115. 5 Lies You Were Told About Launching a Digital Course and What to Believe Instead

03 Aug 2021 | By Salome Schillack

Hands up if you've ever thought:

"I'll never be profitable without a team"

"I made hardly any money from this launch; maybe I should just give up"

"I don't have a big enough audience to be successful"


If you can relate, it makes me so sad to hear these thoughts have crossed your mind! But today, I want you to know they are big, fat, ugly lies that can rob you of your future!


Many destructive lies are floating around the online course world, and it's so easy to buy into them and internalize them as cold hard facts. The problem is these lies have the power to make you feel inadequate, unsuccessful, and like you don't have what it takes to reach incredible results.


I know this because in 2015 these lies made me to throw in the towel and run back to my 9-5, thinking I'd made a big mistake by chasing the elusive profitable launch.


I don't want the same to happen to you!


On this episode of The Shine Show, I address 5 of the most destructive lies holding online course creators back from success (and what to believe instead).


Here's the truth. You're here, ready to make a massive difference in the world, and determined to create a life that you love waking up to each morning. And you have everything it takes to make this come to life.


The second I changed my beliefs and threw away the lies, my whole narrative changed, and suddenly, I saw more success than I thought possible! 


Let's get you there too!




P.S  I've been waiting SO long to say this, MY DOORS ARE OPEN! The Launch Lounge is now accepting new members for a limited time only. This is the fastest way to reach a 6-figure launch without watching your money go down the drain along the way. After all that hard work, you deserve a taste of that fat-wallet freedom for yourself! Enroll today by clicking here.

When you subscribe and review the podcast not only does that give me the warm and fuzzies all over, it also helps other people to find the show.

When other people find the show they get to learn how to create more freedom in their lives from their online courses too!!

So do a good deed for all womenkind and subscribe and review this show and I will reward you with a shout out on the show!!


175. We’re Taking A Break. Here’s Why And How You Can Do It Too


174. Some Thoughts On Making Lots Of Money


173. 3 Reasons NOW Is The Best Time To Start A Digital Courses Business with Amy Porterfield


172. 25 Biggest Lessons In Online Marketing I Learned From Amy Porterfield


171. Social Media: One Thing That Makes All The Effort Worthwhile


170. How to Choose the Right Name for Your Online Course


169. Content Planning For Posts VS Content For Your Course And Launches


168. Managing Your Money As A Small Business Owner with Darcie Milfeld


167. 3 Lies You Were Told About Hiring An Ads Manager


166. How To Create Your Online Course Faster with Gina Onativia


165. The Only Way Low Dollar Offers Are Working Today


164. New Ad Targeting Options That Are Working Now

Salome Schillack:

Hello, and welcome to episode number 115 of the Shine Show. Today's show is called, Five Lies You Were Told About Launching a Digital Course and What To Believe Instead. You know what time it is, yes you do. Enrollment to the Launch Lounge is currently open. If you're ready to take your online course launches or your membership launches from scrambling to scaling, then I want to invite you to come and join me inside the Launch Lounge. You can find out more by going to shineandsucceed.com/join. Giving up your time and freedom to make money is so 2009. Hi. I'm your host, Salome Schillack. I help online course creators launch, grow and scale their businesses with Facebook and Instagram ads so that they can make more money and have an even bigger impact in the world. If you're ready to be inspired, to dream bigger, launch sooner and grow your online business faster, then tune in because you are ready to shine and this is the Shine Show.

Today I want to talk about five lies that you were told about launching a digital course or membership and what to believe instead. I'm sharing this with you all today because it took me the longest, longest time to figure out this elusive mystery around launching profitable online courses. Now, if you know my story, you know that I started trying to launch back in 2015. At that stage, I had already racked up a whole bunch of debt trying to get a coaching business off the ground. I was slowly starting to really hate coaching and racking up debt and not figuring out how I'm going to make money and how I'm going to really be able to quit my job. At that stage, I was on maternity leave and just trying to figure this thing out. I took every single person who was selling an online course that promised me that they are going to teach me their signature system, their magic beans formula for selling an online course. I took a lot of them.

I still take a lot of courses because I love learning and I love learning other people's way of doing things. But what has benefited me most? I say this because when I started making money in my business, you go to remember I started, I launched the courses. I quit the courses. I'll tell you a little bit more about that. I quit the courses. I went back to my day job. Then I niched down as an ads manager. I actually became an ads manager because I saw that I can make money running ads for other people faster than I was able to make selling my own online course. I also didn't know what I was going to sell an online course about because I was a pharmaceutical sales rep and I wasn't going to create a course on being a pharmaceutical sales rep.

