Social Media Magazine

How to Build and Sell Your First Online Course in 60 Days

Posted on the 13 May 2016 by Ana Hoffman @AnaTrafficCafe

Your online business is a bridge from your life as you have it to your life as you see it.

In your new life, you might have the time and money to do EXACTLY what you want to when you want to.

You’ll no longer have to read a restaurant menu from right to left.

Your assets will finally grow beyond pizza coupons.

But that will be then.

For now, you are overwhelmed, underpaid, and just don’t get why all that busy-ness in your business hasn’t gotten you much closer to the life you wish you had.

And you are not alone.

That’s how I opened my Why Traffic Generation Café Doesn’t Make As Much Money As It Should post published about 2 years ago.

In that post, I set to find out why I don’t make much money from my business endeavors (and encouraged you to do the same) and how to turn it around.

Guess what?…

…2 years later, I STILL don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!…

Actually, now thinking about it… I am not in the same place I was 2 years ago.

All this time, I’ve been learning one valuable lesson: if I were to make money from Traffic Generation Café, I need to stop running from anything that actually makes money.

I have to go where the puck goes.

Might sound like a no-brainer to you… but then again, how much do YOU make from your blog?

How Much Money Can a Blogger Earn?

There lives a myth among bloggers/wanna-be bloggers:

There’s a terrible secret about this blogging-for-a-living dream. It’s that very few people actually achieve it. For all the hoopla I read and hear about “how to get to $100,000 a month” it can sometimes seem like you’re a moron if you aren’t pulling down at least a measly $250,000 US per year from your blog.

~ Pam Neely

Sounds familiar? It does to me.

Reality check: how much little do most bloggers actually make?

I started my research with some stats from Glassdoor, a recruiting site that also publishes salary reports across various markets and professions.

What does Glassdoor say an average professional blogger (i.e. writing for an established company/publication) earns?

How much does an average blogger make?


Fine, let’s broaden our search a bit and search for a ‘writer’ vs a ‘blogger’.

How much money does a writer make online?

I live in San Francisco Bay area and let me tell you: $60,000 is not NEARLY enough to consider a living in this neck of the woods.

And what about bloggers who set out to make a living off their own blogs?

Numbers weren’t easy to come by, but the results of 3 surveys below give us a decent idea.

1. Women’s Blogging Industry & Business Annual Report (2015)

This is the most recent report published at iBlogMagazine based on surveying “thousands of women bloggers in over 25 blogging niches.”

It found that most bloggers are making… less than $2,500 a year from their blogs.

Most bloggers make less than $2,500 a year

2. Blogging Stats 2012 – surveyed 1,000 bloggers, both men and women, and learned in regards to how much survey respondents made from blogging:

  • a whooping 81% never made $100 from blogging;
  • 9% make enough to sustain their personal lifestyle blogging 4-6 hours a day;
  • only 8% make enough to support a family;
  • and 2% make $150K+ blogging 1-2 hours a day… from exotic locations.

Few bloggers make enough to consider it a living from online blogging

3. ProBlogger Survey – 2009

For a number of years, ProBlogger had run an annual poll quizzing its readers on how much money they make from blogging.

Here are the results of the last one:

  • 37% of bloggers make no money from their blogs.

out of remaining 63%,

  • 70% make less than $500 a month and 30% make $500 or more.

4. IgniteSpot Blogconomy [infographic] – 2013

I’ll give you one more:

Most bloggers earn about $1,000 a month

What do all these stats say?

Yes, of course, much of this data might be… imperfect, to say the least, but the trend is clear.

Most bloggers don’t make any/much money from their blogs.

All these depressing numbers got me thinking…

I KNOW it’s entirely possible to make a full-time income from Traffic Generation Café. No question about it.

And I’ve known ‘where the puck was going‘ for quite some time now.


