The Evolution of My Million Dollar Course

In this week's episode of Chill & Prosper, we’re talking about how to create a million dollar course. 

I’ll share the evolution of my Money Bootcamp - and how I started and grew it to over 7,000 students. 

I want to inspire you to create a million dollar course too! 


I talk about ...

  • Starting from zero
  • Being challenged as a leader
  • Thinking long term
  • The different things I’ve tried (and what didn’t work)
  • My biggest boundary lessons


Hey, gorgeous! Today we are talking about how to create a million dollar course. And I also am going to share with you the evolution of my own million dollar course. So if you don't know my business and what I do, my Money Bootcamp has been running since 2012. And to date we've had well over 7,000 students in that group. And it has been something that has just been such an incredible, incredible experience for me. But guess what? It started with just a couple of people. So no matter where you're at in terms of creating an online business, it doesn't matter where you're starting from, but you have to start and you can evolve it into a million dollar asset if you want to. So guess what? You, everyone starts from zero as in everyone starts from zero people on their newsletter list. Everyone starts from zero followers on their social media, and everybody starts with zero students.

That doesn't mean that it's been an overnight success. I have grown and consistently grown this course over time, but it's not that, I don't know. I started from zero. The other thing that I want you to hear is that I was not perfect at all and I never have been. And I still don't. It's still not a perfect course. But the difference between people who have successful courses and people who just dream about it, what is it? It's action. That's all it is. It's just taking action. Taking imperfect action and creating the course is going to be... creating the course, building the asset is going to be amazing personal development for you. It definitely has been for me. It has made me second guess everything. Launching... doing the launching stuff has made me feel like, I don't know, that I'm crap at business. It's frustrated me to tease over all of those technical things.

It has challenged me as a leader. It has made me develop a ton of boundaries and thick skin, and I still am not perfect with it. So here's what I want to share during this episode today: why I started the course so my early vision and my vision now; what it cost me over time to create and maintain it; what was in each version because I updated every couple of years, what price points I've tried and why and what things haven't, haven't worked; what I've learned from offering a payment plan; what I've learned from doing different launches and what I've learned from tracking things as I've gone and what I've learned from boundaries as well. Now this is just my truth. This is just me and my business. So take everything here through a lens of your own business. You don't have to do anything that I do. Use your own common sense because it's always your business and your rules.

Just take what resonates and leave what doesn't. Okay. So let's go right back to the start. I had run courses before. I ran a course in 2009. I had one person on it in a completely different industry. And then I did a course called The Inspired Life Formula in 2011 I think it was, and it had like four people on it. And that was a very kind of generic key personal development course. So Money Bootcamp in itself started in 2012. And I had no real big vision for the course. It's just that I wanted to share all the lessons that I had learned from dealing with my money blocks and starting to make money in my business. And I had been a student of personal development for so many years, but I'd never really turned it to money before. And so once I started doing that, of course, naturally I wanted to share the results with my clients.

And I thought, you know what? Instead of just doing this one-to-one in my coaching practice, I might just do a one off of course about this. And I can just share this information. I wasn't thinking long term, I wasn't thinking of it as a brand. I definitely didn't think I would have thousands and thousands of students. I just thought, I know this thing, I'm going to teach him. And that's the lesson. It's just to start and teach what you know, you know right now. This might be the one course that sustains your business for the next couple of years. Or it might be a practice business like some of my first courses were for future courses and you'll learn from everything. Even my course I had one person on, I learned how to do sales pages, I learned how to do tech, I learned how to do webinars.

And so it really does not matter. I sometimes see people psych themselves out going, "Is this my course?, Is this my Money Bootcamp?, Is this my one thing forever?." and you don't know, but even my Inspired Life Formula course, a lot of that, I repurposed into the Money Bootcamp stuff. Okay. So nothing's ever lost, nothing is ever wasted. You just have to start with what you've got and you don't, it doesn't have to be perfect. Okay. So the next thing I want to show is how much it costs to run a course or to set up a course. Now my first version of Money Bootcamp. I totally did it DIY, as in, I did all of the handouts myself. I did it on Microsoft Word and then just turn them into PDFs. Nowadays, cause I was like, granny, nowadays, you can do it on Canva.

