10 questions for an online course creator

Do you want to create and sell online courses?

I co-run a Facebook Group for online course creators with Dave Espino. I recently asked the group if they have any questions about creating and selling online courses. Here are those questions and responses.

When you look at your most successful course, what would you say is the one or two biggest reasons why it’s successful against the competition?

It’s huge. And we put a lot of work into it. Meaning… it’s a ‘masterclass’ that tries to cover everything we would want to learn if we were the students (I’m talking about our photography course). And we spent a lot of time making the course – shooting in different locations to keep it visually interesting, adding to the course to make it better with student feedback, trying to keep an engaged student body with practice activities.

That’s more than 2 things, but put together that’s what has made it successful.

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Which learning platform are you MOST excited about right now?

Today, I’m most excited about Udemy. I’m hoping it’s not just me, but I’m enjoying quite a few sales from Udemy’s promotions. And while it’s too early to tell what the future looks like, I will say that I was actually happy with the previous change… maintaining my online income… and if this change increases that, then great!

In general though, I try to stay focused on growing ‘my platform.’ … not necessarily my platform, but my brand. Using my website and YouTube channel as the primary growers of my brand outside of the learning platforms is exciting.

Do you have a “morning routine”, a series of things you do every morning no matter what?

I’ve tried various morning routines that include meditations, working out, drinking water, walking, etc… and I haven’t stuck with one.

But here’s what most of my current mornings look like:
– wake up a 7, check my phone for 5 minutes in bed (i know this isn’t suggested by many in the ‘morning routine market’). I basically want to quickly get rid of emails I don’t need.
– feed cats 😛
– go for 20 minute walk with my wife
– shower/eat breakfast (sometimes swap the order depending on if I’m working out later in the day and wan’t to be environmentally friendly and save water by not taking 2 showers in a day)
– get to work around 8 – 8:30

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Once we move to our new house, I’m going to try a different routine – getting up earlier, like at 5:30 – including meditation (which I’ve really enjoyed before), and maybe journaling.

How do you overcome procrastination? And how do you sell your product or services online especially if you are a newbie?

That’s a tough question! but a great one!

To be honest, I find that I naturally am very productive. I work quick, and I like getting things done. I do common things like having a ‘to-do list’ and ‘goals’ written down. I set a schedule, so every day I work around 7-8 hours.

And because this is my full time job, it forces me to be productive. If I procrastinate, that means my business suffers. Unlike working for someone else where procrastination effects the company’s bottom line (and not yours… unless you get fired), the time spent working on my business (or wasting time) directly effects my revenue.

Do you test pricing (up/down) to see what works best or just stick to a number?

I’ve done a lot of testing of prices, partly forced to do so by Udemy. What I’ve found is that on my own site (videoschoolonline.com), it was very hard for me to make many sales above $25 for individual courses, unless I was doing a big webinar funnel. But just having the courses up there and directing traffic to them from blogs and YouTube, $20-$25 was a good price.

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On Udemy, I’ve found that pricing high does well when they have many low fixed price sales. We’ll have to wait and see if their fixed price deals are a constant thing (like they were in the past). For now, I have a range of prices on Udemy from $20 – $200 and will see how it goes over the next couple of months.

Do you mind sharing details on your webinar funnel? (Front-end price, number of up/downsells, any bonuses for fast-acting students?)

I try to keep things very simple. In the past, I’ve done webinars with Google Hangouts, Blab, and GoToWebinar.

And basically what I do is start by segmenting my email list. Depending on where and how you sign up, I tag you as a video creator, photographer, motion graphics artist, online teacher / business, etc. I promote the webinar to the corresponding group.

what is a sales funnel

I haven’t sold any high-ticket courses since 2013, when I sold the first version of my big ‘Teach Online courses’ course for $497 and made a few sales during the launch. During recent webinars, I’ve sold courses from $15 – $99.

On a different note, I do try to upsell my course bundle. Whenever someone purchases an indivdual course on my site, I try to upsell them the bundle that contains all related courses

What would you recommend doing first – building a platform (and understanding the problem) or developing a course on a hot topic?

I’ve always encouraged people to create a course on something fun, something you are most interested in, first… before worrying about if it’s a hot topic or if you’ll make money from it. This will let you see if you even enjoy creating an online course. If all you care about is if it will sell, then the product will suffer. Besides, there’s lots of other ways to make money.

In terms of creating a platform and understanding the problem first, I think that’s a very smart idea. You can’t sell courses / make money without someone to sell to. And you can’t create a great product that sells without solving a problem.

If time is limited, would you recommend using it to keep creating more courses? or would you focus on building up your own platform and other marketing content?

Another tough question. If you have another source of income and you can spend more time just building your brand with free content (articles, YouTube videos, social media, etc.), I would spend a decent amount of time doing that.

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I always did both, though. I always made time to create courses consistently… AND tried to post weekly articles and videos.

Some people can crush it on their own platform with just 1 course (or just a few). I haven’t figured out that path yet. I’ve had success by creating lots of courses. But both paths can work.

I am a complete beginner willing to get into the world of online teaching. Needless to say, I don’t have an email list nor any existing audience. How can I get started?

Great questions! And so happy that you’re enjoying this group. If I were starting over with my email list, here’s what I would do.

1. Figure out your target market. The more niche, the better.
2. Create a website with a main opt-in on the home page for that niche. And create a very valuable giveaway for that opt-in (PDFs work great).
3. write weekly blog articles and create weekly youtube videos. In both, direct people to an opt-in.
4. Repeat #3

I try to keep it simple that way. The longer I do this, the more I realize it’s better to have a smaller, focused, high-quality list, than a big broad one.

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The word ‘passive’ is a tricky one. Even though we call this the Passive Income Show, a lot of what I do isn’t passive. While I could just stop completely and probably still make a decent income with my courses on Udemy and Skillshare for the next 6-12 months, it would eventually stop. So I do have to consistently be creating new content to grow and maintain my business.

What makes it ‘passive’ for me is the fact that my income isn’t tied to the hours I work. I make money 24/7, 365 days a year. I set up systems that automatically sell courses with a funnel Check out this free course on building a sales funnel.

7 Steps to Online Course Success

Download my FREE pdf and watch an exclusive 1-hour webinar to learn the 7-steps I've taken to build my $100,000 business.

100% Privacy. Guaranteed Powered by ConvertKit

Have you made money on ulearning? And besides Udemy and your own site, what other learning platforms have made you some money?

I have not on Ulearning. The platforms that I have include Udemy, Skillshare, Skillsuccess, Stackskills, Skillwise, OfCourse.co.uk, AdobeKnowHow, Curious, Amazing, and CyberU

Watch the video with my responses:

Have any more questions? Leave a comment below!

Cheers,

Phil