Well, hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and I’ve got a prediction for this episode. I think you're going to love every minute of it. I think you're going to hang on every single word, and you might even talk to yourself while you're listening. So, hopefully, no one's around, because you're going to say things like, “What? That's crazy. Oh, that is so good. Wait; repeat that. I want to hear that again.” Those are the things you're going to be saying out loud to nobody. And that's okay because I like the excitement.
The reason why you're going to be thrilled by this episode is because I get to interview one of my star students. Her name is Jamie Sears, and she recently created her very first digital course and launched it to huge success. I'm not going to give away the details, but here are the hints. Number one, it was a six-figure launch. Number two, she had a very small budget. And number three, a very small team. So those are just a little few hints to wet your whistle, but there are going to be so many details coming your way, so get ready. I can't wait for you to hear the story.
And here's a few reasons why I wanted to interview Jamie specifically. Number one, she wasn't planning on creating a digital course. In fact, her husband had listened to one of my podcast episodes where I talked about my program, Digital Course Academy®️, and how it was coming out soon. And he heard me say that, and he told his wife, “You should create a digital course.” And at the time, not only did she not have any plans to create a course, but she had no idea of the topic. And then, when the topic came to her, she resisted it. So the other reason I wanted to create this episode is because if you are struggling with coming up with a really great topic for your course, you might already know the topic but you're resisting it for all the wrong reasons, and by wrong I mean you do have the capability to create a course on that certain topic but you're not yet believing in yourself or knowing that you have the capability.
So I think Jamie's story is going to inspire you, show you how doable it is to create a course and launch it, and really just get those creative vibes going for you so you can start to think about what you'd create and how you want to create it and hopefully get a date on the calendar where you say, “Okay, I'm making it happen by this specific date.” I can't wait for you to hear all of the details.
So we're going to jump into my interview with Jamie in just a minute. Before we get there, a quick listener spotlight. This is one from Madrid Teacher, and it's a really nice iTunes review, so I wanted to read it. Madrid Teacher says:
“I'm the kind of person who loves learning something and immediately putting it into action.”
My kind of person.
“Amy delivers on this every single episode by choosing one clear aspect of online marketing for digital courses and giving a clear step-by-step process for applying it to your own business. Every time I listen to an episode, I get excited and can't wait to immediately implement what she has taught. This is by far my favorite podcast out there.”
Uh, this is, by far, the nicest compliment ever. So, Madrid Teacher, thank you so very much, and I love action takers, so you just made my day, for the record. So, thanks again.
Okay, so, we're going to jump in, but really quick, before we do so, I want to tell you what you can do if you're curious about my program, Digital Course Academy®️. We will be opening the doors to Digital Course Academy®️ on September 12th. Before we do so, we'll do a webinar where we’ll tell you all about the program, what you can expect, and we'll tell you even more stories like Jamie's so you can see it in action. So if you want to hear about the doors opening to my program, Digital Course Academy®️, then get on the waitlist. Go to amyporterfield.com/comingsoon. Amyporterfield.com/comingsoon. You can get on the waitlist, and the minute we open up the webinar and, of course, the actual course, we will email you and let you know. So September 12th is the date that you can join Digital Course Academy®️. There will be a short window, so you do not want to miss it. To get on the waitlist and to hear about the upcoming webinar, go to amyporterfield.com/comingsoon. Good? Okay.
So, I won't make you wait any longer. Let's jump into my interview with Jamie Sears. Hey, there, Jamie. Welcome to the show.
JAMIE SEARS: Thank you for having me, Amy.
AMY: Oh my gosh. I am thrilled to be talking to you. I've been waiting for this call because we have so much to discuss. So here's the deal. You are definitely one of my star students, which means you are now a successful course creator and you have a digital-course business. So I want you to tell my listeners a little bit about your background, first. I told everybody in the intro about your husband coming to you and saying that I was launching a new course, and I teach how to create courses, and you should pay attention. So I told them about that. But even before that, tell me about your background and how you got to the place that you said, “I'm going to create a digital course.”
JAMIE: Sure. I was an elementary school teacher, and I taught the third grade, mostly. I would create all my own resources for my students, and that took off because my coworkers wanted me to create resources for them. And before long, I discovered that there was a market for this and a need for this. So I started to create resources for teachers around the world and sell them on a website. And in the process of doing this, teachers started to email me or Facebook message me with questions, wanting my advice: How would you implement this? How would you teach this? And I started doing some Facebook Lives because so many teachers have the same questions.
Last summer, I did a series of Facebook Live videos about math centers and teaching writing, and teachers loved them. I felt really honored that they would spend their summer listening to me on Facebook Live. And they had so many more questions, and I was trying to find ways to answer them all. I sometimes think as teachers, we’re so stressed that it's hard for us to come up with the answer sometimes. We need to ask somebody else who's maybe not under as much pressure at the moment, and then the solution almost seems simple. And I found that that's what teachers wanted for me. They wanted to be able to ask my advice.
And I got talking to my husband a little bit about this, and I said, “It's almost like I need to do a course on how to teach writing. They have so many questions; I feel like I have some answers.” And he said, “Well, just this morning I was listening to Amy Porterfield’s podcast, and she is going to be making a new-course course. She's taking courses that convert and webinars that convert and she's making the 2.0 version. It’s going to be out in January, so you need to wait and do that.” And that’s exactly what we did.
AMY: Okay, smart husband. Tell him that I really appreciate his recommendation because now look what you've done. I cannot even believe I get to talk about this on my podcast, and your huge results. So, this is exciting.
