Learning how to create and sell online courses can be a great step in your blogging journey. It has the power to take your blog from a side hustle to a full-time income.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this income report from Brandon Gaille that shows you exactly how the higher earners in the blogging world are making their money.
You with me now? Good.
Over the course of the next month or so, I want to talk to you about creating your own online course and selling this to your audience. Not only that, but we will dive into organising the content of your course.
For now, let’s stick with understanding:
- Why you should create an online course?
- Choosing your topic
So, without further ado let’s get stuck in.
Why you SHOULD create an Online Course
I mean, I could just tell you to scroll up slightly and look at that stat from Brandon Gaille’s Income Report again. If that is not inspiration enough as it is, I don’t know what is.
Think about it for a second, you will have to put in a lot of work initially, but once you have created your course, and it is now live, then you can just watch the students sign up to, and enrol in your course(s), creating a nice passive income for you and your blog.
But let’s not leave it there. In this section, I want you to understand that you don’t have to be a blogger to benefit from the value of learning how to create and sell an online course.
First off, take a look at this stat about the eLearning market and the direction it is heading.
Hint. It’s only going one way.
Globally, the eLearning market is set to climb to $325 billion by 2025.
Now while I am not a world leading eLearning market expert, I take my advice from the people who know what they are talking about!
Who can Create Online Courses?
As I mentioned you don’t have to be a blogger to create and sell online courses. This strategy could apply to almost any business.
Let’s have a think, ok so, Josh Hall, he started out with Web Design, doing all the work himself for his clients. That was until his services were needed so much, he had to outsource a little of his work.
Now he runs a successful website, that provides a whole host of courses for budding entrepreneurs.
By the way, you can hear more about his journey, obviously by visiting his site, but by listening to his Podcast. He also features on Episode 456 of Pat Flynn’s SPI Podcast, which is a gold mine of information! You can thank me later. This is where I was first introduced to his story.
There are sites dedicated to providing you with every course topic you can possibly think of for a monthly subscription, just look at The Great Courses website. There are courses for “How to Draw,” “Photography,” even “Music Therapy.”
Find what your good at and dive in.
Customer & Brand Awareness
Courses can be a great way for increasing your brand awareness and getting testimonials from your audience, lets face it, a Blog Post can only do so much, and you are left waiting for your readers to comment for any kind of testimonials.
If you are selling a specific product, such as software, creating a course for how to use this software will just increase your customer base and give you more of a brand. Customers will come to you not only for the product itself, but also to learn how to use it, and use it well.
You may even want to give that course for free, as you can generate enough money from the product itself. However, now you have attached a course to it, customers would be more likely to buy, knowing they are getting more value for money. (Who doesn’t love a good freebie?)
Look whatever your reasons are for creating a course, be it, bringing in money, expanding your customer base, or just providing your audience with the quality content they deserve, you will notice a common theme, creating online courses, can transform your business!
Choose your Online Courses Topic
A powerful step in the beginning is knowing exactly what your course topic is going to be. Knowing this will set everything into motion, you can start to outline your course and plan the launch etc.
Knowing your topic will start to provide you with a clear picture of the direction you and the course are heading!
So, this comes down to a number of things.
- Your Skills and know-how
- What is it that lights you up?
- Your Audience struggles and challenges
- Potential profits
A good way of starting is by understanding what your skills, expertise or know-how are, try listing 5-10. I know this can sometimes be tricky, so first off, start with just a couple. Then break this down a little and try to remember what it was like for you before you knew and gained that skill. I will give you an example to help.
I am a Project Manager. Now I didn’t get there by chance and before I knew that’s what I wanted to do I had to learn how to get there. So, I researched, I took courses, I read books trying to understand how it is I go FROM not being a project manager, TO being a project manager.
It could be that, getting from A to B, is now second nature to you. It’s what your audience want to know, and something that you think is easy. So easy you end up saying to yourself, “doesn’t everyone know this?”
Now move onto what it is that lights you up. What could you talk about over and over again? Something that gets you excited, that you are willing to teach people about. Come on face it, things will get difficult on this journey, and being excited about what your doing will pull you through those tough times.
Ok so now we know what your skills and knowledgebase is, and we know what it is that excites you. We now need to focus on your audience, because it is not all about you!
Ask your audience what their struggles are, what are their pain points. Really zero in on this with laser focus. After all you cannot create a course of what you think people will want just because you like it. It’s not about you!
OK, so now you have an idea for your course topic, and you think it has legs. But test the waters, before you go all in and build your course. Let’s see if your idea has the legs to go all the way. There are a multitude of ways to do this, however we will stick to the basics here.
A survey can help you gain a better understanding of your audience’s thoughts on your course topic idea. It may also help with your outlining for your topic. Perhaps they provide you with little nuggets of gold that you had not thought about, that you can include in your course.
Use survey platforms to help, Google Forms, Facebook groups.
Creating simple landing pages is like conducting a small test to see if there really is an interest in your course topic. You don’t have to create the course before you create the landing page. Simply ask people to apply to buy, or create a sign up page for a coming soon course!
Then track how many people sign up, start gathering information.
There are other ways to find your topic, and that is by going to the right places and reading through comments, questions and reviews that people have left on various sites. Try heading over to the below and typing in your course idea and browse the comments.
- Online forums
- Amazon – Product/ Book reviews etc.
- Other blog posts
- Quora is a good one
- As mentioned, Facebook groups!
Take this advice from an expert.
“Know your audience and stay on topic. Get rid of the fluff. Once you know your purpose with your content (which should be to generate a specific result for those consuming it), stick to teaching how they can achieve that result.” – JOHN LEE DUMAS,
Finally think about the money. Will your course make you money? Is it an idea that can generate cash? Well? have a look around, who else is doing this?
Is anybody doing it? Now this may sound counter-intuitive, but, if you can find people who are doing what you want to do, then that’s a good sign that it is a good idea.
You may think that if someone else is doing it, you need to think of something different, but I suggest the opposite. Do what is making people money, as you know there is an audience for it. I mean come on; they do not have a 100% share of the market!
So, research the competition, get inspiration, learn and understand how they found an issue and created an idea to solve it. Learning all this information and combining it with your own knowledge and skills will allow you to create something of your own, something unique, that only you can teach your students.
So there you have it for your 1st step on our Online Courses series!
Please don’t forget why it is that you want to create a course and share your knowledge with your audience.
Find your niche and build your course around them, to help them with their pain points, that hopefully you were suffering with at some point too, but that you now know you can help with.
My final thought on choosing your topic is just this, you want to make sure that you come up with something that inspires your audience whilst offering them the value they deserve, that helps solve their issues. Hell, you should be doing this for all of your content, not just your course.
There you have it for post 1 of our Create and Sell Online Courses Series. Take action, on what you have learned above.
Tell me what your skills are, what excites you, what your audience want, tell me your Course Topic and go out there and do some research and tell me if there is a market for it. Better yet, tell it to yourself!
If you don’t know what your niche is yet, or you need help setting your goals, then why not take our Blog to Business Plan challenge, where we help you align your year and create the life and business you always wanted.
If you are just getting started and need some help understanding your niche check out our tips here.