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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0352: How Long Do I Wait Before Releasing a Course?

AP 0352: How Long Do I Wait Before Releasing a Course?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 352 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 352. Sorry, I had to look that up for a second. There are so many episodes here, but I love each and every one of them. Thank you so much for the questions, actually, because this show wouldn’t exist without your questions.

We have another great question today from Danny, but before we get to Danny’s question, I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is AWeber.com, a super easy-to-use email service provider, ESP, as they say. It is the one that I started out with back when I started collecting email addresses, which now allow me to send emails to over 120,000 people at a time, if I want. Not only that. I utilize their auto responder, which means that when people sign up, and it’s dependent on when and where they sign up, but they get certain emails that I have pre-written. I am able to, based on where they sign up and when, send certain emails which can take them through a little journey of emails that they get over time, and that sends them to different blog posts that area hidden deep in my archive, to different promotions or recommendations of tools and products that I use, and things like that. I highly recommend AWeber. Go to Aweber.com/askpat if you want to get hooked up with a super easy-to-use email service provider today. Aweber.com/askpat.

All right, here is today’s question from Danny.

Danny: Hi, Pat. My name is Danny. I’m from England. My site is TheHindsightJournal.com. I recently started a personal development blog for people to learn from the hindsight successes and failures as an entrepreneur. I’ve got around 15 posts on my site, and I’m in the process of writing a free ebook as a sort of lead magnet. Obviously, using Ebooks the Smart Way. I already have a lot of ideas for the products, and wondered if there’s a guideline of time, subscribers, or visitors before you put out a course or another product on the site. And if so, would you recommend setting up a separate website or domain for it, and using my current site as an additional promotion tool? Thanks, Pat. I love everything you do. I’m dying to get an AskPat t-shirt, so hopefully this makes it through the ranks. Keep doing what you’re doing, because you do fantastic work and I get tremendous value out of what you do. Hopefully I hear from you soon. Thanks again.

Pat Flynn: Hey Danny, what’s up? Thank you so much for the question. This is a great question. A lot of people ask, “Well when should I start doing this?” Or, “When should I start doing that?” And obviously you’re already doing what you should be doing now, which is starting your website, building up your audience, writing posts and writing content. And, importantly, thinking about the future of your site and how you’d like to monetize it.

And I think it’s great you’re creating an e-book, whether you sell that e-book down the road. An e-book is a great way to go about it, because that helps you build authority, and I think, if anything, even before you get one person in your audience you should be thinking about what kind of book to create. Because a book is a great way to build your authority. A book is a great thing to have on your site when people get there, if you think about it. If there is somebody who is just like you out there and the only that’s different is you have a book and the other person does not, people are likely to hold the person who has a book in a higher regard because of the fact that there is that book. And it’s like a nice form of proof for the topic that you’re talking about. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is that a book is fairly easy to create, and even if nobody gets it, it still serves its purpose as that proof that’s there, which can help you build trust with the audience that comes over to your site, which can then lead them into your email list, into building a relationship with them enough to have them see that you’re providing enough value to then exchange that value for money for courses, or services, or products, or whatever solutions you have to provide for them down the road. All this is to say, great job. You’re on the right path. I think this is fantastic.

However, I do want to mention, and kind of give you a warning, just a little bit. This is for everybody out there. When you try to think of what courses to create in the future for your audience … not books. Again, books, like I said, I already talked about that. But courses, specifically, which will take a lot of time and effort. Much more so than a book, typically. You want to make sure you do a lot of research with who your audience is first, whether you have an audience or not. Whoever your target audience is, you want to make sure it’s a solution that will help them. That it’s something that they want, not just what you think they want. You have to know that that’s what they want. It’s going to take a little bit of investigation in order for you to do that. You’re going to have to validate it. And there’s different levels of validation. I’m actually working on something right know to help you all out with this in the future. What I mean is, it’s not just market research in terms of keyword research and things like that, although that is a component of it. But even more than that, it’s actually having conversations with people in your audience so they will tell you what it is that they need. And then the products that you create can come out of those conversations. You have to understand exactly what it is that your audience wants.

There was a quote that I mentioned in the previous episode, 351 of AskPat, which is by Seth Godin. That quote is, “People rarely buy what they need. They buy what they want.” There’s a very important distinction there. You might have an idea based on your expertise on what they need, but you need to learn to see what it is they want. And that can be completely different. And even if it’s the same thing, the way they describe it will be in the way that they want it. So you have to understand the language that they use as well, which will help you in determining what this course is all about, the title of the course, the content that goes into, and all those sorts of things. So, is there a certain number of readers and subscribers to achieve before releasing a course? I can’t give you a specific number, because depending on the size of your niche, or how strong you are at creating this stuff, or the questions that you ask. It doesn’t have to be very much. With a book you don’t need any at all. I think that’s okay. With a course you want to make sure you have enough people in your audience to talk to, to understand exactly who they are, who your avatar is, but also what their problems are so you can provide the right solutions for them.

