Creator Economics 101: How to De-Risk and De-Stress Your Business

Being a creator/solopreneur is hard, especially when you’re starting out.

Most are bootstrapped, meaning you’re not playing with house (aka, investor) money. Any money you put into your business is money that isn’t going to feed your kids or keep the lights on.

Which is why many, especially early on, over-analyze which platforms to choose.

Should you go with the platform that costs $25/m, $50/m, or $200/m?

What if I told you it doesn’t matter?

Or, more specifically, what if I told you there’s a way to make the cost irrelevant?

Here are two strategies that help me de-risk, de-stress, and de-over-analyze the economics of being a creator/solopreneur…

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Presell Like a Pro

Most course platforms have a free trial period you can take advantage of.

When I launched the first cohort of Intentional Life Design, I wasn’t sure if anyone would enroll.

Plus, the platform I wanted to use seemed expensive (I was reasonably broke at the time), so I wasn’t ready to commit that much on an unproven product.

So I signed up for a free 30-day trial and ran a 14-day presale.

That gave me plenty of buffer before committing any money.

If I hit validation (meaning X number of people enrolled) within 14 days, I’d have more than enough to cover the hosting costs, plus cover my time and other expenses to build the course.

If I didn’t hit validation, I’d refund anyone who did enroll, then cancel my trial so I wouldn’t be charged.

This is a great strategy to de-risk creating a course.

One, because preselling allows you to only build what people actually want. No more wasting time and money building something only to launch to crickets.

Two, because you only pay for a platform subscription with money from the course you’re hosting on said platform.

It’s the closest to playing house money a bootstrapped solo-creatorpreneur can get.

How did that first presale go?

Pretty decent.

Now, I presale everything—both live courses and self-paced.

Which brings me to the second strategy…

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Minimum Viable Pricing

This is a super simple strategy when you’re trying to price your self-paced courses.

I use Kajabi to host my self-paced course World-Class Coaching, but I’m currently working on migrating my main website from WordPress to Kajabi so everything’s in one place (and to reduce compatibility and tech issues with WP).

So far, I love Kajabi. It’s by far the most robust and well-designed platform I’ve used.

But it’s also the most expensive one I’ve used.

The plan I’m currently on is $199 a month (it gets cheaper if you sign up annually).

The platforms I was using cost about this much, just spread out over 3-5 platforms ($40 for a CRM, $100 for course hosting, $80 for a community platform, etc.), but Kajabi does all these and more.

But convenience aside, I’ve found a stupid simple way to cover the $199 monthly subscription…

Create a self-paced course that’s $199.

All I have to do is sell one each month to break even.

That means I have 30 days to get a single purchase of a kickass course every month.

In less than two months, World-Class Coaching has paid for roughly 7 years’ worth of my Kajabi subscription.

The course is gaining solid traction and tons of positive feedback, so I’m planning to refine and add more content over the next few months. So when v2 launches, I’ll up the price.

Then I’ll build a few more complementary courses at similar, or higher, price points.

Build the right systems and you can easily get to making a single course sale per day.

One sale a day is over $70,000 for the year.

$70,000 is enough to live off (unless you’re bougie) without having to spend 40 hours a week at a job you hate. Once your living expenses are covered, you’re free to spend your time on what matters—with your family, exploring your creativity, building more kickass courses, whatever.

This is the power of creating courses and digital products.

Add in affiliate sales, word of mouth, and sponsoring a few well-positioned newsletters, and the price of my Kajabi subscription (or whatever platform you want to use) becomes extra irrelevant.

This isn’t an ad for Kajabi, I’m just more familiar with it than other all-in-one platforms.

But if you want to check it out for yourself, and help support a fellow creator’s business (if you like that sort of thing), feel free to use my affiliate code.

Even if you don’t use my code, I’d still recommend checking it out if you plan to create courses and other digital products.

It’s legitimately been a game-changer for my business.

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Wrap Up

Hopefully this gave you some ideas about how you can make the cost of one platform vs. another irrelevant.

You don’t have to charge $199 for your digital product. You can charge $50 or $5,000.

But the simple combination of preselling and having at least one product where a single sale covers your operating costs will take an insane amount of stress, risk, and analysis paralysis off your plate.

So you can focus on creating instead of worrying.

Let me know what you think about these strategies and how they work for you!

Until next time—memento mori,

Corey

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Question for the Week

What knowledge, expertise, or experiences are you currently sitting on that you could package into a $100-$200 course?

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If you’re curious, here are a few courses to help you level up your life and business:

  •  Core Value Toolkit : Ever wanted more clarity on which direction to take your life? I call that your Core Value, the single most-important value a life well-lived must be built around. This toolkit is the first step to clarifying yours.