The Real Story Behind How I Started Creating Online Courses

Jenna Kutcher 

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September 2, 2020


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My very first dive into the deep end of the online course world was the result of a friend’s comment on a social media post. She was signed up for this “discovery” call with a business consultant and told me I should hop on, too. By the end of that call I was pitched a course and I made the investment, and those two choices were the start of my career as course creator.

That makes it sound like I snapped my fingers and boom, I was ready to launch my first program… I can assure you that wasn’t the case, but I can also tell you that creating a course is totally in the realm of possibility for you, if you want it to be.

Kylie is back on the show to ask me all the questions about online courses, what my very first course looked like, what I did to change my strategies from launch one to launch two, and I even challenge her on her own course creation objections… Plus, you have to hear about the email I sent to Amy Porterfield in 2016, back when I was a student, like you, looking for the next step in my business.

Newbie Course Creator

At the very top of the conversation, Kylie admits something to me: She had never, ever heard of online courses or self-education before she started working for me. Sure, she was familiar with the virtual learning courses through her university, but they were nothing like the courses I and so many other creators use to educate our students.

Is that you, too? Are you totally new to this space? The good news is that you’re not too late… This industry is booming. And there may be so much to learn, but let that excite you, not discourage you. I’ll walk you through what my earliest forays into the online course world looked like so you can start ahead of where I did.

Kylie asks me about how I started teaching, what made me want to be an educator in the first place, and what my very first program looked like. Hit play to hear the candid details of my first course!

What I Did Right and Wrong

I’ve shared the behind the scenes of my first course with my team, and even though there are parts that make me cringe (in a funny way!) I’m still proud of how I had it set up and organized. I taught my students on five main pillars, and many of those pillars are still part of what I teach today.

But the thing I didn’t understand was the technology — slides, voiceover, all the things that I use today were not on my radar back then. I sat in bed with a little microphone and recorded my lessons. It was an audio-only course and listening to my voice from 2015 makes me laugh. I’ve changed so much!

One thing that I did with that first course that I don’t do now are weekly one-on-one calls with each student. This mentorship model alongside my online course really took up a lot of time, and that’s not why I wanted to be a course creator. I wanted to reach more people with what I taught, but one-on-one sessions still limited my impact.

Amy Porterfield Turned Me Down

My first launch was $25,000 in sales. It was a very premium product at a $2500 price point, but then again, my mentorship and six phone calls per student were included so the price felt worthy of the product.

For my next launch, I knew I wanted to level up, and so I turned to the mentor I’d followed from afar. I emailed Amy Porterfield and asked her if she’d coach me. Press play on this episode above to hear what I wrote in that email.

She had no idea who I was. I was just a listener of her podcast at the time. Amy’s team responded and kindly told me that Amy doesn’t do one on one coaching or mentorship. I responded again and asked if they could recommend anyone who could mentor me as I prepared for my next launch. They referred me to one of Amy’s mentors, who connected me with a business coach.

I know, kind of a long and winding story. But looking back on that exchange reminded me that even though the investment in education was scary at the time, it really did uplevel my business. My second launch hit six-figures.

Investing in Yourself

After Amy (kindly and understandably) turned me down, I was so determined to invest in myself, learn from her programs, and become such a big success story that she would have to pay attention to what I’m doing.

Each time I grew my courses and increased my earnings from a launch, I continued to invest in education for myself and my business. And while I did work with a coach one-on-one back then, there are so many more programs available now that can lead you through many of the strategies and concepts that I learned with that coach, at a much lower price point.

Press play on this episode to hear more about making that jump between my first and second launch.

More from this Episode

Kylie and I talk about the strategy for my first and second launch and what elements still remain in my process today. We talk about my course pet peeves and the mistakes I’ve learned from in the past.

Then I put Kylie on the spot: Would she ever create a course? What’s stopping her from making it happen? I lead her through many of the fears that are so common before you create and launch your first course. Think your audience isn’t big enough for success with a launch? Hit play. What if a student doesn’t get results from your course? You gotta hit play to hear the answer.

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  1. Natasha says:

    Hey Jenna,
    I have recently started listneing to your podcast in support of launcing my own online business that I have worked hard to create. In this podcast you mention creating a mini course. I found this episode 290 Is this where I should start?


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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