Poke holes in my course idea

I’m writing a book called Angular for Rails Developers. I’ve pre-sold 8 copies. The book, which is pretty much done by now, will be released on August 30th.

I have a list of 440 people (and counting) to whom I’m going to do a big launch sequence leading up to the big day.

I figure that if I’m going to expend all this energy on a launch, why not add a bigger product onto it since I’ve always planned to eventually add a bigger product anyway.

So I’m planning to also sell on 8/30. It’s a course that includes:

  • Four interactive teaching sessions (one per week for four weeks)
  • A free copy of Angular for Rails Developers ($49 value)
  • A reasonable amount of email support
  • Access to private Slack organization
  • Recordings of all sessions

Does that seem like a good idea? Can you guys think of a) any reason why my idea is dumb or b) anything that I could easily add that I haven’t thought of yet?

Keep in mind that it’s pretty much all I can do between now and 8/30 to wrap up the book and create the launch sequence, so that’s a big part of why I’m not creating any assets or anything for this particular course. I’m thinking that if people buy this course, then I can create another more substantial course afterward and charge more for it.

Shouldn’t you ask Rails developers?

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I’m asking for feedback on the idea from a business perspective, not technical.

BTW, I forgot to add that I’m planning to charge $199 for the course. I just came up with a number out of nowhere that sounded good.

The main thing I can see for you is that it’s a lot of work and you haven’t validated any of it.

I’d be interested to better understand what you mean.

As far as the amount of work goes, my intention was actually to make it as little work for me as possible. Rather than spending the time to create meticulously produced videos, I decided to just do live sessions. The book, which has a life independent of this particular course, is pretty much done already.

As far as the validation goes, most of the 458 people on my list (it’s gone up since I last posted) are there because they signed up for an email mini-course (“Angular for Rails Developers”). I’ve also pre-sold 8 copies of a $49 book called “Angular for Rails Developers”. I figure if 8 people are willing to pay me $49 for an Angular for Rails Developers book and a few hundred people are willing to trade their email address for a mini-course, then it’s likely that at least a few people would be willing to pay $199 for a more in-depth course. And of course, if I’m wrong and nobody buys, then I won’t do any of the work.

So if, with that information, it still seems like it’s a lot of work and I haven’t validated any of it, I’d be interested to hear what you mean.

If you get 3 sales of your course, now you have to do 4 live sessions for 3 people. That sounds like a lot of work for me but it could also be an indication that you could find more customers. I dunno.

Yeah, I can see what you mean.

One significant part I didn’t mention is that a big part of my motivation is to learn the answers to a) what kind of person is going to pay me $200+? and b) what are they expecting to get for that money?

Then I can take that knowledge and nail the next course launch…or at least get closer to the mark. Right now I only have a loose understanding of what the underlying motivations of my buyers are. Do they want to find their first job? Do they want a different job? Are they just trying to have fun? I don’t think I can sell a big product very confidently before I have a better understanding of those things.

If you’re experimenting, then what you’re saying is reasonable.

Have you considered simply asking your list whether they would find those kinds of things valuable - maybe tacked on as a P.S. to some regular email update? You might only get a few responses, but each one would be an open invitation to carry on a more detailed dialogue, maybe even to hop on Skype with one or two?

One thing that proved extremely valuable to my product development and launch was to simply ask people who signed up for my list for a quick response about why they signed up and what sorts of problems they’re facing in their daily work. I’ve probably received dozens of responses to that question, and while it’s a self-selecting group, it gave me a lot of insight into how best to serve the audience. In the end, I was able to tweak the focus of my product to better meet the self-reported needs of my subscribers.

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Yes, I do do that. I’ve actually noticed a higher response rate if I create a separate email in my sign-up sequence that specifically asks what their motivations are (as opposed to a P.S.).