wants and you need to empathize with those fears and challenges that they might be feeling. 

You also need to be present. You need to be right there with them every step of the journey because that is going to separate you from so many courses out there. The presence makes a huge difference in getting your students to the finish line. 

Finally, you need to share. You need to share your own stories and examples and personal experiences so your students know that you really do get it and you’re in it with them for the long haul. The more you share, the more connection you’ll make with those in your course. Remember, you are legit. You are the expert because you know your stuff. So go get ‘em tiger. 

As a final reminder, I want to invite you to my limited time brand-new master class, “How to Confidently Create Your First Six-Figure Course in 60 Days.” I’m going to share with you the five key ingredients that have not only been behind my own block-buster courses but are a common thread across just about every successful online course I’ve ever seen. It’s going to be live. I want you to grab your virtual seat. All you need to do is go to and I will see you there. 

Thanks so much for being with me. I can’t wait to connect with you again soon. Bye for now. 

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