Transcript: Ten Ways to Get Your Students to the Finish Line

August 8, 2019



Well, hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and if I sound a little extra excited today, it is because I am days away from a Mexico vacation. Yep, Hobie and I are going to Cabo. We always go to the same place. It's called the One&Only Palmilla, and it's a splurge. It's pretty expensive. We go once a year for about four nights because if you buy three nights, you get the fourth night free. We like a good bargain, especially when it's that expensive. But we love this place. It is so gorgeous. There's an in—how do you say that?—infinity pool. There's an infinity pool—that was really hard for me to say for some reason—in our room, basically on our balcony, and it overlooks the ocean. So you just can go in this little—it's a little pool, and then it just overlooks the ocean. It's the most gorgeous thing. Pretty much, Hobie spends his whole time there. And we plan on sleeping in and drinking margaritas and eating chips and guac and just being together. So we have no real agenda. I cannot wait. It's going to be great. 

But I've got some work to do before I get into vacation mode, and right now I'm batching my podcast episodes. So we're doing six over the next two days. This is day two, so I've already done a bunch, and we always batch six. Some of my friends can batch, like, 20 over two days; I cannot. And batching’s important, though. So if you want to learn how to batch, I have done a podcast episode all about it. I'll link to it in the show notes of this episode. It really is a life changer for me. So if you go to, in the show notes, I’ll link to the batching episode. If you feel like you’re constantly on the content hamster wheel and you’re always doing things last minute to get an episode of a podcast live or a video live or a blog live, you’ve got to stop that craziness because it really is stifling to your creativity. So I’m all about the batching. So that's what we're doing right now. I'm in the middle of the batch. I'm feeling good, and I love, love, love today's topic.

So, today we’re talking about how to get your students to the finish line of your digital courses. So whether you're a course creator now or you're thinking about creating a course, you're going to want to know these strategies that I use in my own courses in order to get more people to the finish line, because here's the truth, and it's a very sad truth, a lot of people that buy your digital course will never make it to the finish line. And if you've ever purchased a digital course, you've probably experienced not getting to the finish line. I think we all have. That's normal. And if you are a course creator, you worry about this because you likely very much care that your students are going to get to the finish line and get results. And so as somebody who purchases digital courses, like me, and creates them, this is something I think about all the time, and the challenge is that we live in the age of information overload, where our attention is snapped away in an instant by so many different things online, and then, also, in the real world—kids and husbands and dogs and all that good stuff. So with that, it is actually a challenge to get your students to hit that finish line and get big results.

Now, best-case scenario for someone who buys a course but doesn't actually finish it is that they at least go through most of the course, watch a good portion of the lessons, actually apply some of what they've learned, and they get some results. They might not get the ultimate results that you were hoping they would get, but they feel pretty good about the results they did get. 

I've done that before. I've purchased courses and just gone through a few things. I kind of would pick and choose what I wanted to learn. I'd apply it. I'd feel good. I'm golden. 

And I say that's best-case scenario in a bad situation because I still want everyone to get to the finish line, but I know a lot of my students apply some of what they've learned even if they don't get to the end. So there is that. So that's the best-case scenario for this situation.

Now, worst-case scenario is what I really worry about the most and that is when someone purchases a program, maybe watches the welcome video, clicks around and watches a few, or maybe gets through module one, with every intention of getting to the finish line, and then life gets in the way or they get discouraged, like, right away they feel overwhelmed, or they get sidetracked or there's that next shiny object that, boom, is right in front of them so their attention goes there. Whatever it might be, some of it you can control, some of you cannot, whatever it is, they're not getting to the finish line. 

And as a course creator, as an entrepreneur who is making a living creating courses with the mission of helping other entrepreneurs and online-business owners make the money they want to make in the way they want to make it by building a profitable online business—that's my mission—so because that’s my mission, it’s incredibly important to me that my students make it to the finish line, because I want you to build a business that you love and make money in the way you want to make it. And I can't help you realize that on a really big scale if I don't get you through my programs, with big results at the end. And so, I am obsessed with this topic of getting my students and your students to the finish line of our digital courses, and so that is what this episode is all about. Whether you are a course creator now or a soon-to-be course creator, if you're thinking about creating a digital course in your business, I'm so glad you're tuning in now so you have these strategies in the back of your mind as you start to create your course over the next few months, because if you bake these strategies into your course creation and into your launches, you're going to have so much more success with getting your students to the finish line. 

