If you read my blog last week you will know I have been knees deep in re-writing Create Your First Online Course. Today, I want to share some of the best lessons I have learned in business about just having a go and putting yourself out there. Create Your First Online Course was a real stretch for me because 1) I am no expert 2) I had to learn lots of new stuff and 3) I didn't it a priority. It doesn't matter who you are or what product or service you have I think you will like this blog.
If you're interested in seeing the new course you can take a look-see too! There is some serious up- levelling!
Let me share 7 lessons first!
Being an expert means nothing
This doesn't just relate to online course creators. It doesn't matter if you have the best product or service, or are the expert in your industry, it means nothing if you can't promote and market your solution. There are probably millions of experts who have failed to make money from their product, idea or service. They failed because they didn't know who needed the solution and how to get it in front of those people. As a result, there are shedloads of crap products making bucket loads of money because someone knew how to market.
I bought an "experts" course offer years ago. Thousands and thousands of people had already purchased so I figured it must be good! I thought it would help me turn thousands of dollars into hundreds of thousands of dollars. I thought the course held the golden key, the secret solution, the big answer to multiplying my income. It didn't.... #shocker
The course shared not one thing more than I already knew. I was crankier than a bag of cats. I asked for my money back, something I had never done before. I was more of an expert yet someone else was making millions. I finally got it; expertise doesn't matter, marketing does. I knew I had better content and every day I sat on my idea people bought an inferior offer.
If you're sitting on a business idea, product or service right now because you're not the expert you're just wasting time and missing out on the opportunity to make money. Even worse than that, there are people who need your offer and right now they're spending their money on something not nearly as good because it happens to be marketed well.
It's easier to improve what you already have
Hands up if you're a perfectionist? It's a disease that will annihilate business success faster than almost anything else. The problem with creating the perfect thing is you need to know exactly what perfection looks like first. Often we have an idea in our heads but the closer we get the more our idea changes. You can call that being a perfectionist but often it's rooted in fear and procrastination. If you keep tweaking your thing (that sounds much dirtier than intended) you're just prolonging finding out if it will sell or not. You're prolonging finding out if you succeeded or failed. You're also prolonging your ability to make the changes that turn your product or service into a winner!
Change your thinking to failing fast instead of not failing at all. Whatever it is you want to try, create or sell do it now and then let your customers tell you how to make it perfect for them. When I launched Create Your First Online Course it was rougher than I wanted it to be. I could have fussed and fannied about forever trying to make it perfect. Instead, I launched something I was 80% happy with and then listened to my members. Now I know what they struggle with I can improve on what I have. My customers are showing me what perfect looks like to them and that is all that matters.
Procrastination and indecision are costly
Every day you spend thinking about that great thing you have, that fantastic idea or new approach, you're wasting money. I have sat on ideas for months and even years because I was stuck in the indecision of doing things the right way. Indecision allows procrastination to fester and stink up your business like a rotten egg on a hot day.
Indecision, like perfection, gets in the way of creating something good and letting the numbers and customer feedback help you make it great. You can sit around all day overthinking decisions or you can put your thing out into the world and let the actions of customers tell you what to do next. It's like sitting at a fork in the road too scared to turn the wrong way while there is a roadmap in your glovebox. Makes no sense right?
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Mostly what we see on social media is business owners looking comfortable. We see them looking comfortable on beaches, at fancy retreats, in business class airline seats, at pricey restaurants, in Pinterest-worthy offices and sharing big wins.
Sometimes, but very rarely, do we see business owners being uncomfortable. Facing up to the reality of your Profit and Loss report is uncomfortable, firing a staff member or service provider you really love is uncomfortable, jumping in front of a camera to try new marketing strategies is uncomfortable, launching a new product or service and receiving bad feedback or no sales is... well... agony....
But it's all part of business and business is sometimes like walking around with sand in your bum crack. Every time I start to feel comfortable in my business I know that I am being complacent and probably a bit lazy. I know that I am not following my business plan because if I was I would feel challenged. I would feel the grains of irritation betwixt my biscuits (a.k.a sand between butt cheeks).
I am learning new strategies to drive traffic to my site and I am totally uncomfortable, I get frustrated fast when I don't understand and I want to quit when I don't see immediate results. I have a plan for more video content next year and already I feel the chaffing.
When was the last time you were uncomfortable?
*Stressed by a lack of sales, poor cash flow, no customers etc.. is not being uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is pushing yourself to learn new things and to challenge yourself. One holds you back, the other propels you forward.
You will never "find" the time for a big project
How many of us are sitting on great big ideas or projects that have the power to change everything about our businesses? I cringe when I hear people saying "I just need to find the time" because all that says is "this is not a priority right now".
There aren't an extra 5 hours a day that you can pull out of a cupboard and add to the clock. There are 24 hours for everyone and you get to choose how you use or misuse them. Instead of finding some mysterious missing time change your approach to making time. If you're already maxed out don't ever try to "find a day" (we have all said that right?), instead make a 30-minute block of time just for your project and treat it like your number 1 priority. We can all make space for 30 minutes here or there, and sometimes it's all you need to get started on that next big thing.
If you missed my blog last week on How to Breakdown a Big Project in 7 Steps you can read it here.
Everything changes all the time
Gosh, I have seen so many changes in the way businesses run over the past 8 years. When I started there was no Xero or Quickbooks online. You needed to use big, bloated, old school bookkeeping programs or an excel spreadsheet. Unless you had some serious knowledge of bookkeeping you were lost. Now for a small monthly price, you can be the master of your own numbers.
Facebook business pages were just a year or two old when I started my business and it would be another year or two before Facebook Ads were introduced. Years ago you could make a small fortune using crappy ads but things have changed. The ad cost may have increased but on the flipside, we have Canva and drag and drop website builders, super easy course platforms and access to sell our goodies on international marketplaces like Amazon.
When I created my first course there was next to no software available. There were a few very expensive and complicated options so this non-techy-tight-budget gal had to sticky tape stuff together and be super creative to make it all work. Now you can set up a platform and start selling in hours.
It wasn't so long ago that you could slap "Earn 6 Figures" onto just about any offer and everyone would pull out their credit cards to buy. We all remember the days of online course experts offering us $10K in bonuses when we bought a $97 product. Ick.
Everything changes fast, from software and tools to the language we use to market and if you're open to riding with the tide instead of against it you will always be on top.
What got you here won't get you there
I both love and loathe this sentiment from Marshall Goldsmith, mainly because I prefer to stay well within my comfort zone. The exciting part is that if you're not where you want to be you can change things up and get where you want to go. The not-so-exciting part is if you're not where you want to be you need to change things up to get where you want to go, and that is scary.
I know my current habits won't get me where I want to go. I know my current knowledge won't deliver me to my destination so I need to embrace #4 and #6 if I want my Dream Board to turn into a picture of reality. It feels kind intimidating yet exciting at the same time.
How about you? If you keep doing exactly as you're doing right now will you get to the metaphorical "there"?
I hope sharing my 7 lessons gives you some food for thought, inspiration or desire to get some sand all up in your bits!