It wasn't until I started running ads for other people who were launching their courses that I started discovering that the magic of creating profitable online courses actually doesn't lie in anybody's signature course or signature system. The magic lies in a few basic principles. Everybody's signature course or signature method contains these basic principles or these basic principles underlie what they teach. But they don't actually teach it to you because it's easier to say, I'm going to give you the step by step, and sell something that gives you a step by step. But I truly believe that the magic, the understanding, the aha moment, and I see this in my students' eyes every time I teach this to them, the magic of learning how to profitably launch courses happens when you start seeing the bigger picture. When you start seeing these basic underlying principles, principles like what I always say, you just need an audience and an offer.

Now that sounds super simple. That's not a signature method. That's not a signature. I can't create a signature course around building an audience and making an offer because there's so many signature courses on how to use Instagram organic to build your audience. Then they leave the how to make offers part out. Or how to use webinars to make offers, but then they leave the how to build your audience part out. I became aware of the need for everyone who has taken thousands of courses and still hasn't been able to figure out how to launch profitably to really understand these principles. It wasn't until I understood these principles and I started launching my own courses again that I went, oh, hang on. This time I'm able to create a profitable launch because magically, while I was running ads for other people in their courses, I started understanding these basic principles. I go into depth in these principles.

If you were on the masterclass, that's been happening in the last couple of weeks. You would have heard me say this. You would have heard me teach this. I go into it in-depth inside the Launch Lounge. How does that relate to five lies you were told about launching digital courses and what I want you to believe instead? It relates in that as long as you hold onto these five lies, you're going to rely on somebody's signature method to get you there. But when you can let go of these five lies, then you open up your mind and you start seeing possibility where previously there was frustration. Let's jump into the five lies. Lie number one is you need a large audience before you can launch a course. This my friends is not true. You do not need a large audience. You need an audience. You need about a hundred of the right people.

Now I teach my students to build their email lists to a thousand before they create any big launches. The reason I do that is because the way that I teach Facebook ads is when you start running list building ads, you start making people offers when they join your email list from day one. You either invite them to a monthly workshop and charge them for it. Or you make an offer on the thank you page after they opt in for your lead magnet. Or you put them in an email sequence that sells them a low dollar product. Three ways that you start making offers to your audience as soon as you start building your audience. The reason I say I don't want anyone to do any big launches before they hit a thousand people on their list is because generally in a launch, you need a bit of momentum. You need a little bit of energy. You need a little bit of [inaudible 00:08:39].

You need some kind of a mechanism. Think of it as a party, you need to host a party where you bring people together in one live energetic thing, and you make them an offer. Typically, these live energetic things, these parties are often either webinars or video series or challenges or workshops. It can be any of those things. You need a mechanism. In order to get enough people to sign up for those mechanisms, I say, make sure you have a thousand people on your email list. But that doesn't mean you wait until you hit a thousand people. It doesn't mean you need a big audience. You don't need any social media followers to make an offer. You don't need any. I'm going to say that again. You don't need any social media followers in order to make money online selling your knowledge.

You need an ad that builds your list and you need to make an offer. The basic premise of this, and if you're a regular listener of the podcast, you would have heard me say this a few times, the secret to making money online selling your knowledge is you need an audience and you need an offer. There are thousands of ways you can build an audience. There are thousands of ways you can make an offer. My way of teaching audience building is of course ads, because I feel that's the fastest way. Because you're always balancing. When you're building a business, you're always balancing your money and your energy. When you don't have money, you pour your energy in your hustle. You show up on Facebook Live. You show up on videos. You make reels. You do all the social media things so that you can get the attention you need and build the business.

As your business grows, you start to release some of that energy that you have to pour in and you let the money do that work for you. So when you start list building, your money is building the audience for you. I'm a big, big, big believer in letting my money free up my energy so that my energy can be applied to solving bigger problems. Now that I'm the CEO of the business, I would rather spend my time coaching my team, motivating my team, teaching my students, coaching my students than being bogged down with trying to get someone to download my lead magnet on Facebook, right? Because I can use ads to do that. You do not need a large audience. Start making offers to your audience as soon as you start running ads. Because I guarantee you, the first offer you make, they're not going to take you up on it. Get that stumbling phase out of your system, get it out as fast as you can.

