Courses in crisis

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) works its way in every aspect of our lives and businesses, we seem to be surrouded by people starting courses, taking courses or telling us we need courses.

In this panel of the Elevate Series, I jumped on a Facebook Live with Lindsay Padilla, professor turned entrepreneur and Emily Walker, learning design expert, to find out how we need to adapt our courses (and other learning opportunities) for the new climate of the Coronavirus pandemic.


Diane Mayor (DM): Hey, everyone. Welcome to the second panel of today and we are talking courses in crisis. I don't know about everyone else, but all I have been hearing is, “Oh, I'm an offline business. If I want to go online, I need a course.

Or your next revenue stream. I need a course. Apparently everybody needs a course, but I'm also seeing some slightly scary conversations around this with people asking the kind of tech to invest in, you know, who's using what program? Oh, here's the videos that I've created. And I know from my exposure to both of these amazing ladies, and that might not be the place you want to start.

So I asked them to come and speak the truth about courses in this kind of environment.

So we had Lindsay Padilla, who is an ex-professor turned entrepreneur and Emily Walker, who's a learning designer and workshop facilitator, both of the people who I ask when I have a “how do people learn things” kind of question.


I'm not big in the course space, so I'm just going to fire questions and you guys tell me what's going on. So I guess let's start off with what are you guys seeing crisis-wise in your own businesses or with your clients?  What's the vibe around you at the moment before we dive into more specific questions?

EW: Lindsay, I'll let you take it away.

LP: Sure. So, we just got off of a coaching call. I have a program that's called Build a Better Beta, which helps people kind of create their first program and we just got off of a coaching call today, and what I'm noticing is just a lot of conversation around people are still buying things. 

And that's really important for people to recognize that we may be in crisis. and that this crisis was something we'd never imagined what it would be, how we would be thinking, what we would be doing every day. And what we're recognizing with this crisis is while there's a lot of uncertainty, the original kind of pain points, quote-unquote, for courses, the problem that needs to be solved actually is still there. And so I know Emily would speak to this as well, which is, you know, when you are creating an online course and you're trying to convince someone to give you a credit card, it has to solve a problem, right?

So those problems have not disappeared in any way, shape, or form. But what has happened is mainly the emotional experience and what's kind of going on inside the heads of the people who want your thing and want help there has changed. So your avatar totally changed overnight. Not the avatar of just name, you know, location and all those things, but mental, really, honestly and physical, I guess you could argue too, they might be sick.  

There's lots of stuff happening there. But the way that they're thinking and processing things right now is really different. And so, I guess my big thing is we're still seeing lots of courses selling.  

It might be dependent upon the industry and who you serve if you're selling, how to. Have a live event right now? Probably not doing so hot. And so clearly there's respect to what's needed and what's not. But anything around personal development, health, wealth, relationships, I mean the top three niches, those are all still things people are worried about.

And in fact, they have more time on their hands. It's just what, how are you standing out and speaking specifically to the person who needs you right now? And I think the piece around your business is still about serving it has not changed pandemic or not so that the vibe around, “Oh, I'm not sure if I should sell right” now is really, no, serve, actually go all-in on that and you know, charge for it because that's also where the transformation is, which is a whole other conversation.

So that's kind of a rundown of what I'm seeing right now. It's that front level messaging. Really leaning into kind of that emotional, what anxieties and fears do they have? What's being highlighted at this time? Where are the course sales are coming from or students and people wanting to enroll?

DM: I guess some of those, the relationships ones are probably even more critical.

LP: I mean, I think all of them are critical. Arguably it’s critical if people are losing. Yeah, literally all of them are hyper-aware in some part of it. 

DM: “Locked up with your partner alone and added part of the school and your kids” niche? Now is your time.

EW: You're being called

DM: How about you Emily, what are you seeing?

EW: So I definitely see a lot of similar things.  Lindsey mentioned, I think a big thing, I work with a lot of coaches and I think we all kind of experienced those screech stop do we, okay, do we sell? Do we not sell? What do we adjust?

