Should You Create an Online Course?
As per an industry report, Global market for e-learning is projected to exceed $241 billion by 2022.
There are lot of success stories around online courses where people have made millions of dollars selling online courses and left their 9-5 jobs, bought homes, nice cars and completely changed their lives.
It's tempting to join the group of course creators but the question that you should be asking yourself before you start on journey of creating an online course is ..
Should you create an online course?
Answer to this is not straightforward and this blog post will help you get the answer and decide if getting into online courses is a great opportunity for you.... or NOT.
Before that, let me give you an idea of what Online Course Creation looks like and what all is involved in. Once you've an understanding of that, you will have a much clearer picture.
What it takes to create an online Course?
Creating and selling online courses is not so easy, instead it will require a significant time and effort (at least initially) from your side for building, marketing, selling and scaling your online course.
Just like any other business, online course business will require an investment money. Depending on how much budget you set for it, you will need to choose the right tools, equipment, software & marketing to help you launch your online course.
This budget may vary from few hundreds dollars to few thousands and in some cases even 6 figures.
Takes Time & Effort
Building an online course business will take significant time and effort, at least initially when you're getting started which is mostly to research, create curriculum, record lectures, marketing and engaging your audience.
Later when things have started to fall into place, you can automate most of the tasks but you still want to engage with your community on regular basis. That takes time.
Learning Different Tools & Software
There are so many different tools for recording an online course, software to manage your email list, host your course, manage your community & market your course.
Someone who is already into blogging, YouTube or other online marketing might have used few of these tools and would have some idea on how to set things up but for others, it will be a huge learning curve.
At first, it may seem difficult but when you start using these tools and software, you get used to it. You also have an option to hire someone to manage few of these tools. Remember, that hiring more people will add to your cost.
Understanding of Marketing & Sales
Online business is not just about recording few lectures video and uploading to a platform for people to buy. There is a lot more it.
And this is the part I love most about online courses. You need to acquire the skills to market your course to target audience. Creating Lead Magnets, Landing Pages, Paid Ads, Webinars, Email Marketing, Content Marketing & so much more you can do to market your online course. Getting good in all of these will take some time and learning.
Building Trust and Engage Community
When you sell an online course, you build relationships with customers and as long as you maintain that trust and treat them nicely, they will keep buying from you.
To communicate with your customers you may need to be proficient in using memberships sites, Facebook group , Slack or any other tool.
Now that you know what are you getting into, let's figure out online courses are right for you.
Why do you want to create an online Course?
You must ask this question to yourself before taking a step towards online course creation process.
"Why am I creating an online course ?"
There are several reason why most people create an online course. Below are a few of those reasons:
Many people create an online course as a side hustle to their 9-5 job and get additional side income. This is a good strategy to test the waters before going full time.
Few others offer online courses to go with their existing business. It could be a training for their existing customers or new employees.
Expand your reach
Already have a blog or YouTube Channel ?
Then online courses could be great move to expand your reach even further and get more revenue. If you just want more people for your blog or YouTube, you can offer a free mini course and then when time is right, a paid course.
Why Creating an online course is right strategy for you?
Creating an online course may be the right path for you if you answer yes to few of the points below.
Willing to Take Risk
Running a business always has a risk factor involved, so you need to have an appetite to take risks.
Money & Time to Invest
As I already mentioned above, you will need to invest time and money when building an online course. Most of the cost will be for the equipment and software needed to record, edit, host and market your course.
Passionate about the topic
You must ask yourself that are you passionate about the topic ?
Is this something you can talk about for hours without feeling bored ? Do you see yourself interested in this topic 2-3 years from now ?
You don't have to be an expert to start with. Even if the topic is new to you but you're very interested in learning it and ready to share your learning with others, that's fine as well.
People already requesting you to create the course
Getting emails from your friends, colleagues or emails subscribers that they would buy a course if you ever create one ?
This is a great sign that your course will be successful as you will overcome one of the biggest challenges of online course i.e finding customers.
You've a large audience in a specific niche
People who already have existing followers can easily create a course and sell it to their audience. They have higher chance of succeeding as they already have a community to market their course to.
Even better, if you've sold something to them in past, let's say an affiliate product or ebook or any other thing. They trust you already and ready to buy from you.
Share same advice repeatedly
If you see yourself repeating the same advice too often and people ask the same questions again and again, you may want to put these into a course and offer it to them. You will save time and energy and it will help you expand your reach.
No bandwidth to take more clients
Consulting work requires time and there are limited hours in a day. So how do you scale?
There are many consultants and experts who have created courses, just because they didn't have time to take anymore clients.
For example, Austin Luliano had an agency but due to limited time couldn't cater to all his clients so he decided to create online courses.
Why You Should NOT create an online course?
Here are the red signals that you should also think about before you decide to create an online course.
Don't care about the topic enough
If you're not passionate about the topic, my advice is ... DON'T DO IT.
You may get some success but eventually it will start to go down as you won't be able to keep yourself involved in the topic. Take some time to evaluate your interests and then choose the topic that you want to teach.
Don't have good cash flow
Though creating online courses doesn't require too much money, but you should consider this factor as well, if you are already under lot of debt and don't want to add more to it.
Looking for get rich quick scheme
You may have seen others showing off how they made 6-figures from their course in few days and how easy it is. These are exceptions & believe me, it's not every one's story.
Creating online course is not a 'get rich quick' scheme. Of course with dedication and right approach you can earn a good income but it might take some time.
No one is talking about the idea
You have an idea for an online course but no one is talking about it. There are no discussions about it in online communities. There are no existing course that you can find on Google or using Course Pursuits Search Engine, then you may need to re-think your course topic.
If no one needs it , don't create it. It's very important to validate your course idea before you launch your course.
Not interested in learning about online marketing
Creating online courses in not just about creating videos and uploading those to your course platform. You will need to learn about online marketing such as funnels, email marketing, Paid Ad & various selling techniques.
In conclusion, If you're passionate about the topic and are eager to learn new things and share with others, then creating online courses could be a great business for you.