Are these two fears holding you back from launching your course?
I've been pushing the benefits of using some type of pilot or minimal viable product or pre-selling approach to launching your course.
It brings a lot in terms of speed, feedback and momentum. Not to mention getting some cash in quickly.
But I absolutely realise that it can be a scary prospect. Every time I do a pilot two big fears loom in my mind. Maybe they're holding you back too?
The first big worry is “what if this doesn't sell and I look like an idiot?”
The second is “what if this does sell and I look like an idiot?”. In other words “what if people buy and don't like it?”.
Ultimately, the more you do pilots the less you worry. Because when things go wrong you find out it won't kill you. And you're always able to recover.
So if it doesn't sell, it doesn't sell.
Refund the few people who bought. Start again.
You don't need many sales for a successful pilot. You're just looking for enough people to test your course and give you great testimonials.
But if you can't even get a few from the people you already know it means you're not hitting the right issue that will motivate people to buy.
It will hurt. There's no getting away from that.
It will set you back a few weeks as you look for a new topic to focus on. It will feel like just pushing forward and building your course and offering it for sale afterwards is the “lower risk” route.
But it's not. The progress you make building a course people don't want is false progress.
And having a fully finished and polished course won't make people any more likely to buy it. At least not enough to make a difference.
If it's not going to sell it's much better to find out quickly rather than after you've pumped a ton of time and energy into it. If you do that, not only will you have wasted much more time and effort, but you'll feel more committed to it and you'll end up wasting more time and effort trying to make your lame duck work.
Better a little bit of pain early than a lot later.
And if people buy your pilot but aren't satisfied with what you deliver, you have time to fix it.
Most people don't expect a pilot to be perfect. So if you haven't covered all the angles they're looking for they won't mind if you help them in a live Q&A instead.
They're much more likely to get upset if you position your course as the finished article and there's something missing.
In the very rare, very worst case, refund them and gift them the course anyway as an apology.
Both these fears are really all about worrying what others will think of us. About how our “reputation” will suffer if we offer a course that doesn't get off the ground or that people don't initially like.
But both of these issues are fixable. And, frankly, your clients have enough on their plates they won't even remember you tried to launch a course and it wasn't a big winner.
Of course, me saying all this won't necessarily help you get over a huge fear of what others will think.
But if, like me, yours is a more common or garden fear, hopefully it's given you some reassurance that even in the worst case your world won't end if things go wrong.
But it can take a big upturn for the better in the more likely scenario that things go right.
Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win the clients they need using Value-Based Marketing - an approach to marketing based around delivering value, demonstrating your capabilities and earning trust through your marketing.