Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Online courses are a popular way to generate passive income but creating your course can be overwhelming and time consuming, and without the proper platform and marketing, can prove costly. Here are a few ideas for getting started with making your own online course.
One of the easiest ways to find inspiration for your online content, is to look at the work that you are already doing repeatedly – is there a subject you regularly find yourself telling clients about that lends itself to becoming a course? Perhaps it is the basic principles of your industry, or a process you guide your clients through? It could be that you already have a presentation that is popular at in person at events and conferences. Could you film parts of your presentation, to create a course that clients could work through at their own pace?
Once you’ve settled on your subject, you need to break it down into manageable sections. Whether you are using video or text to get your information across, try to limit each section to three points at most. Your students will be taking on a lot of information at once, and it needs to be as digestible as possible. Try to think of a practical task that can go with each section, whether that be filling in a worksheet about their own circumstances, or putting into practice what you have just taught them. Courses that encourage engagement with the material, rather than just straight teaching are much more popular with students.
With your plan in mind, next you’ll want to find a platform to host your course. Bear in mind here that you want your course to be easy to maintain from your end, and easy to access for your students. If you host your website on Squarespace or Wordpress, you might choose to make use of their Membership Area options. There you can create your courses from scratch, integrated into your existing website, and charge for entry using your existing commerce functions. If that sounds too daunting, popular course sites like Teachable and Thinkific provide you with step by step guidance in building your course and site to their templates. They handle all the payments and automated emails, and can even act as a marketplace for your course. Some businesses choose to go further by using an all in one platform like Kajabi which integrates all of your business processes in one site.
When choosing where to host your site, make sure to take into consideration, not just how easy it is to build the course, but also how much you will have to do behind the scenes to enroll your students, how you will gather their email details for your own marketing and how much the platform will cost to run.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality show when it comes to writing your course materials. If you’re presenting on video, wear your favourite clothes and allow some humour to appear in the script if that’s your style. Remember that your course should be enjoyable for your students. It’s a great way for them to get to know you better, which may lead to more business for you down the line.
First though, you need to sell your course. Too many businesses go to the trouble of making a great course, mention it once in their newsletter and then wonder why the sales don’t come rushing in. If you’ve used video in your course, consider making clips that you can share on your social media as teasers for the course. Try offering an introductory rate for students willing to provide you with a testimonial or promote the course to their audiences. Make sure you mention your course frequently, in your newsletter, on social media, and make it easy to find and purchase on your own site.
With a little thought, and some work, you can create a successful course that brings in new clients, teaches your students valuable information and becomes a source of income for you.
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