Okay, so, I'm going to take you back a little bit further because as you were talking about doing these Facebook Lives, I had this thought like ding, ding, ding in my head, and that ding, ding, ding was me listening to my students who are struggling, and they're saying, “Amy, I do these Facebook Lives, and nobody shows up. I don't have an audience. So I can't figure out what questions they have, because I am struggling with creating my audience.” So, I'm going to take you back even a little bit further, before we get into all the details of you creating your amazing course, and tell me how you grew that audience. How did you have people to watch your Facebook Lives? What got you to that point?
JAMIE: Well, I wish I could say it was overnight; I scheduled a Facebook Live, and everyone just showed up.
AMY: Don’t we all, girl.
JAMIE; But it was a lot of patience. I feel like in the early days, I did talk to myself quite a bit, but I learned to just get it out there, and even if one person was listening, then it was something. And it helped to boost my confidence in front of the camera, because that didn't come naturally. I had to practice.
I also found that the more I listened to my audience in other places that they were at, if I was in Facebook groups with them or I was following other pages that they were commenting on, listening to their struggles and their needs helped me to decide what I needed to talk about. I didn't naturally want to talk about teaching writing, because teaching writing is super difficult, and that would not have been my first choice. But by listening to my audience, I realized that was their biggest stressor, and so I took a lot of time to research and come up with some solutions that they didn't necessarily have time to research.
AMY: Ah, so good. I want to point something out, and this has happened to me as well. Sometimes my stu—okay, wait. Time out. I'm getting ahead of myself. So I love that you did the grassroots-type strategies. You got in other Facebook groups, you listened to what they were saying, you went into the communities where your ideal customer avatar was spending time, and you did Facebook Lives to just a few people in the beginning, just to ease in. And you had patience. Guys, this just takes time. But you kept showing up, Jamie, and that's the thing that most people won't do. They'll say, “This isn't working, Amy. Two, three months in, I still don't have a lot of people watching my Facebook Lives.” And I'm saying, “It takes more than two or three months sometimes. So you've got to just stick with it.” But I was going to ask you the question—I love that you're actually pacing me, because I was going to say all this stuff that you taught on Facebook Live, how did you decide on it was going to be that you were going to teach teachers how to—well, give me some clarity. You’re teaching teachers how to write?
JAMIE: I was teaching teachers how to teach writing to their students.
AMY: Got it, okay. So I was going to say, how did you end up on that topic? And you said, well, this is the one that they kept struggling with. It kept coming up, more and more questions around this one area. And then you said, and it wasn't necessarily the one thing I wanted to teach. And I want to hit on that just a bit because I've been there as well.
So, with my students, they really struggle with, let's say, the list building and the technology behind list building and building the audience, and I want to get right to the course creation, which is what I teach. I want to teach them how to create a course. But I know that if I don't slow down and figure out this other stuff where they're struggling, I'll never really get them to where I want them to experience financial freedom and really build these big businesses. So at the time, you probably didn't have it all figured out in terms of how to teach these teachers how to teach writing. But you sat down and said, “Okay, let me put together some frameworks. Let me see, if I did teach this, how might I teach it.” Would that be accurate?
JAMIE: I absolutely did that. I did a lot of research about their specific problems. I did have experience teaching writing just as you had experience with list building. But, yeah, it just wasn't the one I really wanted to jump in on. I wanted to teach math because that was my favorite subject to teach in the classroom. So I thought I can tell teachers how I'm teaching math.
The thing is that there are a lot of classes in college that you take that do hit on math and reading. They're not all super, but they are there. It seems that writing teachers are walking out of college without that experience, and so they were saying, “Yeah, I want help with reading and math, and that's fine if you do some Facebook Lives about that, but, hey, what are you doing about writing?”
And at first I told my husband, “There's no way. I'm not doing that. I'm not touching it.” But he is somebody who pushes me. And so I did come up with a plan. I read a lot of books, and I tried a lot of new things in the classroom, in friends’ classrooms, in colleagues’ classrooms, until I came up with a lot of answers. I didn't have all the answers when I started, though, and that did make me nervous. But I have found that I'm learning from my students, too, and I actually feel more knowledgeable now about the topic than I did when I started creating the course. I feel much more comfortable.
AMY: Oh, that is so cool. So, guys, you don't have to figure it all out. Of course she had the skill set and knowledge, and so she came to the table with enough that she could teach how to do it. But she's refined it. She's made it better. She's experimented with the topic of her course so that she could make it even better. And now that she's launched once, now she's really ready to go. And that's good, too, because her students have gotten huge results. So it's okay if you don't have it all figured out. You have it way more figured out than you think. I guess that's the real point I want to make. You do have so much there. It's just okay if it feels a little bit scary in the beginning, and you will refine it. So I just want to put that out there.
Okay, so, you joined Digital Course Academy®️, with some encouragement from your sweet husband, and you're one of my star students because not only have you gotten huge results, but you also follow the framework. So you did everything that I laid out in the course, which I love, and I love that your husband said, “Follow what Amy teaches, and then you can make it your own as you get going and as you've seen success.” And that's exactly what I tell my students. And so, in the beginning you sold digital resources for teachers, and you did that for years, but you had never created a course. So how did you, basically, ease into this process? What did it look like for you to create a course?
JAMIE: Some days it looked like a hot mess. And other days it was all neat and organized and Post-it Notes on the wall. I think that it was just really important to me to keep thinking about my audience and what they needed, and I always came back to that, that I knew what I was creating was so needed. I kept thinking about the number of students, not just teachers but the number of students, that I could help through the course. And so during the days where I felt a little bit overwhelmed, what I was doing was I was looking at everything that needed to be done instead of just focusing on the tiny task that I should be doing right at that moment. When those days would happen, I really did try to reflect on why I was doing the course to begin with, because in the middle of tech and list building and stuff, I think that it's easy to lose track of the people that you really want to help, that it's about them. And the Facebook ads and the lead magnets, all of that is just to find those people who need your help. And I had to keep reminding myself that, over and over again.