And I know I don't need to say it, but I'll say it anyway: you know what happens when we get our students to the finish line, right? There are wins everywhere, for you as the course creator, the business owner; and for your students. 

For your students, they're getting results. They're actually seeing transformation. They're creating a life that they love, or they're doing something they've always wanted to do. They feel accomplished. They feel good. They're making more money or they have stronger relationships or whatever it is you're helping them do. They've lost the weight, whatever it is, they are getting the results that they paid you for. And so not only are they happier, but they feel connected to you and satisfied and really excited, so they'll tell other people about you. 

And as the course creator, you feel great when you have all these testimonials of people saying this person helped me get to these results. We want to hear that, as course creators. We want all of the testimonials we can get. So for you to get those case studies, success stories, testimonials, and for your students to feel really good and to trust you and want to buy from you again and again and again, we've got to get people to the finish line. 

So I know you knew all that, but let's just hit it home before we get into the ten different strategies that you can apply. You don’t need to do all ten, so pick and choose, but definitely choose a few of these. Good? Okay.

Before we dive in, this episode is brought to you by Gravy. Now, if you have a subscription-model business or offer payment plans, like I do for my online courses, you've got to listen up. One of my biggest frustrations was lost money due to failed payment plans. In fact, it used to keep me up at night. I would worry about all the people that were on a payment plan because if they didn't finish that payment plan, I was screwed. So that's when I decided I needed to do something about it because I hated the worry. So I started to work with Gravy, and I promise you I never worry about payment plans anymore. Gravy sets up a system inside of your business, where they contact your customers within hours of their failed payments, and they capture updated billing information and save the customer. 

Now, one of my other fears was, I thought, “Am I really going to let an outside company come into my business and communicate with my students?” especially because the topic of failed payments is a sensitive one. However, I took the leap, and I'm so glad I did because Gravy is like an extension of Team Porterfield. When they reach out to people, when they talk to people, they act as though they are part of my business, and they do it with compassion. So it has been so seamless. On average, our failed-payment recovery rate increased from 33 percent, when we were trying to do it internally, to over 80 percent, collecting on failed payments. That's a whole lot of saved payments. So if your revenue is currently at $250,000 or more, and you know you're losing money due to failed payment plans each month, I want to encourage you to check out Gravy. The cool thing is Gravy is waiving the setup fee for all of my listeners. So go to

Okay, so, let's go ahead and jump into today's episode, all about ten ways to get your students to the finish line. 

I'm going to start at the top with my very favorite strategy to get my students to the finish line and that is with a new-student onboarding-email sequence. This is something I teach in Digital Course Academy®️, which, by the way, doors open again on September 12th, so it's coming up very soon. But inside of Digital Course Academy®️, I break this all down. But I thought for those of you who are not yet in the course, let me give you some details here so you really understand the concept. 

So, with a new-student onboarding sequence, it starts with the very first email that welcomes them into the program. So when someone joins your course, instantly, within minutes, they should get an email that says, “You're in! Welcome. This is exciting. Congratulations!” It’s not just like, “Welcome to the course. Here’s your log-in details to get into Kajabi. It’s not that. It’s a personal email that reminds them that they just made a very good decision. 

And my copywriter, Ry Schwartz, he taught me this idea of coaching the conversion, and one of the things along the lines of that concept is that he always wants me to tell my new student or someone who just opted in for something what that action says about them. So if somebody just joined Digital Course Academy®️, and I send a welcome email, the copy would reflect something like, here's what this says about you: you are dedicated to creating a digital course because you want to create consistent revenue in your business, and you have skills and knowledge that can translate into something that you can teach on a massive level versus just one-on-one where you trade time for dollars. You're ready to play a bigger game. So that's not exactly what my welcome email says, but it's basically saying, look, I know who you are, which makes an instant connection. So putting back to them that you get them, you know them, just by the sheer action that they signed up for your course makes a connection so that they understood they are seen and they are heard. 

So I think that part of a welcome email’s important. So if you take nothing away from this first strategy, this new-student onboarding sequence, make sure that that welcome email is personal and it connects and it really allows your new student to know that they've made a very smart decision and you will take very good care of them. 

And then of course they need their marching orders: How do they log in to your member site? What do they need to do next? Tell them what to do next in that very first welcome email. 

