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If you’ve been reading the blog or following me on social media, you know I’ve been struggling with business burnout. Not in a major way, but in small areas of my life and business.
I just need to take a break and do some pruning! So I’m doing something crazy to stop the burnout and start finding my passion again.
On June 12th I retired all of my online courses. Yep, I made them unavailable to the public and will no longer be promoting my digital products.
I took down all the links and removed the buy buttons. I also deleted all the email sequences and mentions of my courses. The decision to do this is not something I took lightly.
I’ve actually been mulling this over for a few months and even ran it by my accountability group. The resounding consensus was that I should follow my heart and stop selling courses.
I made money selling online courses
But you’re probably wondering why the heck I would stop selling courses if they made me money? I’m going to share those reasons in a sec, but first let’s back up.
How much did I make selling online courses? According to my GoDaddy Bookkeeping software, I earned nearly $12,000 selling digital products in 2016.
This may not sound like a lot over the course of the year (compared to what other blogger course sales) but that’s nearly $1,000 A MONTH in revenue. My decision to quit selling online courses was definitely affected by these numbers.
Still, I found that moving forward with my idea of retiring these courses was the best choice. So, here are the main reasons I’m not selling digital products anymore.
1. Online courses are exhausting (for everyone)
Digital content and online courses take a lot of time and energy. The creation process can last several weeks or several months. Then there’s marketing, launching, updating the content, adding more resources and answering student questions.
Once you’ve done all that you’d think you’d be done but NOPE. You have to do it all over again in a few months. It’s exhausting!
And I know it’s exhausting for readers of this blog (and other blogs/websites) as well as those in the online business/freelancing industry, to constantly be sold to all the time.
In fact, my target audience is full of online freelancers, small business owners and entrepreneurs which means you’re CONSTANTLY being marketed to. More courses, better videos, higher conversion rates, greater deals, and the list keeps going — for daaaaaaays.
But then it hit me. If I’m tired of being sold to then why do I constantly keep selling?
BOOM. Time to make a change.
2. It’s the wrong business model
Now, this is just my PERSONAL PREFERENCE but everything that comes with being an online course creator and seller just isn’t right for me. Part of the marketing process means capturing email leads from your website, putting everyone into an email sequence and up-selling them on your course.
But I don’t freaking care about any of that!
Then there are massive launch periods that need to happen every few months in order to keep the revenue coming in. This business model means that if you’re not actively selling then no one is buying your courses and you’re not making money.
And that leads to a cycle of burning out very quickly.
(Selling digital products is in no way a wrong business model — it’s just wrong for me!)
3. The core purpose has been lost
I thought online courses were supposed to teach people, and help them learn a skill or figure out a new idea. But somewhere along the way they became meta.
Courses about creating courses. Ebooks about writing ebooks. Blogging about starting a blog. Yada yada.
But that’s so BORING and very disingenuous.
I prefer to offer workshops, resources and awesome blog posts for FREE. The best part of my days are spent interacting with the Careful Cents community one-on-one, like in the Facebook group or in personal coaching sessions.
So that’s what I’m going to focus on; this community and serving YOU better. Every single person who comes to this blog is a just that, A PERSON. You have your own quirks, ideas and goals that should be valued.
The sad part is that too many online marketers view us readers as just a number and formulate their products accordingly. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t care about selling anymore, or heat maps, or conversion rates. I just want to have a conversation.
Conversations > conversions.
I want to get to know you! Why? Because I have a feeling you can teach me a thing or two, just like I can help you, too.
And if you pay for a tool or buy something through one of my affiliate partnerships, or are interested in learning more about a brand I’m working with, then that’s GREAT. But my livelihood doesn’t have to depend on you spending your hard-earned money.
I don’t want to make money OFF you, I want to make money WITH you.
4. Digital products are becoming harder to sell
Now, all this isn’t to say that NO ONE is buying online courses anymore, but they are definitely buying less of them. In my own life this is true, and it’s a trend I’ve noticed with MANY entrepreneurs that I interact with every day.
What are we still buying though? Ebooks, workbooks and workshops. Those are still being sold like hotcakes, but these are mostly in the $20-50 range. Or perhaps very expensive courses/classes that cost thousands of dollars still sell, but anything in-between isn’t selling as much as it used to.
What does that mean for the online course world? Niche down, for one. Like super-niched.
Most of my courses were more broad and I haven’t figured out a way to niche them down, so I’m retiring them instead.
5. Simplify in order to amplify
For these reasons I’ve made the decision to revert this blog and my brand back to its core purpose; building a community that supports small biz owners and freelancers who want to build a life-centered business.
It’s time to simplify in order to amplify, which is a quote that Marie Forleo recently shared in one of her videos. It really stuck with me!
So I’ve simplified my offerings to only focus on 3 main areas:
- Working with brands and affiliate partners
- One-on-one business coaching
- Freelance writing and blogging
Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future (I always have that right!) but for now this is what my business and blog is going to look like going forward.
Got questions? Sound off in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts and perspective on my decision and where the online industry is going.