#172: Busting 5 Common Digital Course Creation Myths


Welcome back to the Digital Course Creator Podcast! Today is all about myth-busting. Over the past several years, in particular, I’ve noticed some common myths or misconceptions about digital course creation and building a business as a digital course creator. These myths can easily derail any course creator from reaching their goals. Since we are at the start of the year, I thought now would be the perfect time to uncover these myths so that you can keep your eyes and thoughts open to them as you build your business in 2024.

The Myths

We all come to entrepreneurship and digital course creation with preconceived ideas, don’t we? We all come with this idea of how it’s going to work, how we’re going to build our course, what impact our course is going to have on our family, on our business, on the world. And as we get immersed into the culture of digital course creation, our ideas can sometimes take on this mythical reality. It’s easy to start believing in myths as we see just pieces of the journey that other people are taking. For example, I’m in a digital course creation group, and I saw someone post that overnight. They had grown their list by thousands of people. Everyone, oh my gosh, the comments, the hundreds of comments on this post. Oh my gosh, what did you post? What did you say? Where did you post it? What was your list builder or lead magnet about? I need to know so I can go do this. And then I jumped in because I knew that a lot of people here on this post were thinking, if I just do this thing that this person did, I’m going to have my list grow by thousands as well. And so I asked the person, just out of curiosity, how many followers did you have where you posted this on social media? And the person came back and it was something like 40 or 50,000 followers, maybe even higher, and they got a few thousand of those people to sign up for their list builder. Now, many of the people who said, what did you make your post about? What did you say? I want to go do that so I can get thousands of people to have followings of just a couple hundred. And so there’s this myth that if we have the right post, we can massively build our business overnight. And while that might be true for some unicorn person out there, the reality is that this doesn’t really happen. And so I tell you this example, because there are plenty of myths out there that we are really leaning into as being true. That can derail our business, it can derail our mindset, it can derail our messaging, it can derail our ability to even take action. And that is not what I want for you here on this podcast. I want you to be able to sit down each week to your business and have a mindset that allows you to move forward, be able to take meaningful action so that you reach your goals and to create messaging that is going to hit right. But we can’t do any of those things and we can’t get to that vision and mission for your business if these myths are taking over who we are, what we are, what we’re doing inside our business as digital course creators. So today I want to share with you five common myths that sneak in kind of in the middle of the night when you don’t least expect them a little bit like a nightmare and just like a nightmare. We need to say, you know what? Here it is. Let’s just uncover it and then move forward. So today I want to walk you through five myths and the truths behind them.

Myth 1: Build it and they will come

How many times have you said that? Heard it, read it. Oh my goodness. Build it and they will come. The truth is, and I wish this was not a myth, the truth is that you can build a lot of things, but if you don’t have an audience and you don’t cultivate an audience, these things you’re building will sit in your virtual file drawer and gather dust. Why do I know this? Because when I first got started, I thought, alright, I’m doing something important. What I’m doing is needed and people would be silly not to take me up on it. The challenge was that I had no audience, no one knew I was creating it. Build it and they will come is just a myth. Build it, market it, and they will come is a more accurate truth. Yes, the products you create are valuable, they’re meaningful. We need them in our society. But unless you create messaging and marketing and a plan for that marketing that gains attention and the right attention from the right people, unless you widen your connections and have conversations, you are going to have products, services, offerings that just sit in the file drawer. You have to learn to share what you’re doing in a compelling way in order for people to come. And it’s not just about sharing it in a compelling way. You have to actually get out there and increase how many people are seeing what it is you are sharing. And for a lot of people I know, especially at the beginning of their digital course creation process or journey, this feels really big and scary. I was on a call just a few days ago with someone and she told me she’s a baby course creator. In other words, she’s just getting started on her course creation journey. And she knew that the missing piece was how to build an audience and an audience of the people who would be her clients, who would want her course, would want her one-on-one services. And so we spent 45 minutes talking through what it would look like for her to build her audience, how to talk about what she’s doing and where to find the people so that when she builds it, they will come. She knew that just building it would not be enough. A lot of times we feel like internally what we’re doing is so important. Why would anyone not want it? Well, yeah, it is important, it is valuable, but people can only want it. They can only want your course if they know you’ve made it and they know what it will do for them, what transformation will it offer?

