Transcript: My Top 10 Digital Course Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

July 16, 2020

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AMY PORTERFIELD: “I remember like it was yesterday. I was in my little condo in Carlsbad, California. Hobie wasn't home. Cade wasn't home. It was just me. And I was laying in my bed, with my laptop on my lap, and I hit Send on my first email broadcast to get people to check out my launch videos. And I just sat there. And I think in that moment—this is embarrassing to admit—I think in that moment, I thought thousands of dollars would roll in. Like, I had seen other people do it. I had been involved in million-dollar launches. I had launched with Tony Robbins. I mean, come on. Yeah. No. No, no, and no, no, no. My experience was not what I thought it would be. There were no fireworks. There were no dollar signs. There were crickets. Like, no one opened that email for hours. And then slowly but surely, a few people opened it, and even fewer clicked on the link to check out the videos.”

“If you think that building an online business has been tough for you, if you think that nothing works out as planned, everything takes longer than it should, you're going slower than everybody else, your results don't look like everybody else who's having success, I want you to know that I literally have been in your shoes. And I want you to look at me and say, ‘If Amy can do it, I can do it. The only difference between me and Amy is that Amy's been doing it longer.’ That’s the only difference. All you have to do is stick with this. Now, and also learn from my many, many mistakes, which I'm teaching you here. But I just really need you to know I have had all those failures, my friend, all of them, and I got past them. And you can, too.”

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.

AMY: Well, hey, there. It's hard to believe that I've been creating digital courses for ten years now, and I've been in business for eleven. Time flies when you find your calling. However, that's not what I'm here to talk about today. Today, I want to share with you the ten mistakes that I've made in those ten years of creating digital courses. That's right. I rolled up my sleeves and dug deep into the things that haven't worked over the last ten years. My hope for you is that you can avoid making these same mistakes, because if there's one lesson I've learned in my time of building an online business, it's that if you're willing to do the work, show up, and put yourself out there, you will succeed.

One of my secrets to success is to learn from those who have a business and lifestyle that I aspire to. And I always dig deep to learn what's worked and what hasn't worked for them. I want to learn their mistakes early so I don't make them myself. It's a way to fast track your success. And although avoiding these mistakes that I'm going to share with you today won't make you an overnight success, they can make you a faster success story than most, and help you to create a profitable and enjoyable online business that eventually will grow bigger than you have ever imagined.

So here's my question for you. Are you, one, thinking about creating a digital course to add to your business? Or, two, currently creating a digital course? Or, three, you already have created and launched a digital course, and you're looking to make the course better and launch again? Whether you're one, two, or three, you're going to find these mistakes I'm going to share with you today golden, because you can make sure to avoid them no matter what phase you're in in your business. So let’s dive in to my top ten digital-course mistakes.

To kick things off, I got to start with one that still makes me cringe to this day: launching without first getting results for myself or somebody else I was working with. Basically, with my first digital course, I created a course to teach authors how to launch their book on social media. The kicker—I had zero experience in this area before trying to teach it. Sure, I had worked with authors in the past, and I knew a lot about social media. So I thought, why not? I can make the stretch to create a course like this. But I wasn't an author yet. I had never launched a book. And to be honest, I didn't know what the heck I was doing. So looking back, I now realize that I was just so desperate to niche myself ,to be known for something, that I didn't take the time to really dig in and understand what that meant for me and what I wanted to teach.

I've never shared this story before, but I have a friend named Jonathan Fields, and he has a wildly popular podcast called the Good Life Project. And way back, when I was really, really new to all of this, I traveled to New York City and took a class from Jonathan, where he was teaching how to launch books online. So I told him in that moment, “I've got an idea for a course, and I'm going to teach people how to use social media to launch their books.” And in the most lovingly, nicest way possible, he looked at me, and he said, “You really don't have the experience to teach that just yet.” And I embarrassingly looked away, changed the topic, kind of laughed it off, and went on my way to create the course. And it was a huge failure. I wish I would have taken Jonathan's advice, but I was in such a hurry to create something, anything, that I just didn't want to hear him.

