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An open letter to aspiring course creators

freelance Mar 06, 2024

3 Critical Elements to Launching A Brand, Program or New Offer.
Plus 2 Nice To Haves…

I’ve been surprised and somewhat overwhelmed lately with the amount of requests I’m getting to help people build a strategy and write the copy for their upcoming launch.

Just this week I’ve received 5 invites from Upwork asking for either help clarifying their new offer, or to help them write the copy for a sales page or email launch campaign. (and it’s only Tuesday morning!)

Just when you thought the recession was slowing everything down, my world of freelance copywriting is taking off (again). During the pandemic when we thought the business would come to a stand still, my team and I were shocked at the number of clients who wanted to start a business, or finally go full time with their side-hustle and needed help launching it off the ground.

Here we are again. (thankfully!)

But, I hesitate to take on clients who think they just need copywriting or a great email to sell their new product, program or course…I wish it were that easy. Copywriting is just one element out of 5 that is critical to getting off the ground and finding traction in a noisy marketplace.

People have been sold a pretty big lie when they heard they could take their knowledge, package it up in a course or membership site and start making money in their sleep….otherwise known as ‘passive income’. Let me tell you…there is nothing passive about launching a paid course, coaching or product, even if people can buy it at 2am while you are sleeping.

If I take on a client to help them launch their passion project or new business, I make sure they understand what it REALLY takes to build a brand that is sustainable and profitable.

Before I share this insight with you, I think it’s important that you understand the context I’m giving any advice with. Yes, I’m a copywriter but I also launched a second business during the pandemic coaching other freelancers how to build a thriving business on Upwork.

I grew a Facebook Community from 80 friends and family to over 3500 vetted and engaged freelancers at all stages of the freelance journey. I’ve earned over $245,000 in revenue since starting in 2022, and we’re on track to hit $300,000 by the end of this year. That would mean an average of $100k in revenue each year…and this was / is still my side hustle.

So, yes, you can make money creating courses, programs, coaching etc. But there is nothing passive about this. And, the truth is I broke even the first 24 months…more like Iost money the first 12 months, made a bit extra in the next 12 months and this year finally hit my sweet spot.

And, I managed to hit that elusive place where I do wake up to sales and deposits in my account every day thanks to my evergreen and automated funnels that took me way too long to finally figure out, ha!

I could have built this faster if it was my full time job (or I needed it to pay the bills) but I had a thriving copywriting business that covered and still covers everything, so I was able to build the Full Thrive brand in a sustainable and balanced way.

So…if you’re still reading, you are probably interested in what worked for me and whether you are willing to commit to focusing on these 5 key elements as you look to build, launch or relaunch your next amazing offer.


You thought I was going to say great copywriting first…well, it’s a tie between content and copy, but in my opinion, content is king. You must know what you’re talking about and have something that actually helps move people forward or make their life easier.

Giving away valuable and free information that will help people make money, save money, save time, get healthier, find love or build a business is critical. Honestly, they don’t care about you, or your message…they care about getting information as quickly and as cheaply as possible to see if you’re the real deal or not.

Creating content to build your brand is the fastest, most authentic (and cheapest) way to build an engaged (and grateful) group of followers. Before you think of focusing on paid ads (ie, Facebook) you better have a clear message and valuable information people can access quickly and easily (and for free).

I spent almost 6 months giving away free info before I even thought about making a course. I wrote blogs, emails and did FB live trainings week after week testing out my messaging and frameworks before I created something to sell.


Okay, yes, it’s high up there on the list of things that are critical for launching a new brand, program or offer. But, here’s the thing, if you don’t have anything to sell, or action you want your audience to take, copywriting isn’t much use.

Copywriting moves people to action. It’s words that sell. If you don’t have anything to sell yet, then you don’t really need much copywriting. And, if you haven’t created loads of content that show your value, authority or framework for helping people (without selling) then you haven’t earned the right to sell (yet).

Too many entrepreneurs create an offer or program and think that people will buy just because of the content or topic. But, with so many programs and courses out there today (for FREE), no one is just going to hand over money because you have a shiny new thing you’re so proud of.

People buy people…and creating content is how you connect with others and help them see the real value they will get from the information you are teaching or sharing.

Now, once you build an engaged audience, who consistently ask you for more (coaching, courses, events) then you have the greenlight to put something together that requires a sales page, sales emails, sales scripts and everything that really needs powerful copywriting.

And last thing I’ll say about this…out of all 5 of the key elements…this is NOT one you should attempt to DIY. Do not write your own copy. See my earlier post about why you should never write your own copy.


If you plan to sell something that is based on your knowledge, experience or expertise and is unique to you, then you’ll need to find a way to connect with your audience, followers etc to build your brand.

