by Jenna Kutcher
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Do you remember my episode with Amy Porterfield a little while ago about starting a mini-course? I have to admit, it was a goody, and I heard from SO many of you about how you loved the idea of a smaller, workshop-style course, especially for just getting started. I know there are so many people who have considered creating courses before but it just felt like too big of an undertaking, and hey, I totally get it. But this is kinda the solution to getting your foot in the door, without huge stakes or production costs or room for disaster. Promise.
Courses are becoming more and more of a big deal, and you can find online courses for ALL kinds of things. There are ones for sleep training your baby. Prepping healthy food for a family. Creating beautiful homemade flower arrangements. Like, you can learn anything online these days through a course, and I honestly think it’s the best thing ever AND the way of education for the future.
But I want to speak to those of you who are securely on the fence of creating your OWN course. You’ve been thinking about it and feel inclined to maybe, possibly, potentially jump in, but something’s holding you back. So, on the fence you sit. In that episode with Amy, we broke down ideas for how to create your unique workshop course or mini-course. So a workshop course is a 1 or 2-hour training that you can do either live or prerecorded that gives instant results or clarity to your students.
It’s not a webinar because people will actually be paying to learn from you — and when they pay, they’re WAY more inclined to implement your approach and take action. Free content is great, but when it’s free, there’s less motivation for people to put the lessons and advice into action. You know what I say: when people pay, they pay attention. Even if it’s just for a short and actionable lesson like a mini course.
So I want to break down how you can create your very own mini course and make $1000 in one month. You might have a new online business or one that’s 5 years old, either way, if you’ve felt a little tug to do this course thing, this is the episode for you. I’m going to walk through a 4-week game plan that you can take and use to create your very own workshop course this month.
Picking a topic
But first, how do you choose a topic to teach on? This is one of the biggest hangups I hear from people wanting to get into course creation. They don’t think they have enough expertise or enough knowledge to help others yet. But the sincere truth is, if you’ve gotten results for yourself in ANY area of your life in the past, you can teach others your method. Especially in a mini-course where you don’t need a million bells and whistles or an all inclusive guide to figuring out your life.
It could totally be something you’ve used to transform or build your business, but definitely doesn’t need to be business related, if you don’t want it to be. Maybe you were able to create a simple and attainable training plan for a marathon after never running a mile in your life. Maybe you have a system for how to bake the BEST gluten free pastries, like, ever. Or maybe you have some serious gardening know-how, or budgeting hacks, or time management gold.
My point is, and I say this all the time, we’re often so close to our own genius that we usually can’t even clearly see what we can offer the world. So my advice to you is to simply start with a list. Write down everything you’ve done in your personal, family, and business life to create a result that’s been impactful to you or others around you.
Think right now: How have you shortened the learning curve? What have you researched extensively? What have you implemented to make a difference? When did you learn a new skill? Or how have you just added more joy to your life in a super effective way?
Don’t over complicate it! You know things and the things that come easy to you or the things you find yourself researching when you should be working… those are likely things that you know that you can share. Those things are your superpowers, my friend.
These are the things that you actually are an expert on because you have personal experience creating results with them. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only person you’ve created results for so far. The fact that there are results, even if it’s just your own, is proof that it can work and is worth teaching.
Now, let’s chat about how you can take this superpower and break it down and package it up in ONE month to deliver to other people who want to know what you know. I’m going to walk you through exactly what you can do in 4 weeks to deliver your mini course to the hands of your audience. Let’s get into it.
What happens this first week? Well, first I want you to commit to making this really happen for you. We’ve been talking about pinpointing your superpower. Use week 1 to really nail down the one thing from your superpower list that you feel most inclined to teach on.
The trick here is looking at your list and finding the intersection where what is easiest for you to simply start on and what you’re excited about. That’s the sweet spot! You don’t need to make people a million bucks or transform someone’s body with a mini-course, so don’t put the pressure on yourself. Evaluate your list and find the lowest barrier to entry for you on something you’re still excited to share with the world.
What do you think your followers would get the most value from learning? What about your methods for each of your superpowers is unique or original or different? How can you put YOUR individual spin on the lesson?
