6 Lessons from $4M+ in Course SalesOct 13, 2023
The year was 2013.
I was working as an electrical engineer. But I wanted more freedom & impact.
I got an idea for an online piano course.
“It’s gonna make millions!” I thought.
Wife: “That’s cool. What would you charge for something like that?”
Me: “Umm. I’m not sure. Maybe… like… 300 bucks?”
Wife: “Who in the HECK will pay THAT for THAT?!”
It turns out thousands and thousands of people have paid me at least that for a piano course.
And for that, I am so grateful.
Today, I want to share 6 Lessons I’ve learned from making over 4 million dollars in course sales from my piano course.
Lesson 1: To make money, you must create a course business, not just a course.
It makes logical sense, right? You want to teach something in an online course… so the first step is to simply make the course. And everything else will fall into place, right?
Having a successful course business is so much more than the course. At a minimum, you also need:
An audience that trusts you.
A compelling offer focused on desired outcomes, not just features.
A proven sales process leading to the sale in a non-salesy way.
And other nice-to-haves like killer testimonials, systems, the right mindset, a small but mighty team, etc.
Avoid the mistake of assuming, “If I build it, they will come.” It took putting all the pieces together to make things work.
Lesson 2: Ignore The Haters (unless they’re right)
I haven’t published this YouTube video yet, but this thumbnail has some fun things people have said to me:
When I receive a hateful email or comment, the first thing I always ask myself is, “Is this really about me, or could this person just be having a bad day/week/year?”.
Most of the time, the problem is with them and not you.
However, every once in a while, there is validity to what these haters are saying.
For example, my evergreen webinar used to have some elements in it that pretended it was live.
I received a few messages from folks about how disingenuous this was. Eventually, I asked myself the magic question: “Is this about me or them?”.
This one was about me.
I no longer have ANY “pretend it’s live” features in my non-live webinar, and to be honest, I sleep better at night now :)
Lesson 3: Celebrate the Milestones
Find ways to celebrate your success, whether it’s a nice dinner with a loved one, a trip, or a special bottle of wine.
After crossing a big milestone, I purchased three bottles of Dom Perignon with my logo on it. One bottle was for me and my wife. The other two I mailed to two random students of mine.
What makes you happy, and what do you like to celebrate with? Can you celebrate with your audience/students too?
Lesson 4: Simple is Better
A few years ago, I embarked on a mission to create the world's best online piano course and platform. I spent nearly a year re-crafting my course and building a custom platform to host the course, the community, and many other fancy features I thought my customers would love.
It took a long time (and a ton of money), but eventually, we were ready to launch, and at first, it was nothing short of amazing. Everyone loved it.
But then, problems emerged. Things started breaking, and customer support requests skyrocketed. Instead of focusing on helping people learn the piano, we found ourselves caught up in technicalities.
I realized that my ambition had led me to overcomplicate things.
After a few years of headaches, I moved the course to Kajabi, stripping back 90% of the features and leaving only what was essential for learning.
The result? My students loved the platform even more, and the content could shine. This experience taught me a powerful lesson: Simple is almost always better.
Lesson 5: “Who?” Not “How?”
Outsourcing has become one of my main superpowers, although it took me some time to recognize its value (and trust other people).
In the past, I used to spend endless hours troubleshooting problems myself and handling repetitive tasks. I always focused on “How can I make this happen?” rather than finding the right person for the job.
Now, my approach has shifted. Instead of asking, “How?” I ask myself, “WHO can make this happen?”
I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my business numbers. Some of it wasn't working properly recently, and I initially felt frustrated. I'm no spreadsheet expert and could have spent the entire day trying to fix it myself.
But then I remembered my new philosophy. I asked, “Who?” and not “How?”
I found a spreadsheet expert on Upwork, paid them $30, and had my issue fixed within an hour.
Whether it's hiring a new team member or outsourcing a quick job, this simple shift in thinking from “How?” to “Who?” has been powerful in taking my business (and life) to new heights. It’s a lesson that I now consider integral to my success.
Lesson 6: Never Stop Asking for Feedback
As business owners, we think we know who our customers (or potential customers) are. We think we know what they want. We think we made the greatest course ever, and nothing can be improved.
But we have blinders. And we have a different perspective.
One of the most valuable things you can do is set up feedback systems.
Curious why people aren’t buying your offer? Ask them. Set up one more email in your automation AFTER the offer ends asking people why they didn’t take you up on the offer. And listen.
We have regular checkpoints (automated) for the people that do sign up.
After one month, we sent a casual email to check in on them. Here’s a screenshot of that email:
We then have other feedback checkpoints as well.
Apply these six lessons to avoid my mistakes.
- Create a course business, not just a course.
- Ignore the haters (unless they're right).
- Celebrate the milestones.
- Simple is almost always the better way.
- Ask “Who?” not “How?”
- Never stop asking for feedback.
But remember, none of these lessons matter if you never get started.
I’m rooting for you.
When you’re ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
- Genesis Courses. Starting your journey in online course creation? This coaching program is for you. From pinpointing your niche and building an audience to crafting a unique offer and launching your course, consider this your complete business blueprint… from the beginning.
- Next Level Coaching. Already established in the course creation world and earning a minimum of $1,000 monthly? This program offers a clear roadmap to scale your monthly income to 5 or 6 figures. Let's work together to take your business to new heights.