So! You’re thinking about creating an online course? Yippee! It’s time to get excited, because the way you live and work is about to change for the better - forever!
I LOVE creating online courses (aka e-courses) and have spent many, many hours researching them, what works best, what NOT to do and of course, how to create, build and launch your online course in the fastest and best way possible.
In this article, we’re deep diving into the world of online courses - this is THE ultimate guide to creating an online course, so if you’ve ever had any questions about how to create your own course (and how you can start making a passive income from it), chances are, your answer is right here!
Let’s get stuck right in!
The simple answer is: YOU should!
Yep, I believe that every single person has something inside them they can help other people with - there is a course inside of you just waiting to get out!
Do your friends, family or clients ask you to help them with a particular ‘thing’ over and over again?
Do you find yourself being the go-to person for creating school lunches on a budget, sharing your favourite dessert recipes, helping people out on social media, looking over their tax documents or sharing meditations that you have developed?
You can create an online course on just about ANYTHING, and the best part is, there is always someone out there who is happy to pay for YOUR knowledge!
If you’ve ever wanted to start an online business, have that ‘laptop lifestyle’, work anywhere in the world or create a passive income, an online course might be the very best way for you to get started!
But I know what you’re thinking… The doubts are starting to niggle in the back of your mind right?
The “Am I good enough?”, “Why would anyone listen to me?”, “But there are already people selling what I want to create an online course on” and my favourite one: “But I’m not an Expert”.
First up, if there are already people teaching on your topic, it’s a good sign! It means your online course idea is validated and the more students they have, the more they charge for their course, the more that idea is validated and will make you money.
In Course In A Weekend, one of the first things I teach you is how to validate your online course idea and how you are guaranteed to have an audience of buyers ready and waiting for you when you launch.
If you’re worried that you’re not an ‘Expert’, then consider this: you could spend a couple of days researching and fully immersing yourself in a topic, and in that time you’ll become more of an expert in that topic than millions of other people.
Those people will then learn from you - you are their Expert.
Being an Expert in your field has become somewhat of a hot topic, but remember, to create an online course, you don't have to be the #1 ‘Expert’ to teach what you know. You just have to know more than the members taking your course do.
No one person knows absolutely everything about a particular subject, so don't let self doubts get in your way! As with everything in life (and every successful entrepreneur) you’re always learning and evolving, just as the world changes and evolves on a daily basis too.
So now you’ve blasted away those self doubts (or at least kicked them to the curb for now) let’s look at why creating an online course is so damn amazing...
As I mentioned earlier, selling an online course doesn’t have to be the one an only reason for creating it!
It’s also a really fantastic way to generate new leads and fill your social media audience and email list with your ideal clients, which you can then sell your core offer to.
Let’s say you create an online course about social media marketing. One of the other services you offer could be a social media audit, content planning & strategy sessions or coaching services.
Your online course is a great way to attract your ideal clients (ie. people who need help with this topic) which you can then offer your other services to.
One of the things that a lot of new course creators or entrepreneurs ask when they are first thinking about creating an online course, is this: “Why would people pay for information when they can Google it for free?”
The thing is though, you’re not just selling your knowledge - although people WILL pay for that in itself.
Think of it this way: it’s much easier to read just one blog post like this one that answers ALL of your online course questions, rather than spending days, weeks or months hunting down little titbits of information from hundreds of different places… right?
But as I said, you’re not really just selling your knowledge, what you’re really selling is the RESULT that knowledge brings.
Here’s a #truthbomb for you: people don’t actually want to go through an online course - they want the result that course gives them.
And that’s why online courses are so powerful. Market it right and the sales will come rolling in.
I love how Podia (an online course hosting platform) describes the typical person's journey when they are trying to find a solution to a problem they have.
The typical person does something like this:
I’m worn out just thinking about that! Wouldn’t you rather have all the relevant information in one place, taught by someone you know & trust and can be assured that if you follow the steps you’ll be guaranteed to get the result you want? I know I would!
The next problem that most potential course creators face is having the time to create and build out their online course, so let’s cover that next!
I know people who have taken months, and even years to create an online course! And that is totally insane! The truth is, you can create an online course in as little as 3 days!
The key to creating an online course quickly and efficiently is following a proven step-by-step process. You need to know when to do each element and how to do them in a productive, logical and effective way.
Inside Course In A Weekend, I take you through this step-by-step process and I promise that if you give me just 3 days you’ll have your online course go from idea to launch and be making sales before you can say “Well, why didn’t I do that sooner!”
Online courses don't have to be dozens of modules or lessons, thousands of words, or hours and hours of video (in fact, there is a massive reason why this is absolutely NOT what you should do!)
So in fact, the time it really takes to create your course content is very short!
The reason why most people take weeks, months or years to create their course is usually due to one of the following:
Now, before we get into the ins and outs of how to create your online course content (the videos, materials, downloads etc) let’s take a moment to quickly go over the tech you need and how to come up with your online course idea!
Ah… technology… it’s like Marmite, right - you either love it or hate it! I love Marmite but hate tech! So for me, tech has to be fast, effective and easy to use!
With that in mind, I’m only going to recommend products, tools & software that I know, love and that do the job beautifully, without you wanting to throw your computer out the window!
