by Jenna Kutcher
You already have what you need to build a course. Now let’s turn that knowledge of yours into profits.
She’s back, my sweet friend Amy Porterfield, because when talking about courses and online education, she’s got a way of walking us through the overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating parts with total ease. We’ve been talking a lot about course building on the show lately… But Amy is here with concrete steps to take what you already know (ahem, because you’re an expert in SOMETHING) and turn it into an income stream.
So pour a cup of coffee, open up that notebook, and get ready to scribble down your roadmap for creating your very own course.
Where to Start
When Amy left the corporate world, she thought she’d be teaching courses from the start. But as she said, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and even though she’d been working with Tony Robbins on creating courses, she wasn’t really ready to create a course of her own yet. Instead, she started working with clients one-on-one to handle their social media. The result was a business she didn’t even love. Still, she worked in the trenches, helping people with their own businesses, and in doing so she was creating processes that she repeated from client to client. Identifying these processes and the areas where she was repeating herself was her clue that she was ready to teach other people how to do what she does.
Amy started out in a season of trading time for money. This phase was important because it helped her focus in on what she was good at and what she could teach to others. While it might be possible for you to jump right into course creation, the first step working with clients helps you hone in on what your course could be.
Many women undervalue what they know. It might be hard to view yourself as an educator at first, and you might question if you have something of value to offer.
Don’t Worry About the Big Picture… Yet
The evolution of Amy’s courses and career as an online educator began with Facebook. Her Facebook focused blog gained the attention of a publisher, which lead to co-authoring one of those big yellow “For Dummies” books all about Facebook. Since she had a lot of expertise in the area, her next step was creating a Facebook 101 course.
Her audience loved the 101 course, and they spoke up saying what they really wanted was a Facebook Ads course. At the time, the Facebook Ads space was kind of the Wild West, so she was able to simplify and teach her audience exactly what they wanted to know. Her third course started as the Facebook Profit Lab, but in the process of creating and teacher her first two courses she realized she’d gotten better at teaching in general, and she didn’t need to hinge on Facebook.
Amy started creating more courses and super valuable webinars, and she knew she could teach people how to create courses and webinars, too. That became her sweet spot. It started with something smaller (the first Facebook focused course) and evolved into something larger. She didn’t see the big picture at first. It all happened organically, so don’t get caught up in your big picture vision at the beginning. Just start and allow it to evolve.
From Sharing to Selling
“There’s a big difference between free content and paid content, but you need to understand the value of both.” Amy explained that free content is typically the big picture, the “what”, and some specific details. Free content provides enough for someone to take action and do something. Paid content is more of the blueprint and road map. It’s the fastest route from point A to point B without all the fluff. This is an important difference. Sure, you could hunt and peck across the internet piecing together free content to get you where you want to go, but it takes time and you might not even see results. People will pay for a road map or blueprint, so that’s what you want to be thinking of.
Say you’re putting out a podcast week after week. A common theme will arise in your content. What are the questions you’re hearing the most? What does you audience want from you? What do you know that could help people get results? The blueprint might not be clear at the beginning, but if you have an idea of WHAT you can teach, you can figure out HOW to teach it. In fact, this is what Amy teaches her students.
Your Audience Needs a Mindset Shift
Amy and I both study the work of our friend Russell Brunson and he teaches a lot about the mindset shifts that need to happen before someone feels qualified and ready to purchase whatever program you’re selling. I asked Amy for her tips on reaching your audience where they’re at and paint a picture of the end result they could see if they buy your program.
Amy explained that being an educator also requires a cheerleader and coach aspect. You need to instill in your audience (your customer) that they can get the end result they want and YOU have the tools they need to get there. Amy asks her students to answer the question: “What does your ideal customer avatar need to believe, want, understand or just GET before they’d even consider buying your course?” Your audience needs to be warmed up before they’ll open their wallets. If you don’t know the answer to this question, you need to start asking and listening.
First Steps to Extract and Package
Where do you start to extract the knowledge that you have and package it into something people will buy? You need to start with a realistic end result. It doesn’t have to be flashy or huge, it just has to be clear and specific. When you know your end result, you can then determine if there’s an audience out there who wants to pay for that result?
From there, start building out the framework for your course. Start with a good ol’ fashion brain dump. Get everything out into a notebook or Google Doc. Analyze and organize the notes you put down. Amy teaches her students how to find the roadmap from these notes. Her method involves Post-It notes and arranging categories with sub-points. When it’s all mapped out, you can start cutting the fluff.
More from This Episode
Do you have questions about how to price your course? What can you do as an educator to make sure your customers finish your program and see success with it? What steps can you take to generate buzz before, during, and after a launch? Speaking with Amy about her genius in the world of course creation was so much fun — I’m a huge fan of what and how she teaches, and I’m excited for you to learn from her, too. Press play on the player above for the full interview.