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Behind the Scenes of Creating an Ecourse Part 5: The Actual Launch

Just over a month ago I launched my first e-course Stress Less & Impress. I figured it was time for an update on what it’s like to actually “launch” an e-course as part of this series.

This is Part Five of this six part series, if you haven’t yet, I’d recommend reading Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four first.

When I first planned to release SL&I, I thought it would be simple. (haha)

I wanted to keep it small and just reach out to the Freelance to Freedom community. (This is what people call a “soft launch”).

As I prepared for launching I quickly saw that there are WAY more details than I ever realized.

Every detail needs a decision. Here are just a few:

  • How many email reminders should you send your list?
  • What should those emails focus on?
  • What days should it be sent out?
  • Should I have affiliates or not?
  • Should I make a new freebie and do a series of videos like everyone else?
  • What should my refund policy be?
  • Should this be evergreen or cart open/close?
  • What should I price it at?

I faced my own self doubt as I answered all these questions and put together the course.

Some of those doubts included: 

  • Will anyone pay for this?
  • Is this boring?
  • Will people hate this?

You may think that those fears just come up during the creation, and that once it comes time to actually add the buy now button, they would go away. Oh no. Launching is scary. Fears I didn’t know existed came out of hiding.

I was so sure people would hate this course, I was ready to make it almost free. Luckily my beta testers insisted that Stress Less & Impress was very helpful. They forced me to stretch my pricing closer to the value it was worth to them.

I felt overwhelmed with the amount of writing there was to do.

In addition to the copy in the actual course and the sales page, there are pages and pages of copy to write.

Months ago I created a special VIP list for people who expressed interest in SL&I. I wanted to give them advance access to the course and a special discount for being supportive, answering my questions and getting in line for the purchase.

What this meant was that I actually had 3 mailing lists I needed to converse with.

#1 My VIP list

#2 The Freelance to Freedom list

#3 The Leah Kalamakis web design mailing list

Each list had a different set of emails that went out to announce and remind them about SL&I.

Additionally I wrote thank you pages, requests for promotion assistance, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs and newsletter. Each of which needed to be strategically written.

Once the cart opened for sale all the challenges faded away.

From the date Stress Less & Impress was for sale until the day it close, I was very relaxed.

I’d hired someone to help with the mounds of extra work and keep me on track, faced my fears and written everything that needed to be written.

Luckily this gave me time to stare at my inbox, entirely shocked with all the emails of excitement and gratitude that so many freelancers were sending me in response to the course.

I’ve needed a little time to recover. But I’m looking forward to launching again.

What about you?

Have you ever started working on project only to find it is MUCH bigger than you had originally anticipated?

Continue reading with the next part in this series: Behind The Scenes of Creating an E-course Part 6: The Post Op of my course building adventure!

-Leah

Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • I couldn’t agree more. I didn’t realize how many emails were going to go out over the time of open cart to close cart. I am still in the middle of promoting my course and it is very very nerve racking. Thanks for sharing your story Leah!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yeah, seriously! And I’m all about reducing the emails but in this case it’s necessary! Hope you’re launch is going well, albeit nerve racking. I’m here for virtual hugs when you need it 🙂

  • Frankly, I think the sheer amount of work I anticipate is what is stopping me from actually launching my first digital product!
    I’ve been thinking about the ins and outs of product launches for so long, I think it’s actually crippling. Perhaps getting into the thing, and then figuring out how to tackle the challenges as they appear is a better way 🙂

    I’m so glad to hear your launch went great, and hurray for hiring out support when you realized you needed it!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oh I really didn’t want this post to discourage anyway. There are a million ways to launch and doing it the way I did does not mean at all that all launches should be that way. Start small, get something out there. Do bigger next time and bigger after that if necessary. I tried to keep it small, as I said, and just within the FTF community. But as time passed I kept adding things on. Like I wasn’t going to promote it to my web design list, but then realized I have quit a few people in that community that may need just this, so I added that on to the email promotion. But I could have easily kept it as small as I wanted it to be depending on the amount of work I wanted to put it.

      So yes- just get into it! Then decide as you go, I certainly did. I didn’t even get help until a week before the launch because I realized I did want to go a little bigger. I can’t wait to see what you create!

  • Ooooh given that I’m launching my first group thang next month this is very timely – thank s!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yay! I just checked it out your link (hadn’t seen that site before) and LOVE your about page. So unique and intriguing. I know whatever you put out will be a success! P.S. I’ve got the last post in the series coming soon about the lessons I learned through the whole process, hopefully it’ll help you prepare as well 🙂

  • Very cool to hear what went on behind the scenes, Leah! It’s such a great course 🙂 Glad I could help convince you to push that price up!

    Did Farideh write some of your copy or just plan things and tell you what to do, so to speak? I had no idea you only hired her 1 week before the launch! You’ve got a knack for making things seem a LOT simpler than they are 😉

  • This was SUPER relevant. Thanks for sharing your experience. In in the pre-launch phase and when I first got started I was like “oh sales page, record some vids, see how it goes…” haha but on a side note I’m learning SO much about where I want my business to go.

  • I took the course and its awesome. Every new thing I implement is SO well received by my clients.

    As for designing a course, all of this behind-the-scenes detail is both fascinating and frightening. I’m not ready to design a course yet, but when I do…I’ll be following your lead and hiring a little bit of help.

  • I’m hoping to launch an eBook in the next 6 months, and the thought/reality of having to manage three (or more) different email lists literally makes me nauseous. Actually, physically, nauseous!

    I’m only in the outlining phase right now of this project, and it’s already proving to be more overwhelming than anything I’ve tried before. It seems like no matter WHAT I start, a blog post, a website, a business… it eventually becomes all-encompassing. Such is the life of an entrepreneur, I suppose.

    P.S. I love this series. NEVER LET IT END!!!

  • So not there yet, but I love this behind-the-scenes series! Thanks for not glossing over the challenges.

  • This behind-the-scenes series is invaluable. I’m planning an e-course and it’s great to read some useful insights on the process. It will definitely help me a lot!

  • As usual, you nailed it.
    Both the course and the post.
    Super useful, thank you!

  • Really interesting to read this. I definitely found with my last launch that there was way more to do and think about than I originally anticipated. It’s all a learning process though – I’ll be far better prepared next time! Thanks for sharing your experience! 🙂

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