I earned over $5k in the last 5 days on my blog from launching my first course – $5,917.95 to be exact!
Kind of cool and exciting for me since this is my first experience selling an online course, so I want to share with you how I did it (so you can do it, too!).
- If you’re keeping track, last year I made $45k in 1 year blogging while working full time. This year, I am hoping to hit six figures for the calendar year (technically, I’m already a “six figure blogger” since I have been making over $8,333.33 per month)! 🙂
- You can learn how to start a blog here.
So, how did I make over $5k in 5 days? I launched my first online course, Design Your Dream Life Academy!
I’ll walk you through the course details, the strategy I used, and the tools that I used to make it happen.
This is everything you need to know to take action. Promise! 🙂
I Launched My First Course – Design Your Dream Life Academy
The name of the course is Design Your Dream Life Academy and the subheading is discover exactly how to become a BOSS at mastering your mindset, emotions, productivity, time management, goal-setting, and habits.
I packed it with sooo many lessons – over 95. I’ve taken goal-setting courses before, and my course is better, longer, and less expensive. I gave so much more value than I charged. So, I was very confident selling it, which makes a big difference in sales.
I want to point out that this is a personal development course.
So many people reach out to me doubting their abilities to make money online with something that is not related to blogging or making money.
This course is evidence that you can make money selling digital products online without it being about making money.
People actually do this all the time if you really think about online businesses from a broader perspective than just “blogs.” It’s just easy to only focus on the bloggers who write income reports and disclose how they made money teaching people how to make money blogging.
The truth is that you can make money selling all types of digital content online.
I priced the course at $297. I ran a 40% off sale for the first 5 days to launch it.
And over those 5 days I made $5k.
I host my course on Teachable, which is the best platform for bloggers to use for creating and selling online courses. I cannot believe how easy Teachable is to use. I connect it with all my other tools and I had no hiccups at all with create and launching my course on the platform. I highly recommend it for creating courses.
The Strategy I Used To Build My Course
I used the strategy I learned from Alex and Lauren in Six Figure Blogger.
- You can read my full review of Six Figure Blogger here.
I took this course last summer, and I’ve been using the strategies in that course ever since. It has taken me almost an entire year to implement everything.
I have a constraint in my life that I only learn from one teacher or coach at a time. I implement everything I learn from them (without questioning any of it because they’re the teachers).
This is how you get results. You invest in yourself, you do the work, and you get results.
It was not easy. In fact, I had sooo much resistance. But if I didn’t do the work, I would be right where I was last year at this time, making $3k-ish per month.
So far this year, I’ve been making $8k-$14k.
I legitimately just did everything they said to do in Six Figure Blogger. Here’s a look at the things this included:
- I changed my content to reflect my end goal – providing value around what I am selling (this is marketing 101 but I never knew it).
- I created sales-centered content.
- I created an actual sales funnel in my email sequences.
- I started using email marketing to build trust with my email list.
- I improved my affiliate marketing strategies with my email list.
- I created eBooks.
- I learned how to create a sales page that sells.
- I improved my lead magnets (freebies).
- I created a clear monetization strategy for getting my blog up to six figures.
- I always live by the philosophy of providing more value than I’m being paid for
I gained so much confidence in marketing, business, and sales from Six Figure Blogger. I can tell almost immediately if something is going to be successful online if it’s a digital product now. The clarity I have about creating products that sell is invaluable. I truly know how to develop products that sell.
There is no “hoping” something sells. Don’t create a product unless you know it’s going to sell.
Before The Academy, I created 3 eBooks (I used the Six Figure Blogger strategies), which resulted in making an additional $1.5k per month on top of my other blog income.
Many people wonder why I started with eBooks and if you have to do it this way. I don’t think you have to start with eBooks, but for me, I wanted to start with the easier, smaller products to really understand how to sell.
Like they say in Six Figure Blogger, always start with the end in mind.
That’s what I did – and it worked.
The Mistakes I Made With My Course
Creating The Academy wasn’t totally smooth sailing.
It was my first course and there was so much learning it was crazy. I legit felt like I did sooo much and everything right.
But, I was wrong about that! 🙂
The biggest mistake I made was with my “launch emails.” Honestly, I didn’t really even know what a “launch” meant when I was launching my course.
For those of you like me, a launch is just the period of time you are opening your course up and closing it down – either for good or for the sale. The Academy is open year-round, but the “launch” was 5 days because that’s when the 40% off sale was active.
I needed to have stronger emails and a clearer strategy for emailing my list. This is something I’m excited to get better at with my next launch.
The second mistake worth mentioning is that my email list includes a lot of people who followed me when I wrote more about budgeting, so the match wasn’t 100% aligned. I’ve asked people to unsubscribe who aren’t into the new “design your dream life” theme of my blog, but many still remain. This is totally fine from a content perspective, but it just means that selling to this list is harder.