But beyond that, getting people to the finish line, you want to send emails on a consistent basis until your student should be at the finish line. And so if your content is dripped, which means every week you have a new module that comes out—so let's say you have a ten-week course; for the next ten weeks, one module will be released—then you're going to email on a weekly basis. But those e-mails are not just, “Hey, a new module is out. Here's what you're going to learn.” But instead, I want you to think about, where are they in the process right now? Are they feeling nervous? Are they feeling behind, which is typically what you will find when people go through your course. They always feel they're behind, for some reason. It's like they compare themselves to some imaginary person and think they're not stacking up. So I'm constantly addressing, “You’re never behind. You have lifetime access. Go at your own pace.” 

But then, I give them some marching orders: Have you booked time in your calendar to go through the course every single week? Have you told your spouse that you need these two hours on the weekend to really dive into this course and really take in the new information? Or have you carved out a little extra time to implement? or whatever it might be. So I'm not only talking about the course content, but I'm more so talking about the habits they've set up to actually get through the course and the time that they've blocked, or I'm talking about their mental state at that time. Like, where are you getting stuck? What story are you telling yourself that's not true? 

These emails don't need to be super long, but they do need to address the mindset of where your student is at that moment. And it's typically a mind block that you want to address. So, you can go in there really quick with an email. It can be short and just, like, quick words of wisdom, but, definitely, it’s important that you address some of the stuff that's going on in their mind. 

Now, if you don't drip the content, that's fine, too. An email once a week for however long you think it should take someone to get through the course is always a good idea. Now, if you're not dripping the content, then you're not going to specifically say where they should be in the course, but you're going to point out some important lessons in the course, or maybe you're going to spotlight a student. Case studies and spotlighting students is a great thing to do in an onboarding sequence. Or you're just going to give some words of wisdom or encouragement. 

You could do quick, little videos if you want. You could do audio. We have a lot of fun with some GIFs, or whatever you call them, but we try to make them fun and entertaining and conversational and not too long. But typically, we're addressing the mind set and we're addressing habits and rituals and behaviors that will help them get to the finish line. So, yeah, we do it in DCA. We do it through the whole ten-week program and then some.

So, it's nice if you can put these emails together in advance, but when I was first starting out, I would just write one every Friday, and I would send it Monday morning. So I would just do it a few days before it was due. Okay, truth be told, sometimes I'd be writing it Sunday night. Who am I joking? But I would try to get ahead of it. But it would go out every Monday, while people were going through my course. Okay. So that part's important. 

Number two, set expectations. So setting clear expectations will save you and your student a lot of headaches and disappointments and overwhelm. So Digital Course Academy®️, it's a ten-week dripped course, like I said, but it will take somebody about sixty days to create a course and another thirty days to launch that course. So I had to get really clear before I launched Digital Course Academy®️, how I was going to communicate that to my potential students. I didn’t want somebody to come into the course and think, “Oh, in ten weeks, I've got a course created, and I'll launch it, and I'm going to make six figures.” That's not how it works. And if you're looking for some quick money like that, I'm not your girl. However, if you're willing to put in the work, I can help you create an asset that literally you can launch over and over and over again. And I believe that one course can make you a million dollars over time if you do it right. And so you've got to put the time and effort into it, but you've got to know that in advance. 

So, when I'm launching, in my marketing material, on my Facebook Lives, during a launch, I'll make that known, that it typically takes about sixty days to put together a course and another thirty days to put together your assets to launch it, like the webinar and the emails and all of that. And then, I remind them, “I will take you through it step by step by step. I'll give you templates. I'll give you the emails I've sent so you can make them your own. I'll give you how-to tech videos. I’ll hold your hand through the whole process. But it's still going to take some time. It's not magic.” 

So with that, when my students know that, guess what happens. One, they calm down a little bit. They're like, “Oh, okay, I don't have to be in a hurry.” I also tell them you have lifetime access, so go at your own pace. Again, they calm down a little bit. “Okay, I don’t have to be in a hurry.” And then, we just go through the course together so that they feel supported. So as long as they know, they're good. When your students don't know stuff is when they start feeling uneasy. 

So ask yourself before you launch, what do they need to know about the expectations of results in my course? What do I need to just be honest and tell them from the get-go? They'll really appreciate that. So that’s the question, one more time before we move on: What do your potential students need to know before they join your course in terms of the results that you're promising? How long will it likely take them? Or what do they need to purchase in advance to make it work? That’s another one that comes up, and I address this in my webinars. What kind of technology am I going to need to invest in in order to make a course work? 

