Online courses are extremely popular these days. I hear from a lot of therapists that they’re either thinking about creating an online course, or that it’s part of their plan in the next few years.
If you’re considering creating an online course, there are a number of things you should know.
There’s No Such Thing as “Passive Income”
The first things I typically hear from people’s mouths when they talking about creating an online course, is that they’d love to earn some “passive income”. My understanding of what people mean when they say that, is that once they complete and launch the course, they won’t have to do any work for it, and that they can essentially earn money while they sleep once it’s for sale on your website.
Speaking from my personal experience, it is nice to wake up with extra cash in your bank account, without having done anything that day, or that week to have earned, but trust me when I say that online courses are anything but “passive”. It takes anywhere from 25 – 500 hours or more to create a course. And a successful course launch takes a minimum of 50-75 hours. Not to mention that time spent re-vamping and updating the course over time, and launching and re-launching once, twice, or three times per year.
You Don’t Need to be a Tech Whiz to Create an Online Course
Online courses have become so popular, that software companies have capitalized by creating programs and tools that allow even a raw beginner to successfully create an online course. If you have felt deterred from creating a course because you don’t have the technical-know-how, I’m here to let you know that it’s actually pretty easy … especially when you have someone who has gone before you, guiding the way.
You Don’t Need to be at the Top of Your Field to Create a Course
I’ve heard from a lot of therapists that they feel like a bit of an imposter creating an online course, when there are so many great therapists out there that they have learned from, who already have courses.
Here’s the thing … your clients, and the people who are drawn to you and your practice, probably aren’t learning from the John Gottman’s or the Aaron Beck’s of the world. Even though you look up to and learn from well-respected psychologists, your clients probably don’t even know who they are. And they’re not as nearly interested in learning from them, as they are from you.
We know from research in the field of marketing, that people buy products and services from people, organizations, and brands that they know, like and trust. So the next time you find yourself asking, “who am I to run an online course?”, remember that to your clients, you are the expert to them. Chances are there are lots of people who would love to learn from you!
You Should have Experience Running Live Courses, Workshops, or Groups
Creating an Online Course is a lot of work, and it isn’t easy (even though it’s doable!). If you don’t have a lot of teaching or facilitating experience, you might consider running in-person groups, workshops, or courses before you create an online course.
In person, you have the opportunity to read the room and make adjustments as necessary to your audience. When you’re face-to-face with folks, they tend to be a lot more forgiving! You also have the luxury of being able to address questions, and reviewing material that people are stuck on. With an online course, you have no way of knowing how your material is landing with your audience. It’s a good idea to have run the course in person many times so you know what works and what doesn’t, and will be able to address common questions and concerns.
Additionally, teaching an online course where you are pre-recorded is a lot harder than teaching to a live audience. If you’re never facilitated live before, chances are that you will struggle online.
You Will Need an Audience or a Following to Have a Successful Launch
If you think that creating an online course is as simple as recording the course and then posting it for sale on your website, you might be in for a bit of a surprise!
Chances of earning the kind of money you’re hoping to from an online course that is just sitting on your website, are slim to none. A successful course launch requires a large audience to knows you, likes you, and trusts you, and is already warmed up to the idea of making a purchase from you.
This can take shape in many different forms, but often looks like building a large mailing list, have a social media following, and actively creating and distributing free content so people can get to know who you are for many months or even years before you launch your course.
An Online Course is Just ONE Way to Diversify Your Income Streams
If you’re thinking of launching an online course because you’d like to diversify your income beyond just seeing one-on-one clients, there are lots of ways to do it! I don’t usually recommend an online course as the first way to branch out, simply because of the amount of work it is, how much experience you need behind you in order to create a really great course, and the amount of effort needed to go into building a following and executing a successful launch.
When I was first starting out, it made the most sense for me to run groups and workshops. I had a lot of success with these because I targeted niche’s in my area that were in need, and priced my offerings affordably. Often, current clients or their referrals, or people through my network would attend. The more I offered them, the more popular they got due to word-of-mouth referrals and becoming more known in the community.
Once I had established myself, I shifted to running live, online courses. I like this in-between step because it gets people (myself included!) used to the online forum, but still allows for face-to-face interaction and refining of the course material as you go along.
If you’re thinking of either creating and launching an online course, or diversifying your income streams in other ways, I’d love to help!
Feel free to book a free 20-minute Business Mentorship Consultation to see how I can support you.