We pivot. You know, I think the word pivot is being thrown around very aggressively right now in this space. And I think what it really was what I saw as a time of kind of recalibration and sitting within and going, is this needed? Is this what my people need? That was the big conversation that exactly what you were saying, Lindsey, your people don't need you less.

They need you more. If anything, those pain points that they were experiencing two weeks ago haven't gone away. And in a lot of cases, like you said, for relationships, with money, with moving your business online, whatever it may be, they need you more, but how you talk about it and maybe how you present it, maybe, is what needs to be adjusted. 

And so I had a lot of conversations with my clients, some of them who are launching these big signature programs to be, around is this the right time and or do I need to look at if it’s time to look at a smaller offer or shifting how I am addressing this to my people. And the biggest conversation was it comes down to intention of if you're serving your people, how do they need you right now?

How can you help them? And that doesn't mean give everything away for free. It just means being very intentional about what you put together.

LP: Yeah, totally. Emily, can I highlight something from that? Because that came up in our call too. People might not look, be looking for an eight-week experience right now.

That is very clear. Some may be, it totally depends. Again, I say this always with an asterisk,  you know, anyone trying to sell you some blueprint right now about this is all no. But that eight-week thing, someone might be looking at you going eight weeks, I don't even know what's happening tomorrow.

Right. And so that, and it depends. And we, to give an example, one of our students, has a course for teaching, academic writing in Thailand and she's Thai. And so it's very grammar specific. And she has this huge course about how to write. You're teaching students right now and their world is upside down, literally higher education has never been in more of a panic, arguably ever.

And so um they don't need the eight-week program, and that's why she came on the call. She was, “I don't think they're going to…”, and I'm, no, they literally told you they can't do their work right now. They just need you to show up and give them structure. And maybe it's a group call, so we broke it down to what's one maybe result from your larger eight-week program that you can get them in a workshop in a week in five check-in calls, whatever the deliverable looks.

I think in this idea of courses in crisis, it may not look like Marie Forleo's B-School. Let's be honest, no one's trying to launch something like that or even maybe has space for something  like that. What could it look like for your people and take that thing, the result that they are really worried about, that sale is going to be easier for you potentially than some long drawn out thing with some huge outcome because people can't even see past the next day.

Right now is what we're noticing.

DM:  Definitely anything that you have to offer with a payment plan, you have to understand that there's going to come a point where maybe that person can’t pay you. 


DM: So is there anything different about how we will be learning in this kind of environment versus not just the time?

Obviously time constraint. Yes, but I'm in isolation alone. Bring me your eight-week course. Bring me your signature offer. I've actually got two of them that I'm very excited to start next week cause I have nothing but time or I'm going to start talking to my plant, which is the only other living thing in my house, but I'm wondering if the stress and the anxiety and all the other stuff that's going on changes the way we actually process information or retain information.

EW: I think now more than ever is really going to highlight some of the gaps that have been going on in the online course industry, of how people put together things. And this is why you need that intentionality behind how you put your course together. Cause not only are people,  as you said, they're really stressed and they're really easily distracted, thinking about sitting down to be, what is my attention span when I have my TV, I have my cat, I have my fridge, I have all of these things.

And so I think in terms of how people are learning or how you're putting your course together. it's really, I mean you should be doing this all the time, is having it be really engaging, having it be really actionable, having it be really transformative.

But this is definitely where I think paying attention to how short people's attention spans are, is going to be the key.

LP: I love that. And my add to this would be. It's so important. Yeah. Emily and I both know it. You should already be paying attention to the emotions of your students. Fast forward two months ago, were you thinking about the emotion of your students as they were going through your course? If you're not, if you were, you know, bingeing the most popular video about how to make an online course, they're likely not talking about it cause very few think about that. But one of the things that I always did as a professor and as someone who teaches online and coaches people through that is, you know, imagining literally imagining what your ideal student is doing when they're going through your modules. What is their life? Did they light a candle?

And they're sitting at a nice clean, you know, kitchen table. Or do they have a baby on their hip, and they have their AirPods in and they're trying to look at the screen? Who is your person and what are they experiencing? 

