At the moment I’m writing, I have four online courses in the pipeline. They are online video courses that I intend to deliver shortly to my audience, which will complement the other 17-18 courses already created.
Someone occasionally asks me how I can create so many online courses for my clients, how long it takes me, and how I can continue with my training at the same time. It’s not like I’m a super-fast typist or a guy who shoots 10 hours of video and then gets the footage edited by some collaborator, absolutely not.
The same goes for my training, I organize it according to precise and scheduled appointments: when you study a course online you just do it, as if it were an appointment with a client.
In this way, I can efficiently manage every commitment, not to mention that everything I produce is thought, created, and finalized only and exclusively by myself.
Another important consideration, which I came to some time ago, is that today it does not always make much sense to create giant online courses with the risk that no one will ever digest them.
If I look back at some of the programs I created 5 years ago, I see with regret that only a small percentage of paying students have completed the longer online courses.
The Problem of Online Courses
I live on paid content, it’s 50% of my business but it doesn’t have to take 50% of my time and it doesn’t have to be the same for my students.
Time is the most scarce and non-renewable resource we have. From Mark Zuckerberg to the postman who brings you Amazon packages, everyone has the same time and the same impossibility to renew it. Every day there are 1000 things to do and this has briefly created the misperception that many entrepreneurs have of their work, concluding that they have no time to train.
More and more I receive requests from professionals and entrepreneurs who think that time should only be spent working with their heads down, without understanding marketing, with the result that everyone wants to delegate, only to realize that they do not have the money to do it and that they do not know what is being done for them.
With less and less time available to study and more and more the need of not stay behind, I have long since realized that each online course can be structured in two ways:
- Super-fast online courses to consume in 2-3 hours.
- Super structured online courses, perhaps with 30 hours of video, but extremely modular, which you can access if it is necessary to consult the part that interests you.
In the first case, these are extremely specific paths, which go to hit and solve a single but important problem, with a quick solution and without having to come to tell life and times of each topic.
These are also the easiest courses to sell because the objectives, the results, the transformation, the oppositions, and the target audience are clear.
On the other hand, we find the online courses more structured and richer in content, they are more complex to implement and perhaps a little more difficult to sell but usually have a much longer life.
In this case, the request, the audience, and the promises are very different from the first type seen earlier. This kind of online course includes strategies that last over time and offer a multi-disciplinary approach.
Here the topic is more impressive than the ultra-fast courses. It starts from a more general assumption to arrive at a well-defined result, such as that of monetizing socials.
This kind of course is approached by people who have very serious intentions and less urgency, they are entrepreneurs who want to train and build a solid and lasting foundation, which they will draw from there for years to come.
They want to create a permanent culture on the subject, and maybe develop their own point of view.
How to Make an Online Course
There are several ways I have used in the past and, for one reason or another, they are all extremely effective.
Let’s see them together quickly. I’ll go more in-depth later on.
1. Video Course in Room
A classic, go in front of the camera, and talk to your audience, perhaps with the help of a digital blackboard or flipchart. Explain your content by looking at the lens and talking to your student as if it were right in front of you.
Here you need a couple of good lights, a microphone and a video camera, a reflex camera or a smartphone. All in all, things you can find quickly or that you already have.
2. Video Course with Slide
If you are afraid to stand in front of the camera or if your course requires screen display —tutorials for a program, for example— this is the best solution. I use Screenflow to do a screen capture and record all the audio.
Why not talk in the camera or with slides live? That way, you can also answer your students’ questions. Not only that, but this technique also allows you —if you structure the contents well— to divide the recording of your webinar into videos that will compose an online course. I use Live Webinar for webinars, but almost every platform you can find on the market today is fine.
4. Text Only
We go back in time a bit, before the advent of YouTube and streaming, and I really like that. Maybe it’s because I like writing but even more reading and studying on a content that I can quickly return to as many times as I want. You can create a PDF or a sequence of emails or even have a course area where texts take the place of videos.
I’m a big fan of podcasts and audiobooks.This way I can easily digest a lot of content while doing other things, like driving, relaxing with my eyes closed, magic…
If you’re interested in Podcasting, I recommend reading the book “Podcast” by George Sims. It’s a great guide for beginners.
Making an audio course is super easy. All you need is a good microphone (the best low cost is the Samson Meteor on Amazon) and a computer, or your smartphone with some app to record voice notes, and a good headset. The most important thing is the tranquility around you.