So that leads me to my next mistake: imposter syndrome. After my first big course failure, I was even more scared to put myself out there. But this time, I had created a course I knew a lot about: building your audience using social media. I called it the Simple Social Media Formula, and the course was solid. But regardless of knowing what I was teaching, I struggled with imposter syndrome. And I know from talking to many of my podcast listeners that this is an issue for so many. Maybe even you can relate. So when I was just starting out, and even more so when I began doing webinars to sell my digital courses, which I started to do with my second course, I remember being so concerned about what others would think about me. I recall thinking, “Who am I to be teaching this? I am way out of my league.” I remember these thoughts vividly.

Now, I've shared this before, but when I transitioned from working for Tony Robbins to creating my own digital courses, I was so worked up and obsessed about what Tony would think about me, what he would say, what he would think, and what my coworkers at Tony Robbins would say about me putting myself out there and trying to sell my own digital courses. And my sweet, patient husband, Hobie, looked at me, and he said, “Babe, sorry to break it to you, but Tony Robbins or anyone else for that matter, are not worried about what you are doing online.” Bless that man. And he is 100 percent right. My friends, my family, my ex-coworkers, my old bosses are, one, not worried about what I'm doing, and, two, why was I really even caring what they were thinking? Why would I let their opinions stop me from going after what I really wanted, from chasing my dreams? I just couldn't let that happen.

And so way back when this was starting to be an issue for me, this imposter syndrome, I just had to stop myself and say, “I'm not going to let these worries about what other people will say or think about me stop me in my tracks.” It wasn't easy, but it was a decision I made way back when.

So, social psychologist Amy Cuddy says, “Focus less on the impression you're making on others and more on the impression you're making on yourself.” Write that down somewhere. I'm going to repeat it one more time. “Focus less on the impression you're making on others and more on the impression you're making on yourself.” Now, that might sound crazy because we're always like, think about others, not yourself. Right? But why I thought this was so important for those that struggle with imposter syndrome is, first, show up for yourself. Make yourself proud. Count on you. And when you do that, it's so much easier to put yourself out there and make an impact for others. It starts with you, my friend.

Another thing with imposter syndrome is that I was discounting the expertise and knowledge that I did have when I first started out. I felt like I had to be the expert of all experts, which left no space for the experience I had acquired. I wasn't the expert of all experts in social media, but I knew my stuff. I had gotten results for myself and others by the time I created my second course. So I wasn't at the expert-of-all-experts level, but that was not needed. All you need is a 10 percent edge. You need to be at least 10 percent ahead of those that want to learn from you. You need to have gotten results for what you're teaching, whether you get results for yourself or for somebody else, so that you can teach exactly how you got there. That's the 10 percent edge. That's all you need.

All right. Moving on to number three, and this is another cringe-worthy lesson. I created a digital course from top to bottom, and then, I never launched it. I'm talking about outlined the whole thing, put together my modules and my lessons, I recorded it, I edited the whole thing. I got it 100 percent ready, and then it never saw the light of day. Anyone who's ever created a course and just heard that, literally I think their heart just skipped a beat because you know my pain, right?

So here's what happened. A few years into building my business and with a few successful digital courses already under my belt, I ventured out to create my second Facebook-ads course. Years before, I had created a Facebook-ads course that did really well, but it was very outdated, which happens when you teach Facebook-ad training. And so I started this next course from scratch, and again created the whole thing.

But here’s the problem. I was moving away from teaching Facebook ads around that time. And the reason why I was moving away from teaching Facebook ads is I just didn't have a passion for it anymore. And truth be told, I had hired an agency to run my ads, so I wasn't as good in this topic as I used to be. You know, when you're in it, when you're in the ads manager and doing the work and making the ads and running them and checking the analytics, you know ads like the back your hand. But when you step out and let somebody else take over, you don't know it as well anymore. And I didn't have a passion for it, either. And so I should not have been creating a course around it.

But despite all of that, my audience kept asking for it, and I wanted to make money with another course, and I knew this was a total moneymaker. And I genuinely thought that if my audience wanted it and I knew it would make money, boom, it was going to be a success.