So that same activity needs to happen in this light, because like Emily was saying, what's happening as they sit down to write their course, they're already overwhelmed, and I think that's one of the biggest things in courses. If someone buys it and they're overwhelmed and they don't have a path on how to  be a successful student. So, you know, my tip would be if you have a course recorded and it's been doing great and it's validated and students are getting results and you're still trying to teach in the time of Corona, freaking add a video, an onboarding, you know, module zero that says, “Hey. The world is really crazy right now. Here's what I'm doing to still grow and still whatever. Here's how a student would be successful in my course.” You know, what is expected? Lay that out for them and all you have to do is change that front end onboarding.

“Name what they're feeling that already helps them connect more with your content, which is really what pulls them through.” 

Acknowledge that they're anxious, acknowledge that they set the intention and bought this course because they want to transform and grow and that that doesn't, you know, disappear with what's happening, that they can still tap into that. And so anytime with teaching, if you can just name it, name what they're feeling that already helps them connect more with your content, which is really what pulls them through and engagement. 

It's not just how much you show up on Facebook or whatever. It's do they feel connected to you? Do they trust you? Do they feel you've got their back? That's how you can really show up as an educator, a true educator online is, “I'm here and I know this is hard. Let's do this together and let's plan out our week or whatever your tools are.”

And I think it's important to point out every teacher is different around that. Some of you might be super hyper-organized. Diane's great with the spreadsheets and the systems.

Not so much my jam, but it doesn't mean that I can't show up as who I am and add more of me to the course because that's what people really, like Emily is saying, need all the time, but in this time too, it's really important and this is why. That's what's going to help them finish and trust in the process that you've set out for them. The same result, the same intention, the reason why they bought the course is still there. There's just some other distractions. 

EW: Lindsay. It's like you're inside my head. Everything.

DM: I think I want to touch on a word that probably both of you are going to roll your eyes at me for. But I think people think courses and they think passive.

LP: Nope, boo!

DM: So I'll build a course and that'll be passive. But know, I was speaking to someone earlier today who runs a really high touch business and we were talking about how that is going to be the future.

But no one’s going to give you money for something where they're disconnected from you. They're going to expect you to be there before they give you the precious money and everyone's feeling these things. So it's interesting to hear you guys bring that up as part of a course, which is not generally how people who teach courses, other than obviously you guys, sell them.

They do sell them as, “Hey, throw up a few videos. Watch the money roll in while you sleep.”

LP: Yeah.

EW: So, yeah, the drinking margarita is on the beach while you just make the basquillions of dollars

LP: Talk about tone deaf right now. Literally, we just watch all the Lamborghinis, all the beach shots are gone. No one cares about that anymore.

EW: Definitely not.


DM: Are we thinking practically, if someone was creating something, let's say someone's creating something new. I'm not suggesting someone who does this signature program but all we talking about things like bite-size videos? Are we talking things like being able to listen to your course?

Maybe you've got your AirPods in and you're watching the little ones running around, but you're not running around after them with your laptop, you know? What sort of changes, if people are starting from scratch, what would you suggest that they do kind of format wise?

EW: I think this phrase is something that… Everyone's always looking for the one answer, right? The blueprint, the structure. Do this one thing and if there's the one thing that I can communicate when you created a course is: it depends. That's the answer that comes across to everything. It depends on your audience. It depends on you as a teacher. It depends on you and your business. Because the thing that I would like to say about courses is they're definitely not one size fits all. 

You’re unique, your people are unique therefore the experience that you create for them is going to be unique. And I also want to clarify too, I'm not against creating something, a passive experience where you are not there live. I don't like the word passive. I think it's just, it's a different type of experience.

And even if it's thinking about it as maybe it's a toolkit or it's a course that you have scaffolded the hell out of so that you can not be there because you've designed it in a way to support your people.

I don't think there's something different that you should be doing in the time of Corona. It's all the stuff that you should be doing as a course creator.

But I think, to answer your question, I don't think there's something different that you should be doing in the time of Corona. It's all the stuff that you should be doing as a course creator. Just in general, and I, I want to come back to what Lindsay was saying about the emotionality of your people and meeting them where they are and being really just cognizant of what they're dealing with, what their life looks like.

