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Thought about becoming a course creator, have you?
Well, you’re not alone.
There’s something satisfying about passing on information you’ve collected throughout your life.
Or maybe the draw for you is the financial freedom that creating courses can bring.
Creating courses is a pretty lucrative business.
That’s why the global market for online learning reached $255 billion in 2017.
And just because the market seems flooded, it doesn’t mean you can get in on the action and get your slice of the pie.
If you want to make money doing anything, you have to erase the mentality that there’s not enough for everyone. That’s the first step.
You have to believe in yourself and your abilities. Believe you have something to teach that’s valuable to other people. If you don’t believe that, your students won’t either.
Choose a Niche
It might not seem like you really need a niche to sell an online course, but like any other type of business, you’ll need to define your market and target audience. Whatever niche you choose, make sure it’s profitable. Otherwise, you’ll waste weeks or even months of your life creating a course that no one wants to buy.
And that can be discouraging.
It can make you want to quit when all you really need to do is adjust your marketing strategy.
Create a Course Plan
So put your solopreneur hat on and come up with a plan for your course content.
Before you do anything, you need to create a course plan that’ll help you stay on topic throughout the course. It’s similar to a syllabus you’d get when you take a college course and it outlines everything you’re going to cover in the course.
It can help guide you during the course creation process so you can stay on track.
So make sure you plan your course down to every last detail so that you can create it as efficiently as possible.
Once you’ve got your course outline and plan in place, it’s time to create the course content.
Create the Course Content
Now that you know your topic and sub-topics, you can start filling in the blanks. Just think of it like you’re writing a bunch of mini-articles, complete with subheadings and sources.
Use your outline and start filling in the information you need for each topic.
When you’re creating the content, do your best to be engaging. Show a little bit of your personality if you can (and if it makes sense).
Explain in detail the lessons of the course either on video or using PDF printables.
Whether you should use video or printables will depend on what makes the most sense for what you’re teaching.
For example, a PDF printables course wouldn’t work as well with something that needs to be seen to be learned, such as dancing or car repair and maintenance.
So figure out which format works best for your target audience.
Recording Your Course
Most platforms allow you to create videos for your course (and some even recommend it) since video is becoming a much more popular way for people to learn new things.
Why do you think YouTube is so popular?
Getting the Lighting Right
When it comes to recording your course, make sure you have the right lighting. Natural lighting tends to be the best type, but if you can’t get natural lighting, you can always spring for a few good studio lights to shoot your videos (especially if you’re going to be creating multiple courses).
Dressing the Part
Make sure to dress professionally for the video (or in whatever attire makes sense based on what you’re teaching). For example, you wouldn’t wear a dress or blouse if you’re teaching people how to make their own ceramic bowls.
But if you’re teaching professional skills or tips, it’d be nice to see someone dressed like they know what they’re talking about. If you were taking a course on how to start your own business, you wouldn’t want to see someone slouching in a stained t-shirt. Which brings me to my next point.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Give the appearance that you have confidence in yourself – even if you don’t just yet. Sit up straight – avoid slouching. Let your students know you’re just as into this as they are by giving them an instructor they can have faith in. No one’s going to believe you know what you’re talking about if you don’t put the confidence behind it.
That means no fidgeting around with your fingers while recording. Look at the camera with confidence and a smile. Your students will be much more likely to believe you and have faith that you can give them the answers they’re looking for.
Keeping Noise to a Minimum
Before you record your videos for your course, make sure to eliminate any background noise during recording. The last thing people want is to hear loud noises that might drown out what you’re saying in the video. Only record your videos during the quietest times of the day in your house.
That might mean a time when the kids are napping or everyone’s out of the house. Plan your video recording sessions accordingly so that you always have crisp, clear audio with no interference. Let your family know ahead of time when you need to be alone to record your course videos.
Finding a Good Place to Record
When recording your course videos, find a place with a clean background. Don’t distract your students with clutter or a big mess in your background. Find a clean place to record – someplace professional-looking, such as an office, den, or living room.
