#4: Online Course Proof-Reading with Copywriting Expert Monique Muro
Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.
Today we are talking with Monique Muro about how she grew a business around proofreading online courses, overcoming imposter syndrome, and the importance of keeping your content consistent.
Learn more about Monique Muro and her business Proofmango: http://www.proofmango.com
Bryan McAnulty: [00:00:00] Welcome to the creator's adventure, where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business. My name is Bryan McNulty. I'm the founder of Heights platform. And today I'm talking with Monique murro about how she grew up business around proofreading, online courses.
How she overcame imposter syndrome and the importance of keeping your content consistent.
All right. Hey everyone. We're here today with Monique Muro and online course copy proof reader from Los Angeles who teaches people how to write clear error free course copy with her course, course copy essentials. Uh, Monique, welcome to the show.
Monique Muro: Thank you so much, Bryan. So happy to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
I really appreciate it,
Bryan McAnulty: Eric. Glad to have you. So you have your business proof mango. And before you created this, you were a virtual assistant to online course creators. Yes. What made you decide to open up your own business and switch to proofreading and everything that you're doing
Monique Muro: today? . Yeah, so I was a virtual assistant for a while.
And when you're a virtual assistant, you're doing all kinds of things. You're doing, helping people set up their email, you're writing, you're blogging your proofreading in my case. And in my case, I was doing a lot of different things, but I really felt that I liked proofreading out of all those things. It was like my favorite thing.
So I was happy as a virtual assistant, but I kind of felt the itch to do proofreading more. Um, so I kind of ignored the itch for a while. And one of my clients, he was he had his own online course on sales funnels and his course had been launched and I was kind of helping him proofread sales pages, proofread blog, posts, all that.
But then he got an email from one of his students and they were complaining about the typos in the course. So he instantly messaged me and was like, Hey, can you proofread my course? And I was like, oh my gosh. Yes, absolutely. Like that sounds so fun. And that was the moment where I realized, oh my gosh, like I like proofread.
I love online courses. You know, I think I kind of wanna make it a thing where I'm proofreading online course copy. And that's kind of where this whole thing came from. And at that moment, this was like the end of 2017. I was like, I think I'm gonna drop like all my virtual assistant clients and just like go forward doing proofreading for just course creators.
And so that's kind of how I got my start. That's kind of how the whole thing came about from virtual assistance to now proofreading course. Copy.
Bryan McAnulty: Cool. So with your business, of course, I imagine you are reviewing a lot of different online courses. Yeah. What is the most common mistake that you see course creators make?
Um, both in terms of like copywriting or even just more general, like course creation practices. .
Monique Muro: Yeah. So as a proof reader, you see all kinds of different courses all kinds of different copy and such. I would say the biggest mistake that people make is just an inconsistency. Um, usually like if you're putting out something nice, you want it to be consistent and nice, but I would say I see a lot of inconsistency in spell.
You know, words, like say you're spelling the word copywriting 80% of the time you're spelling it, the full name, copywriting one word, and then the rest you're spelling it. Two [00:03:30] words, you know, food free proof free to just pick up on that kind of stuff. Mm-hmm um, also just in capitalization, you know, like you're putting out this course, it's, it's probably expensive, you know, you want it to be look nice and professional.
Um, and like the lesson titles and module titles often. The capitalization will be a little off and it gives it kind of like an off kilter look, when you look at the chorus type of thing. Um, and just also inconsistency in naming things, you know, like I feel like course creators on video. They'll be like, Hey, download my, my planning guide, you know?
And then in the resources section, it won't be called the planning guide. It'll be called, you know, funnel hacks part one or whatever. And, you know, it's just like, there's a lot of inconsistency and I feel like. That disrupts the learning, you know, when you're learning it, it's already hard for people to sit down and learn something for 10 minutes.
I mean, and when you have this weird inconsistency stuff going on and they have to think, you know, their phone's gonna light up, they're gonna get distracted. They're not even gonna come back to it. You know, just try to make things really consistent and clear. Um, and that's kind of the biggest thing I see.
