Create and Promote Your E-course in 5 Weeks With Andrea Scher

Episode 6

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Create and Promote Your E-course in 5 Weeks With Andrea Scher

Andrea and I know each other and we are friends from a writing group and I am excited to talk to her more about how to create and promote your E-course. One thing that happened throughout our writing group is we get a know someone in this deep process. We did not become friends through the normal process of talking, but in writing.

It is a beautiful way to get to know someone because you totally eliminate all of the small talk and the, “What do you do?" stuff. You just dive right in to these beautiful stories that are these threads that are underneath all of that. It is an extraordinary way to get to know someone.

Yes, I am not into small talk, I just want to deep dive into the conversation. You and I went to Bali together for your retreat, we got to know each other really well. You have such a unique way of “promoting” without really promoting, like in how you learned to promote your E-course. The way that you do it and the way that you created your blog following is organically by writing about the things that you love and just following where you are taken without paying attention to marketing trends and what everyone else is doing. I remember our conversation on what courses you could create. Can you talk about the process of how you create and how you promote your E-course and how these things resonate with your audience?

I find that the best things that I create come from energy and I juice around it myself. If I am going to pull anyone, I am pulling myself. I ask, "Okay, girl, what are we feeling excited about, what are we feeling curious about, where is our edge right now?" Cultivating Courage is a great example that happened to be a season in my life where I really need to grow my courage muscles. I thought, "What if I gather a hundred women to do it with me and we will do this experiment where we take tiny brave steps each day to strengthen those courage muscles? We will see what happens." It was truly an experiment when I created that course. Who will we be if we do this by 30 days together?

BAMD006 | Promote Your E-Course

Choose wonderful graphics to promote your E-course through emails or for use on social media.

How did that work out and what happened?

It was incredible, I've offered that course once a year since I started it years ago. It is a powerful practice. The 30 days was based on the scientific research on that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I wanted to create a habit of courage where that became my default. I think it works. It is like you are in a lecture and you have a question in your heart, but you are feeling shy about raising your hand. When you have that commitment to courage, you can say to yourself that this is my brave move today and that leads you to raising your hand and asking the question. That is what leads to aliveness and growth as well as wonderful things happening.

Do you look for things that inspire you for you to create things? Or are you just allowing that to happen the organic way?

Yes. I guess there is a question like, “What am I hungry for right now?” I assume that what I need is what the great majority of my people also need. If I feel like I need to feel more connected and to have a community with a tribe of women that I deep talk with. If I need that, I bet the women in community would need that too. It is very unscientific and very intuitive.

It seems to work out because you have all these different kinds of courses. One of the things that I am curious about in terms of your process on how you promote your E-course is your email list. You email your list with short and beautiful images with just a little bit of words to promote your E-course. What is your thinking behind that?

I am very visual and I don’t like reading on a screen, particularly. I create all of my content based on how I like to consume content. For me, it is like blog post size blog posts, making it as brief as possible sharing story. I have a hard time reading online that does not have anything beautiful to look at on the page. Maybe my community is more creative and visual and responds well to this visceral experience of opening one of my newsletters. You get this feeling of deliciousness. I want them to feel something when they open it, and then there's the invitation to join me in whatever little adventure I am concocting. I want them to feel inspired. Visuals do that for me so I recommend to use them to promote your E-course.

I think that is very true. There is also research that you need visuals in your blogs, so that seems to contradict each other. Let’s talk about E-courses, how you create and how you promote your E-course. How did you get into creating them? Are they all E-courses or are some live?

Some have a live element to them. My E-course Bootcamp where I mentor others into creating their own E-course and I tell them how to promote your E-course, which has a live component of weekly calls. Other than that, they are all just E-courses.

What was your process of creating the E-course and how you promote your E-course since you've done it so many times and have replicated it successfully on so many different topics?

When I started, it was a response to being a brand new mom who was writing on very little sleep. I had a one-on-one coaching practice at the time, I realized that I was not going to be able to do that because I could not concentrate because of lack of sleep, I couldn't be present enough for people in that way. Also, I had a really large audience from blogging for so many years, I had been blogging since early 2003. I had a big audience and I thought that I need to leverage this wonderful community throughout the world and create something scale-able that could reach all these people.

Originally I thought I would create E-books and have passive revenue that way. But in the creation of that first E-course, Mondo Beyondo, I was collaborating with a friend on it and we thought that this is best done with the community. The most inspiring way to do this material is to share it while it is unfolding. That is how it all began.