You need to be in a quiet place to record, and if you’re not super used to arm-talking, you need to prepare your texts for reading first. Not very suitable for tutorials and super practical courses.
These modalities are all effective and each of us will have our own positive and negative aspects.
Often the choice of the mode to be adopted for the creation of our online courses falls on what is more “in our style” or the technical skills we already have, or the resources we can use.
In any case, nobody forbids us to make a “mix & match” of all these ways to create our online courses, for example by shooting a video course in the room, with some video slide lessons, an in-depth webinar, an appendix written and then recorded in audio.
The Best Online Course Platforms Reviewed
There are many online course platforms where you can find thousands of courses on different topics. You can learn or teach on these platforms. If you are interested to learn more about them, here are some posts that I have written:
When Is the Right Time to Start Creating Your Course?
In general, the beginning of the year is the ideal time for good intentions, and also to define what you want to do with your first online course.
As for me, every moment is a good time to start.
There is no reason in the world to wait for good astral conjunctions or the perfect weather. Postponing doesn’t help and it’s a defeat, even before you leave. So, if you don’t want to regret it, you should start as soon as possible.
Setting a target, however, is not enough. In fact, only 8% of people reach them every year, and those are the people who have good habits and have worked hard.
Today I want to help you join the ranks of the successful ones.
Are you ready?
Let’s start with these eleven super practical tips to ensure the success of your goal and finally see your online course launched within this year.
1. Start With Concrete Goals
It’s impossible to achieve a goal if you don’t know exactly what success will be like. If your goal sounds like “Make a lot of money in 2020”, what will meet your definition of “a lot”?
Instead, think of a concrete number to target. Whether it’s 2,000$ or 200,000$ write it down and keep that number in your head.
Note: It doesn’t matter what level you’re at in your business because if you’ve never created an online course, the difficulties you’ll encounter and have to overcome are probably very similar.
David is Goliath, so don’t be intimidated, okay?
Also, be sure to add an interval to your target. There is a big difference between earning 200,000$ in a year or 10 years.
So, in summary, set a “reasonable but not too much” target because if you aim too low you risk never getting off the ground and not exploiting 100% of the potential you have inside you, just waiting to be unleashed.
And this is only possible if you decide to dare and get out of your ADL (area of laziness).
2. Create a Precise Action Plan
It’s easy to say“I want to make an extra $10,000 this year” or “I’d like to start eating healthier.” The reality — supported by a recent British study that I will perhaps tell you about another time— is that if you do not take any specific action that follows your goals, you are more likely to fail.
When you set your goals to create a course, consider a simplified, standard formulation:
By a certain time I’m going to:
- do X
- do Y
- do Z
Which could translate into something like this:
In 2020, I’m going to earn an extra $10,000 online.
- Complete the creation of my online course
- Launch to my list of 2,000 people
- Hosting 4 webinars to promote my online course
3. Set Priorities to Achieve Your Goal
This is probably gonna sound pretty obvious to you. But if only 8% of people are achieving their goals, that leads me to believe that over 90% of people don’t really care about their goals.
DO NOT set a goal because it’s something you feel you have to do, instead set goals where you can commit yourself 100% and put all your talents to use, as if it were an ethical duty to achieve them and get the related benefits.
Cut out as much time as you can every day to pursue your goal and you may be surprised at how quickly you achieve it.
If even 30 minutes a day may seem few, multiply them by 365 and you’ll get over 180 hours total (and virtually free) to dedicate to the creation and sale of your online course: a real asset!
4. Make Public Your Goals for Your Online Course
It’s easier to achieve your goals when someone comforts and supports you, whereas it’s easier to abandon them if no one knows you’ve set them.
You can tell your mum, your partner, a friend… or you can tell them directly on the web, as having someone to report your progress and difficulties will help you to maintain the right focus and motivation to complete your online course.
5. Find an Accountability Partner
If you want to improve on the previous suggestion, find someone who is trying to achieve a similar goal to yours (or has just done so) and work together to motivate each other and feel mutually responsible.
You can find this person anywhere from your community, on social media, or in private groups for online entrepreneurs.
If you need an extra level of motivation or want to make the process with your partner more fun, consider using an app like Stickk. The way Stickk works is to set your goal, add a financial penalty for not reaching the goal, and assign a referee to monitor your progress. If you don’t reach your goal, the money you put in is donated to charity.
