Transcript: Should I Create A Digital Course?

September 6, 2019




Well, hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled about today's topic. That is a triple thrilled, so you know I'm serious.

So, here’s the deal. Have you ever taken one of those fun quizzes that tells you which TV character you're most like? My very favorite is the quiz you can take to figure out which character you're most like on Sex and the City. Okay, boys, this one might be a little bit weird for you, but the ladies know what I'm talking about. Are you most like Carrie or Miranda or Charlotte or Samantha? Which one are you most like? Have you ever taken the quiz? Please tell me you have. Well, if you haven't, it's a fun one.

I am most like Miranda because I am so type A. Now, I was bummed by these results because, of course, I wanted to be most like Carrie. Who doesn't, right? I was a little afraid I might be most like Samantha, if you know what I mean. But I wasn't, for the record.

Okay, so, for my non Sex and the City fans, you're like, “Amy, what are you talking about? Get to the point.” Okay, so my point here is that quizzes are fun, but they also can be really, really valuable to your business, especially when that quiz has some meat to it, it has some substance. And I've got the quiz of all quizzes for you today.

So, if you're listening to this episode and you are a die-hard fan, like, you are loyal, you watch my stuff, you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you know what's going on in this business as it relates to helping you build your business, then you likely already took the quiz. And thank you for that, and I hope that you loved your results and that you know I have pored over this quiz, with the help of my team, of course. We have put our blood, sweat, and tears to make sure that your quiz results are exactly what you need for your business.

Now, maybe I should tell you what this quiz is about, right? I'm just going on and on, and I'm not getting to the good stuff. I want to help you to decide which type of profitable digital course will work best inside of your business.

Did you know there are actually five types of digital courses that are working right now online? Yep, five types of digital courses. And I'm going to quickly run through those digital courses and give you some examples of each so it really brings it to life. And then, you're going to take that quiz to find out which one is best for you. And if zero types of digital courses are best for you, if maybe you or your business are not ready for a digital course, the quiz will tell you. So don't worry. This isn't just a one-size-fits-all kind of thing and everybody's right for a quiz. That actually is not true. So, there’s a sixth outcome in the quiz, which is, “Hey, you’re not ready for a course, but let me tell you what to do next.” So that is built in because I want these results that you're going to get to be incredibly accurate.

Okay, so where do you go? Simple as that. Okay, so, if you want to go there right now, take the quiz—it takes two minutes—great.

But let me break this down for you because you might be curious which types of quizzes are working right now online. And I'm going to get there, but let me tell you something really quickly. Maybe you want to take the quiz right now, and I'm just going to chat with you and give you a little extra value before we get into the five types of quizzes and the examples, the real-life examples, from my students that I want to share with you.

And, oh. Oh my gosh, when I get a little excited, I do feel, even though I have notes in front of me, I do feel I get a little bit ahead of myself. But last year, when I started talking about the different types of profitable quizzes, I only talked about three. This year, as I watched my students, I saw what they were doing, I really paid attention to what was working in the marketplace, there are actually two more I added to the mix, which I am very excited about because one of them is so doable you could jump on it right away and get it done in a weekend if you want. But I always say baby steps, so, like, in the next thirty days you could get this actual course up and running. I know, I know, exciting, right? So, I’m going to talk about all these types of digital courses.

But one thing I wanted to tell you while you're taking the quiz—again,—is that I was doing an interview with my friend Jenna Kutcher—shout out to Jenna. Hey, girl—and she asked me a question on her podcast, Goal Digger, that I thought was really important for you all to hear as well. She said, “Amy, isn't this a saturated market now? Aren’t digital courses, like, everybody's doing them; you see them everywhere? Like, how can you even stand out when everyone is marketing their digital courses now?” And I told her two things. I said, one, the reason why you're starting to see digital courses everywhere is they work. Let's pay attention to the trend that is very hot right now. Traditional education is literally vanishing for digital-course education. And the reason for that, you can guess, the ease of use; the fact that you get to listen or watch any where at any time; the barrier to entry is almost nonexistent—everyone tends, these days, to have an iPhone or an iPad or a computer to listen or to watch; and also, there’s something about the fact that you get to learn on your terms, and that means going at your own pace. That means going back again and again if you don't get something. Like, you get to shape your education when you are watching a digital course.