Myth 2: If you could just figure out the tech, everything else will fall into place

Myth two, I see this all the time. If I could just figure out the tech, everything else will fall into place. Does that sound familiar? If I could just figure out the tech, everything else would fall into place. That’s the thing that’s holding everything up. Okay? The truth about this is yes, tech can be tricky. Yes, it can hold you up, but there is always going to be something tricky that you need to navigate as a digital course creator. It’s going to be your objectives or what you should teach, or what order you should teach things in. What resources do you need to provide your students? What follow up do they need? What interaction do they need to make sense of the content? Do you need to provide multiple ways to access the content? And the answer is yes, if you want to be accessible. There’s always going to be something that you feel like, if I could just get through this hurdle, everything else will fall into place. So don’t let this concept of if I could just, if only I could start to creep into your everyday language because that’s when you start to procrastinate. Well, until I figure this out, I really can’t move forward with anything else. If I could just figure out the tech piece, where I’m going to host my course, what platform I’m going to use, then I could get started creating my content. Now go ahead and start creating your content today. You can always make the little adjustments if it needs to be a PDF versus a PNG versus a word doc. You can always make those kinds of adjustments when you choose your tech platforms. The key is to not let decisions that you have to make stand in the way of you taking other meaningful action in your journey. So often in digital course creation, we get into this mindset of, well, I need to do things in a specific way, in a specific order. And while there are some things that you need to do in a specific order, like you need to have course objectives before you record your course videos, many things can be done simultaneously. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap of, “If only…then I could”, because that’s just the sign of procrastination. So myth two, if I could just figure out the tech, everything else will fall into place. Nope, I wish that were the case, but there will always be something tricky that you need to navigate.

Myth 3: I don’t make enough money to get help

Myth number three, I don’t make enough money to get help. I have to figure this out on my own. The truth here, and I very much appreciate every entrepreneur being fiscally responsible, financially responsible, and aware of what their budget can withstand and what it can’t. So please, when you hear what I’m about to say, I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring that because I’m not in any way, shape or form. So our myth is I don’t make enough money to get help. The truth is, you’re actually likely to miss things as you are creating your course, as you’re building your business, as you’re building your messaging and marketing that would, you’re going to miss things that would make you money, okay? Whereas if you have a guide or some help that can, that person can help you identify those things and you can actually make more money sooner. The challenge here is that it feels big to take that step to hire someone. It feels big to say, I’m not quite making money yet, so I don’t think I can afford someone. Well, yeah, you can. Now, this does not mean you are buying the most expensive one-on-one consultant out there. I know of some really great people that charge $75,000 for a three month commitment. You work with them twice a month, I think for an hour or two hours each time, and that’s it. $75,000, okay? I don’t buy that service, but I do get the help of coaches who are in my budget to help me see my blind spots, to help me get through different hurdles, to help me know when I should rename the podcast, to help me know what items are more meaningful in terms of action taking right now, and which ones can be put off just having someone to be able to talk to. When you think about building your digital course, when you think about building your digital business, I want you to get really comfortable with money. I want you to start recognizing that sometimes you do actually need to spend some money to make some money. And a lot of times what happens, and I see this, someone will say, I’m willing to spend money. I’ll buy a course on how to do this. And there’s no individual help. And so you take the course and you put some things into action, but maybe they need tweaking because you’re not the expert on this system that you’ve been implementing. That’s where you need to look for opportunities to hire someone to help you with that implementation. This is a tricky part of business because it’s uncomfortable, and being an entrepreneur often makes many of us a little uncomfortable, especially from the money aspect as you’re getting started. But what you’ll see happen is when you invest in really good quality help and guidance, you are actually going to make huge leaps forward faster. Myth three, I don’t make enough money to get help. The truth is there’s help available at all price points at all budgets. And the sooner that you get some help, the sooner you can make that progress.