AMY: Ah, so true. So you outlined your course, and what did the outline process look like for you? I mean, you’re a teacher, so I'm guessing the outline process might have been easier for you than others, but I don't know. What was that process like for you?
JAMIE: Well, I did the strategy you talked about in DCA, with all of the Post-it Notes and writing up my ideas, which later became modules, and then lessons underneath them. I put it on the wall in my house. My kids still talk about the wall of Post-it Notes. I mean, it was huge. And then I started counting the Post-it Notes, and I got a little overwhelmed. I’m like, “How will I ever make a course this big?” But I kept it up there for quite some time. We switched it over to a Google document so it was a little easier.
But at one point, I had this little epiphany that my course was too big. I was trying to tell them absolutely everything they would need to know for the next year. And it occurred to me that that's way too overwhelming for anyone and that I needed to maybe cut it back a little bit. So I actually deleted the last four modules of my course. And, one, it made me feel less stressed about creating the course, but I also realized I created something that teachers will actually finish. There's no point in creating this monstrosity of a course that no one will actually get through. And I saved those four modules and all that content because I think it's really important and really good. I plan to put it in my membership site that teachers will be able to join when they're done with my course.
AMY: Okay, that’s exactly what I was just thinking. So, we've been working on our membership site for students who go through Digital Course Academy®️, and it's their next step. And I was thinking the exact same thing where there's so much more I want to teach my course creators and drill down into, but they'll never finish DCA if I add all of that. So it goes into my membership site. And that's exactly what you're doing as well.
So you worked on your outline, you flesh it all out, you use the Post-it Note strategy, which I teach in the program, and then you realized, “Holy cow. I've got more content than I need,” but I love that you didn't just trash it. You saved it and said, “Okay, this is actually going to be a moneymaker for me down the road.” So good. Okay, I am loving this. All right. I have so many more questions for you.
Okay, so, you create your course, and you’re ready to launch. And we'll get into some launching details and more specifics there, but I want to talk about the fact that you increased your email list to 7,000 subscribers. Now, that is something that my students are going to be paying close attention. If they're multitasking right now, they have come back to us; they're saying, “Okay, how the heck did you get 7,000 people on your email list?” So talk to me about the strategies here and what you did to grow your email list during your launch.
JAMIE: Okay, so, during my launch, I grew my email list by 7,000 new subscribers.
AMY: What? Oh my—that’s a lot during a launch. Okay, how did you do that?
JAMIE: I mean, I think it’s typical for course creators probably to set goals by, like, how many courses they want to sell or how much money they want to make, and that’s really the route that we went, too. And we hadn't even considered some of the other benefits of having a course, which would be increasing our list. We have been working on our list for about three years now, and sometimes it's slow going and sometimes we get peaks, but the launch of the course was a huge peak for us for new subscribers. And the 7,000 was from the day I announced my webinar until the day I closed the cart on my course, was 7,000 new subscribers. And, really, we were shocked. We had no idea that this was going to happen, but those 7,000 new subscribers were people who signed up for my webinars, who were not already on my email list. I thought it would just be my email list that would already know they can trust me and want to come to my webinar, but those Facebook ads that we did and sharing my webinar in my Facebook groups, putting it out on Instagram, we found new people who didn't even know me yet and were willing to give me their email address in exchange for the information I was going to give them on the webinar.
AMY: Okay, so, this is big, guys, and this is something I definitely tell my students, that one of the best perks about live launching is the fact that you will grow your email list. There is no doubt about it, especially if you use webinars. And, of course, not all 7,000 people are going to buy, but a lot of those people are going to buy the next time she launches because they've heard the whole messaging around what they get and what transformation looks like and all of that. So they start to think about it. They might not be ready now, but next time they hear it, they're even more ready to buy. So this list growth through live launching is a real thing, and it is a huge part of how I've grown my list as well. So I love that you bring that up.
And also, okay. So, you said when you were promoting your webinar, you would promote it on social media, of course. You would talk about it in different Facebook groups. I know you use Facebook advertising as well, right?
JAMIE: I do use Facebook ads. We really enjoyed Rick Mulready’s lessons inside of DCA, but we've been listening to him for a while, and we've been working on our Facebook ad game. But this was our first big run at it.
AMY: So, I want to point something out. How long have you been building your business, not just courses, but the resources and such?
JAMIE: I started my business six years ago, but, really, three years of being serious.
AMY: Gotcha. So three years. And just—I don’t think I said this in the intro, but five kids? You have five kids?
JAMIE: I do have five kids.
AMY: Five kids and a lovely husband. So it's not like you are sitting over there all alone, working every hour of every day, making this work. You've got some stuff going on over there, with five kids and a busy, busy schedule and your personal life. So the fact that you’ve been focused on this for three years is something I want my students and my podcast listeners to hear, that if you're going for that quick overnight success, you likely are going to struggle with just the mindset around that. Allow yourself some room to grow, because we're going to get into results next and these results happened because she did allow herself to grow into this business and let things happen over the last three years. And it's not like this was her first success; she's had small successes that have grown over the years. And so I just want everyone to remember how important patience is and perseverance because that is part of this entrepreneurial game that is really tough but so essential.
Okay, so you grew your email list. You experimented with Facebook ads. I want to ask you: Is there a certain type of Facebook ad that you really love? Do you do video ads or only static image ads or anything that kind of really worked with you in terms of Facebook ads to fill up your webinars?
