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Create an online course: Three tips to pick a profitable idea

Create an online course: Three tips to pick a profitable idea
Amanda Faull
Amanda Faull
Adviser Community Manager
Enterprise Nation
 

Posted: Tue 13th Apr 2021

Want to earn while you sleep? Converting your knowledge into an e-learning course can both, save you time and exponentially increase your revenue if it is integrated into your product and sales funnel.

If you think everybody is doing it, well, that is for a good reason. Online learning has become central to people's lives, even before the pandemic, and the market is predicted to continue growing long after.

So, whether you are a baker or a consultant, now is the right time to consider creating that course you have been waiting to start. If the process is what's holding you back, we've created a short series to dispel the myths and help you launch a profitable online course.

Read on to understand the benefits of creating a course and how to come up with a profitable idea.

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Why you should consider creating an online course

If you are looking for ways to diversify your income, grow your client base and still have more time to do the things you love, then you should consider creating an online product that can be sold on repeat. Courses are a great value add because they take some of the pressure off you needing to be present everywhere.

Saves time (in the long run)

The number one thing all start-ups, business owners and freelance consultants are short on is time. As a consultant or a trainer, you can only do so much one-to-one or group training or coaching before you get burned out.

A course gives people access to you and your training without you having to meet them physically, which frees you up to work on other parts of the business or enjoy other things like holidays or your family!

"We have all been part of the time for money trap and, the only way to break free from this is to build your knowledge and skills into an asset that can deliver without you."
Sonja Leason, managing director and business consultant, Love Mondays

Scalability

Your online course allows you to reach a much bigger audience; it doesn't matter where people are in the world. The pandemic has forced everyone online and shifted how consultants deliver their services.

Now, you are less limited by geography or time spent travelling. You can take what you love and amplify your impact by helping more people without adding to your workload or increasing headcount.

"I was very local in my mindset and only ever thought of targeting Devon and the UK. Whereas last year, my online course attracted clients in Ireland and the US without any promotion."
Jennifer Corcoran, LinkedIn trainer and consultant, My Super Connector

An entry point for new customers

Getting someone to sign up for a long-term commitment or buy one of your core offerings is difficult. They want to sample and get a clear sense of the value you provide first. So, your course serves as a great entry point for people who are not quite ready to part with the costs of some of your higher-priced services.

This lower-end option allows you to hook people into your product ecosystem and build them up in value. Having a recurring revenue puts you in a strong financial position and eliminates those concerns about paying the bills or covering costs.

"I started at a low price point and then have a succession of courses that I sell off the back of this. Fast-forward one year and, I have completely revolutionised my business. I turn over multiple six figures just from these courses."
**Lucy Griffiths, director, course creator and serial entrepreneur, Looboo Media

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How to come up with a profitable course idea

Anything is possible to teach, from yoga to social media. Don't worry if the topic has been done before as your experience and point of view are unique; people often shop by the teacher and want someone who resonates with them.

Pick a niche

All the information you need is already in your head or scattered around in presentations, blogs or webinars you previously created. Pick one aspect of what you do or think of the most common questions asked by your community.

"People want to know what you know. I often tell clients to think about their skills, awards, passions and what they love doing. Use this as a strategy to start your online course. If you have a background in design and branding, how can you help your audience to achieve what you'd usually deliver to them?

Think of an online course as a DIY version of your business. How can people get a result without you physically delivering it?"
Sonja Leason, managing director and business consultant, Love Mondays

Where is there demand?

You can create a course and think that people want x y, z, and then you find out actually, they don't want that at all. Send a survey, do polls, get people involved, even in the name of your course.

Take them along on a journey and use the feedback to design the structure and course content. This will also get them invested early and excited for when you launch - these could be your first customers!

Less is more

You don't need hours and hours of content; focus on the essential information to get them where they want to go. Although you may be an expert in your field, your job is to simplify and teach in bite-sized steps. You want people to finish your course because if they get results, they become your greatest advocates.

If you have extra materials or related reading, include these as bonus materials, this will enhance both the experience and value of your course.

Focus on outcomes

Design your course based on the results you want your student to achieve. If it takes somebody from point A to B, and there is a tangible result at the end, then you have succeeded.

Think of a cooking course - you have all your ingredients at the start, then at the end, you have a loaf of bread. Whether it is 10 minutes or a two-hour course, your goal is to provide a transformation for your students.

Three things you can do today

1. Brainstorm your topics. Write down the areas you're passionate about, your skills, the commonly asked questions from your clients and your most popular content.

2. Research the demand. Use surveys and polls to find out more about the needs of your clients and network.

3. Map the transformation. Work out the impact you could provide through your course and the outcomes for your students - this should determine which course you want to create first.

**_If you're a freelance consultant, boost your online presence by becoming an Enterprise Nation adviser member. Network with other consultants, promote your content and courses and build an audience from the community of 70,000 small businesses using the platform.

Become an Enterprise Nation adviser_**

 
Amanda Faull
Amanda Faull
Adviser Community Manager
Enterprise Nation
 
Hello, I'm Amanda, Enterprise Nation's adviser community manager. I oversee communications, content and events for our active and collaborative adviser community. I'm here to help our members make the most of opportunities and ensure we're constantly improving what we offer. Previously, I've worked across a range of professional services industries specialising in diversity and inclusion and corporate culture. I founded an award-winning corporate D&I initiative and led community strategies for a global board-level women’s network. An aspiring writer and storyteller. My roots are from Wisconsin but I have lived in the UK for over 11 years. I enjoy going to gigs, fitness, camping, and far away places.   
 

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