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Creating a Successful Online Course or Business with Amy Porterfield
Episode 299th September 2018 • Your Dream Business • Teresa Heath-Wareing
00:00:00 00:38:52

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  • Starting an online business or creating a course must be done in baby steps. Don’t just take a jump.
  • Make short-term goals. In this business, you must be able to pivot and make changes on the fly to keep your business relevant. Start with six-month goals and work up from there as you get more comfortable.
  • Creating a course is stressful for a short amount of time, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Find the light and stay motivated. Keep a project plan with a tool like Asana so you can keep track of your tasks and progress.
  • When you reach a goal, celebrate! It’s important for you and your team (if you have one) to celebrate those milestones.
  • To start, get in the trenches and learn all you can about your target customer. Create surveys to discover what people need.
  • Take some time to understand your promise. What is your promise, and can you really deliver it to your customer? If so, this is where your course is born.
  • If you’re just getting started, try to create the course first and then market it. Creation and promotion are two separate beasts.
  • Keep your course simple at first and get fancy later. Your customer will care more about the content and knowledge than they will about whether you’re using fancy video all the time. You’ll never get to where you want to go if you don’t start.
Don’t compare yourself to the big shots in the industry. Everyone started somewhere; you have to start somewhere, too. Just get started! Remember, however, that while you can use what others are doing as inspiration, that isn’t where you start. Learn from them—take their courses, listen to their podcasts, read their blogs. But then start from scratch
on your own. You can do this!
  • How Amy transitioned from being a good employee to being her own boss – 09:03
  • Amy’s vision for her business, and how things changed – 12:45
  • How to stay motivated when creating a course – 17:33
  • The key to completing your course – 19:11
  • It’s important to show your team how instrumental they are – 22:39
  • Amy’s tips for creating your own online course – 25:23
  • The comparison game and how it can affect you – 29:22
  • Consistency matters, no matter the size of your audience – 30:20
  • What’s next for Amy – 33:16
Transcript below


Hello and welcome to Episode 29 of the Social Media Marketing Made Simple Podcast and I'm your host, Teresa Heath-Wareing. Welcome back for another amazing week of the podcast. I think I'm still riding high on Pat's interview last week. It really was a bit of a dream come true for me, I have to say.

And this week is exactly the same. You know when you start a new project and you sit down and you think, "Okay, who do we want on the project? What do we want to achieve?" And you dream bigger than you ever think you can dream. You sit there and go, "Oh, imagine if we got that person. Imagine if they would come on the podcast".

Well, that's what my team and I did a few months ago when we were trying to think who would we want to interview. And we had a list of people that were, kind of like, mega stars in my world. And they were, kind of, the people that you would love to get on the podcast, but you knew that they were busy and they have lots of engagements and they, maybe, aren't as easy to get on.

And Pat was one of those people. So, to have him on for week one was, kind of, crazy dream come true. And this week, it is exactly the same. This week I have the absolute pleasure of welcoming Amy Porterfield. You heard right. Amy Porterfield on my podcast. Honestly, this really is like a dream come true. I've been a fan of Amy's for longer than I can tell you. She was, probably, one of the first people that I really started to follow and get into and I feel like I have learned so much from her.

I have her Courses That Convert, which is a online course that she offers, along with another two online courses. One about list-building, so building your email list. And the other one is about Webinars That Convert. So, if you're using webinars to sell to your audience, then she has got a great course to explain every single step on how you do that.

And, like I said, I have just been the biggest fan for as long as I can remember. I've seen Amy speak twice at Social Media Marketing World. And I reached out to Amy, oh, quite some time back now and connected with her over social media. We chatted a bit. Then, when I was in the States back in June, I asked if we could go for a coffee and she really kindly said, "Yes," which was amazing.

We had a lot of things in common and we had a mutual friend, which helped, obviously. And we went for coffee and we talked nonstop for two hours. And she'd said to me, "I've got an hour," which I was like, "Yeah, that's great". And we sat there for two hours and we literally didn't stop talking the entire time.

So, both of us are stepmoms to sons who are very similar ages. So, we had a big chat about that. We both have dogs and, even though I've said before, I'm not a huge fan of my dog, he's more my husband's dog when he needs anything doing, we had a good chat about that. We have really similar husbands. My husband's in the Forces. Amy's husband is a fireman. They're both super-supportive of what we do and it just was the nicest coffee ever.

And Amy really kindly offered to come on the podcast, which, in my head, I'd kind of thought, "Okay, if this goes well and Amy and I get on as well as I think we will, then maybe when I get back to the UK I will email her and say, 'Is there any chance?'"

And I didn't even have to. We were talking about the podcasts ... Obviously, she has one ... and she literally said, "Well, who'd you want to be on there?" And I said, "I've got this list," but I hadn't asked anybody yet, because I was nervous in case they said, "No".