JAMIE: We tried different things, and I think that's been what we've learned most about Facebook ads is that you don't put all your money into this one image or this one video, because we were often surprised that the image that we thought was going to take off, did not. And yet it was some other image that I had thrown together and not thought was very fancy. So we found that our best ad—yes, we like video ads. We did do the short commercial where I shared a tidbit about teaching writing and then said, “If you like this, come to my webinar.” We did do that. We like that. But there was an image of me standing in my office that had bright colors, and it just performed really well. And we experimented with several, and then the one that really went well, we threw our money behind that.
AMY: Okay, perfect. So you have to experiment. Like in Digital Course Academy®️, Rick Mulready teaches this certain type of Facebook ad—that’s the one she's talking about—with the video. But I love that you experimented with it. But then you also found something else that worked probably even better because you know your audience more than anybody else will. I'm curious. That image where you're standing in your office—and it's fun, guys, because we are just doing audio right now, but when we first jumped on, Jamie had her video on. She has a really sweet office that she said, “I needed one place to work in my home because I've got five kids.” So they turned a bedroom into an office, and it's very colorful and, really, a really cute office that she says it makes her feel really good when she walks into it. And so you were standing in the office, but was it a posed professional shot, or was it a candid one? What kind of photo was it?
JAMIE: I had a professional take it, but it looks more candid. I look comfortable in my office and happy, and people noticed my office and started conversations about it. And it got engagement, which told Facebook to keep sending it out to these people.
AMY: Perfect. So, I love that. So, yeah, you just have to experiment. You never know what might work. But we have noticed the more-candid, casual photos and videos tend to work really well, so I'm glad that you experimented with that as well.
Okay, so, let's talk about some results. And we're going to still drill down on some strategies as well, but first of all, you had a goal for this launch. You wanted to sell how many courses?
JAMIE: I wanted to sell fifteen hundred courses, which I really felt like was a stretch goal, but I love to work for a stretch goal.
AMY: I love a girl that loves a good stretch goal. And so what is the price point of your product?
JAMIE: My price is ninety-seven dollars, and there is an upgrade option for $147.
AMY: And the name of your course is?
JAMIE: Not So Wimpy Writing Master Class.
AMY: I love it. Not So Wimpy Writing Master Class, ninety-seven dollars, and then you’ve got an upgrade to $147, you said?
JAMIE: That’s correct.
AMY: And what do they get if they upgrade?
JAMIE: If they upgrade, they get the lesson plans for the year to go along with the how to teach.
AMY: Perfect. Okay, great. So, your goal was fifteen hundred courses. Tell everybody how many courses you sold.
JAMIE: I sold 2,625 courses during my ten-day launch.
AMY: I mean, come on. Go on. This is so good. So good. Okay, so, you blew your goal out of the water. And do you remember—and it's okay if you don't, because I'm putting you on the spot—do you remember how many people actually took you up on the upsell?
JAMIE: On the upsell, I'm not positive of the exact number of people, but it did result in an extra $30,000 in revenue.
AMY: Wow, so a lot of people, okay. So that's awesome. And what I love about your upsell is that it wasn't too much of a jump. And I know, because we have a lot of teachers in our courses, I know that money's tight, and what breaks my heart—my sister is a teacher as well—the fact that you all are spending your own money for these kind of things breaks my heart. So you've got to stay within that really reasonable price point. So going up just about fifty bucks for that upsell, such a good move. So I like the strategy there, for sure. Whereas in my world, my upsell might be a few hundred dollars, so, guys, you got to just know your audience. Don't play small because you're afraid to charge a lot; know your audience and what they can afford. And so I feel like your prices are really solid.
So, okay. Also, you had this fun thing that you had shared that people actually started the training right away and they loved it so much that you actually got testimonials during the remainder of your launch. Is that right?
JAMIE: I did. So I decided not to drip my course, due to my audience and their needs. I like the idea of dripping a course that you don't feel overwhelmed by so many modules all at once. But my audience—summer isn't the same for everyone across the country, and some of them need to do it really fast, before they go back in July, and some don't want to think about it until August. I decided to just give it all at the beginning. And I was shocked when some of my new students started the course right away, and some of them even binge watched it for a few days and finished the course before I had even finished the launch. I was nervous that maybe I didn't give them enough information, but, in fact, all of their feedback was, “It was so good I couldn't stop watching. I'm just going to re-watch it again later in the summer.”
So I just put a call out into my members-only Facebook group, saying, “Hey, any of you who have started the course want to jump on a Skype chat with me tonight?” I didn’t give them a lot of notice or anything, and I didn't know what they would say, but I had several, so many so that I actually had to delete the post so that I didn't have to say no to anybody. But I sat there and I chatted with them, and I just talked to them about what they were feeling before the course and their thoughts on the lessons they had watched so far. The feedback was amazing. They let me record it, and I made a short video that I put on Facebook and advertised during the last two days of my launch. I feel like my audience wanted to hear from other teachers so that they knew it was a safe purchase.
AMY: Ah, so good. So you did this Facebook Live in your—did you do it inside of a Facebook group that was just for paying students?
JAMIE: Yeah. I just went into the group for the paying students and asked if anyone wanted to chat with me.
AMY: Okay, so good. So you did this. You kind of kick-started things right from the get-go, during the launch. So one thing I love is that, you guys, we can be nimble during a launch, and this is something—ah, such a good lesson—I've actually never talked about this before, and that is that if you prepare in advance before you launch, if you do the work I teach you step by step in the course and you get all your ducks in a row, when you launch, you should have a little bit of breathing space so that you're not overwhelmed the entire time, trying to create, create, create. That's not what the cart-open—you know, Jamie had ten days of cart open. That's not what that time is for. You've done the work; now you're in the moment and present.
