Online courses are the bomb.com! For real…
If there was a such thing as a magic bullet for your business, online courses and info products are where it’s at.
When I first hopped online, I knew I wanted to make money with my blog in some shape or form, I just wasn’t quite sure how. My focus at that time was to create content that attracted people to my home based biz opp, but then somewhere along the way, I realized that I could make money from selling tools, resources and online courses that helped them build their own home based biz.
So whether they partnered with me or not (which most did not!), I could still make money off the people who landed in my sales funnel.
In the beginning I don’t think I really understood the power of infoproducts and how they could completely transform a biz and brand, but when I began making thousands of dollars a day selling OPP (Other People’s Products) the lightbulb finally went off.
What if I could create my own tools, resources and online courses?
Not only would I KEEP ALL THE MONEY, I could now start building my own authority and influence. Because that’s the name of the game – build your influence, build your income!
I’ve done just about everything as an online business owner: network marketing, affiliate marketing, web design, brand coaching, speaking and now online courses. And while you may not have years to “find your way” it’s those unique experiences that made it clear that the money and freedom is in the info products business model. My only regret, is that I didn’t start off creating, branding and selling my own online courses from the jump!
So guess what? Over the course of this 4-part series, I’m going to show you step-by-step, the process of starting your own online course business and ALLLLLLLLLL the things you need to consider when selling your first course. (The same steps apply when creating your own ebook, ecourse, or workshop, too!)
So here is what’s about to go down:
- Part 01: How to Create + Plan Your First Online Course (+ FREE 15 page workbook)
- Part 02: How to Style + Brand Your First Online Course (+ FREE 5 page workbook)
- Part 03: How to Price + Deliver Your First Online Course (+ FREE 5 page workbook)
- Part 04: How to Grow Your Audience + Launch Your First Online Course ( + FREE 12 page workbook)
I told you it was going down!
So, if you’ve been playing around with the idea of creating your first online course, then you are in for a treat, because this guide is going to walk you through the steps you need to take to launch something great. Yep, we’re covering online courses from the roota to the toota (for all my Friday fans out there!)
But before we jump in, let’s get clear on what an online course is and why you want (need) to create one.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH COURSES
In just 10 days of launching my first online course, I had generated over $10K in income and continued to rack up residual income for close to 2 years after the initial launch.
Over the years I’ve helped 6 and 7-figure entrepreneurs create both low and high-ticket champion courses and infoproducts that have netted them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And I don’t say this to beat on my chest but to share with you the profit potential behind courses.
WHY CREATING YOUR ONLINE COURSE MATTERS
I have created dozens of income streams from network marketing to speaking, brand design services to one-on-one coaching, but none have come close to generating as much revenue as information products.
Information products are low-cost, quick to create, and easy to sell. I can create a product one time, then sell it over and over again to people all around the world.
There is nothing to manufacture or ship, no inventory to store, and my day-to-day involvement can be quite limited. Each time I sell my product I pay credit card transaction fees, but other than that there are no additional costs associated with each sale.
I don’t have to be tied to a desk, tied to a stage or tied to a client to make money. I can be traveling, hanging out or sleeping; regardless of what I am doing I have the ability to make sales and actually make more money when I’m not actively working.
The business of selling information is a multi-billion dollar industry. Bloggers, fashionistas, athletes, coaches, fitness trainers, designers, real estate agents and entrepreneurs alike are taking their knowledge, experiences, and skills, turning it into an online training course, and making a living doing it.
Online courses can be delivered in many different ways but here are a few of the most popular types of online courses you can create:
- Physical Books
- Live Events
- Written Email Courses
- Audio Courses
- Video Courses
- Webinar Recordings
- Membership Sites
Or you can do a combination of a few of these. I mean the options are limitless and there’s a style for every personality type. So no excuses!
Now, that we’ve got that covered, let’s walk through each step to planning and creating your first online course. Boom! Oh, but wait, there’s also a ginormous 14+ page workbook to guide you each step of the way. Boom! Boom! Boom!
If you’re struggling to find clarity in your business and want to set some Champion sized goals, then I highly recommend starting here.
STEP 01: DECIDE YOUR COURSE TOPIC
The first questions you’ll want to ask yourself is, “What is my course all about and who is it for?”
