When Los Angeles-based Kiaundra Jackson became an award-winning speaker, she wanted to help others do the same.
Her journey to speaking on stages didn’t happen overnight. Jackson describes herself as coming from “humble beginnings,” and was raised in a broken home in Compton, California. “I grew up seeing domestic violence, and I knew that I wanted to get on the path to helping people—especially in communities of color,” she says.
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To do so, she became a licensed marriage and family therapist. Dreaming of starting her own private practice in Los Angeles, she took a leap of faith and quit her full-time job at an agency in 2017. “I didn’t have any money saved, but I just trusted my instincts,” she says.
To promote her business, she began sharing content on social media – mainly through her Instagram account. Her following quickly grew, and she realized she had a love for being on-camera and speaking about healthy relationships and mental health. “A lot of people started asking if I could speak at their events and if I could be on their podcast,” she explains.
Her name became widely recognized, and many people in the therapist community began asking her how she was landing speaking gigs, getting on TV, and being featured in articles. She decided to start teaching people everything she knew about becoming a well-known speaker via online courses.
“Courses are a powerful tool,” Jackson tells Thinkific, “especially if you’ve already built a platform and your followers want to learn from you in a different capacity.”
Now, along with being a licensed therapist, Jackson is an award-winning speaker, TV personality, bestselling author, and online course creator. She’s been named as “Forbes’ Next 1,000,” and has appeared on major outlets like CBS, ABC News, Fox, Vice, Women’s Health, InStyle, Health Magazine, Forbes, HuffPost, and more. Her business has even been recognized by Beyoncé and NAACP. “Even when I’m sleeping, I’m able to make money and help people go to the next level to reach their goals,” she says.
Here’s how she translated her knowledge and experience into a successful online course business that helps new and emerging speakers thrive:
- She offers six Thinkific courses
- She provides low-cost options
- She sets up payment plans
- She hones in on her target audience
- She creates content based on what her audience wants
- She speaks her audience’s language
- She works on her mindset
- She makes her course content available indefinitely
- She connects with the community
- She shows up as her authentic self
Jackson offers six online courses for new speakers. Although each varies in topic, her main goal is to help people hone their niche and create their signature, keynote talk. “There are so many great resources that I’ve learned over the years, and now I’m able to offer my knowledge to others who want to learn,” she says.
Teaching online allows Jackson to extend her message as far as possible. “There are people who I won’t be able to reach in-person,” she says. “Having the ability to reach wider places and more people is really important to me.”
She chose Thinkific to host her courses “because it was just so easy.”
“It made a lot of sense,” she continues. “I wanted a platform that was user-friendly and drag-and-drop style. I didn’t want to pay someone to create courses for me; I wanted to be able to do it on my own by recording the content, putting it on the platform, slapping a price on it, and then selling it.”
Plus, she says her students give her feedback about how easy Thinkific is to navigate. “It’s a great experience for both the creator and the user,” she explains.
Jackson believes in offering accessible pricing. She says that money was tight when she grew up, therefore she knows how important it is to make things affordable. Plus, when she was first starting out in her career, she didn’t have a lot of money saved. During this time, she would tap into as many affordable courses as possible offered by other coaches—and she wants to give back in the same way that they did by making her courses affordable, too.
Most of Jackson’s courses are priced between $29 to $97 USD. Although she offers higher-ticket options, like her Get Your C.O.I.N.S Bundle, priced at $497, and the more expensive C.O.I.N Crew Academy, which is her six-month, high-ticket program for new and emerging speakers, most of her offers are in the lower cost bracket. “I don’t want to make the content inaccessible for a group of people who I know have talent and who need the information to change their lives,” she explains. “No matter where someone is in their speaking journey, they’ll be able to find something in their price range.”
Jackson’s lower cost courses are all pre-recorded. In her bundle and academy, she includes live components in the form of coaching and Q&A’s.
For those signing up for C.O.I.N Crew Academy, she offers payment plans through Stripe and PayPal. “When you’re in the beginning stages of your career – or are in an economic situation like we’re in now – sometimes you don’t have the means to pay the full price in one go,” continues Jackson. “Having a payment plan set up may be more feasible for some people.”
The payments automatically get taken out on a certain day, so she doesn’t have to worry about doing anything manually.
When it comes to pricing, Jackson believes that there is no right or wrong way to price your course; the trick is to figure out what’s best for your audience. “If you’re serving a low economic community, you can’t price things too high because people won’t purchase them,” she explains.
“You have to think about who your target audience is, and how much money they make. You need to know all of the demographics about your target audience because that will help you.”