Get it out while you have a small audience. Practice, get better at it. Don't wait. Learn while you build. There's this thing where we think, if only I can get to a certain point, then all the magic pieces will fall into place. I'm sad to say but there's no magic point that you get to when all the pieces fall into place. The same problems you have today, you're going to have them when you've made 40 or $50,000, when you've made $100,000, when you've made a million dollars. They just look different, but they feel the same. They still feel like, where's this magic bullet? When is this old stuff all going to be cleaned up and the ducks are going to be lining up? Doesn't happen. You don't get there. Build your audience, nurture them, send them quality content every week, and make them offers. That is how you start recuperating some of your ad money. That is how you start making money online even with a small audience.

That's lie number one. You do not need a large audience to launch a course or sell your knowledge. Lie number two, you need a large budget. You need a large budget. What? You don't need a large budget, but you do need a budget. I want you to think about maybe just go into your business bank account and do a little audit of all the subscriptions you're signed up to. All the memberships you've joined. I'm talking about little ones like $10 ones. I'm talking about Canva. I'm talking about Kajabi. I'm talking about that membership you joined for $97 that you haven't been in in three months. You know what I'm talking about. Go in there, have a look and see if there's any money you can free up there that would be better spent on building your audience. I'm willing to bet you'll find at least a couple of hundred dollars a month that you can free up there.

I remember how many things I signed up for when I started. It was ridiculous because we have this belief that this or that tool is the thing that's going to get us there. Or if we have this social media content planner or this thing that allows us to schedule our posts, or I don't know what. All the things, the webinar software that you signed up for that you haven't used. Think about all those things. Your Zoom subscription. What level are you on? Are you on the level that you actually get the best use out of or did you oversubscribe? Think about all of those things. Because I'm willing to bet that if you look at the true value some of those subscriptions have in your business right now and you take that money and you spend it on ads, you are going to get a lot further, a lot faster by putting it on ads. But we don't do that and we don't do that because ads are abstract.

Ads are like, how do I know I'm getting my money's worth? How do I know I'm getting my money back? We want that short-term payoff and so we hold back on spending money on ads, but you do need to do that. I'm willing to bet that you are going to see the value in building your audience with ads a lot faster than you'll see it from that social media scheduling app that you signed up for, or even from the paid version of Canva or even from Kajabi. Because if you haven't got an audience, you don't need Kajabi. All right. What type of budget do I need if I'm going to launch? I teach students, my students, that when they're in list building phase, when they're in audience building phase, when they're just getting started, when they're learning to make offers to their audience, to spend as much as you can afford. But spend, get used to it. Because if you're serious about building a business, you are going to need to give Zuckerberg your money at some point, unfortunately.

Don't hold back. Know that you need to get used to that. But when you get to the point where you have an audience or you have some parts of an audience taking shape, like you've got a thousand people on your email list and you've made them some offers and they've taken you up on it and you are now ready to start pouring some money into a webinar or into a video series or a challenge or a paid workshop, I'd like you to take a thousand dollars. I would like you to have a thousand dollars ready to spend on ads when you go into launch mode. The reason I want you to have a thousand dollars ready is again, the same thing, we need to create momentum. We need to create energy. We need to create a live party feeling for our conversion mechanism.

Now that conversion mechanism can be your webinar or a video series, challenge, workshop, whatever mechanism you choose. That thing where you're going to show up as the host and you're going to tell people how you're going to get them to the stuck state they're in all the way through your methodology to their desired end state, that mechanism needs energy. In order to get energy, we need to get in front of everyone who's in your warm audiences first. Everyone on your email list, everyone in your social media, and then maybe even some people who are in your cold audience. Once we've launched the course to your warm audience and they've bought, that gives us that confirmation that this offer works.

The next time we take some of the money we made from the warm launch and we add a cold element to it, we add some more money in and we bring some cold leads to that webinar, video series, challenge, workshop, whatever that mechanism is you're using, and we test and we go, okay, if warm converts, does warm and cold convert? If that works, then we go, great. It works. Now let's see if cold works. Then we go full like all tabs open to cold. If that works, we can scale it and eventually you can go evergreen. You got to go through these layers of testing first, so you do need a budget. I recommend you start with list building, start by building your audience and use whatever you have. Go check out those subscriptions. Then when you're ready to launch, grab about a thousand dollars, that's all you need to start really.