And this doesn't always happen in a first launch. It might take you a few launches to get there. But my goal is always to be very fully present during the cart-open days and to be available, like Jamie did, to say, “You know what? I'm going to jump into the new-members Facebook group, and we're going to do a kickoff call, and I'm going to get them started if they want to start binge watching,” or whatever it might be. And then look what happened. She got testimonials while her cart is open, which is very rare, for the record. I never have that. So that's a really big deal.
Remember, if you do the hard stuff leading up to the launch, the launch, it's almost like the day the cart opens, I take a big breath. Like, “Okay, here we go. We've done all we can do. Now I'm just going to be very present.” And with live video, that's one way to do it.
Now I have a question for you. You decided to do ten days of cart open, and I teach anywhere between seven and fourteen days. How did you feel about ten days? Did you wish it was shorter? Do you wish it was longer? Was that a good fit? How did that work for you?
JAMIE: We set our dates—way back in January when we bought DCA and we started listening to lessons, it was one of the first things you had us do was plot the calendar and set dates. We already had some summer trips planned, both personally and professionally, and so we had to fit it in between some trips, and I only had, really, a ten-day window. So we decided to go with it. When my cart closed after ten days, I really felt like I had done enough. We do plan to do a fast open later in August because lots of teachers were still in school in June because East Coast gets out later than West Coast and so they have summer at different times. So we know we're going to open for a very short window of time in August, so we knew that ten days, we felt good about it when we closed.
AMY: Got it. Okay, good. I love to hear that. And just so we actually have the number, what were your results? How much money did you generate during this launch?
JAMIE: My course revenues were $280,000.
AMY: Two hundred and eighty thou—okay, first of all, seriously, guys, especially from a teacher, if you were just in the classroom, that number can blow any teacher's mind, but that blows my mind. I know my listeners are like, “What?” So $280,000. And I have two questions for you. The first question is: What did your husband think when you told him, “We just made $280,000”?
JAMIE: Our minds are blown. When I told him my fifteen-hundred goal, he actually—and he's the one who pushes me—but he said, “Don't worry. We're going to open again in August, remember? So you don't have to make it all. And it's our first time, so just stay positive.” And to be real honest, when I first opened the cart, my first webinar, it had some issues, and right afterwards, although I had a lot of new customers, when I started tabulating it in my head, I was like I won't make my goal if we keep at this rate. And so there were definite days where it was like, “Okay, I'm not going to make my goal this time, but I've learned a whole lot.” And then, as the launch just kept going, the momentum kept building. And he woke up one morning, looks at the stats, and he looks at me, and he goes, “I think you’re meeting your fifteen-hundred goal today.” And he was right. I met it and exceeded it. On Tuesday, I’m at the fifteen-hundred goal, and on Thursday, I closed my cart at 2,625.
AMY: Okay, so, this is such a great conversation because I love all these things that happened, and this happens in a launch. So, guys, when you do launch, it is very normal to look at the numbers that, say, on day one or two and think, “I'm not going to reach my goal.” I literally—I hate to admit this—I do that every single launch. And you all know Chloe, my integrator, and she'll be like, “Yes, we are,” like it's her job to tell me we're going to meet our goal, whether we are or not, because I get very nervous when things, right out of the gate, you just can't tell right from the beginning. But you just kept going.
And I love—you have a really great mindset. I love that you said, “You know what? We're learning things. We're going to take what we learn, we're going to launch again.” That's why I always say, we're not just launching once; you know you can make it better the next time. So you didn't dwell on that and let it pull you down, and then look what happened. You actually exceeded your goal. So that was huge.
Also, you said—oh, I have a question for you. So if you made it to about $280,000, do you know approximately how much you spent to make that?
JAMIE: Yes. We have calculated it, and it looks like we've spent $10,000 to make the $280…—
AMY: Stop it. Stop talking. I was actually very nervous to ask that question because I hadn't prepared to ask it, and I’m like, “What if she says $200,000,” and then I have to tell everyone, ‘Well, let's talk about this’?” Ten thousand dollars? Oh, that's insane. So I will tell you guys, this is amazingly awesome, and probably most people are going to likely have to spend a little bit more than that to make the $280,000 on a first launch. But this is why we're talking about this, because she's had huge results; and she's been patient with this; and she spent the time to understand her audience; and she uncovered an issue that she wasn't really sure she even wanted to teach on in the beginning, but she pushed herself and said, “Can I do this? Can I refine this? Can I find a framework around teaching teachers how to teach their students how to write?” So I just really want you to really experience this journey with us right now because those results are phenomenal, and even if she spent $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 to make that, I'd still be like, “What? This is amazing.” So I love that we're sharing all the details.
Okay, with all of this, it's obvious you've learned a lot through the process, and I would love my listeners to hear some of your key takeaways. And what's really fun is you posted in our private Facebook group some of your key takeaways, and I just was poring over all of them because you had so much great stuff to share. But talk to us about some of the stuff you learned along the way and some of your key takeaways from your own personal experience.
JAMIE: Absolutely. I feel really emotional about all this because this course has become my baby, and the people that I get to help have really changed the way I think about my whole business. So I'm taking the lessons I've learned, and I can't wait to launch again because I know there's more people out there for me to help. But the first thing that I learned was actually a super-hard lesson for me on the very day that I opened my cart, and that is that you can't please everyone. I am naturally a people pleaser. I have always, in my business, tried to figure out what would make my audience the most happy. And sometimes I would miss the target a little bit, and then I would redirect. But with the course, I was asking for ninety-seven dollars from teachers who really don't have disposable income, and so I was nervous to make a mistake.
