The online education market is growing at a rapid pace. In 2018, it’s been valued at approaching $300 billion dollars, presenting an enormous opportunity for online course creators.
As an entrepreneur, how can you best tap into that opportunity?
By using a proven framework to identify the right problem to solve, decide what niche to target, and refine your offering using market feedback.
Watch our free video below to hear Jeanine Blackwell share her 5-step Expert Experience Method, designed to help course creators build a high-impact, profitable online course that stands out in the marketplace.
Key Challenges To Standing Out As A Course Creator
Even though there is an enormous opportunity in the online education market, there are a couple of challenges that often get in the way of making it in the industry.
The first is that when creating content, there is a tendency to choose an area of expertise or topic that is too broad. The second is the tendency to choose an audience that’s too broad.
When creating an online course with both of these problems present, your content will be invisible in the market. Watch the video above to hear how Jeanine breaks down examples of her five steps to overcome these challenges. In her book called, The Expert Called You, she also goes through the process in more detail. To get access to the book for free, sign up for the Thinkific Summit and we’ll send you the link!
In this article, we’re going to walk through five steps to get clarity on these three things:
- How to choose the right problem to solve
- How do you choose the right audience already looking for what you can offer
- What to think about when you determining what content to put into your offer
5 Steps to Creating a Profitable, High-Impact Online Course
The first thing to understand about creating content for a successful online course is that you are creating transformation for your clients. If you keep focused on this throughout the process of building, testing, and launching your course, you’ll stay on the right track.
Step #1: Identify Your Sweet Spot
What is a sweet spot? It’s where your talents, skills, and experiences intersect. Maybe you worked in certain industries and held certain roles. Or maybe you have some quirky passions, things that you’re obsessed about and really enjoy.
When you identify these things, finding areas where they all come together to represent your unique point of view. This first step is important because whether you’re a wellness coach, leadership development speaker, let’s face it – there are probably hundreds of other people doing the same thing. Since there are others in your lane, your blend of talents and experience create a unique perspective. This is what creates that opportunity to stand out.
Step #2: Focus on the Right Audience
When getting started with online courses, many have the tendency to go too broad with the audience we intend to serve. After all, if you’re a wellness coach, couldn’t everybody on the planet benefit from that?
Even though it might be true, the reality is that the most successful course creators are able to narrow their focus on who they serve, and how. Here are two questions to help you narrow your focus:
- What is the problem you plan to help your audience solve? When you think about your skills, and experience, and talents providing value to an audience, what comes to mind as a problem that you can help them solve?
- Is there a willingness to invest in solving that problem? Just because someone has a problem, doesn’t mean they are willing to invest the time, energy or dollars to have it solved. The sooner you identify these people and exclude them from your target market, the better.
Step #3: Focus on the Transformation
This is a really powerful step. Overlooking this one can get you stuck in a trap that many course creators fall into – the ‘What’ trap. The means being stuck in this place where you’re wholly focused on creating content by repeatedly asking yourself questions like, what should I include? What content do they want? What guide should I create? What videos should I create?
This emphasis is deadly, as it gets you focused on your own content, rather than focusing on the result your student needs.
The whole goal of your online course should be to move students from where they are now, to the place they want to be – effectively closing their learning gap. As you create your content, ask yourself where you want to serve people in their journey. Do you want to work with beginners or those who are further down the track and facing different problems?
It’s up to you to decide which segment to serve and to determine exactly what they need. If you focus on their transformation first, what to include your content becomes very obvious.
Step #4: Structuring Your Offers
Once you have a core offer (such as an online course) that creates transformation, great. You’re serving your audience in the way they want to learn. But what comes after that? Often, students will raise their hands to get more access to your expertise.
You get to decide what this looks like – how you will structure additional training offers. If you like to travel, you can set up destination retreats as the next step. Or if you don’t like to travel, you could do virtual coaching packages as a next step.
One key thing to note when structuring related offers is that you do not need to develop tons of more content. If students are participating in your courses, it’s not unlikely that what people want is to go deeper or have more access to you. This can be a powerful mindset shift away from feeling obligated to add to the sea of content, and instead, helping your students cut through the noise engage in a learning experience that’s right for them, and you.
Step #5: Scaling Your Business
Many entrepreneurs start down the path of creating online courses to help scale their business. We all want leverage, and more space in our calendars to do the things we love.
To see examples of how you can do this, watch the video above to hear how Jeanine helped a psychiatrist bring together her passion for abstract art and psychology, launching a successful online course to her audience.
By using online courses to build community and increase impact, you can subsequently increase the impact and income that your business creates.
Want Jeanine’s free guide to using online courses to grow your business, using her Expert Experience method? Download the book to get started today.
Want more tips on how to build and launch your online course? Download Thinkific’s free guide to creating and selling online courses.