As a proofreader for courses inside of courses. It's just a lot of inconsistency, but it's easy to fix. Um, so yeah, that's the one thing that I think really stands out
Bryan McAnulty: well. Yeah, that, that really makes sense. Um, cuz when you're the learner you're actively trying to, to digest everything that's there in that course.
Yes. And then when you're trying so hard to figure everything out and then you see those inconsistencies. Definitely. I see how that could grow someone off. So it's not just about wanting to make sure like your product is like as premium or it has the feel that you want it to have, but also to help the, the learner actually go through it.
Monique Muro: Exactly. Yes. I interesting all the time. Yeah. And you're just so grateful for their attention anyway, you know, you wanna make sure you hold it and not make them think why is that? Not this, you know, don't send me down a rabbit hole.
Bryan McAnulty: mm-hmm yeah. And also the point about. The naming the content as the, the way that you're talking about it or something, or you mentioned somewhere else, because like we've seen like some creators, they have their one course, and maybe that course has a community aspect.
Maybe that course has like a coaching add-on or some digital product, but maybe that's it. But other creators, they have so much content. They have all these different courses, all these different lead magnets, all these different things. And for the student to get in there the first time, if that's all visible to the.
It's a lot for the student to figure out like, okay, what am I supposed to go to next? What am I supposed to click on? Yeah. And as a course creator, like we, we try to make it as easy as possible for our creators. But as a course, creator, you want to be able to lead your student or your customer through that journey as effortlessly as possible.
And it definitely you don't wanna overwhelm them. You don't wanna make them be hunting for things because that's something that can cause them to say, I'll check this later or I'll figure this out later and then they don't come back.
Monique Muro: Exactly, exactly. And the course is to make them so they don't have to hunt and Peck for information.
Right. It's supposed to all be streamlined there for them. So, totally
Bryan McAnulty: cool. So let's see. Um, Awesome. Other than helping people with their copywriting, their proofread, you also sell your own online courses. So do you feel that your job as a virtual assistant beforehand, and then becoming a proofreader, did that help you skip any of the, the bigger obstacles when creating your own online course?
Or did you still encounter some [00:07:00] challenges?
Monique Muro: I think it definitely helps that I, I was pretty tech savvy because I was a virtual assistant. So I had no problem, you know, using a course platform or anything like that. Um, definitely there's always tech challenges, but I didn't, I didn't feel like I had too many with that.
And then of course being a proofread was helpful. Um, I'm also a writer, so You know, I didn't feel like my copy was gonna necessarily be bad, but I definitely still had challenges. And I think with all course creators, no matter what you do, no matter what your background, when it comes to your first course, you are gonna have challenges in creating it.
You definitely will. And so for me, I, I definitely experienced time as a major challenge because at the time I had a full-time job and I had pre-sold my. And I made like a few sales from it, but then I had to actually create it and on a timeline and with a full-time job that was really hard for me to do.
Um, I overestimated, you know, how much I was going to be able to get down in a small amount of time. And I was like, oh yeah, I definitely can like. Uh, create, you know, my first two modules in a month or like a month and a half. Um, and I ended up having to push back the dates cuz it took me longer than I thought.
And that was a real bummer. And um, I think, you know, you don't realize how long stuff is gonna take you. So those challenges for me were kind of the big ones. Um, it definitely helped the tech side. I got, you know, proofread and writing that was helpful, but there's so many different things that go into creating a course that I definitely had my.
Challenges getting stuff completed on time and in the hands of the people who already bought it. So yeah, it was definitely still challenging for sure.
Bryan McAnulty: Okay. So yeah, I would say a lot of people, not just in courses, but in anything in business anything you're creating is easy to underestimate how quickly you can get done maybe the first 90%, but then how long it takes the last 10.