And also, the price. The price of a digital course is incredibly, incredibly lower than, let's say, the traditional formal education that many of us got, like me going to college. I could learn a whole heck of a lot in digital courses that I never ever learned in college.

Now, let's not say that digital courses can replace college. Cade is my son, is seventeen, and we are one more year of high school and then he goes away to college. And it’s so very fun looking at the colleges and going back East. He's thinking about some back East schools, and I love that experience of college. But what I might not tell him just yet is I think that all of the most valuable lessons about building a business and what he can do to be an entrepreneur, if that's the route he wants to go, can be learned from people that have gone before him that have created digital courses. I really do believe that. So I feel as though digital courses are just taking over, and that is one of the reasons why you're seeing them everywhere.

Number two, when you ask, “But isn't it too saturated, Amy? Like, everyone's doing a digital course. The course I want to make, it's been done,” and what I say is, “Has it been done by you? No, it's never been done by you.” When Jenna was interviewing me, I said, “Jenna, you and I both have list-building courses that have generated over a million dollars for each of us. We overlap in some of the content we teach. Our styles are very different. Our personalities are very different.” Jenna and I are very, very different people, the way we approach business, the way we communicate. I mean, the girl’s in bikinis and underwear online. We all know that I don’t have the courage to do that. We’re different people. And we attract different audiences, and that’s why it works. I never ever, ever care what somebody else is doing in terms of digital courses. I just put blinders on and run my own race. And you, my friend, can do the same. Stop paying attention to who else has a course about what you want to teach because no one can teach it like you. Mic drop, right? Yes? Amen? Okay.

So, now that we have ironed that out, we are moving on, and I'm going to break down the five types of digital courses, and then, we're going to make sure you take that quiz, and if you have any questions about these digital courses, hit me up in a DM on Instagram. So I'm @amyporterfield on Instagram, and I do my very best to get back to people there, and I love that platform. So if you have a question about your digital course, come on over to Instagram and let me know.

Okay. Let's get to it. Let's start at the top, with the five most-profitable types of digital courses. First up, the workshop course. I have been dying to talk about this type of digital course. I’ve never talked about it before, and the reason I want to jump into the workshop course for you is if you are brand new to the online-marketing world, if you're just getting started, you have a few hundred people on your email list, you are dabbling in the world of course creation, you're not sure how to get started, a workshop course is something you can do in thirty days or less.

So let me break it down for you. A workshop course is a two-hour-ish training, either live or recorded—I encourage live—that promises instant clarity and results. Now, that might sound like a webinar, right? Here's the big difference: people are paying to learn from you. It's not a free webinar. Their paying, and then they're going to get access to the training. Even if the price point is low, there's a different mindset involved when someone has skin in the game and they've actually paid for it. When people pay, they pay attention. So you tend to see quick results from those who paid for your workshop because they're serious about getting into action. So the goal with a workshop course—this is important for you to hear—it usually addresses an immediate problem that’s keeping your audience stuck. You can also use a workshop course to bridge the gap and solve a problem that's stopping people from moving on to work with you in a bigger capacity.

So I'm going to give you my favorite example of this, and then, I'm going to help you with some pros and cons so you can see a little bit more of how this workshop course could work or maybe not work. Take the quiz, and I'll tell you if this is right for you, but I'm going to break it down anyway.

So, my favorite example is Sarajane Case of Enneagram & Coffee on Instagram. Now, any of you who know Sarajane Case love her already, right? Is she not the cutest thing in the world? Well, she started this Instagram account, Enneagram & Coffee, and it blew up instantly. Like, this thing was on fire from the day she started. And she talks in a lot of really funny ways, but it's also very valid, she talks about the different types of enneagram. And so if you’ve never taken the assessment, you could look it up and learn more, but many of you already know what it is.