People buy people, so connection is critical when you’re trying to get early traction, and help your brand spread by word of mouth and referrals. You’ll want to set up some type of ‘container’ where you have the ability to easily connect with people on a personal level.

I used Facebook and Instagram as a way to reach out to people, and allow them to reach out to me directly. Even today I answer every single comment and DM I get on social media. I also send out emails every week and encourage people to hit reply and ask questions or give me updates.

And I reply to every dang email myself. I connect with people.

When new people join my Facebook Group (I have 2 now, Full Thrive Freelancers and Full Thrive Copywriters) I send them a personal DM, with their name, from me when I add them to the group. They also get an email from me as soon as they join as well as a shoutout in a a welcome post inside the group.

You’ve got to be willing to connect. Personally. And make it easy for people to connect with you (with some sensible boundaries of course).

So, I told you there were 3 critical elements to launching a brand, program or new offer. Well it’s your lucky day because I’m going to throw in 2 more really important ‘nice-to-haves’ that will help speed up your success.


Building community is more than just connection as discussed above. And, not every brand, product etc needs a community, but it sure does help.

People want to belong to something bigger than themselves. They want to know others are out there asking the same questions, struggling with the same issues and they want to have a safe place to connect with others.

Community helps create a sticky brand. It helps your message spread without you. It builds brand awareness, loyalty and this is where more sales are made.

With just 3500 freelancers I’ll gross right around $300,000 in revenue. You don’t need a huge community, huge list or expensive programs to earn a great living sharing your knowledge.

You do need to cultivate an engaged community. It requires time to connect, create content that engages, reply to messages, provide value inside the group. Basically show up and care. And if you’re not interested in this or don’t see it as a strategic priority, it will make it more difficult and a much slower process to build your brand.


Before you roll your eyes, go ahead and roll your eyes. This is the critical element that too many ambitious entrepreneurs and visionaries struggle with. They get a great idea, execute quickly and put something into the marketplace.

They build the thing and hope ‘they will come’. (Think Field of Dreams.)

It doesn’t work that way. Ever.

First of all, people need to see a message multiple times, like 8 times before they pay attention. And, if you have good copywriting (see above) hopefully they actually understand what you’re saying the one time they pay attention.

If you confuse them, or only show up now and then, you’ll never stick in their mind. You’ll never move them to action, or get them to share with others. It really sucks that it takes so much time and effort to tell people how you can help them.

The best idea doesn’t always win. The best coach, the best program or the most amazing offer doesn’t always win (or survive) if people don’t see it enough times, trust it or understand how it can help them.

Showing up over and over again in your community, in multiple ways, is a key factor in building your brand, and definitely growing brand awareness.

When I built Full Thrive Freelancers this was some of my marketing strategy:

  • Facebook Group — Post 5 times a week
  • Facebook Group — Live Q & A or training every single week
  • Instagram — Post 5 times a week
  • Instagram stories — 7 days a week
  • Email — 2 emails a week
  • YouTube channel — launched a new video training every week
  • Blog posts — 2 x per month

Not everyone reads your emails, or sees your posts on social media. So, you need to have multiple channels for delivering your content. Content, not copy. In all of the above, only 10% would have any sales message or strong copywriting. This was just how consistently and methodologically I delivered content…for FREE.

I hope I’ve sobered most of you up to what it takes to successfully, sustainably and profitably launch a new program, course or brand. I hope I’ve scared a few of you away.

The biggest mistake I see over and over again with aspiring entrepreneurs, course and content creators is the vast amount of effort, time, energy and money they pour into starting something fun and exciting, and probably life changing…. only to lose interest after the first or second time launching (3–6 months) without committing to the 5 key elements above.

What’s the big hurry? Do you need the money now? To survive, pay the bills or validate your worthiness?

If your idea is so amazing, and you are so passionate about what you want to do, how you want to help people, how you want to change the world…is it worth doing the unsexy stuff to ensure success? For both you…and those you want to help.

Yes, I can help you write amazing copy that will sell…if you’re willing to do your part on the other 80%.

Your friend and fellow dreamer, creator, world changer,


Lisa is a freelance copywriter and StoryBrand Guide who has built a multiple 6-figure, online copywriting agency, over the past 4 years. Last year she shifted and scaled her business by bringing on a team of other copywriters to help more businesses and personal brands simplify their message and streamline their content marketing.

She also has a passion for helping freelancers stop hustling and start building thriving full time businesses. As a mom of 3 kids, she knows how to navigate mommy guilt, actually be productive working from home and coaches other freelancers through Full Thrive Freelancing with online courses, coaching and free training focused on leveraging the Upwork Platform.

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