A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful dinner with two coach / consultants who have become friends. It was our first in-person meeting yet we quickly fell into all the conversations we’ve had over the years about family, leadership, and…courses?

This conversation sparked. There was fire around courses, course marketing, and the people in our women-focused business space who offer them.

The TL;DR version:

  • No course is “passive.” Course development and marketing are harder and take far more time than advertised.
  • The people who are selling you easy solutions take your money and often don’t deliver on their promises. And may tell you it’s your fault their program didn’t work for you.

Raise your hand if you’ve signed up for a course and not finished it. 

Right, all of us, including me. I bought The Talking Shrimp’s copywriting course in January and have yet to crack it. I did the first module of Amy Porterfield’s list building course in May 2021 and that one section took all the time I had allotted for completing the entire course. 

I felt pretty bad about myself, both for spending the money and then not finishing the material.

In my own course, I’ve observed that the concepts click for one or two people in each cohort, who cruise through and leave stellar reviews. For those who need more help, the structure and price point constrain me from doing a deeper individual dive with them. It’s frustrating to know you can help someone but you need them to buy something else first.

As that honest assessment came up in our conversation, we turned to claims by some of the courses we’ve taken. It brought to mind the movie Napoleon Dynamite: “Vote for me and all your wildest dreams will come true.”

You know it’s not true. But it’s right there and the person has so many followers and slick marketing and knows other famous coaches and there’s a payment plan! 

Some of the claims you’ll see in course marketing:

  • Yes, there is a magic formula for success in business
  • Just do everything I did and you’ll make 7 figures in no time
  • This will not take much of your time
  • If it’s not working, you must not be following the program
  • If it’s not working, it’s your mindset

Many successful course marketers appeal to your reptile brain’s desire for things that are easy and make you feel good. It’s the foundation for most click funnels, what we lovingly call “bro marketing.” Russell Brunson wrote the definitive book, which tells us to exploit the human brain’s desire for easy solutions to make money. (There’s a section on the shared audience development tactics of Jesus and Hitler. Always a sign that you’re doing the right thing.)

Just keep clicking, just keep clicking

It’s not your fault that these programs don’t work for you, even if that’s what the course marketer is telling you. If you’re running a scaled program, you need a lot of people. 79% of women business owners make less than $100,000. So that’s who it’s for. And that’s great if that’s where you are. 

Over six figures, YOU become the driving factor in what happens.

Growing a sustainable six- or seven-figure business is not a “just do what I did” process. At most you can take 60% of what someone else did, the rest will be your own combination of personality, capabilities, lived experiences, and network.  

Here’s the reality: only you make your wildest dreams come true. You’re going to take a few things from any learning experience, guru, or coach that work for you. Feel free to discard the rest. 

 You might not ultimately feel like you got the value you were promised. You can be mad about it, or you can take what worked for you, write a review, and move on. If the course terms & conditions say no refunds, your new bestie/coach/girlfriend is not giving you money back unless you have the energy to organize a class action lawsuit. 

 As of this publication date, my course is currently on hiatus. The feedback has been good, but not joyful. And if we’re both putting our time and money into this, that’s what I want it to be. I’ve been listening through 1:1 engagements and am working with an educational design consultant. My goal is to bring back a version of Founder to CEO that I want to lead and that serves you, adult human CEOs who have your own wildest dreams. 

In the meantime, give yourself grace on buying into a desire for things to be easier. If it’s right for you, you’ll feel less friction and resistance. Lots of things are simple but not easy. If you feel enthusiastic or called to do the work, follow that intuition.