How I Made $6,000 on My First Online Offering.

Image by Austin Distel on Unsplash.

You are an expert. More than that, somebody (a lot of somebody’s, actually) are willing to pay you for your expertise. With that in mind, I only have two questions:

  1. What subject matter do you know better than most?
  2. Are you willing to capitalize on it?

As Alec Baldwin said in the 1992 film, Glengarry Glen Ross, “They’re sitting out there waiting to give you their money…are you gonna take it?”

If you feel impostor syndrome crawling up your legs right now, good. If the very idea of selling your intellectual property scares you, even better. I can only speak on my own experiences, but whenever I have been unsure of myself, or scared of stepping into the unknown, those fear-based emotions have always been an indication that I’m on the right track. So trust me when I say I share your pain, and trust me when I tell you to push through it.

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” — Roy T. Bennett

Now, you might be wondering, “But these are unprecedented times, are people really willing to spend money on [INSERT AREA OF EXPERTISE]?” The answer is yes. In fact, now is probably the best time to be entrepreneurial and break into the online space. Why? Because people are willing to gain an advantage right now. They want to get ahead. In other words, discretionary spending is at an all-time high.

And yes, that includes your specific area of expertise. There are just shy of eight billion people on this planet. Which means there are niches in literally any area:

  • History of the Smurfs.
  • Speed training considerations for non-track athletes.
  • How to start a charter fishing side-hustle.

Here’s the deal: as far as I know, you only get one shot at this thing we call, “life” and what a shame it would be if you didn’t share your expertise with the world. My favorite book of all-time is The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield and he closes the book with this sobering, powerful maxim:

“…If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet…Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

In a past life, I had notoriety and a large following as a speed expert. I owned a small training facility in West Michigan, and we did exceptionally well. But it left something to be desired. While a brick and mortar made me an expert on the subject matter of speed, I could only reach those in the Greater Grand Rapids area. I wanted to expand my reach, help more people on their quest for speed, and make more money doing it.

So I decided to try making money online, and I’m glad I did. Here is the exact plan, step-by-step, on how I made $6,000 on my first online offering.

Step 1: “Ask me anything!”

In December of 2018, the “Ask me anything!” feature on Instagram stories were the cat’s pajamas. I utilized Instagram exclusively for this strategy, but nowadays you can — and should — put way more poles in the water, so to speak. Facebook, Snapchat, email lists, etc.

I wielded this feature toward my audience’s pain point by asking,

“What is your biggest struggle when it comes to speed?”

To up the ante, I made a post telling my following whoever sent a response would be granted FREE access to the first ever, #SPRINTORDIE Six-Week Speed Masterclass conducted via private Facebook group, which began on January 1st of 2019.

Within twenty-four hours, I had received over 100 questions. Yowza. Their responses weren’t what I expected, which is more than okay. Why? Because they were basically complaints. Complaints are just poorly formed requests.

Since I planned on my Masterclass being six-weeks in length, I wanted to have six-modules: a specific topic covered each week. How did I decide which topics to cover? Simple: the questions, (complaints) that were asked the most by my followers became the topics for the modules.

Step 1 Action Items

  1. Send/post the question, “What is your biggest struggle with [INSERT YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE]?” to your social media, email, website, etc.
  2. To spur engagement, incentivize your audience by granting them FREE access to your Masterclass when they reply.
  3. The most frequently asked questions are what will become module topics for your six-week course or Masterclass.

Step 2: Conduct your FREE Masterclass.

At this point, I was four-weeks into my experiment. And while I hadn’t earned a dime, the fact that over one-hundred coaches wanted to spend the next six-weeks with me virtually, (looking back now, I sure was ahead of the times, eh?) began to have a snowball effect on my self-esteem as an expert.

“See, I’m not a monster. I’m just ahead of the curve.” — Heath Ledger in 2008 film, The Dark Knight

I prerecorded every module via PowerPoint with a Camtasia add-on feature, which was actually pretty slick pre-Zoom. My floating head in the corner of each slide allowed me to present the material to my audience without losing the human element.

