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How This Entrepreneur Turned Her Business Book into a Profitable Online Course

When Holly Hagan, a medical copywriter, set out to write her book in our Write Your Business | Self-Development Book in 4 Months program, she didn’t know that by not finishing her book, she would be powerfully influencing the trajectory of her business, the lives of her clients, and her own life. The success she is experiencing now is entirely due to what she did instead.

by Jenna Kalinsky

While Holly was working on her business book for medical copywriters in our Write Your Business | Self-Development Book in 4 Months Program, she began to see how the book’s structure and content would lend itself perfectly to an online course. She paused her work on the book and instead put her creative energy toward building the course. This led her to creating her flagship The Top Medical Writer ™ course, becoming a certified coach, and now having a business positioned to become the go-to training for healthcare advertising agencies across North America.

Success in one of our 4-month book programs can take on different shapes. Holly’s took on one that’s got her perfectly set up for business success.

I interviewed Holly about how pivoting away from her book during our 4-month program to building a profitable online course has led to such new and exciting avenues—and changed what will eventually become her book for the better.

stack of business and self-development books beside yellow potted plant and reading glasses

What was your goal for enrolling in the 4-month program?

I’d intended to create a book that both packaged all the experience I have in my industry and bolstered my credibility for clients and the general public, and I really wanted to do it on the 4-month timeline.

Why did you put the book down to focus on the online course instead?

A couple of things happened to make me shift toward developing a course. First, a month into the program, my former spouse passed away, so I paused thinking about the book for about 3 months.

I’d also been having great conversations with my editor, Paula, which I loved (it was really neat to say, “I have a meeting with my editor”). I really liked the support Paula provided and having an expert to discuss my ideas with. We had talked about the kind of book it would be, either a handbook for medical copywriting or something more inspirational.

I knew I didn’t want it to be a dry how-to book but a book you could read and enjoy, more of a narrative. When Paula and I began mapping out the sections and the content for each section, I started to see that instead of writing about how a person can go from start to finish and create a piece of marketing material, I could live test it and teach people how to do that.

 

I knew I wanted the book to have a motivational self-improvement aspect to it, and I realized I should see how the lessons worked in real life. Then I could say in the book that I’ve taught people how to do these things in my course and have stories of how the lessons helped people.

Also, we talked about timelines; realistically, a book takes a long time, but a course is a lot faster and more immediate.

I actually launched the online course even before it was fully built or priced- it was just a LinkedIn post asking people if they were interested and a Google form with some questions about where they were in their journey and what they would want to learn.

Eleven people filled out the form. Their answers gave me insight into what they were looking for and helped me iron out the details. When the course was ready, I reached out to them, and 5 signed up right away, which was amazing.

 

So you felt an almost physical distinction between a course and a book; will that influence how you write the book when you return to it?

Yes, the shift from book to course was a good one because I like being motivational for my students and there to give them confidence to approach clients and present their work. The experience of teaching the concepts in a practical hands-on “how to do it” experience is also showing me how I can create that same motivational self-improvement effect in my book.

What’s next for you?

After I launch The Top Medical Writer ™ course again on May 10, 2023, I’ll be developing a self-paced course designed to be an Academy where people can work through core modules and complete new ones as they’re added.  It will become a training medical copywriters can return to as their primary resource, with lifetime access to the materials, along with a live component of Q&A sessions or weekly office hours for interactive conversations.

top medical writer course logo

When I return to my book, which I’ve tentatively titled, How to Think Like a Medical Copywriter, I’d love for it to be something that a medical copywriter can read in order to learn something about personal development through the lens of the medical copywriting field and also something everyone can read to gain personal development insights while also learning something about medical copywriting.

How did the work you did in the 4-month program help you create your online course?

 

The structure of the book program got me thinking about how to organize my ideas and material to best communicate them to people. I was very engaged with the weekly lessons. They got me into a pattern, and I was following along with the exercises. There was one that talked about getting you into the flow of your ideas, and I tried all the techniques. It was really good. And having the mentor for conversations was really helpful.

Now that you have built your profitable online course, do you feel it will serve as an anchor for your business and lead to other things? 

Has it helped you refine your business’ scope or purpose?

I envision this course as the flagship product for my business, which has two connected sides. One is the Top Medical Writer ™ Academy, which will be a foundational course for writers in the healthcare advertising sector. My aim is for this training to be the go-to for healthcare advertising agencies in Canada and the U.S., so when they see you have your certificate from the training, the agencies will know you’ve covered the proper foundations.

 

woman in glasses and short brown hair wearing white blazer and black belt

The other side is medical writer coaching. In March 2022 I enrolled in a coaching training program and have now become in KHAN Method Coaching, and I coach medical writers. There have been a few coaching clients who have signed on to take the course, which has been great to know they trust me at that level, and they’re willing to invest in me and what I provide for them.

Holly’s The Top Medical Writer ™ course begins May 10, 2023. You can enroll HERE and contact her on LinkedIn if you have questions or would like to see more of the work she does: Holly Hagan

Instagram: @successcoachholly

And to not write your book but create your online course in your Write Your Business | Self-Development Book in 4 Months Program (or even to write your book), have a look at the program and begin today!

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