If you’re thinking about ways you can start sharing your knowledge in a more efficient yet value-positive way, then creating an online course might just be the next big thing for you!
Creating your own online course can be daunting, but setting up a prepared and guided series of lessons and assignments can keep help to keep your engagement going while streamlining how much you would need to repeat yourself.
In this blog, I’ll show you how to create and sell out your course well before the pre-determined launch date (no time wasted). You can even leverage launch to help you stay on track with course creation by setting a date before you get started.
Sounds daunting? It doesn’t have to be! Read on to get started!
Why should I launch an online course?
You can have plenty of reasons why you’re considering creating an online course, but here are a few common ones that may apply to you:
✅ You want to scale your business and reach more people
✅ You want to make money (because of course!)
✅ You want to share value with your target audiences
You can have your own unique goal for selling an online course, but you need to be clear about what those goals are to determine how much work you’re willing to put in and manage your expectations around creating your course to help scale up your business.
If you want to make money, then creating a course can help you earn more by working less while helping a lot of people - more on this later.
But if you don’t quite have that audience base to start a course, then you might want to consider selling coaching or consulting business first. Coaching or consulting requires a lot less pre-work but has lower stakes. It’s a lot more intimate and a steady step towards a more investment-heavy workload of creating a whole course.
If you are looking to make that initial investment, then you’re reading the right post - so how do you get started?
What it takes to create a course
The first ingredient is a course idea - what exactly do you want to teach in your course and what’s the best way to teach it? Some subject matters are best discussed in a 1-on-1 setting, and others can be done through group coaching with a small group of around five people.
Starting with a small coaching group allows you to get paid validation and useful feedback that can help you plot your next actions - or even a potential additional direction. Share your knowledge, get feedback from your clients, and proactively work to incorporate those precious customer impressions.
But even if you have all that feedback and data from working with your clients, you’ll want to create a course that’s welcoming to potential new clients without alienating them from niche topics. To plan ahead and to be strategic about building your course:
Start with a Beginner’s Course
Don’t bite off more than what your potential new students can handle and ease them into your world with a beginner-friendly course that tells them all they need to know to get started. Trying to create a full-coverage course can be overwhelming for you as the creator and for the clients that may want to start by simply understanding what it is you have to offer them.
Create a Beginner’s Course that’s easy for you to make, sell, and overdeliver - this way, you’re making it easy for your customers to want to learn more from you specifically because of how accessible you’ve made the basic information.
Don’t make “beta” or “tester” courses
While it might sound like a good idea to make an experimental starter or tester course, this can end up subconsciously encouraging you as a creator and your students NOT to take the course seriously.
Reduce the friction by removing that buffer and treat your first online course like an important business venture.
Lead with a promise of a result
No one ever takes a course for the fell of it, so what tangible goal is your course helping your learners to achieve? How is your course facilitating the journey to making their goals a reality?
If you’re measuring something with an intangible result - common with philosophical or broader personal development-type content, then what can they measure to track their progress? If you’re helping them on their day-to-day or improving their quality of life, how do you prove that to potential students?
You’ll need to know how you’re measuring and tracking your students’ progress so you can facilitate a successful achievement.
Don’t put off creating your course if you don’t have an audience yet
Growing your audience and making sales don’t have to be mutually exclusive events. Leverage a course launch to capture the attention of your target market, grow your audience, AND make your sales - any of these courses of action can overlap.
The focus here has to be on converting those strangers into engaged customers. To do this:
- Illustrate the gap - define what your customers know and what they can and need to learn from you so you can gain their interest.
- Give a free first step - to demonstrate your credibility but to also show the kind of value you can give them if these interested parties decide to take your course
- Create connections - make yourself accessible and approachable so even the most hesitant buyers just make take their first steps with you
Don’t create the full course before you sell it
While that might sound counterintuitive, picture this: you’ve spent a considerable amount of vested time and effort to create the perfect course before you launch it. It’s finally live and… it’s just there.
You’ll want to create the course outline first - develop the first module and then sell it. As you start getting your first learners, you’ll start to get feedback on what they might want to know next, or what aspects of the course’s experience you’ll want to focus on.
Does this make your course of lesser quality? No! Creating the course as you go along actively targets what your audience wants and needs from you and you’ll be building the best course the first time around by being proactive about your learners’ improved experience. Not only are you honing in on what your learners want to learn but you’re actively building a new skill of how best you can teach what you know.
Don’t create several low-priced programs
You might think it’s easier to sell a few low-priced products than to market a higher-end program but the reality is that this actually hurts you in the long run.
Think of it this way - as a customer, you’ll want the best kind of support for every course you take but spreading yourself out too thin makes the customer feel less valued and hassles you as a creator.
Focus on quality instead of quantity. The less you spread yourself thin for an easy sell and fully commit to a handful of investments, you’ll see a steadier and higher return.
Don’t focus on the aesthetics
In an increasingly visual environment, focusing on making your course beautiful is the fastest way to a decision burnout. Focus on how you can support your students before you can improve your course’s design. It can be as simple as a Facebook group where people can join and engage with your course content. You can create password-protected content on your website or opt for dedicated teaching platforms like Teachable.
The design can improve later when your learner’s feedback reinforces the value you’re able to give to your potential customers. As those conversions feed your profits, you can then consider investing in a page or site designer to improve your learner’s user experience.
So now you know what you need to know before launching a course
Of course, it’s not all just warnings and need-to-knows to launch your course. Once you’ve done the work to understand what it takes to make a course that gives value, you’ll want to launch your first successful course as soon as possible and if you're ready to launch your first online course with ease, with me by your side then learn more about my course Build Your 6-Figure Digital Empire here.