I am a HUUUUUGE proponent that less is more in business—especially early in your business journey. You truly don’t need a million softwares, tools, services, and resources to get your biz up and running, especially if you’re in the space of online education and digital courses. In fact, I honestly believe there are only 5 tools course creators NEED to get their learning services ready to roll and to communicate with (future) students.
Because, here’s the thing. Decision fatigue is real. Healthline describes it like this: “[Decision fatigue is] the official term for that feeling when you’re overly stressed by the endless amount of decisions you’ve had to make throughout the day.” And when it hits, you literally stop being able to make the best choices for yourself and your business.
Yet, guess when we have TONS of crucial-feeling decisions to make? Oh, right, when starting a business or creating a new digital course.
So… for aspiring and novice course creators, I want to reduce the mental load that comes with feeling like you need to set up ALL the things, all at once, just to get started. I’m going to break down exactly what you need (hint: it’s only 5 tools) to plan, record, and share your brand new digital course!
1. An easy design platform.
If you plan on using slides for your digital course or sharing graphics about it on social media, then you’ll want a place to easily and quickly design assets. And trust me, you DON’T need to be a designer (or pay for a fancy software) to create incredible graphics.
I use, love, and highly recommend Canva for all of your design needs! They have premade templates so that you can easily plug in your own colors, fonts, text, and images for a super-quick design process. Plus, their templates are organized by need, so you can search for slides, Instagram stories, Facebook posts, or any other graphics that have specific specs.
2. An email marketing tool.
I honestly think that course creators should start and work on growing their email list, even before they set up things like branding, websites, and social media pages. Why? Because an email list is a DIRECT way to speak to your audience essentially one on one (in their inboxes). It’s a WHOLE lot easier to get in touch with your target audience via their email inbox, instead of trying to stand out from the masses on social media. Plus, while websites and other branding pieces often take weeks or months to set up, you can start growing your email list today.
My number 1 recommended email platform is Flodesk because they make email marketing as easy (and beautiful) as possible. Plus, no matter how many subscribers you have or emails you send out, the price remains the same for the lifetime of your subscription. You can get more details about why I love Flodesk here!
3. A place to house your digital course.
Of course, a spot to house your amazing new course is essential! I know there are a lot of options out there to host courses, so do a bit of research and then pick one, knowing that you can always change direction and use a different one later on.
My favorite has been Kajabi for all the years I’ve been creating and sharing digital courses. They have different levels of membership based on what you need, so if you’re just starting with one course, you can easily start with the lowest tier and then advance as needed as you scale. It’s a super intuitive platform with the BEST customer service if you have questions or hiccups. And, they have tools if you ever want to create a membership or launch your website through their platform.
4. Audio or video recording software.
Something awesome about digital courses is that you can record it exactly how you want. If you don’t want to be on screen, then you can record audio over some slides. Or, you can even do a podcast-style digital course without slides (if the materials translate well to a medium without visuals)!
You can also go full-out with video and audio and your talking head on the screen. (Although, full disclosure, I don’t prefer face to screen because it makes editing your course more challenging later on.)
Luckily, if you have a computer with a built-in microphone and camera, you’re all set to record! With free programs like Quicktime, Zoom, and iMovie, you can easily set up, record, and edit your digital course right from your computer.
5. A killer resource that gets you deals on software.
You guys, my life was changed once I realized you don’t have to pay full price for the majority of digital softwares out there. Seriously, this isn’t a drill. There is a tool out there that legit partners with tech companies (like Evernote, MailChimp, and Adilo), gives you access to crazy deals on their products, and ultimately… saves you thousands in business expenses. For real.
It’s called AppSumo, and it’s my absolute newest favorite discovery. Because let’s be real, you only need these 5 tools to get started on your course creation journey, but once you’re ready to scale, you’re going to need more resources and support! And, you don’t need to go broke just trying to afford them to streamline and grow your biz. AppSumo has relationships with hundreds of digital tools that can ultimately save you 50-90% on the cost of them.
All right, my course-creating friends! These are the only 5 tools course creators need to get started and get your valuable information and education out into the world. Then, once you’re ready for some additional support, AppSumo is there for you to get unbelievable deals on whatever you need help with, from CRM, accounting, and client management to marketing, web development, and even stock photos.
This post is sponsored by AppSumo.