Here lies the lesson. The huge disconnect. Despite all the effort I put into creating this course, it's not what I wanted to teach or to sell. And when you're creating your course, you have to look at the sweet spot. And here's what I mean by the sweet spot: the course idea has to light you up, and be something your audience wants and something that will serve them, and be something that you’ve gotten results for yourself or for someone else, and have a profit potential. Inside of my Digital Course Academy®️ program, I teach my students how to determine their sweet spot. And when you do this, when you find your sweet spot, things fall into place so much more easily.

But where I made the mistake was that the topic no longer lit me up. And that’s a problem because when you love what you're teaching, when it gets you excited, it's going to show up in not only how you teach the content, but, almost more importantly, how you market it. Have you ever tried to market something you don't believe in, something you don't love, something that doesn't light you up? Yeah, it's a disaster. It falls flat instantly. Or when your launch gets tough and you're talking about something you don't love, you just want to throw in the towel.

However, if you're excited about the topic, no matter how hard a launch gets, no matter how wonky the technology works out on one of your webinars, no matter what's happening, you're like, “I'm in it. I'm in the game. I'm going to troubleshoot. I'm resilient. I'll make this work,” because you love what you're doing. But when the topic doesn’t light you up, it causes a really big problem across the board.

Now, if you're multitasking, this is the time you need to come back to me, because I want you to hear this, and I believe this, and eleven years in, trust me on this one. I want to be very clear that you do not need to be passionate about everything that you teach. Did you hear me on that one? It doesn't need to be your life's mission. This digital course you're creating, the topic doesn't need to be the most passionate thing you're ever passionate about. You just need to feel some enthusiasm, some excitement, some energy behind it. And you also need to tell yourself you know your stuff. You're confident that you can teach this because you've gotten results. That’s the recipe for a successful course and a successful launch.

So my lesson? I created an entire program, and then scrapped it because I didn't take the time to figure out my sweet spot first. Huge waste of time, and very big lesson learned.

Let’s move on to mistake number four: I continued to edit my own videos way longer than I should have. Yeah, I'm guilty, and I'll fess up to it in hopes that you avoid making this mistake. Specifically, what I'm talking about is that when creating a new course or revamping an old one, I would record using ScreenFlow—something I teach you how to do in DCA—and then, I personally would edit all of my videos inside of ScreenFlow instead of paying to have someone edit them for me.

Listen, my friend, I'm all about doing what you have to do when you don't have a lot of money, when you're just starting out. I mean, holy heck, I get it. In the early days, I did it all. Not only did I edit my own training videos, I ran my own ads, wrote my own copy, I did anything and everything I needed to do to make my online business successful. However, as I started to generate revenue, I continued to edit my own course videos. And to be transparent, I held on to this task for three to four years longer than I should have. And here's why. Maybe you can relate. I had the belief that, hey, I'm fast, I'm efficient. I'm really good at editing these videos. I know where I need to edit and how I need to edit. I can do it myself. Plus, if I have someone else do it, it's just going to take too long for me to explain how to do it and the way I like, so, look, I’ll just do it.

Yeah, thank goodness I’ve stopped telling myself that. We are talking hours and hours and hours of editing my own videos, when I, at that point, could have afforded to give it to a video editor, which he or she would have done in literally a quarter of the time it was taking me. Even though I was good at it, I know they were much better.

Editing your own course videos when you don't have the finances to outsource it is one thing, and I fully get it. But editing your own videos when you do have the ability to outsource is just an ineffective use of your time. Looking back now, I realized that there was no need to spend hours and hours editing when I could have instead been showing up live for my students, doing more Q&As for them to help them get bigger results, or spend more time on my webinar so it converted better, or spent more time in creating my prelaunch content so my email list would have been bigger so I would have sold more courses. Can you see where your time is better spent when you are launching courses online?

