Let’s chat about how creating a course online will help you make more income just by using your teaching magic. The best part of this week’s post? I got to interview the G.O.A.T. The woman who has been on my own bucket list for the CEO Teacher® Podcast. What a moment friends. I got to welcome THE Amy Porterfield to our community.
Back in the day, before the CEO Teacher® Programs, I used to listen to Amy in my ears. As I walked the track during my break for school. And I thought about this life that I might get to create. And I, now I get to live and breathe it. And I would say that she is the reason I get to do what I do now and help all of the teachers in my life.
Amy is the real deal. She said “a story like yours, you had posted on social that this meant a lot to you to do this interview with us. And I took a screenshot and I sent it to my team. I literally posted it in Slack. And I said, this is why we do what we do. This is why I am so passionate about helping people because now you help tons of other teachers and it's just a ripple effect. So you gave me a gift just by saying that. So thank you.”
Amy and I now have a mutual friend in Anna Digilio. It was right when her business began to take off and I downloaded their interview and listened to it probably 150 times. In that episode they did the math, sharing about how much money you could make by creating a course online. I was doing all the math equations that they shared. I reached out to Anna and we became really great friends, but their original episode gave me the opportunity to see what could happen if I put my mind to it. And it's crazy to think that so many teachers don't even know what course creation can do for them. It's just really exciting to know that teachers that are undervalued and underpaid, are about to really start changing the game, and we are here to help!
I wanted to know more about Amy before she became the Amy Porterfield we all know and love. Before course creation, before podcasting, before her business became what it is today.
She spent most of her time in marketing and corporate jobs, saying yes to everything that came her way just to make everybody else happy. She worked for Harley Davidson in the marketing department and events. And then worked for Peak Performance Coach, Tony Robbins. And did that for almost seven years. That's where she started to really learn about community and what it means to change lives and transform people's lives. That's where she got that bug to think, maybe I could do this. But never once, did she ever think, oh, I could be an entrepreneur. She was never an aspiring entrepreneur, never thought she’d be her own boss. So the life she has today is very surprising to her because of those original thoughts.
When she worked with Tony, she was the director of content development. That means she got to work on the content that Tony did in his digital courses. Plus she got to travel with him, work on content, and support Tony during his events. She feels that so much of what she learned as an entrepreneur, she took from her time with Tony. One of the things he teaches is to be an entrepreneur you need 80% mindset. The other 20% is just mechanics.
Amy mentioned that all important 80/20 rule. We talk all about what that looks like in our communities and how to leverage the 80/20 rule with making more income online I had been listening to a podcast with another entrepreneur friend, Britt Seva. And she said 20% of what her audience shares is talent. And I think that sometimes teachers get confused. They think that they should have everything ready and in line before they start. They need that 80% done and ready to go. And then the 20% is just the marketing and all that other stuff. But in reality, the 20% is our best, our talent, our teaching magic. And that is all you need in order to get started in this space.
A lot of our students really struggle with the mindset block of I am enough. I believe in myself enough, I'm going to put myself out there. We hear this a lot. I'm just a teacher or I'm just a fill-in-the-blank___________ whatever you think you are. So when do you say I'm more than “just a” I'm going to be an entrepreneur?
Amy reminisced about when she worked for Tony Robbins. He brought in a bunch of internet marketers to the San Diego offices. And Amy was asked to come in to take notes. She wasn't even at the main big oak table, she was off to the side. It was a bunch of guys, not one woman insight, all there to talk about their online businesses. Tony was getting more into the online, digital course space. So they came in to talk about their businesses and they went around and Tony would say, so tell me what you do. What does your business look like? And all Amy heard were stories of freedom and creativity and being their own boss and calling their own shots, making their own hours.
She says she took the worst notes of her life that day, because she was paralyzed. She didn't understand their businesses. She didn't get what they were doing. She just knew she wanted more freedom. That was literally the moment that she thought, wait, there's a whole other life out there. She could be her own boss. That's when she got the bug. It wasn't for a year or so after that, she started making some moves internally. She moved to the marketing department. Then she was asked to work on special launches. She started to kind of dabble with that and realized,she wanted to do this. She wanted to create digital courses around marketing and put them out into the world.
But the thing was, she had no idea how she was going to do it. Nor did she have all the answers. The only thing she knew for sure is that she no longer wanted a boss. So for her, the why in that moment was, she didn't want to be told what to do. When to do it or how to do it. She wanted to have her own agency. And she didn't know if, or how she was going to have her own thing, but that WHY was deep. She says she always tells people that, because she didn't start out with like a really beautiful why, like she wanted to change the world or wanted to transform lives. Hers was very selfish. She didn't want a boss anymore. But it's morphed into something beautiful and now she shows other women what is possible. Even if it didn't start that way. She wanted everyone here to have that permission, make your why very personal about you. It’s totally okay, Amy P said so!