So, I've thought about this in advance, and we actually have a one sheet that we're ready to send out to anybody who asks this question, like, they’ll email support and say, “Well, what tools do I need to create a course and launch it?” “Oh, so glad you asked.” We have a one page, nicely designed, that talks about the fact that we recommend Kajabi, and we have a discount code, and we have a thirty-day trial if they want to get started. And we recommend ConvertKit if they're looking for just an email-service provider. And we have a free trial if they want to get started. So we say, “Look, we know you're likely on a tight budget. We know you're investing in the course. Here are some discounts we have. Here are some free trials. Here’s the tools we recommend.” And then we tell them a little bit about how that tool fits into the program. But it’s just a quick one or two pager.

But this is something I’ve learned over time to do because that way it takes the mystery out, and there’s no surprises when they get into the course. And I want to make this very affordable for them as well. Notice I didn't say that I give them a list of 20 different tools and they can go and choose. No one wants that. This is something I've learned along the way of creating courses. When you start recommending tools or resources—whether you're in my sphere of teaching people how to market or if you're in teaching people how to knit, whatever it is, there's tools and resources involved—recommend the ones you think are the best. You're likely an affiliate, like I am, which is cool, but I'd never be an affiliate of something I didn't back 100 percent. So I feel good about that. But I stopped recommending 20 different tools that do the same thing. Instead, I put a stake in the ground, and say, “I recommend Kajabi, and here's why: I use it, here's how I use it, and I'll give you some how-to videos so you can get started as well.” That has proven to be really valuable to my students, and just to our team as well because we get really good at one tool so we can talk about it. Something to think about.

Okay, moving on to number three, accountability. So, if you have a small group, if you're just starting out, let's say you have fifty people inside of your course and inside of your members-only Facebook group, you can pair people together to be accountability partners, and you can help facilitate that and make sure it happens in a really streamlined way. I have a few thousand people on my program. So for me, I just put it out there to my students that, “Hey, if you're looking for an accountability partner, let everyone know in the group, and you guys can pair up how you want to pair up.” But then I provided an accountability-meeting cheat sheet that I gave to all my students in the private Facebook group, and basically what I said is, “Find an accountability partner that's inside the program, and then I want you to meet once a week, same time, same place, online.” They just use Zoom. And then the cheat sheet basically outlined three action items that I wanted them to commit to doing in the next week, and then when they came together the next time, they'd say, “Okay, these are the three action items I said I would do.” You check in. “Did you do them, or did you not do them?” And if you did not do them, what challenges did you face? You do a quick troubleshooting with each other if you need to. And then, the other person says what they said they were going to do, if they did them, if they had any challenges, and then you’re done. 

So it’s really quick. Here’s what I said I would do, here’s what I actually did, here’s a challenge I’m having. Swap partners. They do the same, and you’re out. So it’s really quick and really streamlined so you're not wasting anybody's time. But more importantly than the troubleshooting, even if you can ask them for help if you want, what's even more important, though, is that the person is declaring, this is what I'm going to get done this week, and then they know they have to report in. And that's the beauty of accountability. 

And so my students really loved it. Many took me up on the offer and made this work on their own. I didn't have to carry them through it. But if I had a smaller group, I probably would have helped facilitate the partnership a little bit more because some people are looking for specific partners or time zones or all of that. I just didn't get into all the details of it. So you can do it however you want. If you go to, in the show notes we will outline exactly what's in that cheat sheet so you know what you might want to put in a cheat sheet for your students as well. I know I just went over it really quickly, but I’ll show you what we put in ours so you can put a cheat sheet together for accountability partners in your own Facebook group if you want. And again, having people say what they're going to do and then check in, it just helps them knock those action items off faster so they get to the finish line. 

Okay, moving on, number four, create a weekly challenge. Now, I haven't actually done this in my groups. However, some of my peers have done this, and I've seen them in action, so I thought I'm going to include this one. So you could do a simple challenge for the week, but beware: you are not adding more content; you are not adding more pressure on top of everything else they have to do to get through your course. Instead, you're taking one area of the course, and you're highlighting it with a challenge. 