Yeah. Um, because you think like, okay, I've made so much progress. I'm gonna, I can make these dates, but then the, all these other little things that you maybe didn't consider take a lot longer than you thought. Um, yes. So having gone through that now, if you were gonna start again today, what would you do differently?
Monique Muro: I would give myself a longer runway. Um, for that first module to hit, I feel like at the beginning you get really excited and you're like, oh yeah, I can do this in six weeks. I would definitely give myself a longer amount of time and not be afraid to give, to tell my buyers that it's gonna take three months for this first module to hit.
I would rather deliver it on time. Then tell them, oh, it'll be done in a month. Oh, sorry. No one. Oh, sorry. Uh, two more weeks, you know, it just makes you look bad. So if I were to do it all over again, I would absolutely give myself a longer runway because just to account for anything that could go wrong too.
You never know what kind of family stuff that's gonna crop up or anything like that, you know? You just need to count for that, especially when people are already giving you money you wanna make good on those promises. So that for me was the biggest stressor and I would definitely give myself a longer runway and not be afraid to do it.
Bryan McAnulty: all right. Interesting. So kind of related to this. So we see a lot of new online course creators experience. Uh, what's called imposter syndrome and like the feeling that you're, you're not good enough. You're not. An [00:10:30] expert enough to really be teaching others. Do you see this from your clients or is this something you experienced yourself and what would you suggest to.
Someone who is going through those feelings. Yeah.
Monique Muro: So with my clients, they don't really open up to me too much about that. I feel like I know they, we all probably have it on some level. Um, but I definitely have it. And I think in the beginning you feel really excited about creating a course and you're like, I have all this knowledge to share.
I'm so excited. And then when you're about halfway through it or doing your research, you realize it's a lot of work and you kind of start doubting whether you're the person to do it. and for me, I about halfway through my course, I definitely faced the challenge of wondering if I was the person to be teaching this.
And I, you know, of course was looking at other people who were teaching similar things and I'm like, why should I teach this? If this person is so good at teaching it, like, I just don't know if I'm the. Person, no one wants to learn from me. And I think it was around module two when I was creating module two, in my course, I was like, I think I'm just gonna call it.
Like, I don't know if I wanna do this. Um, I was like, I could just refund the people and, you know, just go back and not do anything cuz it's maybe this isn't the right course topic. I was not feeling good. I was very close to quitting. Um, just cuz that imposter syndrome really took over, it felt like a complete fraud and.
I just didn't feel good. Um, but I think everyone is gonna feel like that. I think also, maybe I was just too tired. And what I would say is you just maybe take a break, maybe take a day or two off to kind of think about it, but also that voice is always gonna crop up. You just kind of have to let it be there and do it anyway.
Just kind of push through because honestly having a finished course to this day makes me so happy. Like. I I'm so glad that with the imposter syndrome, you kind of just have to let it be there because it's going to be there. Um, kind of keep it on the side next to you, you know, and just, and just go through anyway and see what happens.
Just see what happens experiment. Because honestly, if you don't do it, you'll just never know, you know, maybe you are an imposter and you go and you put out something, you know, and then everyone's like, you're an imposter, but that's not gonna happen. You know? Like it's just not. Um, so my advice is to just do it anyway.
I know it's scary and I know you're gonna feel like a fraud. But you just have to do it anyway. The, the result, the reward of having an online course is so awesome. Um, you're gonna feel better once it's done.
Bryan McAnulty: that's great. Yeah. I mean, it's something that let's see. So when, if you don't really give it all that effort, if you don't really go through with it and say, well, I gave this everything I could, then you're always gonna have, oh yeah.
Some kind of doubt or uncertainty in yourself saying. Could I have launched that course. Would it have been success successful? Like do, do I actually know what I'm talking about? Maybe I do. And so yeah, you, you do have to go, go through with it. And then the other thing, what I would add to that is to say that even when you see someone else out there, even if you think, oh, well, they're teaching something similar to me, they're actually doing a really great job and they've actually been doing this so long.
The thing is that with an online. It's so different from almost every other kind of product that you can create, because it's really unique to you. So no matter what, you, as a creator are going to have these experiences that other people just haven't had. Yeah. So there's going to be some kind of unique viewpoint that you're [00:14:00] bringing to your particular course that makes it different no matter what.
And so whether you're at you feel that you're at the same level of somebody else or not, it doesn't really matter because you still have a unique product. without a doubt. It has to be valuable to some level of people, as long as you're, as long as you are a step above the people that you can help, then it's gonna be valuable to them.
Monique Muro: Yeah. And I heard a really good quote to Amy Porterfield put on a virtual event, not too long ago. And she had a guest who basically said, you know, if not, you then. You know, who else is gonna do it. And that really struck me because I was like, we all have these unique talents that we can really give the world and, you know, not everyone is the same.
And that's a great thing, you know, and you can use your personality too, to really infuse in your course and teach people the way that is unique to your personality. So I think just remembering that is really important
Bryan McAnulty: too. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. There's gonna be people out there who prefer to learn from you or prefer to take your.
Not even just because of the content, but because of your personality and because of the way that you're delivering it. Exactly cool. So I think many course creators today, they're working really hard at, they try to create the perfect content for their course, and that's great, but they are sometimes underestimating, maybe the importance of having.
Some very powerful and clean writing on their site. Um, especially like on that first landing page that prospects may see mm-hmm so why is it so crucial? Someone does have very clean and polished writing or their online course
Monique Muro: online courses are teaching. So it's so important to have something clean and clear because you need to get a point across, you know, you can't you kind of, it's not like a blog where you can kind of just talk and talk and talk, that kind of thing.
It's really important to have something re really clean and clear so they can get to the finish line. Um, And what I would recommend too, for that is to have a course goal to keep yourself in line. Um, because otherwise you just kind of go all over the. And if you're not clear, if you're rambling, if you're going on these different tangents, people are gonna think, you actually don't know what you're talking about.
And you're gonna think that they're gonna think that you're wasting their time. So you really don't want people to think that you're wasting their time, especially when they buy a course from you like an actual product. So, so important to be clear and so important to be error free because they are buying a product and you don't want those crazy typos to be there.
Um, with unpaid. You know, like blogs and such the random typo I, I feel is fine, but when they're paying $500 to get a course from you really important for it to look good, not look good. Like there, it needs to be majorly fancy, and the recording needs to be great, but it just needs to be polished in the sense that it doesn't look sloppy, you know, with the typos and such And it, like I said, clear copy helps them get to the finish line.
So that's the, that's the main thing you can't clutter it up with all the solution stuff. Very important to get to the point
Bryan McAnulty: okay. So let's say that there's a creator out there who they're building their course and they say that, okay, I get it. Um, Monique, that makes sense. I wanna have this clear copy. I wanna make sure that there's no errors in it and, but they decided they wanna do this themselves.
What would you suggest to them, if they wanna start [00:17:30] this proofreading process, start going over these things themselves, what should they check?
Monique Muro: Yes. I love this first thing. Install the Grammarly extension. Very important. Uh, it really helps when you're writing. Um, but my process as a proofreader is, and anyone can do this.
You can just, if you read the copy. More than once. Just read it more than once you will find something. Like, for me, I, as a proofread, I have a process where I read it like four to five times and I always find something on the fifth time. I'll read it four times and I'm like, that's probably good, but I always find something on the fifth time.
And I'm like, imagine if a student found that and they're like, oh my God, this girl, I can't believe she made that egregious error. So I would recommend. Read it a few times, read it very slowly. Cuz you will catch like the words that, you know, when we're writing, we have like words that we mistype or that we we forget to include a, the, or an a or an an you'll catch that if you read it really slowly.
Um, and I also find reading it out loud is very helpful because you really catch that stuff that your eyes are just gonna miss. So read it again. Read it slow and install that Grammarly extension for anything else, because that's really gonna help. It helps me even as the, for freedom, you know, when you're writing you just miss commas and such and very, very helpful.
Bryan McAnulty: definitely. Yeah. Our, our whole team uses that. Um, it's definitely super helpful. Um, yeah, I find that I, I, I would like to think at least that I tend to be pretty good at not making too many like spelling mistakes or things like that when I write. Um, still it's definitely helps me catch things cuz everybody's gonna make mistakes.
And definitely it's important to, I think that's a great tip to read it slower because if you read it too fast, you're kind of going through it in your mind, the exact same way that you just wrote it. Yeah. And you're not gonna make that connection of realizing, oh, well I shouldn't have wrote that thing or I'm missing a word here or something like that.
Monique Muro: Yeah. I feel like we're really confident in our writing too. Like when it's out in our head and we put it on paper, we're like, boom done. Got it. You know? Yeah. And you don't realize that you, you totally, you know, missed a few words or added a double word or, you know, stuff like that. So yeah, definitely.
It's it's important. Slowly helps. And it's hard to read slow, but give it some time you can do it.
Bryan McAnulty: yeah. Yeah. It's I mean, it's good to find mistakes in the other side of our business, the product side, where we're building the software, we want to find mistakes. It's scary to, to think like, oh, why is everything working with this new feature?
There should be, there's gotta be something that's not real. Oh yeah. Um, it's a lot more re reassuring. If you can go through and find things and then you feel like, okay, well, Now it's better now. We've we've settled things. So it is, it's frightening to not not know if there's mistakes or not see the mistakes yet.
So going through a couple times definitely
Monique Muro: helps I go through every, every, every piece of copy that comes my way. I, I just tell myself there is a mistake here and I will find it. , you know, I'm not gonna stop until I find at least one error. And sometimes that helps.
Bryan McAnulty: interesting. So you also have to do some SEO in your business.
Can you share a little bit more about how that helps your business and maybe a few tricks in your opinion, that might help online course creators with their rankings. Cause as we talked about real quick, before we started this interview, there's all kinds of creators out there. Some of them are really [00:21:00] into online courses, maybe more so like you, but then others feel like, well, I just really like this thing that I'm doing, that I'm creating, I wanna make a course about it, but.
I, I don't wanna figure out all these things I have to learn about online marketing. I, I think I've under understood that now, but what about SEO? I don't know that. So what are some things that can help a creator out there if they wanna start with SEO?
Monique Muro: Yeah. SEO is really awesome. Um, I took a course on it.
I love writing and I love blogging. You have to find some sort of channel to build an audience. Blogging is mine. Um, basically SEO. it's very, there's, it's very, it can be very complex, but there's things that people can do that are very simple. Um, keyword research is obviously one of them. I use an extension, I believe it's called keywords everywhere.
Um, and essentially what I do is I write my content and I'm like, okay, this is good. This is my content. And then I look at the content and I do a few keyword searches of like, what would be a good. Keyword that people would search to find this content. And usually I go for like if you install that keyword everywhere, extension it'll show you like how many searches that gets per month, let's say a key phrase, like online course tips or something.
So I put it in and I'm like, oh, okay. You know, like how many, how much search volume is it? And you wanna go for the low search volume? The high search volume is, is really competitive. So pick a key phrase that has kind of a low search volume, like a hundred, maybe searches a month, something low because you're just starting out and use that in your title.
And then in your like they call it H one, like. And H two. So like the tags and yeah, yeah. In your blog. Um, and then I look for related keywords, so related keywords. So if you type in online course tips, I, even, if you don't have this extension on the bottom of Google, you know, it shows like other stuff that people are searching, you know, try and infuse.
Like look at the search volume for those and try and infuse some of those related keywords in your post too, because it just, I, I don't know the tech aspect of it, but I know that it gives you more juice, you know, if you use them more, not stuff or not stuffing the keywords in there using it naturally, but kind of just putting a few here and there in the content really helps and then putting it in your URL slug as well.