Some people say you should think about what your target audience wants first before you create a course, but in my opinion that’s just plain dumb. And I’ll tell you why.
A successful course isn’t always about knowing how YOUR IDEA will serve others. More times than not, it begins with knowing what you want for yourself. Many times business ideas come about from overcoming personal challenges and adversity. It can also come from wanting to transform into a better version of yourself.
For example, I started my blog because I wanted a way to attract more customers and consultants to my home based business without having to do the whole passing out flyers and hotel meetings thing.
I hopped online, ate up every method, strategy and tactic I could. I found out what worked, what didn’t and as I began to get results, I shared them on my blog.
My ability to fix my own problem turned into my first product called MLM Crash Course.
So, think about the biggest, most annoying challenges you’ve faced in the past and how you were able to overcome them. Think about the solution you had to come up with or the process you had to create to come out of that challenge. That’s your first online course right there!
My point is this. There’s an audience for just about everything out there and if you’re having a problem then you better believe there are other people out there who are having the same problem as you. When it comes to teaching, you want to teach on stuff that YOU are passionate about. You want to teach about things you are connected to on a personal level. You want to teach on things that YOU or someone close to you may have struggled with and were able to overcome. You want to teach on things that you love.
When you put your audience first, you run the risk of chasing the money or chasing the trends, instead of chasing what makes you happy. When you put YOURSELF first, you stay true to your passion and purpose. Do you and the people who are meant to find you, will find you. I promise.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE, what I am saying is that when you lead with passion the people and profits follow.
So, when creating your first online course there’s a quick assessment test I like to run all my course ideas through. It’s what I like to call The Triangle Test.
Is there passion behind your idea?
Is there a “pothole” or unmet need in the marketplace? (this is where you find your people)
Is there a profitable incentive to pursue an idea aka is there money to be made?
When your online course topic meets all three of these criteria, you best believe you’re onto something!
You can validate your idea and gauge interest in a few different ways:
- Amazon: Can you find ebooks, courses, seminars or other workshops for sale on this topic by instructors like you. (if Amazon doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist!)
- Google Search: A basic Google search reveals blog posts, Facebook groups or pages and articles attempting to meet this need.
- Social Media: Drop in on groups that talk about topics you could potentially have in your online course. What recurring questions are people asking? What challenges are they faces? Are there lots of people facing the same issue? Are other biz owners investing in Facebook, Promoted Pins and other social media ads related to this topic?
- Clickbank: Can you find competitors offering comparable courses on sites such as Clickbank, Udemy, or on their own sites.
- List-building: Have you been able to build an interest list using an opt-in form, poll , or survey questionnaire.
- Pre-sales: Have you been paid to solve this problem by at least 2 different people.
- Survey/Poll/Questionnaire/etc.: Have you been able to gather additional supporting evidence (not including you, your friends, or family!)
As you begin to gain clarity on what your final idea will be, we can then begin to seek out and market to our perfect fit fan – someone who resonates with our passion, needs help with a specific problem and is ready to pay to get that problem fixed. To make money in any business you need a product and an audience. Your passion drives the product and your product attracts the audience.
STEP 02: ID YOUR PERFECT FIT FAN
Once you’ve brainstormed your first online course topics, it’s time to find your tribe. Yep your perfect fit fan. The one that falls in love at first sight when they seen your product offering. The person you want to help the most! The second most important aspect of product planning is creating something that fills a need for your audience. Remember the triangle test!
It’s important to decide who your audience is, where they hang out and if they are capable of buying your product so that your online course will speak directly to them, the problems they face and the solutions they seek.
You should know your perfect fit fan so well, that you can anticipate the questions they’ll ask, the objections they’ll have and the emotions they’ll feel when they first encounter your business or brand. I want you to give them a name, gender, and age. What Facebook groups are they hanging out in? What do they posting on Instagram, tweeting on Twitter, or pinning on Pinterest? What values, beliefs or worries do they have? It’s your job to know these things. That’s the only way you can create a product people will truly love.
STEP 03: PLANNING YOUR COURSE CONTENT
We’ve got the product and we know our audience, now it’s time to get to work. As a course creator and teacher you want to make it as easy as possible for you to create great content and even easier for your students to consume it. You always want to keep in mind which format would help your audience learn the best.
