Online courses can be the path to passive income. The advantage with an online course is that you set it up once, automate it, and you keep earning money repeatedly, as opposed to an in-person event where you’ve got to be physically present to deliver your content.
How to create an online course?
Here is a step-by-step process.
Step 1: Build your audience
Most trainers make the fatal mistake of creating their online course first and then thinking about marketing as an after-thought.
I suggest that you build your personal brand and your audience first before you even create your online course. Please read the article “marketing blueprint for self-employed trainers and coaches,” which gives you a step-by-step process to build your audience.
Step 2: Create a course outline
The course outline for an online course is slightly different from an in-person event.
When people are watching a video or an audio, their attention span is much lesser. Besides, there is no interaction with the audience during a video or audio session. So the course needs to be highly structured, and the content needs to be tight, no drifting away into irrelevant topics.
How do you create a course outline?
The easiest way is to list the objective of the course. Why should people take your course? What transformation are you going to see in your attendee?
Then, make a list of steps they need to take to achieve the objective. Now, that’s your course outline.
Step 3: Decide the delivery mechanism
Is your course mostly going to be video or audio?
Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Video is more expensive and requires a slightly higher skill level to make, while audio is somewhat cheaper, but the perceived value of audio is much lower compared to a video course.
Step 4: Duration of the course
Do you want your course to be a one-month course, two months, or a year? Is the content going to be drip, or are attendees going to have access to all the sessions when they sign up?
Drip content is when you schedule the content in such a manner that attendees are only able to access the course at specific intervals. For example, they get the first video on day one, the second one after seven days, and so on.
If it’s a one-month course, you could have one session a week for four weeks.
How long should each session be?
My answer is “as long as you can hold a student’s attention.” If you are starting off, I would suggest keeping your lectures under 25 minutes. Anything more than that, you might find it hard to hold a student’s attention. I’ve seen sessions as short as 5 minutes long. So, there’s no such thing as too short a session.
How many video or audio sessions should each course have?
Each course should have at least seven sessions.
People ask me, should I do drip content or give access to my entire course when someone signs up? I prefer not to do drip content. It’s the era of Netflix; binge watching seems to be the preferred user behavior.
Step 5: Prepare course content
Many people use their smartphones to record their classes, and they edit it themselves. Doing it yourself can save you a lot of money.
However, if you are confident with your content, it might be wise to hire a professional. You can charge a premium for your courses if your videos are professionally made.
I suggest that you be frugal in your approach. You don’t need Hollywood production quality. Hire an intern or a beginner professional at least for your first few courses.
Initially, record your videos on your smartphone to see how they sound and look. Make yourself comfortable in front of the camera before you invest on a professional.
My first online course was audio. I realized it’s much cheaper to do an audio course than it is to do a video course. That was my start. It could be yours as well.
Another essential part of your course is your course workbook. It is the foundation of your online course.
After each session, you want your audience to take action.
A workbook adds structure and actionable steps for your audience.
A workbook should include a summary of the most important points covered in your session, and at least one action step for your audience.
Step 6: Find an online course platform
Once you have your course content ready, your next step is to find an online platform to host your course.
I use teachable to host my courses. It’s reasonably priced, and they provide me with a white label option where I can brand my courses.
If you want to learn how to use teachable to set-up your online course, check out their webinar 7 Steps To Launch Your Online Course.
Step 7: Pricing your course
Most beginners make the mistake of pricing their services either too high or too low. If it is too low, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. If it is too high, you may get fewer attendees.
How do you find that ideal pricing?
Here are a few ways to price your course.
#1 Cost basis
You identify the cost it takes to produce and promote the course and mark it up so that you make a profit. The cost of the course includes the actual cost of production, marketing, and your monthly recurring charges. It’s not the ideal method to price your courses. I suggest not to use this method.
#2 Market price
You find other similar courses in the market and price it similarly. You don’t want to price your courses lower than your competitor’s because you don’t want to lower the perceived value of your course. Price it on par with your competition.
#3 Value basis
What is the value people get from taking your course?
If people buy your course for $125, will the skills they gain from your course earn them an income higher than $125?
For example, a trainer might sell an image consulting course for $2000, might look like a steep price for an online course. But image consultants go on to earn an income greater than $30,000 a year. That’s a 15x return on investment. Considering the earning ability from the course, it’s a great deal.
#4 Income target
Some trainers have a specific income target they want to meet. It could be replacing their present full-time job or enhancing their income to meet their lifestyle needs.
Let’s say you want to earn an income of $100,000 a year. If you believe you can sell 1000 courses a year, then you’ll want to price your courses at greater than $100 per attendee, and factor in expenses.
Creating an online course can be a lot of fun. The biggest challenge is selling the course. Check out our article “marketing blueprint for self-employed trainers and coaches” to get started with promoting your course.