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- Who: Jo Harris
- Website: thevirtualmama.com
- Course Topic: Copywriting
- Interesting Stats: Went from making around $15-$20/hr as a freelancer to making $100/hr+
Who are you and what course have you created?
I’m Jo Harris, a conversion copywriter, and business coach. Three years ago, I started an online business offering content creation services but was exhausted trying to hit my income goals with $20/hr jobs. After writing copy in-house for The Virtual Savvy, I started my agency, making over $100/hr as a sales copywriter.
Now I have a course called Copyland that teaches other freelancers how to write copy so they can niche down and make a full-time income working part-time hours. My course opens for enrollment twice a year, but anyone can join the waitlist. I also have a free copywriting class here.
What market does your online course serve?
My course is for aspiring copywriters, virtual assistants, and freelance writers. Anyone who wants to learn how to write professional sales copy for their business or offer it as a premium service to their clients. I’ve found that many new virtual assistants start their businesses as generalists and struggle to find clients because they haven’t developed specialized skills.
What Copyland does is give them the training they need to develop good skills and position themselves as an expert so that they can charge higher rates and get better results for their clients. This helps them build a sustainable business because they don’t have to overwork to earn enough revenue.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
Many courses teach you how to start a business, but they don’t help you develop a skill at an expert level. So what happens is people are investing in courses, creating websites, and offering services, but they haven’t been equipped to perform the service well or don’t understand what it takes to get their business to the next level. As a result, many entrepreneurs struggle to land clients and get discouraged about their business. Unfortunately, some even give up.
Copyland sets up students for success from the beginning because it teaches them a skill directly tied to their client’s profitability. When you have a sought-after skill like copywriting, you’ll be able to earn a high income even if you don’t have a shiny new website, connections, or logo. Those are not the things that make a business profitable. You need clients to be profitable.
My approach to starting an online business is unique. I focus on those action steps that will help you move forward faster rather than wasting energy and money on shiny objects that don’t make you profitable.
How did you get into the market?
I was an in-house copywriter for about a year and a half, and during that time, I met many aspiring copywriters interested in niching in copy services. I got many questions and tried as much as possible to share advice. Eventually, I created an entry-level course that got phenomenal feedback, and I created something more in-depth that walks them through the copywriting process from start to finish.
The idea was truly God-given. At some points, I questioned if it would be successful, but my faith in Jesus compelled me to keep going. I’m happy I took action because my first launches were successful.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
I’ve always loved sharing what I know with other people. Being able to mentor others to succeed in their businesses is something I genuinely love doing. Creating an online course isn’t just about me; it’s also about everyone who needs the information I have to share. I’ve already made the mistakes so that others don’t have to. They can learn from someone who’s been in their shoes and can give them shortcuts to succeed faster. Online courses have helped me a lot in my business journey, and I’m genuinely grateful to provide resources to help others.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
I was creating my course under a deadline because I pre-sold it before creating it. That was a fantastic path, and I don’t regret it. At the same time, because I had a specific timeframe to work in, I constantly thought about ways to make the course even better if I had more time.This has pros and cons; if you don’t have a deadline and keep working on the course, you can never finish it. Done is always better than perfect, in my opinion. - Jo Harris Click To Tweet
I do aim for both, but I’ve also learned that aiming for perfection can keep you from moving forward because you end up constantly making changes and not moving forward.
There were moments when I wondered if the course was good enough, but I think that we will always be our own worst critics. Hearing the feedback of my students was reassuring for me.
If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?
Prayer kept me going through self-doubt. The idea for Copyland is something the Lord Jesus put in my heart. Anytime I had doubts, I remembered that He was the one who gave me this idea so that it couldn’t fail.
What’s your online course like?
Copyland is primarily video. You don’t see much of my face on camera; I created slide decks for each lesson and then used screen recording software to present the slides on camera. I have one lesson, just text, but that’s about it. Other video lessons include me writing copy or conducting research on screen.
I wanted the course to be comprehensive, and the best way to do that is to share live examples of how to put the information into action. My students appreciated this. I even had feedback that my course filled in gaps that other courses had left behind. That was one of the biggest compliments I could get because I strived to make Copyland comprehensive.
How long did it take you to create your course?
I created Copyland in about two months, which is a short time. Because I pre-sold the course, I had to finish it within the time I promised my students, which helped me complete it more quickly than I would have.
The first step for me was outlining the entire course. I listed out the modules, then the lessons within each module. I did this by thinking about my copywriting process and replicating what they needed to learn in progressive order.
Once I had the outline, I created the slide decks, recorded myself presenting the slides, edited the videos, and uploaded them to my course platform.
The next step was creating the downloadable resources. Each module has its resources like templates, checklists, etc.
Creating a course is simpler when you break down the project into smaller steps. That’s one thing that helped me.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I did a private beta launch to my email list before I created the course. That was essentially my first launch. As a copywriter, I wrote an email sequence to pre-sell the course to my list and let them know that beta testers would get a reduced rate.
