Creating and selling online courses or programs is a fantastic way to serve a wider audience without sacrificing all your waking hours.
But when are you really ready to launch your first course or program?
Well, first of all, I am of the firm opinion that blended programs trump standalone courses every time.
Too many coaches and entrepreneurs are creating standalone courses with no element of support, such as Q&A sessions, forums, or email support.
This strategy simply doesn’t work except when the course is created to disseminate only information. But think about it—a coach’s job is not to disseminate information; her job is to facilitate transformation or teach a new skill. And for transformations and skill upgrades to happen, the support element cannot be neglected.
Few weeks ago, while speaking to some of the applicants for my coaching program, a strong theme started to emerge. Many of them wanted to:
- Create standalone “transformational” courses in hopes of generating “passive income” (I have a lot of say about that concept, but let’s save it for another day!)
- Create the course without adequately researching their subject matter and/or audience
Uh, no thanks!
Additionally, a small fraction of the applicants were in the business for less than three months and still undecided about their niche. As a result, they were yet to establish their authority and/or build a following.
Those were massive red flags and I had to decline the opportunity of working with them.
Look, one doesn’t need to wait a whole year to create their first online program. They can create and launch their first program within the first three months of being in business. BUT, for this program to be successful, the creator must have a thorough grasp on their subject matter and target audience.
For example, a fitness coach who has an established clientele decides to launch an online program. She can very well do this as soon as she launches her online business. That’s because she has already spent enough time understanding her target audience and building authority while her business was still offline.
In comparison, if I decide to launch a fitness program without having any prior experience or interaction with potential learners, my program is going to be a massive failure.
The time spent upfront in researching the subject matter and audience is an investment worth making. Too many of us are neglecting this aspect of business and pushing out products that are yet to be “validated.”
So, my friend, As and when you choose to create your first (or next) online course, instead of focusing all your efforts on marketing and sales, I urge you to pay serious attention to the validation, planning, and designing phases of course creation. Then, and only then, move on to the development phase of the course.
And, while you are at it, remember to include the very important “human support” element to your program.
Remember, a solid product/service will sell itself in the long run but a solid marketing/sales pitch alone will not create a successful, transformational product/service.