When I set out to create my first online course it took me FOREVER...
I spent months agonizing over the topic.
Then I spent a few more months wondering how long it should be, which platform I should use, how much I should charge, you know, all the things we waste time on...
Then it took another couple of months to get up the courage to get on camera (maybe you can relate?)
Then there was the editing. So much editing.
Then, after all of that, I had to figure out how get it in front of the RIGHT PEOPLE so that I could sell the darn thing.
I made a few sales, but...
I quickly found out the hard way that the course I created wasn't EXACTLY what my students really needed.
Sure, it had a LOT of information. But they kept telling me that they wanted something different.
So I had to go back to the drawing board to not only create a course that my students actually wanted and needed, but to create a course creation process that was more efficient and more effective.
I had two goals:
- I wanted to be able to create courses MUCH FASTER and stop wasting time, and
- I wanted to get feedback from REAL STUDENTS to help shape the course content so that I didn't have to guess about what to include in my course.
My problem in the beginning was that I thought that I had to create a gigantic, super comprehensive course upfront so that it would be just be done... and perfect...
But the thing is...
That's not the right way to think about course creation.
That's actually a recipe for disaster.
Your courses should evolve to fit your student's needs over time.
The method that I'm about to show you kills multiple birds with one stone because:
- It allows you to test topics very quickly,
- You get feedback from real people so you don't need to guess about what to put into your full course,
- You get social proof and testimonials that you can use to promote your course and make more sales (yay!), and
- This method actually creates your marketing and promotional materials for you at the same time.
Here's how it works:
Instead of spending months or years creating a course that I have no idea if people will buy or like or whatever, I create a "concept course" first.
If you've ever heard of a "beta course" this is a similar idea, but it's different.
While a beta course is typically a full course that is being tested before being launched, a concept course solves a very specific problem that is related to the main topic that you want to teach. It is NOT a comprehensive course on the topic.
You can think of a concept course as a mini course, a workshop, or a challenge that has a very specific purpose or solves one problem.
For example, if I ultimately want to teach a comprehensive course on dog training, my concept course might focus on teaching one specific trick or command.
The idea here is to run people through your concept course to get critical feedback -- because this is going to tell you what you should do next.
Here are a couple of questions that your concept course should answer:
1) How much interest is there in the course topic?
This is good to know, because if no one is interested, there's no point in wasting time creating a full course. Instead, you can pivot or come up with a different idea to test.
2) What are the goals of your target student (in their own words.)
It's really important to understand the underlying motivations, needs, and desires of your students so that you can create a learning experience that gets them the results that they really need.
3) What do your target students want to learn more about?
When students go through your concept course, they will naturally ask questions about things that were not covered. You can use this information to decide what to include in your full course.
4) What common common questions are being asked?
This is super important to understand because, when we know a topic well, we tend to gloss over things that WE think are obvious, but might not be so obvious to someone who is learning.
Using this method allows you to create online courses that your students actually want and need, rather than spending a whole bunch of time creating something that was doomed to fail from the start.
It removes a lot of the risk and helps you to iterate and refine your ideas much faster, which leads to succeeding much quicker.
At this point you might be thinking --
"Okay, I see the potential, but this seems like a LOT of extra work."
I promise you, it's not.
I've come up with a way to test my "concept course" ideas before I create any content at all.
If you would like to see exactly how I set all of this up, click the button below to let me know and I'll put together a free tutorial to share all the nitty gritty, step-by-step details with you.