Have you ever thought about creating an online course? Do you have one (or more) created already? My online teaching business has grown and changed a lot. I’ve made some initial mistakes by giving up too much control and participating in somebody else’s platform. It was great to help me get started, but in the end I lost on a lot of revenue, and I caused me additional trouble to further expand my business when it started to grow. In this post I’ll share my my x most valuable lessons. In true Living by Experience value I learned most of these the hard way – so use them to your advantage!
Build your own platform
I’ve moved around a few online training sites, but I eventually ended up with my own site Liberty Training Academy. If you’re just starting out it’s great to rely on the structure provided by a third party platform, as they’ll often provide a marketplace for some initial sales. But for most instructors the guidelines that initially helped them, will become unnecessarily restrictive once their business starts to grow. I wish I knew what I know now when I first started creating online courses. I would have been able to scale my business more quickly and easily.
Put your students first…
Make sure you get a site that delivers the best learning experience for your students, without restrictions or limiting rules imposed by the platform. I wanted to own my “school” so I could ensure the very best possible experience for my students. That includes both the pages students see before signing up, as well as the learning experience they get after enrolling in the course.
… then don’t forget about yourself
Every learning platform will say they are designed with the student experience in mind. That’s great, but not enough. Most platforms (I’m not naming any names, yet) forget about the instructor experience. To serve my students best, I need to have something I can rely on as well. The goal is to make your teaching site and online classes look amazing with as little effort as possible, so you can stay focused on doing what you do best: creating new content for your community based on your experience.
Decide if you compete on price or quality
As an online teacher, you have to choose what you compete on. Competing on price undervalues the product, which is your expertise. Do you really want to undervalue that experience by selling it off at an 80% discount? There’s a poor mindset in the world of online teaching. A lot of instructors sell at (too) low of a price, hoping they’ll attract more students that way. This model works if you indeed get a very large amount of students, however most never will attract the masses. Instead, consider competing on quality instead. Even though the program has done very well, I’m happy to have a more exclusive group of authors in my Write a Book in a Week program, allowing me to spend more time with my community directly. I challenge you to create a high value course of quality content, and dare to put a higher price-tag on it. Offer a money-back guarantee if you can.
Take reviews seriously
Instructors complaining about poor reviews from their students have one of two problems: (1) their course is terrible and needs significant improvement or (2) their students need improvement. Bear with me here. The first speaks for itself: if people don’t love your content, you may have to make improvements. I welcome and encourage constructive criticism for my classes. For one of the first classes I ever made, the feedback was I spoke too fast and didn’t leave enough time for students to process the information. Point taken. I improved that course, and in my future classes I have taken that feedback (and many other suggestions) into consideration. My latest classes incorporate all of that and deliver an online learning experience, designed in a certain way to help my students get the most from what I teach and help them implement the benefits as we go through the curriculum. Now the second scenario: maybe your students also need improvement. My point is this: there’s a market for low value courses, but it’s not a market I’m looking to serve. Almost without exception, low pricing goes hand-in-hand with low reviews. Think about that for a second, and price your next course accordingly. Either way, I treat all feedback as valuable input that helps me scale and grow my business.
Online Teaching Resources
Being an avid online teacher myself, I pieced together the top 5 list of resources I use myself all the time in creating and growing my online teaching business. You can download the online teaching resource guide here, available free of charge for a limited time.Free Online Teaching Resource Guide