You can do it on PicMonkey. You can get templates and make it look really amazing. The color scheme for that for the early version of bootcamp was yellow and green. Cause I was like, what's, what's the color of money. And so if you've been following me for a while and you say everything's blue and turquoise and aqua, you might be surprised that that early branding was black, bright, yellow, and bright green. It was, it was pretty hideous. And I went to the craft store and I bought this little wallpaper, like piece of paper and I stuck it behind me. It wasn't even straight. It wasn't even straight. It was like 10 bucks. And then my only hosting cost, like my only costs were like the, you know, my domain name to buy the Money Bootcamp. And I hosted it, the videos on YouTube.

And then I had a really cheap kind of blog that I was already using anyway. So it cost me like 20 bucks put together that first version. But how many people do you see psych themselves out? Because they're like, "Well, I can't afford to make it look really slick". One sec, maybe it doesn't need to be. I find that nowadays, look on TikTok, those videos that go viral, a low five, they're creative. They're from the heart, this like, they're real. So that's not an excuse. If you have zero budget right now, you can, if you've got an iPhone or if you can borrow an iPhone, you can use the headphones as your microphone and you can just do it. You know and I didn't... I was so clueless. I didn't even have good lighting. Just as long as you're sitting facing a window, you probably have better lighting than I did for my first two versions of the course.

And then what I did was I upgraded. So within a couple of months I hired someone to do some branding. It was so green, kind of shades of green branding because of money. And I hired a film guy. It was just a one, one man band. And I did it in a hotel room. I didn't prep stuff ahead of time. I roughly knew what was in each video. And I just, I just winged it basically. And then so maybe that costs $1,500, but I had already had some students in it. So I had some budget to pay for that. Version three, I hired another, another designer. I had another film person. So that one probably cost me a couple of thousand dollars, but see how it didn't, it didn't cost me like $20,000 to create a course. I just started with what I have.

And nowadays it's the same. I redo boot camp every two years. It pretty much costs me the same amount of money to do it. But I had to get started. I had to get started and just not overthink it. Now let's talk about price point. I've tried so many different price points on this and a big mistake I see people make is looking at what everyone else is charging for their courses and charging that according like the same. You can really charge what you want. And my conversion has been the same. So the first time I did Money Bootcamp, it was a thousand dollars with an early bet of seven 50. Most people bought the early bird. And then I was like, you know what? I'm going to change my mindset around this. It's worth it at full price. The next time I launched it, more people bought it at a thousand dollar mark.

Then I had a baby and I thought, "Oh, I can't charge the same because I'm not going to be doing live calls. They'll just have the group. I'll charge four 50." So it was four 50 for a while. And then I put it back up to a thousand and then it was 1500 for a while. And then it's been at the $2,000 mark for a while. Here's what I want you to hear. The conversion has been the same at every price point. It doesn't mean the same people would buy it at every price point, but overall the sales conversion has been the same. So you kind of just have to pick a number. You just have to pick a number and I've had different incentives for people to join. I've had different bonuses and things like that. It's really up to you, what you charge because the pricing is just a number.

You just have to showcase the value for that. I have offered payment plans for it as well. And you know what, at least half the people take the payment plan. So if you're willing to do the admin for it, it can definitely increase sales. I tend to add on about 10 to 15% for the payment plan and make it a nice round number. And that takes time and energy as well to deal with the defaults and things like that. I have a lot of scripts in my book ShopRunner about how to deal with default payments by the way, or people asking for refunds and things like that. But I think the lesson here is it's okay to just charge what you want to charge. Really. Like when I say the conversion was the same in all of those, it really was. It really was. Okay guys, I'm going to take a quick break and then I'm going to talk about the different ways I've had of launching evergreen and launch live, live rounds. I'll be right back after this break.