Like you said, the way you design a course for a mom with a baby on one hip and her AirPods in, it's very different than how you design for a CEO with a huge team that can carve out two weeks, two hours a week to sit down and power something out. So it's starting and continuing to keep your people at the heart of everything you do and thinking about what does their life look like?

How are they feeling right now versus how do they want to be feeling when they start the course? Maybe it's like you said, do you include in that module zero, a little pre-course ritual where it's clean your desk and light a candle and have a snack and drink a tea. Or if you want them to be energized cause it's something really exciting blast Taylor Swift and dance around with your kid. I'm not sure. There's lots of different ways, but I think it comes back to thinking about your people and what do they need in this moment.

LP: I love the use of the word ritual too, cause that's a really great way to create engagement and build community so that ritual can happen. Yeah. When the student goes to sit down, right? If you think about the college classroom, the ritual was walking into the room, sitting in the chair, looking up at the teacher, the agendas on the board, I'm having flashbacks, right? Rituals are gone for everyone right now, which is putting everyone. -that's part of where that panic is coming from – that order, that status quo, that social contract is gone and that reality has gone.

So it's just fascinating to see even just the social fabric of something like education, just completely breakdown. Which means, it's so cool cause we get to rebuild it. That's a little bit of a tangent, but the point being the ritual actually creates that grounding piece that helps someone make that habit and go, this is what I do and this is how I show up when I, put this in my calendar or whatever. 

That same thing, that same idea of rituals can be applied to the community Facebook group as well as they’re a ritual. When someone hits a certain milestone, a dance, they get a pin sent to them, which is really popular now. This idea of just sending people gifts, when they achieve certain things, that gamification tied to products and stuff like that, which might sound super overwhelming to do now, but you can create these in your community rituals, what do you call each other, right? How do we behave when X happens?

You're the teacher and the people you attract and put in this community, you guys get to cultivate that and what people want more than ever, and again before all of this happened, is community and a sense of belonging. So them connecting with your course is like I look like this type of student in this teacher's course, and we call ourselves this and this is how we show up. And that's one of the best parts about creating these learning experiences is actually getting to design that and see it, take it on a life of its own. 

So, the thing to focus on is doubling down on the people who've already paid you and who trust you and how can you serve them more? Right now, I'm hearing a lot of that as well. Because when you survive this, when we all get through this, they won't forget that. And maybe you're not bringing in as many new leads maybe you're not sure what the next launch is going to look like but it doesn't mean you can't really help the people who've already trusted you. 

Because as you know, Diane would say too, those lifetime value of your current customers that's so important right now. And if you have that, that's an asset. And so your course, if you want to go dig deep and say, where could I add more value for my people, that's a way that you can, you know, take a step forward in your business. By making your course even better right now versus backing out and being, ah, I don't know. This is panic. That's something that you can do for you, for your students and for your course. 

DM: And I think a really easy way to do that was also a comment that Elaine made on my previous thing where she was saying ask your community, what do you need? What is challenging you? Where are you struggling in the course? What can I add something to? You know, it's a way to give value without giving away everything for free, but it also gives the right value.

LP: Yeah.

DM: What I need in this crisis, sitting alone in isolation, is probably not what my friend with five kids at home, that she's now trying to homeschool, needs. At the same time. So I think people are struggling for that. It can just be as simple as just going to ask them. 


DM: So let's talk about all the people who have been in-real-life and are coming into the online space and asking questions like, “Which tech do I use?” I won't name any names, but I've definitely seen some posting around, “Oh, you should totally use blah, blah and Oh look, here's my affiliate link.”

Isn't that surprising? So I know Lindsey has some definite opinions on this topic and I'm sure Emily had some as well cause she's nodding at me. So I tried to give you a bit of free reign on where should someone start?  What are the basics that they should be starting with? Rather than investing in a long term contract with very expensive software.

EW: I'm ready. Yeah, but I think you owe us, you answered it yourself, Diane, in our… 

LP: She was a little leading there.