It helped that I had an email list of a few hundred people to sell to.I highly recommend building your email list before you try to create and sell your course because otherwise, you won’t have an audience to buy from you. - Jo Harris Click To Tweet
People love to talk about how great passive income is or how great it is to have a course, but what they don’t tell you most of the time is that to be successful, you have to build an audience first.
Do you have a lead magnet?
Absolutely. A lead magnet is essential for building your list and getting people into your sales funnel.
My first lead magnet was a template. I promoted it at the end of entry-level training for copywriters and on my social media. Now I have a free copywriting class that gives people the basics they need to know to start a copywriting business. The training is about an hour long, and at the end, I do give them a special offer if they’re interested in taking my paid course.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
The majority of my traffic comes from social media. I mainly build my audience through authority building and my Facebook group.
I use the Facebook group to attract people interested in learning more about copywriting and building an online business. Inside the group, I give a lot of value and answer questions to build a relationship with my audience.
For me, it’s not just about selling my course; I do want to help people. I can do that through my Facebook group because I can grow my audience and be a resource to people who need support. It’s a win for everyone.
What online course platform are you using?
At the time of this interview, I’m using Thinkific.
Do you like it?
Thinkific is working well for now. It has the needed features, but I might explore other options as my program grows. It gives me nearly everything I need, so I recommend it to others.
Take a Look at Thinkific!
Thinkific is the most popular online course platform used by successful course creators interviewed on coursemethod.com. It’s a complete solution for creating sales pages, uploading all course content, taking payments, and more.
- Price Range: Free to $499/month
- Most Popular Plan: Pro Plan at $99/month
- Annual Discount: Yes, take 20% off!
- Free Trial: Try out Thinkific’s core features for free.
Are there any features you wish it had?
I wish there were phone support and a more robust affiliate dashboard.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
The main reason I chose Thinkific is the affiliate feature. Compared to a competitor, Thinkific also cost slightly less and had more features for the price point. Overall, it was a great deal. There will never be a “perfect” platform – eventually, you will have to pick one. Just remember that it’s not a permanent decision. You can always switch somewhere else if you don’t like your platform.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
At the time of this interview, I used MailerLIte, Google Workspace, Canva, Loom, FIlmora, Calendly, Stripe, Zoom, Riverside, Vimeo, and Deadline Funnel. For my website, I also use Kadence, WordPress, BigScoots, and Restored316. There are a lot of tools, so I might be forgetting one! This will probably evolve.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
The books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes from the Bible have been pillars for me in my business. It may be surprising, but the most valuable strategies I’ve learned have come from those books.
I have a handful of copywriting books that I frequently pick up, as well as podcasts. I don’t only read business books, though. There have been several books on personal finance, faith, and health that have impacted me as well. There are too many to name, but if anyone wants my book list, feel free to reach out to me!
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
This may surprise you, but the number one mistake I regret is not starting my business sooner. I dealt with some self-doubt and uncertainty initially, which brought many delays. The good thing, however, is that I’m here now!
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
It’s helped me be able to contribute to the household as a stay-at-home mom. I still offer one-to-one services through my agency, honeyDIGITAL, but having supplemental income from my course gives me even more freedom and flexibility. Most importantly, it will enable our family to help more people in need. For my husband and I, it’s not just about storing treasure for ourselves and becoming rich. Money is a tool that can be used to do a lot of good things for other people too.
If you can increase your income, you should do it. Not only for yourself but to help more people. It takes resources to help people. Someone has to donate that money, right? So for me, God has shifted how I view earning money. I see it as a powerful tool to accomplish more good for God and others.
Are there any numbers you would like to share?
Well, as far as my services go, I went from making around $15-$20/hr as a freelancer to making $100/hr+ after niching into copywriting. Before starting my business, I made as low as $10/hr in my first remote job. It’s pretty incredible to look back and see that growth. Seeing what’s possible makes me even more passionate about helping aspiring entrepreneurs through my course. I can see potential in them that they can’t see in themselves. So as a mentor, I can come in and push them to reach that potential.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
Creating my course almost felt like delivering a baby! It was certainly an accomplishment. I feel like any business, it does help you mature due to the high level of responsibility that it demands.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
Yes! I have one student in particular who comes to mind. She wanted to leave her 9-5 and make copywriting her full-time gig. She felt lost in her career before starting Copyland. Also, She hated her job and didn’t know how to move forward with her online business. Within two months, she finished the course, wrote her first writing samples, and created a portfolio. Now she has everything she needs to move forward and is close to landing a new copy opportunity. When she first messaged me to thank me, I was touched to see how God was using Copyland to help people. I know it’s not me, but God working in people’s lives. I’m just His instrument.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
My best advice is to try it. Yes, it sounds simple, but so many people waste a ton of time being indecisive and never moving forward. Sometimes you must put your foot forward and try to find out if it will work. Also, I advise people to find a unique angle with their course. There may be other courses on the same topic, but no one will teach it the same way you do.You can differentiate yourself in the market by finding a unique angle or leading with your own story. - Jo Harris Click To Tweet
That’s something I did personally, and it was helpful.