Today’s episode is about creating an online course and the common myths about course creation.
In This Episode of The Career Rx We’ll Discuss:
- What you need to know about creating an online course – subject matter, validating your idea and investment decisions.
- 6 myths that prevent professionals from creating an online course.
- What you should be focusing on for online course creation.
- Access to my webinar: Launch Your Online Course on Any Budget
- Course examples you can check out from my former students
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TRANSCRIPT AND SHOW NOTES (6 Myths About Creating an Online Course)
As you know, I always base my podcast episodes on listener questions, and this is no exception. I received many questions in my recent webinar, How to Pivot, which was set up as an ‘ask me anything’ format.
So, I did get asked a lot of questions and apparently, online courses are very much on your minds. If you are interested in checking out that webinar, click here.
Many of you want to know:
- How to create and launch an online course.
- What platforms and tech to use for your online courses.
- Strategies to create online courses that people will actually buy.
I’ve totally got you there!
You also might be surprised to know that many, many physicians who are speakers are actually turning towards online courses as an extension of their work.
If public speaking has been a key part of your work to date, you might want to consider this angle, even if you haven’t thought about it in that way before. Whatever it is that you’re delivering to an audience from a stage, you may be able to do that just as well through a digital means with an online course.
You can also potentially reach an even bigger audience and be able to help more people which of course is the ultimate goal.
Before I get into these six online course myths and explain why I think they’re wrong, I’m going to share a tiny handful of things that I think are absolutely essential when creating an online course.
What You Need To Know About Creating an Online Course
1. Have Experience in Your Subject Matter
First, you should have actual experience. This can be real-life experience or formal training, but you’ve got to have experience and expertise in your subject matter.
Now, you don’t have to be the world’s leading expert on something, but you do have to have a basis for what you’re going to teach.
That’s just obvious for the credibility of your course.
2. Have a Validated Course Idea
Simply put, this means you should:
- Have a clear picture of the problem that you’re going to be solving or,
- The need that you’re going to be addressing, and for whom.
This means you need to know what the customer or the audience wants and needs and who the customer or the intended audience is.
That’s super important in order to know what people will want to buy from you, and also really important in order to be able to let them know that you have a solution to their problems.
Now, it’s important to know that you can validate your online course idea before you spend all the time and energy to physically create it – especially if that involves paid tech.
3. Decide How Much Investment to Put Into Your Online Course Creation…
- You can deliver a high-quality online course for almost no money and I can tell you about specific platforms and methods to do that.
- You can deliver a higher-end premium course. You’ll need to make some investments in terms of your platforms and what you’re willing to put into the creation. You can often charge more when you do this as you have a more professional product and an elevated user experience.
These are the things that you DO need in order to move forward creating an online course.
Now, let’s get into the myths – common misperceptions that DO NOT need to hold you back!
6 Myths To Creating an Online Course
So, here are six myths that a lot of people think are true and these myths hold a lot of people back from creating an online course.
Let’s get into what they are and why they are not true.
Online Course Myth #1: You Can’t Launch a Successful Course if Similar Course Content Already Exists
Been there, done that. Everybody feels this way.
Speakers feel the same way. Authors feel the same way and probably every other creative type out there.
“This person is so far ahead of me”
“That person is so much more well known than I am”
“That person beat me to it. They have the same idea and would anybody want to learn from me when there is a course from that person on the same topic?”
These thoughts are very common.
I don’t know if this is imposter syndrome or just people’s lack of experience, but it is NOT a problem if someone else is already doing it.
In fact, I think that’s really great news. It means the idea has been validated already! There’s a real need and there are paying customers out there.
Remember, nobody can do you, right? Nobody can do your unique style, your unique delivery, your personal perspective and touch on things. You can be thinking about the same type of content and have a very different experience for the customer, even if the content is identical.
Of course, your course content won’t be identical, but even if it were identical, you will be delivering a very different experience.
There is a mega billion dollar industry of online courses going on and not everybody who delivers that is Tony Robbins. If there was only room for one, then there would be just one, or just a few. However, there are many.
Online course creation and education is a booming business. There are plenty of people out there who cover the same topics you’re interested in, just like plenty of people cover career development and business and digital strategy like I do, but that does not reduce your chances of success.
So that’s a huge myth – don’t be held back because someone else is already doing it.
Online Course Myth #2: Creating an Online Course is Too Expensive
This is 100% not true. It does not have to be. It certainly can be, so stick around for myth number six. We’re going to get into that.
This is a myth that absolutely needs to be busted right now. If you think creating an online course is too expensive and you need to shell out a bunch of money first, this is not true.
