Today we are going to talk a little about online courses, and how to set them up. These online platforms are the epitome of what Open Source Your Life is all about, in that you can literally learn any and every subject out there from a course on your laptop or phone, anywhere in the world. Open source learning is the future my friends, so jump onboard the free education train while you can!
Creating an online course is one of the best ways to “productize a service”. If you have a particular skill set and feel like you could turn your knowledge into actionable steps for others to follow, grab a camera and hit record! If you go this route, make sure you realize that you. There is something mentioned by many successful online business owners called “the curse of knowledge,” where those who are in a state of success have a hard time explaining how they got there to those who are just starting out. To be a good teacher, you have to think about learning from the perspective of a beginner, and assume that they don’t know all the things that seem simple and straightforward to you. The easiest way to lose a student is to move too fast, and skip a step.
Not sure if you have anything to share? Thats okay! Pick something that you’ve always wanted to learn how to do, and record yourself as you progress, or find someone who is an expert at it and ask if you can record them as they teach you (If you choose to go this route, make sure you get their permission before trying to sell it online). Tim Ferriss talks more about this in his best-selling book The Four Hour Work Week, a book which I highly recommend to everyone with the entrepreneurial bug. This is the best way I can explain it for you:AA
“You don’t have to be the guru at the top of the mountain to be an expert, you only have to climb the first 10% and teach those at the bottom how to get there.”
Udemy is a great online tool for both learning and teaching. I have experience on both sides, and I would recommend everyone to check it out and give one of their free courses a shot. It is an open source learning community where you can truly learn anything you wish.
Udemy is also perhaps one of the best tools out there for testing product ideas. Many people will create a basic version of a course, and put it up for free just to test the waters and see if there is any interest out there. If you have enough people signing up for it, you can then hit the drawing board and design the full version to sell at a premium price. Not only that, but you now already have an audience that you know is interested and ready to buy!
The main benefit of using Udemy versus other course creation platforms is that you have a whole community of students waiting on there already eager to learn! You’re audience is out there, now you just have to give them what they want.
One of benefits of Teachable is that you can design and host your course through the Teachable website, but grant access on your own site. This allows for a more seamless and integrated experience, where your followers can feel like they are a part of something because they are essentially still on your website. The only downside to Teachable versus Udemy is that if your following can only access your course through your website, you are alienating those who are apart of the open source learning community who might not see your course otherwise. While this may allow you to charge more, you will most likely have a smaller scope of customers. That aside, Teachable takes care of everything for you from hosting and signups to payments, allowing you to customize and brand each course to make it your own unique product. For that reasons, I would highly recommend Teachable to anyone who wants to provide a course to their followers that fully embodies what they stand for.
Academy of Mine:
This is the all-in-one solution for building online courses in that it provides you with a fully functioning website along with a platform to design, build, and market your course. It is also the most expensive of the three, costing anywhere from $299-499 depending on your needs. I would personally go with one of the first two options, but I thought it worth mentioning as I have heard it mentioned by some of the bigger promoters out there.
Many people choose to go the route of setting up a free course that their followers can opt-in to on their website by subscribing to their newsletter. Although I have not yet tried this method, I have experience on the other side of the spectrum as a customer and have found it to be very effective. They will often send you an email each day with a new lesson over the course of a week or so, and offer either a paid version of a complimentary course or a complimentary product at the end.
You can also go the route of making your course available on multiple platforms! This is your best bet at reaching the largest amount of people within your niche, and although it requires a significant amount of extra work it will pay off in the end.
To Charge or Not To Charge?
This is a question that many will have to ask themselves when creating their first course. It really all comes down to the quality and scope of information you have to share. If you can create a free course that offers something ov value, and a paid course that will allow those from the free course to implement the knowledge you already gave them in a more effective way, do that! If you’ve already tested the waters and know there is demand for what you can offer, make sure the price you charge matches the audience it is meant for. I have seen courses sold for thousands of dollars that were successful and some that didn’t make a single sale. I have also purchased a few courses for $10-50, that would have been worth much more. The choice is truly yours, and feel free to play around with the pricing. If you raise the price of a course from $49 to $100 and there is less demand, try dropping it slowly until you see sales level out again.
If you are providing a tutorial on how to do something online or otherwise digitally, you are probably going to want to figure out how to set up something that allows you to capture your actions on-screen. Most Mac computers come with the quicktime player pre-installed but if you don’t have it, go grab it here. Once downloaded and installed, open your Quicktime player. Then, at the top menu select File – New Screen Recording. Now all you have to do to start recording is click the red circular “record” button. One final note here is that you are going to want to edit the external sound source to be your computer’s built in microphone (if you don’t have a fancier setup). To do this, select the upside-down triangle shape to the right of the record button, and then select “Built-in Microphone”.
There you go! You’re now have everything you need to record, customize, and sell an online course of your own.