If you’re having trouble even deciphering your superpowers, or picking which topic to go with, talk with people you love. Ask them to speak into your areas of genius. Be open with family members or friends about your hope to help others, and ask what THEY think is your gift that you could best teach on.
On top of digging into those things that innately come to you, also be thinking about the things you’ve researched and learned out of passion or necessity throughout your life. I can think of a million things I’ve had to dig into when life put obstacles in front of me. There’s going gluten free, learning about changes that impact fertility, starting a podcast, launching a Shopify store. There’s how I cleaned up my skincare routine, sleep training a baby, and how to run multiple Airbnbs. It’s crazy to think about how much knowledge we unwittingly accumulate in so many areas of our lives when you break it down in this way.
When you pick your topic, spend a couple hours or an afternoon writing a detailed list of the steps you took to learn about and then implement your topic to get a result. Like reverse engineer the whole thing. What did you do differently than others? How is your process more effective or efficient? How can you position it as a process that others will not only want, but need in order to achieve the same end result you did?
Spend week 2 offering to work one-on-one with other people, ideally for free. Reach out to your friends, your email list if you have one, your social media followers offering a handful of free 30 minute consultation on the topic. Tell them you’re doing research to create a resource and would love to work through the process of delivering value at no cost first.
If you need help in how to present this, here’s a script you can steal! If you already have an audience, then post it out to the masses but if you’re at ground zero, then personalize this and send it one by one to people who you think you can help!
“Hey (name), I’m working on a new project and I’m looking for some help and insight on (fill in topic)! I’ve figured out how to OR taught myself how to OR gotten x results and I want to teach others how to get the same result, too! Would you be willing to jump on a 30 minute call so I can ask you a few questions and teach you my process to see if it will work for you just like it worked for me? I won’t pitch anything or try to sell you anything, I just want to make sure that what I teach will yield results and you were one of the first people who came to mind!”
Hopefully you’ll get a handful of people, around 3 to 10, intrigued by your offer for free help and wanting to work with you. This will also help prove that you have a viable concept that people need. Set up quick calls with each of them and as you consult them on the topic, dig into what THEY really want to know and get from you. Enter those calls prepared to get them to your end result and explain your process, teaching your method to them.
I highly encourage you to do these call outs online, too because people will start to get exposed to the fact that you’re teaching something, that you’re working on something new. It’s like you’re leading breadcrumbs to your training and so this can be considered pre-launch marketing, win, win!
Listen to the questions they have on the topic. Make sure your way can actually get them results, and uncover any pain points or roadblocks that they might face. Really dig into their goals and mindsets and language, and use the feedback to determine how you could best deliver your message and lesson in a concise and actionable way to your audience.
Take all of that feedback to refine your message and ensure your method is clear and easy to follow for anyone. The last thing you want is for the result to get muddled by a complicated or unclear message, so really work to get the process down to its bare bones. You want to deliver the quickest and easiest way for them to get results.
Week 3 is going to be all about filling your training. Start sharing that you’re hosting a 1, maybe 2 hour workshop, and that you’ll be teaching it online the following week. If you can start sharing this news 7 days before the training, that’s the best timing. You should have your blueprint pretty much finalized by now for what to teach and how to teach it. Now’s the time to get people who need your info in their lives to sign up.
You can potentially do it in Facebook LIVE in a private Facebook group. Otherwise, Zoom, Google HangOut, or go2webinar can all be options for hosting the training itself. Most of these services are FREE to use and there are great resources on how to set them up pretty quickly for a group training. Just head to Google and type in “How to host a zoom conference” or whatever option feels easiest to you! Don’t let this part hold you from sharing your gifts with the world!
When you start to share, make sure that you have a clearly defined outcome of your training. The most important thing to do is repeatedly is paint the promise. What will people walk away learning? What is the end result of their time spent with you and how can you clearly explain it. Demonstrate the result that students will get if they attend and apply your workshop course to their lives.
You don’t just want a generic training like: How to get more confidence, because that result looks different for everyone and with that title, it feels so broad that someone might not know it it’s made with them in mind. You want your end result to be a SMART goal: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. I created an epic episode all about this exact process, reverse engineering results if you need help here.
