From Terror To Exhilaration – Lessons Learned From My First Webinar

Posted on /by Natalie Sisson/ in Entrepreneurs / 10 comments

This is a guest post from the lovely Claire Kerslake, one woman who has come a long way since starting her blog less than a year ago, and someone who I’m incredibly proud of, both as a client and a friend, for continuing to learn and progress in building her online business.

Come to the edge, he said
They said: We are afraid
Come to the edge, he said
They came.
He pushed them…
and they flew.

~ Guillaume Apollinaire

“I think you should do a webinar”.

It was a simple, practical suggestion from my mentor, the amazing Natalie Sisson. Why then did I suddenly feel like Natalie had just suggested I jump off the nearest cliff?

Sheer terror.

I struggled to articulate a suitable response. “What if nobody comes?” was all I could squeak.

In truth, the vision was crystal clear – it would be a total unmitigated disaster. I would be naked, alone and revealed as a failure for all the world to see.

Fast forward a couple of months and I’ve just delivered my first webinar. The experience has been AMAZING!

This is the story of how I went from terror to exhilaration and experienced more growth in subscribers in one week than in the previous nine months.

I believe that:

• Whatever scares you the most is often the key to massive growth.
• It is essential to take the advice of those who are where you want to be.
• The shorter the time you can put between receiving the advice and implementing it the better.

This left me no choice. I had to do the webinar.

I had a million questions and no idea of how to actually implement Natalie’s advice. What provider to use. How to ensure that people signing up for the webinar would be going onto my mailing list? What were the costs involved. How did I go about getting a link for promotion? What equipment did I need? A million and one nitty gritty details of how to put it all together eluded me.

Fortunately, Natalie had previously written about her experiences with webinars in her incredible Build Your Online Business Guide and How To Create A Compelling Webinar Business – Lessons From My Small Biz Disaster. These great resources steered me in the right direction.

I also enlisted the expertise of the fabulous Jo Foster and Janine Ogg from Love Your Small Business. Jo drew up a spreadsheet outlining key focus areas such as systems, promotional strategies and relationships.

What was my webinar promotional strategy?

Well, … I thought I’d send out a few tweets, do a Facebook update and a blog post and of course people would flock to hang onto my every word.

Err, no. They probably wouldn’t.

I would need to enlist the help of my key partners. Partners? Oh, dear. I was in deep trouble.

As I stepped off the treadmill of building a website, guest posting and writing posts for my own blog, in addition to my full time ‘day job’, I realized that I’d put little thought into cultivating relationships with successful entrepreneurs in my niche.

I thought I had. However, sending out the odd retweet and posting an occasional blog comment probably didn’t count.

No excuses, really. I’d learned about the value of relationships and partnerships and how vital they are to the growth of your business in Natalie Sisson and Natalie MacNeil’s incredible WE Mastermind program. I’d agreed, nodded and continued on my merry way. It was great advice and I would implement it one day. Soon.

Now the penny dropped.

This has been a real aha moment for me.

Too late now. I’d have to politely ask those wonderful entrepreneurs that I’d ‘sort of been communicating with’ if they would promote my webinar. No time to even think about at an affiliate program.

For some of the entrepreneurs that I contacted, my webinar was a great fit. For others, not so great. All were incredibly supportive. Yet another example of the value of belonging to The Social Media Club and a mastermind group such as WE Mastermind.

From little things, big things grow

Three days before the webinar there were 17 people registered. I remained optimistic. It had been a great learning curve. I felt that I’d made a huge leap forward both in overcoming fear and learning the finer points of running a webinar. It was all good.

Inwardly I was a little disappointed.

I’d originally set my email service provider to notify me by email when someone subscribed or unsubscribed from my list. I could always change the setting when I was inundated with new subscribers. Hopefully one day soon!

The next morning when I checked my email the inbox was full.

I’d had 30 webinar signups overnight. In the next hour, another 30. The count rose steadily during the day and didn’t stop for the next few days. I was ecstatic! It became addictive watching the numbers grow.

This really emphasized yet again the power of effective collaboration. One of my awesome fellow WE Mastermind colleagues, Carey Kingsbury of My Juice Cleanse had sent an email to her list promoting my webinar.

