When looking to create online courses, you have so many options.

But with many options comes great responsibility. After all, out of the infinite things you could teach, what really matters to teach? And, will teaching that thing make you happy?

These are some deep questions, but answering them will help you narrow down to your perfect course. In fact, creating a course is more about finding which course is right for you to teach, and for your audience to learn from.

The Strategy to Finding Your Course

dana-mallstaff-boss-mom

Dana Malstaff. Boss-mom.com.

So you’ve decided you want to create online courses, and now you have a great idea. But is it the right idea? And will people actually buy it? Wouldn’t it be great to know that ahead of time? Dana Malstaff uses a venn diagram that is comprised of your gift, your passion, and their needs

According to her, your gift is, “what actually comes easy to you.” Often times this can surprise you. A gift is something that is effortlessly to you, which means you can easily overlook or undervalue it. On the other hand, you can also assume that you should do something with your gift:

“A lot of times what people say is, ‘Well, I’ve started a podcast and I know how to do it, so I’m going to train people on how to do a podcast,’ and you’re like, ‘Okay, you can do it. It doesn’t mean you should do it.’”

Which brings us to the second circle in the venn diagram – your passion. This is something that you already love to do and you spend all your time thinking about. Though it sounds a bit cliche, this is really practical advice, because, “when it comes to the creation process, it’s super easy if you love what you’re talking about and if you don’t, then it’s ridiculously painful and hard, because you don’t feel comfortable.”

course-planning-gift-passion-needsWhen you’re passionate about something, you don’t feel like an imposter trying to teach it.

But if you just have the first two, you’ll be a starving artist. Which bring us to their need. Are there flesh and blood people out there willing to spend their hard earned money on your course? In other words, do they want what you have so much that they are willing to pay for it?

This differentiates your product into a soft sell or a hard sell. A soft sell is when they like you and they need what you have. More on that in a bit. A hard sell is when, “You’re selling them something they don’t need right now and they don’t really see the urgency and they don’t maybe even know they need it.” A hard sell is hard on you.

Find your course idea right now

Create a list of course ideas for online courses that you could offer. Next to the list, draw three columns. In the first column, write a number that represents how much you love doing it. 1 is the most, 10 is the least.

In the second column, write a number on a scale of 1-10  that represents how much people need (or think they need) this.

In the third column, put a checkmark if you have a unique spin on it.

Next, “Find the top five or three things that have the lowest number in the first two columns and have a checkmark in the third column and that’s your short list.”

But what do you do with your short list?

How to Make Your Toughest Decisions in Creating Your Course

“The secret weapon to course creation or any kind of launch of anything you’re doing in your business, is you let your community make your big decisions for you.”

One of the biggest obstacles you face when you create online courses, and when you’re an entrepreneur in general, is having to make lots of decisions. You don’t have a boss telling you do this. Your word is final and you reap the benefits or the disaster that comes after that decision.

So, take some of the pressure off by letting your community help make those decisions for you. Doing this also creates buy-in and then when you go to release your course, say, “Look, I did exactly what you told me to do and I’m adding exactly the kind of value you said you wanted. Remember me?”

How do you do this even if you don’t have a community? Let Dana explain:

1. “Go in and search in Facebook your keywords. So if you’re doing ‘branding’ or ‘wellness’ or ‘creative entrepreneurs’ or ‘women’ or ‘moms’ and they’ll show you a bunch of groups. Take 10-15 minutes to skim through ones that you think might work for you.

2. Join five of them. For a whole week, I want you to dedicate at least 30 minutes to an hour each day to going in and not promoting yourself at all, but find comments that relate to what you would be talking about, you know, your expertise, questions, things like that and just provide expertise.

3. At the end of the week, pick two of those groups that actually really speak to you and what you like because you can’t manage more than that if you really want to be involved.

4. Contribute for one more week in those two and then start asking questions.

5. Start saying, ‘Hey, guys, you know, I’m new here.’ Everybody has kind of gotten familiar with you. ‘I’ve got this course coming out,’ and when you ask questions, do it in three options. If you can add a picture, that’s the best, and say, ‘Look, I’m working on this course. It’s on A, B, and C and I’m thinking of—These are the titles that I’m thinking about. Which one speaks to you most? Here’s a—’ you know, either type out what it is or do a picture of each of, you know, the titles and all they have to do is say A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 whichever you prefer.”

6.Look at that group of people who actually comment more, so they say, ‘A, because I really enjoy this about it’ or ‘This really is a challenge I’m dealing with.’ Those are called your super-users. Those people you actually reach out to and ask them to have a physical conversation whether on phone or Skype conversation with you and that’s where you dig in deep because you’re talking probably to your ideal client.”

A Sale Starts Long Before the Sales Page

If you took the advice of the last section, you’ll notice that you weren’t selling people at all. Instead, your goal was to build trust. This is something that you must do in order to make money.

Sure, the purpose of the exercise above isn’t to make a sale directly, but when you do start asking for the sale, the same principles remain:

“They’re not going to go to your sales page cold turkey and buy your stuff, like it’s just—it’s not going to happen even if it’s a $47 thing, like they have to either know you and love you from building them in nurture system either on social media or on, you know, Periscope or video or your email list.”

Even for people to buy a $47 product from you, they need to know, trust, and like you.

“You have to actually have a strategy that builds people there so they’re already warm and fuzzy and in love with you and it’s just the final thing that just seals the deal.”

So how do you make them warm and fuzzy? You actually apply the principles of the last section every step of the way. By the time they get to the sales page, it’s just the next logical step for them, because they know you and they feel invested in their relationship with you. You didn’t hard sell them, took advice from them to make decisions in your company, and then created something they needed.

That’s how you create a win-win scenario.

Summary

  • Find the course you’re passionate about by identifying what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, and what your audience needs.
  • Make the toughest decisions in your business by asking your community. If you don’t have a community, start engaging with a few groups on Facebook and spend 30 minutes a day join the conversation and demonstrate your expertise by helping others. Do not sell them yet.
  • People will only buy from you when they know, like, and trust you. Your entire business should be set up so they do just that – before you ever ask for a sale.

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DISCUSSION: Have you found the sweet spot between your gifts, passions and what the world is willing to pay for? How do you know?

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