I remember, and I hope I'm not letting out a secret, but I remember you saying that you were only one or two weeks ahead of your students.

One of the dirty little secrets of a lot of us creating E-courses, is that we advertise them before we've written the content. That's what happens most of the time for me. I have a general outline and create the first week of content, and then I become ahead of them by a few days. I love that process because it is so alive and I have major accountability. I also get to feel into the needs of my community as it is unfolding.

I might have planned a certain lesson for a certain week and then I realize that they aren't ready for that lesson yet, or they just kind of realize they might need a break and have a lesson that is, "Today is a do nothing day! You're not allowed to do anything, just take a nap right now." You show up to the page and you create that course if you have people in a classroom waiting for the next lesson.

You are like looking into the future and you are creating it to be with the synergy of the people in your course. Do you recommend, when you are teaching the boot camp, do you plan out the whole thing and then modify it as you go along? I know you also do private sessions with a component where people get the self-guided experience plus five private sessions.

Yes, I tell them at the beginning that this is to some degree, a co-creation. I listen to the experience that you are having. You may notice that some lessons disappear and move around. People love that. They feel like I am really present. The first time that I run a course, I am so invested in what is happening in that classroom. It's a really alive experience for the students in those first sessions. It's a really unique experience.

I think that is very alive and very present. Some people may be scared to do that, and you are very comfortable with spontaneity. Is there anything that you can tell people who might be freaked out about that?

I count myself among them to some degree. It is super stressful. It is a stressful way to do it. Whenever I do it, I struggle a bit and I make myself wrong for it. As I started to be more transparent about that, I discovered that lots of teachers do this. Even teachers in physical classrooms say that this is just how you do it - just stay one day ahead of them. It is more normal than I realized. It would take me so long to write an E-course if I had to wait to launch it until I wrote the whole thing. It could take me years because I am a perfectionist. This eliminates that possibility.

It eliminates procrastination. When you are training people to create an E-course, do you recommend they plan out the whole thing?

That is a missing piece in my curriculum right now that I should put in. I revealed this on the live calls, but I don't know that I've said it explicitly in writing. I don’t know if I totally recommended it as a way of doing it. It has some stress attached to it. You can create half the course and in real time create the rest of it. It is a way to get it done. The thing that I do teach in the create your E-course boot camp is the quick and dirty process. I feel like that is how I do my best work when I get it out and I let it be messy. It is like the wild writing process that we are in weekly.

Just so people know why that wild writing process is so effective is, it is a neuroscience thing because you bypass your thinking mind and get into a place where you're past thinking. You are getting to a deep place in your consciousness. You are getting into a deep and different place in the brain where you bypass the critical mind. There is a startling quality to it that you did not know before you did this kind of excavation.

I think it is really true. You find a place of flow, and as a creative person, that is something that I am always reaching for; how do I get out of the way and just let something come through? My tools are often fun and easy as well as quick and dirty.

This is the same process that I use with people to create their sound bites. People need to speak naturally from a place of relaxation and just blabber. From that the jewels emerge. This is the same process that you can use to go bolster your courage to getting media attention. Meaning, you write a press release that you maybe don't send out, but you write it. It puts your future self into the present. When you put a deadline, it gets done. If you have that in using the same process in making your list of media contacts, it is the same process of putting yourself into the future when you are too scared for where you are now.

I love that, it is like a manifesting move. I will also refer to the fun and easy thing, I use this motto as a tool. It showed up as I was being coached as two of my core values; I love fun and I love ease. When things are fun and easy for me, which is flow. Fun + easy = fun for me. I am always asking myself how this can be fun and easy. It would be fun and easy if I would stop writing and I would be recording my voice. I then start to tell stories on my phone while recording it. It took me 6 minutes and it was said so much better than the crunchy writing that I was doing.

Switching modes can totally free you up. Go with what is easiest.

We think hard things are better and more valuable for some reason. I tweak that and push back against that.

If things are too hard, you are going to the wrong direction. You need to switch directions or switch modalities.

Some things are freaking hard. I am going through a divorce right now. It is not fun and easy. It's like even in that part of my personal life I think, "How can this be more fun and easy?" Well if I had company, if I had someone sitting here while I'm trying to sort through all this paperwork, maybe I could invite a friend to support me that way.

It is part of what you create for your community. Part of creating these E-courses is it is creating this community that people can support each other.