And for the record, I'm a two; I'm the helper. And this is another one of those assessments that I wanted to be someone else. I wanted to be a three, the achiever. I've taken it multiple times. I'm a two.

But here's the deal. She created this account, and then she realized that a lot of people were getting tripped up with what their enneagram number was, and she realized there's a lot of bogus information out there as well. And so people were thinking they were one thing, but they really weren't. And if you care anything about enneagram, you care what your number is. And so she said, “Look, I'm going to do a workshop where I will help you to figure out what is your enneagram type. I'm going to help you figure it out. I'm going to give you some details and information that you might not know already to help you really hone in on this.”

And so this is her workshop course, and it was really inexpensive but really valuable. And so first of all, really successful. But what I loved about her workshop course—she might not call it that, but I'm calling it that—what I loved about it is that it addressed an area where her community was stuck. Now. imagine if you get unstuck and you’re really clear on what your number is. Then you might say, “Sarajane, what else you got? I want to explore this more. Now that I know I'm a two, now that I'm very clear, help me understand how I can apply this to my life; how I could be better in my relationships, in my communication, in my job; how I can navigate through the world at a higher level knowing what I am and how I can apply it. What else you got?” Well, maybe she has a course or a membership site or a mastermind on the back end of the workshop. Or if she doesn't, maybe she'll create one.

And so this workshop course is a quick hit. It's easy for you to create because it's just a two-hour training or somewhere around there, and it's a low barrier to entry for your audience to actually pay you to become a customer, and the questions they ask on a workshop course could be so incredibly valuable for your next course which will have more substance. You can charge more. It's more of a roadmap to big transformation. This is just a quick hit.

So let's talk about some of the pros and cons. The pros are ease of execution. This is a biggie because you can get it up and running quickly, and likely you already have the information in you so it just kind of flows out quickly. Also, it doesn't require extensive marketing campaigns or funnels. You can just post about it on social, email your list about it, maybe do a podcast about it or a blog post, maybe run some ads to it if you want to do that, and you could fill it up that way. Typically, it's sold between ten dollars and two hundred dollars, so it's an easy yes for most people. And creating and launching this type of course will help you prove to yourself that you've got what it takes to create digital courses. So this is very much a stepping-off point.

Now, let's talk about the cons because a workshop course is great, but it's not a foundational piece in your business. So first of all, there's a limit to what you can teach in two hours, which means there's a limit to the results you can get for somebody, right? And the one I want you to pay close attention to is you're not charging a lot. It's not going to be a huge moneymaker, but it can be a little cash injection into your business. It's not the end all, be all. It's really just the start of your course-creation journey. And so if you want to build a digital-course business, much like mine, you are not going to just do it on a workshop course. It's just you getting your feet wet and you connecting with your audience in a way that they're like, “Whoa, this is good. What else you got?” So you're giving them a small win, but it's something that they're stuck on, or they have a desire to feel joy in this certain area and they just want that quick hit. So it's a great, great type of course. And anyone who's ready for a course can do it.

But at the same time, there's a lot of my students that I say, “Okay, you could do a workshop course, but there's something more substantial that you can do.” So let's move on to the next type of digital course that is definitely more substantial, and that's a starter course. So a starter course is more in-depth than a workshop course but not hugely more in-depth. So it's a jumping-off point where you help your students get started in your area of expertise. Your training will give your students just enough information and support to help them begin moving forward. Think of it as your way to help them kick start their momentum. So you’re promising more detail and more instruction and more results than you would with a workshop course, and you’re likely charging more as well. For a workshop course, you could charge as little as twenty bucks. You wouldn't do that for a starter course.