So let me give you an example. In my Digital Course Academy®️ program, in module two, it's all about validating your course idea. So if you have an idea for a course but you're not really sure if it's going to make you money, we take you through some exercises in order to make sure that you're on the right track. So a challenge that I could put into the group is to say, “Okay, guys, at the end of the week, I want you to post one insight that you learned through your validation exercises. What have you learned about your audience or about your topic that you're going to take action on? So give me one insider aha moment.” And so that's the challenge. And you could even make it more fun by saying, “Whoever participates in this challenge, you're going to be randomly put into a contest, and I'm going to choose three winners to win a twenty-five-dollar Amazon gift card.” So you could make it extra fun by turning the challenge into a contest to get people to engage. 

But the thing is, the challenge is moving them closer to the finish line. If my students actually do the validation exercises, they’re going to come up with a really good idea for their course so they’ll move into outlining their course. Momentum. Just moving them through. So, having a quick challenge related to some of the topic in your course and then doing a fun contest at the end, always a great idea.

Okay, moving on to number five—great segue—gamification. So I just talked about doing challenges, but then I added on giving away prizes to some random winners of the challenge. Well, that would be considered gamification. So if you want to add weekly prizes or maybe awards—maybe you give certain awards away throughout the experience of your course. So “most improved,” “hardest worker,” “superstar,” “most engaged,” whatever it might be—you could do awards throughout the experience, which makes people pay close attention to what's going on. And believe me, we have done engagement awards before, and you find out who your superstars are right away. People like to win. They like to get that attention, and they like to go for a challenge. 

And so if you could put together some really fun ways for people to get shout-outs, to get prizes, to win something or an award or actually gift cards or whatever it might be, this is a great way to boost engagement and have people keep showing up. But I think what's more important than the prizes or the awards is to let people know that you see them, and you're recognizing that they're working hard, and you know they're there to get results. So the more you can encourage good behavior, the more you can encourage hard work and dedication and sticking with it even when things get hard, however you want to encourage it, recognize it, reward it, that goes a long way. 

And I do believe that gamification in this way, recognizing in really authentic ways, allows for you to connect with your students at a deeper level. And to me it shows that you care. So think about gamification in any way it might make sense for your own brand, but it's a great way to show your students that you're paying attention and that you acknowledge all the hard work they're putting into this, because if you really think about it—I won't go off on a tangent here—but a lot of the people that we serve have nine-to-five jobs. They if they're trying to—for me, I'll talk about my situation— a lot of those that I serve have nine-to-five jobs, and right now their online business is their side gig. And so no one really understands what they're doing. No one really gets this online-marketing thing they're trying to make happen. Everyone in their world likely thinks they're a little bit crazy and kind of wasting their time on a weird hobby. We know that's not the case, right? But their friends and family don't get it. So if I can say, “I know what you're doing. I see you. I get it,” that goes a long, long way. And it might just keep them coming back for more, and when they keep coming back for more because they feel supported and loved and in a community that gets them, they're going to get to the finish line faster. So that's why gamification feels really good to me and why we're going to start doing it more and more inside our community. 

Okay, number six, feedback opportunity. So I want you to allow and encourage your students to put their work into the private Facebook group for feedback from their peers or from you or from the team. This really helps. Now, you first want to figure out what feels right for your community, and you don't want people flooding the Facebook group saying, “Will you look at this? Will you look at this? Will you give me your feedback?” But maybe you choose a day once a week, and you say, “Okay, guys,” you put a fun name to it, whatever it might be, and let's say every Tuesday you tell the group, “Hey, if you want to post x, y, z,” whatever they're working on, “Post it in the group, and ask for feedback.” And so this works better if it's not thousands of people because it gets a little tough when there's a lot, a lot of people. But a smaller group, I think this is really valuable because either you or your team will have the time to give feedback but also the peers. 

And so, let's say that you are a dog trainer, and you're helping people train their dogs on separation anxiety. So the dogs are really struggling with separation anxiety. And so you might even say, “Okay, I taught you a certain strategy in lesson two this week about training your dog to do x, y, z. So take a quick video, and show me how you're doing.” And so they could take the video and post it in the group, and it might just be a minute video, and then you can watch it and see how they're doing. And you can’t give feedback to everyone, and you can say, “Look, I can't give everyone feedback, but I'll watch a few of the videos and give you some feedback so everyone can get value from it.” So this is just an off-the-cuff idea. You can relate it to whatever you do in your business.