Creating Your Own Product/Online Course

In that same Why Traffic Generation Café Doesn’t Make As Much Money As It Should post, I wrote:

The mere idea of spending hours, days, weeks putting together a product that might be outdated by the time it’s actually released or be a complete flop makes me cringe.

…So, launching my own products is off my income stream list, no matter how profitable it could be.

Oh boy… I sound so juvenile!

THAT’S why I am STILL not making that much money – I wrote off the one thing my Readers are prepared to pay me for: sharing the wealth of my traffic generation knowledge in a convenient package – an online course.

Look around, and you’ll find nearly all “bloggers” who make a decent income have books, courses, a side career as a keynote speaker, or even software. That’s how they make money. Their blog is just the “freebie” they give away to attract customers or clients.

~ Jon Morrow,

And here’s what Neal Schaffer, owner of, told me:

I think the people making the most money are the ones producing product – some do by affiliate marketing, but it’s a lesser risk, lower return task that makes it hard to make lots of $$$ unless you have a huge platform or lots of time. 😉

My Sad Tale of (Nearly) Creating an Online Course

It was November 2015.

I decided I was finally ‘going to make it.’

Actually that’s not entirely true. The inspiration came from my friend Kurt Frankenberg, the owner of

As usual, I was complaining to him about not making enough money.

Kurt was very polite. He listened patiently. Then he finally said… “Ana, your head is filled with knowledge that I and many other folks would pay a lot of money for. Why don’t you stop complaining and create a course?

Actually, Kurt is waaaay too polite to say that to me. I am sure he was a lot more diplomatic when he said it, but the gist was the same.

He told me to do what I’d known I needed to do for a while…

I needed to grow up. *I* was the only thing standing between me and a happy bank account.

The depth of Kurt’s insight went far beyond a mere ‘just create a course!’ suggestion.

Oh no… he also told me HOW I should do it.

And I’ve NEVER heard anything like that before.

Kurt suggested that I FIRST should make money from my course and THEN go ahead and create it.


Turned out I heard him right. Here’s what he wanted me to do:

  1. announce I was going to create a traffic generation course;
  2. presell the course to my readers’
  3. then once I see enough interest (and have enough dough to prove it), I’ll lock myself in a cave and create the actual course.

Not only that, but Kurt told me he’s done it in the past. He walked the walk when creating a paid product for another business of his. And it worked!

I was inspired.

I figured going about it this way would FORCE me to create an online course, which was exactly the kind of ‘incentive’ I needed.

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Reality check.

Truth is I run Traffic Generation Café on a very part-time basis.

My primary job is – jobs are, I should say –

  • …wife;
  • …mother;
  • …live-in maid;
  • …resident chef;
  • …gardener;
  • …general contractor;
  • …a few other ‘odds and ends’.

That’s life.

Besides that, when I DO find the time to work on my business hobby, I find myself playing too much of a whack-a-mole game, like…

  • writing blog posts that don’t make any money
  • researching/writing my Weekly Marketing Skinnies
  • catching up with blog comments, emails, various social media accounts…

…hold on, I think I am getting an anxiety attack just thinking about it…

And the worst thing is… I never actually catch up. No such thing.

Now… add creating an online course to that turmoil!…

Chances are this is your reality as well, dear Reader.

So you know I mean it when I say to you ‘I know what you are going through.’

Oh yes, creating my online course… Whatever happened to it?

I followed Kurt’s advice.

I announced to my email Subscribers the creation of my future traffic generation course – Trafficology Blueprint.

It was beautiful… the excitement, the enthusiasm… the encouragement!

So many of you wanted to help!

  • Ian Belanger, the designer behind Traffic Generation Café, got on board to design the new site.
  • MaAnna Stephenson set up the membership side of it.
  • Kurt Frankenberg recorded an intro video for the home page.
  • Daniel Futerman created an awesome video intro.
  • Many of YOU worked to help me create an outline of the future course.


Bon voyage, Trafficology Blueprint!…



Unfortunately, an iceberg was just around the corner waiting for this Titanic of an online course.