Many people think they need to have a business structure first. (Setting up a domain name, trademark, EIN, LLC or an S corp, etc.
I’m not a lawyer not giving you advice along those lines, but a lot of people put that first. This is often a mistake unless what you’re offering really needs legal protection through some of those means.
Other people purchase equipment, hire an agency or a virtual assistant. They outsource, purchase technology and then people get very overwhelmed by all of this.
So they get bogged down. They have all of these things lined up, but they aren’t really the right things.
They’re already overwhelmed before they have a clear idea of how to stitch those things together. They also don’t have a real clear idea about the actual course content.
Creating an online course does not need to be expensive, and you do not need to do all of these things first. There doesn’t need to be a lot of production assistance or technology for online course creation.
It’s much more important to have a clear picture of that validated course idea because really what we’re describing in this second myth is the pre-course phase, right?
You don’t want to put a bunch of stuff between you and your ability to launch your course.
The truth is you can launch and deliver for almost nothing!
Online Course Myth #3: Online Courses are only for Side Hustles and Not for Serious Professionals.
With online educational businesses taking off at an astronomical pace, this one may not apply to you. You may already know that online courses are a good idea for professionals too.
In 2020, there is such a “gig” economy booming in just about every sector.
Physician side gigs are very common these days so most people won’t give a second thought to online course creation.
But…I know that for some of you, you are thinking… “Wait a minute, I’m a serious professional. I have a main gig. I have a day job. I’m a physician. I’m a thought leader. I’m a well-known expert. I don’t want to dilute my professional brand by launching a silly side gig course.”
Since you’re listening to this podcast, I’m sure just a minority of you might be thinking along these lines, but it is absolutely a myth.
Let me help you with that…
Online courses are exactly up your alley. Yes, they definitely do make great side gigs. But they are also very relevant to serious professionals.
Let me Share some Benefits of Creating an Online Course:
- Online course creation can be very lucrative.
- This is one of the best ways to firmly establish your thought leadership and your expertise to a broader, more global audience.
- Online courses you create can lead to other opportunities that are more aligned with your traditional view of your own success. (Similar to you writing a book.)
While your course is making you money and allowing you to help the greatest number of people possible, you’re also solidifying your professional brand in ways that are extremely helpful in the traditional sense.
So, online courses are not just for side hustles! This is a myth.
Online Course Myth #4: Online Courses Should Contain Everything You Know.
This is one of the things that hold a lot of people back because they think in order to justify the value in the price, you’ve got to put in every single thing that you know.
This quest for ironclad completeness makes creating an online course too overwhelming. Or, if you do manage to stuff in everything you know, you end up overwhelming your students, which is not what they need.
Remember what it’s like to be a new learner or wherever you are in your journey.
People don’t need to know everything – they need to know enough to accomplish a finite goal.
It’s up to you to decide which level you’re teaching.
- Can someone be a complete beginner? Is your course more advanced so they already need to know some things?
- What can they expect to learn?
- Where will they be when they’re done?
People want to understand this. It’s important to paint a picture of what people will get out of your course.
This is also a huge but very common mistake you hear with speakers at the podium. You know, someone is going a mile a minute trying to make sure they say every single thing there is to know on a topic and squeeze it all into the lecture. That isn’t really useful, right?
When this happens a person doesn’t leave the presentation knowing something new. Instead, they leave just thinking, wow, that that person who just presented knows an awful lot – but it doesn’t help the audience member!
So, when you’re thinking about your students, if it’s overwhelming you to even think about how you’re going to put all of those ideas and all the knowledge you have into a course format, just think about how overwhelmed your students will be. So pick something that is more delineated and smaller.
Do a good job within a specific scope. Otherwise, you cause paralysis for you, and you impede the progress of your students.
Online Course Creation Myth #5: Online Courses are Passive Income Side Gigs
A lot of people think about passive income side gigs and they’re generally thinking about income streams that once you set it up, it earns money over time, and you don’t have to do anything. Therefore, online courses in my view, do not fit that description.
They are not totally passive income side gigs. It’s true that you can set up an online course to be evergreen, meaning it’s going to be available all the time for people to sign up and take on-demand.
However, you need to keep an eye on your content. You will need to freshen it up, make sure that it stays accurate and is consistent with the times. You need to make sure everything is still working.
You also need to make sure people know about your course. You’re going to have questions, so you’ll need to field questions from potential students. You may even need to do some periodic course marketing launches even if the content itself stays evergreen.
While there is a benefit that online courses allow you to make money and to help others without an “hours for dollars” even exchange, I wouldn’t really call it passive income.
I think there is maintenance both for your content, and for promotion, making sure people know about it and continue to enroll.