I live to break down online courses into three categories:
There are pros and cons to each but most online courses will have a combination of written text (in the form of a workbook or action sheet) along with video but how you deliver your course, ultimately, is up to you.
- Online courses in the form of ebooks or email courses with no video are less expensive ranging from $7 – $97.
- Online courses that provide a multimedia experience can demand more money and carry a price tag of $97 on up to the thousands of dollar range depending on the amount of content, the teacher and the niche.
So which medium should you roll with?
Here are some things to consider:
- How much time do you have?
- Does your course require visuals where people need to see it to understand it?
- Do you have access to the right equipment?
- Do you have the skills to use that equipment properly? And if not, do you have the budget to learn how to use the equipment or hire someone who can do it for you?
- How does this course fit into your overall income goals? How much are you hoping to charge? If you have a course goal of $50,000 putting a little more effort up front to create a video course so you can charge more in the end may be well worth it if it brings you that much closer to your goals. So if you can charge $500 for a course with videos vs $100 for an audio or written course, then you can get to your goal 5 times quicker with video.
- Lastly, Which medium are you most comfortable with?
If video is not something you are strong at right now, don’t force yourself to do something that packs on added stress or puts you on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Effective teaching comes when you are in your zone, when you’re sharing comfortably and organically and not worrying about all the things you’re not good at. Play to our strengths.
STEP 04: BUILDING OUT YOUR COURSE CONTENT
When it comes time to start building out my online courses I always open up a new Mindmap. This is where I can dump general ideas, steps and sub-topics onto one blank sheet – unfiltered. This first round is not the time to self-edit or press yourself to get everything organized and in order. Just jot down what comes to mind. Once I have dumped all I can into a mindmap – I’ll go back and begin to organize my thoughts, move things around into modules or groups and create a workable outline I feel good about. Once that’s done, it’s time to beef up my content.
And I do this in Google Docs.
Google Docs is free and I like it because I can access it and edit it from my phone. If I have an idea or want to make a note while I’m out and about I can do it.
This is where I can start to expand on my ideas, get more detailed and descriptive and really begin to script my content out. With the mindmap we ordered and organized all of our steps, named our modules and grouped our lessons – so when I start writing things out, it’s not a big jumbled mess that I then have to go back and do a lot of restructuring to. This is why I start with the mindmap then go to the Google Doc.
So what we are going to do is begin to go back through your outline and expand on your topics.
- Can you add examples?
- Can you add supporting data?
- Can you add images or visual representations that will help clarify or communicate your message more clearly.
As I build out each lesson, what I do is treat it like a blog post. So this is what it looks like as I go from mindmap to a full blown Google Docs.
Now to make sure my online course really delivers and drives results, what I do is research similar products, courses and programs to make sure we didn’t miss any key details or steps.
I hop on over to Amazon.com and also reference similar courses on sites such as Udemy, Creative Live, and the sales pages of courses on Teachable and popular blogs in my niche. So as you are doing your research ask yourself:
- Which sub-topics or steps did I miss that may be helpful to my students?
- Are the missing topics a good fit for this course?
- Which topics belong in a follow-up product or different type of course?
How you build out your course it up to you. If video is not your thing – do a written or audio course. You’ve got options baby, OPTIONS!!
Building out your content is probably the hardest part of creating your online course but don’t let it overwhelm you. Give yourself a timeline to finish, don’t add more content than your students need and commit at least one hour a day to working on your course. The key is to create consistent, high-quality content.
There’s something special that you have that the world is waiting on you to share. I’m getting super excited about the amazing online courses you’re about to unleash! If you follow the steps I’m sharing with you in this #ChampionCourse series you are going to be able to launch something really, really great!!!
In the next part of this series, I’m going to share with you how to brand and style your course content. Pretty sells! So we want to make sure your online course looks the part so it can attract the part! I’m already excited because branding is one of my favorite topics.
In the meantime, get to work!! Just know that I am your biggest cheerleader! Leave a comment below to share your course ideas, what steps you’re working on or if you have any questions you need help working through. If you share this series (and your progress!) on social media, then use the #ChampionCourse hashtag so that we can all follow along with each other. Boom!
Ready to style and brand that online course of yours? Click here to check out Part 02 of the #ChampionCourse Series: How to Style + Brand Your First Online Course (+ FREE 5 page workbook)