Behind the Scenes of My First BIG Course Launch - Chanti Zak - Copywriter & Funnel Strategist

4 weeks ago I opened the doors to my signature *cough* only online program, Grow with Quizzes. This is my story.

It’s Friday as I write this. 4 and a half weeks after the doors closed to my first big online program and I can finally breathe.

Sitting down to write this post feels like the greatest relief. It feels like proof that I did the thing I set out to do (finally) and lived to tell the tale.

What’s with my foreboding vibes, you ask?

Well, the truth is I was scared shitless to launch this program. I’m quite content to slay behind the scenes and whip up strategies for other people to execute. 

But doing it for myself? That’s another story. That’s a growth edge that cuts through a whole lot more inner B.S. than I can’t even begin to sum up in one blog post.

Launching asks a lot of you and it doesn’t offer any promises of just reward. As someone who works with online course creators all the time, I’ve heard enough horror stories to effectively even out the playing field of the ‘success overnight’ story arc we’re bombarded with on every FB ad and podcast promo. 

Some background: I’ve been creating quiz funnels and consulting on the topic in a 1:1 capacity for the last 2 years. I’m booked out most of the time and I’m a recovering people pleaser and YES woman who truly wants to help as many online business owners as possible. 

Creating and launching a course that would allow me to share what I’ve learned these past few years has been on my to-do list for an embarrassingly long time. Just ask my fellow masterminders, mentors, and coaches and they’ll tell you how many times I’ve postponed, tried again, pressed pause, made excuses, tried again — you get the gist.

I wanted to write this post for 2 reasons: 

  1. To tell a launch story that’s not ALL butterflies and rainbows. 
  2. To encourage anyone who’s been stuck in chronic ‘not ready’ mode to just do it. 

My course launch trajectory — from beta to… all.the.things

So technically speaking this wasn’t my first launch. I did a super chill beta launch for the 1.0 version of the program last year. That said, it was, legit super chill. I sent 3 emails to my itty-bitty list.

My “sales page” was more of a “here’s the basic info you need” page (on a Google doc to boot). I did a few sales calls, sold a few spots, and that was that. In my books, this doesn’t really qualify as a launch especially when compared to the next iteration.

The first thing I did this time around was created a launch specific top of funnel lead magnet. Of course, it had to be a quiz. The most meta quiz on the web that tells you what type of quiz you should create for YOUR biz.

Take it here if you haven’t already!

I hired my girl Sara Liz to run my ads and help me warm up my audience well in advance of the actual launch using her top secret resonance stack strategy while also promoting my super meta quiz. 

We did this for MONTHS before breathing a word of anything being fo’ sale. (Not that that’s necessary, I was just slow to get my shiz together.)

The sales mechanism I used was a live webinar, which was a first for me and was probably the biggest mindfuck. Even though I’ve written webi scripts for others and done plenty of live trainings in other people’s groups and masterminds, this was another level of EEK.

Ad budget sidenote: It’s worth stating here that I didn’t have a huge ads budget. I spent just over $3k for the entire launch for a measurable return on ad spend over the 3X mark. 

Anyone who registered for the webinar then got placed into my post-webinar email sequence — which was around 8 emails long. I also sent a few promo emails to my entire list, including peeps who didn’t sign up for the webinar sequence. 

We ran ads to webinar registrants urging them to catch the replay, and once that expired, I switched to running ads straight to the sales page for the final few days of the promo.

The results: 

I had 331 webinar registrants and sold 18 spots so my conversion rate was a pretty darn sweet 5.44% based on those numbers. 

The majority of those who joined were folks who’ve been on my list for a while and found me through podcasts, speaking, and other communities.

This really brought the importance of nurturing those long term relationships into perspective. Showing up consistently and giving value is the ultimate launch strategy. 

The full-scoop on the mindset gremlins that kept me company throughout this entire process 

The mindset stuff that came up for me was very gremlinesque. On the surface, it was cute. My brain was looking out for me! How thoughtful. 

And then those pesky little thoughts of “you have no idea what you’re doing” started to get really annoying and at times, straight up vicious. 

What I kept telling myself was to go easy on the expectations.

This is all just an experiment, a growing pain, an opportunity to serve at a higher level or die trying.

The worst that could happen? Ambivalence. Apathy. That double A’d sword was my biggest fear, but ultimately not that big of a deal even if it were to happen.

Money talk (and the truth about how much a traditional course launch costs) 

Maybe you’ve heard talk of how insanely expensive big launches are. But what about when you’re a small fry like me? I was by no means in a position to do everything myself. I’m a firm believer in outsourcing shit you don’t wanna do/don’t have time for — and of course, that comes at a price. 

Now, it has to be said that I was fairly confident my course would sell. I was by no means going in blind and hoping for the best. I had a waitlist of people who wanted in and one beta round under my belt. 

I don’t recommend going all in like this if you haven’t validated your course idea. K? K. 

Here’s a rough breakdown of what I spent:

  • $7500 FB ad spend + management
  • $4k Graphic Design 
  • $2k Admin Support 
  • $3k Writing and strategy
  • $1k Social 
  • $600 Software

Grand total = $18,100 (a little more than half my total revenue) 

That doesn’t include the cost of my time and the opportunity cost of having to say no to certain projects to hold space for my own stuff. If I factored that in, well, this whole “launch a course” thing wouldn’t look all that profitable.

But here’s the thing — this is just the beginning. The next time I launch, a lot of the assets will already be created. And quite honestly, I’ve paid $10k for coaching programs that haven’t taught me even close to what I learned doing my own course launch. Worth it. 

The deeper why that drove me to rip off the bandaid and do this thang

I’ve seen what quizzes can do for my clients’ businesses and I think more people deserve that kind of magic. But as a service provider and consultant with ever-growing rates, I can only do so much. Turning people away to figure this stuff out on their own is so not my jar of strawberry jam.

Over the years, I’ve learned the hard way how NOT to do things. I’ve created a unique system that works on a holistic level, not just to generate leads but to connect and convert as well. Teaching that to others isn’t just a fun challenge, it’s also super fulfilling. 

If you’re asking yourself if you’re “ready” – here’s what helped me know it was time

It was a normal afternoon. I was on a Zoom call with Amy Porterfield talking about some copy stuff when we started talking about courses (of course). I confessed that I wasn’t sure if I was ready to launch a full-blown program, to which Amy, the queen herself, called HOOOOEY on. She was all “there’s no rush, but you’re totally ready. You’re the perfect person to be creating a course on this topic”.

Okay – so I’m not suggesting you call up Amy P and ask for her to affirm your readiness, but here’s the next best thing… BOX CHECKING!

Do you… 

  • Have a clear and proven process that gets results?
  • Have an audience that wants what you’ve got? (Even if it’s small but mighty)
  • Have the gumption to bet on yourself and do the uncertain, uncomfortable thing?

If you screamed YES YES YES – you’re likely more ready than you think.

Launch truths and myths you need to know about before pressing PLAY 

The launch “afterglow” is real.

The first time I heard about this phenomenon was from my friend Tarzan. It’s the halo-like aura that magnetically brings even more magic your way after an injection of total visibility. Personally, my inbox became more flooded with opportunities than ever before. Really cool potential 1:1 clients were showing up seemingly out of nowhere. There were opportunities to get in front of more people – not to mention the heart-bursting influx of kind words from new subscribers.

The intense feeling of coulda/shoulda/woulda? That’s real too. 

I have this brain full of strategies and ideas and ways to make marketing more effective, but when it came to enhancing my own stuff, I had to be okay with not doing it all. 

I *know* I could’ve put more effort into reaching out to my friends, clients, and mastermind peeps to help me get the word out. I could’ve done more FB lives and IG stories. I could’ve done a better job of reaching out personally to people I know were interested. But in the end, I did my best while juggling client work and motherhood and growing a human and that’s okay. 

The myth that as long ‘as you do XYZ you’ll make 6-figures’ is far from reality. 

The only real rule is, there are no rules. No one can promise you anything but by the same token, you might very well surprise yourself. That’s part of the allure and the terrifying reality of the current online business terrain. It’s equally full of positive and negative unknowns. Our job as responsible business owners is to do our due diligence to mitigate risk by creating content and offers that are truly valuable.

What I’ll do differently next time… 

The next time I launch Grow with Quizzes there are a few things I’ll for sure do differently. (The jury’s still out as to when that’ll be considering I need to launch my new baby first 🤱 ⇐ sorry for the visual!)

1.Amp up my organic lead gen a few months ahead of time by actively pitching podcasts and doing more joint FB lives with fellow business friends. Strategic partnerships – even if they’re not necessarily affiliate partnerships – are where it’s at.

2. Schedule time off post-launch. I underestimated how exhausted I’d be this time around and didn’t schedule any downtime after my launch — not smart. My work less, earn more guru Sage would not approve.

3. Do more 1:1 outreach to people who I know are interested and on the fence. I just didn’t have the bandwidth this time but I know I always love and appreciate when course creators or coaches reach out to me personally and offer to help me make a choice.

4. Either incentivize the pay in full option OR make payment plans slightly more expensive.

5. Spend more $$$ on FB ads but give myself a longer runway to build up my warm audience with relationship-driven content.

There was a definite return on investment here even though my cost per lead was pretty high. I’ll likely create a new quiz lead magnet since the one I used this time around what almost too specific (what type of quiz should you create for your biz) — I think if I go a little broader, I’ll be able to attract people who don’t yet know that a quiz is the solution to their list building woes.

What about you!? I freakin’ love hearing about other people’s experiences — especially when they’re not too sugar-coated. ‘Cause ya know, this launch stuff isn’t always easy. Tell me your launch stories in the comments or if you still have questions, lay ‘em on me!

Welcome to my corner of the internet where you’ll find no shortage of real talk and proven growth strategies for solopreneurs, professional creators, coaches, and service providers. Grow forth and make it rain in your business, I’ve got your back every step of the way.

Hey superstar! I’m Chanti. 

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