EW: Start with your people. Ask them, you are not expected to be this wise all-knowing mind reading my people need this type of thing. Especially if you're moving from live in-person, brick and mortar, and you want to add some sort of online offering. 

When you start with what your people need and engaging with them and talking with them, then you don't have to worry as much about trying to fit something into a format. 

I'm creating a course. I'm creating a toolkit. I'm creating a webinar series. Therefore I need webinar software. You can spiral insanely, very quickly. Whereas starting with what your people need and let that guide what you create and don't worry about the tech. I will say the tech comes pretty much last because you can find tech to do whatever you need whenever you need it, and there's lots of ways of finding shortcuts around it to keep it really easy peasy.

But the most important thing is figuring out, are you addressing a problem, a need. Are you providing a transformation in a way that your people need it? You don't need to go from, “Oh, I used to be a, you know, I was running my hair salon and it's closed right now, so I guess I need to create this intake, insane giant course teaching people how to cut their own hair and dye their own hair and style their own hair.”

Is that what people need right now? Ask your people where are they at?

LP: Yeah. My whole thing on this too is, especially if you've never sold a course yet or haven't made a dollar with it, that's also one of my first things. In very few places, should you go spend money on something that – it's important to point out that entrepreneurs only have so many resources, time, money, focus, energy and all of those are being impacted right now in different ways with Corona. And so when you put pressure, unneeded pressure, especially in the money category, unless you have the funds, right?

So a lot of these platforms have these crazy onboarding challenges and PR and if you have time right now to give to something like that, you could totally do it. But most people need to juggle all of those things. And so for me, it's what is the minimum amount of money and what does the minimum amount of energy, focus and time you have to hold onto that stuff because that's what keeps you going. And so something, like investing multiple hundreds of dollars or signing up for some annual anything, is just not a smart move when you don't even have lots of the puzzle pieces there. 

I'm going to point out too, I love the work of Brooke Castillo of the life coach school. She has a podcast and one thing I took from her around this is this is really an act of what she calls buffering. She's labeled buffering. If you get into this whole thing of Googling all the things and the tools and going to the groups and asking these questions and putting things in your cart and maybe not buying them and whatever.

We can spend so much time in there and when you really dig deep and say, what are you avoiding by choosing to search for that stuff, and I know all of this because of my students and Build a Better Beta. They're avoiding actually asking someone to buy their course. That's the scariest part.

And, you know, Emily and I, we all know all on this call that is the marker, the thing you have to push through as a business owner is yeah, there might be no people that want your thing and it sucks and it doesn't mean anything about you as a person or that your business idea is terrible or that you can never teach or no one's going to ever buy anything.

None of that. We just now have data and so my whole thing is. A minimal amount of spend to be able to just get that evidence and do the hard thing, which is selling the hard thing actually isn't making the choice about what platform – literally they all work, weird, they all work. Done.

So now I've made the decision for you. You literally could roulette, maybe that would be my cool opt-in, what platform you should buy and it's just roulette and the thing. Great. That's the one, your decisions made now go forth. And no one wants to hear that, right? That's the freaking hard part.

And everyone wants to sit and should I buy Kajabi? Should I buy Thinkific? Because that means they don't have to take action on the thing that actually will move their business forward. 

DM: What I've definitely seen where I've challenged a few people in this space. Having been around you guys, I kind of, I have some insight into what the answer really is and I've really challenged some people who've been, well, I'm creating this video and then there's this, and I'm like have you just thought about teaching it? Literally for a Facebook group? How about you just hop in and you teach? Which at the moment I think people will really respond to, cause people are, Oh look a human. This has been our education system for years. There's obviously something to somebody explaining something to you and drawing on your iPad and you know, sharing it on your screen or whatever 

LP: And the messing up and not doing do it right

DM: People have been really defensive with me about it.

LP: Another form of buffering for sure is the videos in the background. 

DM:  Look how pretty much slides are.