I didn't know what my life's work was either until I tried a lot of things and I knew what wasn't my life's work. It took a lot of figuring out. We often say that action brings clarity and clarity will produce the results, but it may take a awhile to get there. All Amy knew was she didn’t want anyone else to tell her what to do. Which I'm behind 110%.
So eventually Amy quit working for Tony. She asked to work from home a few days a week. Then asked to go part-time so she’s a baby steps kind of girl. Within a span of a year, she had officially left. The day she left the radio was playing the Beatles song, Here Comes The Sun. And she thought that was a sign. This is going to be amazing.
So for the next two years, she really struggled. She left her job thinking she wanted to create digital courses. She wanted to scale her business quickly. But then realized, she didn’t know how to create a digital course from scratch. She was part of a team but had never done it on her own. And Tony was the mastermind behind all of that. So she was very lost. So she started taking clients. She did social media for small businesses. Took on a little consulting work and got into debt. The next two years of Amy’s life did not go as planned.
She built a business where she had 8 to 10 clients at a time. And hated it. She felt that because she was such a yes girl, where she would say yes to everything. The expectations were crazy, but she’d still say yes. And then she was miserable. So about two years in, she was in debt and had done her first digital course launch.
She originally thought I’m going to piece this together. And just figure out what to do. So she launched it and kept thinking she'd make a hundred thousand dollars. ‘Cause isn't that what everyone was making on their first launch? Then she made a whopping $267 and cried for a week. She remembers having this robe that she got at Target. It's a black cotton robe. And she wore it like three, four or five days straight and Hobie, her husband, finally had to say, you need to get in the shower. You need to get dressed. Get back on the horse because this is ridiculous. She says she needed that tough love, but was devastated because she thought everybody was successful their first time out.
And I’ve been there, done that too. My first launch that people talk about (raise your hand if you were here for Transform Your Resources), was successful. But the ones that they didn't talk about were the ones that failed.
Amy’s first course was about how to market your book using social media. But here's what she tells her students today. She had no business teaching that topic. She had never marketed a book in her life. What was she thinking? She was desperate. She just needed something. And she understood social media. But she stands by the fact that she was not the person to teach that course.
It doesn't mean you need to have years of certification or be the expert of all experts. You just need to be looking for the 10% edge when you want to teach in a membership in a digital course or whatever you choose to do. You just need a 10% edge, which means you've gotten results for yourself or for somebody else. And now you're willing to teach the roadmap of how you got there. She knew a lot at that time, She could have chosen a topic that she had a 10% edge in. She just happened not toBut Amy says she promises that for all the teachers here in this space. She knows you have a course in you and you are skilled in specific areas where other people want to know what you know.
I love that she shared the coaching side of things a little bit. You know, a lot of our students are a little afraid and they don't know what they don't know. And so they want to kind of get out there and get their feet wet before they decide to go all in with an idea or decide what their thing is going to be. We're really kind of exploring the coaching side too, along with our students ready to enter the education consulting realm.
So get yourself out there, and do some coaching calls. You find out real quick, what you are passionate about. And then you see the recurring themes, the same questions keep coming up. So it allows you to kind of create, while you're still learning and building your confidence. I think that if I had to pick one word that our teachers struggle with the most, it is their confidence to believe that they can.
And they struggle because they've been inside the four walls of their classroom. And they've only been talking to students and they have to get back into the real world where they have to speak to adults AND they have to ask for money. And so their confidence is just really lacking. I was so appreciative of Amy sharing some of the not-so-beautiful things that happened along the way. My first course was called Entrepreneur Photography School. And just like Amy, I had no business teaching anyone about photography.
8 people bought my original online course for $49, which was a cool thing. But that was not my calling. I didn't realize it then. So I took Webinars That Convert, and I joined Amy’s webinar. That was the first online course that I ever bought. And after I finished I was on fire. The next morning I said, I have no idea what she taught me. At that time I had no idea what a webinar even was. And after I watched it I realized, nope, not ready for that.
During her first two years, she created courses that didn't sell, but then she created a Facebook course and that one did really well. She partnered with Lewis Howes. They put together a course and it did well for $97. She remembers doing probably 500 webinars that year. Multiple webinars a day, Monday through Friday to all these different groups that Lewis actually had access to. I didn't have an audience yet. So I got very lucky with being able to get in front of his audience.