And she was like, "Well, if I'm on your list, I'd love to come on the podcast". And, honestly, inside, I was squealing like a child. I was so excited. So, we got it planned and we did the call and it was awesome. What I love about it is Amy shares, not only how she got to be the success that she is today, and she's a phenomenal success, but she tells you about her baby steps of coming out of a job with Tony Robbins, no less.

So, she originally worked for Harley-Davidson® Motorcycles and then went to work with Peak Performance Coach Tony Robbins, where she oversaw the content development team and collaborated on ground-breaking online marketing campaigns.

So, she talks through how she moved away from a full-time job with someone as awesome as Tony to then starting her own business and also how her business has changed over time. She also tells me how she keeps motivated while putting together her online courses, which, if you haven't ever bought one of Amy's online courses, oh, my word. They are massive. And I just can't even start to think about how you stay motivated to complete all that content.

We also talked about how you can start your own online business and if you're thinking of starting a course, what steps Amy recommends that you take, in order to get started.

So, I am really excited about this one, as you can imagine. And, if you do know me, you know Amy is huge in my world. So, I am over the moon to be able to introduce to you the amazing Amy Porterfield.

Amy, thank you so much for being a guest on my podcast. I am so excited to have you here.

I love that I get to do this. Every time you and I talk it's like girlfriends are just chatting about everything. Work and life and all the good stuff in between-

Love it.

So, I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Oh, I'm really excited about it. You are only my second interview-

Oh, my goodness.

So, my last one was with Pat. He is just a consummate professional, isn't he?


He's amazing. So, that was awesome. But, I feel like I'm getting all the best people to start. So, it's just fantastic.

Well, I thank you for having me. I'm honoured to be the second.

Thank you. So, obviously, I have followed you for ages. I've been very lucky to see you talk live. I'm a student in Courses That Convert and I follow your content. I love what you do. And also, your story, I feel like, if I was to think of my future forward, of how I want my story to pan out, is your story. So, I would love it, for my audience that may not have come across you, although I've talked about you a fair bit, I would love it if you could just explain how you, kind of, got to where you are now.

Great. Okay. So, I started my marketing career with Harley-Davidson® Motorcycles, but it was at a local level, so it was in the States and I ... I say, "in the States," because you're not in the States, but it was in California. And I worked for Harley for a few years and that's where I learned marketing.

So, when you work for a company where people tattoo their logo on their body-


I mean, that's crazy. It's a tribe. It's nostalgic. It was amazing. And that's where I learned community. But from there, I then went to work with Peak Performance Coach Tony Robbins. And funny enough, I got there because I broke up with a boyfriend. I was up late at night, couldn't sleep for weeks and weeks and that dang Tony Robbins infomercial kept coming up on the television. And I would see it every night and I thought, I need some of that.

So, I went to the library. I got his tapes. I mean, this is how long ago it was. I got his tapes. I listened. I fell in love with his message and then I thought, "I want to work for this guy".

So, I left Harley-Davidson®, got a job with Tony Robbins and I was the Content Director. So, I got to work on the content that Tony would do on stage and in his digital products. And for six and a half years, I got the best education I could possibly get. I-

I can only imagine.

Right? I mean, I got to learn from the master. And I was really in it. I got to pitch and catch with him. I got to be in his proximity. We travelled all over the world. I mean, my travel bug is out of me. I am done. We were on the road all the time.

And so, I finally realised, I want to be my own boss. After listening to Tony over and over again, I wanted to do my own thing. And, quite honestly, I was exhausted. Travelling that much and being on somebody else's time, you could only do that for so long. And so, I thought, "I want to be my own boss. I want to call the shots. I want to create content for my own business, not for somebody else's".


How Amy transitioned from being a good employee to being her own boss


And I had just gotten married and the travelling all the time just wasn't going to work. And so, I took baby steps. So, this is great for anybody to hear that is wanting to transition out of one thing into another. I didn't just wake up one day and say, "I'm quitting. I'm starting my own business". But instead, I said, "Okay, I want to move on. I want to start my own thing. I'm going to start taking baby steps".

I asked to move from the content department to the marketing department and I had a lot of clout there. I had been there for a while, so they said, "Yes". And then, at one point I said, "Can I start working from home a few days a week?" And then from there, "Can I go part-time?" And then from there I took the leap and went out on my own.

And I think when you're a good employee ... I recently heard Marie Forleo interview somebody about being a good employee and how you want to just shine, no matter what. And I feel like I was a good employee till the very end, so they said, "Yes" to all those things.

Then I finally took the leap and here's where I'll wrap up the story. My goal was to create online training programmes around social media and online marketing and sell those programmes. That's how I had seen it done by the big guns that were making lots of money and a big impact.

I went out on my own. Had no idea how to create an online course. Didn't have an audience. And I was freaked out, because I didn't have a big savings. So, I started to take clients for social media. So, I took about eight clients. I was doing their social media for small businesses and I hated it.