Even though I worked hard on creating the first Module of the new course, Content Catapult (all about repurposing your existing content – something I am very passionate about), I quickly realized I had to put everything else on hold while working on that.

That didn’t go very well.

My type A personality doesn’t let me ‘let go of other things’ easily.

Anxiety was mounting.

And the fact that I made such a big deal about this course creation was… just weighing oh so heavily on me.

Good thing I didn’t actually accept any money from my eager future Students… or maybe I should have! Nah… I am glad I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just drop Trafficology Blueprint altogether.

I continued working on it. Unfortunately, I continued to polish what had already been created instead of focusing on the next Modules.

Good thing I’ve got type A personality as a scapegoat! ’twasn’t me… it’s my type A personality to blame!…

It got so bad that I stopped talking to you, my dear Readers, about Trafficology Blueprint altogether.I stopped responding to your emails about the course.

I had nothing to say but to say that I had no idea whether my online course would ever see the light of day.

I was embarrassed. Still am. And I am still not checking my emails for Trafficology Blueprint account.

And that’s the story of my first attempt to create an online course.

Now I have a good reason to tell myself ‘I told you so! You should just stick with affiliate marketing… Or better yet… maybe you should sell Traffic Generation Café altogether! That might your first and only chance to make money off it…’

Deep breath…

I need more coffee and Kleenex…


So now what?

As it often happens in my life, God opens a window when I close a door. He’s good to me that way.

The window was my friend Danny Iny who was working on his next online course – Course Builders Laboratory (CBLab.)

The RIGHT Way to Create a Course [the Epiphany]

Remember what Kurt Frankenberg told me before I started working on my online course?

Presell your course. Let your future Students tell you exactly what they want to learn from you. THEN create it!

Kurt was right on the money. Too bad I had to learn from an intermittent failure just how true it was…

But you know what?… Most people who have a successful course today most likely have one or more failed courses in the past.

Danny Iny has built Course Builder’s Laboratory so that you and I don’t have to learn from our own failure.

The traditional way to create a course would be come up with a brilliant idea, spend hundreds of hours creating the product, find out if anyone actually wants to buy it (by trying to sell it.)

Course Builder’s Laboratory teaches you the exact opposite.

Instead of building your entire product before you make a sale, you’re going to sell your pilot course before you even start building it.

Course Builder’s Laboratory will give you their proven process of doing that, plus a coach from Danny’s team to help you every step of the way.

PLUS, instead of building a course in isolation, you will be building it in collaboration and partnership with your audience.

Hmmm… I could definitely use that kind of help…

Don’t get me wrong: you’ll still have to put the time and the work required to create your course, but… you’ll be doing it KNOWING you are working on a future hit.

For instance:

  • with Write Like Freddy, it took Danny only 60 hours of work to get to his first dollar, and he made about $5,000 BEFORE the program was officially launched.
  • With the Audience Business Masterclass, it took Danny 30 hours to get to that first dollar, and he made $79,000(!!!) BEFORE the course was officially launched.
  • And with Course Builder’s Laboratory? Only about 20 hours till the first dollar in and $100,000 before the official launch.

Music to my ears…

Full Disclosure

Danny was kind enough to let me peek into his Course Builder’s Laboratory.

As I was looking around, I had a few objectives in mind:

  1. Can Course Builder’s Laboratory REALLY do for me what I couldn’t do on my own – help me not just start, but FINISH Trafficology Blueprint?
  2. Could it do the same for you, dear Reader – you who are sitting on the sidelines thinking is creating a course something you should be doing as well?
  3. How can I turn this into an opportunity you and me could benefit from?

So far I’ve got one huge disappointment from Course Builder’s Laboratory… it won’t actually BUILD the course for me… Dang!….

That aside, I am really excited what it can do for me and you. REALLY excited.

So…. I thought it might be nice to hold a training webinar just for Traffic Generation Café Readers (hey, that’s YOU!) to teach you the step-by-step approach to creating and selling an online course even if you have no idea where to start.