Here’s a quick list of the tech that I personally use to create my online courses:
That’s it - just 5 bits of tech and you’re done! Google Docs, Drive & Canva can all be used for FREE too!
If you want a few options for where to host your online course, here are my top recommendations:
Now let's get into the fun stuff!
On Day 1 of Course In A Weekend I show you exactly how to come up with the idea for your online course - one that will make you money, guarantee sales on repeat and a course idea that will work for you!
There are a variety of ways that we verify and validate your online course idea, but you should always start in one very specific place:
What do you LOVE doing?
If you don't love doing it, chances are you won’t love teaching it - and your course will never get created - or it will totally suck!
The best thing about using this as a starting point to find your profitable course idea, is that it makes no difference if you already have a business, an email list or an audience already or not!
Start by asking yourself these questions:
Then you need to find out if the answers you have written down have any money in them - ie. is your online course idea profitable?
Again, there are many different ways to do this, but one way is to see if there are already people teaching and selling on the same topic.
If there are, it’s a great sign!
Anything that helps people do something better, faster, easier or increases their ‘status’ is usually a good bet!
You may wonder why we’re talking about pricing before we even get into creating the content for your online course.
The reason for this is simple: you could create a course with all the information you possibly can fit in, and then price it high accordingly…
...but by doing this, you’re probably including a LOT of information that people don’t really need or want.
Remember at the beginning of this article when we said that people don’t want an online course - they just want the result it gives them?
Everything inside your course should be there only if it moves them closer towards that end desired result. If it doesn’t, don’t include it!
Another thing to consider when pricing your online course is where the course stands in your range of offers & products.
Is it a low cost course which gets people into your world or a higher cost course which they might need after using your other services or products?
Also think about what amount of success they receive from taking your course - does it give them a little knowledge or skill level or take them through from being a complete novice to mastering a skill?
Obviously, the further up the ladder it takes them, the more value it has and the higher priced it should be.
Ok! So now we’re on to content, modules and course outlines! Yippee!
Right at the start of this article, I explained that the modules of your online course are like the chapters of a book. Each ‘chapter’ or ‘module’ needs to cover a specific topic and move the member closer to the end result.
Hands down, the BEST way to create the content & outline for your online course is to start with the end in mind.
Break down that end result into a series of steps and you’ve created your course outline! Each step becomes its own module and teaches the skills or imparts the knowledge needed to achieve the specific learning outcome for that module.
And by the way, this right here, is the ONLY thing you need to start selling your online course!
You don’t need any of the tech yet, you don’t have to have your price point nailed down and you definitely don’t need to have created any of your course content!
ALL YOU NEED IS YOUR ONLINE COURSE OUTLINE TO START MAKING SALES!
Yep, that was in caps. And bold. It’s that important!
Videos, audio, text, images, checklists, PDFs, workbooks… the options are endless when it comes to the different ways you can create and deliver the content for your online course!
I’ve included a Pros & Cons graphic below to help you determine which format is best for you - and your audience!
Remember, whichever format(s) you choose, make sure that you enjoy creating them this way!
If you hate speaking on camera, don’t do it! You can record your voice over slides instead!
Hate slides? Maybe an audio course is a better option!
As I mentioned above in the ‘tech’ section, I create all my course slides in Canva (I have the Pro version but you can just use a free account) and record my training videos by ‘presenting’ the slides inside Canva & recording my screen with Screencast-o-matic.
I then jump into the simple Screencast-o-matic editor and do some simple editing - usually removing the “uhms” & “ahs” and cut any mistakes I’ve made when my words come out wrong when I trip over my tongue!
Remember, your online course doesn’t have to be 100% perfect - as long as the information and value you give is.
This is a MASSIVE topic (a great online course all on it’s own!) so I’m not going to be able to go into absolutely everything here but I do want to give you some actionable tips you can use to get started!
Ready? Let’s go!
There are 3 categories that each of your marketing & selling comes in to:
Paid marketing is your Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Google Ads, a paid feature in a magazine, or paying an influencer to talk about your course.
Organic marketing is all the free types of marketing you can do. This includes all types of content marketing: social media, email, blog posts, being a guest on a podcast, YouTube channel or being a Guest Expert in someone’s Facebook Group where you mention your online course.
Referral marketing is pretty much everything else! Affiliate marketing, joint ventures, word of mouth, testimonials etc
You can choose to use one, two or all three of these categories, but I’d definitely recommend you use as many organic marketing strategies as you possibly can!
To launch your online course, you need just ONE part of it to be done - remember what that was? It’s your Course Outline!
As long as you have this, you can start pre-selling your course BEFORE you have even created the content!
Hosting a webinar is one of the best ways to launch your online course - it’s proven to have one of the highest conversation rates (meaning more people will buy) and it only takes an hour or so of your time. Work smarter, not harder, right?!
You can also run a 3 or 5 day challenge, host a week of mini video trainings on your Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram page and of course invite your current email subscribers to join your online course with an email sequence.
When it comes to actually selling your online course, there are a couple of things you need to have in place:
Most of these things can be taken care of in your course hosting platform (and ALL of it can be done in Kajabi, other than sending out your social media promo!).
So there you have it!
Your complete, ultimate guide to creating an online course that is profitable, fun and will continue to bring you a consistent income year after year!
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