Course Creation does NOT have to be difficult.
I know that’s saying a lot, but there are simpler ways to go about creating courses that won’t leave you feeling like you need a PhD to get it launched.
But before we get into course creation, I’ve got a little bit of a rant today.
This is what happens when you have a platform and an awesome audience that goes along the journey with you. Every now and then your audience may get more than they bargained for.
My Little Rant
I’ve had some interesting experiences lately and something has become glaringly apparent to me.
On one hand, things are shifting and changing massively in this space (I’ll get more into that in a minute). On the other hand, people are people. No matter what we do when there are people involved there’s going to be a certain amount of psychological factors that come into play with any interaction. Especially when you bring money into the equation. We all have our own money story and we bring it with us to every interaction.
What I don’t understand is how people think starting an online business isn’t going to take WORK.
Is it simply that they’ve read great copy?
Bought amazing products?
The promise of riches?
Probably a combination of all of the above.
But I’ve got news for people who ‘buy’ into this….
First, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re human. I don’t know anyone who loves the idea of having to put in hours and hours of work in hopes of it paying off. There’s no crystal ball. You can work your arse off and still not make a penny. Trust me, I’ve been there and done it. When that happens you have to look at the type of work you’re doing.
There are so many ways you can keep yourself busy ‘doing work’, but let’s be honest. We both know what is and isn’t going to pay the bills. Spending hours, weeks or months planning and preparing things isn’t work. It’s procrastination. At some point you have to make an offer. Oh… and of course you need people to make that offer to.
It’s better to start building a list of subscribers and potential customers from DAY ONE than to wait until something is perfect.
Don’t have a lead magnet?
Google how to create one.
Make a list of TEN things you can offer as a lead magnet.
Close Facebook, close Gmail, turn your phone off and open a word doc. Start writing. Start recording. MAKE something of value you can give in exchange for someone’s name and email address.
This is only hard because you’re making it hard. You’ve made a decision somewhere along the line that you don’t have something that can help someone else. That’s bullshit. EVERY single one of us has experiences, stories, lessons, hacks, tips, tricks…. whatever. Simply share something that made your life easier and you feel will provide value to your audience.
Don’t have an audience?
Define who you want them to be. Don’t tell me you don’t know who.
Google ‘how to create a customer avatar’.
It’s not 1990 folks.
Stop waiting for someone to come in and do the work for you.
You guys know how I feel about ‘Hustle’…. and I still live by #FtheHustle.
But being sick of all the hype around the ‘hustle and grind’ movement does not mean I don’t do the work.
Stop looking outside of yourself for answers.
Creating a real business online takes time, energy, effort, work, investment, consistency, and initiative. It has never been easier to get a business started.
But no one is going to do it for you.
Let’s move onto Course Creation
I’ve created a handful of courses over the last 8+ years.
And I can tell you without a doubt that I always made it WAY more difficult than it had to be. I did the exact same thing many of you have probably done.
I mapped it out, had all kinds of cool branding and graphics created, planned the how and when, decided on the platform, started creating content.
Then when all was said and done, I’d launch it (offer it once or twice is more like it).
If it didn’t go as well as I had hoped, I decided it “didn’t work”. Oy vey.
Instead of testing, tweaking, asking for feedback, figuring out what did or didn’t work… I made assumptions and went back to doing work I DIDN’T want to do because I had proven that what I really wanted to do didn’t work. I don’t do this anywhere else in my life you guys. Just with my business. Because I made decisions about things that weren’t based on any sort of data or facts. It was easier to play it safe and stay small than take the risk.
Most people that know me probably wouldn’t ever use the term ‘play it safe’ when it comes to me. But I did.
I know exactly where I held myself back (and still do).
First, let me say that I created my first course long before investing in any products on ‘course creation’. I created an outline, the content (videos/ebook/etc.), set things up technically (usually some sort of membership platform), created the sales page & checkout page then promoted it. Sort of. That usually consisted of emailing my list (once or twice tops), maybe holding a webinar once and that was it.
I may have shared it socially…. but barely.
No wonder nothing ever got me the results I wanted!
I NEVER gave my courses the time and attention they deserved to grow and flourish.
Let me tell how this has shifted for me with my latest course.