So after you start to make a little bit of money selling your courses or whatever you're doing online, so that you can put a little bit of money into video editing, please, my friend, learn from my mistake, because here's what I know for sure. When you say yes to one thing—like I said yes to editing all my videos for way too many years—you're saying no to something else. I was saying yes to devoting precious time to editing my videos. We're talking, like, just two years ago. Not that long ago, I was still editing my videos, which meant I was saying no to showing up for my students and my audience and myself. Heck, if I just took that time to rest versus editing hours and hours of videos until midnight, then I could have not reached burnout like I did years ago. I would have been more rested for my webinars and for my launch and shown up in a bigger way and not been so snappy with Hobie in the morning because I had been up so late editing videos.

So here's the thing. In your area of your business and in your life, it might not be editing videos, but there is likely an area of your business that you're holding onto because you're good at it, you're fast, you don't want to explain it to someone else, you can do it better, whatever these excuses are, you're likely holding onto something longer than you should. What is it? Identify it, make a better decision, move on, and spend your time more wisely.

All right. Moving on to number five. And this is a big one because I've really been focusing on getting my students to understand and run their business this way. It's thinking that the course you're creating is the end-all, be-all. I definitely did this in the beginning. It was like my course had to be the Taj Mahal of all courses from the very moment it was created, which is not at all true, my friend.

What I've learned is that you must look at your course creation in phases. When you're creating your course, don't try to be perfect, because it's not ever going to be perfect. Trust me, in my ten years of digital-course experience, that all you need to do is create one course that you will launch over and over again to be incredibly profitable.

I talk about the fact that I've created many courses, but to be quite honest, I've created courses, launched them multiple times, and then usually have retired those, and moved on to a different course to continue to launch over and over again. You don't need five, ten courses to be profitable. One course can make you a million dollars if you stick with it and continue to launch it over and over again. I've seen it happen many times, not just for me. The secret is to improve your course and your launch each time you do. So, you can improve your marketing, and you can improve the actual course, and you're going to be better at how you show up each time you launch.

So Digital Course Academy®️ is an excellent example of this. I first recorded my course in October of 2018 for my January 2019 launch. This was phase one of Digital Course Academy®️. It was a phenomenal course, and it's still getting people really big results. However, I've since moved on to phase two, where I just rerecorded the entire course from start to finish. I did this in May 2020 for my September 2020 launch. Why did I rerecord the entire course from scratch? Because I've learned so much about my audience. I've learned how they use the course, where and how they're getting results, and where they get stuck. They've told me what they want more of, what they don't like, what they need. I've listened to it all. In fact, I've surveyed my students. And I'm better at teaching the content because I pay close attention to what they're saying. All of this is allowing me to move into phase two. But get this. It's still the same course.

When I say that I rerecorded from scratch, I mean I got rid of all the videos, started anew, and I recorded them all over again. I've reworked some areas. I've added some really cool features, such as how to presell your course before you make it. Everyone wanted that. It's in the new course. So I've added things, I've moved things around, I've made them better, I've added more examples of case studies of those who have gone through this course and gotten big results, but at the core, it’s still the same course, the course that has gotten hundreds of people huge results.

So, when you’re creating your course, just know that you can always have an opportunity to make it better. And if you follow how I teach, you will create your course and revamp it and launch it again and launch it again. Remember, one course, one course can make you a million dollars. Believe in that and just stick with it until you want to retire that course because you're ready to teach something new, and your audience has asked for it, and you know it’s the direction you want to go.

But here’s the big lesson. You don't get the next opportunity to make your course even better if you don't get something out into the world in the first place. So if you don't get into the trenches and get going and get creating and get launching, then you'll never be able to see how people are responding to and navigating through your course. So you just got to do the best you can with what you have in the moment, launch the course, and then, move forward with phase two, which means your first iteration of your course does not need to be perfect. Amen, hallelujah.

Moving on to mistake number six. Ugh, this one. I was getting ready to launch, but decided I wouldn't play full out. I know it sounds crazy now because you know who I am and you know I'm all about playing big. But at the time, it was my second launch of what I called the Simple Social Media Formula. So remember, the first launch flopped. And so I was very gun shy to put myself out there again. And I thought, “I'll just play it safe. I'll send a few emails, post about it on social media. That will be my launch.” And of course, back then, there was no Facebook Live, so I didn't even need to worry about that.

