How a Digital Course Earn an Entrepreneur Over $1 Million a Year

  • Julie Berninger started a successful print business on Etsy and realized that she could teach others how to do the same.
  • She created a digital course on printables, which has since earned her more than $ 1 million.
  • He started the course business with just $ 4,000.

Julie Berninger is the host of the FIRE Drill podcast and co-founder of Gold City Ventures. Berninger and business partner Cody Berman have launched an Etsy printable course that is generating more than $ 1 million in annual revenue, according to records consulted by Insider. She is neither a designer nor remotely artistic, although she earns passive income from Etsy printables and teaches others to do the same.

Humble beginnings

When Berninger launched his Etsy store in 2017, he never imagined that this would lead to a multimillion-dollar business idea. Berninger was working for a tech company in California when he decided to start selling bachelorette party items on Etsy. His full-time job made it difficult to fulfill orders, so he decided to try a more passive approach: digital downloads.

This truly configurable and forgettable model allowed you to upload designs to the market and raise funds when a sale was made. “I loved how I could make a design on my computer once, upload it to Etsy and hundreds of customers could buy me that design without much further action,” he said.

Soon, Berninger began generating a few hundred dollars a month with his digital products. She quickly points out that she is not a designer and has no creative training. She saw a demand for digital products in a niche market and decided to take advantage of it.

His lateral agitation gained momentum when he commented on his personal finance-focused FIRE Drill podcast. The public reacted positively to a passive income stream that did not require high start-up costs or extensive training. Soon, listeners began to contact Berninger with questions about how they could reproduce his success. He realized that there was a marketplace to teach others how to use Etsy as a source of passive income, and he set to work.

Its start-up costs were $ 4,000

In 2018, Berninger completed two face-to-face courses from Etsy’s “master minds,” led by an expert, and was ready to expand her business. She said: “Some participants were making sales, so I knew a beginner could learn and do the same.” About this time, he met his business partner, Cody Berman, when he starred in his podcast.

Berman was successful with online marketing and launched the idea of ​​creating a blogging course. With Berninger’s experience and Berman’s marketing knowledge, they founded Gold City Ventures. But it was not at all quiet. In the midst of setting up the business, Berninger and her husband realized that they were expecting their first child. Pregnancy made it difficult for her to work on the course. “In fact, we tried to launch about three months earlier and I had to delay until I felt good enough to work,” he told Insider.

He didn’t stop her for long. Berninger and Berman contacted friends and space experts for advice before launching their courses. Berman even went to work for a personal finance expert to learn the ropes of running a business. “We tested the demand for what we wanted through small deals like paid brains. When we launched it, we had connections and news about our course,” Berninger said.

Within four months and using $ 4,000 in combined start-up costs, the couple published three courses on Etsy printables, blogs, and freelance work.

The Etsy course was a success and surpassed the other two. Berninger attributes this to the ease of setting up a print shop versus launching a standalone blog or business. “We should have launched with a single direction, but we let ourselves be carried away by the illusion of wanting to offer options,” he said. The couple decided to focus entirely on improving the printable course.

They update the course regularly with student feedback

Berninger and Berman channeled most of their start-up costs into hiring a professional publisher, but soon discovered that it was not entirely necessary. The video editor was unfamiliar with printable space, which resulted in a poor user experience at first.

The money they spent still gave them a valuable lesson. “We thought we needed a professional look at our videos, but we found that students only cared about how easily they could follow the content,” Berninger said. The duo started re-making the videos using a free software tool.

In two years, what started out as a passive income idea to generate a few hundred dollars has become a successful course that produces more than $ 1 million in annual revenue. Berninger credits this success with extensive research, networking, and public vision.

“We have updated the course many times and have been in close contact with the students,” he said. “We would learn to improve our teaching from each cohort of new students and brainstorm on how to make them successful faster. We improved our course framework over and over again. The better the students did, the more excited they were about sharing. of course, and the more people we were interested in joining us. “

It has taken more than $ 1 million in revenue in two years, and Berninger has this advice for starting an online course: never really learn. one good thing. invest in paid training to access the basics “.

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