I am really proud of the circles of women that I gather. They are kind and wise and caring. I think there is a way that I share in my world, my blog and courses, is very transparent. That vulnerability translates to feeling connected with me. If you are attracted to that part of me in the way that I express myself, and it is not for everyone, but those that are attracted to me and those qualities, they gather in the courses and there is a culture of sweetness that shows up.

That dispels that notion that we have to reach everyone. We have to understand our core audience to promote your E-course efficiently. You are talking about this in such an organic way. People who are drawn to you are your right people. Because of the way you are is the way you create courses, is the way you teach courses, and because you are transparent and teach from the heart, those are the kind of people that come your way. Sometimes we are worried because we are not attracting a big enough audience.

Of course we always want to grow our business and be more abundant and scale it, but I also feel really comfortable with a thriving boutique E-course business. I don’t have to reach everyone. I can grow inside of this beautiful community that has been on a kind of a slow burn over the last 15 years.

BAMD006 | Promote Your E-Course

Learn how to create and how to promote your E-course with Andrea Scher.

How do you use your social media to promote your E-course?

I have been a blogger since 2003, I still feel that blogging is the best way to reach people because it is a gift. When I send out a newsletter, instead of talking of selling, I offer them something of value just by opening that newsletter. That is something that I've felt really passionate about is being as generous as possible way in that way so that's a natural fit for me.

Another natural fit for me is Instagram. I am a photographer so I take photos every single day with my iPhone. It so easy now to blast that to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. That is an authentic way to play in the world of social media and a way to promote your E-course. People start blogs because they think they are supposed to, but if it is not a natural fit that energizes you, it's not sustainable.

There is a pressure to get into every social media, but what you are saying is that the platform should be natural to you if you want to promote your E-course best. How do you integrate your marketing into that? Do you have a strategy to promote your E-course or do you go as you go? How do you work in the things that are non-promotional that you are doing everyday? How do you go deciding on what feels right to you to promote?

I think social media and marketing is like putting my little ripple in the pond. It is like my little gift to the community. It feels like I have earned the right to market to them when I have a course or other offering I have. I feel like I earned their ear in some way, they pay attention because they are attracted to my spirit.

Let's back up a little bit, so my very first business was a jewelry business. I made these superhero necklaces. I had been blogging a long time and people were following me and were excited about me. When I started this, they then began wanting these necklaces because they wanted a part of this spirit. This became a like talisman for them. It became this object that is coming from me that inspires them. It's the same for the courses, people like to be with me in a process because it is nourishing.

They wanted to get a piece of you with the necklace. Ultimately, when they are choosing you, it is because you created an offer that touches yourself and touches them.

There is a way that I think where we need to give people more information and content. That is not true. We have a stimulus overload going on. There is way too much noise. If you are a sensitive creature, that presence is more important. I don't over load my courses with content, they are very bite-sized, they are very manageable. People will quit very quickly if they are overwhelmed.

Isn't there the tendency of generosity means more, but you are saying that generosity means careful curation.

I don't want to waste people's time is what it is. I value their attention. I really want to offer them something that is inspiring. I did a newsletter recently, and people responded to it more than any newsletter. I cut a banana in half, and what I noticed is there was this little face made from those little brown parts. I thought it was the cutest little grumpy face, like the grumpy cat. I created this little photo montage of the banana and the grumpy cat next to each other, they were identical. People loved it. It is just like asking, "What is here for me today?" The wild writing process is such a great model. One of the things that our teacher Laurie Wagner said is, "Don't try to be brilliant and to be the best writer in the room because that gets in the way." If we want to be an expert and be really smart and professional, I feel like those things get in the way of being authentic.

BAMD006 | Promote Your E-Course

Promote Your E-Course

I remember Laurie also saying, "Don't be concerned about what you are writing, because this writing is not for you. You are writing for the benefit of the group." This is not about ego. It is about touching other people on what they need to hear right now. We do not even know it. It happens so often there. That is something that I needed to hear that would really nourish me.

The best things that have happened to me have come through an unlikely channel like that. My retreat in Bali came about because I wanted to teach a course on something that is about manifesting big dreams and creating a Mondo Beyondo List. For years, on my Mondo Beyondo list had been to go to Bali. I was thinking about that and I was reminded of that dream because my friend, Juna, just got married there and spends lots of time there. The wheel started turning and Juna and I wanted to collaborate on a course. We combined all of that into this retreat experience.

