You’ve got the idea, the skill, the motivation. You want to create an online course. But whenever you try to take that first step, you start shaking and stumble backwards. Because that step will take you to the unknown.
But you know what? It’s OK. The unknown may be intimidating but it’s also exciting.
Until you cross the bridge of your insecurities, you can’t begin to explore your possibilities.Murray Newlands Entrepreneur
Every entrepreneur feels the fear before they take a step forward in their business. It’s learning to embrace that fear that drives them to success, rather than sitting around wondering what could have been.
Still hesitant? Here are 10 signs you have what it takes to create and sell an awesome online course:
Every online course creator is a fixer. They find a problem loads of people have and they show their subscribers how to tackle that problem.
We were lucky enough to get some tips from David Attard, founder of CollectiveRay.
He started writing articles to help himself learn web design, SEO, marketing and other webmastery as he researched it. When he published his articles, they really took off and he found that by solving his own problem, he solved loads of other people’s as well. CollectiveRay has evolved into a website with blogs, articles and video tutorials and continues to grow from strength to strength.
Think about the user's intent. What is the "big problem" they want to solve? If you are able to blend your product into a solution to a problem your potential customer is experiencing, then you have a winning formula. Always "sell" a solution to a given problem.David Attard Founder of CollectiveRay
As Derek Halpern so bluntly puts it:
“When you come up with an online course idea that has NEVER been done before, that means one thing: there’s probably no one interested in buying it.”
But you also need a unique selling point. If you offer the same online course with the same angle as someone else, at best you’ll struggle to find a decent customer base. You’ll split your audience with someone already established in the area. At worst, you’ll find yourself entangled with copyright issues. Not worth it.
So find a new niche or angle. This might be a matter of displaying your unique personality and voice, providing quality, more detailed content or teaching your topic with a different angle or perspective.
Everyone has dreams. Successful people put their dreams into actions. That’s the only difference.
Ashley Faulkes, founder of Mad Lemmings, website design and SEO training, shared with us that he started his own business because he wasn’t fulfilled with his current work. He didn’t enjoy what he was doing, nor was he appreciated, satisfied or motivated. So he gave it up and with a great deal of determination, built his own online business.
Of course, there are ups and downs (constantly) and sometimes really big ones. The hardest are when you don't see the money coming in. But you have to persevere, try new things, new ideas, test and learn. And this continues all the time. You need to be prepared for that.
Entrepreneurs have an unshakable determination to reach their goal and they work towards it even when they’re afraid, even when they risk losing something because of it and even when they’ve failed before.
To become a successful online course creator, you should have this same willpower, this ache to do whatever it takes, however long it takes, to see your course flourish.
As an online course creator, it’s essential to keep up with advancing trends and technology in the online learning space. You have to keep your subscribers satisfied, which means you should center your video classes around their expectations. It won’t do to fall behind.
That is one of the keys to working online, or for yourself. The ability to adapt, to learn fast, to change when something is not working.
Why? Because you no longer have anyone else watching out for you or telling you what to do. So, you need to be responsible for everything you are, do and achieve.
Tough? Sure, but the rewards are amazing. Do what you want, when you want, and importantly, with whomever you want.
Don’t panic. Creating an online video course is more affordable than you think. You don’t need any fancy tech equipment when you’re starting off. You can shoot and upload your video classes using your phone.
Pat Flynn, Founder of Smart Passive Income, hardly spent any money when he created his first online course, which helped learners pass an architecture exam.
“Most of my initial investment was my time, inputting notes, writing, making charts and informative graphics that could help people, including me, pass this exam.”
You’ll need to commit to uploading classes regularly to meet your customers’ expectations. You’ll also need to dedicate time to communicate with leads and customers and track your success so you can develop and improve your course as time goes on.
But it’s worth the time and money. Marketing and measuring your online course will help you attract more paying customers and boost your success.
Unstoppable entrepreneurs know that they don’t know it all. As a result, they never stop learning.Sujan Patel Entrepreneur
Like it or not, when creating your course, you will learn constantly. You’ll learn more about business as you develop your strategy and track your success. You’ll develop and improve your content creation, teaching skills and video manner. You’ll gather more knowledge and insight into the topic area you’re teaching and learn a few things from your video course subscribers.
So you better love learning, or you’ll get sick of entrepreneurship pretty darn fast!
If you’re only starting an online course for the money, you’re not going to enjoy yourself. You need to do it for the joy of imparting knowledge and helping your customers. Not only will you love creating and selling your course, but you’ll likely become more successful as your viewers will appreciate your care for them.
I'm always looking for common problems that common people encounter when they are working with their own or their clients' websites. Once I know of a specific problem, I create an excellent article which solves that problem fully or in various different ways.
The feedback we get to the articles, the thank yous, and the people simply coming to learn more. Plus the traffic we get on each article we post keeps us motivated to learn more and share more.David Attard Founder of CollectiveRay
Lately I have adapted yet again and am trying to teach people everything I know, so that they can achieve some of the results I have (at least with a website and SEO).
Teaching online is also extremely rewarding. You get to reach a huge audience, make a big difference in people's lives and if you are lucky, make a living from it at the same time.
Your online video course won’t sell itself. You need to set a specific and attainable goal for your startup and then work out a business strategy to achieve that goal. You need to keep track of your website and video analytics, find the best way to attract and communicate with your target audience and how best to keep your customers once you’ve acquired them.
Are you up to doing this? If no, you’ll need to hire other people to delegate these tasks to. If yes, go for it! And for more tips, check out this post on how to track the success of your online video course.
I’m not saying you have to be perfect. You can develop great communication skills with practice. Derek Halpern went from bombing his first speaking gig to engaging thousands of video viewers, just by studying, practicing and absorbing the advice he was given by the professional speaker, Michael Port.
You’ve gotten this far. You’ve found and read this post. Which means you’re definitely motivated. You have the belief.
So, if you are thinking of making the leap and leaving your job, my last piece of advice to you is this. Do it slowly (at night if you have to) because it does take time and preparation. Overnight successes are rare, but the work is worth it.
Just be prepared to work harder than you ever have before, and your dreams can come true!
For more inspiration, download this little ebook of inspiration. Inside you’ll find tips to boost your confidence, creativity and motivation.
David is an inquisitive guy who frequently shares his tips and tricks at CollectiveRay. When he's not blogging about website stuff, something he's been into for the last 12 years, he's usually dreaming about his next big thing.
Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google, he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).