Six things you need before you can create an online course
Online courses are THE big business trend right now. Find out what you need to start making money from your own.
Thinking about creating an online course? Love the idea of an extra income stream? One that brings you money even while you sleep, and helps to protect you from the uncertainties of COVID-19?
If so, here are six things you need – and how we can help you with them.
1) A sellable idea
If you’re creating a course you want to make money from, then people need to buy it. Which means your course must solve a REAL problem for people.
The problem you solve can be helping them to get rid of something, or to gain something, such as a new skill. But the most important part of the problem is that they are happy and willing to pay money to solve it.
The difference between an idea for a course and a sellable idea can be small – but it can make an enormous difference when it comes to selling your course.
This is why our course Create and Sell Your First Course devotes an entire module to coming up with an idea. We help you come up with ideas using our Magic Three formula, and show you how to put your idea to the market to test (the results of your market research can be surprising, and can save you a LOT of time in chasing down the wrong path).
We also help you to hone your idea by defining the transformation you take your students through – and the answers to the questions you ask here are gold when it comes to selling your course.
So before you start planning your modules, or building a marketing campaign for your course, make 100% sure you have a sellable idea, and a defined audience ready to buy it.
2) A structure
Once you have an idea, you need to bring it to life. And that involves planning the structure of your course.
This is where most course creators make their biggest mistake.
They think that the more they put into their course, the more value it will have. And the easier it will be for them to sell. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Because your students aren’t buying your course; they’re buying the results it gets them.
Remember: you’re solving a problem for them, and the only thing your course needs to do is to solve that problem. You don’t need to overwhelm them with 1,000 videos exploring the topic. Just share one video that solves the problem.
People don’t have the time to wade through hours of videos and pages of text, and a course that is bulging with big modules looks like it will be hard work.
That’s why we teach people a simple, five-two formula for structuring your course, and show you how to create lessons that give people exactly what they need, and no more.
3) A price
This is another place too many course creators come unstuck. They assume that if they price their course low, if they make it ‘affordable’, then it will fly off the virtual shelves.
But if you’ve participated in any of our pricing challenges you’ll know this isn’t true. Because ‘cheap’ just equals poor quality and unwanted to many people, and a low price on what looks like a great product just makes them suspicious… and reluctant to risk their money buying.
The best price for your course is the one that most accurately reflects its value. What that price is depends on your audience, your marketplace (and your status within it) and the value of the problem you solve for people.
To help make the big dilemma about pricing simple, and avoid any ‘cheap’ traps, in Create and Sell Your First Course we show you a really easy, back-to-front way to price your course.
4) A way to deliver it
When we first started selling online courses we didn’t have a learning platform, so we simply emailed the content out to our students every week. And it worked well enough. But today there’s no need for such a labour intensive process because you have access to amazing course delivery technology… for free!
On Create and Sell Your First Course, we recommend using the learning platform we use to deliver all our courses. The platform we use, Thinkific, has a free option that enables you to build and sell four courses. You can even build impressive-looking sales pages on it, all without paying a penny.
It allows you to deliver courses via written lessons, classes with slides, and video, and connects up to payment systems like PayPal and Stripe, making it very easy to get your first course out into the world with minimal investment.
There are a few limitations with the free version, but we show you ways around them in Create and Sell Your First Course, and speed up your learning curve by showing you how to use Thinkific with behind-the-scenes videos.
5) A sales plan
Once your course is ready you need to sell it. And this is where a large number of first-time course creators experience disappointment. Because while selling an online course isn’t hard, you DO need to know what you are doing.
You need a sales plan that brings people into the top of your funnel, making the right people aware that your course exists, and triggering their interest.
Once they’re interested, you need to nurture them through the middle of your funnel, ensuring they have the information they need at the right time to help convince them that your course will solve their problem. And then you need some kind of device at the bottom of your funnel to help encourage them to purchase.
Many people make the mistake of rushing people from the top of their funnel straight to the bottom. They know their course is good, and know they’re talking to people who need it and can afford it. So surely they’ll buy once they hear about it, right?
Actually, no. It doesn’t matter how much of a great fit your course may be for them, there’s a purchasing consideration journey we all need to go on before buying. And if you don’t have the sales elements and messaging in place to guide people through that journey, they’ll drop out of your funnel.
Think of it like dating. You might meet the most perfect person – someone you could end up marrying – but if they proposed to you on your first date, you’d run a mile. It’s just too soon.
You need to get to know that person before you’re ready to commit. And we do exactly the same before making a purchase, especially for something as considered as buying a course.
To make the sales process really easy for you, we talk you through it step-by-step in Create and Sell Your First Course, and even give you a 14-day sales plan you can roll out to guide your customers through their buying journey.
Fashion Stylist Sally Smy made back the investment in Create and Sell Your First course more than 10x over in her first launch using our 14-day sales plan.
6) The motivation to get started
How long have you been thinking about, and maybe even talking about, creating your own online course? You’ll never make a penny selling online courses until you actually get started and create it! So if you’re serious about building a new income stream, you need the motivation to start now.
It’s not difficult to create a sellable course, but you’ll never do it if you don’t actually take action. (And if you don’t build one, you can bet that your competitors are planning one, if not already creating theirs…)
So please use this advice as the inspiration and motivation to get started on your own online course today. Just think: if you start brainstorming now, you could have an idea to test out within an hour.
And if you’d love help to make the whole process really simple, and avoid the expensive and time-consuming mistakes everyone makes at first, come and join us inside Create and Sell Your First Course today.
How can Create and Sell Your First Course help you?
Over the past six years we’ve sold hundreds of places on courses, memberships and mastermind classes. We know what works, what doesn’t work, and how to plan, build and sell online products people love.
And we take you through our proven course creation process in Create and Sell Your First Course.
Our four-week programme takes you from course newbie to confident course creator – and even gives you a 14-day marketing template to sell your new course. Here’s what you’ll cover:
- In module one – we show you how to come up with an idea for a course people will love (and buy!), and test and name it.
- In module two – we show you how to structure your course and the lessons within it, making it REALLY easy to build, even if you’re a complete beginner.
- In module three – we show you how to create and build your online course using easy, free technology – and even show you exactly how to use it.
- In module four – we show you how to sell your brilliant new course. We give you our 14-day marketing plan to make it wonderfully simple and show you how to run sales webinars.
- In our bonus module – we guide you through setting up Facebook ads to sell your course, if that’s something you want to do.
“The best investment I’ve made in my business to date”
Here’s what previous students have said of their experience on Create and Sell Your First Course:
- “This course is by far the best investment I’ve made in my business to date.” Frances Cushway
- “Hannah has made the whole end-to-end process for creating and selling a course achievable and uncomplicated.” Caroline Would
- “The amount of detail is perfect – you learn everything you need without feeling overwhelmed.” Laura Harmsworth
- “This course literally holds you by the hand through all the steps you need to take.” Aileen Edgar
Love to join them? You can learn more about Create and Sell Your First Course here and start bringing your first course to life when you sign up today.