I’ve been teaching online courses for the last three or four years. When I started out, it was because Julien Smith told me that I ought to teach people how to create their own blog topics. That evolved into Blog Topics: The Master Class, and since then, I’ve launched a dozen or so more.
Over time, online courses came to represent over 70% of my revenue. That wasn’t overnight, and it wasn’t immediately intentional. But I want to explain how online courses changed my business, and I want to further explain the potential for you.
How Online Courses Changed My Business
My work consulting has always been fun. I get to speak to huge companies in one capacity or another. I’ve worked with Google and Pepsi and Coke and Disney and all kinds of other great people. I love being there in person and sharing ideas and thoughts and trying to help guide people’s efforts to grow their capabilities and connections.
But one drawback of an in-person engagement is that you can only do and say so much. Unless I’m going to embed with the company, I’m usually only there for a day or two. Even if I were to work on retainer, that’s just a lot of check-ins and nothing as methodical as I found that I was able to deliver in a course.
Plus, there’s the cost. I charge a lot for my time. To get me on a plane once a month isn’t inexpensive. So, I started thinking about whether I could deliver the baseline parts of my strategy and learning via courses. And the answer was yes.
What Goes Into Building an Online Course
We just reopened Online Course Maker for another week of registration. I’ve been excited to work with over 500 course makers on their offerings, and it’s been neat seeing what people want to cover in their own courses. It’s also teaching me what goes into making a good online course.
- Work from a strong framework to guide what will be delivered.
- Build the learning so that it’s bite-sized and modular.
- Solve a specific problem and show a specific area for potential gain.
- Courses work better with a community element.
- Make definitive how-to information that gives people a way to advance their understanding.
Beyond this, I’ve learned that there’s a lot of technology questions, that people have huge marketing and sales education needs, and that people are nervous about wiring everything together, so they hesitate. On that last one, I’ve learned that having 500+ classmates to help you through that hesitation is what seems to signal the wins for people.
Check Out Online Course Maker
If you’re thinking about delivering online course materials, I’ve built out a really simple framework to help you turn your ideas into content, how to price and sell it, and how to deliver the final product. Check out Online Course Maker and see if you’re ready.
(Note: the doors are only open til May 5th at 11:59pm ET. If you miss that window, it will be a while before we offer the next class.)