I plan to do Facebook advertising soon to build a bigger email list with subscribers who are super interested in what I have to offer.
The third mistake I made was creating and promoting content during the launch that didn’t directly relate to the course. I published a YouTube video that was about creating a money mindset and sent it to my list during my launch. I shouldn’t have done this because it caused people to have a reason to go somewhere else and look at that content instead of at the course.
The fourth mistake I made was not putting a timezone on the coupon expiration! I had the sale end at “midnight,” which was great if you’re on the east coast, like me, but not so great if you are on the west coast and midnight is really 9PM! I honored any requests that came in for a late payment because I didn’t have the timezone in the promotion materials. Honestly, I didn’t realize how many people wait to buy until the end of a sale, so this was a really good lesson for me.
And while these aren’t mistakes, I had a lot go wrong during the process. Most notably, I spilled hot water on my laptop and had to go get a new one. Within hours I was up and running and back to business. However, the newer computers have such high resolution screens that when I started creating new presentations, they looked completely different than the old ones because the color was different. So, I rerecorded the entire first half of the course. This pushed out my launch a week (but I was still one week early compared to my initial launch plan, which was good).
The second problem was the final night of the launch, I had a problem with payments going through. It’s still unclear why. But this is the worst time to have payment problems. I still have many payments outstanding that show $0 earnings, which is why I titled this post $5k and didn’t give the exact number at first – I didn’t know the total until the following day! I even had 2-3 people have to wait to buy until the day after the launch. Really terrible timing!
All this is to say that it’s a learning process and you have to be prepared to be a beginner and work through the ups and downs if you want to succeed at making money blogging. It ain’t easy! 🙂
I Made The Money From My Email List
I made the actual money from selling this course to my email list.
This is why online entrepreneurs say “the money is in the list.”
Having an email list that knows you, likes you, and trusts you is the best way to make money blogging, in my opinion.
Without my email list, I wouldn’t have made any money – at all.
Every single sale was made from an email being sent (whether to my list or to an affiliate’s list).
I use and am obsessed with ConvertKit for email list building and marketing. Many people talk about how expensive ConvertKit is, but I really don’t think there is a more affordable, better option for building an email list as a blogger.
ConvertKit makes it so easy to grow your email list because you can put forms for people to subscribe to your list everywhere on your blog and in your content.
Not only that, but you can also create email sequences that go out to your list when they sign up.
For example, when someone signs up for one of my freebies, they are put into a “funnel” where they’re going to get 5-10 emails for the next week and half from me. I do nothing to do this other than set it up, up front.
ConvertKit is the gem that makes “the money is in the list” a possibility.
This is just another example of having to be willing to invest in your business to make money. You really can’t do it for free. I wouldn’t have made $5k in 5 days without paying for an email marketing software.
How I Get People On My Email List
There are 2 components to getting people on your email list – part 1 is getting people on your list and part 2 is what to do with your list once you have people on it.
The section above (the “I Made The Money From My Email List” section) is really part 2 – it’s what I did once people were on my list.
Part 1 came first, which was getting people on my email list.
I have built my email list in sooo many different ways. I started with a simple subscribe box, and over time, I’ve created countless freebies.
The process for getting people on your list is:
- Create a freebie (aka, opt-in, lead magnet)
- Create a landing page for the freebie (with Lead Pages)
- Create an email sequence to automate what happens when people get the freebie (in ConvertKit)
- Market the freebie
- Above and below content
- Within content
- Pop-up (using Opt-In Monster)
- Paid advertising (Facebook ads)
The first part of getting people on your email list is creating a freebie. My advice is:
- Trial and error works best (because you never really know until you test it out).
- People love checklists, cheat sheets, quizzes, and ecourses.
- Always give results ahead of time (your reader should get a specific result from using the freebie).
I highly recommend signing up for other people’s email lists to see what your competition is doing. Do NOT steal or copy other people’s lead magnets. Just use them as a way for you to understand how to make professional, popular freebies that people love.
I create my lead magnets using Canva, Word, and Photoshop.
The second part of getting people on your email is using landing pages.
I use a Resources Page where I keep links to all of my freebies. When you click on any link on the Freebies Page, you’re taken to a “landing page” (this is just a separate page where the only option for the reader is to grab the freebie or leave the page).
It’s really important to have a separate landing page for any freebie you have. I use – and love – LeadPages for this. It’s a paid software that I’m happy to have as an expense because of the results I get from using it.
I have landing pages for alllll of my freebies. They’re very simple but they convert very well. It’s not enough to create a separate “page” on your blog through WordPress to have people opt-in to a freebie. This is what I used to do, and I didn’t have high conversions (meaning people didn’t sign up).
The final part for getting people on your list is marketing your lead magnet.
There are many ways to do this. I promote my freebies on Pinterest (you can see examples on my Pinterest page here). People click on the Pin, are taken to the LeadPages landing page, then sign up to receive the freebie, and are immediately entered into an email sequence I have set up through ConvertKit. It’s beautiful how well this works.
