Why You Truly DON’T Need Your Own Online Course

Morning rage gorilla

Me and Morning Rage

I suffer from a lil’ thing I’ve nicknamed Morning Rage.

It is the almost supernatural anger, impatience, and chest beating raaaaaaage I feel during the first 30-45 minutes of the day, typically triggered by reading email before I’ve given myself a chance to ease into my morning. If I can avoid email in the morning, I can typically avoid Morning Rage.

This morning, the beast could not be contained. Morning Rage is here. And it’s all because I opened my damn laptop and read my email. The subject line that pushed me over the edge?


Releeeeeeeease the krakennnnnn. I’m done with this approach to sales. I’m done with marketers sending messages like this to clients. I’m done with the lie that everyone and their neighbor’s dog needs a course (and a podcast and a webinar series and a membership site and a retreat and a Fill In The Next Big Thing So this Post Stays Evergreen).

I’m not going to call out the marketer who sent this email by name because, despite the Morning Rage burning inside me, this post isn’t about dissing any one individual. My Morning Rage is directed at the greater Online Marketing Industrial Complex. It’s the same group that brings us hits like:

  • Coaching Coaches Who Coach Coaches: A Step by Step Guide
  • Just Talk! An Intro to Podcasting Any Half Baked Idea
  • How to Create a Webinar Series Out of Stuff You Find In Your Sofa
  • And, of course, the perennial favorite, Make a Whole Lotta Money (I Promise!)

The Online Marketing Industrial Complex has one main goal: to sell us stuff that teaches us how to sell stuff to other people so those people can sell more stuff. It doesn’t matter to the Complex whether the stuff we’re selling makes the world better or if the market can handle more of our particular stuff.

To quote the email that incited my Morning Rage:

…the one thing that isn’t up for debate is…

Whether or not you NEED to have your own online course in order to take your business to the next level.

And this is true whether you’re fresh out of the gates, or a long time business owner who’s built their success off done-for-you services, coaching/consulting, or even affiliate promotions.

I mean, on one hand, I get it. There are people out there who have something incredible to share with the world and just need one last nudge to get it out there.

But the rage inducing part of this email isn’t the suggestion that launching an online course may be a good idea for some business owners: it’s the idea that you need to do it, “whether you’re fresh out of the gates, or a long time business owner.”

And that statement is followed up with scary omens of your future without launching said course, like “Unless you plan to be chained to work forever” and “Unless you plan to sell yourself way short on impact and income.”

In other words, you better launch a course ASAP because if you don’t, you’ll never be happy, everyone will laugh at you, and you’ll eat beans out of a can for the rest of your life.

The I Did It And So Can You economy is oversaturated, but The Complex doesn’t want you to know that. Their paycheck relies on selling to as many people as possible, no matter the results. And they will try to convince you to do the same. (Yes, this is where Coaching Coaches Who Coach Coaches was born.)

These sales tactics are the diet pills of the digital marketing world. Not only too good to be true, they can be downright dangerous.

If everyone’s an expert and everyone’s a teacher, it is only a matter of time before no one is an expert and no one is qualified to teach and we’re all just coaching each other on how to look the part, crossing our fingers that the bottom doesn’t fall out on the Fake It ‘Til You Make It Express.

No, you don’t need your own online course. But here’s how to tell when it might be a good idea:

  • You have a highly engaged following that comments, shares your posts, and tags their friends with comments like, “Cindy, you HAVE to read this!”
  • You are frequently invited to teach on other industry leaders’ podcasts, classes, or telesummits
  • You find yourself repeating the same wisdom to client after client with feedback like, “Wow! I’ve never thought about it like that before!” or “I needed to hear that today! Where can I find out more?”
  • You teach or lead live courses and workshops but you have clients from all over the world who can’t make it to your events and are begging you to make content available to them
  • You have put in your 10,000+ hours of practice and now that you’ve mastered your work, you want to challenge yourself again by reaching a wider audience and sharing what you’ve learned over the years

On that note, here’s when you truly DON’T need your own online course:

  • You just launched your business and are still getting your sea legs
  • You are booked solid and don’t have the time, money, or team to focus on hitting a course launch out of the park
  • You struggle to create content that your community likes to read, watch, and share and you’re still learning how to nurture and grow your list
  • You have yet to put in your 10,000 hours of practice and you’re still mastering how to best serve your clients and deliver promised results
  • You feel unsure about teaching and don’t know what you want to teach

The Online Marketing Industrial Complex wants you to believe that if you don’t launch a course NOW you are losing a piece of the $107 billion online training pie. They want you to believe this because selling the idea to you is what makes their slice bigger.

My Morning Rage monster has retreated into its cave, so know that I’m speaking from truth and not anger when I say: you don’t NEED your own online course. It might be a very good idea. It might not. What I know is that an automated email from someone’s sales list can’t be the judge of that.

Teach because you want to make the world better. Teach because you want to help people. Teach because you’re called to teach – not to steal your slice of some mythical money pie. (Trust me, it tastes better that way.)

Rachael Kay Albers

Rachael Kay Albers is a creative director, business comedian, and brand strategist gone wild. She writes and performs about branding, pop culture, tech, and identity. When she’s not muckraking about marketing, Rachael runs RKA ink, a reinvention studio and branding agency for businesses that burn the rulebook. She's also on Instagram a lot.