Online Course Myth #6: Creating an Online Course is Easy with all the Information on the Internet.
I think this is 100% false.
Yes, there’s tons of information on the internet. A lot of it is free and the sources are varied, but the quality is unknown.
Also, there is a ton of noise. So it’s really easy to go down rabbit holes, get stuck on technology options or get checklists of everything you need to do before you launch the course.
I’m here to tell you, I wouldn’t do that first.
This is something you can do later, once you’ve decided you’ve got excellent course content and you want to fancy it up.
There are also a lot of one size fits all recommendations out there and this doesn’t necessarily provide good results.
Learn From My Mistake…
I have gotten it wrong over the years and learned a lot. One of the first online courses I launched, I spent all this time writing and animating and recording, and I put it on one of those mega course websites which was a huge mistake. In the first few months, I sold over 2000 courses, which blew me away. My courses were priced moderately at a couple of hundred dollars, but guess how much I made? I made less than $100, having sold 2000 courses that were priced at a several hundred dollar price point.
How did that happen?
It’s because I didn’t fully understand the platform and how it worked. I didn’t fully get the structure. I didn’t understand the pros and cons of doing it that way. I was just so focused on that content. I made the mistake there of spending all the time, doing animated slides and effort that was not necessary to communicate the content. At the time, I did not realize that I was focused on all the wrong things.
Anyway, I’ve made plenty of mistakes, a lot of opportunities to learn, but now, I do have several flagship courses that do really well and they help a lot of people.
I also have former students who have successful online courses now, ranging from physician wellness, meditation, burnout prevention, malpractice, physician finances, etc.
You can check out some of my student’s courses here:
- Meditation for Doctors: The REST Technique
- MD to Financially Free
- Deposition Magic (the physician-defendant’s key to success)
So, while I do think it’s a myth that creating and launching an online course is super easy to figure out from the internet, I don’t think that it’s too hard to figure out. I just think it is hard to figure out from trial and error, and hard to figure out from the information avalanche that’s out there when you do your own Google searches.
I know some people are really just curious or hobbyists and you’re not serious about wanting to really do anything yet. If that’s you, then why not? You can pop around the internet and see what’s out there and get a flavor for things. But, many of you are people who are serious and ready to take streamlined action from end-to-end, helped by someone they know and they trust.
With that in mind, Join my Webinar Launch an Online Course at any Budget
This is a webinar workshop. I walk through a few major ways to save you big time in terms of not only time but also money and effort.
I’m going to talk about how to validate your course before you spend all the time and energy to physically create it.
Instead of sitting down to map what you’re going to do and the technology aspect in terms of how you’re going to deliver it, we’re going to validate the idea first. So you know your course will sell and it’s worth the investment that you’re about to put out there.
The webinar will cover how to:
- Validate your course idea so you know it will sell
- Deliver a high-quality course for almost no money (yes! I include specific platforms and methods that I recommend).
- Deliver a high-quality course with the higher end feel (if you do have money to invest and you want your student’s experience to feel a bit more premium).
6 Myths About Creating an Online Course: Recap
To wrap up this episode, just remember, the things that you do need are few.
- Actual experience or expertise in your subject matter so you have legitimate credibility.
- Validated course idea that solves a specific problem or meets a specific need for a specific audience.
However, you do not need to be held back by the other six myths we just busted…
Do NOT be held back because you think…
- Someone else is already doing it.
- It’s too expensive to produce and create.
- Online courses are only for side hustles. They are for serious professionals as well.
- Your online course needs to contain everything you know about a subject.
- Online courses are purely passive income side gigs. They can be somewhat passive, but there is some maintenance, and I don’t want you to be misinformed about that.
- You should spend your time trying to piecemeal everything together from advice all over the place on the internet. There’s too many rabbit holes, too many one-size-fits-all solutions that won’t be right for you.
All of this will result in you spending a bunch of time, money, and effort that often leaves people really disappointed and frustrated that they give up on something they really should pursue.
I hope you’ll join me for this webinar workshop where I share how to create an online course on any budget. It’s going to be really valuable and I think you’ll find it really helpful.
Whether or not you do join, just know that I am cheering for you to get your ideas out of your head and into reality in an online course. You really can do this and it’s so rewarding on so many levels.
Remember this is a way to help an enormous number of people, far more people than you could ever help one on one. I know for many of you this is the ultimate goal – you want to help as many people as possible and you want to make as big of an impact as possible. And today, having a successful online course is one of the best ways to do exactly that.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Career Rx!
Please be sure to subscribe and leave me a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or whatever podcast player you’re using to listen today. Also, be sure to send me your questions so I can answer them and give you a shout out on a future episode.
Bye for now,