I also have ConvertKit boxes below all of my content. I have been trying to get widgets above my content for approximately 2347894052437 months, but haven’t had a designer follow through on that. I know that having an opt-in above your content actually converts higher than below your content.
The next way I market my lead magnets is through a pop-up – but only an exit-intent pop-up, so I’m not penalized by Google.
I use Opt-In Monster for this and it is a game changer. I LOVE Opt-In Monster because what I learned at a marketing conference earlier this year is that it’s best to use 1) exit-intent pop-ups, and 2) pop-ups with an image in the background. These are both possible with Opt-In Monster. The results have been fantastic.
Any time someone tries to leave my site, they see this pop-up from Opt-In Monster. It looks so professional and converts well, so I’m happy to pay for it if it continues to get people on my email list.
Here’s what my exit-intent pop-up looks like with Opt-In Monster:
I plan to use Facebook ads for paid marketing of my freebies in the future to build my email list, but I’m waiting until after my courses are all done to do this because there is only so much time in the day! 🙂
Making Money Selling Courses Online Is About Sequencing
Hopefully, this post helps you understand that making money online is actually more of a science with puzzle pieces that you can replicate.
I didn’t know that until this past year, and it’s been a game changer. I now understand that the name of the game is sequencing.
Here is the sequence for making money online selling courses:
- Searches on Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Social Media (or podcast) –> Blog/Website –> Freebie –> Email List Sequence –> Relationship building –> Sales
This is gold. Remember – it’s all about sequencing!
This is marketing 101, which I didn’t know about until recently. Marketing is how you make money in business. And blogging is running a business.
If you can build a relationship with your target customer and follow the sequence above, you will make money blogging.
Next Steps For Making Money Selling Courses On My Blog
I keep all of my products listed in my Store.
- Side note – I created my store page using ClickFunnels, which is where I host my eBooks. I love ClickFunnels particularly for building sales pages, so I keep my eBooks and store page there.
The products I currently have are:
- How I Made $45k Blogging In 1 Year While Working Full Time (blogging eBook)
- Budget Spreadsheet Bundle (budget spreadsheet templates)
- Dream Year (goal setting eBook)
- Design Your Dream Life Academy (eCourse)
I also have one on one coaching programs for personal development, money, and blogging.
I plan to create 3 more online courses in the next 3 months (1 per month).
I’m going to continue to use the same strategy in this post, and hopefully just continue to improve.
Then, I’m going to start a podcast and post one blog post, one YouTube video, and one podcast episode per week.
A Final Note!
I have been trying to make money blogging for a couple of years, and the last year has been the biggest growth foooor sure. It’s super fun and exciting, and I can’t imagine doing anything better with my time.
I made $5k in 5 days on my blog from launching my first course with a specific strategy. I know many people who have launched courses and *hoped and prayed* they’d sell.
Do not do this. It doesn’t work.
You have to have a strategy.
To put everything mentioned above in a list, here’s another look at what I did…
- I took Six Figure Blogger last summer. I implemented everything (how to create an online course, how to market it, how to create sales pages, etc.).
- I created The Academy with the underlying premise of over delivering on value. I’m a firm believer in providing more value than I’m getting paid for.
- I created and marketed lead magnets to get people on my email list that gave them results ahead of time directly related to the course (using ConvertKit, LeadPages, and Opt-In Monster).
- I built stronger relationships with my readers (using my content and Facebook group).
- I created sales funnels (making sure had the right email sequences).
- I created eBooks and learned how to sell those first (to get used to selling online).
- I created my course and sales page on Teachable (using PowerPoint and audio voiceover for 95+ lessons).
- I had a launch sale for 5 days with 40% off (sending out several emails during the launch).
- I sold the course to my email list and made $5k in 5 days.
I already had steady traffic from the last two years of blogging, most of which comes from Pinterest (you can check out Pinterest Traffic Avalanche for a Pinterest traffic strategy).
I plan to improve and increase my traffic in the next 1-2 years – but one thing at a time. Focusing on product creation for the next few months.
I want to point out that this post talks about the technicalities, strategies, tools, and recommendations I have for creating an online course and making money blogging. I want to be super duper clear that all of this only works if you’re providing enormous value in the content of your course. I knew that my course on mindset, productivity, time management, goal setting, and habits would sell because I was confident in my ability to deliver. Without this there is no course.
It’s also worth mentioning here that you can have a strong desire to make money online, but unless you have the commitment to go all in, make the right investments in tools, and take action on a specific strategy, you won’t get results. You have to have all these things to do it. Desire isn’t enough.
If you invest in your blog and treat it like a business, commit to it (go 100% all in), and use a specific actionable strategy, you can figure out the science behind blogging and make money online. Kind of exciting and awesome!
P.s. If you want to start a blog, here’s where I’d go next: