Our content is reader supported, which means when you buy from links you click on, we may earn a commission.
- Who: Eli Natoli
- Website: elinatoli.com
- Course Topic: Online Course Creation
- Interesting Stats: My Facebook group now has 6K members
Who are you and what course have you created?
I’m a marketing Strategist, specializing in helping experts create income and impact through their content, courses, and other digital offers.
My top 2 training programs are:
- Product Launch Profit
This training gives them everything they need to plan, create, launch and sell their first (or next) online course.
- Pilot to Profit
This is a high-touch, high-care program to help expert turn their expertise into result-driven training program. Build a well-planned marketing engine — that’s specific to their personality, audience and niche — to sell a live version (pilot version) of their training program, before turning it into an evergreen course that sells on auto-pilot.
What market does your online course serve?
I help coaches, creators and service-based business professionals.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
My training program are built on 3 fundamental principles that I consider crucial for building a profitable and scalable expert platform. Which are:
- Gaining the insight to establish a strong foundation, rooted in a well-planned strategy first. This approach helps prevent the risk of following advice or tactics that’s not right for their niche, audience or program.
- Developing the ability to empathize with their prospects. They learn how to step into their prospect’s shoes and truly understand their circumstances, beliefs, struggles, dreams, etc. Without this perspective, they run the risk of creating a course that doesn’t effectively address the right issues or resonate with their ideal audience.
- Learning to bring their entire self into their courses (and their marketing initiatives).
Not what they know – their expertise, knowledge and experiences. But who they are!
Not just what you know, but who you are. That way, they’ll stand out and not get lost in the crowd.
How did you get into the market?
15 years ago, my husband and I left the corporate environment for the dream of being our own bosses. Unfortunately, very quickly reality set in, and we found ourselves in the roller coaster many small businesses find themselves in.
We were either struggling to fill our sale’s pipeline, or drowning in the workload.
3 years in, we were exhausted, overwhelmed and constantly worried about where our next pay-check was going to come from.
We were contemplating packing it all up and going back to our day jobs. But that was depressing the heck out of me and so I started looking for other ways to add additional revenue stream into our business.
That’s when the idea of online courses came along. I convinced my husband to team up with me, and we got to work. For the next six months, we poured our hearts into creating our first online course.
Now, I’d love to tell you that we had a flood of enrollments as soon as it launched, but that wasn’t the case. It took another four years before things clicked into place. By then, 70% of our earnings were coming in passively.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
I wanted to build a business that supports the lifestyle that I had dreamed of when I left my corporate job – a lifestyle that allows me to have money, location and time freedom.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Did I ever? Every step felt like a climb. But the two biggest that stand out the most were:
- The fear of not delivering the results I promised to my clients – and as a result being called out as a fraud.
- Worrying about how I sounded/and looked. I was terrified of being judged harshly.
What’s your online course like?
My courses are a mix of talking head videos, live-action (showing my screen as I work), and PowerPoints. I think using different ways to teach helps my clients stay focused and engaged.
I also add supporting materials to each lesson to help them practice what I teach. Each lesson comes with useful extras like checklists, cheat sheets, summaries, and worksheets – whatever suits the lesson best. This way, they can really put everything into action.
How long did it take you to create your course?
The first course took almost 6 months. But now, having gone through the process so many times (both for myself and my clients), I’ve got the process streamlined to 8 weeks. From the initial research & ideation all the way to launch.
This is how I usually break down the process:
- Week 1: Research
- Week 2: Creating the course framework
- Week 3 + 4: Scripting
- Week 5: Recording
- Week 6 + 7: Editing
- Week 8: Publish & Launch
What I have found is that if you spend the right amount of time scripting your course, then recording goes REALLY fast.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
Let me start by saying that the method I used to launch my first course a decade ago isn’t quite the recipe for success in today’s 2023 landscape.
Back then, the traditional launch strategy involved steps like Market research, idea formulation, course creation, and then finally thinking about how to launch, market and sell it.
This approach worked back in a day when we were in the information age and market wasn’t saturated with so many courses in just about any niche.
But now the game has changed. We’ve moved beyond the information age, with so many courses covering every imaginable topic and niche.To stand out and make sure you’ll have consistent sales, your course needs to solve a very unique and specific gap in your market. - Eli Natoli Click To Tweet
That’s why I advise my clients to approach things differently. After the initial research to identify market gaps and unmet needs, I don’t recommend diving headfirst into course creation.
