How to Sell a Course before You Build It

by | Oct 29, 2023 | Business Lessons, Inspiration, Unbecoming | 0 comments

Are you creating your course before you sell it? STOP. And listen…


Whilst completely understandable, the desire to have your course perfectly ready before you sell could be hurting you and your clients. I’ve been there…

Back in the stone age, PhD well underway and a new university teaching job, I was SO excited to be creating a whole entire credit-bearing course for the autumn semester. Specifically, an entire 20-hour programme and the exam to go with it, from scratch, all by myself. 

I put so much thought and energy into it. Every hour of the programme took me 20 hours to create, even though I was already recognised as an “expert.” The course was on my original research, which I’d already presented at international conferences and published in a leading online journal. It’s not even like I was researching new material, I was pretty much pulling it from my head and making it into slides. And I still spent 20 hours preparing per hour of teaching. 

The Disadvantages of Creating a Course Before Selling It


I wanted it to be PERFECT. The entire summer break, I worked night and day (Duncan will confirm, I was getting up and working every night from 2am-5am, then going back to bed for two hours). 

I wanted everyone to love it and learn all they could ever dream of wanting to learn from me. And if I’m honest, I wanted them to love me. I was measuring the likelihood of this love by the “quality” (ie. number of hours preparing) of the materials I was creating. 

So what actually happened? 

That course was like going into astronaut training with zero prep, a NO PASS health certificate and having to last hours at a time in a gyroscope without vomiting. IT WAS TOO MUCH.

There wasn’t even time for people to ask questions because hello, I was having to ditch half the slides every time as it was. 

I wasn’t even “new” at this point – I had been delivering other people’s curated material for years! I’d also run many workshops and tutored six classes a week. I “knew” what went into a session. But I just wanted to give so much…and it got the better of me. 

Selling Your Course Before You Build It Benefits Your Clients


So much, I never gave anyone what they needed. I did blow their minds a lot. And we did have a nice class trip at the end of the semester. People even passed the exam. But I would never do that to other human beings ever again. Or myself.

When we create WITH clients, we give them the true opportunity to get exactly what they need, instead of putting on our “I know best” hats. We give people the chance to ask us or show us what they want and need. We can adjust in the moment, with ease and grace. 

The reason most people don’t do it that way is because 1) we’ve all been taught using established curriculums, so that’s what feels familiar; 2) it’s scary to wing it and the idea it’s unprofessional to do so doesn’t make that fear any better.

It’s scary because…

  • it’s uncertain – they might not get a good result??? 
  • it’s vulnerable – you might get caught and judged for not knowing all the answers.
  • It’s “over-confident” and that’s hard, when you’ve been told all your life not to toot your own trumpet.

BUT what if the idea that those are bad things are assumptions that are actually ALL WRONG.

What if you creating it first is actually uncertain, because you’re doing it without their input and you can’t micro-adjust to get the results with them so easily? And creating as you go, in collaboration with real clients, is how you make certain people get good results? 

What if vulnerability is THE thing that connects us, and being the expert who “knows all the answers” doesn’t actually leave space for anyone to grow around you (including you).

What if “over-confident” is actually found in you can create something that will be perfect AT ALL, never mind create that  all by yourself without real client input? And that creating as you go (aka winging it) isn’t about confidence at all, it’s about courage? (The original definition of which is speaking what’s on your heart even though there may be consequences).

How Selling Your Course Before You Build It Benefits You


It’s going to be messy no matter what, and imperfect no matter what (it just will), so here’s the deal:

Building as you go means you actually have the opportunity to invest in the things that matter most for getting it right with clients. And really we all know that and we should want that. Investing up front the front to make something easy to sell might feel good in the short term, but not having the goods to properly deliver on the other side is bad, bad business. 

Working with entrepreneurs from their day one up to 7+ figure business owners, I see the same two patters over and over again. 

1) Not getting started because you “don’t have the perfect…” photos, copy, social media strategy, formula, graphics or whatever the thing is that you’re currently telling yourself is essential to success…yet. Investing in service and programme after service and programme, and seeing very little return on your investment. Feeling like you’ve been misguided because all those investments, and you still haven’t found the perfect course to support you.

2) Investing ever penny as you earn it, back into all of the above. Selling out your programmes (hence the 7+ figures) and then having a nightmare with unhappy clients who aren’t seeing results. Feeling shame, guilt and imposter syndrome and not knowing what you’re doing wrong so you overgive to help people through but it’s still not working. Feeling like you’ve been misguided because all those investments, and you still haven’t made the perfect course.

Not getting the results you desire in your business (whether you are person 1 or person 2) is never about there being some “perfect thing” out there that you just have to find.

It’s always about the self-belief to get started without the perfect thing and co-create it with your soulmate clients. 

Selling first, before creating, means going straight to the hard part (which is not any easier once the course is built either). It takes some big-ass lady balls. Creating first is nice, it’s like procrastinating with glitter and craft supplies. But at best, it delays you making any money. And at worst, it’s putting glitter on a 💩 for months, only to find out later when you try to sell it (I’ve seen that happen a lot too).

The self-belief to move forwards boldly might sound impossible, but the good news is self-belief is something you learn to curate, not something you’re born with/without. If you want to know more about how to cultivate self-belief, come join us in the Flawsome Abundant Entrepreneurs Facebook group. We talk about all this, and more! 


Dr. Morgana

Dr. Morgana McCabe Allan


There’s always more to LEARN

And here’s just a few starting points…

“I’m sharing a win, I made more money this week in my business than on any other offer last year. And it was so easy. This money river is flowing today! I’m only $700 away from hitting my new monthly goal and it’s only the 2nd of the month!”

Elena Saxton

Coach for Artisans

Morgana McCabe Allan is incredibly wise yet personable, revolutionary yet relational, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be coached through mindset calls with her. I will be hearing her words in my head for years to come!

Danielle Bettmann

Host of Failing Motherhood Podcast

“I signed my first client!! {…} I showed up on the call fully present, gave her everything I could and I told her I want to offer her a 3 month package where I will honour the free sessions I had posted about within the price point. And she signed up! 🙂 “