Online course is an awesome way to create passive income and to have multiple income streams in your business. In this blog post I walk about how to create an online course for your business. Let’s get started.
How to create an online course
Let’s start this whole process backwards, and start with selling the course first! Yep, read it right, lets sell the course before creating a single lesson! This posts covers Selling the course & Creating the Course and you only move to second part if you have sales. If not, then back to drawing board, market research and another round of selling.
Why sell first?
Well, because you do not want to end up in situation where you have shiny, new course with 10+ hours of content and then find out that course topic is not what people want to learn at all. So you wasted tens of hours (or even hundreds hours) of work creating something that market does not want.
This part shocks most and when I say it I often hear – you cant sell something you have not created yet!
Yes, you can and you should.
Think of this process like Kickstarter or Indiegogo where people pitch their ideas, wait for market to respond and fund. If funding happens only then product is created. If not, then you most likely learned what did not work and can come up with new way to present your idea.
Just like with any business action, market research is an important part of the process. So that starts the process even before selling but is directly linked to selling your course idea.
Where to get ideas?
Facebook groups! Find groups where your ideal clients or target market hangs out. Don’t spam the group with market research questionnaire but read what people ask regarding the topic and answer any related questions. You can learn so much from Facebook groups and what people really want to learn. I’ve made the mistake of creating a course I though people want, but was wrong and wasted lot of time.
Create an Outline
Once you know what people are need help with you can start drafting an outline for your online course. Already at this point it is good to ask if people are interested to participate in market research so you can dig in deeper what problems people are facing. Try to figure out what is the solution these people would be willing to pay for.
Also think what kind of course are you providing – is it an email course, video course or mix of all.
Once you have an outline, selling starts. Although your outline most likely changes along the ride but its good to have broad outline at this stage.
Next step is to create a sales page for your online course. I personally use Clickfunnels for sales pages – and one that I recommend (get free trial with my affiliate link). No matter what tool you use to create your sales page, hire copywriter to write your sales text and graphic designer to design any graphics.
Once you page is up, selling starts!
It is recommended to build a small funnel that leads into the sales page. You could provide PDF, mini-course or something small for free in exchange of email address and then provide tons of value before pitching the course.
Many Facebook groups have specific promo threads where you can post link to your freebie and even directly sales page.
Try to find JV opportunities and webinars, consider affiliate program and make sure your social media is full of valuable content leading into your freebie.
On the sales page, you do not need to disclose that course has not been created yet. Whether you do or don’t it is up to you. You could mention that first students will be founding members of this online course and will get an extra help throughout the course. And you could offer a lower price point for founding members.
Yes first round of students will take more of your time but you learn a lot from this to ensure high quality of your course going forward. And then you can automate the whole sales process.
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So when do I create the course I already sold?
When selling course prior creating it, it is good to host a timed course starting on a certain date. Let’s say you are working on the outline/market research in month 1, start selling on month 2 but actual course starts only on month 3. This gives you time to create the course once you have sales. You can either create whole course during month 2 after you’ve reached enough sales, or drip the course and only create lessons as needed as time goes by.
Here’s a blog post about Elements of an Online Course to helps you start online course.
Once you have sales it is time to pick platform that hosts your course. Good thing is that you have many, many options for your host. You could choose Thinkific, Teachable, Coach, Udemy, Skillshare and many more. But which one to choose? I highly recommend testing out at least 2 to get a feeling how user interface works both for you and student.