Instead, I encourage them to pilot a live version first. This approach lets them focus on audience building and marketing, rather than investing energy and time in a course that might not find buyers.
When they manage to build their audience around their live pilot version of their course and enroll participants, they’re essentially proving demand for the course. Armed with this validation, they can then capitalize on the momentum and transform it into an evergreen course, ready to be sold on autopilot. This way, they’re set up for a more effective and predictable course launch.
Do you have a lead magnet?
I’ve got several, but one of my key lead magnets is my “Course Creation Toolkit.” This toolkit bundles together practical guides, checklists, worksheets, and templates, all designed to help experts navigate the process of transforming their ideas into online courses. Not only that, but I’ve also included templates for course delivery, promotion, and marketing.
This lead magnet has been a rock-solid performer over the years in terms of attracting the right leads to my doorstep and growing my email list. It serves as their first introduction to me. The fact that it’s actionable, packed with value, and easily digestible makes it obvious to potential buyers that if they can gain that much benefit from a free resource, enrolling in my courses or programs will offer them even more value and results.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
I firmly believe in focus over spreading thin across too many platforms. If a traffic source isn’t working, adding three more won’t magically fix it.
My main starting point was a FaceBook Group. I really wanted to have a place where I get to build a tribe and nurture relationships. That’s why I started with a Facebook group, and 7 years later, it’s still going strong. My FB group now is has 6K strong members, and it’s been a consistent powerhouse for generating leads.
Joint-ventures are another pillar of my approach. Building a network of like-minded folks serving the same audience with complementary offerings has proven to be golden. It’s an excellent way to grow my visibility, extend my reach, and get in front warm leads. I make sure to engage in at least one joint-venture each month, and it keeps the momentum flowing.
What online course platform are you using?
Do you like it?
I love it, mainly because it’s a all-in-one platform. You can sell your courses and other offers, build your list, do live webinar & classes, and offer a community to your audience and students — all in one place.
Are there any features you wish it had?
At this point I’d be nitpicking but I wish it had a better affiliate tracking capabilities LOL!
Of course, Zenler does allow you to setup affiliates, and track # of visits and sales for each affiliate. But if you’re running a promotion that starts with a lead magnet (let’s say a webinar) and have multiple affiliates promoting the same webinar, then tracking gets messy, as it has no way of knowing which sale came through which affiliate.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
I first decided to move to Zenler because of how flexible their layout builder is. I wanted to have more control over how the visual elements show up on various landing pages.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
Too many to count, hahaha! But the top ones that I can’t do without are:
- Convertkit for email marketing.
- Trello keeps my workshop group organized and serves as our communication hub .
- Calendly for both paid and free consultation bookings.
- Calendly takes care of bookings, whether for paid consultations or free chats.
- Group Boss helps me smoothly run my Facebook group.
- And I can’t forget Canva, Zoom, and Zapier.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
Storybrand by Donald Miller in my opinion is a must-read for experts who want to communicate the right message that resonates with their audience.
Start with Why by Simon Sinek is also another must read to better understand your uniqueness factor as wells positioning and communicating it so your prospects can see.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
Where do I begin? LOL!
One of the biggest mistakes was the idea that if I just push myself harder, if I can just get to this X milestone, I’ve made it. So I’d be working around the clock. Pulling 12-14 hour days, including weekends.
Working towards that big goal. And then inevitably one of these 2 things would happen:
- I’d hit that goal I had set out for myself, celebrate it for 2 seconds and then it was off to another big goal.
- Not hit the goal at all, and feel deflated and disappointed.
In either situation, you’re exhausted and unfulfilled. And eventually I realized I’d be working myself into the ground this way with no sense of accomplishment.
So I stopped obsessing about the next milestone, and started seeing each of them as a stepping stone to helping me grow and evolve over time. As clichéd as the phrase “it’s the journey not the destination” might be, it’s very, very true.
Please share some idea of revenue.
Creating diverse revenue streams and building product suites is a big focus for me. Here’s why:
- Every person in your audience is on their unique journey. Some might not be ready to dive into a higher-priced program right away. They could prefer starting with a $97 training, gaining momentum, and gradually working their way up. By catering to different stages, you’re genuinely assisting a broader range of individuals.