And so let me give you an example of a starter course. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you might have heard this one, but it's so good that I love to use it as an example because it really paints the picture. I have a student. Her name is Melissa Norris. She used to be a pharmacist by day, and by night or in her other life she really loved to teach people about homesteading. She was raised as a homesteader, so somebody that raises their own cattle, and they have chickens, and they do canning, and they have gardens that are sustainable for them to live off of. Like, it's a way of life. And Melissa, if you're listening to this, you're like, “Amy, you’re butchering it,” but hopefully I did it a little bit of justice, but most people know a little bit about homesteading. So she, from a very young age, was taught how to can her fruits and vegetables, canning. And so when she decided to start branching off and maybe wanting to do something different than being a pharmacist because she was driving into work every day, driving home every day, her kids were at home. She wanted to be at home with her kids.

And so she started to dabble in this different world. And one of the very first courses she made was how to can your fruits and vegetables. She called it Home Canning with Confidence. And so it was a starter course, how to get started with canning. It wasn't how to become a homesteader. That's a big topic that covers so much, right? But she wanted to dip her toe in the water and become a course creator, and she also wanted her students to get started in this world, just to get a taste of what it's like. But there's a lot of things that go into canning. So it wasn’t a workshop course, a quick hit. It was, let me show you, from A to Z, how to get started with canning, but I’m not going to go deep into other homesteading topics and areas.

So this is a perfect example of what a starter course might look like. She charged ninety-seven dollars for it. So I think that's a perfect price for a starter course. And it was really successful, and it branched out into other things that she does in her business now.

All right. So I love, love, love a starter course. I encourage a lot of my students to start here, and there's still that ease of execution. It's easier to get started with than some of the other courses I'm going to tell you about next. And also, one of the pros is you can charge more than a workshop course. So I have made lots of money with a ninety-seven-dollar course. Still, the barrier to entry is super low. It's an easy yes, but it's more substantial than, let's say, a twenty-dollar course. Also, it serves as a strong starting point for your customer journey. They're likely going to want more from you even after that starter course.

Now, one of the cons is that the curse of knowledge is not your friend when it comes to a starter course. You're going to want to add a whole heck of a lot, and I teach my students we're going to hold back. We're not going to include everything and the kitchen sink here. We're going to hold back and just give them what they need to know for this one area. So, something to think about.

All right. Moving on. The next type of profitable digital course is the spotlight course. Now, a spotlight course dives deep into just one main area. This type of course is ultra niche and offers specific and detailed information, typically via a step-by-step framework. With a spotlight course, you’ll help your students produce very specific results in just one area.

So, one of my favorite examples of a spotlight course is from my student, Kelly Hughes, and she's a yoga teacher, and she's also a business coach, so she helps other yoga instructors build their businesses online. And so one of her spotlight courses was how to set up a successful yoga website. So she doesn't teach everyone in the world how to set up a website. She's going for yoga instructors that are building their businesses, and there are some nuances and strategies that they need to know to set up a successful yoga website that will enable them to build a prominent online presence and also help them attract more people that are a perfect fit for their style of yoga and yoga studio. And so this spotlight course is just one little sliver of the different types of strategies that Kelly teaches. She charges $197 for it, and it's a huge hit.

So I love a spotlight course. It’s probably one that most people won't start out with, but you definitely can. It's a nice supplement to another course that you might have, like a bigger signature course, which I'm going to talk about next.

So, one of the pros is that a spotlight course is a great way to gain authority in your niche and grow from there. And you can charge more for a spotlight course. Kelly charged $197. You could charge usually as much as 500 bucks for a spotlight course, and that makes sense because you are promising results in one very specific area that likely your audience is like, please just help me figure out this one thing so I can move on.

Now, one of the cons is that you are only focusing on this one thing. So as course creators, we want to talk about everything. It's one thing I do with my students when I help them create an outline inside my program, Digital Course Academy®️. I help them keep coming back to, let's take out the stuff we don't need. Let’s take out any fluff. Let's take out the kitchen sink that you've added in there, and let's streamline it more, because that is the trend of what's working with digital courses right now. People, just give me what I need; don't give me anything else. I don't have the time or the energy or the bandwidth. So, that’s important. So a spotlight course will laser in, but one of the challenges with creating it as a course creator is you’ve got to be really diligent not to veer off into what I call an entrepreneurial rabbit hole, where you’re going to want to go into something else. Save it for later.