Hi, I'm Jo.  I'm a Brit living in the rice patties in Japan and I run the Wondermom's Success Club, helping moms to be more productive and build that business around that family. I've been a huge DT fan for years. And one of my bigger heart moments was reading her first book. When I realized I could use the same baby-step approach to upgrades that I use with productivity, that is to say, I don't need to refit the entire kitchen. I can start with just buying a few nice plates or I don't have to buy a whole wardrobe of clothes. I can replace the saggy old grain liquors. It's totally doable, even if you're just starting out on your money journey. So my family now called this Mini Upgrades and they are all on board and love it too.

Hi, I'm Sarah Williamson from London, England. As a coach, I help women review their 7:00 PM wine o'clock habit. You can find me @drinklesslivebetter.com. I read Trueprenuer in 2019 after I saw Denise at a live in-person event. I loved the exercise on outsourcing at home. After reading that, I hired a cleaner and turned to online grocery shopping. This freed up about four hours in my week to concentrate on my own money-making activities. It was brilliant.

Okay. Welcome back. So I think talking about the start of my million dollar course, money bootcamp and all the different things I've tried. And as I said, I've tried different price points. I've tried different ways and had different videos. But one of the things I've tried is launches versus evergreen. So evergreen just means it's always available. People can join Money Bootcamp at any time. But at the start, what I was doing actually was doing live rounds where it would be six weeks at a time and everyone would go through the course together. So I'd launch it once a year, twice a year. And at one crazier, I launched a four times in one year and you might think, "oh yeah, cool. That doesn't sound too bad." But the thing is when I'm launching and also delivering it. So there's a lot of moving pieces.

So my husband, Mark, by that stage had come into the business and he'd be like, I need you to do a video about like the payment plan and I would be delivering the program. And so it felt like I was in all tremor, trimesters of pregnancy all at the same time, because I would be trying to do stuff like an approved copy and do all this stuff for the next launch, but we'd just finished the launch. I was exhausted. And then I was delivering the course. I was feeding the baby at the same time. So I think if you're going to go for launches, just space it out, give yourself some time and energy to do it. And launching can be a really great way to get people off the fence. You know? Cause it's a one-off thing. It's a big event. Everyone can do your course together. But I actually really love evergreen.

I love that people can join whenever they want to. And then a couple of times a year we add in some incentives just to, to get those fence-sitters off the fence. For me, this is my personality. I like it to be really easy. And for evergreen, I'm literally just like, "Hey, if you want to join it, you can join it" because I know that I'm also an instant gratification person and I, when I want something, I just want it now. So some topics have their own urgency. If your target market needs your thing right now, why would you wait for an arbitrary deadline? You can just give it to them. And then you can do what I did and once or twice a year, have a special event. So an example of that is you might have a course about helping people to get their baby to sleep.

And so that's an urgent topic. That's something that has its own urgency. You're not going to be like, oh, sorry, you have to wait to my next launch. It's in six months time. And the ladies they're crying, "But my baby doesn't sleep right now." So think about where your topic has its own urgency or who would need that right now. And you can totally market your program every single day. It doesn't have to be fancy. You can literally just be, "Here's the thing." That's how my first one was. Here's bootcamp. If you want to join bootcamp, here it is. And then I added complexity later on around timed bonuses or funnels or all of those things. Okay. So it can just be really, really, really easy. It can be easy. I've tested both. They both work, but it's all about what works for you.

Now. I have learned so much about boundaries from running Money Bootcamp. As I said, it's kind of gone from God, I think it was like under 10 people in that first time to then 20 and then 40 and then a hundred and a thousand and then 1500. And then so now we've got over 7,000 people. I had to learn a lot about being a leader in that, in the early days, I was like, "oh, we've got a community group. Guys, you can talk about whatever you like." And what I found was that some people get really bored of the topic or they have shiny object syndrome and they want the space that you create to be everything for them. So our space was turning into a rent space. "Oh, hey guys, I need to get a new laptop. What's the best laptop to get."

