Without true stories there’s no evidence to take action.
Everything just looks like a pyramid scheme on the internet at face value. That’s what the skepticism virus that enters our blood right after college does to us.
So I want to share a story I found of a random guy in the US who made $85,000 launching a course. There’s no reason you can’t take parts of his process and make money online yourself.
The part no one tells you about these huge paydays
The random dude under the microscope today is Dan Koe.
Most people have zero idea who he is. I began following him a year ago and fell in love with his style. He’s one of the few who mixes in spirituality into his philosophies, without sounding all woo-woo or religious.
Now, $85,000 in 7 days certainly isn’t loose change.
When these stories pop up online they often miss key facts. This payday for Dan didn’t happen by accident. The kid is still in his early 20s but he’s been playing around with how to make internet money for a few years.
He initially tried many things online including web design, 1–1 coaching, and even being a fitness influencer.
That last part contains the uncommon lessons:
- You must try multiple experiments
- You must try to do it for several years and be patient
These are the two enablers of a huge payday and anybody can use them.
What you 100% don’t need to sell online courses:
- Expert status
- A college degree
- Permission slips
- Business experience
- A hyper-specific niche
The biggest mistake is people think you need to build some big-ass audience
You can sell an online course without an audience, although you will need social media.
Dan says you simply create social media posts and then pay people who do have audiences (could be small) $10-$30 per post to share it on their timeline. Their followers see your original post linking to the course, and so now you have potential customers.
This works better than ads because anyone who sees your posts can click the link to see your course, AND follow you. So it’s a rent-to-own audience instead of a rent-forever audience.
Obviously if you’re like me and already have an email list or online audience, then you use that.
Once you have traffic all you need is the course.
Guessing leads to bankruptcy
That’s what most people do.
They have an idea for something like a course and think they’re Einstein. They celebrate at the idea stage. Stupid. Ideas are useless. What Dan did was survey people to find out their biggest problem.
The data showed this problem:
“It seems like you can only make money if you teach people how to make money.”
Unfortunately this is what the typical scarcity mindset thinks. Dan wanted to prove them wrong with his online course.
Over the last few years he’d seen creators make millions of dollars from writing courses. So he fused together the making money online problem and the writing course idea.
Hard to go wrong with so much strong data.
Life systems are the core of any online course
When we buy a course we’re paying for frameworks, mental models, strategies, and actionable advice.
We’re not paying for glorified Youtube videos we could watch for free.
Dan’s process for a course is he finds a system to complete a task (in this example the system is tied to writing online), then uses Notion to map out the system and implement it in his own life.
As he goes along he edits the system to his liking.
Once the system is tight he then outlines a curriculum in Notion to deploy the system. The curriculum can either be an outline made up of dot points or an exact script. Dan just goes with an outline.
That script or outline is then read in front of a camera and recorded (self-paced offline learning), or delivered live to a cohort of students. He uses a popular online course platform to deliver both styles.
The cool thing is the system he has created in Notion becomes a template the students get as part of the course.
That means students don’t start with a blank canvas. They have an operating system they can tweak to get results faster.
Promoting an unconventional course
Like many creators, Dan started to promote the course with a pushy sales funnel full of hard sells.
Nobody liked it.
Over the last year he came up with a new way. To build a stronger relationship with people, he made one pillar piece of content a week: his newsletter.
As Dan goes deep on a topic he mentions his course in the middle and at the end of his newsletter. Then he promotes the newsletter below his tweets and LinkedIn posts.
Huge insight: Instead of linking directly to an ad for his course, he linked directly to a newsletter containing a few subtle mentions of his course.
I plugged the BACKLOGGED newsletter that builds depth and authority (and promotes the new product) — Dan Koe
Then he paid other creators to promote the tweets with his newsletter linked at the bottom, and even paid other creators to directly promote the newsletter itself.
This is a trend I see a lot of.
Down the bottom of many newsletters now is a “newsletters I recommend” or “content you must check out.” It’s not obvious but these links are often paid for.
The goal is to get an internet user into your newsletter ecosystem, not a dumbass sales funnel that feels like a one-night stand.
The biggest mistake Dan mentioned to me
He says many people who want to sell online courses have got a few 60-second TikTok videos. Or they’ve published a collection of one-sentence tweets. Or they have a library of picture quotes on Instagram.
But they have no depth.
Dan’s main piece of content — his newsletter — works because it’s bloody long and full of depth and quality research. He doesn’t just record some dumb cat video for 30-seconds and think he’s a hero.
What he does is harder to replicate because most people won’t sit down to write a newsletter for 1-2 hours and do the work. Without the depth in content, zero relationships get built because there’s not enough time for authenticity to be created.
No relationships, no cash. Soz.
Dan says “The Age Of Authenticity is among us.”
Dan is just a random guy on the internet.
What he’s unlocked is you can borrow audiences, not be an expert, sell systems as courses, leverage authenticity, and use a newsletter to plug a course rather than an email sales funnel or ads.
That’s how he made $85,000 in 7 days from his online course. Borrow parts from his process and re-sell your 9-5 skills or systems as courses, too.