What happened on my webinar, I did my webinar slides. Just like you said Amy, I poured over that really long video about every slide in the webinar.
AMY: Favorite video in DCA. Module five, lesson two, I go through slide by slide by slide. So I love that you poured over that.
JAMIE: I loved that video. I watched it and paused it, and then I would take notes, write my own slides. I mean, I pored over it. And it took me a long time to make my webinar slides, and I'm used to making PowerPoints, as a teacher. But I put a lot of heart and effort into this PowerPoint. I was so proud of it. I was nervous to do a webinar for the first time, but I got on the webinar, and I did pretty much everything you said because I had listened to that webinar lesson so many times that I almost had it memorized. And so I could hear Amy—I kind of laughed at the slide where you say, “As I see it, you have two options.” Every time I said that, I was like, “I'm Amy right now.”
AMY: That’s so great. I love it.
JAMIE: But I had a fast-action bonus, which you had talked a little bit about, and I decided to go ahead with a fast-action bonus, a bonus that they would receive if they purchased the course while I was live on the webinar. And so at the beginning of my webinar, I told them, “Hey, stick around to the end because I'm going to tell you how you might be able to get this brand-new resource that I have for free.” At the end, came back to it, said, “Oh, don't forget. Remember how I told you about this free mini unit? It’s not even available in my store. The only what that you can get it is becoming a member of my new course. Everyone who signs up while I’m live will get it for free.” And I thought they were going to be like, “Yay!”
Well, what I didn't know—so I had the slides on my computer so I actually couldn’t see their comments, which ended up being a blessing. My husband and my teammate were in the other room, and they were doing a Google Doc for me, with all the questions. So I didn't see a lot of it, which is good. But as soon as I went direct to camera and was answering their questions at the end, I did see a few, and I kind of ignored them. But then, my team wrote in the Google Doc, “Everyone is getting upset about the fast-action bonus. Think you need to acknowledge it.” And so I did acknowledge it on the webinar, and I felt a little nervous. They were telling me, “You fooled us. We should all get it for free because we watched. We spent an hour of our time watching, and you're not even going to give us something for free.” Like, all of a sudden, all the free training I did didn't seem like something I gave them, and it just took me by surprise. I kept going with the webinar and just let it slide while I was live.
And then, I let myself kind of go down a rabbit hole. I sat there, reading every comment on my webinar. I was trying to respond to them all, which was really difficult. But that’s when I could see all of them that my team had hidden or even ones that they had gotten by them, and I got to see how many people had said it. Now, thousands of people were happy, but the maybe ten or fifteen who complained, that's all I focused on. The people who said, “This is such great content. This is one of the best trainings I’ve ever gotten on writing”—and this was just my free webinar—I couldn't see that. I just kept focusing on these people who were mad at me, and I thought, “Did I say it wrong? Did I promise it to them and then not give it? Should I just give it next time? Should I eliminate it from my webinar altogether?” And I asked for some advice, and some people said, “Yeah, get rid of it. That's just fooling people.” But I decided, when we bought DCA, my husband and I said we're going to do DCA exactly how Amy says to do it, and then after that launch, we’ll take what we’ve learned and we’ll make any modifications we need to. And so I said, “I’m just going to go ahead with the second webinar, and I am going to teach you the fast-action bonus again.”
The second webinar, I was crazy-nervous about it because now I knew people might get upset, and so I feel like I was a little bit more nervous this time, but I went ahead with it. The only change I made was that when I was about to tell them how to get the fast action at the end, I mentioned my main lead magnet. I had assumed they all had it. I don't know why I assumed that, but that's just crazy. They didn't have it. So before I even told them how to get the fast-action bonus, I said, “Hey, I have a freebie for everyone. If you don't already have it, I've created this great guide,” and I gave them a link to that. And then I said, “But don't forget this free mini unit. I told you I'd tell you how you might be able to get it for free, and here's how.” I only had three people complain on that webinar, and my team hit them really fast. We didn’t even have to acknowledge it because it was only three people, and one of them was from the first webinar. They came to watch a second time just to give me trouble.
AMY: And wanted to complain again? Oh my gosh. Okay, so—
JAMIE; Plus they signed up during the webinars, and they loved the fast-action bonus, and I realized that, yes, fifteen, twenty people were upset, but thousands were happy, and I have got to find ways to focus on that.
AMY: Okay. This is big, guys, and I really want to take a moment to touch on this because this is going to come up for your launch as well. There's a few things. Inside of our business, because I've had the same issue, just for those of you who don't understand this concept or strategy of a fast-action bonus on a webinar, I teach it inside of the DCA program. But funny enough, this was one of those things that I had to find a new way to teach it because it became an issue with my students, similar to you, that they were talking about it on a webinar and people were getting confused or frustrated. So I actually had to sit down and refine it. And still, some people get confused, and that's okay. The way you handled it is exactly how—you can't make everyone happy. But before, it was a major issue because I had the wrong wording around it. So as a course creator, I had to refine it, and that happens, so give yourself the space to do so, and don’t beat yourself up as a course creator if you have to go back in your course and make something better. Always be listening to your students. So that’s a whole side note.
But what I will tell you is that I love what you said about you cannot focus on the people, the small group, that is complaining. And a lot of times, back in the years of growing my team, my team would come to me and say, “Everybody is upset about this,” or, “Tons of people are worried.” And I'll say, “How many exactly?” And although I know they don't know the number, they think about it, and they're like, “Well, there's ten people approximately,” and I'll say, “Okay, so we've got 2,000 people on right now, so it's not everyone. And you can't come at me with that energy because I will worry, definitely.”