But if you choose a day or a time or some point in your experience of people going through your program, where they get to get feedback from you or their peers, and you do it in a really focused way so that everyone's paying attention—it’s not just random, but it's like, “Okay, this is the time that we all step in and give feedback,”—that could be really valuable. 

And sometimes, people just need a little feedback to keep going. Just remember, these are quick hits so that when they're feeling low or discouraged or overwhelmed, if they get a little push, a little nudge, a little attention from you or the group, it could be that little thing they needed to keep going. It's the little breakdowns in mindset, the little roadblocks that actually start to pile up and slow people down. But if you're just kicking those away with gamification and feedback and accountability partners, you're kicking away those little roadblocks, they'll keep going. What you don't want to do is none of this and those roadblocks become really big for your students and they never move forward. So, again, you don't need to do all of these, but I would definitely encourage you to do some.

All right. Number seven, course structure. This one I'm big on, and if you join Digital Course Academy®️, I will walk you through the process of putting together your outline for your course. I have two different ways you can do it: you can do it with Post-it Notes, or you could just do it in a Google Doc, where you just kind of do a brain dump, and then I take you through a strategy to clean it all up. But what's important is that you structure your course in a way that is not overwhelming. 

What we have found is that if you can do shorter videos—maybe instead of doing three long videos, you do six shorter videos—that tends to help get people through your course. Definitely, more bite-sized chunks of learning. Also, we started to use frameworks, and so frameworks would be an illustration of what we're teaching. So recently we launched List-Builders’ Society, and it's my list-building course, and there are two frameworks in List-Builders’ Society, where we teach you, one, what it looks like to build a list-building foundation. That's one framework that's illustrated, just on a one pager. And then we take you through a new-subscriber path, what it looks like when someone comes into your world through a lead magnet on the back end, because a lot of times, my students need to see it. Like, “Okay, what are the steps I need to take? Can you just show it to me? Can you draw it really fast?” I'm not actually a very visual learner, but a lot of my students are, so that's why we started creating these frameworks. So, how can you illustrate to them what you're teaching so that it kind of sinks in a little bit more? That’s a really great one.

And another thing we do in terms of the structure of the course and the content that you're putting together, we do project plans. So if you're in Digital Course Academy®️, you already know that there is a fully fleshed out project plan, every single action you need to take from beginning to end to create your course and launch it, every single action item broken out into modules. And so you can print this out and literally check things off. 

Now, I am a checklist kind of girl. I might not be a visual learner. However, give me some checklist and give me the satisfaction of checking off those boxes, and I am a happy, accomplished girl. 

So, we do a lot of checklists and project plans and guides so that people can print things out and have it tangible as well as watching the videos. So there's a lot of things you can do with your course content, the way you put it together, and I get into all of this in Digital Course Academy®️, if you decide to go on that journey with me, but putting your course together in a way that's not overwhelming is half the battle of getting people results and to the finish line. 

We have noticed so many huge results and so many people winning in DCA this time around because I think of how we've structured the content from the get-go. You have to be really mindful of it before you even lay anything out, so that's why I'm bringing this up. 

So, just a quick recap of how you actually structure your course: shorter videos tend to work well, checklists, project plans, guides, frameworks, all of those little elements go a long way so that people feel as though your content is digestible, bite-sized, easy learning lessons that they don't feel super overwhelmed. So a few things to think about.

Okay, number eight is real-time check-ins. Now, this is something you or someone on your team would do, but this is valuable, and you do it in the moment. So, let me give you an example. If people are going through your course and you're realizing that people are getting stuck in a certain place, and you just didn't know it—it's the first time you've launched the course—and so all of a sudden, people are getting stuck, and it’s starting to create a little anxiety with them, and then as a course creator, you’re going to feel the anxiety. So all you need to do in that moment is stop and say, “Okay, where are they really struggling?” If you want to take it one step further—I've done this before—get on the phone with somebody in your course that's struggling and say, “Walk me through why this isn't working for you.” And they'll tell you. And then what you need to do is you jump on Facebook Live, and you say, “Hey, guys, I noticed that some of you are struggling with module three, and that's where you do x, y, z. So let me give you a little bit more clarity around this,” or, “Let me give you a different way to think about it,” or, “I created this extra cheat sheet so you can use it.” 