I took the saved recordings and converted them into YouTube videos and then posted the (unlisted) link into our private Facebook group every Monday. This gave my audience a full week to make their way through the modules, (each was no less than twenty minutes and no more than forty-five minutes in length).

To increase engagement and, dare I say, “build a sense of community” there was homework assigned on the final slide of each presentation. Since my Masterclass was on the subject of speed, each participant had to A) film themselves performing the drills and sprints, or B) film themselves coaching an athlete(s) through them.

What homework could you assign in your Masterclass to start building a community?

Lastly, to make sure no one fizzled out, I was very active in the Facebook group. I was hellbent on liking, commenting on, and replying to every single post made in the group. Your audience will join your Masterclass for the material, but they’ll stay for you. You’ve got to consistently show up and be present to enhance their experience.

Step 2 Action Items

  1. Pre-record your modules, (or record live Zoom video with participants) and post the recording into your private Facebook group.
  2. Assign homework at the end of each module to increase group engagement.
  3. Be consistently active in the Facebook group to enhance your participants’ experience.

Step 3: Turn FREE into PAID.

Ten-weeks in. As my first Masterclass came to a close, I posted a Facebook live video in the group making a simple request:

“I’d like to take this Masterclass and turn it into a $600 course — if you feel like you got more than $600 of value from the past six-weeks, then all I ask is that you email me a brief video testimonial highlighting what you’ve gained from this.”

Reciprocity is powerful. You’d be surprised how many testimonials you receive, (provided you knocked the cover off the ball).

This is when things began moving quickly for my next speed Masterclass, (no pun intended). It was mid-February at this point, and I wanted to host another Masterclass when March came around. This time, it would be paid, not free. So, over the next fourteen-days, this was my marketing plan.

  1. I wrote a simple sales page and included the three best video testimonials.
  2. I took the other video testimonials (well over twenty) and posted one every day for the next fourteen days with a short call to action (CTA)at the bottom. See How to Cure Website Shame on why CTAs are so vital.
  3. Using a scarcity tactic, I made it clear that only ten (10) seats were available in the next Masterclass.

The result? Each of the ten seats sold for $597.00. What’s more, there was an eleventh student who desperately wanted in despite the class being full. In order to maintain my integrity, I simply asked the first ten buyers if they would be comfortable with me admitting one more student? Of course they said yes. Now, would it have been a big deal if I just let the eleventh student in without asking? Probably not, but I prefer to be sincere, not shady when doing business.

Step 3 Action Items

  1. Request and collect participant video testimonials.
  2. Include the three best on your sales page to demonstrate your competency with social proof.
  3. Post the others daily for the next fourteen-days with CTAs for your next Masterclass, and don’t forget to include scarcity — it works!

What happened next?

After my first paid Masterclass, I went on to host several more. The money I made from this experiment literally bought the next chapter of my life, which is doing what I’m supposed to with the one life I’ve got — writing.

I’m not talented, if I can make $6,000 with my first offer in less than twelve-weeks, so can you. Use the skills, knowledge, and expertise on a particular subject matter to buy the next chapter of your life so you can pursue your passion. Or better yet, perhaps your expertise and passion dovetail? Whatever the case may be, please, share it with us, because I’m selfish. I want to see what you’ve got.

“Are you born a writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action. Do it or don’t do it.” — Steven Pressfield

You’ve got this!

What does it take to be considered an expert? In my opinion, you only need to be one chapter ahead of your audience on a specific subject matter. It isn’t my intention to sound like a reductionist, my intention is only to empower you.

You are an expert. More than that, somebody (a lot of somebody’s, actually) are willing to pay you for your expertise. With that in mind, I only have two questions:

  1. What subject matter do you know better than most?
  2. Are you willing to capitalize on it?

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Hunter Charneski

Hunter Charneski

Writer. 100m, 200m and 400m Sprinter. Insurance Agent at New York Life.