If you've ever wondered if you should create an online course or what the online course buzz is about, then this post is for you.
I won't go into specific details like a “how to” or get started guide, but rather, give the what, the why, and whether this type of work is worth getting into for you.
Why Pay For Online Courses?
It's not uncommon to hear something along the lines of “nobody will pay for an online course because you can find the information for free on the Internet.”
If all you're doing is collecting information from the first 2 pages of Google to compile in an online course and offering no other additional insight, then maybe I could understand that. That could make a good blog post but rarely would it make a worthy course that people would pay for.
People want to hear experiences, points of view, or compilations from sources they don't have access to in a convenient package. Furthermore, paying for online courses makes you have skin in the game.
Quite frankly, students who pay are more likely to not only finish a course, but be more of a fit of the type of audience you want to serve.
Who Are Creating Online Courses For? Who Are Not?
Creating online courses is a lot of work. This type of work is for you if you:
- Are patient and willing to put in the work before getting paid.
- Like to create processes and systems to help people achieve results or learn a topic.
- Live to serve others first.
- Enjoy teaching and want to help your students get results.
- Are willing to improve the course and make sure it's meeting student needs.
This type of work is NOT for you if you:
- Are looking to make quick money (freelancing may be more your speed).
- Don't like to do research.
- Don't like to interact with or help people.
- Don't like to speak or appear on camera.
- Are not willing to take suggestions.
- Don't have thick skin or can't take criticism whether it's constructive, right but worded incorrectly, or just plain wrong.
Serving students online is very rewarding and most of the time you're dealing with wonderful people that like and use your material. These wonderful people also want you to succeed and create more material.
There are a few people out there, however, that are complete idiots and would like nothing more than to see you fold up shop. These despicable small set of people are loud and you need to be capable of handling them.
I'm not trying to scare you, just laying out the truth that some of the scammy internet marketers forget to tell you.
It's Ok to Not Enjoy the Entire Course Creation Process
So you have to be willing to put in the work, but what about liking it? Well, you need to be capable of completing it until you make enough money to hire people to do what you don't like.
But overall, it's ok to not like the entire online course creation workflow. For instance, I've been teaching online courses for over 2 years and here's what I don't like to do:
- I don't like editing.
- I haven't learned special effects in video editing programs because I don't have the time. This may put me at a disadvantage to the people who rate based on production quality (which in my opinion isn't acceptable).
- I don't like doing video captions. The automated ones don't like my voice so I always have to do a manual sweep.
I've managed to get by without crazy production value because of the information, the layout, and the huge amount of time (hundreds of hours) I spend on my course materials like documents.
I'm now getting to the point where I can start hiring out to get the stuff I don't like done a lot quicker than I could do it.
What Are The Next Steps?
If you decide that creating online courses is right for you or you're ready to give it a try, here would be your next steps:
- Do research on whether people are willing to pay to solve the problem you offer.
- Create a detailed outline – summarize what you can teach in one sentence.
- Test it. Untested assumptions or even research is just as good as guesswork. Your first students are your founding students, they are not joining a beta.
- Create some buzz if you don't have an audience or plan a launch with a live event if you do have an audience.
- Go through and create a course to serve your audience
- Followup with your students to see where they are and how you can help them. Identify gaps in your course and see where things could be laid out better.
- Iteratively improve. Don't focus on perfection, experiment, even when “live.”
I hope that was useful. The goal wasn't to be incendiary or even stop you from moving forward if creating an online course is something you want to do.
The goal was to prepare you for the long haul and to help make you successful. I'm currently rising in the ranks of Udemy instructors and am also contemplating creating a premium course that will be sold on my own platform so there are plenty of topics for me to talk about.
To find out more about creating premium courses, check out Create Awesome Online Courses. This was the first premium course I ever bought. It teaches you how to create and profit from premium online courses. I'm glad I started with this one, as it's awesome and David has added a ton of content over the years.
So tell me, what type of content related to online courses you would like to see next? Let me know in the comments below.
I'm currently developing an Ultimate Guide to Becoming Successful on Udemy. There's no ETA, but it will be free when it comes out and it will blow the pants of most of the crappy Udemy guides I've purchased, 2 of which are no longer being sold. :/