I’ve been emailing and creating content much more consistently in the past 6 months than I ever have in my business. Having gone back to truly wanting to master and understand the fundamentals of direct response marketing (because come hell or high water I’m in this for the long haul) I’ve spent more time “doing the work” than ever before. It may take me 4 hours to write a blog post with videos. My Thrive Content Builder Ultimate Guide took me well over a week (issues rendering videos). I created a downloadable PDF and 4 videos for that post. Because of that my Thrive affiliate income increased, I’ve created a list of people interested in Thrive products AND continue to drive traffic to my site with that one post.
Because of the content I’ve been creating, emails I’ve been writing, and the recent survey, I knew content creation was a sticking point for my audience. Where to start with a content strategy can be overwhelming. I know this because I’m doing it for a new brand (LeadSurveys.io). Since I’m starting from scratch with this and am going to take the time to do the work I thought it made sense to teach what I’m doing while I’m doing it.
I started by looking at the type of commitment I could give (and time frame I needed to complete my content strategy by) and what I thought would be most helpful. I knew since this was the first time I was doing this that I wanted to get as personal with people as I possibly could, so I’ve limited it to 10 people (I have a couple spots open still). I wanted to do a one-on-one call with everyone so I could cater to what they needed.
Then I simply mentioned that I was going to do it.
I had people respond that they wanted a spot.
Before I even offered it.
The first day I sent the link I had 3 people sign up immediately.
Here’s what I’ve done for this:
Mapped out the 5 weeks (one week for strategy calls, 4 weeks for live classes & a Facebook group).
Created a sales page, product in Kajabi and list.
I made it very clear that this was a beta offering of the course, it wouldn’t be offered at this price again and essentially they’re getting me personally to work with them to create a content strategy. I want to truly understand the pain points, challenges, questions… all of it.
I will also tell you that this was the easiest thing I have ever launched in terms of a course.
Because I had been walking the walk (talking about content, producing it, sharing it), my audience already knew they could trust me with this process.
I have two courses on ‘course creation’. Create Awesome Online Courses by David Siteman Garland and Rockstar Empires, by Troy Dean. Because Troy & I are friends I’ve gotten some inside scoop on how he’s created this. I’m going through his course now but implemented some of what he shared with me in person to launch the Content Strategy Workshop.
And it’s WORKED.
I’ve gone through CAOC but not completed it. I have every intention of finishing that and deciding what works for me (and what doesn’t, just like I’ve done with Rockstar Empires. Ex: I will never implement gamification. I don’t want to manage it and personally don’t participate in it).
Don’t overthink course creation.
If you know the topic of the course you want to create, start talking about it and providing value before you launch your course. Show people you can provide value and guide them to mastering what you’re teaching.
An Effortless Start to 2017
Here’s what I can tell you, without a doubt, what has been the most effortless thing I’ve done this year (I know, we’re not quite a month in).
I’ve started simplifying things.
I take zero pride in being ‘busy’ anymore (I used to wear busy like a badge of honor. In fact, I wrote a post about that on Medium).
I have started eliminating projects, people, and work I don’t want to do anymore.
I’ve said “no” where I previously would have said yes.
I’ve told people I no longer do that type of work.
It’s kind of funny when you think about the fact that simplifying things is one of the hardest things to do (I totally bogarted that from David Abrams of Demio… who will be on the podcast next week). As I’ve been doing research and working on LeadSurveys with Gordan, I’m looking at things through a different lense.
No tool/plugin/app/platform should do ‘everything’.
Neither should you.
Pick what you do WELL and go all in!
I was recently talking with a friend about this and she shared a brilliant quote with me, which I’m going to wind things down with:
“Make sure it’s your intuition you’re listening to, however, and not your fear.
How do you know the difference?
Fear makes you feel like kicking, running and screaming, while your intuition feels like an elderly sweet friend giving you sage advice. You’ll know the difference when you make your decisions from faith and knowledge instead of the alternative which never looks or feels good.”
– April Beyer
By removing things from my business and life I’ve created way more space for the things I’m good at. For the things that bring me joy and can provide the most value for people.
This is why I’ve stopped service work and won’t do long-term coaching anymore (I’m going to do one-off sessions where you walk away with a plan we mapped out together). I love teaching, training, and creating content. I don’t have the bandwidth for multiple websites. I’m focusing on WPChick and LeadSurveys.
And I’m excited.
Links from this Episode
Content Strategy Workshop