You can create on the fly when people are struggling. I give this advice to you because I am a worrier by nature, and so if you're a student of mine, I've likely worried about you, one point or another. And so when people get stuck, I think, seriously in my earlier days, I would think, “Oh my god. My course is a disaster. No one's going to get results. This is a mess. I messed up. I did it wrong.” That was me years ago. Now I take a breath and think, “Okay, first of all, how many people are really struggling with this? Is it everyone,” which is what my crazy lizard brain wants to say, “or is it just a few people? Or if it is a lot of people, let's fix it.” No matter what you want to do, just kind of get the perspective of, really how many people are struggling here? And then you say, “How can I make this easier for them?” And sometimes it's just a pep talk that they need, but you showing up live in the group on video saying, “Hey, I saw that you were struggling here. Let's talk about it,” doing a Q and A or giving them one little piece of advice or whatever it might be goes a long way. People want to know that you see them and you hear them and you understand them.

And so with that, you showing up in the moment, a little bonus content, a little pep talk, a little check-in, goes a long way. I have done this so many times. So if you're feeling worried or anxious that you did something wrong in terms of how you created your content, you could always jump in there and make a tweak or make it better. All right? So just wanted to give you as a course creator, wanted to give you a little pep talk that you are allowed to fix things; it's okay.

Okay, so number nine, weekly Q and A’s. This is an easy one, right? Most of you, if you're learning from me, you're likely going to do this. During Digital Course Academy®️, every single week I was in that group doing Q and A's. We might even do it a little bit different this time where I'm doing Q and A’s even more often. And so I usually—I’m still trying to figure this out, but let me give you two options. In the past, I've done an hour and a half every single week, answered tons and tons of questions. I have a lot of people in my community, so I’ve got a lot of questions. 

Afterwards, I know my students were drained. I was exhausted. I'm the type of person that when I do live video, it tires me out at the end. And so I noticed that my dear, dear friend Stu McLaren, he does ten minutes, ten questions. He’s, like, “It's not ten minutes; it’s usually, like, twenty minutes.” But he says—I forget—new TRIBE members know what he calls it, 10in10, or something like that. But he does it every single day, Monday through Friday, while people are going through his program. I kind of like that. I'm not sure what I like better yet; I've never done the Stu way, but I'm curious to see how that might work with my students. So maybe I'll do my own style in that; I don't know yet. 

But this is the greatest thing about being a course creator. Guess what. You get to decide, what do you want to do, what feels good for you? What’s important is that you show up. You should be answering questions in live Q and A’s while people are going through your program, especially if you’re dripping the content. So I think it's important that you show up in that way, so you figure out how you want to do it, but typically, I do have people post their questions in advance. I review, I choose the ones that are the best questions for me to answer for the greater good of the group, and then I go for it. So, do it how you want to do it, but showing up, doing live Q and A's once a week, I think it's a great way to get people to the finish line.

All right. We reached the end. There's actually a bonus one, so stay with me until number eleven. But we reached the end to get to number ten, which is manage the mindset of your students. Ooh, this is a big one. This is something that took me years to learn. And many of you have commented that you've seen a shift in me as a course creator and as a trainer inside of my programs. This is big, okay? So pay attention. If you’re multitasking, come back to me. 

One thing I've learned is that it's not enough to give great content. One thing I do very well, if I could toot my own horn for a second, I know how to create really good content. And so I know how to break it out step by step. I know how to give you the details you need. I know how to organize it in a way that feels really good in the flow. Gosh, I'm really talking myself up right now, right? Who am I? So I know how to do that well. And so, that I've got in the bag. However, I realized a few years ago, that's not enough. 

And I was talking to this great woman, Melinda—I'm giving you a shout-out right now—Melinda Cohan. I was talking to her—she's a coach—and she was saying that when you want a successful digital course, there's the content, there's the community, and then there's the mindset. And I never had heard anyone kind of break it down like that. I'm like, content and community, that's what it is. 

But if you don't address the mindset of your students, no matter what industry you're in, if you don't talk about the roadblocks and the fears and that negative talk that they have and their insecurities, if you don't bring them to light in relation to what you're teaching, you're missing a huge opportunity to get your students to the finish line. So much of what we do in everything in life is about how we think about it, right? Throughout my whole weight-loss journey, I've been learning that thoughts create feelings, feelings create actions. And so if our students are creating really negative thoughts based on fear and insecurities, those thoughts will create really negative, destructive feelings, and those feelings will turn into inaction, which is an action, right? They’re deciding not to do anything, sitting on the couch, not logging in and watching the videos, not booking time in their calendar to go through your content. 

