How to Know You’re Ready to Teach an Online Course

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One of the things we believe in most here at ConvertKit is the idea of teaching everything you know. It’s ingrained in our work life. And in the time I’ve worked here, it’s quickly been adapted in my home life. Like when I found out how to bake a cake without that annoying dome top, I leisurely enjoyed some leftover batter and then immediately started telling all my baker friends this new pearl of wisdom.

It’s great to feel helpful and make a task easier for a friend. As a professional blogger, I’m sure you get it. You’ve got a platform, you’ve got something to say, and you’ve got an audience because people are trying to learn something from you. Whether it’s running an online business, designing handbags, or sharing your travels around the globe, these people are coming to you for knowledge and instruction.

Creating online courses has so many benefits for you and your students. It’s a handy, timely, and effective medium your students can access at any time to buck up on the topic at hand. Everyone loves quick and easy access of information, so why not give it to them?

When it comes to benefits for you, creating online courses are full of them. They can help you grow your audience, be seen as an authority on your topic, and increase revenue even while you’re sleeping! Sounds like an easy solution for taking your business to the next level, right? Yes and no.

While creating online courses is worth the time and effort it takes to create them, it really takes a TREMENDOUS amount of time and effort to create them well and some people just aren’t ready for that.

As successful as online course creators can be, it’s not all easy passive income and rave reviews. You need to be ready to sacrifice and work really hard to create something worthy of your students time, trust, and money.

As much as everyone in the online space raves about passive income through information products, the honest truth is that passive income requires a huge risk on the part of the entrepreneur. You’re investing a ton of time up front developing something with the hope that it will pay off in the future.- Racheal Cook, Digital Analyst

It’s hard work and you need to show up every day to do it right. Your students will be able to see right through you if you don’t. So do the work and don’t take shortcuts. Create something that will bring value to your student’s lives.

Are you ready to create an online course?

If you’re still reading, that means you haven’t been scared off yet and you’re serious about creating online courses. Yeah! As much risk as there is involved with creating courses, there is definitely equal or more reward you’ll get back.

But before you sit down to your computer and start typing away at modules and video scripts, you should make sure you have a solid foundation to build off. To help you figure it out, here’s the steps you need to make sure you’re ready to create an online course.

1. Do you have a core topic?

You’ve hemmed and hawed over a couple subjects, but you’ve finally set your gaze on one very specific topic. Knowing that core focus is the first step to being ready to create an online course. Without this, you’ll try to cover too much and the course will feel scattered.

Here’s a couple core topic idea examples to get your gears turning:

  • Food blogger- snack prep mini-course
  • Business blogger- how to self-publishing an ebook
  • Lifestyle blogger- basics of building a minimal wardrobe
  • Financial blogger- 10-steps to an emergency fund

Your core topic should be something you’ve had a lot experience in, worked at for a long time, and are super jazzed about. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be an expert. There are so many great course creators that wouldn’t label themselves as experts, but are still creating well-thought out and successful courses.

As long as you have narrowed your focus, you’re ready to keep moving forward.

2. Are you ready to pitch?

You’ve got to be a salesman. Unless you can afford a marketing team, you’re the one hitting the pavement every day to get your course in front of potential students. Being able to pitch takes confidence in your product and yourself.

As an introverted wallflower, this makes my palms sweaty. But according to Rachael Cook, I’m not alone.

I knew from working with hundreds of solopreneurs that many simply don’t feel comfortable with sales, but it’s possibly the most important skill set required for anyone who is offering their expertise and experience for hire!

Rachael has 10 years of business experience going for her so I’m going to trust her when she says it’s important. I guess I could also trust the fact that Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, and JK Rowling number among the many super successful introverts. They knew what it took to make their dreams reality. Having the gumption and drive to put your course in front of the right people over and over and over again is key to building an audience. So are you ready to be in spotlight?

3. Do you know what your audience needs?

What your audience needs to learn is key to creating your course. No matter how awesome you think your course might be, it’s going to sit there untouched if it’s not centered on something your customer is struggling with.

Once you know what their pain point is, you can create a course that acts as a solution to their problem. Your course can help them overcome their struggles and reach their career or personal goals.

You can find this out by simply asking your audience on social media, searching around forums that your know your audience hangs out in, or sending out a survey to your email list.

are you reaady to create an online course? poll

4. Do you know how your audience likes to learn?

Knowing how they prefer to interact with you will help you know how to create your course. Do you have high views on instructional videos? Then maybe your course content will be video heavy. Do you get better responses with your email sequences than on social media? You might want to create an email course. Are they self-motivated, go-getters that don’t need handholding? Take Racheal Cook’s approach and create a course that is immediately ready for your students to hit the ground running.are you ready to create an online course? racheal cook

5. Think about the content you already have.

Coming to the table with previously created content will help you develop your course at a quicker pace. Have you written an ebook? Do you have instructional videos, checklists, worksheet, etc.? It’s not about just throwing everything you have together and repurposing it to make more money. Looking at what you already have will help you begin creating an outline for your course. You can see gaps where you need to create more content and know what you can start with by updating a few things and adding fresh bits and pieces to what you already have.

And if you don’t have any content in your back pocket, no problem! It’s just going to take a little bit more time to build up material, but it will be fresh, shiny, and so exciting for your students.

What will you teach?

How do you feel? After thinking through these steps, are you ready to roll or do you need to take a step back and reconsider a few things? Either way, I’m pumped you’re taking the time to teach what you know. By doing this, you’re investing in your audience so they reach their goals and investing in yourself by creating a new stream of income. It’s a win-win!

If you’re someone who has already created online courses, what advice would you give to a newbie? I’d love to hear your pearls of wisdom in the comments!

 

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Dani Stewart

As a daughter of an entrepreneur, the wife of an entrepreneur, and an entrepreneur herself, Dani has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as a decade of crafting content to the ConvertKit community. She is a part-time baker, dinner-party planner, and lover of good bourbon living the simple life in Nashville with her husband, Sean.

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