Make sure your background doesn’t have any offensive or distracting decorations in it. A clean white or neutral-colored background should be good enough, but a little bit of color shouldn’t hurt – as long as it doesn’t distract from what you’re saying.
Checking the Audio & Video Quality
Finding a high-quality recording device is one of the best investments you can make as a full-time course creator. You want to find a recording device you can rely on – something within your budget that offers great audio and video quality.
There are tons of other tips you can use to make your videos look professional.
Creating Printables for Your Course
If you’ve decided that it makes more sense to do PDF printables rather than a video course, you’ll need to think about design.
Will you create your own design for the course documents or will you forgo design altogether (not recommended)?
If you want people to truly enjoy your course and get the most out of it, make it an enjoyable experience for them. They’re going to be spending their hard-earned money on this course and they want more than something that looks slapped together and rushed through.
Or if you’re not much of a designer or a computer person, you can still create great designs for your course by hiring someone to create the design for your course documents. It might run you a few hundred dollars, but it’s definitely worth it to have a great-looking course that people enjoy for years to come.
Once you have at least 75 percent of your course completed, you can go ahead and start marketing it. That way, when you finally open for enrollment, you’ll already have students in your course – and money in the bank!
Offering Free Resources
Offering free resources is pretty much a necessity these days. If you’re going to be selling courses, give away a few free resources or “bonuses” to make people think you’re offering the most value for the least amount of money.
There are so many options to consider when it comes to free resources. Just some of them include:
- Cheat sheets
- Swipe files
- Worksheets & workbooks
- Bundles & kits
Figure out what makes the most sense based on your course content and start making a list of the supplemental materials you want to use in your course.
Pricing Your Course
Pricing your course is one of the most difficult parts of the process for a lot of course creators. You don’t want to price it so high that your potential students can’t afford to buy it, but you also don’t want to price it so low that people don’t see value in it. That’s why you’ve got to find a middle ground, which is easier said than done.
One of the best things you can do is to do some research. Find out what your competitors are charging and aim for something similar. You can go a little higher or a little lower – it’s all up to you.
Find course creators with the same or similar niches and figure out how much they’re charging for their courses. (You can also use this research to determine what others are teaching in their courses so you can continuously update your course with information you think you might be missing.)
Online courses can range anywhere from $49 to $1997 and sometimes even more than that, depending on the topic of the course.
For complex topics, you can charge a bit more than simpler topics. For example, if you’re teaching people how to make money with Bitcoin or how to trade forex, you’ll be able to charge hundreds more than if you’re teaching someone how to start their own garden.
Marketing Your Online Course
The importance of marketing your course can’t be overstated enough. If people don’t know it exists, how will they buy it?
That’s why it’s your job to come up with a marketing strategy that gets your course seen by the most amount of people possible.
Try to be creative with your marketing campaign.
Think outside the box if you really want to stand out among similar courses out there.
You’ve got to really think about what your USP (unique selling point) is and leverage it to get more sales.
Do you have any special skills or certifications that make you more qualified to teach something? Do you have a life experience that you can draw back on to help you teach the material? Whatever you can use to convince people that your course is better than the competition or more valuable than the next course, use it.
There are several ways to market your online course, including:
- Writing a compelling sales/landing page
- Creating an email list and promoting it to your subscribers
- Posting about it on social media and boosting or promoting the post
- Creating a Facebook or LinkedIn group about the topic of your book and promote your book to your group
- Optimizing your social media profiles
- Hosting a webinar and upselling your course to your audience
- Starting a YouTube channel and publish a course promotion video
- Including a link to your course in your email signature
- Starting a podcast and promoting the course to your audience
- Creating multiple courses and bundling them at a discounted price
There are so many ways to promote your course – these are just a few.
Take a look at Thinkific’s post on 55 Ways to Market Your Online Course for more ideas.
Now that you know how to write, design, and market an online course, you can take steps to become a course creator and start raking in passive income.
What’s the most challenging part of creating a course for you?
Let me know in the comments. And don’t be shy – share if you found this helpful.