Or "My brother did this and I don't know how to deal with it." And it was like, that's got nothing to do with the course, nothing to do with money. And I didn't want to set any rules around that. I wanted it to be a democracy where everyone's voice is valued equally. And yes it is. I value everybody's voice in there, but I had to set boundaries for my own sanity and also to keep the group really clean and focus. And we've had moments where as a group we've had to kind of flex and, I'll just say it right. So when, when things happen in the world, like the big Black Lives Matter movement that happened and we're like, "Well, how do we talk about this in this group?" And I saw people really screw it up where they like, "Wait, no, let's talk about anything."

You know, political in here. And I kind of said to my group, "Hey look, can we just set some boundaries around this that I'm happy for you to talk about anything in, through the lens of money, as long as you own it and you relate it back to the lessons of the Money Bootcamp, because that's the only thing I can help you with in here. And I'm not the gatekeeper of discussion or information. And I think everybody should have groups that they can just be petty in. I think groups to talk about their kids, groups to talk about their bodies and what's going on. Groups to talk about just everything that's happening in the world, but we don't have to. This space isn't the space to talk about everything without context. So in the context of helping everyone with their money mindset, you can bring anything here and relate it back to your money mindset."

But I had to step up and like the buck had to stop with somebody around that. And that was just such a big lesson around being the leader, being okay to be the leader and creating it, how I wanted to create it as the leader, because people could dip in and out. But I had to be there every single day. The other boundary that we set around it was closing, closing the group at different times. And so there was a time where I archived the group for a little bit. When I was on maternity leave, we started archiving the group over Christmas. Up until then, hey, you could tag me on Christmas day and I'd probably answer, or you could tag me on weekends and stuff like that. And even now I still answer on, on weekends, but I've just set better boundaries that, "Hey, you can bring this to the group. You don't have to bring it to me", which brings me to one of my next evolutions around this, was really bringing on other people to help me.

Now, this looks different for different people's courses. I've seen people bringing like co-coaches or mentors to help them out in their group, to hold the space or guest teachers to come and do trainings or whatever. And I really looked at that and I went, "Do I want to go down that route?" And a friend of mine was telling me to bring in a community manager for a long time. And I so resisted it because I just thought, "Oh no, I want them to like me. I want them. I loved being the go-to girl, even though it stressed me out." Sometimes I loved being the go-to girl. And so I resisted it cause I was, "But they'll like her more than they like me."

And finally I got over that because I was just, I couldn't hold the space. And I knew I was holding back the size of the group, holding back the community, holding back the amount of people that I could help because I insisted on being the gatekeeper of every conversation in there. And so I brought on the lovely Mara, who is our community manager and she helps me hold the space and guess what? She doesn't take it personally. She can just hold the space and she's way more efficient than I am because you know, I bring in all my stuff as the creator and the person who started everything in there. So of course I take it personally. If someone can't find something, I'll be, "That's my baby". Or if people make suggestions, I'm like, "That's my baby". So that's, that's where we're at now with Money Bootcamp is that it's a pleasure to run.

 I've even shifted the way that I did calls. So instead of doing six week live rounds, cause that was, that was pretty full on for six weeks. It felt arbitrary because some people would take six days to finish the course. Some people take six years. So instead I went, what would be sustainable for me to run this? And so monthly calls. So at the end of the month, I do a call on the last Thursday and the last Friday of the month and that covers all time zones. And that month comes around really fast. And then that's how I support people. So the big lessons from this is start where you are. Start with the resources that you have. It doesn't have to be perfect. Start now because you know that one person that five person launch can turn into thousands down the track.