Lie number two is you need a large budget. Lie number three, you need a team. Do you really, really? I get that. I am a big picture person. I am the worst project manager on the planet. I can very easily create things, put things into categories. But once I've organized it into categories, I want someone else to execute it. I understand your need for a team. I understand that if you've been taking a lot of signature courses that you feel overwhelmed by everything that you have learned that needs to happen inside a launch. All of that copy. All of those images. All of the videos. All of the social media. All of the emails, the sales pages, the thank you pages, connecting it with the webinar software. All the things, there are so many things.

Then you may even be hearing about people adding these bells and whistles, all those bells and whistles and think you need that as well. The truth is you don't. When you understand how to build an audience and how to make offers to those audiences, and you know how to track where your most profitable customer comes from, then you learn to apply the principles of launching to your niche, to your audience, and to your offers. Then you can understand which bits, which to-dos are absolute to-dos, which to-dos are yeah, it would probably be a good idea to have this, and which to-dos are these are bells and whistles that I don't need on the first, second or third launch. Also, some other stuff that your brain is probably going to want to freak out and add last minute, all sorts of fancy zaps and fancy things that you need to add that you think you need to add, that you don't. You do not need a team.

When you start out and you have a clear understanding of how to build audiences and how to make offers to those audiences and you have a minimum viable product checklist of what you need to do. Then you have, okay, now we're going playing a little bit bigger checklist of what to do. Then you have the mother of all launches with all the bells and whistles checklist. It becomes easier for you to filter the information and to create a to-do list that you can literally sit down and check off yourself. Instead of writing a hundred emails, you're going to write the six most important emails or the three most important emails. Instead of feeling like you need a sales page that's a kilometer wide or a mile wide for my friends, long, a mile long for my friends in the U.S., you're going to write one that contains a basic offer, a few objections, and a Q&A section. That's it.

You do not need a big team to launch an online course. That is lie number three. Lie number four is this one, this one hits me in the heart. Lie number four is if you didn't make money, you failed. I'm going to say that again because I know someone needs to hear this. It is a big fat, giant lie to believe that if you didn't make money in your launch, you failed. It hurts me to say this because I've been there, because I felt that way. You will know I am a true-blue South African. Grew up in South Africa, lived there all of my life until I was 23. South Africans, we don't like losing. We are crazy competitive. We are from a young age taught that you only have to be better than the person next to you to make it in life. That's at least what I internalized. Maybe other South Africans will say they didn't do that. Maybe it's just me. I'm crazy competitive.

The thing is, we also, I think a part of how I grew up is just we value winning. We value being first. We value success. Success gets measured by achievement. Success gets measured by what car you drive, what house you live in, what school you went to, all that bullshit. I bought into it, hook, line, and sinker for the first part of my life until I failed so hard for such a long time trying to get a business up. It just knocked my ego to the ground where I had to go, well, either this ego thing is not working for me or this belief that my value is judged by my performance doesn't work for me. I need to change something. Thankfully, I got rid of the belief that if I didn't make money, I failed. Funny enough, as soon as I did that, I did start to make money. When you understand how to interpret data in your launch and what data to look at and what data to track, then you figure out what to fix the next time.

That is when, you know the old cliche, you didn't fail, you learn. Something like that. It's cliche. It's horrible. I hate saying it, but I mean, it's a cliche for a reason. It's not failure, it's feedback. There it is. It's not failure, it's feedback. It's a horrible thing. You'll never hear me say that because it's such a cliché. Unfortunately, it is true. When you understand how to interpret data in your launch. So before that, you need to know what data to track. Then you need help understanding that data, interpreting it, putting it into context so that you can go, oh, so I got the right audience. The audience just didn't convert on my webinar. Then you're empowered to go and redo it again to ask people, can you watch my webinar and tell me what went wrong? Can you give me feedback?

Nine out of 10 times, the answer is going to be overtaught. You taught too much and facilitated sales too little. It's nine out of 10 times what happens when a webinar doesn't convert. But then at least you can go and fix it and change it. That's how the failure turns into the feedback, which turns into the victory. Lie number four is if you didn't make money, you failed. You know this happened to me when I launched my first course. I ran $400 worth of ads and I made $2,000. I was absolutely gutted. I was devastated because it was at the end of a three year long struggle to try to get a profitable business up. Oh, this was the coaching business. We were $40,000 in debt. I figured, well, I can't feed my family on $2,000. My salary working is more than that. I went back to my day job and I hated it. It wasn't until much later, I told Rick Mulready, I had a call with him.