So I believe that it is our job as course creators to manage the mindset, or help our students manage their mindset, so they choose really good thoughts that create feelings that make them want to do the content, take action, and implement and get to the finish line. So it might be quick-hit videos like I talked about, like, “Hey, guys, you need a little pep talk now,” or it might be sharing your own insecurities from the past and how you've overcome them, or just calling out, “Here's where your mind's going to get crazy. Here's where you're going to tell yourself you're not good enough. Let's just feel the feelings and move on anyway. Let's move through the fear.” I don't know what it is for you and your students, but if you're not managing their mindset, we're missing out on a huge thing. 

And this is a lot coming from a girl that's all business. I just want to talk about the content. I'm not a super touchy, woo-woo, feely kind of girl. However, if I don't address some of your fears, you're never going to get to module two and module three and module four. So I have to be more vulnerable with you so that you can move past those roadblocks. And that's my commitment in all of my courses, in all I do, even on the podcast. So there you have it.

Okay, so, I mentioned there is a bonus strategy, right? So this is a little bit more advanced. If you're a brand-new course creator, I wouldn't do this right out of the gate, but maybe down the road. So let's say that you are in an industry where you help people make money, like I do, or maybe you're like Rachel Cruze, where you help people make better decisions around the money that they have or the money that they're bringing in. So if it's something around money, you could create a bonus that helps them recoup the cost of the program that they just bought from you. 

So let's use Rachel Cruze as an example. I saw a freebie that she had, but she could turn this into a bonus inside of a course. She has this freebie that over fourteen days she will help you find areas in your life where you could save money or find money. And she says you can find up to $2,000 in fourteen days, of money you didn't even know you had. Now, I haven’t gone through the freebie yet, but let's pretend it's things like you go through your credit-card bill and you cancel any subscriptions you're not using, to anything, whether it be shopping or education or tools or any kind of service you're not using. You go through your credit card, and you cancel those. So right away you're saving three hundred dollars. So there's three hundred dollars you just saved. So she could use a bonus like that to say, “You just bought my course, but I'm going to show you how to save $2,000 in the next fourteen days so you just recoup it. Or for me, I could create a bonus that helps you, let’s say, sell a quick one-hour workshop, and then that's the first thing you do is you sell a one-hour workshop to your small email list, recoup the $2,000 of the course, and now you don't even have to worry about your investment. You've already made up the money. There’s something powerful about that because when people aren't worried about the money, they're more engaged in the content. 

Okay, so, that's just a little side note, a little bonus. You take it as you will. It might kind of spark an idea for you. But you could also start out with a bonus that gets their head in the right place. We just talked about mindset, right? So if you did some kind of bonus with an exercise that helps them get their mindset in the right place before they get started, that could help immensely. Or how about this? You have a bonus that helps them get organized on their calendar so that they actually find the time to go through your course. That would be cool as well. So what kind of bonus can you set them up on the right foot before they even start your course? And this is good for those of you who sell a course, but the course isn't starting for another week or two. Like, what could they dive into in the meantime? This also alleviates some of that buyer's remorse. If they don't have anything to do for two weeks before your course starts, not a good thing. So if you could create some kind of bonus that they get to start right away and will set them up on the right foot before they even start your course, kind of cool. 

So there you have it. I know I just went through a lot. I don't want you to do all of those things. I was hoping that your creative vibes would start flowing through this episode and you choose two or three of these strategies. The next time you create and launch a course or if you've already created your course, maybe you infuse some of these ideas into what you've already created. So, I love this episode because I like to talk about our students and how to better take care of them and how to get them big results so that they love you and want to work with you more and tell everybody about you. Over here at Team Porterfield, we are on a mission to get as many people as possible to the finish line in our courses, and I'm guessing that you are on that same mission if you also want to be a course creator. 

Before we wrap up, this episode is sponsored by Gravy, my very own 24/7 engagement team who contacts my customers within hours of their failed payment, captures updated billing information, and saves the customers that I have worked so hard to acquire. So if you have a subscription-model business or if you offer payment plans, you've got to checkout Gravy., when you go to that page, you'll see that there's an option to get a free consultation with them. You just got to talk to them and see if your business is right for what they do in terms of capturing failed payments and making sure that everything on the back end is running smoothly so that you do not lose money with your membership site or your payment plans.

All right, guys, thanks so much for tuning in. I'll see you same time, same place next week. Bye for now.

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