Why it’s easy to come up with an idea for your first online course – and how to do it

Love to create your first online course but stuck for what do do? Find out why it’s easy to come up with an idea – and how to do it.

Right now we’re speaking to lots of people who want to start their first online course.

Some have always wanted to but not known where to start. And others have been forced to find a new source of income thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Trethowans
Trethowans

Whatever their motivation, pretty much everyone seems to have the same question: “What should my course be about?” So we thought we’d explain how to come up with an idea, to show you how easy it is when you know how.

There are dozens of courses you could create right now

When you’re starting out, and staring at a blank piece of paper or screen it can be difficult to come up with many – or even any – ideas for a course you could create.

But in fact, when you know how to come up with ideas, there’s probably dozens you could do. If not hundreds. It’s all about how you LOOK at what you do, who you can help and what they need.

And rather than go big and broad, and simply offering what you do, think niche. Find small, specific problems you can solve for a defined audience of people. By doing this you’ll find it easier to locate your ideal students, get them excited about your course, and sell.

To explain what we mean, imagine you’re a marketing consultant, and you want to create a course. Your first top line ideas may look like this:

  • How to learn the basics of marketing
  • How to write a marketing plan

The problem with these is that the ideas are too big and broad. And they don’t speak to a specific person and solve a specific problem for them.

Instead, consider these ideas:

  • How to find your first 100 customers for your new beauty salon
  • How to plan a 2020 e-commerce Christmas marketing strategy in an afternoon
  • How to double your abandoned cart sales
  • How to increase the value of your existing law firm clients

Can you see the difference between the two sets of ideas? The first is general, and the second very specific. If you are a new beauty salon owner, an e-commerce business owner, or own a small town legal firm, these courses may probably appeal to you.

Test your idea before building your course

Once you’ve come up with an idea for your niche course, you need to test there’s a big enough market and genuine interest for it before you spend time actually structuring and building your course.

If there is interest and a big enough market for your course then great – you can go ahead and bring it to life. If not you just go back to the drawing board and either come up with a completely new one, or tweak your initial concept to match the market need.

If you struggle to get started with your course idea brainstorm, there are simple tricks to get inspiration that we teach you here.

Quick course ideas for different professions

But to demonstrate how easy it is to come up with course ideas for all kinds of expertise, here are some quick ideas for you for different professions. (Please note these are just quick ideas off the top of our head – you will probably come up with better ones for your business!)

Accountant or bookkeeper

  • How to set up and do your own VAT
  • How to start a bookkeeping business
  • How to do your own small business accounts
  • How to do your payroll

Beautician or makeup artist

  • How to master contouring
  • How to make natural lotions
  • How to look after your skin after menopause
  • How to get rid of acne

Marketing consultant

  • How to plan a social media strategy
  • How to create a marketing plan for florists
  • How to grow your small business mailing list
  • How to find your first 100 customers for your plumbing business

PR consultant

  • How to get press on a tight budget
  • How to get your business in the local news
  • How to write your business story
  • How to create a media pack in a day

Baby massage teacher

  • How to help your baby sleep better
  • How to get started with baby massage
  • How to set up profitable baby massage classes
  • How to to build a baby massage website

Yoga or Pilates instructor

  • Get a summer yoga body in 30 days
  • Home Pilates for beginners for men
  • How to cure your back pain using Pilates
  • How to teach yoga to your children

Copywriter

  • How to write your website copy in a day
  • How to write sales emails for an e-commerce business
  • How to find your first 10 copywriting clients
  • How to write for social media

VA

  • How to build your own DIY website
  • How to set up newsletters on Mailchimp
  • How to plan a virtual summit
  • How to save 10 hours a week through setting up systems

Lawyer

  • How to take someone to the small claims court
  • How to find your first freelance legal clients
  • How to prepare for a tribunal
  • How to trademark your business

Career coach or CV writer

  • How to write your CV and LinkedIn profile in an afternoon
  • How to negotiate a pay rise
  • How to prepare for a job interview
  • How to get a promotion

Parenting coach

  • How to successfully handle toddler tantrums
  • How to support a child with anxiety and mental health issues
  • How to talk to your teenager about drugs
  • How to help a fussy eater love food

Graphic designer

  • An easy guide to creating impressive canvas designs
  • How to create your first e-book
  • How to retouch photos using free software
  • How to design beautiful Instagram images (even if you have no design skills)

Wedding planner

  • How to cut your wedding budget in half – and still get the day of your dreams
  • How to write a memorable wedding speech
  • How to plan your own wedding day (without tears)
  • How to plan a rock and roll themed wedding

Teacher

  • How to help your child pass SATs
  • How to pass GCSE maths
  • How to write college essays your tutors will love
  • Easy homeschooling art lessons for key stage one

Fashion stylist

  • How to plan your summer 2020 wardrobe
  • How to get a Vogue wardrobe on a Primark budget
  • How to declutter your wardrobe in a morning
  • How to dress for your body shape

Nutritionist

  • How to go vegan – and love it
  • 20 proven diet plans that will never leave you hungry
  • How to manage menopause symptoms through food
  • How to plan meals for people having chemotherapy

Declutterer

  • How to organise your home office in an afternoon
  • How to declutter items of sentimental value
  • The no-tears guide to clearing out your attic or garage
  • An easy way to organise your digital files so you can find everything easily

Social media manager

  • How to plan a social media strategy if you’re a coach
  • How to get your first 1,000 Instagram followers
  • How to master Instagram stories
  • How to create and grow an engaged Facebook Group

Mindfulness expert

  • How to sleep better using mindfulness
  • How to manage anxiety using mindfulness
  • How to teach your children mindfulness
  • How to get started with mindfulness

Photographer

  • A beginner’s guide to taking photos of your products to sell
  • How to take professional-quality photos using your iPhone
  • A beginner’s guide to editing your videos using iMovie
  • How to master food photography

You might have several different audiences for your course

As you can see from some of the ideas above, you can have very different audiences for your courses. There will be people who want to master skills you have to implement themselves and solve problems.

But there will also be other people who do what you do, and want to achieve things you do. For example, you may have found a way to find clients for your business, or operate your business in a different way.

Or there will be people who want to start doing what you do and would love to learn the ropes.

So don’t restrict yourself to ideas for one audience – see if you can find new audiences and think of courses you could create for them too.

You don’t need an established business to create courses

And while we’re on the subject of creating courses for your expertise or knowledge, please don’t worry if you don’t have an established business or existing audience. Because you need neither to create and sell a course.

All you need is genuine skills or knowledge that will help someone else solve a problem, or that they’d love to learn.

You can learn how to turn that expertise into a well-structured course, and find people who will buy it from you.

Create and sell your first course in four weeks

To help you do just that we’ve launched a course that will help you to create and sell your first online course in just four weeks.

We’ll show you how to come up with an idea for your course using our own proven method, and test your idea. You’ll also learn how to actually structure and build your course. And how to generate interest and get sales.

By the end of the four weeks, if you follow our guidance and assignments you’ll have a course ready to sell to a keen audience.

Our course is based on five years of creating and selling successful online courses, membership programmes and masterclasses.

Courses have been an important (and fun) source of income for us – and enabled us to grow from our kitchen table to a global business – and we now want to show you how you too can earn an income and grow your business through your own online courses too.

So if you’re ready to create your first online course, find out how you can do it in just four weeks here.