I got that email, and I never thought of Bali because it was not really on my mind, I had been wanting to go to Thailand. So I got that email, I clicked through and I signed up. That is part of following your gypsy spirit, like the one that moves you in the moment. There was something that made me want to go to Bali. I had a huge property tax bill that I hadn’t yet paid for, and I really did not know how to pay for the Bali trip. I knew I was going to go no matter what.

Let's deconstruct that for a moment, what was happening for you was it about the impulse or the marketing? What was it?

It was all those things, and that I had been around you and know what a leader you are. I had a session with Juna so I knew what kind of person she was from just one coaching session with her. I had a good feel for both of you. It was then the picture that you crafted with beautiful images that said, "Wake up in Bali". They were talking about rice fields which I never seen in my life. It was just wild and intense, like when we met the High Priestess at the temple. We would get to see other people from other places who came from all over the world to have that experience. The combination of the language and the images and I felt that I didn't need the process. I just wanted it, I wanted the experience.

I had this realization before we offered that, and you see these people who are teaching yoga retreats and I question myself on how they do these things like taking people to paint in Tuscany. You think it's someone high up who plucks people out of the crowd and says to them, "You are worthy of doing this." It's not that way, it is someone like me who is like I want to go to Bali and it would be fun to get paid for it. You make that up and put it on the website and say, "Join me," then see what happens.

You did it and it was incredible.

It was. We are doing another one this spring, May 8th.

What you are saying here, and this is something that people make up to be so hard, but if this is something that you want, you don’t need to be invited. You don't need some famous person or somebody to say that you are allowed to do this. If this is something that you want to do or something that moves you or whatever it is, do it.

It goes the same for writing books and creating E-courses, we think that we are not qualified. However qualified we are, we have some voice saying in us saying, "Who do you think you are?"

One of the things that people get hung up on, and there is a service called HARO (Help a Reporter Out), and what I mention to people is that an expert is a person who could provide the information that the reporter needs now - that's it. You can become an instant expert by just being the one who has that information they need now, that's your qualification.

You can get quoted in the New York Times tomorrow no matter where you are in your business, if you just started your business yesterday. That's the beauty of it. I think that this is the same thing, what qualifies you is that you've got something that people need now. That if it resonates to you and it resonates with them then that is great. Is there any other way to promote your E-course? Do you do any other kind of promotion other than the email to promote your E-course?

We create a really easy website in Weebly, that's one of those free sites to create a quick and dirty website. Juna did that in four days. We started blasting to our lists and posted it to our Facebook pages several times. That was kind of it. If we needed to gather more people, we were prepared to do a webinar, a little Q&A for people to get to know us and get to know a little more about the program we were offering, but that wasn't necessary.

I think it's interesting that you created a whole separate website for that. There were parts on the website that showed the things we might do and the places we might see with all sorts of links, it was very organized in terms of a packing list and how to do a visa. I think people need that kind of reassurance when they are signing up for things, even if it is an E-course, they want that reassurance for all those things that they might worry about - to know that it's taken care of.

You are absolutely right. Some people are willing to go for it because they know me and know my work very well. Other people, they need to feel that there is a safety in that they have got me.

Some people need to have this badge site that proves that you are legitimate. People need to be reassured through this whole process when you are buying. So when you are promoting something, whether it's an E-course or something else, you have the people who are intuitive and jump on it. I also have to do my due diligence and check out my linear part and make sure that it's all legit. When you are promoting anything, take into consideration that there are different types of people; the nervous nellies, the people who do need everything wrapped up nicely in a package before they commit. You also need to think of these kinds of things that they need before they buy.

Part of the publicity process which brings people to your door, is that then you need the process to convert people from a looky-loo to somebody who is a buyer for you. It's taking into account of all those personalities. We all have our own tendencies and patterns that need to be taken care of in that buying process.

We also need to be transparent. I could really push that further and probably gather even more people as a result because some people are doubtful. I am really playful. For some people that is a delightful breath of fresh air. Some people will need that to be balanced with the super professional stuff, which is even more important for me to be doing that.

We had some interesting people in your retreat who were not maybe your typical core audience.

They were a more linear kind of folks.

More corporate, not what I would expect would be part of your typical audience. I wanted to talk you about your experience and how it worked out for you in World Domination. How you came to be invited and what you did there that is so remarkable and memorable.