So with this in mind, I went to a mastermind in Mexico with Marie Forleo. You've likely heard this story. I took a hot seat, and I told her my plan about sending out a couple of emails and posting on social media. I said, “Look, I'm still new at all of this. I'm just going to play it safe and just put out a few things and see how people respond to it.” She looked at me. And if looks could kill, let me tell you, I got scared just by the look. And she said, “Amy, stop playing small. This is ridiculous. Stop making excuses. Do the freaking launch. Go all out. Or just don’t waste your time.” After that, after I got the tough love, I decided to up my game before I launched it. I created a three-part video series, wrote an entire email sequence, and I did all the things you needed to do to have a proper launch.

Now, here's where you're not going to love what I'm going to say next. That launch wasn't a huge moneymaker. It made a little bit of money. Not a lot. A few thousand dollars. But I did everything I needed to do to put things in motion, to lay the foundation. At that point, I knew this is how I'm going to continue to launch. This meant that I never had to start from scratch again. I had a proper launch foundation. I knew what it felt like to do all the things. I knew what it felt like to put myself out there. And although it didn't produce the kind of revenue I wanted it to do, let me tell you, launch number three was a huge success.

So launch number one, failure. Launch number two did so-so. I finally hit my groove in launch number three. And if I didn't do the things that I did in launch number two, where I played full out, I would not have seen the kind of success I saw on launch number three.

If you're multitasking, come back to me, because if you're playing small by just sending a few emails only or doing a mini launch or just testing the waters your first time out or skipping the webinars because you're just not ready for them, you're delaying your success. You're delaying success that is inevitable if you show up, if you do the work, if you put yourself out there, and if you don’t give up. Do the webinars, do the email sequence, do the Facebook Lives, do it all because it does get easier, and it does make a difference. Basically, go all out, or don’t waste your time. That’s one lesson I had to learn the hard way.

Moving on to mistake number seven: I didn't nurture my email list before I launched. With this mistake, I was still early on in my business. Again, we're talking about my second launch, the one I had vowed I would play a bigger game. But one thing I did not anticipate is my unengaged, super-weak email list. Now, the good news is that I had 600 people on my list, a big-enough list to successfully launch. But they were not engaged because I hadn't nurtured them. And so when I said earlier that launch number two was not a big moneymaker for me, it's mostly because of my unengaged email list. So I did all the things—the three-part video series, posted on social, email sequence, and all of that was exactly what I needed to do, but I didn't have an engaged email list, and that made all the difference.

So listen up on this mistake so you don't make it. Sure, I had a lead magnet, but I wasn't actively putting out my lead magnet. I wasn't talking about it, posting it everywhere, telling people to go check it out. And I hadn't talked to my email subscribers in months, so I didn't know what to tell them at the time. Like, I was so new to this, and I was scared to email them. Like, what if I sound like an idiot? So I had this list of 600 people that rarely heard from me. They got in through a lead magnet, and then it was like, thanks; love them and leave them. And so here they are hanging out on my email list for months and months, and then all of a sudden, they get an email that says, “Hey, check out my video series.” They didn’t even remember who I was, let alone have any interest in my video series.

And this is a fatal flaw that many of us make. I wasn't actively pursuing my subscribers. I wasn't wooing them, and you got to woo your subscribers. And so when I launched, I heard crickets.

I remember like it was yesterday. I was in my little condo in Carlsbad, California. Hobie wasn't home. Cade wasn't home. It was just me. And I was laying in my bed, with my laptop on my lap, and I hit Send on my first email broadcast to get people to check out my launch videos. And I just sat there. And I think in that moment—this is embarrassing to admit—I think in that moment, I thought thousands of dollars would roll in. Like, I had seen other people do it. I had been involved in million-dollar launches. I had launched with Tony Robbins. I mean, come on. Yeah. No. No, no, and no, no, no. My experience was not what I thought it would be. There were no fireworks. There were no dollar signs. There were crickets. Like, no one opened that email for hours. And then slowly but surely, a few people opened it, and even fewer clicked on the link to check out the videos.