As a person who loves a good complicated funnel, I feel them, but I'm also like, we don't have time at the moment. This series. Amber sent me something over the weekend saying will you do an ambassador series, 48 hours and it was up. It does not have to be pretty and shiny and amazing on your first go.

People are just going to be excited because you actually showed up. Yup. Yup. Yeah. And it doesn't have to be a six week or even a six-part. It can just be an hour. However long it takes. 

EW: Yeah, as a recovering perfectionist, that's something that, I remember a coach saying to me where she was 100% perfect and stuck in your head is helping no one but finding out what that, what your minimum viable product is. As much as, I don't love that word, but thinking about your lowest barrier to entry. 

So if tech is stopping you from sharing something with the world, then don't spiral into it. If you're like, I don't know how to do this. I'm ready and I just need something and you can pay $50 and share it with the world, then go for it.

But it's figuring out what's going to get it out there and helping your people. And I think. Part of what powers this spiral of having to get the tech and these pretty slides, I love pretty slides, don't get me wrong, love a good workbook, but at the same time, a course or any sort of learning experience is alive. It's a living entity and it's going to grow and it's going to change and it's going to adapt. 

And if you think, I have to get everything perfect, the tech perfect, the videos, perfect this because then it's done and I make money. But that's, that's not going to set yourself up for success because after you've run your beta after you've run four times through the course, you're still going to be adapting because if you care about your people and you care about the results, they are going to be adapting too.

LP: Yeah. I want to point out too, this is when I had the realization for Build a Better Beta and the framework that goes with it was recognizing my own teaching journey as a college professor. I did all this training, I did all this education, I downloaded all of my co-faculty syllabi and I got all these things off the internet and whatever early days of the internet.

And then, you show up and you're just right in front of real human beings and there's no one watching you. And it's that moment of, Oh yeah, this is also a super organic human experience and I can f**k this up and someone can say something that's terrible. I mean, all the things go wrong.

And that all goes out the window in so many cases. And so it's not even a truth that there is a perfect class that can be graded.  That's actually not how knowledge works and anyone who's gone far in their education, doctorate level, all the things, they realize that they don't know anything when they get up there. No one does.

We're all trying to figure it out. And there's no knowledge today what is being recorded right now might have one thing that's off and isn't relevant tomorrow. And so, how can you create a static thing that's perfect when knowledge literally doesn't work like that? And I think when you allow yourself to accept that truth, that there's no perfect course and that you're really actually avoiding the pain and the fear of putting yourself out there and using the slides to kind of, I would say this hide behind your slides.

I see a lot of people do that and people just need the human and people are, well, what if they think I'm reading the notes? Well, are you reading the notes? You could just tell them that you're reading your notes. It's totally fine. I had a lecture and my notes are right there.

Guess what? I got f**king better every time. We didn't talk about that, but, I got better every single semester, every section I taught that the more I just gave in. And I think early on in my teaching career, I was very, “Waaaah!”, That's part of it too, so if you're there, that's okay.

But you do get better and it does get easier and the more you're able to be vulnerable. And just be honest and transparent throughout the entire process. They love you there. That's the place where they love the human. They don't love the teacher talking head who's trying to be perfect,  literally, no one does.

So if you can show up as what's, and saying, Oh man, I, I messed that up. You guys looked really confused and bored last week, they're, “Whoa, I've never had anyone…” There's no person online that would ever say that this is just what teaching is.

I'm just analyzing it as it happens. And that's where you get to live. You get to live in the space of growth, and guess what? They get to too and they're that much more connected. And I promise you that's what motivates students to finish. The connection you make as a human where they feel they're letting you down.

That's where students strive for the next grade level or to push themselves. It's like, “Oh, Lindsey,  believes in me. I'm letting her down by not launching or by not doing the thing.” It's not just how much can I gamify and how short can I make the lessons and how good can I make the workbook?

It's do they even give a sh*t about showing up for your class? Do they think you care about them? That's huge. That's the thing that pulls humans through content. Not just all the fancy things. 

DM: It's kind of like if you are that popular professor. There were so many of us at the beginning of the commerce degree that you would have multiple lecturers teaching accounting or management accounting or whatever. And I know this is going to sound surprising, but some of them were really interesting and some of them were, yeah, you know, shocker. We would see people would rearrange their whole time table to be able to go to that one professor’s lecture.