I didn't realise that it wasn't for me. I mean, it's great for other people. They kill it. I didn't enjoy it. And I had no idea how to set boundaries. So, they were calling me at all hours of the day. Their expectations were wild, because I didn't set any and I just was not loving it. But I did it for two years and being in the trenches with small businesses, doing their social media taught me so very much.

So, I needed the education, I just didn't enjoy it. About two years into my online business ... It's almost ten years now. About two years in, I decided, "No more. I do not like this business model I created. I'm starting over". And I started to create courses and let go of my clients.

The day I let go of my final client-

Oh, wow.

I turned up the radio. I danced it out alone in my little condo like, "I finally am doing it". And it was hard for a while. We actually went into debt a little bit when I let go of my clients and started my online courses, because they, kind of, took a while to ramp up.

So, that wasn't ideal, but I'm here now. 90% of my revenue is made from three online courses I sell on Evergreen every single day and then I do some affiliate marketing as well.

Honestly, the story's amazing, because I used to work for Land Rover. I did corporate marketing for Land Rover. So, again, a brand where, in some parts of the world, that's the only vehicle they see.

Oh, yeah.

And people love the vehicles and.

I have a Range Rover. I love the vehicle.

And it is. It's an amazing brand. A great product. And then, obviously, worked in marketing forever. Started on my own, but I did exactly the same and I had clients. And I remember hearing you say once, which is exactly what I thought, was you went from having one boss to suddenly having eight.


Like, "No, that's not what I wanted". And people, they think, "Oh, I'm going to have my own business so that I can have free time and I can manage my ... " And it's like, "No, no, no. That didn't work. That isn't how it's working".


I think with clients, when you have them, you do feel like you are, kind of, tied a bit, or you are responsible, "I've got to be around in business hours". So, if I go off to the States, I feel a bit like, "Oh, how are we going to manage these things?" So, yeah. I feel like I hear your journey and think, "That's where I want to be. That's where I want to be in five years' time, let's say".


Amy’s vision for her business, and how things changed


I love it.

If I can keep my fingers crossed. Did you ever imagine, in the early days, when you started, did you think, "I'm going to become this successful"?

Oh, heck no. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I'd have the business I have today. And here's something I tell my students, "The business you have today will look dramatically different in just a few years from now". And so, making big decisions, making pivots, all of that is okay, because it's going to look different.

And I wanted to sell online courses, but I didn't know exactly how it was going to turn out and I think that's okay as well. I recently heard a friend of mine say she never sets goals five years out. She does it about 24 months out and that's about it. And that's what I've always done.

At first it was six months out, then 12 months out, then I could look about two years forward, but no more than that. And that's allowed me to not have to make everything such a big deal, because I could pivot as I go.

Yeah. And I think that's so important. Again, when you said you started off on social media, I've thought about social media courses, but the problem with the social media world is, you do something and 10 minutes later, it's out of date.


So, I thought I could spend months putting together an amazing Facebook course and Facebook makes one change and that's it. I'm done.


That is no longer relevant. What is it that you love and if there's still things that you dislike about what you do now?

Oh, yes. Okay. So, what I love is I love the teaching part. I absolutely love to put together content and teach it in a way that lightbulbs go off and people think, "Oh, I get it. Finally you broke it down".

I'm best known for step-by-step and breaking things down and holding people's hand through the process and that definitely is something that feels good to me. So, I absolutely love it. I mean, I, of course, love the emails that say, "It worked. I did it and look at my results". So, I live for that.

Now, the stuff I don't love. When I first taught Facebook, I had the same problem that you'll likely be up against where it was always changing. I had a Facebook programme, back in the day, and I wanted to pull my hair out the second Facebook would make an announcement. So, I get that part.

I don't love updating my programmes. No matter what you teach, it's a pain in the butt. And I also feel a lot of pressure to support a lot of people, my community. I'm a worrier by nature. I worry about them. I want to make sure they're getting the kind of support they need and that they're getting to the finish line. And so, I hold that a lot on my chest. I can physically feel it sometimes.

And so, I have to be careful about my self-care. I talk to a therapist-type person every single week on a Friday morning at 7 AM. I do meditation. You know I go on walks with my dog.


I have to do a few things, because I will take everybody else's struggle and burden of building an online business and just put it all on myself. And you do that when you have courses that teach people how to do stuff and they're going through it and they're struggling. Building an online business is not easy.


And so, that's the part that I have to be very mindful of.

And I think as well, there's a big difference between people who just put courses out to sell and people who want people to succeed.


And you can't just ... Well, you can, but it's not ... I don't think this would be my [inaudible 00:16:05] and it definitely isn't yours. You can just put together a course and sell it and who cares if they do it? That's up to them.

But of course, you don't want that. You want people to buy your course, go through it ... In fact, I have a friend who has her own business who spoke to me just the other day where, "Oh, my God. Amy's done it again". And I was like, "What do you mean?" She went, "I've bought courses ... " She'd already got...




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