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032: How To Earn Passive Income With Your First Evergreen Course

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

If you're in the online business space, you will have heard of passive income, and I'd be amazed if you didn't wonder how that could work for you. Passive income is surely the best way of unlocking abundance with minimal effort and maximum impact. So, if you're interested in learning how I've gone about it and how you could start, let's dive in.

Now I've been looking at passive income for a number of years thinking, God, that would be cool.

Wouldn't it be great if I could earn money in my sleep? That's the way they talk about passive income, right? Literally earn money when you sleep, so you wake up in the morning and look at your Stripe account or your PayPal and see money dropping in. So many people in the online business space make this work for them, so why not you? Why not us? Let's do it.

How can we do it now? I've been thinking about this for some time, and I know that for me, the answer lies in an evergreen course. I'm going to tell you a bit more about how I've gone about it and a bit more about how perhaps you could too in just a second, but first let's talk a bit more about why passive income is so great and how people produce it.

A lot of people look at producing a book, for example. If you think about book sales, once you've written the book, you can keep earning royalties and exactly the same thing happens if you write music. Some people produce printables. For instance, if you head over to Etsy, you can sell something that's easily repeated over and over again. For example, journals, calendars, or to do lists - things that help people with productivity. These are something that I've got ambition to produce in the future.

I think that serving people by giving them a tool that's incredibly useful, that you only need to produce once and that people can buy many times over, is surely a fantastic way to take your business.

That's the key. It's where you produce something once and then sell it and sell it and sell it, but without you showing up physically - without it being a burden on your time going forward. You get that initial inspiration, you produce something with amazing value that's incredibly helpful to people, and then sell it over and over again with no additional amount of your time being expended.

Now in the online business space, if you produce a course that you record videos for and you put online for people to watch and you sell it to them, it's called an evergreen course - evergreen because it's sold all year round. It's not a matter of launching it in a big launch - the program is starting in three weeks, get on board - it's not that at all. It's always on sale.

Something I really want you to know is that an evergreen course doesn't have to be big, and it doesn't have to be complex. Let me share with you the journey to my first evergreen course, to show you how these things can evolve - they don't have to be very complicated at all.

My first evergreen started with a throwaway comment that I made when I was promoting my program last year, called the ‘Messy Bun Boardroom’. The program at the time was a CEO program to help people be more intentional on a monthly basis when planning their strategy for that business. When I was promoting this container so people could join me, I had recognised that several people were struggling to create their offer and I said, you know what? If you join this program, you can join me for a very special bonus co-creation session where we’re going to work on offers. I literally just threw it out there in the best possible online business way, which is to gauge interest - state your intention to produce something and then go and produce it, rather than the other way around.

I got a really good response to that. People were very excited about this bonus, as people should be about bonuses for your programs. Once my Messy Bun Boardroom program got underway, I knew that this workshop was happening, and I had to zero in on the result that people were going to leave this workshop with. I’d known that producing offers wasn't straightforward for everybody, but the more I looked at it, I realised that it wasn't a matter of helping people produce their most epic long-term offers, but actually helping them produce offers that they didn't realise they even had inside them - ones that they could actually promote this week. Something they could sell and actually make money and generate income sooner rather than later - ideas for simple offers that they could originate with minimal effort and maximum impact.

As I started planning this workshop, it occurred to me that if I recorded the content for it, I could turn this into a mini course that I could share with others online. It's no lie that this for me was inspired action.

I talk a lot about inspired action being flow and inspiration and it came to me that this was going to be my very first evergreen mini course.

I wanted it to be of high quality, so I made sure that I dived into some training that I found online about how to run a workshop and turn that into a mini course. I really absorbed the information and made sure that I took everything on board when I went into that workshop, so I'd be in the best possible position to actually produce an evergreen course that I would be proud to share.

If you're going to look to produce your first evergreen course, the first thing that you need to do is decide on your topic.

The best thing you can do is to be very single minded about the topic that you're going to cover. Try to avoid recreating your epic master course in this mini course. People need to learn one simple thing and they're willing to pay for it. Teaching one simple thing that you're an expert on will give you great authority and credibility and selling a low-cost mini course is one strategy to build your mailing list that doesn't involve giving away a lead magnet. It’s actually really elegant if you consider it as a way of introducing people to your work. Keep it simple and pick one clear, easy to understand topic that you know your avatar wants and you're going to be able to sell to them with clarity of sales messaging.

You can record the modules sitting on your own in your room, recording on video, or you can do it in the way that I did. I loved doing a live workshop which I then recorded, because for me personally, the energy when I'm doing something live is on a different level to when I'm recording just on my own. I think I rise to the performance, and I know I'm not alone in that - so if you're someone that really needs to lift your energy by being in front of people live, consider doing it as a live workshop, even with a few people, even if you don't promote it, although I highly recommend that you should. Make sure that you structure your presentation in such a way that you can cut it down into smaller videos later. Make sure you have a good microphone and a good video camera, but ultimately, as important as getting the tech right is, being uniquely you - giving value, serving, and helping your avatar overcome a pain point that they have so they can move towards their desires.

That’s ultimately what's going to sell, so please don't let anything be a barrier to you moving forward, if this is what's in your heart.

I don't want to hear that you couldn't do it because your microphone wasn't good enough, or you couldn't do it because you didn't know how to use Zoom - reach out, ask questions, do it messy if you have to, because of course, by doing it messy you will learn how to do it better for next time.

If you never do it at all, well, you'll always wonder, and you certainly won't be progressing your business.