It's okay to set boundaries. It's okay to say no. It's okay to set it up in the way that works for you. And the other lesson is it's okay to change it at any time. Listen already how I've changed the format. I've changed the price. I've changed the delivery. I've changed the rules. I've changed the boundaries. And if something doesn't work for you anymore, if it, if you continue down that path, at some point you might give it up, you might quit. And that's sad for everybody, right? And so my friend, Amber McCue is like, "You know the difference between a bad day and a bad business?" And I would add to that and say, "If it's just about tweaking things or changing things or setting new boundaries and it would work for you, well, then just tell people, give them, notice that it's going to change and just make the change."

I honestly think without those things, I would have quit at long ago because the first time you get a refund request feels bad. The first time someone overstepped your boundaries, that feels bad. The first time that you know, someone doesn't like your course, it feels bad, right? But you can tweak and shift and change it whenever you want to. So you got to start now, you got to start like today's better than, better than nothing. And who knows where you could grow your course. It could be a million dollar course or it could just be your next course and you could learn a ton and ton of stuff from it. So I would love to hear what's come up from you around this. If you're inspired, send me a message on social media @denisedt or tag me if you're launching something, tag me and just say, "Hey, I did it." And I would love to celebrate you on that. All right, gorgeous. I will be back with my final thoughts after this next break.

Hi everyone. My name is Roshana. I'm a business coach and lecturer in marketing. I've read and listened to all three of Denise's books. And I love how lively, honest and practical they are. The biggest shift for me was discovering that I had such negative narratives around money and since reading and doing the exercises, I started my own business. I've upgraded several aspects of my life and make peace with having savings. I recommend everyone to read all three of the books, do the exercises and the results are amazing.

Hey, I'm Shelly. I'm a female empowerment coach originally from the UK, currently living in Italy. Lucky Bitch was one of the first books I read when I embarked on my journey to leave corporate and become a life coach. I loved everything about the book and I still to this day referenced the exercise where you imagine your ideal day. For me, it was the first time. If I'm honest, that I truly allowed myself to imagine my future dreams coming true, which by the way, was centered around living in the very house in Italy that I'm living in now. It's a long story to how we got here and it's not completely according to plan, but I feel like a lucky bitch. And I feel pretty damn proud to say, "Thanks Denise for helping me along the way."

Hey, gorgeous, welcome back. And here is my final thought for today. Something that has helped me so so much in business, and it's just a motto that keeps me on track and it's sell more bootcamps, sell more bootcamps. Now you might've heard me say all roads lead to Money Bootcamp. And that's what I say when I have shiny object syndrome around chasing after an idea, whatever. But this is also something that, that I say to my team, whenever we're tempted to look outside of our, outside of my zone of genius for money. Right? And I remember at the start when Mark, my husband, came into my business, he's like, "Oh, I think we should do this, this and this." And I was like, "Hang on or we could just sell more bootcamps." And he's like, "Oh yeah." And so for his birthday, I actually bought him one of those little light boxes that you can customize.

It comes with a whole bunch of letters and it says Sell More Bootcamps. I literally bought it for him as a present. I know it sounds so mean and it sits next to his computer. And so every time we go, "Oh, maybe we should do this or maybe we should do this." I go, "Or we could just sell more bootcamps." And so I want you to think about how that could relate in your own business. You know, sometimes we stretch ourselves too thin. Sometimes we stopped doing something before it works. Maybe you've launched something one time and you go, everyone's seen that. They haven't. So more of them.

Maybe you had a failed launch. Well, great! Do it again some more. It's okay just to go with what works. You don't always have to come up with something new and sexy or different or outside of your zone of genius. Sometimes not everyone has seen something, so sell it again. So hopefully that works for you. And I want to hear what your bootcamp version is. You know, at me @denisedt, mine's sell more bootcamps. Yours might be sell more blah, and I want to hear what it brings up for you and if it's useful and helpful.

All right my gorgeous one. Go forth. Chill and prosper, sell more stuff, peace out for me. And I will see you next time. Bye.

About the Show

Chill & Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.

Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.

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