Okay, the next type of digital course is a signature course. Now, this is the mac daddy of all courses, and even some of my newbie students like to start here. So I'll just put it out there that if I looked at thousands and thousands of students that I've served, I think this is the most popular for those that are just starting out in their business, those have been at it for a while, and those that are super seasoned and they want to add another course to the mix. So a signature course is very popular. And with a lot of my students, I say, “Let's not start here, because it takes a lot of time and effort.” But you all are achievers. You all are hustlers. You're like, “Amy, just shut it. This is where I need to start.” So go on with your bad self. Whatever you want to do, I'm going to support.

So let me tell you what it is. A signature course is your complete, comprehensive system. Aside from a certification course, which I'm going to tell you about next, it's the most in-depth course you can create. It's specific and detailed. It includes your entire framework from start to finish and can lead to a total transformation for your students. Big transformation. Typically, you charge more for this, $500 all the way up to $2,000, $3,000. So this is your framework.

So let me give you an example of what I mean by framework. Let's say you are a weight-loss coach, and you work with one-on-one clients, and you have a process you take them through from start to finish. “All right, here’s what we start with in phase one. And then, once you’ve moved past that, we’ll go into phase two, and this is what it looks like. And then, in phase three, this is what we do.” So you’ve got a framework that you teach to your one-on-one clients. You take that framework and you teach it to many.

Now, the one thing that many people get stuck with when they're thinking about doing that, moving from one-on-one work into a digital course, is they think—now pay attention. If you're multitasking, come back to me. This is a big limiting belief that a lot of people think with digital courses—any of you that are coaches, consultants, service-space providers, you have this thought that, “Yes. But what I do with my one-on-one clients will not translate into a course. I have to do it one on one. They have to be sitting with me or on Zoom, and I have to talk to them, and I need to know exactly about their business or their life or their situation before I can put them through my process.” Not true. I want you to really challenge yourself on that.

One of my favorite students is Lauren Messiah. And Lauren—I’ve talked about her before—is a stylist, and she would travel all over L.A., and she’d take these big, heavy clothes racks to client after client after client. She’d shop for them. And if you know L.A., driving around in L.A. and taking clothing racks here and there sounds like a nightmare to most of us. Although her job was cool, just how she had to operate had to have been exhausting. I know it was because she said it was. And so she said, “I got to the point that I didn't want to do that anymore, but I know styling. I know how to help women look their best and do it on their own.”

And so what she did is she decided to create the Personal Style University, where she walks you through her proven step-by-step framework to help you find your personal style, detox your closet, and build a wardrobe that fits your goals and your lifestyle. So here's the thing. Lauren had a partner that said, “Oh no, no, no. That's not going to translate into a course. What we do with our one-on-one clients, we cannot teach in a digital course.” She's a badass, so she said, “Let me give it a try.” She charged $997 for her Personal Style University, and she hit six figures in her launches. She did multiple launches. She still launches. And she actually, because she's been at this for a while, just branched out to create a membership experience.

You all know how I feel about first creating the course and then moving into membership experiences, right? It’s exactly what I do in my own business. So the doors open up when you have a digital course. The possibilities open up when you have a digital course. What you can do with a digital course and how it can shape your business and how it can be the cornerstone of your business, I mean, come on, it’s just so incredible if you give it a shot.

So, again, Lauren and so many of my students like to start, just kick things off with a signature course, and I'm here for it. I support them all the way. I will tell you that one of the pros to this is you can make more money. Another pro is you can get really big results for your students. And another pro is you get to use the framework you’re already using. So, so many pros, and that’s why I think my students gravitate toward this one.

A con is that it’s a lot of work. I’m never ever going to sugarcoat that creating courses doesn’t take time, effort, a lot of bandwidth, and a lot of focus. It is worth every, every minute of all of that. But it is a lot of work. And so it could take sixty, ninety days to create your signature course, and then about thirty days to put together your assets to launch it.

