Online courses can be an excellent way to add an additional income stream to your business without sacrificing more of your time or being limited by in-person capacity. Many of the entrepreneurs I connect with have an interest in developing an online course, program or school to serve bigger and impact more people, but they are unsure of where to start and how to transition from in-person only to online as well.
Over the last five years, as a modern marketer, I have been a part of over 75 launches, and I have noticed a pattern of the three most common blocks that keep business owners from online course success. Once these blocks are cleared, the potential is truly limitless!
BLOCK #1: YOU ARE OVERWHELMED BY THE TECH SIDE.
This is likely the most common concern I hear from entrepreneurs interested in scaling their business with an online offer: they are overwhelmed by the technology. Often, this results in questions like:
- What platform should I use to host my course?
- How do I create a landing page?
- How do I host a webinar?
- There are so many options. What tools or programs are necessary to get started?
This is normal, but it can certainly cause business owners to feel paralyzed by indecision! The good news is that technology has changed so much in the last five years, and it has become so much more accessible from both a user standpoint and a cost standpoint.
HOW TO OVERCOME IT:
It is important for you to understand that no matter what platform or resources you choose to use, you can be successful. It is ultimately not the platform that you choose that will dictate whether you can be successful or not, it is about how you use them.
You do not need a website to launch, either. Instead, you can use a platform like Kajabi (which is what we recommend!) that is an all-in-one option. This can be used for email marketing, creating landing pages, and housing your online courses. It is very user-friendly and their support team is great, so the tech is much less overwhelming!
Or, if you would prefer to keep your business as lean as possible to begin, you can keep it simple with just a few tech components. As far as necessary tools and resources, you truly only need: an email marketing platform such as MailChimp or Active Campaign, a landing page application, such as Lead Pages, and a course membership site, such as Podia or Thinkific.
You really only need a handful of tech pieces in order to bring your online course or program to fruition!
BLOCK #2: YOU AREN’T SURE HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR OFFER TO BE VALUABLE.
There is a very common block that entrepreneurs experience when it comes to actually organizing their thoughts and packaging up their content into a valuable course or program. If you are not sure how to pull it all together to create something meaningful, you are not alone! This is a pattern I’ve observed many times over the last five years.
Usually, there are two types of business owners experiencing this block:
- The entrepreneurs that feel like they don’t have enough content aren’t sure how to create a transformational offer.
- The entrepreneurs that have so much content that they want to continue adding to their online course or program, as they feel more content = more value for the student.
HOW TO OVERCOME IT:
It is imperative to understand that more content does not equal more value. Adding additional hours of curriculum does not translate into a more valuable offer!
Your students want to get results and see their transformation as quickly as possible, and with as much simplicity as possible. What matters most is that your content is impactful, potent and straight-to-the-point.
In order to make sense of this and really map out what your offer will look like, consider: what would your best fit customer consider to be a successful outcome once they move through your course, program or workshop?
Next, consider: what do they absolutely need to learn in order to get to that outcome? What are the core essentials that they need to learn in order to achieve that goal?
Then, consider: how can you break this into digestible, 15-20 minute mini lessons? Studies show that short, powerful trainings are easier to consume online.
The main takeaway here, whether you are entrepreneur #1 or entrepreneur #2: simplify, simplify, simplify.
BLOCK #3: YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH OF A FOLLOWING.
Many of the entrepreneurs I connect with share with me that they are waiting until they build up a bigger audience before they launch their online offer.
The truth is, unless you have been spending the last two years organically building up a community, everyone starts from the same level!
You aren’t starting from scratch, but rather starting with an audience of people who know you from your one-on-one client work, your friends, and members of the community who know you for your expertise. This is your core audience!
What I’ve noticed over the years is that we often forget to start where we are and utilize what we already have in order to move forward and see growth. You do not need hundreds or thousands of people following you in order to launch successfully!
Your first launch can have 5-10 people in it, and this is an excellent opportunity to learn, make adjustments and grow that enrollment. Your first five students are going to get you to 50, 100, and beyond.
HOW TO OVERCOME IT:
I invite you to make a list of 10-20 people that you feel are good fits for your offer. This can be past students, friends, family members, or other members of your community. Past students are typically awesome candidates for potential students because they want to have access to the information long-term.
You truly don’t need to have a massive email list or social media following for your first launch. Those will come later, once you’ve tested and validated your idea.
Remember: You can’t get to hundreds of thousands of students without your first five.
It is completely normal to feel some hesitation around launching an online course or program for the first time. It can be overwhelming if you are totally new to online entrepreneurship!
Fortunately, these are common concerns, and they each have a clear solution. Take some time this week to work through these tips, and share with us how you feel after!