If you want to stop exchanging your time for dollars, the number one way to do so is by creating an online course.
By creating an online course, you’re packaging your services up as a product to sell over and over again. This applies to coaches, freelancers, and anyone else who offers services vs. products.
Instead of repeating the same procedures and processes over and over again, you do the hard work up front once and package it up as a class, which then becomes your best asset, because you get to sell it over and over again.
A great time to create a course is when people start asking you the same questions repeatedly.
That is the best case scenario because that means you already have an audience who values what you have to say and is coming to you for help. However, if you don’t have an audience online but have expertise from simply working on your craft for years, you may need to spend more on ads to get your online course out there.
You may be in one of these three categories:
- Excited but have no ideas.
- Have an idea but need to tweak it.
- Have tons of ideas but need to figure out which is most profitable.
Your digital product should only include one solution to one problem.
AND the problem should be big enough that people want to pay you for solving it.
#1 Come up with a profitable idea
- What are you good at?
- What do people ask your advice on?
- What are you a couple steps ahead of, relative to other people?
- Are you able to provide a transformation for your students?
- This is extremely important because people buy outcomes and will expect to achieve them after they complete your course.
- Is it easy to understand?
- A good course should simplify things.
- Are you able to teach it well?
- You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be really good—but more than anything, you MUST be a good teacher.
- Is it a niche people are paying attention to?
- Niches that show people how to become better versions of themselves are the best and most profitable niches.
Don’t have a niche yet? Read: 12 Most Profitable Niches Online.
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#2 Put a strategy in place
You’ll need an email service provider in order to do this next step. I use ConvertKit.
Don’t have subscribers yet? Read: How To Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Subscribers.
This is the research and testing phase.
I have outlined five methods you can use to see if your idea will be a profitable one.
This is the most important part of creating a course – doing adequate market research will determine how successful it will be.
METHOD 1 – AFFILIATE POST
Run some tests with affiliate products that are similar to the product you’d like to create in order to gauge interest.
You can do this by writing blog posts about potential affiliate products, sending those posts to your list and seeing what sells.
- An example of this would be my post How To Make Serious Money On Amazon where I embedded several books from Amazon on how to make money as an affiliate. I sold a few but not enough to launch a course on the topic.
- Another place to put your affiliate links can be your sidebar, I have a recommended reading section where I simply have a picture of the book called #GIRLBOSS. Because my audience is 100% female entrepreneurs, this book sells very well!
Learn how affiliate links work and how you can implement them on your blog.
METHOD 2 – INFORMATIVE POST
Another way that is less direct would be to write a series of highly valuable blog posts on some topics you’d like to cover in your course.
For example, if I wanted to come out with an influencer course, I would write a series of blogs posts like the ones below to gauge which topics were the most popular and got the best responses.
- How Influencers Make Money On Instagram
- How To Become An Instagram Influencer
- How To Pitch A Collaboration With Brands
- How To Get Brands To Notice, Collaborate And Pay You As An Influencer
I would also create forms like the one below and embed it in my posts to start collecting emails from a very specific audience who would be interested in my course when it comes out.
Create an Influencer Blog
Get on the wait list now to learn how!
I would also send every single one of those posts to my email list to gauge which topic was most popular according to the feedback from my list while testing out different headlines to see which garnered the most attention.
All this work up front is helping you set yourself up for success.
You have created all this free content that you have been sending to your audience that they love. You’ve slowly started building trust and have shown them you know what you’re talking about.
So when you come out with your course, you already have people waiting to gobble up more of your content because they know it’s good since they have already tasted the free stuff.
METHOD 3 – WEBINAR
The more people know about you and interact with you, the more they will like, trust and buy stuff from you.
People want to know that there is another human on the other side of the screen and not a scammy bot and showing your face on camera is one of the best ways to do that!
However, this is not for everyone, if you cringe at the thought of doing a webinar, this method may not be for you – you don’t have to try out every method, do what feels natural to you, but also push yourself.
I know for me personally, I HATE recording myself.
I turned down so many podcast and webinar opportunities until the start of the year when I got 3 requests each an hour apart to be a guest on 3 different webinars/podcasts. That was my sign that I needed to take the plunge and jump out of my comfort zone.
Since then, I have spoken in front of several hundred people audiences on various blogging panels and done live interviews, but you want to know a secret?