If you think that building an online business has been tough for you, if you think that nothing works out as planned, everything takes longer than it should, you're going slower than everybody else, your results don't look like everybody else who's having success, I want you to know that I literally have been in your shoes. And I want you to look at me and say, “If Amy can do it, I can do it. The only difference between me and Amy is that Amy's been doing it longer.” That’s the only difference. All you have to do is stick with this. Now, and also learn from my many, many mistakes, which I'm teaching you here. But I just really need you to know I have had all those failures, my friend, all of them, and I got past them. And you can, too.

So, with that, I want you to remember that you've got to nurture your email list. I promise you that if you nurture the heck out of your list by showing up—this is how you do it. If you’re like, “Okay, but what does that mean? How do I do it?” You show up every single week with new original content. Every single week you're in their inbox. “Hey, got a new podcast. Exactly what you asked for. Here you go. I'm going to make your life easier, better, more enriched. I'm going to help you transform.” Whatever they're asking for, you're showing up every week, saying, “I've listened to you. Here you go, and it’s free,” so that when you launch, they’re like, “Give me what you got because you’ve already proven that you can help me.” That’s how you nurture your email list. So if you’re not showing up consistently every single week with a blog or a podcast or a video show, you are missing out on this amazing opportunity, that when you launch, people will be ready to buy. You’ve got to nurture first. Huge lesson learned.

Moving on to number eight. Ugh, this is painful, guys. This is painful to tell you all of my mistakes. And this one, I am so guilty of. I fell for the kitchen-sink syndrome. So that means that I threw in every single tip, trick, and strategy that I knew, and the kitchen sink, into my course.

Now, I did this for two reasons. One, I wanted to prove how knowledgeable I was about my course topic. Imposter syndrome was seeping in. And so I said, no, I won't be an impostor; let me show you the million and one things I know. I put them all in the course for you. And I also did this because I wanted to include everything in the course, hoping the answer to my audience's problems was somewhere in the mix of it all. And then, really there’s three reasons I did this. The third was that I wanted to justify the price. So I thought the more I put in there, the more they'll pay for. Total mistake, for the record.

The truth is more is definitely not better, especially with digital courses. It's not your audience's job to sift through all the details to find the results that they need to get. It's yours. So, your audience is busy. They're coming to you so that you can get them to their solution or transformation as quickly and efficiently as possible. They're not coming to you so you can prove to them everything you know. In fact, I've learned, with time, that you prove your expertise by giving them clear, efficient, and impactful steps. You get them from point A to point B as fast as humanly possible.

Want me to prove it? Everything I teach you can be found online for free. Yeah, you just heard that right. Everything I teach, from list building to course creation to webinars to email marketing, it all can be found online for free. But thousands and thousands of people have paid me $2,000 for me to teach them how to create a digital course from scratch, how to put together a webinar presentation that converts, how to write your email sequence, and how to launch it online again and again. Why would somebody pay me $2,000 when everything that I can teach is found online for free? Jump on YouTube. The reason people pay for your expertise is that you're giving them the fastest straight line from point A to point B.

Do you know how long it would take you to hunt and peck all over the Google to find how to do everything I teach in DCA? Do you know that you would second-guess everything you learn because you'll ask yourself, “Well, who is this person teaching me? Have they even gotten results of the course yet? How long have they been doing this? What kind of expertise do they have?” You're second-guessing who's teaching you. You're not sure if it's tried and true and proven, and so you have no idea if it will work. And now, in the back of your mind, the whole time, you're thinking, “I hope I'm not wasting my time.”

So the reason people pay you for your expertise when they could find it online for free is they're looking for the fastest, easiest, most efficient way to get from point A to point B and get the biggest results possible. And so when you throw in everything and the kitchen sink into your digital course to prove that you know what you're doing and to validate the price you want to charge, you are doing the hugest disservice ever to yourself and to your students. Streamline that stuff. Streamline it, all of it, because we're looking for the fastest way from point A to point B.

