Creating and selling an online course is not as daunting as it seems. If you follow the 7 steps below you’ll be on your way to having a training course online in no time.
These 7 steps are from Teachable, an online learning platform for course creators. The platform allows online instructors to create and market their classes without the need for coding, hosting, or merchant account setup. Just upload your course material, organize, set a price, and click publish.
With the technical stuff out of the way. What’s next? Here are the 7 steps to get you started.
STEP 1: FIND YOUR PROFITABLE COURSE IDEA
This is usually the point most budding course creators get stuck. Does this scenario sound familiar? You want to create a course so you can make more money, build a brand for yourself, or share your passion. But…the question becomes what should I teach? What specialized expertise do I have that others would find useful?
The truth is almost anything. Cooking? There’s a course for that. Decorating? No problem. Hula hooping? Absolutely!
Some questions you need to ask yourself when trying to find a course idea.
- What am I good at?
- What experiences have I had?
- What interests do I have?
- Do I have any credentials?
The list can go on but the main idea is to think about all that you do and are interested in. Chances are there are others that also have that shared interest or are trying to learn more about it.
The reason people take course is to learn something they never knew before. They are looking for a transformation. So in thinking of a course idea think “how will this information change someone”? If it gets them to land a new job or start a business then that is a transformation. If it gets them to enjoy life more that’s a transformation. There are all types of changes people are looking for in their life. the question is can what you know help them reach that change?
STEP 2: SET YOUR INCOME GOALS AND PRICE YOUR COURSE
The goal here is to charge appropriately for your course. As a new instructor there’s temptation to undercharge for our course. This is wrong on many different levels.
First, think of what I just said above. If you’re building a course with the mindset of creating a transformation in someone then why not charge accordingly? Transformations aren’t cheap.
Second, I know you’re thinking “but there’s so much free information online already. Why would anybody pay me for what they can get for free?”. True, there is a ton of free information online but that info can range from wrong and incomplete to correct but overwhelming. Courses provide a cohesive path to knowledge. One that has the most useful information that is presented by you.
The you component is important because your way of explaining things and presenting information is unique. That unique voice and experience is what makes your course valuable. There’s a range of ideas on how to price your course.
STEP 3: CREATE & RECORD YOUR COURSE CONTENT
Your course content can and should consist of a variety of media. This includes PDFs, video, slides, and audio. For many this is the point where anxiety sets in. What should you create? How should you create it? I know for me video was a sticking point. That is until I understood how to get everything out of my mind and on to paper first.
Going back to the transformation idea. Think about the transformation you are providing for your student. You are bring them from a point of lack of knowledge to a place of mastery, at least within the small niche of what you’re teaching.
What does that path look like? It’ll need an introduction. An end goal. And all the steps to get to that point.
Once the outline is finished the creation process becomes somewhat simpler. Think of your course like a movie. A movie has a general outline – boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy can’t have girl because she is in love with another. After the outline is set then the script is written that fills out the details.
Your course is the same. You have the outline for the overall course. Now script it to provide the details. Once the script is together then the actual recording of the course begins.
This can be accomplished through video, text, and audio. Starting out your biggest concern should be production. If you don’t have a HD video camera use your phone. If you don’t have the expensive screen capture software use the free or inexpensive one. Don’t have PowerPoint use google Slides. Today there aren’t too many excuses to creating your course. It just requires a little creativity. I also created a list of tools both free and paid that will help you get your course out quickly.
STEP 4: GET YOUR SCHOOL ONLINE
This is the easiest part. There has been an explosion of online learning platforms or learning management systems over the last few years. All offer course creators the ability to upload, host, market, and receive payment for their courses. While they all offer pretty much the same basic services they differ in cost, class limits, and how much you can charge for your course. I ‘m currently testing out Teachable and Thinkific. Both have similar offers but slightly differing ways of building your course. Once I’ve finished with testing them I’ll provide a review of both.
STEP 5: GET YOUR FIRST SUBSCRIBERS & GROW YOUR INITIAL AUDIENCE
You could have the best course in the world. The course that changes every person that takes it. But if no one knows about it then it doesn’t matter. Creating an initial audience is the first step to making sure your course sells.
That initial audience can be built by giving away a mini course. Teachable’s blog has a great example of how to use a mini course as a means of growing your audience from 0 to 1000. You can get email addresses and build up your list by giving away a small part of your larger course in exchange.
You don’t necessarily have to give away a mini course. Some other options are an ebook, membership in a community, checklists, tip sheets, podcasts, or a video. The idea is to give something of value in exchange for their email address. The freebie should be relevant to what your course is going to be about. Then once your full blown course is ready to published you’ll already have an audience which you can sell to.
STEP 6: LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE COURSE TO YOUR NEW AUDIENCE
Now here is something counter-intuitive to how you think your course should be created. If you though your course needs to built from beginning to end before you can start selling it you’d be wrong. Instead, use that same list of email addresses you acquired from your giveaway to help you create the course that the customers want to buy not the one you want to make.
Using surveys that can be created through services like survey monkey or google forms find out how you can help your students. By asking relevant questions you can get your students involved in the actual creation of your course. You’ll be confident it will sell because it came from the input of your primary customers. A good title that goes into using your audience to build your product is Ask by Ryan Levesque. It can be found here.
Course platforms such as Teachable and Thinkific give you the ability to build landing pages that can presell your full course prior to having it built. This is an excellent way to gauge interest in your offer before going through the effort of building an entire course no one wants.
STEP 7: GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Once you have your first online course up and selling the next step is to grow your business. This can be done through all of the following:
- Guest blogging on topics relevant to your audience
- Webinars by yourself or jointly with other partners
- Affiliate marketing. Teachable makes this easy with built in affiliate tracking and payment
- Social media marketing
- Paid marketing
I hope this helps you get started on creating and selling your first online course.
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