I STILL hate recording myself.
I don’t mind talking to a human on another screen, but the thought of being on camera and talking to the computer in a room by myself still freaks me out and I can’t do it. ?
However, webinars truly are an amazing way for your audience to see you and get to know you more on a human level. So if you can do it, DO IT. Or force yourself to and you’ll get there eventually. (I’m getting there, bear with me!)
METHOD 4 – GIVEAWAY
KingSumo.com is a giveaway platform that draws hot leads into your email list.
You can also just run your own giveaway for free on your social media platforms. Reach out to brands (if you don’t know how, read How To Pitch A Collaboration With Brands) and partner with them on a giveaway!
Remember: The prize needs to be very specific to the target audience of your course, you’re running the giveaway to find leads for yourself!
For example if you wanted to create a course on “How To Start A Successful Webinar Series” you may want to giveaway a bundle that includes;
- 1 Canon Camcorder
- 1 Blue Yeti USB Microphone
- 1 Teachable (free for 1 year)
- 1 ScreenFlow (free for 1 year)
METHOD 5 – MINI COURSE
- Send the first chapter of your course.
- Use your audience’s feedback to sell the full course later.
- Give your audience the basics.
- Then offer a paid option as an upgrade.
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#3 Set income goals and pricing
How many subscribers do you need vs. your conversion rate vs. price of your course to make the dollar amount you want.
Just approximate if you don’t know to give yourself a goal. But make sure it’s somewhat realistic based on your stats.
- On average, to make $5000 you only need 850 people on your list.
- However it all depends on what your audience needs, how much they trust you, and what you’re offering in comparison to the price.
Generally courses are priced around $200-300, however check out your competition and their pricing to stay competitive. Master courses are usually anywhere from $500-$1000, but it all depends on the content of your course.
- It’s good to end your asking price with the number 7 so it doesn’t look at menacing.
- For example; $197 v.s. $200 which is more appealing?
- These two articles will help you prepare for your launch by dramatically increasing the number of subscribers you have.
Why Email Is Better Than Social Media
Grab My List of 3 Reasons!
#4 Create your course materials
After all that hard work of testing, research, trial and error, which can take months, you now have to create the content of your course… which can take another few months! ?
But it will all be worth it.
Start out with an outline of your course – the headlines, sublines, and categories you want to include.
Next, think of the type of content you produce already and what your audience reacts best to. Is it your visual, audio or written work?
If you don’t know, consider emailing a poll to your list to find out! You can also poll your social media followers via stories and post your question to group boards.
If you know how your audience likes to learn, your course will be 5x more effective and sell faster as well.
The 6 elements your course needs;
- Must be really user friendly.
- Should be beautifully designed.
- Hosted under your domain (credibility booster).
- Must have the capability to own the data you collect.
- Must be able to accept payments.
How can you make sure to include all these elements?
Sign up for Teachable!
It’s the best course creation platform on the market right now.
#5 Create your high-converting sales page
Your sales page that is connected to your course can be created directly using Teachable.
- The title should be very clear, saying what they will get from the course.
- The sub-description should include what transformation they can expect.
- Video is super important to have on a sales page so people can get to know you and the human behind the course in order to build the know, like and trust factor.
- The description should talk about the expected outcome, relate on pain points and address concerns or common questions.
- Include testimonials and photos of people (exclude if you don’t have any yet).
- Make sure to offer options for a payment plan.
You may want to test out several different sales pages to see which converts the best.
#6 Prepare pre-launch materials
Make sure to hype up your class with great promotional materials announcing what you have in store for your audience.
Use Canva to make sure everything is beautifully designed.
It is also a good idea to pack the week before launch full of amazing materials related to your course so your audience can get a sneak peak at what to expect and look forward to your emails.
#7 Launch your course
- Day 1 – Course teaser: mention you’ll be launching a course, what transformation they can expect and your story.
- Day 2 – Explain what does the course contents will consist of and the benefits.
- Day 3 – Course is open for enrollment.
- Day 4 – “Is this right for me?” and FAQ.
- Day 5 – Surprise bonus added to course offer.
- Day 6 – Thank you and social proof.
- Day 7 – Logical argument why your course makes sense.
- Day 8 – Enrollment date closing.
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f you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com, and I would be glad to answer any questions you may have!
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<3 Elaine Rau