Yeah, and that's kind of what we're creating. If I'm understanding you correctly, that's what we're creating in this space. It's why do my course, instead of Joe Blogs’ course over here,

LP: The fancy one, maybe even

DM: Am I your people? Am I the person you want to learn from?

EW: Yeah. And I think it's about, shifting kind of the pressure you put on yourself.

I think when people think about teaching and think about launching a course, they think they have to be the phrase I like using is the sage on the stage versus guide on the side. I have to be up here, this all-knowing, all-powerful, you are down there and you know, nothing. Versus just being, “Hey, I'm a human. You're human. We're going to create a dialogue and yeah, I might know a little bit more about this one thing for you, but I'm here to cheer you on. I'm here to guide you through. We're going to figure this out together.”

And it really is about having that dialogue with your people and being able to adjust and being able to acknowledge, “Hey, I'm human. You looked confused. Were you confused or were you just thinking something totally different like did I remember to feed my cat? I don't know, but I can't read minds. So let's figure this out together.” 

LP: I like to say you're, you're the guide. You're not the hero, and the student is the hero.

Again, just because you have the podium potentially, or you created the content or they gave you all their monies, doesn't mean you're this untouchable thing. And that ruins actual teaching relationships, I think. And we can see it actually, if we could, put it into this space, the gurus, quote-unquote, that have changed that recently.

It's really fascinating to watch and that used to be, this very one way, “Oh, well I solved this problem. Here are my videos go and you know, good luck.”

And then they're recognizing that that's not actually what's going to get people to move through. And so you could actually physically see lots of how these folks started showing up in their own groups and in their launches and, when there are all the other things, was really focusing on that connection because being a perfectionist doesn't really work, in the online space when it comes to the human part of it. 


DM: This has been amazing. But I wanted to leave with one question. So do we all need a course?

LP: Ooh, that's a good question. 

DM: Cause you know I love one to one 

LP: You’ve been pushing it away for a long time

DM:  I love a deep dive into someone's business with them. I like to know all the questions. I'm super nosy and I don't get that vibe from a course.

So do I need a course?

EW: Hmm? I'm going to give you my favorite answer.

DM: It depends.

EW: It depends. And I would say it depends on so many things. So first of all, I would say not do you need a course, but do you need some form of a learning experience? It doesn't need to be a course. There's lots of different ways that you can share your knowledge. And I think it depends on so many things.

It depends on what lights you up, how you want to serve your people, the level of impact that you want to have in the world, and how do you feel that impact can be made if you know that your mission, your movement, your message is through that one to one and that lights me up. Then. No, you don't need to add a learning experience.

Cause if you're adding it and you're just like checking the box, I'm a business owner, I have a course, I have a webinar, I have a workshop, your that energy, I'm a bit woo, that energy is going to come through to your people

Because you're the one to show up for the people. Cause you're like Ugh my course, ugh, my students. Versus being, I work people that are helpers and healers. They're coaches that they're like I can't expand my impact beyond one-to-one unless I have this course unless I have these learning experiences and I want to change the world,  I want to build an empire that shifts people's relationships with themselves, with their parents, with their feelings, whatever it may be.

And I can't do that if I just stay in the one to one realm. So I would say it just, it really depends on your intentions and what you want to bring to the world.

LP: Yeah, I'm the same. And the only way that I guess I would frame it from my perspective is, I probably shouldn't have been a service provider.

So, let's flip it because there's very few people online that say, start with the course. Everyone says that you should start with a service because that's where you learn how to do X. That's where you make the cash flow. And I'm also really terrible at it. No, not even kidding.

And so I am starting to try to talk more about that. This idea that some people aren't really meant for even that one on one.  I freaking was a professor and had my dream job and accidentally started a business. It took me two years of struggle and weird stuff that I had to go through when I left my job where I was, why do I hate my life?

