Many people want to create online courses, but they either never try or they give up before they’re finished. Why?
Great online courses aren’t developed overnight. Even businesses with full-time staff working on courses require weeks and even months to put everything together.
When you first start out, it’s incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. Just stick with it and follow a strategy for going from idea to finished course.
The first step is to take the time to brainstorm ideas. For instance, you might want to create a math course and you’re excited to get started. But, what type of math course? The most successful courses focus on specific topics. For instance, your math course might focus on working with fractions or mastering differential equations.
Brainstorming helps you go from general idea to a viable course idea that benefits students. It might seem time-consuming, but it’ll lead to a much more successful course. Use the following steps to brainstorm your course:
- Gather ideas
- Test idea viability
- Outline ideas to see which works best
Decide On A Platform
The next thing you’ll need is a platform to host your course on. When you create online courses, you have to decide whether to host your course yourself or host with someone else. Self-hosting costs more, but you have full control. With hosted and marketplace options, you give up some control, but the initial setup costs are much lower. Many first-time creators start with a lower cost marketplace solution to test the waters. I’ve compared all three options to give you an idea of what to expect.
Develop A Marketing Strategy
Working on the actual course might sound like the next logical step, but hold up just a second. You aren’t just becoming an online course creator. You’re also becoming a marketer. You have to create a marketing strategy to ensure students know about your course. Will you use Facebook, Twitter or both? Will you create a website and blog? What about building an email list?
The great thing is marketing is actually easier than ever before. You have so many great options. Check out a few posts I’ve written on marketing to give you a head start:
- Marketing Tips Beyond Facebook and Email
- 5 Ways To Gain Traction With Your Students
- How To Market An Online Course For More Students
- How Early Should You Start Marketing An Online Course
Create A Development Schedule
Next, you’ll need a development schedule to create online courses. Procrastination is probably one of your biggest enemies when it comes to creating a course. Life gets in the way with work, family, friends and hobbies. But, if you want to succeed, you have to think about it like a job. If you don’t go to work, you get fired. If you don’t work on your course regularly, you’ll never have anything to sell.
Whether you’re working on it full-time or part-time, create a set schedule to work on your course. It could be an hour a day or a few hours a week if that’s all the time you have. As long as you’re working on the course consistently, you will finish and you’ll proud of yourself for sticking with it.
Gather Student Testers
While it’s not absolutely necessary to create online courses, gathering some student testers does help. After all, understanding your audience is vital to creating a course they’ll love. Even if you only have a few people available to help test, you’ll learn which parts are great and which ones might need a little tweaking. This is especially helpful with your first course.
As you develop more courses, you’ll already have feedback from previous students. Student testers are still useful later on, but the feedback from previous courses often gives you enough information to better cater future courses to your students’ needs.
Don’t ever think you have to do it all alone. One of the best things you can do to avoid getting overwhelmed is to hire help. Outsource some tasks. Yes, it’ll cost a little more to create courses this way, but you’ll get done faster and prevent getting so overwhelmed that you give up.
For instance, if you want to self-host, outsource the site creation so you just have to deal with uploading the course material. If you want to use graphics in your courses, outsource the graphics so they look stunning. You can even outsource the marketing part so you don’t have to become a marketing genius. You’d be amazed at how much you can outsource.
Time Doctor lists the top six outsourcing sites along with the pros and cons. It’s a great resource for finding talented people and learning how to hire the right ones.
Learn From Others
Once again, you’re not on your own. There were online course creators before you. Why reinvent education? Learn from them. Take a few highly acclaimed online courses to see how they’re structured. Check out the course reviews to see what students like and don’t like. Join groups on social media that offer tips and tricks for online course creators.
It’s perfectly okay to learn from other course creators. Just don’t copy their course content. When you’re first starting out, you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn just by reading online course descriptions and reviews.
Take Your Time
Creating a great online course takes time, so don’t rush it. Set a realistic schedule and deadline. The more you rush, the less likely your course is to be successful. Instead, take your time. It’s better to spend six months on a course that goes on to make thousands versus creating a course in a few weeks that barely makes $1,000.
Get A Support System
Something you don’t usually hear people talk about when they create online courses is their support system. They talk about the help they outsourced, the platform they use, their favorite research tools and so on. However, you need a support system in place to succeed. Tell friends and family about what you’re doing so they can encourage you.
Join a group on Facebook where members motivate each other and hold each other accountable. Of course, don’t forget you also need a financial support system. Remember how it takes months to create a great course? Make sure you’re financially set before taking on this endeavor, even if it means still working your 9 to 5 until you start earning from your first course.
You deserve the freedom that comes from becoming an online course creator. Start your journey today with my free 5-day email course.