Luck is some kind of a funny word. Amy went to networking events when she was very new. In her first two years, she went to any event that was applicable to what she was doing. She went to an event called BlogWorld, in Vegas. She got to meet Lewis and they became good friends. He was very new in his business as well. That was a great connection. Amy says she is an introvert at heart. So she thinks you have to push yourself and get yourself out there and meet people and network with people that can build you up. That is crucial when you're just starting out and it can be painful as well. After she partnered with Lewis she thought, “I'm going to create my own course again and try again.” It was a Facebook marketing course that she created on her own and it did really well. She launched it over and over and over again. And then from there, she thought she was really good at webinars. And that's what people were asking her. So that was her first really big successful course.
I vowed to never do a webinar at the beginning of my CEO Teacher® days, I was like, no way. And then I started doing them and then I was like, I'm only going to record it and just play it. The amount of energy it takes to launch a program can be overwhelming. Amy says it was painful sometimes for sure. But that's the only way she got good at it. 500+ webinars later and she is REALLY good at it.
She remembers being not great in the beginning either. Her first webinar ever was with Tony and long story short, she accidentally deleted the whole thing the night before the webinar. And all 800 people that were signed up for it, got an email that said the webinar had been deleted and canceled. She stayed up all night, also crying. She said it's very normal to have tech challenges, and freak out that you don't want to be live on video. All of that. She just wanted to remind us she’s not super techie, but she is willing to kind of stumble through, and maybe be a little bit embarrassed in order to still be here.
My husband's only been on the scene for one webinar and the tech failed and I hit my knees, which I don't know if I've ever done, crying. He was like, I cannot with you right now.
Around 2013 is when Amy started her podcast. And the biggest mistake she made with podcasting is for about a year, she had no schedule, and no plan. When she had time for a podcast episode, she would whip it up and put it out. And then she wouldn't think about it for another month or so. It came out like once a month, or every other week, whatever it was. Online Marketing Made Easy, was not a success the first year out. Back in the day, there weren't as many podcasts. So she was still seeing a little traction whereas if she had done that today, she would have seen zero traction. But it was still tough. She was talking to a good friend when she told him the podcast isn't working, it's not growing. And he said you have to be consistent. You have to do it every week. Actually, he said twice a week!
So about a year into it, she changed to once a week and everything changed. Her audience knew when to expect her. It was the same time, same day, every week. She was consistent rain or shine and that made a huge difference. And really consistency is the one area that most entrepreneurs struggle with. But probably the most important trait you can develop as an entrepreneur.
I realized that every week I was looking forward to hearing Amy’s show. And so when I started my own show, I was like, I'm only going to do it if I can make a promise to myself. Every Wednesday for the rest of my life, I'm going to put out something. Even if it's just me running my mouth, you know, but I'm never going to not show up. And so I thank Amy for that. Because that consistency piece was crucial in the success of my launch and running into it because we did eight weeks. We started the podcast eight weeks before we launched our first program, which was really fun. I was seven months pregnant. But it all worked out.
So taking it back to the beginning of Amy’s course creation. No one was really teaching you the way go. No one was sharing secrets about growing. Amy was the first real digital course creator that was consistent. The one that everyone looked up to and everyone knew was going to show up every week.
Then Amy created a list-building course. She says for anybody creating courses or creating something in their product line. One thing she didn't do in the beginning was take a look at the customer journey and really ask herself, what do they need first? What do they need next? And because she didn't do that well in the beginning, she kind of struggled with where to send people after they bought a course. She didn't have a lot of longevity with a student in the beginning because she didn't know where else to send them. But then she got really clear on what it was needed.
And everyone who's going to launch a digital course or build an online business needs to start growing their email list. It's essential. It's part of how you do business. So she started to teach that knowing if you had an email list, you're more inclined to launch a digital course. And then she had Webinars That Convert. And what happened was, her students said OK, now I know how to do it. But I have nothing to sell. So Amy thought, “Oh, I've got to teach people how to create a course so that they can use their webinars to sell.” It was all very backward. The customer journey was not on her mind.
She decided to go back to the drawing board. So she combined the two programs she had. And in January 2019, launched it as one. It was $2,000. And that has been her bread and butter. That's her signature course. She was in her zone a hundred percent. I may have taken her a while to get there. And there are some misses and wins along the way. But now she knows she’s got the right products.
Amy really paved the way and simplified it all. It gave us the vision that we were doing too much. You can have a lot of content, but it doesn't have to be so complicated. Less is more. When you confuse you lose, so we scaled it back and got really clear on our plan too.
So Amy’s journey now looks like this:
And you can only get into Momentum if you finish DCA. Having those three pieces has been beautiful and it's finally a customer journey she loves. There are still a lot of things her students want to know that she does not teach. That's where she’ll use affiliate marketing. Basically, she will promote a course with an entrepreneur she knows will benefit her community, but gets a stipend for doing it.