And literally it's because I wasn't teaching. And so I think there's some people that are really meant for groups and that level of engagement. And so be it. What Emily's saying is it's so important to be asking how do I shine? What am I excited about in my day? What do I dread?

Do you have a Voxer with private clients or messenger and you don't even want to check it? That's a hint that maybe something's off on that level of access and you don't have to keep it that. And I think there's this misconception that you can only get full transformation for people at that level and I don't think that that's true.

And Emily would, I'm sure would agree with me. It's different. It's a different transformation, but your energy can't be drained. So that was suffocating me. Or showing up for a Q and A call and coaching brings me life and coming up with the ideas for the curriculum brings me life.

So maybe your early days in your service providing it doesn't mean that. I also don't love when people say that, you can't have a course early on in your business, and I think it all depends on what people's goals are. Some people's goals are to build seven-figure empires. Other people's goals might just be to add an extra thousand dollars a month if their goal is not to have this lifestyle business, which PS, that language is not going to work right now.

It's “Oh,  what would an extra thousand dollars do”. I think there's a lot of people out there that know their shit and could really teach if they were given the right tools. And so this idea that you have to provide a service for someone to learn how to do something. No, there's a whole world population that has skills that they could potentially bring to someone else.

Is it the best thing to start a business with a $27 course? That depends on what are your goals and let's be realistic about it. That's it. That's all I want to say. It's business model tied to personality and what lights you up because yeah, service providing was just the worst for me personally.

EW: And we're building our own businesses. So why build a business that involves things you don't want to do?  In the beginning, when I first started my business, because I was transitioning from corporate learning design, I was, Oh, I'm going to have to build people's workbooks and put their slides together and do all this stuff.

And I was just dreading it. Taking these big ideas into how does that transform into a learning experience. So I was well then I'm not going to do that. Versus, how am I going to add in, you know, other toolkits, other things, that type of stuff. But I think what Lindsay said, it comes down to what lights you up, what are you excited about, and then what fits your business?

And it's not a one size fits all. Just because you create a course doesn't mean you're, you have to become this person chasing this eight basquillion dollar empire versus adding in a little bit of extra revenue versus just saying, you know what, my clients are always asking for this so I just put it together as a toolkit to help them out.

And I think, you've said, it doesn't have to be, you need to max out your one-to-one services before you launch a course. It can just be, when do you know? Yeah. And it lines up with what you're able to give them.

DM: I like that. I like that both of you kind of came at it from that angle because I do think, I mean, both of your businesses make money from teaching people how to create courses, how to make better courses.

And I think it's important for people to hear from both of you in that situation, that that's, it's not always the solution and that there are multiple different ways to do it because I think the course space, in particular, is very, driven by, here's what I did and you too can make basquillions of dollars,

But I think that's kind of the antithesis of business. For me, everyone's business is unique and therefore every part of their business should be as unique as they are or the experience that they're trying to create. And I don't know that people have had that message very clearly in the course space if they haven't come across one of you guys. 

EW: And something I want to add on to that too, cause you kind of, you mentioned it was that your course or your learning experience doesn't have to replace your service. And I think that people fall into, they think, okay, I'm a service provider now becoming a course creator, which means I need to teach people how to do what I've done. And that's it. And you can have a course that comes before your service. It comes after your service that runs beside it. And it's all about figuring out what works for you. 

Even was that last year, I've lost track of time, I briefly launched a membership cause I was going to teach people how to do what I do. And I closed it after seven months cause I was I hate this. 

I'm not making the impact I want. It's not how I want it to teach things. And instead, I've pivoted how I do my services versus how my digital products work. It's about finding what works for you and knowing that it doesn't, you don't have to do it how other people do things and you don't have to replace your services with a chorus or vice versa.

but thank you both for opening up your calendars at short notice. Speaking so frankly about a topic that I know both of you are extremely passionate about.

LP: Show up and talk about teaching? DONE!

DM:  Exactly but thank you so much. I appreciate you guys. I will have both of your links in the description so people can find you and go and snoop on all the goodness that you're doing. Go follow both of them. They're both amazing. and I will chat to everybody else tomorrow on the last three panels.

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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.