How to choose a topic for your online course

You want to create an online course.

That’s great! But what will you teach?

Maybe you already have a topic in mind. Maybe you have three dozen ideas and you don’t know which one to choose. Or maybe you are having a hard time coming up with any ideas at all.

Regardless of where you are right now, this post will help you zero in on your “big idea” so that you can start planning and building your online course.

Before we get into the exercise, let’s take a look at why people buy online courses in the first place.

People spend money on courses that they think will help them solve a specific problem or reach a certain goal.

Every person on the planet has at least one problem that they are trying to solve right now or one big goal that they are trying achieve. Problems and goals are really two sides of the same coin. If you think about it, we set goals by identifying problems or things that we want to change. Then we have to complete a set steps in order to get the result.

The challenge that most people run into is that they either don’t have a clear path to get to the result they want, or they lack the motivation needed to take action. This lack of motivation usually isn’t related to laziness, but rather fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of being judged. Even fear of success.

Habits also play a big role in changing people’s behavior and getting them to take action toward their goals. If you’ve ever struggled with changing a habit, you know what I’m talking about.

Chances are you know exactly WHAT you need to do to get the result you want, but your current habits always seem to get in the way. In this case, you need more than just a plan or information. You also need accountability and support from someone who understands what you’re going through.

Your goal as an online course creator is to not only give your student a clear path to the result they’re looking for, but to also help them overcome the things that have prevented them from succeeding in the past.

So the question then becomes, what problem are you going to help people solve?

The best courses tackle problems or goals that you have personal experience with. It could be something that you have struggled with in the past and then solved. It could also be a problem that someone else had that you successfully helped them work through.

Here are a few examples:

  • Maybe you’re great at home organization and you’ve developed a process for keeping your home tidy and free of clutter. You’ve also helped friends and family improve their organization with your tips and advice.

  • Maybe you have specialized training or experience that could help businesses improve their operations, become more profitable, or avoid liability.

  • Maybe you have a child that used to suffer from panic attacks but you have been able to help him/her manage the attacks through a specific combination of dietary changes and relaxation techniques.

  • Maybe you struggled with a computer program or a tool, but you’ve now mastered it.

  • Or maybe you have a great eye for style, design, or makeup and can help others improve their personal appearance or the aesthetic of their home.

These would all be great topics for an online course and the possibilities are endless.

But the point I’m driving at is that you have experience, skills and knowledge that could help someone else. Your ideal course topic is something that you are skilled and knowledgable about, but that you also have a passion or interest in.

Here’s your homework:

Write down 3 topics that you have experience with that could potentially help someone else:

  1. ____________________________________________

  2. ____________________________________________

  3. ____________________________________________

If you are having trouble coming up with ideas on your own, ask people who are close to you what they’ve seen you struggle with, where they’ve seen you excel, or how you have helped them in the past.

Next, write the word “IMPACT” next to the topic that you think could help the greatest number of people.

Then write the word “INTEREST” next to the topic that you are personally the most the most interested in.

I’ve learned through experience that you should never write, teach, or create anything on a topic if your heart isn’t it in.

People can always tell when someone isn’t in alignment with what they’re teaching and it tends to ruin the experience for the student.

Take some time to brainstorm different ideas using these guidelines.

The best online course topics will lie at the intersection of your experience, interest and potential to make an impact.

Krystal Wascher