Learn from me and my mistakes. Create your course to serve your audience. Make it about them and their needs. Think efficiency, productivity, impact. You’re getting them results in the fastest way possible. And what that means is that you're cutting out the fluff, and you're including only what they need to get to the finish line and get results. That is your responsibility as a course creator.

Moving on to number nine. Early on, I lacked a webinar onboarding process, which is essentially an email sequence that you send to people who signed up for your webinar to ensure that they actually show up live. Skipping a webinar onboarding process is not advisable by any online-marketing expert. I now know this. I found this out the hard way after a few webinars with dismal attendance rates, sometimes even as low as 20 percent. Now, keep in mind that the average rate for my industry as of 2019 and 2020 is 36 percent. And I remember just that feeling of failure completely ruining my energy during my presentation because nobody was showing up. Plus, it's hard to deliver content when it feels like no one really cares. It really plays with your mind when you know 1,000 people signed up for your webinar and less than 20 percent actually showed up. In the moment when you're live on a webinar, that can rock you if you let it.

So I learned to get really intentional with my onboarding process. Your process should look something like this. Once someone signs up for your webinar, you instantly send them an email confirming that they've registered, and you give them the date and the time again and the link of where they need to go when you're live. And overall, you want to get them excited and get them thinking about the topic ahead of time. So it doesn't just stop with that first automated email. You're going to send three to four emails beyond that, and in these emails, you're going to tell stories about how the content you're sharing in the webinar will change their lives and how it's changed other students’ lives. Or you're going to offer a workbook for them to use during the live webinar. You could also encourage them to invest in themselves and talk about how important it is to show up live because the experience is just better, and you can tease some of the content that you're going to teach to pique their interest.

So, I send a series of emails to everyone who registers for my webinar, because I want them to show up live. If they show up live, I am better able to convert them into customers. Let me promise you that. Even if they don't buy while live on the webinar, they're more likely to buy after the webinar. I just need to get them on that webinar. I have more than doubled my average attendance rates by sending out a series of emails before I go live.

Now, I’ll tell you a little trick that I teach in Digital Course Academy®️. On the day of your webinar, I want you to send an email out—this is part of the email sequence—the morning of and then about fifteen minutes before you go live. So at least two emails should go out on the day of your live webinar. I'm telling you, it makes a huge difference.

Another strategy is to offer something special to only those who attend the webinar live. So you've got a freebie to anyone who attends, whether they buy your course or not. We're going to try this on our next sequence of webinars we're doing for our September launch. And it's a really good bonus if you show up live. I've already started working on it, and it's May of 2020. So it's going to be good. But my goal is to boost my webinar attendance every single launch I do. I want you to do the same.

Above all, your onboarding sequence for those who registered for your webinar should remind them in every email you send the date and the time and give the direct link and tell them where to go when it's time to go live. Remember, people are busy, so you don't want to say, “Hey, go check three emails back. I sent you the link.” That will never work. So as you're reminding them to show up live, as you're giving them stories, as you're promising a workbook or maybe a bonus if they attend live, in all of those emails, date, time, and the link. Repeat it, repeat it, repeat it. Believe me, this makes a huge difference.

Okay, and last but certainly not least, mistake number ten: I waited way too long to embrace video. Now, when I say video, I mean Facebook Lives, I mean showing my face for a portion of my live webinars, I mean Instagram Stories, I mean it all. Showing up on video. And I call that direct to camera. You could call it talking head, but direct to camera means they see your face on video. DTC is what we call it internally. And DTC video of any kind is important.

Now, the mistake I made is that I avoided it for so long because I thought I was overweight, and I didn't like how I looked, and I was embarrassed, and so I didn't want to show up on video. Now, for you, it might have nothing to do with weight and everything about maybe you feel awkward, you don't like how your voice sounds, you don't like what your skin looks like or your hair. I don't know what it is, but it doesn't matter. We all have our insecurities.

And one lesson that I learned as I was going through my insecurities was that no matter my weight, no matter what I looked like, no matter what I sounded like, more women who are just like me needed to see examples of other women entrepreneurs showing up no matter what. And when I heard that, I was like, “Oh, god, it's so very true.” We all need to see ourselves showing up through other people. And when I heard that, my mission to show my face on video became more about them and less about me. So this was a really big eyeopener.