For Jackson, her audience is made of therapists—mostly women aged 35-45—who follow her on social media and who want to glean from her skill set. Most are located in the US, but some live internationally.
Not only does understanding your audience help creators price their courses, it also helps them know what kind of courses to create.
“I create content based on common questions I receive from my Instagram followers. Every time I create content based on what my audience actually wants, it’s successful.”
In fact, she says that this has been the biggest key to her success. “I’ve created courses that I thought people wanted, and those didn’t do well because they were created from a selfish place of thinking that it was what they wanted.”
Jackson’s content creation process is simple; she creates an outline for what she talks about (based on feedback from her followers), sets up her camera and lighting, records the content, edits the videos, and then uploads them into Thinkific. “You may not believe this, but I do it all by myself,” she shares. “Eventually, I’ll get some additional assistance. But I feel like it’s my baby—and when something is so close to your heart, you want to take care of it personally.”
At the end of each course, her students are sent a survey, which asks students what worked well, what didn’t work well, and what they would have liked Jackson to talk about more. This helps her to continually improve her content and best serve her audience.
Learning about a creator’s audience can also make marketing efforts more targeted, as it allows creators to speak their students’ language. “Your words need to resonate with your audience so that they know you’re talking to them,” she explains.
For Jackson, social media is the primary way she gets the word out about her digital products. “In the beginning, I wasn’t purposely marketing my courses,” she explains. “People would just see my content and DM me asking for more information.”
She enjoys using Instagram stories to sell her courses—especially because stories allow creators to add links. She also loves creating reels. “Instead of just posting a graphic and asking people to buy your course, I love to have something that’s unique, entertaining, funny, or even a snippet of me speaking,” she explains.
Further, she regularly posts YouTube videos on her channel about all things relationships and mental health.
When asked what advice she has for course creators to market themselves using social media, she replies, “be like Nike and just do it.”
“I think sometimes we get in our own way and get nervous that people won’t want to make a purchase,” continues Jackson. “Or, we fear that we’re marketing too much or aren’t marketing enough.”
For first-time creators who don’t know where to start, Jackson advises that they address their underlying imposter syndrome and fears. “We live in an information age, and Google is our friend,” she says.
“Typically, not knowing where to start isn’t the issue; it’s fear that hasn’t been acknowledged.”
She says that many people think they—and their content—isn’t good enough. For Jackson, this narrative showed up in her beliefs about money. She had to let go of the thoughts that she wasn’t enough and that people wouldn’t pay her. “People will always pay when they see value,” she explains.
“If you’re an expert in something—either from schooling or personal experience—I believe that you already have everything you need inside of you,” Jackson adds. “The world is just waiting for you to share your knowledge, expertise, and lived experience in a way that’s digestible for others.”
Jackson allows her course purchasers to have access to her content indefinitely. “I believe that sometimes, we consume information in different intervals,” she says. “Personally, I have purchased courses over a year ago that I still haven’t tapped into, but I know I eventually will.”
To encourage accountability, students receive a certificate of completion at the end of each course. She says that her students love this feature, and often send her pictures of themselves with their certificates. “Even something as small as an online certificate gives people the incentive to want to consume and apply the content,” she adds.
She also upsells her students by offering one-on-one public speaking coaching, which she says helps her students actually implement what they’ve been learning. Plus, after completing a course, many students move onto her other courses.
To increase awareness of her courses, she runs ads on social media. She also connects with Facebook groups like Black Speakers Network and her own group, Black Speakers Rock!, which is a community of speakers of color who want to go to the next level. “There are hundreds of people in Black Speakers Rock!,” she shares. “Typically, I market my courses and resources to them because they’re already people who want to tap into what I have to offer.”
Aside from the Black Speakers Rock! page, she doesn’t have separate communities for her courses. However, she says that her social media seems to be the community for everything—mainly, her Instagram and Facebook accounts.
The biggest piece of advice Jackson has for online creators is to be themselves. “There are so many people trying to mimic other people, and you don’t have to do that,” she advises.
“You’re unique for a reason, and I want you to hone in on your uniqueness. If you have a certain type of personality – funny, quirky, nerdy, or whatever it is – allow it to shine.”
She reminds creators that much of online course creation is trial and error at the beginning, and so is finding your own authenticity. “I believe that success really comes from consistency and persistence and just showing up as your authentic self, not trying to be someone you’re not,” she adds.
“No matter who you are, no matter what your personality is, there’s an audience out there that will resonate with you just the way you are,” continues Jackson. “Remember that you are uniquely you for a reason, and that the content you create via online courses will change lives.”
If you’re ready to create an online course that will change lives, too, sign up for Thinkific today – for free!