As you guys might know, I launched my very first online course, Content that Converts, that teaches entrepreneurs how to optimize their websites for SEO. I got a lot of questions from my Collective members on how I got started, how I decided on a platform, a price and so much more. So, today I wanted to share with you how to create an online course from the perspective of a total beginner!
This won’t cover everything, but if you’ve been thinking about a course, this should help you get started with some of the tough stuff like—what do I actually teach? Why should I do a course when I offer on-on-one services already? How much do I charge?
Let’s dive in!
Why Online Courses?
First thing’s first—why would you want to create an online course in the first place? For me, freedom was the biggest motivator. I have two kids and life can be hectic. I wanted to be able to make income without having to be actively working all the time. What I love about a course is that you create it once and can sell it for years to come.
It’s mostly passive and totally scalable.
If you currently have a business where you work with people 1:1, you can of course raise your prices to bring in more income. But, building a course would allow you to serve so many more people and bring in more income. It frees up your time to work on other big projects while still serving your audience very well.
How to Create an Online Course
What Can You Teach?
Well, literally anything! There are courses online for just about anything you can think of. Some are great, some are not, but if you have the passion and knowledge on a specific topic, chances are there’s people out there that would pay you to learn how to do what you do.
What’s great about online courses is that you don’t have to have a degree or special training in something to teach it. Of course, for some topics like accounting or health-related topics, a degree or certification might be necessary.
For example, I teach entrepreneurs how to do SEO, but I don’t have any formal training in it, just many years of real life experience—some would say that experience is an even better place to teach from because you’ve done it and lived it.
How Do I Know If It’s a Good Course Idea
If you’ve been able to get results for yourself or someone else with whatever you are teaching, it’s likely going to work. If you’ve never actually done the thing you’re trying to teach—save it for someone else with the experience.
Another good way to know if you idea is a good one is to poll your audience, or think about the questions you get asked the most. When I re-opened my web design business, I didn’t have any intentions of building an SEO course, but it quickly become the most popular topic I was asked. When there’s a need for the knowledge, that’s a very good thing.
How Do I Start Creating My Course?
I started with a Google doc and a major brain dump of everything I could possibly teach around the subject. It was long, vast and covered a ton of topics. Getting all of your ideas on paper is one of the best ways to start figuring out how to piece together all your knowledge on a topic into one easy-to-digest course that people can easily move through.
Create a Unique Method
From taking many online courses over the years, you can easily tell a good course from a bad one. The good ones follow unique methods and roadmaps to get you the results you need. They’re easy to follow and comprehend.
That first Google doc was a hot mess, but it was necessary to help me get all my thoughts in order and start organizing my course into something that made sense.
The easier it is for your students to move through it, the better their results will be and the more successful your course will become.
Don’t Go Overboard
When you’re first creating your course, your thought might be bigger and more is always better, but I’ve quickly realized this can actually be the death of a course.
One of the biggest mistakes I think that you can make is trying to pack every little thing you know into one package. If a course is too big or takes too long to complete, you lose people.
Another example—do I teach you everything you could ever possibly need to know about SEO in my course? Heck no! And here’s why—I know what my audience wants—they want their website to be optimized for SEO and to grow organic traffic to their website. So, my course focuses on those aspects of SEO. If I taught you everything you could ever know, my audience would get overwhelmed and ditch the program entirely (at least I know I would!).
When you tailor your course to your specific audience, they get more out of it, you’re able to create a better program and it’s easier to sell because you know you can get results for a specific type of person.
Stay focused on your topic and teach it well!
What Platform Should I Use?
There are a bunch of different course platforms out there, and the two I kept hearing over and over again were Kajabi and Teachable. I ended up using Teachable because I’d used it in the past and had a good experience with it. And, the cost was lower than Kajabi. I didn’t find the differences between the two to be worth the additional cost of Kajabi, at least not for where I’m at in my business.
Of course, I highly suggest you do your own research to see what makes sense for your business and your type of course.
How Do I Price My Course?
This was a big question I got in The Collective because pricing is well, tough. So, here’s a few questions to ask yourself: What is the value someone will get from this? How much would it have cost them to hire someone else to do that?
Don’t try to guess how much people would pay for it. I’m always surprised that people who are invested in what you’re teaching are willing to spend more to learn about it. When a price is too low, it can be deemed as low-quality, and if someone only paid $50 for a course, they’re less likely to complete it because it wasn’t a big risk to begin with.
Having a higher-price can often attract people who are more serious about your course topic and ready to invest in themselves or their businesses (depending on what you teach). They’re more dedicated to complete the course, because they made the investment too.
At the end of the day, pricing is totally subjective. I wavered between a few pricing options and ultimately went with the one that felt good in my gut. Feeling good and being aligned with your pricing makes selling it easy.
How Do I Record Lessons?
You can do something as fancy as hiring a videographer, or something as simple as creating slides and record yourself talking through them. It really depends on the course material.
If you were teaching a painting class, videos of you painting and showing your materials would be far more valuable than a bunch of slides or photos. If you’re teaching a strategy, graphics and slides made in Canva can be far more effective than just talking directly to people.
Don’t let low production value hold you back in creating something great. At the end of the day, your clients just want the results. Unless you simply can’t hear anything you’re saying, I wouldn’t get too worked up!
Just make sure you have good lighting (facing a window, not having a window behind you) and that you can be heard easily!
This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating an online course, but I hope that it’s helpful for you as you get started.
Get 1:1 Support & Questions Answered
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Learn more about the program and join here for just $97/month!