Myth 4: Need to be unique in your topic

Myth four, you need to be unique in your topic. All right? I see this time and again, I see digital course creators sit down and say, I want to create a course. I say, great, what are you creating your course on? Tell me more about that. And they say, well, I really want to create a course about this, but there’s already like 30 courses out there on this topic, so I really have to find something else. But the things I’ve uncovered, I’m not really interested in them, but they aren’t as crowded, so I think I should just go with it. Here’s the truth. When you find a space, a topic that you’re really passionate about that’s getting you excited, I want you to go ahead and pursue it. Even if there’s a lot of, especially if there is some competition. Here’s why. If there’s competition, that means there’s a market for this. When you are entering a market that’s already established, that means people are used to spending money. People are used to seeking help for this topic, which means guess what? There’s space for you. The content that you teach may not be all that different from someone else. However, how you teach it, how you share it, the resources you provide, the student experience that you give, that’s all going to be unique to you. What happens is people look through the different offerings on your topic and they say, what does each one give me? Let me look at the price point. And then they make a decision. But when they say, what does each one give me? And maybe you have a live q and a and the person next to you, it’s completely out of the box course, no, no interaction with the course creator at all. You know who those people that recognize they want a little bit of support are going to choose you. Even if the content were exactly the same, they’re purchasing that time with you. In fact, I purchased a service not too long ago, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t actually read through all of the offerings that I was going to get as part of that service because there was one piece of it that I couldn’t get anywhere else, and that’s what I was there for. So people are looking at your offer and looking at how you are presenting this in a unique way? What is unique about what it is you’re teaching? What is unique about your offer? What are you giving them that no one else will? So when you come across a course topic, you’re really excited, then you go do this Google search, this YouTube search, and you find that there are quite a few courses already out there on the topic. Don’t feel like you need to back away and be completely unique in your topic. What you need to be unique in is your approach.  In fact, if you listen to a lot of the big marketing folks, they’ll say, unless you want to and have the financial resources to be the trailblazer, go with a topic that’s already out there.

Myth 5: If you post enough time, you will be able to sell your course or get traction with your lead magnet.

Myth number five, if you post enough times, you will be able to sell your course or get traction with your lead magnet. If you post enough times, you will be able to sell your course or get traction with your lead magnet. The truth is, if all you are doing is posting about your course and your lead magnet, it will not yield the results that you want unless you want maybe one or two sales. And most of you listening to this podcast probably don’t just want one or two sales. You want to actually make some money doing this, right? You have poured your heart and soul into this concept of a digital course, and you want it to pay some dividends, right? I see this all the time. I watch people post in groups that I’m in and they say, well, I posted my lead magnet eight times over the last week. I emailed my list three times. I’m not getting any responses, or I’ve gotten a few responses. That’s not unusual. That’s pretty normal. First of all, in the case of a lead magnet, specifically, if you are emailing your list about that they’re already on your list, just give them the lead magnet or let them grab it. You know, say, Hey, go click on the link. Just put in your name so I know you grabbed it and I can give you the help you need with it. We’re not trying to get people on our list at that point, right? They’re already on the list. When you post eight times, I want you to think about every time you go to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, those feeds are fast and furious. So to have posted eight times, someone may not have even seen it. So I’m not telling you to post 20 times. What I’m saying is you need to have a relationship with your followers. You need to have a relationship with your audience, and you can say, Hey, Susie, you know, I just created this new PDF. It talks about this, and I thought of you because I know the last time we were on a call, you said it was really troubling you to fill in whatever your lead magnet is about. Now, when they see your, your DM or your message, your email, they say, oh, they were really thinking about me. I’ve got to go get this because it’s gotta be good if they thought about me. What you’re doing is creating relationships, and this goes back to myth number one of building it and they will come. We have to build relationships in this business, in digital course creation. This is a one-to-many thing, right? And a lot of people really love the concept of a digital course because of the one to many aspect. We only have so much time in our calendars for one-to-one work, but a one-to-many offer like a digital course. It gives us so many more options in terms of revenue, in terms of reach, in terms of impact, but the way to start that momentum is to have conversations, is to talk to your people, get on calls. I do this all the time. I get on coffee chats and talk with someone for 30 minutes about StoryBrand messaging or about digital course creation, and every single time, well, nine times outta 10, this unlocks something for that person and they can take the next step forward. Imagine if you got on those calls and every time, nine times out of 10, you unlocked a key for them to take the next step forward. What are they going to do? They’re going to offer to write you a review. That happens. Sometimes they’re going to offer to share with their friends what this amazing call brought to them, so they’re sharing how amazing you are. They’re going to say, what do you have? Because I’d like to buy it. I have my credit card ready. All of these are good things. All of these things happen because we talk to people, not just sitting behind our keyboard, not just posting eight or 10 times or sending an email a couple of times. So if you post enough times, you will be able to sell your course or get the traction you want in your lead magnet. That is a myth. You have to build relationships.