I was talking to him and I said to him, well, my first course failed. I didn't make any money. I spent $400 and I made $2,000. He looked at me like I was crazy. Like I was from another planet. He said, what? That is a four return on ad spend. That means for every dollar you put in, you got $4 back. I was like, hang on. What? So you're saying if I just did it again and I just put in more money, I would've made more money? That was a defining moment for me, because I was holding on so much to this belief that if I didn't make money, I failed. That I thought I failed and then I quit. I'm glad I had that conversation with Rick because I wonder what would've happened if I would've come back. Maybe I would still be driving around selling drugs to doctors. Oh please, no.

That's lie number four is if you didn't make money, you failed. I'm just going to call bullshit on that one. Lie number five, lie number five, lie number five is you're all alone in this. You're all alone in this. Now that's not a lie other people tell us, right? That's not a lie someone in a signature course told you. This is a lie we tell ourselves. The reason I know it's a lie is because I have been there. I felt incredibly alone trying to figure this out. I remember feeling like I'm grasping at anything and anyone who has that secret key who's going to help me unlock this. Masterminds, accountability buddies, so many things, learning groups. You name it. The next membership, the next online course, you name it. I would try it in the hopes that it would make me feel less alone. It didn't, it didn't.

The reason I discovered I was joining all these groups and having accountability buddies and doing calls with people and rubbing shoulders with anyone and everyone who would listen to my ideas and listen to my launch and tell me what they're doing. The reason I still felt alone was what I realized later is because in a lot of these groups, people only share their success. I constantly felt like I was falling behind, or like there was something wrong with me that it wasn't clicking for me, or that maybe my audience wasn't going to work. Maybe my offer wasn't the right offer. Maybe I didn't have enough followers on social media. Maybe I didn't have a big enough budget for my launch.

I kept trying to find out, figure out what's wrong with me. Why do I feel so alone? Why do I see everyone else doing it? I figured, I learned that the real problem is that we have this culture of only celebrating success and progress. That made me feel isolated because I felt like I was the only one struggling. I had this complete internal conflict because I'm like, I am smart and accomplished. I have done things. Why can't I figure this out? I kept thinking, there must be something wrong with me. The truth is your worth as a human, your valueless, your worthiness, your worthiness of who you are and of your value in terms of what you can teach other people and how big of an impact you can make in other people's lives is in no way, no way connected to the results you've seen or will see.

You got to listen to that carefully because I need you to know that one day when you're a big deal, one day when you're standing on a stage and you're speaking to thousands of people and you're making a giant impact, you will be no more worthy than you are today. With all of the struggles you've had to get where you are today, you are no less worthy. The joy of the journey matters, and you've got to lean into it. We are all running our own races. We are all finding the imprint that we are made to make in the world. Therefore, no one can ever be behind. You cannot be behind when you're learning these things, because there is no two people who are doing the same thing in the same way to the same people with your fingerprint. If each one of us follows our own path and trust our own instincts, then we can become the creators of the world we want to see.

That is what I encourage every single one of my students inside the Launch Lounge, to show up and run your race. Discover your imprint. Discover your journey. Share your failures without judgment, starts by not judging yourself. Share your wins without anticipating jealousy, because it just doesn't have to exist when we fully, fully lean into our own journey, our own intuition, our own gut instinct for who our audience really is and how we make a difference for them. We combine that with a basic understanding of the underlying principles of launching online courses. You double that up with an amazing community of the most supportive people on the planet. You get to discover all the places you can go with selling your online courses and making a giant impact in the world and creating freedom for yourself. Whatever that means. If freedom means quitting your job, working around your kids, or making more money than you've ever dreamed off, then that is available to you.

My friends, the doors to the Launch Lounge is only going to be open for another couple of days. If you want to come and explore everything we've talked about today with me inside the Launch Lounge, you can go to shineandsucceed.com/join. Go and have a look at what some of the other members have said. I would be delighted to come with you on a journey to help you make an impact in the world and leave this world a little bit better than what we found it. Hope you have a fabulous week. I'll see you next week. Bye. Thank you so much for listening. If you had fun, please come back next week and remember to hit that subscribe button so you never miss a thing.