And so, one, I had to educate my team, pay really close attention to the number of people, and then, you bring it to me when it's a bigger issue. If not, my team can handle it. And that's exactly what your team did. They were able to handle it; you weren't having the stress. We have to keep things in perspective. And then, at the end of the day, like you said, you cannot please everybody. And then you found a solution because you do care about people. We don't want to confuse people, so you gave them the lead magnet. The last thing I'll say and then I'm going to let you go on with your takeaways, the last thing I'll say is that I love that you just found your own solution, and you realized that we think everyone has our lead magnet. We think everyone knows about something we put out there. I bet a fourth of the people know. They don't know. And so isn't that funny that we think everyone has seen something?
JAMIE: It felt like they must have.
AMY: Right? And they don't; they haven’t. So I love that you added the lead magnet in there, and that casual mention of it, it alleviated a lot of stress. Okay, so I just had to jump in there with that because you're saying so many great things. Give me some more takeaways.
JAMIE: All right, along the way, I learned that just because I can do all of these tasks by myself does not mean that I should do them all myself. As I was going through DCA, I just had a baby, and there was a lot of other facets of my business that I was running, and my family and kids and travel, all these things. And I was starting to get a little— feeling behind. I was creating that feeling because, obviously, I was the only one deciding when my course needed to be out. And so I was creating this feeling that I was behind and I couldn't do it all.
And it was hard for me to hire some people. I decided to hire someone to do the slide decks for my actual course videos. This was hard because I create things; that's what my business is. And I create PowerPoints all the time. It would be easy for me to create the slide deck, really not that complicated, so why wouldn't I just do it? I realized I just don't have all of the time, and somebody else could do it, and it might not be exactly how I would make it, but it really worked out nicely. The person who made my slide decks made them quickly, and they looked good, and they match my branding. If I were to do them myself, would I make them different? Probably. And maybe someday down the road I will change those slide decks. But it was such a relief to pass that off to someone else and to get it back finished and check it off of the list while I was doing things with my family instead. That was so big for me.
I also hired a video editor. My husband was like, “I can edit all the videos.” He just has basic video-editing experience. He's used GarageBand before, and he thought, “It can't be that hard. I can add those slides in. I've made you classroom videos before, so I can do this,” and I believe in my heart he could do it, but I knew that he didn't really have the time to do it, and it would create another stressor.
So we just kind of put out a feeler, and a friend said, “Hey, I know someone who's a video editor here in town.” He was so excited to do it. Because his wife is a homeschool teacher, he did far better than we would have done. We didn't know how much a video editor actually could do to our videos. He made my skin look phenomenal. My students keep asking me to do makeup tutorials. I don't even know how to put makeup on. That’s my videographer.
AMY: Good guy. Pay him extra. Love it.
JAMIE: But it was really important to us to hire out some tasks. We did the bulk of it ourselves. We learned how to use Kajabi, with their customer support, a lot of their customer support. And we recorded all the videos on our own in our home office without really super fancy equipment, and we did a lot of the work ourselves, and we're proud of that. But we're also happy to say that when it got to be a little much, we hired out. Somebody else who was passionate about that particular type of project did the work for us, and it was worth it.
AMY: Oh, so worth it. And you don’t have to break the bank, guys, to find people that will help you out. So don’t have a limiting belief that you got to spend thousands, thousands, thousands of dollars to make it happen.
But also, I don’t know the answer to this, so I'm curious. And whatever you say, just before I ask you this question, I want all my listeners to remember that you don't have to have a big team in order to pull off a successful digital course. I've had many students who have very small teams or bigger teams. But I'm curious: What does your team look like, and is your husband part of the business?
JAMIE: He is now. About two years ago, he actually quit his job as a nurse, and he joined me in the business. And so he has no teaching experience, but he has been learning as much tech and behind-the-scenes stuff as he can. And he's heard me answer the questions so many times that he can actually answer them now. So he's a big part of my team, for sure. Also, he helps a lot around the house, giving me time to focus on my business, which is huge. That's the biggest thing he could do.
I also have one full-time teammate that started one year ago, and she was very helpful in running ideas by for my course, but a lot of what she did was sort of run some of my day-to-day stuff and some of my other product creation while I was a little bit busy with the course. And she was a huge supporter of the course. She listened to all the videos and gave me feedback, and she was there during the webinar. And still, she is in the members-only Facebook group, constantly talking to the teachers because I didn't realize how much they were going to chat in that Facebook group. So she's in there, and she's fabulous.
The day that my course launched, we hired our second teammate. She started that day.
AMY: Talk about throwing her in the fire. That is crazy.
JAMIE: It wasn’t the ideal start date, but she was the ideal candidate, and we would take her when we could get her, and that was the date she could start. And so her first day, she sat through my first webinar, and afterwards, she was like, “Whoa, that was crazy.” And we were like, “Yeah, it was crazy for us, too. We didn't know what was going to happen. We didn't realize how fast they'd ask questions.” And she was just so overwhelmed but also excited to be a part of something this big, helping this many teachers all at once. It was really neat for her. She got a good taste of what we are all about, and I look forward to actually being able to train and work with her more now that course has died down a bit.
AMY: Right? I love that. Okay, great. So, basically, one full-time person, and your husband helps out as well. So I actually didn’t know what you were going to say, and I wasn't sure if you were going to say like, “I have twenty people on my team,” or whatever. So you did a $280,000 launch, with one full-time person and the support of your husband. That is amazing. And I think that's very normal in terms of—guys, most of my students who build courses do not have big teams at all. And you all know that I've had a very small team for many years. We've just started building it up. So this is very doable, no matter if you're a one-woman-and-one-man show and you hire contractors or if you've got a few people on your team.
Okay, so, give me one final takeaway that you felt like you really learned throughout this launch experience.
