How to Replace Your Income with an Online Course
Real talk - How do you currently make money?
🙋 Raise your hand if you are:
A freelancer thats feels like you have 10 bosses instead of one. You might be wondering, “where’s all this freedom I was supposed to get as a freelancer!?”
A service provider or brick-and-mortar business owner. You feel like you’ve hit a ceiling and have maxed out at how many clients you can take on at once. You know you just can’t keep raising your prices forever, but you can’t create more time in the day, either!
A coach. You’re on 1:1 client calls all day and you’re repeating yourself to your clients because they all ask you the same thing over and over. You may feel chained to the computer because you need to be available to clients 24/7, and that’s not how you want to live anymore.
A speaker. The way you’re currently sharing your knowledge and expertise is through speaking on stages and teaching workshops in-person. You’re traveling like crazy, but it’s not the fun kind because you’re always on someone else’s schedule, never your own. You’re away from your home and family too much, and that’s not how you want to live. You’re speaking in a front of an audience of 20 - 100 people at a time, instead of being able to reach thousands of people at a time with an online course.
A full time employee, and you’re just not using your skills and your gifts to your full potential. You may love your job or can’t wait to put in your two weeks, but you have a drive to get your knowledge out into the world.
With these business models, you’re totally maxed out with how many clients you can deal with or how much income you can earn.
You hit an income ceiling, can’t scale at the rate you know you need to, and you aren’t able to feel that true freedom and control that you wanted when you started your business.
But here’s the thing - there’s a solution. Online courses.
It’s possible to replace your current income with an online course.
I know because I see it happen every.single.day with our clients. I get to witness them find the freedom they’ve been looking for and see them reach and impact more people sharing their expertise with their online courses.
But how do you actually make the leap from ditching “dollars for hours” to becoming a full-time course creator?
It takes strategy, work, and knowing your numbers. I’m talking real, hard numbers. :)
You will have major clarity when you watch this video and do the exercise with me. People have told me that doing this quick but effective exercise has made them realize they are in control of their revenue.
If you're planning to transition into a full-time course creator this year, this is a MUST WATCH.
In this post, we’re getting into the math behind replacing your current income with a sustainable, thriving online course business.
Watch the video above to watch me walk through making a plan for your online course business.
Get out your notebook, a pen and a calculator (or a spreadsheet if you’re into that kinda thing) because we’re going to be using numbers based on YOUR own life and business.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Figure out how much you need to make to replace your current income.
Think about it this way: What do you need to make to just be able to say no to 1:1 clients or to leave your 9-to-5 job? Maybe it’s just $5,000 / month right now. It could be more or less. This number is unique to you.
Remember, this isn’t a big, dreamy income goal you’re pulling out of thin air. A mistake people often make is to set arbitrary goals like “Make 250k in the first year.” Think about this realistically.
How much do you need to make to replace your current income?
For most of our clients, that number is closer to $60k / year, but write down what that real number is for you.
In our example, we’re going to use $100k / year to keep the math simple. This does not mean that should be your goal! I’m just using round simple numbers for my sake of doing math :)
Action Step: Write down the annual income you’ll need to replace your current income. You’ll be referencing this number for the rest of the exercise.
Step 2: Figure out how many online courses you need to sell at what price point to make that amount.
If we’re aiming for $100k, we need to figure out how many courses we need to sell at a certain price to make that amount.
Courses can range from anywhere from $97 - $2,000+ based on the course structure, the value, the audience, etc.
You may not know your course value right now, but just guess! You can start low and work your way up as you continue to refine the course. You can play around with scenarios and see what feels best for you.
You could start with $500 as a good estimate of how much you will charge for your course if you don’t have a sense yet.
We help our clients nail their pricing in our Accelerator program, since it’s such an important piece of the online course business puzzle. Apply now here.
If you’re looking for a more “go at your own pace” course, you can get on the waitlist for our Launch Your Signature Course® program HERE.
$500 Course Price x 200 Sales per Year = $100k
$200 Course Price x 500 Sales per Year = $100k
$2,000 Course Price x 50 Sales per Year = $100k
We’ll be using the $500 price point for the rest of this exercise as our example.
How much of an audience does it take to reach these goals?
You’ll be aiming to grow your list to 5,000 - 10,000 email subscribers over the entire year (you don’t have to have that many to start!).
This is a pretty big gap, but the number of people who will buy your course from your list is dependent on a number of factors like your audience, price point, marketing, your strategy, etc.
Don’t get overwhelmed when you look at these subscriber numbers.
This isn’t where you need to start, it just means that over the entire year, you want to build up to this subscriber number or whatever it ends up being for your unique goal. It’s best to start with at least 1,000 subscribers when you launch your course the first time. (Don’t have 1,000 email subscribers yet? Check out Your First 1K® for strategies on how to get there.)
Action Step: Write down your course price and how many sales you need, working backwards from your income goal.
Step 3: Figure out how many courses you need to sell per month.
Let’s get granular and break your goal down into the smallest increments possible. When thinking about a big goal, it can get overwhelming fast. Adding 5,000 people to my email list? Selling $80k in courses? It can feel impossible! 🤯
We need to break it down into smaller chunks. This is what I do for any big goal - I always break it down into the smaller pieces and that’s when it starts to click and become realistic!