Yes and that was a really special experience. I've known Chris Guillebeau who started this conference called the World Domination Summit. He's the author of The $100 Dollar Start Up. We knew each other through the blogging world for many years, and she invited me to do a Mondo Beyondo talk there. It was scary for me because I have never done any public speaking. My collaborator and I were going to talk for 45 minutes. There were 500 people that first year. Part of the way I found to manage my anxiety is that this has to be really experiential and I would not just stand there and lecture at people. We need to get them involved. What began as a way for me to bypass my anxiety, is we were leading people in exercising their core values. We passed out sharpies and they wrote their core values on their arms. It was a whole experience that was really beautiful.

We offered them this really wonderful gift as a surprise at the end. We told them to look under their seat because there was a love note from the universe just for you. It was in an index card where we had handwritten 500 unique notes - we were very serious about this and started writing them weeks before hand. We got a standing ovation. It was really incredible.

What people really want from you is the experience, not necessarily the information even though they want that too. These 500 love notes is really a wonderful idea. People found what they needed. One of the things we talk about in creating your sound bites and what you offer your audience when you are on radio, TV, or print, is just to ask two questions; what does the audience need to know now, and how can I help? It is the essence of the whole thing. If you consistently ask that, you will be successful

You have had a ton of practice. You just do it in a little different process. I want to get back to how to create your E-course in just a minute. Andrea offers a self-guided experience and a five private lesson experience to create your E-course and then how to promote your E-course.

The last thing that I want you to talk about is on how did you get placed in Daily Candy?

This is a great teaching story, I had written on a Mondo Beyondo list that I want to be featured in Daily Candy. That was the epitome for me at that time. It was like getting that would be launching this course into abundance and success. I did not pursue it; it was just on my list. I happen to go to a party in San Francisco and I was still making jewelry at the time. I hadn't launched the E-course business yet, it was not totally present for me yet. When I was at this party and I was talking to this new person, I thought that I am going to test drive this. When she asked, "So what do you do?" I just tried it out and said, "I teach an E-course about manifesting big dreams and helping people dream big."

She was like, "That sounds amazing. Can you tell me more about it?" I was cringing inside because I felt like an imposter, because it has not actually happened yet, but I think, "You got to keep going with it," and so I keep going. I don’t realize that this is an editor of Daily Candy. She said that she wanted to write about it and wanted my information. It was this very accidental pitch. It just came out of me stepping into my future self.

I feel like that’s the theme of this interview today on how to create and promote your E-course, it is stepping into that next expression of ourselves and not holding back. You just make it up and live into it. It is magical. I also believe in magic and I believe that it is how wonderful things happen. You practice courage and you imagine your future self. You then live into it.

I like that you called it "the next expression of yourself." Sometimes we think the next expression is too far away or it is too big. You can’t even imagine it. Like you put Daily Candy on your list and it happens in this other way, you didn't have to badger anyone in sending the same press release over and over again, it happened so organically.

So you worked for SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy), she's got that great phrase, "Miracle find me now." You people who are out there who wanted to have an E-course and need an idea, you just need to relax into it and say, "Miracle find me now. Help me with my E-course, what should the title be and what should it be about?" They might not even know the next expression of themselves, but through your process you can get them to their next expression.

Exactly, that is an exciting process. I love holding space for people in that process. It is really exciting.

Is there anything else that I have not asked you that you wanted to share about how to create and promote your E-course?

I don’t think so. I've loved our conversation, it's been so fun.

Thank you so much for sharing about how you create and promote your E-course and how you teach it with transparency, and how you make things fun and easy, as well as how you find these things that something you need next and you teach and you live into that teaching as you are creating it. You do that through what you really love, which is photography and you are such a wordsmith. Then using this to promote your E-course organically on social media in such a way that people are eager for more.

Thank you.

Thank you so much for being with us today.

BAMD006 | Promote Your E-Course

About Andrea Scher

Andrea Scher. She is an artist and an online workshop teacher and a big believer in the transformative power of creativity. Through her E-Courses; Mondo Beyondo and Superhero Photo, Cultivating Courage, and more. Andrea inspires women of all ages to live authentic, colorful, and creative lives. She is best known of the award winning blog Superhero Journal where she has a huge and loyal following.

She is passionate about the sweet spot where creativity and personal and personal growth intersect. She is also the co-author of the book, Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters Guide to Shooting from the Heart. Now, Andrea mentors other creative folks who would like to know how to create their own e-courses, which you can find at


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