3 Alternatives to Online e-Course Launches

 

If you’re either thinking of creating your first e-course or are stuck in the cycle of LIVE e-course launches, this episode is for you.

I launched my first sustainable living e-course five years ago and in doing so experienced the rush that comes with ‘passive income’. I was no longer trading time for dollars and I was earning money in my sleep. I was living the dream! 

But was I really? 

For four years I ran multiple live launches every year to keep the pay days coming into my business. I’d somehow bought into the belief that every launch had to be as big, if not, bigger than the previous, so I’d reinvest my profits into Facebook Ads to continually build my following and find new course participants. 

I’d fallen for the lure of the e-course launch cycle and it was unrelentingly exhausting. An ongoing cycle of push push push. An ongoing cycle of feast and famine and an ongoing cycle that typically leads to burn out. Which it did. 

In 2015, after just a year of the constant e-course launch cyclelooked for more sustainable alternatives in my business. That’s when I made three big positive changes in my business to reduce the stress, iron out my cashflow and open the gates to recurring income.  

In this episode I’ll share three alternatives to live online e-course launches. 

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What’s the problem with online launches? 

Don’t get me wrong, online launches can be great. There’s nothing better to build up the excitement and number of people who want what you have to offer.  

The fact that what you’re launching will soon be unavailable also adds to the lure…. there’s nothing like a time incentive to help an indecisive customer decide whether to purchase or not. But time deadlines place an enormous amount of pressure on you to maximise your sales during a limited period of time. 

There’s a lot of moving parts to a launch and when you’re under pressure, it can be easy for one to be overlooked. Like the time I didn’t have an email rule set correctly and 1,000+ people who’d opted in to one of my launch freebies weren’t added to the sales sequence. By the time I’d worked out why my sales were down from previous launches, the launch was over. 

And herein lies the issue.  

If you were to walk into your favourite shop down the street and want to purchase their main offering and find it unavailable, what would you think? Say it’s a restaurant and you want their signature dish, the eye fillet steak (or vegan nourish bowl). But their promotion is over and you won’t be able to purchase it for another year. And because this restaurants business model is similar to an online business with one e-course, they don’t have anything else on offer for you at the moment except for the free bar nuts. Would you hang around? 

That’s not particularly great for you, and it’s terrible for them… cashflow wise. 

Can you see where this is leading? 

A business with just one or two offerings that’s only available once or twice a year isn’t a sustainable business model. 

All the effort goes into the launch period, and if it’s an average launch, the business can struggle to recover. Even if it’s a stellar launch, the business owner can be left too exhausted to deliver on the goods. 

So what’s a better alternative?  

After quickly realizing the risk of having a business solely reliant on online e-course launches, I set about in early 2015 to add some recurring revenue streams into my business. The first stream I added was a recurring membership. 

Alternative 1: Online Memberships 

Online memberships can be a more sustainable business model than live-launching e-courses and offer the very real potential for recurring revenue.  

The catch is keeping your members! 

You’ll need to continually offer value for members so they continue to stay in the program and community, which often means producing regular members-only content and interacting with the community. 

Now content creation is one of my zones of genius. I can create content until the cows come home, so when I launched my membership Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs in 2015, ongoing content creation and community interaction didn’t bother me. But the need to still launch the membership did…. While I was working out how to put my e-course and membership launches on evergreen (which I have with the use of evergreen funnels), I had an opportunity fall into my lap.  

A large organisation wanted to ‘partner’ with me to buy annual licences of my membership to offer to their community. It meant that they didn’t need to recreate the wheel – they could outsource the content, delivery and support to me – and in return I’d support hundreds of participants through my material. I quickly saw the opportunity of such an arrangement and welcomed my first partner. 

Alternative 2: Partnerships 

Partnerships can be hugely beneficial for both parties, as the partner receives your services for their community, and you have the opportunity to serve hundreds or thousands of members through one financial transaction. 

When my first Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs partner signed on it was like all my Christmases had come at one. 

I had hundreds of new participants in my program, yet I didn’t need to spend thousands on Facebook Ads. Instead I needed to put the time and money into formulating a legal contract and completing the required paperwork. Legal paperwork that I can, and have, used for multiple partners.  

Partnerships truly take the pressure out of having to launch your programs or memberships and can be a lucrative and sustainable business model. 

So think about who can you partner with. What organisations need what you’re creating? 

Who are you looking at as a competitor who can actually be a partner instead? They might be worth talking to! 

Alternative 3: High Level Mastermind 

If you’re offering 1:1 services, particularly business coaching, and there’s a percentage of your clients who want and will pay for more, a high level mastermind could be a viable recurring revenue business model. A mastermind is where you essentially offer group training instead of (or in addition to) 1:1 services. Participants get the added benefit of learning from each other and supporting each other too. 

Masterminds can be used in many business models, not just business coaching too. I have a friend who successfully runs a high end relationship coaching mastermind!  

 

Final Thoughts 

From the outside, the online launch model can look amazing. A huge influx of cash, hundreds or thousands of new customers, and great visibility. But be aware of its shortcomings. 

These days I much prefer the less stressful and more predictable cashflow coming into my business via my online membership, partnerships and business coaching mastermind.  

If you’re after personalized support to help you package up your experience and expertise into recurring revenue offerings like a membership or mastermind, apply to work with me HERE. 

For more strategies and support to help you grow your impact-driven business online, join my FREE Conscious Biz Creators Facebook Community.

Laura

Laura Trotta is one of Australia’s leading home sustainability experts. Fusing her professional expertise as an environmental engineer with the down-to-earth pragmatism that comes from being a busy mum, Laura is an eco thought leader who’s not afraid to challenge the status quo.
Laura