Um, that is a big thing. Um, and then if you have images on your site, I think it's called the alt tag. Um, but putting those key phrases, some of the keywords in the image alt tag as well, I find that that's really helpful. And honestly, just doing this for my blog posts has, is like, given me so much traffic, not overnight, but I started in 2018 blogging and, and using some of these tactics.
And then by 2020, I mean, I started at the end of 2018, I would say maybe like eight or nine months later, I started. Getting traffic that was, I wanna call it like floating, not like spiking traffic, but like traffic that was just kind of like floating on its own, which was awesome. And then I started noticing that subscribers were coming in weekly then daily, just because of the traffic of the posts.
And it does take some work, you know, blogging is work. Um, cuz you have, it has to be a really high value post too. It can't, you know, just be fluff with a lot of examples. Um, But if you commit to just even just like five to 10, really good blog posts over time. If you use some SEO tactics, that's gonna [00:24:30] get some volume and you're gonna start seeing if you have opt-ins of course not just writing, but if you have like CTAs to subscribe, You're gonna start noticing that you'll get subscribers over time, just automatically, like I get a handful of subscribers still a week and I haven't blogged in months, you know, it's just kind of something it's just keeps on giving that if that keeps on giving, which is awesome because you don't have a lot of time as of course, creator, you're doing all kinds of stuff, you know?
So that's what I really love about SEO is like, it's a lot of work kind of upfront for a few months, but then it kind of, it really pays off for years. so. .
Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's good for creators to hear that that it does pay off because it's hard to think. Okay. I wrote my article, where's the traffic, but it doesn't happen immediately.
You do have to really commit to it really be consistent, make a good amount of content. Eventually it will start to get more and more traffic. And once it starts to have that traffic, it will stay there for a while. Yeah. But it does require that investment upfront mm-hmm and like you said, I think you made also a good point.
You don't have to be so technical. It's not really too technical with SEO that that's not actually important worrying about too much of the technical stuff. You just have to make good content that you're looking at. Well, how would somebody else think to search for this in Google? What would they write it and what would they search for this topic?
Yeah. And the algorithm is good now that it's, it's pretty fair. I think that if you do have the good content. If you are the best source for that, then you'll be near the top of the results for that particular thing. So it, I, I do think it's pretty fair. You don't have to, to trick the system or do some, some secret hacks to to mess with it.
Um, just if you keep making that good content it'll work out.
Monique Muro: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And it, it is. I, like I said, it's, it's, it's not. Super easy, but it's not super hard. I think people can do it. You know, I always think like, if I can do it, , you know, people can do it. like, it's, it's just those tips that I just listed
Bryan McAnulty: will help.
So. Sure. Okay. Well, one other thing we like to do on this show is we wanna have our guests engage with our audience. So if you could ask our audience anything, what would be something that you'd wanna ask and know from our.
Monique Muro: what is your course writing process? Like how do you take your course idea and flesh it out into an outline and an actual course, I feel like everyone, you know, writes their copy differently.
And I'm always curious to know like how course creators are writing their copy. Like, how are they using post-its? Are they, they doing outlines? Like, I would love to know your course writing process on how you're writing your copy.
Bryan McAnulty: that's great. Yeah, there there's so many processes can work, but if you're just starting out and you're trying to figure out what is the process that feels natural for me.
Yeah. Um, I think it can be really helpful for seeing what other people are doing.
Monique Muro: I like that. Yeah, me too. That's why I'm always curious. I'm like, what process are you doing?
Bryan McAnulty: cool. Cool. All right. Well, Monique, this was such a great interview. Thank you again for coming. Um, before we go, where can people find you online?
Monique Muro: Uh, you can find me [email protected] and at proof mango on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Bryan McAnulty: All right. Awesome. [00:28:00] All right, well thank you so much for coming on.
Monique Muro: Thank you. Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Bryan McAnulty: If you enjoyed this interview and won the chance to ask questions to our guests live tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premiere on the Heights platform, Facebook page, to learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out thecreatorsadventure.com until then keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.