How to start an online course in the right way

If you are looking to start an online class or an online course and don’t know how to go about it, you have just landed up in the right place. 

These days, digital coaching / online training is the trend and you see many people are launching their online courses and you too want to launch one now and become successful.

But you have no idea how to launch an online course or you feel so overwhelmed with the technical setup it requires or you are not sure if it fits within your budget or how much you need to spend to start an online course?

If these are the questions running in your mind, let me tell you upfront, please don’t worry! Starting an online course is not as difficult as you think it to be.

You can start it either FREE or with a very minimal initial budget.

Starting an online course is easy but you need to follow the right strategy to succeed in the long run. You just can’t randomly start a course without proper planning. If you do so, then it might seem profitable in the beginning but you’ll not be able to scale it further. 

So, let us see how do we start an online course in the right way?

STEP 1: Choosing the right course topic

I’m sure most of you who are reading this post, would have already decided on the course topic. And only because, you decided to start an online course, you have popped into my post to know how to proceed.

But, if you are someone who has not yet decided on what to teach, here are some quick tips for you, and for those who have already decided on the course topic you can directly jump to the next step to validate your course idea section.

Tips to choose your course topic

1. Choose your topic based on existing knowledge/skills.

2. Never try to learn from a course and start teaching others. I know there are many people doing that, but again this will not help you in scaling your business.

3. Don’t try to cover a vast topic in your course. Be very specific on whom you are going to teach and what you are going to teach. Ex: Don’t say “Video Editing Course For Everyone” instead you can have two courses, “Video Editing For Beginners” and “Advanced Video Editing course”. 

Now, you might also have a question what skills can be taught online?

The answer is simple: If you already have any skills under this earth, you can teach them online.

Here are few examples for you: Arts, Crafts, Cooking, School Subjects, Music, Vedic Math, Rubik’s cube, Programming Languages, Yoga, Fitness, etc. The list can just go on and on.

Just list down all your existing skills in a notebook and choose a topic which you are more comfortable and confident on. I hope you are clear on how to choose your topic for your first online course.

STEP 2: Validate if there is enough demand for your course topic

Once you have decided on the course topic, it’s time to validate your course idea. Validating your idea is primarily the most important step while creating your course, there is no point in preparing the course beforehand and later feel that there is no audience for your course.

So, how do you validate if the topic of your course has any demand in the market?

There are few simple ways to do that, first, you can just go to Google Trends and check for the trend on the topic.  

Check if you have any competitors who are creating courses on your topic, remember Competition is GOOD. If you have competition, it just means that there is an audience who can consume your course.

You can go ahead and check Quora as well if there are any questions being asked related to your course topic.

Apart from these, check the course marketplace like Udemy, Coursera, etc if the subject course does exist in these marketplaces. 

These marketplaces are also the best place, where you can check for all comments on the existing courses in your niche. Note down the comments(pain points, missing topics, etc) which seem relevant to your course. 

Now, you can revisit these noted comments while you are preparing your course outline and address them in your course. 

Finally, once you have decided on your course topic, you should work on the course outline.

Step 3: Outline your course content

While creating an outline of your course, at the beginning of the document, write the answers to these two questions

  • What will be the outcome of my student once he completes the course?
  • How is my course going to transform him/her?

Once you have these questions & answers written, now write down all the topics, sub-topics which you would be covering in your course. Make sure you stick to the point and don’t over-deliver things that might not be required for the student in that particular course.

Take your student from Step A to Step B slowly and don’t jump topics. Make a detailed outline of all the minute modules or topics that will be covered in the course. 

Also, plan to add some additional resources you would be providing for your students as a part of your course like a checklist, DFY templates, planner, etc.

Once you have your course outline ready, just read the questions which you have written at the top and see if your student would be transformed from your course. If you feel there is something missing, go ahead and refine your course outline again.

Finally, once the course outline is ready, now it’s time to decide on how you are going to deliver the content to your students.

Step 4: Delivering Content

Decide on how you are planning to deliver your content to your students. There are two ways in which you could deliver your content:

  1. Online Live Classes
  2. Recorded Videos

No matter how you deliver your content, make sure you engage with your students during the course duration. Build a community, encourage your students to ask queries, and answer their queries.