I’ve seen a lot of people start businesses and they outline a bunch of courses that they want to build for their audience, and the next question I ask is, “Well, are you sure these are the courses that your audience wants?” Then often times the response will be, “Well, yeah, I think so.” No, no, no. You don’t want to think so, you want to know before you spend the time to create those courses. That’s why you’ll see a lot of people who create courses come back with, “Well, why aren’t people buying this?” Well, maybe it wasn’t something that they actually wanted in the first place. Even if they say they want it, that’s the tough part. Sometimes that’s not enough. So you have to perhaps pre-sell your course beforehand. So enough subscribers to pre-sell, to have them actually pull out their credit cards or their PayPal accounts and pay you for something you haven’t even created yet. Which is very common practice now. It helps you validate the idea. It helps you get a little bit of payment up front too, to also create that course. Also gives your audience a little bit of a nice early-bird adoption, or champion user, charter user membership into whatever it is you’re creating. Which gives them a little bit of a deal, with them understanding that you’re allowing them to get in early and you’re going to be working with them to create the perfect course, but also walk them through the process. Then after they’re done you’re going to have these great case studies to share, some amazing testimonials to share, then you can release the course that has been proven and has been gone through once before with actual students, and it’s fine-tuned in the way you know it’s going to work. If it doesn’t work out, if you can’t validate it, if you can’t sell one or two, then maybe that’s a course you shouldn’t actually create, and you’re going to have to find something else.

So, hopefully that helps you, Danny. The other question you asked was with whatever this course may be, should it live on your existing website, or should it have its own domain? I truly believe that everything out there that is sold on your website could be on its own domain as well. It likely should be for the purposes of search engine optimization and things like that. Of course, you’re not going to keep them completely separate, because you’re going to have them linked to each other, which is going to help both sites for SEO purposes. But again, the primary motive would be to … it kinda depends on the product. If you could see it being a standalone product, then by far 100% it should be on its own website. For example, SmartPassiveIncome.com, it’s not for the Smart Podcast Player that I sell, which is a software product at SmartPodcastPlayer.com, it’s on its own domain. That makes sense because that’s the player, and that’s what it is and it could be very well its own thing. A lot of people who purchase that might not know who I am, or what SmartPassiveIncome.com is, but they need a player for their website for their podcast, so they go to the best podcast player out there at SmartPodcastPlayer.com. Now, of course, my name and my website is mentioned there. You can actually listen to my podcasts using the demos that are on there. But it’s on its own place.

If you had a product that was about yourself and how you can help somebody, maybe it’s coaching, I would have that live on your website. That’s sort of the other extreme, where it has to be you, and it has to be your face. It’s the website brand that you build that is actually going to be the primary way that you’re going to sell that anyway. So that would live on its own site. I think a lot of people struggle with this question: Should it have its own domain? Yeah, I think it should, but I don’t think it should be a big deal. That’s the thing. You’re going to promote it on your own site anyway. I think having it on its own domain is smart just to have anyway, and whichever way you choose to promote it, I would have a buy now button on either site, for example. You have to also think about the sales page and the experience you want your audience to go through. If they have a great relationship with you and you don’t need to share the sales page with them in order for them to purchase, then you’re going to have to link on your own site, which does work. I’ve done that before. I’ve sold a lot of things on my site directly from my site, even bypassing the sales page.

Now, in many cases, the products you sell, especially if they’re courses and they’re going to be paying a little bit of money, or a lot of money, you’re going to have to convince them a little bit more through the copy on your page, through the videos you have on that sales page, though the testimonials, through the bonuses and those sorts of things. Again, it’s not a huge deal, but I would create it … no matter what, I would have it on its own website.

So, Danny, thank you so much for the question. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for asking and I’m excited to see a picture of you wearing the AskPat t-shirt once it arrives. You’ll hear from my assistant in the next couple weeks to collect your information so we can send that over to you as soon as possible. Thank you so much again.

For those of you listening, if you have a question you’d like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page. Thank you so much. I also want to thank AWeber.com for being an amazing sponsor here for the AskPat podcast, helping everybody out there in the audience start to build their email list in the right way so you can send broadcast emails, so you can build that relationship with your audience, so you can build that trust. Also, so you can use that auto-responder to help you keep in constant contact with your audience, so that when you do send out a broadcast, you can have high open rates and no complaints from the emails that you send out. Be sure to check out AWeber. Go to AWeber.com/askpat and you can check it out for 30 days for free. Again, go to AWeber.com/askpat and check it out.

Thanks so much, and I’m going to end with a quote today from Bill Gates. And that quote is, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” I kind of fail sometimes, and that’s okay. I fail all the time. Thanks, guys. Take care, and I’ll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Cheers.

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