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Many surfers and swimmers in waves on a beach

The Passive Income Lie

June 9, 2021

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

“I want to create an online course because I want passive income”. Have you heard that? Or, have you heard the online gurus telling that this is the ultimate end game on an online course?

Because, I have.

Our group coaching program, Launchpad, teaches people how to create, launch and scale an online course – or improve and scale one they already have. It’s a 12 month, high level group coaching program, and because we work closely with our clients we accept those we think we can help.

And so, we have acceptance criteria that we assess our applications against. There are criteria that makes someone a ‘hell yes!’, criteria that mean we will sometimes accept someone (for example, if they don’t meet ALL of the criteria but we see potential in them), and then, some criteria that are a “hell no”.

Anyone that mentions “passive income” or “sipping pina coladas on the beach”?

Hard “hell to to no”.

And honestly?

If that’s you – if you want passive income and to sip pina coladas on the beach – I recommend getting into crypto on a bull cycle and staying the HELL away from online courses.

Because, here’s the thing. If you think you can make money in your sleep without doing a drop of work, courses aren’t for you. And any guru willing to take your money by telling you otherwise?

Is selling you a pipedream. It’s ain’t ALL bad news, though, because there are many VERY appealing upsides to online courses as a business model, and this podcast is dedicated to separating the fact from the fiction.

So, here goes.

Choose Your Hard:

If you’re a service provider, freelancer or anyone that “swaps time for money”, you’re likely in a bit of a jam.

You’re good at what you do, and so you’ve got clients. Lots of them in fact, and you’re at capacity.

You started your business for more time, freedom and happiness but somewhere along the way.. you ended up with a choc-a-block calendar and your income is capped because there’s literally no more hours in the day.

As a business model, scaling a service business requires more hours – either in the form of you sacrificing your ‘non-work’ time, or hiring staff and building an ‘agency’ or ‘company’ model if you’re currently a freelancer.

Nothing wrong with that – if that’s what you want. But let me tell you, as someone who is currently doing just that in the form of a coaching business, it ain’t easy. It’s hard. Really, really hard.

You’re dealing with humans, emotions, profit margins, cashflow issues.. all of the things. So, here’s where online courses begin to make sense. They aren’t passive income. Not in any way, shape or form. They require hard work, especially at the start. You need to create your offer. Then, your course. Then, your marketing assets.

They ALL take time, and I won’t sugarcoat that you won’t be sitting on a beach sipping coladas with those tasks on your plate – especially if you are muddling your way through, trying to do it all yourself with zero prior experience in this completely new business model. But, here’s the thing.

Once your ‘stuff’ is set up and VALIDATED – in other words, you have an offer that converts with paying students, and a funnel that converts with a predictable conversion rate – the hard work is done. At this point, it’s a numbers game and your sole job becomes filling your funnel with LEADS. In other words, the work is LEVERAGED. Y

ou’re not doing what I used to – working 1:1 with clients teaching Facebook ads and driving from appointment to appointment teaching the exact same thing to a different person.

You’re not swapping billing your expertise and knowledge by the hour. You have created a transformation that is leveraged, and that students can get results from at scale.

You have done the hard work ONCE to build everything, and then it’s a process of marketing and continual optimisation. It’s leveraged income. If you’re currently a service provider, you have a decision to make.

Do you want to continue at max capacity, spinning your wheels doing the same thing with a cap on your income?

It’s one type of hard. Do you want to build an agency, and hire more people and grow that way.

It’s another kind of hard. Or do you want to INTENTIONALLY create room in your diary – because, the work won’t do itself – to create all of the assets for a course that you can sell in a leveraged way at scale without capping out on time? It’s hard work once, a commitment to filling your funnel with leads (something that will take time or money) and leveraged income at scale.

Here’s the clincher, though – you have to do the work, regardless of which option you choose.

That’s why in Launchpad, we make sure our clients literally block out their Launchpad time in their diary, just like they would a client. We follow up on the due dates they set for themselves.

The work doesn’t do itself, but in my opinion? It’s soooo worth it.

Impact At Scale

Have you ever thought about your legacy?

The impact you want to make in the world?

How you want to serve people?

Because, I have.

When I first started my business, I knew I had a burning desire inside of me to do more – but I wasn’t quite sure how to channel it.

I started working with small businesses to help them get more clients using social media, but I quickly booked out. I had waiting lists of clients, I was working hard, burning out and not giving people by all.

The reason I decided to switch MY business model was because I also had a podcast, and I could SEE how many more people I was impacting with it.

Every day, I would get messages in my inbox about how I was helping people. Long, gushing messages of gratitudes.

And yes, I wasn’t being paid for it. I knew that if I could package the ‘step-by-step’ of what I did into a course, I could impact those people at scale.

I wouldn’t be restricted by my waitlist.

I’d be able to help people – like I did with my podcast, week in and week out – but help people in the process.

And, I could serve the people that couldn’t AFFORD my 1:1 services, opening up income potential and impacting a whole new subset of people in the process.

Online courses – when done the right way – allow you to impact MORE people, and do it in a leveraged way that service work cannot.

Work Your Way

The third reason that I think an online course is such a satisfying business model is that it allows you to work in the way you want to, without being a ‘slave’ to your calendar. Here’s the thing. I’m an extroverted introvert.

I suffer anxiety. Life isn’t always ‘easy’ for me when forced into daily social interactions – and it took me years to discover that about myself. Online courses give me a blank calendar, the space and time to be creative and the ability to set my own schedule without catering to the whims of my 10 bosses, ahem, I mean clients.

Do I still need to be visible? YEP. Courses don’t sell themselves.But I can choose to do it in the way that best serves MY personality. I can podcast, instead of being on video all day every day.

I can launch and be super visible just a couple of times a year, instead of back to back meeting sucking my energy and draining me. I can do it all from home, with my family around me. Is that for everyone? No.

Some people thrive on social interaction – and if that’s the case, maybe a client focused business is for you.

OR, maybe a course business is but you’ll do even BETTER than me because you can model it in a way that suits that part of your personality. Self awareness is key in designing a life and business that fits you.

Online courses give you the ability to design for yourself.

Summing Up

And so, there you have it.

Three reasons why online courses are NOT passive income, and why they are awesome anyway. In Launchpad, we teach you how to create, launch and scale an online course.

It won’t be easy, nor will it happen overnight, but in as little as five hours a week – as long as you are committed to blocking the time out on your calendar and committing to it as strictly as you would your client work – it’s possible.

You’ve got to really want it, be driven, do the work, complete more than complain, practice radical self responsibility (even though we will follow up on your due dates) and show up daily.

If these things are true for you, and you want to build a business that will afford you leveraged income in the future, I’d love to see your application for Launchpad. Just don’t mention ‘passive income’ anywhere on your application form 😉

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If you enjoyed this episode and The Lifestyle Business Sweet Spot podcast generally, I have a favour. Please take two minutes to subscribe, and to write a rating and a review. You can do that on Apple Podcasts right now by clicking here. If you are an Android user, you can follow the podcast on Spotify here. Those actions will help the podcast reach more people, and I would be truly grateful. Thank you so much.

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If you enjoyed this episode and the Lifestyle Business School podcast generally, I have a favour. Please take two minutes to subscribe, and to write a rating and a review. You can do that on Apple Podcasts right now by clicking here. If you are an Android user, you can follow the podcast on Spotify here. Those actions will help the podcast reach more people, and I would be truly grateful. Thank you so much.

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