How to start your online course?-Making that first move
Once you have a brilliant course idea in your head, now its time to finally start your online course.
It may seem like an easy thing but it isn’t.
So what makes it difficult?
See, when I started to create an online course for the first time, I was fully charged up, full of enthusiasm more than an orangutan.
(My course was about digital marketing.)
I was pretty sure about what to do & how to do.
But when I originally started to work on my online course, things got really messy.
In my early days, I had no budget to hire a specialist copywriter or a social media manager.
So I have to do things on my own.
The big picture was quite clear in my head but it was the small technical things which were giving me a headache.
But soon I picked up & everything started to come in sync.
So, when you start your online course, always remember to
Focus on the bigger picture, rest will come in sync automatically
Believe me, it’s that easy.
But, in spite of all these facts, you can fail miserably in launching your online course.
It’s because of those ugly mental barriers which keep on popping in your head every now & then.
These barriers will block your way to successfully start your online course.
So, First of all, you need to overcome these mental barriers.
Mental Barriers in your way to start your online course
I am a marketer & speaker and I still remember when I first went to a speaking event.
I was waiting behind the curtains trying to sneak into the crowd.
It was a packed house & as soon as I saw them, God knows, my shirt got wet from sweat & my knees started to shake.
The last person who spoke before me was a 65-year-old senior citizen (wearing glasses) & he was smooth as silk, just magical.
At end of his speech, the crowd gave him a warm standing applaud.
So why I was shaking like a chicken while the old lad did tremendously well?
Yup, you guessed it right. It’s because of mental barriers.
99% people in the world are suffering from some kind of mental barrier.
Like I can’t dance, I can’t cook, what if this happens, what if that happens.
Believe me, nothing is going to happen if you do it wrong on your first attempt.
It’s just these mental barriers which are stopping you & keeping you away from your goals.
So always remember
‘I Can’t’ is just a state of mind.Have a positive mindset & focus on your goals.
(Don’t worry about my speech, it went well.)
You will also face some mental barriers before you start your online course.
Let’s have a quick look at what are these barriers:
1. Am I the right person to make an online course?
I want you to imagine your strongest point in marketing or whatever you like, something which you know really well.
Whether its SEO, social media or something else.
If there is something for which people look forward to you, they come to you for that particular thing.
Then it makes you a strong contender to start your online course on that topic.
Believe me, there are lots of people around the world who’ll get benefited from your knowledge.
2. Can I teach?
While writing this article, I am thinking of talking to a friend & things are coming out in a flow.
Do you know that Google focuses on creating its content as easy that even a 5-year-old can read & understand it?
So, this one is easy.
In spite of thinking about it as teaching, try to convey your message in an easy to understand manner.
That’ll do it.
3. What if nobody liked my course?
When I did it for the first time, it was a really annoying & horrible experience.
It took a lot of work & dedication but the end result was worth it.
See, all the best courses in the market are not their very first versions, they’ve developed over time.
So in spite of aiming for a giant course, try to start small & improve as you grow.
This will give you time to absorb things & you’ll also get a valid feedback from your students.
4. What if there is a similar course already in the market?
Competition is everywhere.
But sometimes it can be a good thing cause it indicates that you’re heading in the right direction.
It indicates that there is demand for similar products.
If there is no competition for a product, it means that nobody is looking for it.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the existing courses cover everything.
Plus when you start your online course, it’ll have that unique flavor of yours which is much needed in the market.
5. I am new to this, will they actually buy my course?
One of the major reasons people buy a product is because of the value it has to offer.
They’ll buy your course based on the facts like:
- Does this course solve my problems?
- Will it enhance my existing skills?
- How it’ll make me more money?
- How it’ll save me more money?
- Is it providing a new trick, which I don’t know?
In short, how is it going to help them in any manner?
So, if you’re providing help in your course, they’ll buy….end of the story.
6. Why should they buy from me, when it’s available free on Google?
Hmm, intelligent question.
See, I remember last time when I was searching something on Google
- I clicked on the first search result & read the whole thing.
- That concept had 3 different solutions for my problem.
- I tried them one by one but none of them worked.
- Then I went to the second search result & repeated the process.
So, these Google search results don’t guarantee any result plus it kills a lot of time as well.
Here is a quick FYI:-
- People are not paying for the knowledge which you share but for the end result that you offer.
- People will buy your course to save their time.
Just like you need different strategies & tools to create an online course similarly you need some simple steps to start your online course & you’ll break all records.
Easy peasy steps to start your online course
1. Mark your Calender
A few years back, I was coming back from work in the evening and suddenly my phone started to ring.
It was my gf & she asked ‘why you didn’t come online today?’.
I said I was busy.
She said what is the date?
I told the date.
She got angry & cut the phone.
You know why she got angry?
It was her birthday which I forgot.
From that day onwards I marked my calendar & planned accordingly.
Your course is like your gf for which you’ve to plan everything otherwise your first online course will be a total disaster.
Planning is the key to success.
So, before you press a key on the computer, you’ve to plan everything date wise.
According to the ultimate guide of marketing statistics, 45% b2b marketers are using some sort of CRM system to track important data.
(A CRM software is used to automatically track & manage important data without much manual work i.e salesforce)
So, all your stuff should be predetermined like:
- how much time for creating content.
- Time in making videos(If you use video).
- Work time on course platform.
- How to market your online course?
- Launch date & strategy.
- Promotional tactics etc.
And whenever you feel like getting stuck, do some research.
