I started my online business in January 2014. I thought that I needed an online course right away and created one in March. I barely had an email list, only a few followers and no audience to sell my course to.
Still, when I did a free beta round, 134 people signed up and I got great testimonials out of it. But I soon realized that I didn’t just want to do a small online course, I needed a signature program in order to create a bigger community and to live from my business.
I had no idea what that signature program should be. What I did know was that I needed to create more content. I had been so focused on creating my first online course that I hadn’t spent much time actually creating content for people to consume.
I found that blogging took me too long so I started to do webinars. People had to sign up with their email address to participate, which worked well back in 2014. Today, I would recommend you create content that people can consume without having to sign up – so called non-gated content – alongside the content that you give to people after signing up.
Within a few years, I had done 100 webinars and was selling them without really having a community. I wasn’t inspired by just doing webinars anymore. I knew that the trainings were full of valuable content and that I could use them for my signature course. I just didn’t know how yet.
“So basically you have nothing to sell”
In 2016, I was still selling my webinars as packages. I had started working with a new coach and in our first mastermind call, my coach asked the group: “What have you got to celebrate?” I told her that I’d just had a $230,000 launch and sold out all my mastermind programs. The coach said to me: “So basically you have nothing to sell now.” It was exactly what I needed to hear.
At the time, I was following other business coaches and saw that they had created their signature course in their first year of business. I asked myself, “How did they do that? How did they know what their ideal client wanted?”
Today, I know that everyone has their journey and things don’t move any faster by being frustrated. And what really turned a switch in my head was that comment of my coach.
I wanted to announce my signature program as soon as possible, even though I didn’t know what it was yet. Funny enough, the time pressure caused me to wake up one morning with a clear idea in my mind of what my signature course should be about.
My Course Idea Takes Shape
I wanted to create a program that was better than the MBA I had done at London Business School. There had been no education about entrepreneurship during my MBA, so I wanted my course to be all about entrepreneurship. And specifically, I wanted female entrepreneurs to learn how to run an online business. Sigrun’s Online MBA, a.k.a. SOMBA, was born.
My webinars became my online library on entrepreneurship. They contained everything on how to run a successful online business: How to create an online course, how to launch, how to build a team, how to do copywriting. Then I created 12 modules over time that provided a curriculum. The course wasn’t going to be one of the many short 8 to 12-week programs already on the market. I designed it to be a thorough 12-month course.
SOMBA – My Signature Course Became a Reality
I announced SOMBA in my next webinar where I talked about my launch formula, and at the end I said that all my mastermind groups were sold out, but I had something new: Join the inaugural class of SOMBA for $1,000. The first ten people to sign up get a one-on-one call with me. 50 people signed up!
Even though I hadn’t created all the content yet, my signature program was here to stay. Now I had to get to work and create more content, create a community and most of all, understand who had joined and what they needed.
After a few more launches, SOMBA revenue was $300,000 in its first year. Each launch got bigger as I enlarged the community, worked on my list building and launched a podcast in August 2017. I made 100 episodes in 100 days, held live events and created freebies. With more visibility and content, SOMBA became more and more successful. In 2018, revenue from SOMBA was a million dollars.“All signature online courses have the potential to be a million-dollar online course.” - Sigrun
Three Key Points to Keep in Mind when Creating Your Signature Course
I’ve learned a number of lessons in creating my signature program. Here are the top three key points you should keep in mind when creating your own signature course.
1) Know your ideal client.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Start with one-on-one sessions to really understand what your clients want. Then you can move to group programs, tackling their issues and offer your clients the support they really need.
2) Determine how you can be different.
What can you offer that other people are not offering? It may feel as if everything already exists, and to some extent that’s true. I didn’t invent hot seat calls, nor weekly office hours. But I combined the two to make my program unique.
Don’t take over someone else’s structure or course and do the same. Wait until you have the idea that makes your program truly yours.
3) It takes time to reach your goals.
It’s probably not possible to reach your goals and become successful in just six, eight or 12 weeks. But if you have a profitable idea and set a reasonable goal, like creating a signature course people are happy to pay for, you can do it in 12 months.
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