I can talk from experience here because I did fall into procrastination when it came to choosing a platform. What I mean by this is somewhere to house your videos. Somewhere that when you sell your evergreen course, people can actually access it. Now there's a really low-tech way of doing that - you can simply upload your videos to YouTube, make them unlisted or private, and then share them only with people who have sent you payment. This works really well if you're keeping it small, but if you're planning to scale - and that certainly was my plan - then one of the platforms out there like Kajabi, MemberVault, Groove, Thinkific, are the sorts of platforms that you can house your mini course and many other things on and easily build sales pages. Then the process is automated - when somebody makes the payment, they get the course unlocked.

Whilst I'm not a tech expert, I can tell you about the conclusions I drew by looking at these platforms. I actually tested three of them. I tested Kajabi, MemberVault and Thinkific and actually I was really impressed by all three of them. Eventually I did choose Kajabi though, after much deliberation. It was the more expensive of the three, but the jump in price was not so significant that it overrode the advantages for me. I loved the professional look of the course in Kajabi, and I appreciated how much effort it takes to move things over from one platform to another. So, for me, it was about investing in the long-term future of my business and knowing that in two years or five years, this is where I want my courses and programs housed. If you do want to see what Kajabi is like, I'm going to put my affiliate link in my show notes so you can get a free trial, but any of those platforms will house your mini course successfully.

I took my live workshop and edited the videos very, very simply on some basic software on my laptop. I rebranded the course, calling it ‘Your simple next offer’ and broke it into modules. In the mini course I go through a journey where I start with barriers, such as not knowing what to do for your offer, feeling like you can't charge or charge enough for your offer, or how to overcome these mindset issues. Then I dive into the practical nature of how to actually create an offer, how to be inspired by what your natural gifts are and what's already in your head.

I created a technique where I help people actually get this out their head and on to a piece of paper so they can see the variety and richness of things they are able to teach, so their simple next offer can come from an inspired place.

In the next module I share five simple offer types that help inspire how you can package what you can teach into a very simple, understandable offer that can literally sell this week. I then round the training off with how to validate your offer and how to actually sell it in a very simple, non salesy way. What I love about creating a mini course is that you can use your bonuses there too. For me, that included a bonus Q and A, and also a bonus training session with Adrian Mitford who teaches how to use Groove Funnels to create a free sales page. I bundled this up into Kajabi, had loads of fun creating the graphics, structuring it, and doing the video editing, which I appreciate isn't for everyone, but it really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

When it comes to your evergreen, you have to pick a price point. There is no right or wrong price point when it comes to these mini courses but let me explain a couple of ways that you can go. First of all, you could simply charge what it's worth, and I'm sure that your training would be incredibly transformative for your special avatar. If this is your primary offer, price it accordingly. Project forward how many of these you're going to sell each month and ladder that in to how you're going to make profit for your business. I took a review at the end of the workshop and asked people what they thought that training was worth and then I chose to completely ignore the high values that people responded with. I've picked a $27 price point and let me explain why. First of all, I want to make this mini course as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.

As I'm building my business, I would love more people to know who I am, what I do, and most importantly, how I can help them. Getting this mini course into their hands at a really low price point so they can experience my teachings and potentially want to work with me in the future is priceless to me.

I see this as a way of expanding my reach, expanding my know, like, and trust, and also building my mailing list. There's also the opportunity to create an upsell when you sell through one of these platforms like Kajabi. Now, I'm sure that you will have seen this as a consumer many times over. When you click on an offer that feels really cheap or fantastic - $27, yes, I want that! - then you click on it and just as you reach the basket, it offers you something else. It says, oh, before you go, perhaps you'd also like to buy this at $47 or this at $97. I have many times refused the upsell, but many times said yes please, because done well, the upsell is related exactly to the offer that they've accepted in the first place. When you see the upsell, you think, of course, I need that - that's going to help me absolutely nail this rather than have to flail around on my own. Therefore, when you create your first evergreen course, it's not essential, but perhaps you could think of something that is so complementary and perceived as so necessary that selling it in addition is going to be a no brainer for your avatar and increase profitability for you.

I thought a lot about the upsell myself and I'm currently producing a tool that helps people forecast their revenue based on all the offers that they have. It is going to be in Google sheets and in Excel. I'm still testing it and I haven't actually put it into my offer yet, but I know it's going to be of great value when people are producing offers - to actually be able to devise a pricing strategy amongst their one-to-one coaching, their mini offers, their passive income, so they can reach that special number for the year that they envisage and dream about.

In the meantime, whilst I'm working on that, it's still important just to start where you are.

I simply decided to offer an hour of my time to work through the offer specifically with me, one to one. In that upsell moment I'm offering it at a price that you couldn't get anywhere else and I'm making sure that I'm really taking advantage of that opportunity, whilst offering increased value to my customers.

So today we've talked about why you need passive income, how you can use an evergreen course to produce your first passive income, how to get started on your first evergreen course, that you need to decide on a single topic, how to record the modules, that you must choose a platform and how to consider your price point and your upsell. I've got to be really honest with you and say that I was so excited when I saw my mini course actually sat there on a platform; something so tangible that people can get so much value from that I created. I couldn't have been prouder of that if I had composed a song or written a book.

For me producing that mini course, producing value, getting feedback that it's genuinely helping people, is something that I had dreamt of and visualised from the moment I launched my business.

For me, this has been an exciting culmination of so many things falling into place beautifully. Of course, if you would like to check out my mini course called Your Simple Next Offer - it is designed specifically for coaches and course creators that want new inspired ways of offering the expertise with ease - jump into the show notes and click on the link. As I mentioned before, the launch price is just $27. If, when you're watching the mini course, you have any questions about how I've produced it, jump in my DMs over on Instagram. My handle is @iamjo.ingram. I'd be happy to tell you more. I hope your week is full of inspired action.

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