Step 5: Different Delivery Platforms

Now, most of them get stuck here, when they have to choose the delivery platforms for their online course.

It need not be complicated, as I mentioned in the beginning, you can just start your online classes for FREE in the beginning.

You can conduct online classes in Zoom, Google Classroom, or Microsoft teams. All these platforms have free plans and it will be useful for you to start off your online training journey.

Once your online training business grows, you could plan to upgrade to a suitable plan based on your requirement.

Now, if you don’t want to take online classes, but would want to create an online course and deliver recorded videos to your students.

Even now, you have an option to start for FREE, but this is not much advisable as there are chances that your paid course becomes accessible to everyone.

However, if you would still want to deliver your course using the FREE method, follow the below steps

  1. Record your videos using your mobile phone. If you want to do screen recording, you could try the loom chrome extension to record your screen.
  2. Publish your recorded videos on YouTube and set them as unlisted.
  3. Sign-up for Free email marketing tools like Mailchimp or MailerLite. You’ll get the first 1000 or 2000 contacts for free.
  4. Create a sequence of emails with your YouTube video link and set them to be delivered to your students.
  5. If you would like to make it much more simple, you can share the video links with your students in your closed community instead of sending emails.

However, if you are taking this online training business seriously and would like to scale up your business. You need to invest in your business.

Below are the essentials to start your online training business professionally:

  1. Website – Create your personal brand website and showcase your courses, testimonials over here. This will help in branding and showing your authority in the market.
  2. LMS – You need LMS to host your courses.

For creating a website, you could use WordPress. You just need to purchase domain & hosting for this and for LMS, you could use, teachable, thinkific, spayee or we can also set up your own customized LMS in your website.

So, these were the different delivery platforms using which you could launch your course.

Step 6: Market your course to Target Audience

There are multiple ways to market your course to Target Audience. You can reach your audience organically or via the paid ads.

Let me first tell you some FREE techniques

  1. Start a YouTube channel, build your portfolio there and increase your credibility.
  2. Be a part of multiple Facebook groups where your target audience is. Be active in the group and share valuable information so that your presence is known as an expert in the group.
  3. Use other social media platforms and share the posts every day. Based on your niche, choose the right platform. If you are into teaching something education-related, use Linked In as it’s a professional platform. If you are into arts, crafts, use Instagram or Pinterest.
  4. Start answering people’s query and once you build some strong foundation, you will be recognized as one of the experts in your niche and people would prefer approaching you for the solution and you can pitch your course to them.

These techniques are FREE, but it would take too much time and effort to build credibility and to reach your target audience. 

Apart from these, you could also join some Facebook groups where they allow you to promote your business for a minimal amount. There are many such Facebook groups in India where-in you need to buy their plan and you’ll be allowed to promote your products/courses to the members of the group.

However, if you are looking for quick growth in your business, you should consider Facebook, Google, and YouTube ads to promote your course. Here, you can target a very specific audience and get quality leads for your course.

To conclude, I would say do both organic and paid ads to market your course so that you build authority in the market by Organic means and reach your targetted audience using Paid Ads. 

Once you get the quality leads for your course, show them your offer, close the deal and enroll your students.

Step 7: Scale up your business

Funnel is the game changer and it would scale up your business 10x times. 

In order to scale your business, you need to have a proper funnel strategy for your online course business. You need to create a value ladder for your business. You need to identify and create the sales funnel, order bump, up-sell, down-sell products for your course. 

Don’t worry if you don’t understand these terms, this is a vast topic on its own and it is out of the scope for this post.

So, for now, just go ahead, follow the above 6 steps and start your online course. 

CONCLUSION

To summarize, let us see the key takeaways from this article

  • First, we saw how you could choose the right topic for your course
  • Secondly, you need to validate your course idea against the market demand
  • Create your detailed course outline
  • Decide on how you are going to conduct the class and the different platforms which you can use to start your online class
  • Market your course to the target audience and get your students enrolled 
  • Scale-up your business using Funnels
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