Find out what you are missing out & do it.
You can always create a unique course, which is really amazing & it can simply change the world.
And you’ll be proud of it, too.
You can plan a grand launch of your course, with various marketing & promotional strategies.
But all your planning can turn you down without one important factor, that is “Research”.
Nowadays, all the marketing firms are working on 100% research-based data.
If you don’t do your research on the content & structure, you’ll never find a single student for your course.
Research is the first base in marketing & online business.
Just like you did research to find an idea for your online course, similarly, you need to do research to find the objective & structure of your online course.
Most of your research should be focussed on the basic concepts like:
- What is the outline of my course?
- How am I going to implement it?
- What are the key takeaways from it?
- Who is my target audience?
- What do they want in an online course?
- How much time will it take?
- How many modules is it going to have?
- What tools am I going to use?
& If you’re not sure about research, check out the link above.
As soon as you find answers to these questions just create an MVP, (Minimum viable product).
An MVP is a new launch product with minimum features to satisfy early adopters, it allows your product to grow over time.
Creating an MVP will definitely help you in the early stages & is one of the best strategies to find the maximum price for your online course.
And half of the race is already won if your MVP course is well structured & easy to understand.
When I started my course for the first time, it was all about getting out there.
I got early students also & I was supercharged to teach them everything I know.
So, I gave them high-quality stuff.
But soon I realized that most of them were not completing my course.
I asked myself, “Mohammad, what the hell is wrong? “, “Why they are leaving?”
Then I started taking feedback from my students & it took me months to finally find out that my stuff is actually ‘high quality’.
So what was wrong?
Actually, I was teaching high school level stuff to the fifth grader.
My structuring wasn’t right.
I was missing that basic step by step ‘structure’ so that students can grow & absorb things over time.
Then I have to redesign everything from scratch & after few months everything came back to track.
This is the very reason why ‘proper training’ & ‘targeted content’ are in the topmost priorities of marketers.
That’s why its really important to have a proper structure for your online course
A good structure is the building block for a good online course
And if you find any difficulty, just follow these simple steps.
This is one of the basic things you can do even before you start your online course.
All you have to do is to do a pre-launch of a demo course just to taste the water & get that valuable feedback from early comers.
So that you can remove all the flaws & create the best online course ever.
You can do your pre-launch on various platforms like:
1. Product hunt: Product hunt is one of the all-time favorite platforms to do a trial run for your course. Hundreds of startups, software & courses get listed on the platform on daily basis.
People searching for new products & launches will easily locate you on product hunt.
2. Beta list: If you want a list of people who voluntarily want to join your course, then Betalist is for you. Betalist gives a detailed list of people who are willing to joining new courses or startups.
3. Feedback Army: It’s a platform where you can showcase your course to experts & get some solid technical feedback.
Then work on it accordingly.
Sometimes a thoughtful logical approach can also do wonders for you.
B. Go logical:
Sometimes I cook at home & many a times things get ugly.
Even though I add correct ingredients, still it gets messy.
Any guesses, why it happens?
Mostly it happens when I cook without a recipe.
See a recipe tells you what to do & how to do, it gives you everything step by step.
First, you’ve to do this, then this, then this & voila.
Similarly, you need a recipe to start your online course.
Without a recipe, your course will not be in proper order & you’ll end up with a product that no one wants to buy.
So, whenever you decide to start your online course, you should focus on my 4 bases of logic:
- What’s the very first thing in your elearning course?
- How does it expand?
- Where is it leading to?
- Connect it to the very next concept.
Then repeat the process.
These steps will make your work a lot easier & you don’t need to worry about how am I going to sell my course;
Furthermore, if you miss something, have fun during the process & you’ll learn it with time & experience.
4. Make it fun
I am a marketing expert & I have a habit of reading & learning, I read books & even online in my free time.
I have been through many online marketing courses.
Some of them were really amazing.
But would you believe if I say that I left some of those courses before completion?
You know why?
Not because they were not good but because they were really boring, almost like a thesis.
You just can’t absorb everything & you don’t enjoy it either.
According to a buffer report, videos get 40 times more likes & shares on social media than any other content.
And why is it so?
Because videos are fun & much easy to consume.
Don’t you dare to forget the fun factor
Being a marketer, if you don’t know how to have fun at work.
Then, here are some quick tips to add the fun element to your online course.
Adding fun factor gives you a really high advantage over other courses.
It can really give you an edge.
Here are some of the “Top tools you can use to add that fun element”.
1. Edmodo: Edmodo a platform which allows creating fun quizzes & polls for your students. You just have to join as a teacher & you can invite your friends & students there.
2. Kahoot: Kahoot allows you to create different types of fun games, polls & surveys which you can easily share with your students.
3. Playbuzz: Playbuzz provides you a great tool through which you can create theme-based trivia, countdown, flip cards, swiper, polls, quizzes etc. You can do a lot more with it.
These tools are really fun & easy to use.
Whenever I go to the pizza parlor with my friends, we always have a fight over what to order.
In the end, we have to order various pizzas.
It’s because different people have different tastes. Somebody likes cheese, someone else is a fan of veggies while another person likes it nutty.
Similarly, your course students might also have different requirements.
Some may need your course in a video format while others might prefer it as a podcast or maybe a pdf format.
While creating my book “Twisted Marketing”, I also had a lot of trouble in finding the right format.
But over time, I developed secret techniques to find the right format for my online course.
Check them out & leave me some feedback.