This post is designed for anyone thinking about creating an e-Course and under the impression they’ll be sipping pina coladas on a beach in Thailand within weeks, with a consistent income flowing into their bank accounts, because there’s a simple 12 step system you can follow that includes a strategy that made the business coach 120K in their first month of coaching…
It’s just not that straight forward,
although it is definitely possible to create a recurring income stream (and therefore a consistent income) from e-Courses, and this post will demonstrate for you what the difference between recurring and passive income streams are, and how you create them. Don’t be fooled. There is a difference, and it’s not as straight forward as the shiny business coaching ads will have you believe.
I’ve had a client lose their house because they invested so heavily in creating their online course (and expecting a quick income spike which never eventuated), and that’s just the start of the horror stories when you misunderstand the principles behind how to make money out of an online course. Let’s not get into those though.
The key to continually earning income from an online product is, believe it or not getting the right FEEDBACK. If you don’t ask for it, and don’t improve your course on the back of it, you won’t be creating a product that is hitting the mark properly and when you don’t have raving fans, you don’t have an automatic referrals mechanism in your business. Who doesn’t want work coming to them without having to go out and chase it?
There’s a full lesson below that will take you through the ins and outs of how to GET the right feedback from your clients, but let’s first look at the facts, so you can make an informed decision as to whether creating e-Courses is the way forward for YOU and your business plans.
First of all, why do you want a recurring or passive income stream?
The concept revolves around the fact that you want money coming in, with as little work done as possible to achieve it. In other words, you want a consistent income pouring in that you can rely on, so when you’re running your business you’re feeling a little bit more secure in the knowledge that you’re not having to be out there banging down people’s doors for business to make sure that you can keep the roof over your head. In other words, replacing the regular pay cheque you would have been earning in your 9-5 job. Let’s explore how that happens.
In terms of online income, as a professional you can create products that leverage your time – instead of just ‘selling your time’ in one on one sessions – which is a sure fire recipe for burnout and a capped salary.
Create a product that can be enjoyed without needing you there to explain everything each time someone new wants to learn from you (online self study course) or a group study version (online intensives [workshops], Masterminds). Leverage your time, earn more from recycling the same content with many different clients. Brilliant concept.
Can you really earn a ‘passive’ income from an e-Course though?
To my mind, no. You can’t. I honestly believe that earning a ‘passive’ income from selling online courses is a paradox (a statement that, despite apparently sound reasoning from true premises, leads to a self-contradictory or a logically unacceptable conclusion). No online e-Course income stream is purely passive; everything requires consistent sales and/marketing strategies, a team to run it, or management on some level. Add to that the time taken to design, develop, pilot, deliver and refine said product, and you can see why I don’t believe there’s a passive part to any of the income created – unless you have a team of minions doing all the work for you, and you’re just the head honcho taking the profits.
Most professionals are the ones who are the designers, developers and deliverers of their products though, as they’re the ones with all the knowledge, skills and expertise. Right?
How about recurring income streams then?
Yes! You absolutely CAN create a recurring income stream from online learning products. Instead of thinking about it as a ‘passive’ income, think about it as a consistent stream of business that flows to you – based on loyal clients recommending you (and your products) left right and centre – because they like, know and trust you – and your systems, trainings or processes – because they’ve benefitted from them first hand. Then when they hear someone else talking about a problem they’re having, they immediately KNOW that you’re the go-to-expert to recommend and BAM you have another prospective client in the wings.
Is it really as easy as it sounds though?
The truth of it, is that it takes work. Creating the first product, getting a group to pilot it (beta test it), or even if you just come straight out of the gates with Version 1.0 takes time – as I’ve said above, there’s the
- design and development of the curriculum (quality courses promise outcomes – tangible results – this doesn’t happen automatically and needs to be planned properly),
- then the resources themselves – the videos, worksheets, audio recordings,
- then there’s actually getting them online,
- the marketing (trust building, social media presence, loyal tribe of people hungry for your product),
- the advertising (promoting in groups, paying for ads) to get the clients INTO the course, and then what?
Well, you’ll want to run it again of course, and this is where it’s easy to think about the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time you run the course meaning you’ll be investing a lot less time and making the same money. Right?
Well, right, if you’re not adjusting and improving the course every time you deliver it. If that’s the way you play the game though, there’s a fair chance there will be a lot about your course that could be improved (things that annoyed, disappointed or frustrated) the first round of clients and if you don’t change them? Then they’ll continue to disappoint, frustrate and annoy every group that uses your product and what do you think THAT does for your reputation?
The key, is getting and implementing solid feedback.
After any good course, the FEEDBACK you’ll get from the people who did the course with you will be your pot of GOLD to improving the course for the next round. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been practising and honing your craft – you’ll never be able to put yourself back in the shoes of someone who is right at the start of that journey so ultimately it is your clients that will tell you whether the course:
- was too long, short, complicated, confusing or missing important details,
- had too much homework, not enough tasks, too much reading, not enough group interaction, not enough time one on one with you,
- asked too much, asked too little, gave them what they thought they were getting, left them happy, disappointed, frustrated or completely elated.
It’s on the basis of that feedback that you can hone and refine your product so that it’s nailing exactly what your ideal clients want, need and expect.
And when you do that a few times around?
You end up with a product that is hitting the mark. Generating really positive feedback. Your clients are telling people about it, and the clients (and associated income) starts to flow in, with less and less of YOU having to go out there and holler about how good it is, and more people doing the hollering FOR you. And THAT, is what you call a
Recurring income stream.
Passive? Not quite. Summary?
- Do good work. Do lots of it, with loads of different people.
- Get solid feedback so you can refine your practices.
- Hone in on what you do best.
- Improve your systems and the outcomes you get your clients.
- Nurture the clients you DO have, and learn from them and what they need.
- Deliver outstanding service and help people kick big hairy audacious goals.
- Word will spread. Income will flow.
Chasing a passive income stream is a long dark road of disappointment and broken promises, and anyone who tells you otherwise? AHEM. Send them to me.
#rantover #nosuchthingaspassiveincome #dontmesswithanItalian
Ready to learn how to guarantee you’ll get constructive feedback from your clients
before, during and after they have taken their learning journey with you? It’s not quite as straightforward as you think. You need to make sure there’s motivation for them to give you the feedback in the first place, and there’s a knack to getting the right questions written, and responded to.
I’ve prepared a 19 page worksheet that outlines exactly how to go about getting the right feedback, from the right people, in a timely fashion. Why no videos or tutorials with this module? Ahhhh… it’s a demonstration of best practice that you’ll find out the why and how of, when you sign up. #alwayslearning
You can access it in the lesson below. Getting constructive feedback is one of the core practices I use in my Monthly Masterminds and Content Creation Getaways in Bali, so if you’re looking to see it in action, get along to some of the training and see for yourself how powerful it can be!
The lesson is available here.
Click on the above link to be taken directly to the Lesson. If you’re already a member of the Continuous Improvement course, make sure you’re logged in! If you’re not, you’ll be redirected to the page where you can become a member.