The best piece of advice I can offer here is to share on social media but to create a page online where people can read about the training, understand their commitment both time based and financially, pay to save their spot, and join. You can create a very simple landing page likely in your email service provider or send one by one PayPal links to pay their fee. I want to give you permission here to NOT have a perfect system but to put on your thinking hat on how you can simply get a list of people who are going to take the training and a means to collect their payments! Don’t overcomplicate this part, you can create fancy systems later.
Be super intentional in this week with showing up on social media AND showing your face. Yep, you’ve heard me talk about it before, but showing your face in both your stories and feed will allow people to see and get to know you. Not just your voice. Not just your written words. Not just photos of flat lays or your pretty kitchen. I want people to fall in love with you and trust you, so show up for i!
Now, advertising your mini course or training might take a bit of a shift of mindset for you. If this is your first course and you JUST discovered the superpower you want to share with and teach to others, it can be easy to feel like a fraud. Imposter syndrome creeps in and will tell you that you don’t really know what you’re doing. You don’t actually have value to share.
That’s why those steps in the first two weeks of this process are SO vital. Hearing feedback from loved ones and getting that reinforcement is life giving. Consulting one-on-one with students to demonstrate that your system actually does work really dang well is the most affirming. Hold tight to those experiences and the fact that you got yourself results FIRST, and that’s a huge deal in itself.
As you’re pushing out the date for your workshop course, share with authenticity that you care for your people because you know and believe this process works and can work for them, if they give it a try. When YOU believe in your offer with genuine enthusiasm, it translates, and they’ll believe in it too.
It’s go time, baby! I’d recommend presenting toward the end of the week so you have a final few days to advertise and hype your people up, plus a few more minutes to nail down your presentation. Fun fact: the 2 days before our trainings are when the most people join. So you want to talk about it all week, keep building the hype, showing up on social media, in inboxes, you’ve got to have endurance here for a week straight and I know you’ve got it in you!
If you don’t feel comfortable going live or showing yourself on video, you can easily create a slideshow and share your lesson on audio using Keynote or Powerpoint. 99% of my webinars are just my voice behind the slides and it takes the pressure off of me having the perfect set up or outfit or anything trivial like that.
I want to encourage you here, your masterclass or training doesn’t need to be perfectly designed or flawlessly executed here. Pretty design and execution are great and everything, and can certainly be a goal for down the line, but the mission here is to get your info out and get your people results. No matter if it’s messy. No matter if it’s imperfect.
My BEST trainings ever included the time that my webinar kicked EVERYONE out and we all had to jump back in and the time when Conley was crying and I ran up, grabbed her, and nursed her why I taught… why? Because watching someone imperfectly lead helps other people see that they can get results without being perfect, too.
Pricing Your Mini-Course
Think about this: With this plan, you can get people the same wonderful results you’ve experienced in less than a month from the initial conceptualization of your course idea. AND, if you can get 50 people to pay JUST $20 for the workshop… or 100 people to pay $10… or 10 people to pay $100, you can make $1000 no matter how you price and slice it.
The price will definitely depend on your offer and how valuable it is and it’s totally fair to start lower and work your way up, just getting people to spend even a few dollars on your training shows you there’s value in what you do and reminds you that you’re worthy to get paid to teach what you know!
I mean, I’d TOTALLY take a one hour course on dog training for $20 if you promised I could learn to teach my pups to quit barking with the snap of a finger. In fact, I might even pay $100 for that kind of magic. The less you charge, you’ll likely get a higher signup list. The more it costs, the more intimate the group will probably be.
The Big Picture
A mini course is to show you CAN get people results, to test the market, to learn the process of how to put together a starter course so you can build on it. And the bonus? You can get paid to do it and each time you host it you can refine and perfect. It doesn’t need to be this huge production and you don’t need to have 500 people sign up. People actually don’t care about the production value at all. They just want to get the information quickly and be able to get results.
And after you do it one time, the best part is you can host it again and again, and refine and tweak and pivot as you get better. You could eventually grow the course into a bigger one, or turn it evergreen to constantly offer it to your people and bring in passive income consistently. You get to collect the feedback and help others easily, and the barrier to entry is so low that there’s practically no reason not to. So… what are you waiting for? I can’t wait to see what kind of mini course YOU come up with.