We need to figure out how many sales you need to hit per month to make your goal.
For our example:
200 sales / year = <17 Sales per month
17 sales per month… about 4 courses per week.
That feels much less overwhelming, doesn’t it? It’s completely feasible, especially with the strategies we teach in our Accelerator Program.
Action Step: Divide your annual goal by 12 and write down how many courses you need to sell each month to hit your goal.
Step 4: Figure out how you want to hit your monthly sales goal each month.
Our entire strategy for creating a sustainable, thriving online course business is based on our 3-Part Framework for Consistent Course Sales. This is the framework that has allowed our clients to build 6-7 figure course businesses that are resilient and profitable (not just vanity metrics).
When you apply for the Accelerator program here, I’ll share more about the behind the scenes details of the 3-Part Framework in a special video we only share with applicants. Fill out your application here.
Our framework is a holistic ecosystem made up of launches, webinars and evergreen funnel sales that works together to create a thriving, sustainable online course business.
Finding that right combination of these three strategies is what is going to bring in those consistent profits.
Understanding the right strategies for you and how they interact with each other in an interconnected way is where the magic happens.
My realistic goal was 10 students … I enrolled 47 students and had a $16k first launch. Thank you Mariah and the whole team for creating such a great program! Love love love!
- LEIGH LOREN, LUST LYFTET
You’ve probably heard of this idea of launching your course a couple times a year and bringing in a lot of sales during the launch. Launches create cash injections throughout the year, but a launch is not a business.
I repeat! A launch is not a business.
They are a burst of income, but you can’t build a sustainable business on income bursts alone.
If you just did launches:
200 sales = 2 launches per year @100 enrollments each.
200 sales = 4 launches per year @ 50 enrollments each.
Our clients combine launches with the other strategies (keep reading!) to create consistency without relying on 2 big launches per year. You don’t want your whole business riding on 2 promotions per year.
That’s why we incorporate ALL the following:
Webinars create weekly and monthly revenue, which is why we’re such a big fan of them.
You can make course sales on demand once you understand how to do a high-converting webinar.
Imagine having the skill to be able to sell more courses whenever you want, on demand. That’s possible with webinars.
Some of our clients decide to do 1 or 2 live webinars a month to their audience to bring in sales.
If you were just doing webinar and not even doing launches or evergreen funnels, in order to hit 17 sales per month, you could 2 webinars per month and make 8 or 9 sales each webinar.
What audience size would I need for my webinars to make 8 or 9 sales?
It’s different for every audience, but you can usually make 8 or 9 sales on a webinar with about 100 - 200 people registered (depends on many factors of course - your audience, price, pitch, etc).
When you have a high-converting strategy, you don’t need to have a huge audience for webinars to work! Getting a couple hundred registrants is absolutely doable with a few weeks of promotion with the strategies we teach.
Evergreen Sales Funnels
An evergreen sales funnel is an automated way to make sales of your course year round.
Evergreen funnels are the most hands off, passive (leveraged) and automated part of the system.
This is something you learn how to create in our Evergreen Engines™ program.
(If you want more a more hands-on experience with coaching from our team, check out the Accelerator, we can help you build an evergreen sales funnel.)
Evergreen sales funnels are based on what has worked best for you during your live launches and live webinars, so this won’t be your first stream of income.
Evergreen funnels are the ultimate goal of every course creator. By the time you’ve turned on your evergreen funnel, you’ve been through a few successful launches, you’ve built out an amazing series of emails, and you’ve probably got a great, highly converting webinar.
Evergreen funnels are great because they bring in automated course sales that you can count on every single week.
Even if you only had an evergreen funnel (and weren’t doing live launches or extra webinars), making 17 sales per month would mean about 4 sales per week or 1 sale every other day.
You can see it’s very doable!
Each strategy on its own is powerful, but combined you are unstoppable!
The thing is, you won’t JUST be doing one of these 3 strategies.
You won’t only do 2 launches per year, or a monthly webinar, or just an evergreen funnel.
You’re going to combine them into a holistic, resilient model that is tailored to YOUR personality and goals.
What is the best combination of these three strategies that feels good to you?
Some people love launch cycles and don’t like webinars, so they rely on more sales in their launches. Others will focus heavily on evergreen, and sprinkle in live webinars.
This is completely customizable to you.
Action Step: Write down how many courses you will sell through launches, webinars and your evergreen sales funnels throughout the year.
Here’s an example:
40 sales from launches:
2 Launches per year @ 20 sales each
100 sales from webinars:
20 webinars per year @ 5 sales each
60 sales from an evergreen sales funnel: about 2 sales per week
Step 5: Take action.
Check it out - you just made an actual plan to replace your current income and become a full-time course creator!
This is the start of planning the transition from service provider / coach / freelancer to online course creator.
Feels good, doesn’t it?
If this business model sounds good to you, don’t just let this live in your notebook.
Take action and let’s get that incredible knowledge already in your brain packaged into an online course!
In our Accelerator Program, we help you find the right combination of launches, webinars and evergreen funnel sales that works best for you, your product and your lifestyle.
We can’t wait to see what you create!