Developing An Online Course
The market for online courses is huge and growing all the time. Apparently, the market was worth about $57 billion in 2014 and has been growing since. Some estimates say that online courses have been worth as much as $200 billion in 2016.
In this post I am going to share 7 essential tips relating to online courses…
Tip 1: If The Course You Want To Develop Already Exists (by someone else), That Is Good
This sounds like it doesn’t make sense – why create a course that someone already made?
It’s fairly simple – if nobody has done that course before, it’s probably because there is no customers for that course.
Obviously, brand new technologies are excluded from this. So maybe you think, “People won’t need the course I’m going to sell,” , when in fact the internet is so big that if people need something, there is almost always someone else selling it. It’s one of the laws of the market – demand creates supply.
We might even go so far as to say that if you are developing a course for something that nobody else is selling, just find something else.
At the same time, there are strategies you can employ to figure out which courses to sell and I can provide you with details for that later. But for the moment, it is enough to understand that having competition is a GREAT thing. It lets you know there is a market.
Tip 2: The first online course you develop won’t be great but that’s fine…
When you first develop an online course, you will probably look at other course providers and think – “OMG – I could never do something as professional as that”
But there is a flaw in this logic:
You maybe are comparing yourself where you are now to where some big shots are right now.
As an example, look at these screenshots. They are from the first online course that we launched in 2015, where we didn’t know much about video editing, had no money to spend on software and were just really trying things out.
They seem awful right? But the crazy thing is, the course that this video is from generated nearly €50,000 revenue. Not bad right? Am i glad we went ahead anyway? Sure i am.
(It’s the same thing for you. The course development stuff we use now costs €000’s of euro but at the beginning, we just used the cheapest options available to us).
You are probably thinking – “I couldn’t possibly release something that wasn’t ultra-perfect and stylish according to my brand etc…” However, if you are going to pontificate forever on the style of your presentation, you will probably never get around to launching an online course. Start with a whiteboard and a marker – that’s all you need – how many of those videos have you seen?
Just think about it. People will buy into your course if you can provide them with the information they need. Sure it might be more enjoyable to have really fancy graphics, background music, captions and other cool video things, but at the end of the day, they will be fine with the main valuable content.
Tip 3: It’s easy to find the right topic for an online course.
OK – so the way to figure out what course you can make is to do it in reverse. Usually people buy courses online because it solves a problem they have.
They might be trying to find a system for training, they are maybe looking for guidance on advertising, they might be trying to develop a new skill.
Overall, they have a problem that needs solving and they are searching the internet looking for a solution to that problem.
So, by starting with the problem and working backwards, you can create one solution after another and turn them into online courses.
Maybe you think this sounds too simple? I guarantee it’s not. It doesn’t mean you are going to sell any courses, but you have certainly validated the course. You will need to figure out your marketing before you can sell.
Tip 4: You truly do not need to worry about being “enough of an expert”
There is a story of a guy who helps people use an online tool called Scrivener. He earns $20,000 to $30,000 per month for the pleasure.
This is simply showing people how to use an app – getting paid $1000 per day for that? Sounds like a good deal.
When he created his course, he was just often using the tool casually, had never written a book using it etc…
But, he bought books on how to use it and every time he figured out a new little bit of info, he recorded a quick 3-5 minute video tutorial and gradually they added up.
So he basically: mastered one feature, made a video, mastered another, then made a video etc… until he had a full course.
Now he is a massively successful course provider.
It just proves to you one simple thing. If you can learn something and honestly convert that learning into a course, then you can help other people learn the same thing. You don’t have to be an expert to begin with. You don’t have to be the guy who developed it in the first place. Just learn, and teach. Simples!
Tip 5: People will buy a course – even if the same info is available for free
People “can” find the content you provide in your course. They can find it for free. But, they still have to find it. They still have to organise it. They still have to learn it.
They also need to cut through all the BS – there’s an awful lot of rubbish floating around web, some is outdated, some is just plain wrong.
So this is massively time-consuming and unless you have a trusted source of free info, you can waste plenty of time searching for the info you need. Am i right?
The alternative is: they find an expert, someone who has curated the info, put it together in a useful and concise way that is easy to follow and offered it for sale. They buy that, learn directly from the expert, save time and much more.
So there you have it, save on time, insecurity and more: buy an online course.
Tip 6: Create a small online course
When people create an online course, they think they need to create a huge course with all their knowledge…
…it’s the wrong approach.
It’s a complete waste of time and energy, and even more so if you’re only starting out.
Our first course was about 5 videos and a worksheet. And these were not pretty.
But, it got us off to a flying start.
We focused on the value we were providing rather than the scope and quality of the production.
Even better than that, you can create a smaller mini-course that you give away for free and use that to grow your list. Then you’ll have people to contact about your full course.
Tip 7: If you have an idea for an online course, contact us
We’ve a lot of experience delivering online courses and have helped deliver hundreds of online courses to thousands of customers over the past year. It’s been a serious learning curve and I must admit I am lucky to have had a few of these tips drilled into me at an early stage. So we launched without perfection.
We recently helped pharmalearn.ie launch their online course.