The topic resonated with many of her subscribers and webinar registrations jumped from 17 to over 370.

The day dawned. Suddenly I had butterflies. Hundreds of people had registered for the webinar.

My presentation probably needed more slides. What if the technology let me down? What if I forgot to hit record? Or didn’t take people off hold. What if the attendees didn’t enjoy the content? Or didn’t think I gave good value? Perhaps it would be boring?

Jo and Janine were reassuring. I had done the work. And Jo would be in the back end of the webinar platform assisting and troubleshooting.

Suddenly it was time. I felt like I was standing at the edge of that cliff. People were waiting. There was no choice. I jumped.

The technology glitch I feared happened. The slides stuck. I dealt with it and moved on. The questions and interactions from participants were incredible. In no time at all, the webinar was over.

Exhilaration. Relief. A sense of accomplishment. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! And I was already thinking about what I could do better next time!

Lessons learned from my first webinar

Things I did well

  • Sought the advice and support of amazing entrepreneurs. Natalie Sisson, Jo Foster and Janine Ogg gave fantastic practical advice, nudged me in the right direction, forced me to stretch and encouraged me when I needed it.
  • Made it clear on my opt in page that by signing up to the webinar, people were also subscribing to receive my regular Zest newsletter.
  • Kept a swipe file of opt in pages and email copy from previous webinars I’d attended. This was really helpful in developing my own content.
  • Gave great value through content I was excited to be presenting.

Things I would do differently next time

  • Develop relationships with key partners in my niche as soon as possible.
  • Establish an affiliate program so that partners could benefit from promoting my online health coaching or other products once they are developed.
  • Include more slides to really make the content shine.
  • Spend more time practicing my closing segment, which sort of tailed off and as such didn’t support my secondary goal of promoting my online health coaching.
  • Outsource aspects of the preparation to minimize time spent on tasks I’m not particularly good at and to enable me to really concentrate on areas such as delivering great content.

Hosting a webinar has been a super-successful way to deliver great value and grow my list. When you take a leap beyond your comfort zone, magic happens. A huge thank you to Natalie for that gentle push and to Natalie, Jo and Janine for giving me wings to fly.

About the author: Claire Kerslake is a credentialed diabetes educator, health coach and founder of Loving Life With Diabetes. Claire believes that good health helps us live a life that makes our heart sing. Whether you are at risk of diabetes, have type 2 diabetes or simply want to become healthier, Claire will help you create healthy habits in your life.


  • Claire this is such a great post and I love your honesty. I think you’ve shared things that many of us go through and your post is such a good opportunity for others to learn. Loved working with you and cna’t want to see you fly even higher with your next webinar. Jo

    • Thanks Jo. It was such a great experience – made all the better with the help of you and Janine. It’s amazing how breaking through the fear barrier leads to growth – and not just in subscribers!

  • Bravo, Claire! So many great nuggets of advice. I haven’t taken that step off the cliff into the abyss yet, but I can tell you I’ve made some notes from your post. Thanks so much for sharing this triumph with us.

    • Thank you, Susan! It really is worth taking that extra step. I look forward to your first webinar!

  • Angela

    Well done Claire! What an amazing journey…I loved this post. It’s helpful and soul-bearing, a great mix for those of us that have yet to leap with aplomb off that cliff! Ang 🙂

    • Thanks Ang. I’m sure you’ll make the leap with great aplomb!

  • What a great, soul-baring, honest, helpful post Claire! I attended your webinar and you did in fact do an amazing job!! I’ve not yet jumped off that cliff (but my day is fast approaching 😮 ) so I appreciate the open look you gave us behind the scenes here. Sometimes we think we’re the only who get nervous or feel this way. It’s so reassuring to know that we’re not and see it can be done. You’ve accomplished so much in the last year. It’s been great following your journey. You ROCK!!

    • Thanks so much, Debi! We DO tend to think it is just us feeling the fear or uncertainty, don’t we. I love to learn from other people’s experiences too. Can’t wait to attend your webinar when you have it 🙂

  • Shelley Allan

    I agree with Debi’s description of your “soul-baring honesty” it made your experience really resonate with me. Thank you for being brave and sharing!!!

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