In 60 days, you will make your first sales.

(sorry about the bold font; I REALLY didn’t want all the skimmers to miss that part)

During the training, you’ll learn how to come up with an idea for an online course and then pre-sell it BEFORE you ever create it.

Then, once you know it will make money, you can build and launch a minimum viable version of your first course – a “pilot course” – that goes out to your early buyers.

At the end of the training, you’ll have everything you need to create and sell your first course.

Does that sound promising?

I thought so as well.

I even got someone better than Danny Iny himself to speak at the webinar – someone who had already used the process to create her first online course.

The event is called “60 Days to Build and Sell Your First Course”, and will be led by someone who’s achieved course-building success using the exact same process she’ll teach you on the call: Diane Holmes from Mirasee (formerly Firepole Marketing).

60 Days to Build and Sell Your First Course

Whether free or paid, Danny Iny’s team has never put up anything less than the absolute best material.

I know that this FREE online training will be no different.

Save your spot: How to Create and Sell Your First Course in 60 Days

Here’s what you’ll learn during the training:

>>> Why the “information product” industry is about to go bust, and how you can succeed and thrive instead.

>>> What hit shows like Seinfeld can teach you about rapidly launching profitable courses.

>>> How to narrow your expertise down to a “minimum viable offer” that people want… and will happily PAY YOU for!

>>> Why creating fancy videos or investing in expensive membership technologies can actually *hurt* your chances of succeeding with your course.

>>> An honest answer to the question, “How much can I expect to earn from my course launch?

>>> What top marketers have learned from Ivy-league behavioral science research about the best way to sell courses.

>>> The TWO pricing levers that you can pull to charge premium prices and create great experiences for your students, while still launching as quickly as possible.

>>> The *only* 3 things you absolutely need to successfully launch your course.

>>> A simple (but counterintuitive) exercise for finding your niche and initial offer – even if you have no idea where to start.

>>> The “pre-sell email campaign” strategy for selling your course before you build it.

>>> How to get joint venture partners to promote you, even if you’re just getting started and nobody knows who you are.

>>> How to sell coaching services while launching your pilot, to multiply the scale of your results.

>>> The specialized sales script that you can use to enroll students on the phone, without being the least bit salesy or pushy.

…And a whole lot more!

This value-packed training webinar is happening on Tuesday, May 17 at 9 AM Pacific / 12 PM Eastern. It’s free to attend, but space is limited.

Excited? Visit the registration page and reserve your seat!

A word of warning: this material will challenge you in ways you don’t expect.

Forget about locking yourself up in a room with a mountain of takeout, pouring time, money, and effort into something nobody will buy.

You’ll have to work smart rather than hard. You’ll take small but meaningful steps every day that will shape your online course idea into something people will actually buy, and you’ll validate its profitability early on.

And that’s exactly why the approach Diane teaches is so effective!

From a vague concept of a course to your first sales, Diane will talk about how to pull the whole thing off in as little as 60 days or less. When she’s done, you’ll have everything you need to create and sell your first course, as promised.

You’ll be ready to launch, not on some magical day 20 years from now, but 2 months from now!

Go here to register for the event, and let Diane teach you the #1 strategy behind every blockbuster course.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from someone who started right where you are today, and mastered the process of course creation so well that 2 months later, she filled every spot with paying students in her first pilot course.

Diane will teach you how to achieve that same success.

60 Days to Build and Sell Your First Course: Q&A

Those of you who know me (unlucky you? 😉 ) know I don’t take anything lightly.

Not only did I get this awesome training lined up for us, but I also actually talked to Diane this morning (between doing laundry, going grocery shopping, and painting the deck – …and running to Home Depot because I ran out of paint…)

I asked her a few questions to make sure this will be worth our time. (It’s certainly worth our money – the training is free!)

Marketing Takeaway


How to create an online course webinar

See you there!

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