But that flies by. I can't even believe at the time of this recording we're more than halfway through 2019. Time flies. So if you hear thirty, sixty, ninety days and think that's too long, oh my gosh. Are you in this for the long haul? Are you in this to make your business fantastic so ten years down the road you're still in it? If you shy away from creating something substantial in your business because ninety days feels too long, your head is not in the game in the way that will allow you to be making money years from now in a way that you love it.

So, that's just a little tough love from me that you've got to put this into perspective. We are not looking for a quick hit. We are not looking to get rich quick fast, right? I mean that's not us. And so if you're willing to do the work, you could create magic like Lauren did with her style university. Just putting it out there. I know I'm getting a little extra passionate, but digital courses are my thing. It’s what I love the most to teach. So I just never want you to miss out on that opportunity.

Okay, so, to round this all out with the fifth type of most profitable digital course, let's talk about the certification course. So a certification course is as in-depth as it gets. You're basically teaching others your methodology or process in such a detailed way that your audience will be able to teach that to others.

So a really great example of this is Brooke Castillo's Life Coach School, where she actually certifies you as a life coach, and her process takes a year to get through. It's over $17,000 or $18,000. But now you have a certification, and there's a lot of clout behind a certification.

But I would never ever encourage you to start here. In fact, I'd love to see you start with any of the other four types of courses I told you about, and then maybe stay in the game for a few years, and then move to a certification course. This is something that I wouldn’t recommend until you have a lot of success and results under your belt, and then you’re ready to certify others to do so. So if I say signature course is the mac daddy, this is even beyond that.

And I do not teach people how to create certification courses. I teach, inside Digital Course Academy®️, how to teach a workshop course. It's the brand new bonus for all new students of DCA. I teach you how to create a starter course, how to create a spotlight course, or how to create a signature course. So those are the four that I specialize in.

But here's the deal. To wrap this up, again, you've got options, and you really do want to think about what type of course is going to be best for you, your personality, your skill set, your knowledge, also what your audience needs and wants, and also where you're at in your business right now. That's what the quiz is all about. So your results are very personalized.

Okay, so, here’s what you do next. If you haven't done so already,, Take the quiz. And remember, if you are not right for a digital course, if it's not the right time in your business, if it's not a right fit for your business, the quiz will tell you. That's what took us so long to really pore over, what the results will tell people in a really personalized way. We wanted to make sure they were very accurate. So we didn't take this lightly, for the record. And shout out to Chanti, who helped me create this quiz. I've talked about her before on the show. She's amazing. I’ll link to her stuff in the show notes. But definitely, you've got to take this quiz. It’s what you need to do right now. It will take you two minutes.

Now, if you already took the quiz and you got results, I want you to look for an email from me very soon, where I'm going to invite you to the next steps, like, what to do now that you've gotten your results, now that you've gotten your marching orders. Because I don't just tell you what type of quiz to create; I give you the first action item as to how to get started. But I've got even more coming your way. So if you've taken the quiz, look for an email from me in the next few days that will invite you to something extra special to dive in even more. I've got a masterclass coming up that you're going to want to get on. So you're going to get an invite as long as you took the quiz.

And if you are listening to this and it's way past the time that we have launched Digital Course Academy®️, because doors open on September 12, 2019, and will not open again for another year, and so if you’re listening to this and it's October or November, just still go to, and either it will still be live, so you at least get the information, or there might be a waitlist so that we invite you next time we open things up. But I want you just to get on the list so you can stay in the know, and I'll send you tips and tricks to build your email list, to create your courses, and launch it. So stick with me. I've got you covered. But we wanted to make sure that we got this episode live today so you didn't miss out on the quiz.

All right, guys. Thank you so very much for tuning in. I'm one lucky girl that I get to talk about all these things I love, and you all let me get super excited, and on my soapbox when I get a little too excited, but I really do believe that when you create a digital-course business, not only are you allowing yourself to make as much money as you want to make and as much impact as you want to make, but you are also creating a business that you actually will love, especially for the long term.

All right, guys. Have a wonderful day. I’ll see you here, same time, same place next week. Bye for now.

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