6. Put Processes in Place to Save Even More Time
Personally, before I became an expert on the subject, my biggest barrier to achieving the goals I set was always the mismanagement of my time.
When you have a million things on your plate, figuring out how to do everything can be daunting and you end up doing nothing. If you’re focusing on creating an online course to build or expand your online business, find out what parts of your current business (if you already have one) you can automate.
For example, if you spend too much time on social media, find out what you can plan in advance. You can use programs like Edgar, HootSuite, or the great PostPickr to run your social channels on autopilot.
7. Defer to Someone Else What You Don’t Have Time For
In the end, the most successful people have reached the point where they are focusing on the things they are good at and delegating what is not in their “area of genius.”
You need to know your strengths when you have a business to run. If it’s in your budget, look for a helper and don’t waste time doing what you don’t like and/or are not super good at.
You can find virtual assistants in Facebook groups, search “VA = virtual assistant” on Google and you’ll find an avalanche of them) or you can turn to specialized sites like UpWork.com or Freelancer.com.
If you don’t get bogged down in those parts of your business that are not the ones where you excel, you can focus your energy on true growth and expansion.
8. Celebrate Small Victories
If your goal is huge(and I hope it is), it can seem daunting when you’re just starting out and progress is very slow and not very visible.
But in my eyes, all progress is good progress. Even if you’re only 1/10 of the way to your $100,000 target, think about all you can do with that extra $10,000 that you wouldn’t otherwise have had if you hadn’t started working towards your goal.
Remember this: it is better to reach a super-challenging $100,000 target at 50% than a “very realistic” $10,000 goal at 100%.
I’m telling you this from personal experience. It can be exhausting to manage your online business. Don’t let small winnings go unnoticed. Celebrating “mini-milestones” along the way can help you maintain your motivation and focus on the ultimate goal without getting caught up in anxiety and frustration when the goal is still a long way off.
Here’s how to start organizing a step-by-step online course, giving the right structure to your project.
Divide the creation of the course into steps, for example:
- Finish writing the content
- Complete the first module
- Finish a chapter
Then, you put in both a deadline and a small reward to get it done quickly and without procrastinating.
9. Re-Concentrate When You’re Facing Some Difficulty or Emergency
More often than not you’ll face some setbacks on your way to success and completion of your course.
Especially when it’s your first attempt (or after you’ve already taken other tutorials or paid courses without success) it’s easy to give up when difficulties arise, but often the problems you encounter can help you understand what’s wrong.
I’ll tell you more: when you are faced with new problems it is because your level of knowledge/experience has increased and these problems are the concrete result that you have passed the level. So take them positively and worry only if things always go smoothly.
For example, if you launched your course or your book and completely failed, instead of throwing in the towel, reevaluate everything. Review your sales letter, your email marketing strategy, or your mailing list. Find out what went wrong and what changes you can make.
But there’s more.
Finding yourself having to deal with an unexpected flow of customers that is crashing your server can be both an annoying problem (and I don’t deny that you’ll have to put a patch on it as quickly as possible) but also a concrete sign that you’re moving forward and your course is getting the success it deserves.
The real problem would never be having to deal with situations like this because it would mean that you are not “pushing hard enough on the accelerator.”
10. Make an Interim Evaluation
Every 6 months (or better yet every 3 or even every month if you are a beginner) you take a step back to assess your progress. See if you are on track to reach your final goal and if necessary, make corrections in the race.
You won’t need a whole year to create an online course from scratch. The world goes too fast and changes too quickly to hope that your plan is perfect and unchangeable.
Making changes must become not only a habit but a necessity.
The key here is not to give up completely or change your goal if you are not on the right track. Instead, you can make small changes to your course/goal, such as extending the deadline, removing some parts, splitting it into two sub-goals to make it more manageable and flexible.
11. Join a Mastermind Group
Mastermind groups are groups of like-minded people who are hyper-focused on achieving their goals. Typically, a mastermind is composed of people who have achieved similar levels of success in different fields, so there is no direct competition but a fruitful exchange of information, experiences, and best practices.
In mastermind groups, there are conference calls (often via Skype/Zoom) or regular physical meetings where you can discuss your progress and, often, in each meeting a different person will be on a “hot seat” and will have to talk specifically about its ups and downs, receiving feedback from everyone else.
Mastermind groups tend to take a long time and there is a high level of commitment, some even have an annual membership cost of more than 10,000 dollars but the value you receive is much higher and pays back all the (economic and time) investments made.