- Spreading out your revenue sources is like not putting all your eggs in one basket. Multiple streams mean a variety of avenues for consistent and reliable income.
As for my setup, I’ve got 7 courses that run on auto-pilot through my evergreen funnels. On top of that, I offer group programs.
It’s a strategy that has helped me create a more stable and sustainable income while meeting the needs of a diverse audience.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
Absolutely, the most significant change has been the freedom from living paycheck to paycheck.It's given me the ability to build savings, ensuring that we can comfortably maintain our lifestyle. - Eli Natoli Click To Tweet
While I might not be a multi-millionaire, I’ve achieved a comfortable living standard.
More importantly, it has allowed me to financially support my three kids through their undergraduate and postgraduate education.
Providing stability and opportunities for my family has been the biggest advantage!
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
How I sold out my high-ticket program, and generated 56K in sales, without launching.
I’ve broken down the entire process in this article.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
Creating my course has brought two remarkable shifts in my life:
First one, it’s given me the exact freedom I had dreamed about – freedom from the daily hustle, the ability to choose when and who I work with.
This became so apparent when my husband and I battled Covid in October 2020. We were severely ill for 6 weeks, even needing hospitalization. After returning home, we could only manage a few hours of work each day until March 2021 due to lingering long covid effects. During this entire time, I felt incredibly fortunate to not worry about money, and have consistent revenue stream without being physically present.
The second one, I had not anticipated at all — and that the positive impact I’ve had on numerous lives. Receiving messages from individuals sharing how my training, workshops, or collaboration with them helped them achieve their dreams is priceless. Contributing to the co-creation of someone else’s dreams feels like I’m living my own dreams over and over. There’s nothing more fulfilling than that.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
Several years ago, I had the privilege of working with a remarkable client in the trading industry. One of his digital products was a membership program that provided daily stock alerts and valuable trading information. It was priced at JUST $47, but members were experiencing impressive gains, some even reaching profits of 200K or 300K.
Despite the undeniable value he offered, he wasn’t able to sell this training predictably or consistently.
Through in-depth conversations with him, I discovered a fire within him. He was genuinely frustrated with the trading industry, which he believed was filled with scammers and dishonest individuals who took advantage of inexperienced and uninformed traders, resulting in significant financial losses. He wanted to be the voice of reason, guiding people towards legitimate trading practices and protecting them from unnecessary hardships.
Together, we realized that tackling these industry issues head-on was his differentiator. We revamped his messaging to shine a big light on the harsh realities of trading industry, as well as emphasizing his commitment to transparency, honesty, and genuine results.
By showcasing his values and beliefs, we positioned him as a trusted guide and advocate for those seeking a legitimate opportunity in the trading world.
To accurately reflect the value he provided, we raise the price of his program to $1200. This move not only aligned the cost with the true worth of his training but also attracted a flood of interest. In fact, the demand was so high that he had to close enrollment earlier than anticipated.
My key takeaway:When you truly empathize with your audience, understanding their world from their perspective, and weave this into your solution while staying true to your beliefs and your values, you naturally attract the right people. - Eli Natoli Click To Tweet
This alignment makes your offer compelling and practically sells itself.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
My biggest advice is if something sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is.
A training program promising you to create and launch your course in the next 5 days, is too good to be true!
Or a program that promises to get you to 70K a month sale by just creating ONE YOUTUBE Video, seems too good to be true!
I’m not saying be suspicious of everything. But exercise caution.
I’ve lost count of so many conversions, with people who’ve spent their life savings — 100k-200k — into various programs and still no closer than where they were at the starting point.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
You’re not going to get to a consistent, predictable income stream by following quick fix or overnight success formulas.
Embrace the long game.
Start with a solid foundation. Make sure you have a strategy that allows you to create a result-driven course. One that your ideal buyers can easily follow, replicate and get the promised results. This is the right initial first step.
Next, focus on reaching your audience. Implement a well-planned strategy, along with the right processes, systems, and frameworks to attract, nurture, and convert this audience into buyers.
Every step towards these goals is valuable, even if immediate results don’t surface. Keep in mind, progress takes time, but with persistence, you’ll eventually get there.