So for all of our teachers in this community, I know you want to know how she quit her corporate job and still built this business. You may still work 40+ hours a week in the classroom. And don't know have the time to do this. I want to guide the teacher that is struggling right now financially. The one who is really just trying their best to keep their head above water, especially with back to school starting. Right here in the heat of everything, they know that they still want to create an online course, or at least get started making a bigger income. What would be the first set of steps for them?
Amy says you can absolutely create a digital course as a side hustle. She loves the idea of starting with the side hustle. She says to think about an area that you literally could talk about in your sleep. Have you been doing it for a long time? Or are you really good at one area? Like Anna Digilio, she started teaching one very specific strategy to math teachers. That's how she got started. She's built a multi-million dollar business since then, expanding way beyond just her math strategy. But she started simple. So look at what you are really good at. Find your sweet spot, that thing, where your expertise and experience and insight just automatically come together and, you could just go on and on in that area.
Amy (and I) want you to start there and then think about what you could create around that topic. Something very simple. When Amy teaches courses, she talks about the 3 different types of courses, a starter course, a spotlight course, and a signature course. So when you're thinking about maybe creating a course as a side hustle, start with a starter or a spotlight. A starter is like a $47 to $97 basic 1 0 1. I'm going to get you started. I'm going to get you the tools you need to see results, but not massive results. Just something that you really wanted to overcome or something you wanted to create.
A spotlight course is taking one area of expertise and going deep. One of Amy’s students is a photographer. He taught a course on flash photography. That's all just flash photography. He had a hundred people on his email list and made $12,000. Now I don't know about you, but if I am a teacher and I make $12,000 by sharing my knowledge, thank you all day long. You don't need a huge email list or a huge audience, but you do need to find the courage to start. Courage before confidence. We all can muster that courage if we really want it bad enough.
Don’t get stuck in the procrastination stagnation. I think that perfectionism is something that they really strive for. And just get stagnant and think we have to have it all together. It's gotta be perfect. We gotta do all the research. And Amy mentioned that 10% edge. That slight edge, just to keep going. So we're building the courage and we're stuck and we're not sure that we're going to take the leap to buy a program, to help us, or take the leap to finally put ourselves out there. How do you get the courage then to say, I'm going to do this?
Get really clear on what you want. Remember being an entrepreneur, starting your own thing is 80% mindset.
It could be small, big, or whatever, but you got to get clear on why you want it because the side hustle or building an online business, none of that is easy.
You have to remember that the worst day as an entrepreneur will still be better than any day in your full-time job if you embrace it. But that means you had to be really clear about why you want it. Because the worst day as an entrepreneur happens a lot. It's very difficult to figure it all out.
When you're your own boss, you can choose when you're going to take a break when you're going to step away when you're going to get back into it. And it's another reason why we love digital courses. After it's out in the world, you can step back and take a breather. You're not always on that hamster wheel.
I know there are some teachers here in this space that think their future does not look exciting and rosy right now. What teachers are going through is horrific. So what if you start a side gig that gives you hope? Gets you excited about something that you haven't been excited about before (or in a long time). Something that gets you out of bed in the morning.
I think my husband once said, what brings you joy, you used to be so happy. And I looked at him and I just started crying. I didn’t know what made me happy anymore because I was always helping other people. I had forgotten about myself and who I was. Finding this purpose and calling allowed me to get back to myself and find myself. And now that I'm not in the classroom, I have an unlimited amount of time with myself and self-care and my kids.
I want all the teachers who are here now to be courageous enough to try something new. Your life could be dramatically different just a year from now. And I want everyone to remember that.
We know Amy has always been someone I look up to. So I wondered who she looks up to and who inspires her.
Amy said definitely look at your entrepreneurial friends and really pay attention to what they're doing. She loves Britt Siva’s grit. Britt just makes things happen. Even if she doesn't know all the answers. Jasmine Star is another one. Jasmine has more tenacity than any entrepreneurial woman out there. And Sara Blakely and her work ethic and how she approaches business. They show you what's possible. Anyone here right now can find a few people that are really showing you what's possible and what you really want for your life. Just really pay attention to how they're doing it, how they're navigating things.
I am so thankful for Amy Porterfield for making my vision board dream come true. She was also very gracious to share a free gift with our teachers. Shows that are personally curated for them at amyporterfield.com/ceoteacher. A resource of different episodes that Amy knows you’ll find really valuable. There are episodes from the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast specially curated just for the CEO Teacher® audience. So if you love podcasts (and marketing topics) you’ll want to listen to Amy’s favorites.
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