Isn’t it crazy (in the best way!) that in today’s world, if we want to learn something (anything!) we can do so from experts in the comfort of our own home? Or on vacation? At night after work, or while our kids are napping? You want to become a better cook? Learn to sail? Meditate? Write a book? There’s an online course for that.
I believe experience is our best teacher, but I also believe that by surrounding yourself with mentors and information from experts who have been where you want to go will help you gain the knowledge you need to run your business! In this online entrepreneurial world, you’ll go faster or at least have a few less bumps or late night Google sesh’s when you get the right help.
The truth is, entrepreneurs need to master such a wide range of skills in order to be successful and I believe the future of how we learn that information is through online education. The staggering statistic we’ve all probably heard before that 50% of new businesses fail in the first year due to lack of experience, knowledge or advice. This doesn’t have to be true and I certainly don’t want it to be a reality for you… that’s why you’re here and I’m here to help make sure you’re the next success story.
So get this: CNN reported that in the next couple years they estimate that 50% of the US population will be self-employed. HALF! That floored me when I heard it, but also made me proud. Proud of the people standing up and fighting for their passions and dreams, proud of those pursuing a life of entrepreneurial freedom and believing they have something unique to offer the world.
The way we train and educate people and impact the world is changing and online education is the future (and certainly not a fad). As more and more people turn online for shopping, dating and learning – we need to be thinking about ways we can contribute but also benefit from the ever-changing online world.
Why Creating Online Courses Could be a Fit for Your Business
-You already have the knowledge, know-how or expertise in your area or niche. What you take for granted as easy or things that come naturally to you don’t to others.
-Creating an online course will set you up as an expert in your industry.
-Courses can become a passive income source to help you scale your business and become more profitable
-Online courses can free up your time. Are you a consultant or freelancer working dollars for hours? Creating a course instead can do just that.
-Online courses allow you to impact more people.
-You don’t need to build an elaborate all inclusive extensive course teaching a-z about your topic. It’s often the uber-specific, detailed, quick wins that are not only helpful to your audience but can offer you a way to differentiate yourself from other educators in your industry or niche.
The First Steps to Becoming an Online Educator
First things first: figure out your topic. What skills do you have that you could offer the world? What are people consistently asking you about? What sets you apart from others in your area that you could teach? What makes you unique? There are people in just about every niche and industry willing to spend money to save time and stress. Think about the baby sleep training course or teaching sign language.
Another option to consider would be transitioning live programs to the online world that will allow you to work with more people. Maybe you currently teach a live class or workshop that you could convert to an online format, or maybe you’ve mentored 1:1 that the material could be created in a way that others would benefit from it too.
Pro tip: don’t be too general here and try to teach everything you know about your topic. Often the super specific, targeted courses with a clear result and target audience are the ones that are the most successful. Think through who exactly you serve and what results your material would be able to provide them.
Steps to develop your online course:
There’s an entire episode on the podcast about how to create your online course including all the tech and considerations that go into the logistics of creating it and this blog post on the 3 tools you need to create your first course. Before you get to that, I want you to walk through these steps first to make sure we set you up for success before you log the hours creating your content:
- Assess your market potential. How do you test your market before you invest your time and money into creating your course or e-product? Figure out what topics are currently in demand and doing well in your area, and then bring your unique set of skills and spin to it. Make sure your version of the popular idea is different, stands out and serves a specific audience and is not too general. If someone is already teaching on your topic and doing well, this is good news and doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you too! There’s room for you to put your own spin on things and release it to the people who like your style of teaching and relate to your experience. The fact that others are teaching on the topic just means there is demand and you’re off to a good start.
- Create related content. This step is really important because it’s a great way to test if your audience will resonate with your topic. Start writing blog and social media posts on your topics and start to get feedback. Do these posts perform well against your other content? Are people engaging with it? Is it serving them well? What further questions do they have from you? This can really help you gauge if your audience is going to respond well to your course and help you build out your content and start to answer their questions and pain points.
- Start to build an audience. The thing is, to sell an online course – you need to establish credibility. You need to be an expert. You need to serve your audience in this area long before you ever start talking about selling something to them. With the content you created in step two, begin to convert the traffic from those posts onto an email list and continue to serve them content around your topic. This will help you build the know/like/trust with the exact audience that will ultimately be ready to buy your course when it’s ready to be released.
How to know if you’re ready to write an online course
The question I want you to ask yourself is: have you successfully done this thing in the real world? Do you have a perspective and experiences to share on your topic? Maybe the thought of bringing your course from the idea to reality has you stuck in the dreaming stage and you need more help. And maybe you’re not ready yet. To those people I say, start smaller and create an e-book. Or offer consulting services on a smaller scale and really develop and test out your teachings before scaling them into a larger online course.
So what do you think, could you see this in your future? What steps could you take today to get you closer to this goal?