Thanks to the internet, teachers and educators are no longer restricted to teaching a classroom, it is now possible to teach thousands of people across the world. With online platforms such as Udemy, you can create courses and publish them for free, or for a specific price.
From a business point of view, the popularity of online learning is also a massive opportunity to earn additional income. “Passive income” is somewhat of a buzz-phrase at the moment, in fact, some might go as far as stating that “passive income, is the new active income”. The traditional way to make a living is to work as an employee or as a business-owner and exchange your skills & time for money. For example, a plumber may charge a client per hour to fix a broken boiler. With passive income, you can earn money, whilst you are doing nothing. For example, if you have a blog that gets millions of visitors each month, you could earn thousands of dollars whilst you sleep.
The blog will take time to set up, it will take time to find ways of generating visitors and it will require some level of maintenance, however, you will not have to be ‘present’ or working to generate income. You can do nothing for days or even weeks and still earn money.
How to Get Started
Like with most things, the hardest part is getting started. Consider where you want your students to be at the end of the course and work backwards. For example, if you are a Maths teacher, think about what level of competency your students should be at by the end of the course and break that down into topics or skills.
Next, think about whether or not your course will be video-based, or another format such as a PowerPoint course. A combination of the two formats is also possible. You may narrate a video whilst going through specific slides for each lesson of your course. It can be quicker and easier to screen record a course if the skill that you are teaching is computer-based. You can also use tools such as Loom, which allow you to show your face, whilst you are narrating your videos.
This can help if you are looking to create a connection with your audience, and/or you are using the course to promote yourself or your business in some way. Also, consider whether you will host it or make it available via your own website or a platform such as Udemy.
If you are going to use your website to promote and host the course, remember that trust is really important. Make sure your website loads fast, looks professional and have your contact details visible. Also showcase any awards and testimonials related to you, your business and your course. A course helpline can also be a good idea – typically not many people will use it, but it creates a great deal of trust. Consider using Moneypenny or a similar virtual receptionist service, to cover the helpline 24 hours if you are selling your course globally and in different timezones.
Decide on a Topic for Your Course
If you are already working in education, then the course or courses that you want to create will likely be directly related to what you are teaching. However, if you are thinking of educating people for the first time, perhaps to help promote your business or build up some education-related experience, you may want to think about:
– A problem that you have solved
– A Skill that you have mastered
– Something that you are good at, you love & have experience of
You should also consider the competitive landscape; especially if you are creating a course to generate income. If there are already lots of high-quality free courses available in a specific niche, then you may want to consider a different one.
You could also visit a website such as ubersuggest or SEMRush and search for a topic and see what type of interest or ‘search volume’ there is. You can also look at Google Trends to see if interest if increasing or decreasing.
Finally, do a quick search on Google for your course topic. See if Google prompts any interesting searches in the search box and once you have completed a search, scroll down to the bottom of the results and take a look at the ‘related searches’. For example, when I recently searched for “survival course”, one of the related searches was “family survival course”. This could be a good topic and title for my course – assuming I know about survival!
Name Your Course
Next, come up with a title. What will your course be called?
You want people to be able to find it via Google and also the platform that is hosting your course. So make it obvious what it is about!
Decide on a Price
The price of your course will depend on a few things. If you are creating a course simply to promote yourself and/or your brand, then you could make the course available for free. However, if you are looking to make income directly from the course, then consider the cost of other available courses, the amount and quality of your course content and how valuable the skills taught in your course are. For example, if you are teaching digital marketing skills and there is a healthy job market for job-seekers with digital marketing skills, you may want to consider this when pricing your course.
Remember you can always create vouchers for discounts or just reduce the course price at a future date.
Modules & Lessons
Relating to the start of this process – the skills or topics that students will need to know by the end of the course; this now needs to be broken down into modules & lessons. Think of modules as chapters. So for a survival course, you could look to do a module on equipment, another on building shelters, another on foraging, etc. Within the modules, you will need to create a number of lessons. So for equipment, you
might have a shopping list for general survival gear, another module on the best books, another module on what to look for when buying hunting equipment. It is normally a good idea to create a separate video for each lesson. This makes it easier to upload to a third-party platform, as they typically will ask you to upload a unique video for each lesson.
As a nice ‘extra’, you can also include some questions and/or a summary at the end of each lesson.
If you are going to create a PowerPoint course, take a look at some templates that you could potentially use. If you already have a website you may want to edit any templates to fit the branding of your site.
If you are creating a video course, think about how you will edit the videos – what software will you use and think about the intros and endings to each video.
Selling Your Course
There are various ways to sell an online course, but a key principle that provides an effective foundation for many ‘course entrepreneurs’ is called The Flywheel. The Flywheel starts with the development of an online course; next is the sale-process whereby you enrol students, your students then experience a transformation and get the results that they want; the happy student then become your ambassadors who help endorse and sell the course to others.
You can learn more about the Flywheel on fourweekmba.com
In theory, if your course is well designed and does what it says, it should create course ambassadors who will promote it for you. Make sure you get feedback from your students so that you can update and improve your courses and try and ensure that anyone who reaches out to contact you, feels valued and appreciated.