So I know what it feels like not to feel comfortable on video, but here's what I did. One, I made it less about me, more about them. And number two, I literally forced myself to show up and do the dang videos. I did them when I felt awkward. I did them when I felt ugly. I did them when I didn't want to do them. And every time I saw myself on video, I'd say, “I'm going to love that girl no matter what. I’m going to love that girl no matter what.” And then it just came to, “I'm going to love that girl.” The “no matter what” kind of dropped off. I had to do some fierce self-love. I had to do a lot of work on that.

And so here's the deal. And for all of you who maybe can't relate to what I'm saying right now, but you're still not doing video consistently, let me give you one other approach. If you don't show up on video and make an impression and build connection in that very personal way that only video will do, your competitors would be very happy to take your place. And that was another thing in the back of my head. I am fiercely competitive, and I didn’t want anybody else to take my place. I knew that if I wasn't going to show up, they would more than happily show up. So I thought, no, I'm going to stand my ground here.

So video is important as an entrepreneur, especially in our current world, because it helps to grow your audience, it allows you to create relationships with them, it eases you into feeling even more comfortable on video so that you'll do even more in different ways. And that awkward feeling goes away. Although I know I'm just awkward in general most days, now when I jump on live video—and I'm not even kidding about this—I don’t even think twice. I don’t even worry about anything. Well, I still sometimes worry if the technology is going to work out, because I'm a worrier that way. But other than that, I just am like, “Here I am. Here we go.” And I do it in my own way. So I do what feels good for me.

Here’s a quick side note, but a lot of women will just jump on video, no makeup, no nothing. Like, Rachel Hollis is my favorite. She couldn’t care less what she looks like sometimes. She knows it's all about her content, and she knows that she delivers in the most fiercest way, whether she's got her lashes on or not. And it's true, she does. And I love that. I'm not that way. I like to get ready in the morning before I get on video. That's just me. It doesn't mean I'm insecure severely about the way I look. I just feel better. So I do me, and Rachel does her, and all is right in the world. So don’t think you have to do it like somebody else does it. Just do it the way you want to do it, that will make you feel good. But do it, my friend.

And I'm talking about all the different kinds of videos. I want to see you do more videos, because the mistake I made is I waited years to show up on video. If I could turn back time, I would have gotten on video years and years before I did. So take my word for it. If you're hanging back and pretending like you can get on without video, or I'm just going to do a little bit of video now and then, push yourself to do more. You can start small, but you've got to show up consistently. And I promise you, just like everything else in business, it will get easier, and you will start to enjoy it. Mark my words. And it will help your business, and eventually it will help you sell more courses.

So, there you have it, the top ten mistakes that I've made in the last ten years on my own personal journey of creating successful digital courses. I think we should run through the list just really quick to ensure that you avoid making the same mistakes that I've made. Mistake number one, launching without getting results for myself or for somebody else. Mistake number two, thinking that other people were judging me, worried about what everyone else thought, and giving in to imposter syndrome. Mistake number three, creating a digital course without identifying my sweet spot first. Mistake number four, continuing to edit my own videos far beyond when I should have outsourced this task. Mistake number five, thinking the course you're creating is the end-all, be-all, and getting stuck if it doesn't feel perfect. Mistake number six, not going all in on my launch. Mistake number seven, not nurturing my email list before launching. Mistake number eight, throwing everything and the kitchen sink into my course. Mistake number nine, lacking an intentional webinar onboarding process. And mistake number ten, waiting to get on video.

My hope for you is that you can avoid all of these mistakes. But if you don't or if you make a few of your own that aren't on this list, which you will, promise me that you'll get back up, dust yourself off, and keep on going. That's all you need to do to succeed.

All right, my friend. Thank you so very much for joining me. I have to tell you, this has been one of my favorite episodes because it took me back to all those years that things felt tough and scary and awkward, but I still was able to see success. And so will you. So, again, thanks for being here.

I’ll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.

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