JAMIE: I think that a lot of my success is because I learned this, and that is to go where your audience already is.
AMY: Ooh, good one. Okay, tell me more about that.
JAMIE: Well, I feel like Instagram's become really popular right now, and for whatever reason, it hasn't taken off for me. It has taken off for other people in my industry, so I know it's possible. I know it's probably that I have some learning to do in the area of Instagram and Instagram Stories. Instagram makes me feel a little old because my son actually explained to me how to use it. I was really trying to do what everyone else was doing, and they were like, “Oh, I'm putting these videos on Instagram Stories, and I have these posts on Instagram and Instagram TV.” I mean, I was feeling like that’s what I needed to do. I needed to do what everyone else was doing because it was working for them.
And then there was this aha moment that I had while I was listening to one of your podcasts, and it was just this idea that I already have an audience on Facebook. And Facebook is not everyone's favorite social media, but it seems to work really well for me. So instead of trying to become an Instagram guru in the middle of my course launch, maybe I just need to go to Facebook, where my people already are, and talk to them there, and then Instagram can be something I grow at later. Maybe it's a course I need to purchase, maybe I need some Jasmine Star in my life. But right now, in the middle my course launch, I have thousands of people who already know they can trust me on Facebook, so why don’t I just go there, where they are? And for others, it might be LinkedIn or, I don't know, wherever else the young people are, Snapcha. But for me, it was on Facebook, and I was losing sight of that while I was trying to be like everybody else.
AMY: Ah, such a good lesson. I hope you guys heard that one. If you need to rewind a few minutes back, listen to it again, so, so important. I love this.
Okay, so, I have one final question for you, and that is: How does your life look different today than it did, let's say, a year from now? So what’s different now that you have a successful course launch under your belt?
JAMIE: I really feel empowered right now. I feel really confident about the content and the material that I have to provide to teachers who are in need. I feel like I've grown in confidence through this course launch and working with my new 2,625 students. Being able to help them, because they're getting ready to go back to school, it has actually given me so much more joy than I realized that it would when I started the whole course experience. I love being able to help them. They are so happy and excited. And it's not often that we're working with people on social media that they have this sort of excitement, and they're making me excited to keep on doing this. They've already asked if I'm going to make a reading and a math course, and I kind of joked with them, and I said, “That's a lot like asking a woman who's just been in twelve hours of labor if she's going to have another kid.”
AMY: Right? I have never had a baby on my own, but I agree with that one.
JAMIE: I’m like, “I’m not ready to discuss that right now.” I’m working on my membership site, which they don’t know about yet. So it's like I can't wait to surprise them, because they're already asking, “What's going to happen when this members-only Facebook group goes away? How will we collaborate?” So I know that there's more that I can do to help them in the coming year, and that has me so excited. I get up in the morning excited to go down to my office and talk to them, see what lessons they watched yesterday and what their new takeaways are.
AMY: Ah, you know when you've done it right when you're excited to work with your students, and you love seeing what they're doing, and you can't wait to create something else, like a membership site, to continue the journey with them. So you've really created something extra special. You've created that financial freedom that I want for all of my students because you know how to make money online and you've done it in really big ways. You are working with your husband now, which is extra special. I absolutely love that. And you're starting to grow your team little by little. I feel like you're doing it the right way. And you listened to your ideal customer avatar. They told you what they wanted. You weren't even sure if you could give it to them. And look what you've done. So I just want to say, congratulations, Jamie. What a great example, what an inspiration you are. And thank you so very much for being on the show.
JAMIE: Thank you, Amy. I really couldn't have done this without Digital Course Academy®️. I followed your lessons to the T, and so I know that so much of my success is because of the course. So I really can't say enough nice things about you and the course that you created. It is just a near-perfect resource.
AMY: Ah, I just love you for saying so. And thank you for being such a star student and doing the work, and look what you've created. It's just so incredible.
And Jamie, there's some people listening that will just want to check you out. So where can they go to find out more about everything in your world?
JAMIE: They can find me on my website at notsowimpyteacher.com.
AMY: I love it. It's such a great website. Thanks again. And I can't wait to see you in the real world. So if we come into contact with each other, I'm giving you a big hug, so you better be ready for it.
JAMIE: I will be seeing you in October.
AMY: Oh, fantastic! You're coming to Entrepreneur Experience.
JAMIE: I wouldn’t miss it.
AMY: Oh my gosh. I'm so excited. Okay, big hug. We're going to take some pictures together. And I can't even wait. So thanks again, Jamie, for being here, and I'll see you in October.
JAMIE: Bye, Amy.
AMY: Bye for now.
So, there you have it. I hope you loved this interview Jamie as much as I have. Listen, the goal here was to inspire you and help you understand just how doable it can be inside of your own business to create a digital course. Remember, she didn't have a big budget, she didn't have a big team, and in the beginning she didn't even think she had the right topic for her course. All of this is doable if you're patient with yourself. So I hope you really found great value here. And right now I hope you're thinking, “I might want to create a digital course myself.” I hope you're excited about the potential of creating a digital course in your business because believe me, everything changes when you have a digital course that you can promote over and over again to create consistent revenue. I want that for you.
So if you're excited about potentially creating a digital course, the doors open to Digital Course Academy®️ on September 12th. Mark your calendar. We're only going to have a short window of enrollment. So September 12, 2019, doors open. So in order to get on the waitlist to be the first to know when we do open enrollment, go to amyporterfield.com/comingsoon. That's amyporterfield.com/coming soon. You can get on that waitlist. I'll email you the minute the doors open.
All right. I cannot wait to talk to you again same time, same place next week. Until then, make it a great week. Bye for now.