Action Item

What are you going to do to take action this week? I have a few ideas for you, but if you have already thought about how you’d like to take action, you can scrap my ideas and do your own idea. But if you are looking for some ways to take action this week, here are a few thoughts for you. Notice when you’re scrolling social media this week, especially if you see posts of success and you kind of fall into those myth worthy traps, what are those myths? What are those traps that can influence our mindset, the actions we take and everything else? I want you to recognize when that happens, how do you feel? What actions do you take because of falling into the myth trap? And then I want you to start coming up with a plan for what to do when you find yourself recognizing things that are myth worthy or unicorn-esque. You know, the person who got thousands of followers, thousands of lead magnet subscriptions overnight, that’s a unicorn-esque situation. That person had multiple thousands upon thousands of followers, and it was just a teeny tiny percentage that said yes to that lead magnet offer. Notice the myth worthy traps and come up with a plan for when you find yourself kind of slipping into that myth, slipping into that mindset, the myth generates and creates, and what steps can you take to get to the truth? A lot of times it’s asking more questions, like I told you about with that post with 40 or 50,000 followers. I said, well, how many followers do you have? It was a simple action of asking a question because once you had that 40 or 50,000, you could do a simple math equation and figure out that the conversion rate was actually somewhere around 1%. And so someone with a conversion rate of 1% but has a hundred followers, we’re talking one new person on their lead magnet list, and that puts things in perspective. So ask questions. What kinds of questions can you ask when you find yourself in these myth worthy moments, these unicorn-esque type moments? And that’s a good way to identify that. It might be a myth. If it feels like a unicorn, it probably is. If it looks like a unicorn, sounds like a unicorn, it probably is a unicorn. You don’t have the whole picture.


As we wrap up for today, I want you to keep in mind the myths that we talked about. We talked about five myths.

  1. Build it and they will come.
  2. If you could just figure out the tech, everything else will fall into place.
  3. I don’t make enough money to get help.
  4. You need to be unique in your topic, and
  5. If you just post enough times, you will be able to sell your course or get the traction you want with your lead magnet.

These are all myths. I would love to hear from you what myths you find out in the wild, because there are so many. In fact, there are so many myths, especially around digital course creation, that this entire month is going to have a theme of myths, which means next week we are going to continue talking about myths. More specifically, we are going to talk about the use of AI in digital course creation because there are some really hot topics here that I cannot wait to share with you. It’s going to be one that you do not want to miss.

Show Resources

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Please Note: Dr. Moira was a Certified StoryBrand Guide from May 15, 2022 until July 15, 2024. Any episodes mentioning StoryBrand were recorded during a time when she was certified as a Guide. If you would like to be connected with an active StoryBrand Guide, feel free to reach out as she still maintains contacts within the Guide community.

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