Heights Platform How to Stay Motivated Before Making Your First Online Course Sale

How to Stay Motivated Before Making Your First Online Course Sale

6 minute read

It can be hard to find the motivation to continue when you haven’t seen course purchases come in, and especially when that initial online course sale is taking longer than you expected.

Your first sale may not have happened yet, but that shouldn’t stop you from believing that it will.

If you have never sold anything online before, getting that first sale can be a challenge. Once you do get it though, earning your first dollar online feels so incredibly satisfying. While one sale won’t be enough to pay the bills, it will keep you motivated to improve and continue.

Some people are lucky to get their first online course sale early on even with the same amount of work and traffic as others, and that gives them the drive to continue.

We want to remind you to set smaller measurable goals for yourself. You might have one large overall goal that you are working towards in your business, but in order to reach that ultimate milestone, you’ll need to meet smaller landmarks along the way. There are many tasks you can accomplish before that first sale which can help lead you to future success down the road.

Below are a few examples of metrics you can measure before your first course sale. These are all metrics that you should be aware of whether or not you’ve already made your first online course sale.

While obsessing over certain vanity metrics like followers and likes is counter productive in the long term, in the short term (and before you have conversion and sales data to look to), it is important to understand the size of your following and where you are growing or not.

  • Measure your search impressions and clicks in Google’s Search Console
  • Measure your followers across social platforms
  • Measure the traffic to your website
  • Measure the number of leads you get
  • Measure your email list subscribers
  • Measure the amount and frequency of content you’ve released (blog posts, web pages, social posts)

These are all areas that you can measure and improve before getting your first sale.

Make sure you are putting in work instead of constantly checking and refreshing social profiles though! To help you avoid this, Geckoboard is a nice tool for entrepreneurs or businesses to aggregate metrics and visualize business growth on a spare display or TV.

We’ve talked about why big launches for online courses aren’t the best way to go unless you already have a large audience and significant amount of experience online. Remember that the journey from when you put out your course to when you make your first sale may not be as short as you’d hope. You’ve probably heard others online mention the idea of pre-selling and it can be a great way to get early customers, as well as provide you with valuable feedback for improving your online course.

What is the path to succeed then? How can one be sure that sales will come in the future?

You Win Because You Were Willing to Do Things That Others Weren’t

We aren’t going to pretend that an online course can be created in seconds, or that customers will magically come to you. Implying something like this to someone who is just starting out in the online course business is disingenuous and will only result in discouragement when they try and find the truth is different. Online courses don’t create passive income like some claim they do, online courses create leveraged income. This is an important distinction. Leveraged income doesn’t mean there is no work involved, but it means that time you spend once can translate to repeated sales.

You can succeed when you keep going where others give up. If you are able to get your online course launched, and continue promoting your content even if you don’t have a sale after your first week, then already you are setting yourself apart from many others who gave up earlier.

You’ll feel better once the sales start coming in and you start growing, but before you get to that point, realize that sales won’t come to you unless you continue to put in work and improve your marketing content and your course.

Some people have the mindset that since success hasn’t happened for them yet, they must be a failure, while others use the fact that they aren’t where they want to be to channel motivation and work harder. You haven’t failed until you stop trying.

Sometimes, seeing that others have succeeded is all you need to realize that you can do it too.

$483 million dollars per day is spent in the online learning industry globally. That’s not in total education spending, that’s online learning specifically! On top of that, the industry is expected to double in the next few years. (source: https://www.reuters.com/brandfeatures/venture-capital/article?id=72033)

What to Do When Your Brilliant Marketing Idea Fails

Sometimes you will have what seems like a brilliant way to create explosive growth and visibility for your brand, but what do you do when that idea fails after so much energy was invested into it?

Does that mean your product is bad?

Does that mean you need to pivot into selling a completely different online course or service?

Absolutely not! All a failed marketing idea means is that it is time to try the next idea. We’ve seen it happen many times firsthand where we thought, “Oh this time I have a great marketing idea to go along with my launch. Surely this will bring me to the next level.” Then after it was all said and done, nothing happened. The “great” idea I thought I had did not produce anything near the result I thought it would.

Those who are successful go on to try another way of promoting their product, rather than giving up right there.

The reality is that one single marketing idea is rarely enough to truly take you to the next level. More often it is the combination and cumulation of many ideas implemented over time, plus consistent content and effort that makes the difference between a successful online course business, and one that is stuck and stagnant.

With the amount of content, products and services overwhelming us nowadays, it is very rare to have a build it and they will come situation.

In fact, many course creators and businesses of all kinds have the wrong expectation when it comes to the idea of “build it and they will come”. We’ve been building websites and digital products for over 10 years now, and still the sentiment of fear of launching a new website before it is finished because people might see it is quite common. The truth is, when you launch a new website, if you don’t make a massive effort to start promoting it, no one will see it at all. If in rare cases some individual does stumble upon it at this stage, it is actually a good thing, because while they likely won’t become a customer right then, they might possibly give you feedback about an area of your website that confused them, which you can use to improve for when you have actual traffic to your site.

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” ― Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn

If you are familiar with the startup space, you might have heard Reid Hoffman’s quote, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Another way we like to look at launching online courses, is how important it is to take the right action at the right time. Some people have astounding online courses as far as content goes, but do nothing to promote the course and gather an audience. Others do a great job at growing an audience and letting them know they will be launching an online course, but then don’t follow through on promises and end up with lackluster course content.

The Hardest Part is Behind You

If you are reading this and you’ve already built and launched your online course, then you are ahead of the pack who gives up before even getting their course finished. The course creation process exhausts a great deal of effort, especially if your online course isn’t an addition to an existing business, but instead is your entire business. Some new course creators feel burnt out after launching a course if they don’t start seeing immediate sales. We know that if the result doesn’t match your expectations it can feel difficult to keep going.

Remember that now you have a product that you can sell, and efforts you make in marketing and promoting your online course going forward lead to direct revenue, unlike when creating your course, the time you invested creating it didn’t immediately translate to revenue.

The next hurdle we are at now is getting those first sales. In many online businesses growth is not linear and the online course business is no exception. Those first 10 sales may feel like they take awhile, but once you start growing, getting from 100 to 200 sales may take you less time than getting from 0 to 10 did.

We Are Here to Help

If you’d like some feedback on your online course while you work to get that first sale, contact us and we will be glad to review your online course and let you know what we believe is the number one thing you should focus on to start getting sales.

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