In this episode of Sidepreneurs, we go totally unscripted and discuss with Scott Barlow from Happen To Your Career about How To Build A Course. Enjoy this raw, unscripted and very informative episode!
Q: What is a course?
A: A way to solve somebody’s problem. Learning for the sake of actually being able to apply it.
Q: Why would, somebody like me, who has had the experience online but is starting the Sidepreneurs, we’re 65 days into it, we’re wanting to help those who want to start their own business. Why might I want to create a course?
A: It’s a way to take some of that expertise to help people get clear on what it is they want to work on in their lives. We help them make that happen. Being able to take and package that expertise where people will be able to take advantage of it. This will also create a viable product for you.
Q: How do I know I’m ready to create a course and when is the right time to do this?
A: People really wrestle with this, primarily with…
#1 – Do I really have the level of expertise?
#2 – How does this actually happen?
#3 – Is that really in fact, what the market is looking for? Will it sell?
Q: In determining the market, for Sidepreneurs Podcast and the brand, what can I do to figure this out?
A: Figure out what type of feedback you’re getting from your audience at this point. – We have about 82-85 people on the mailing list. Feedbacks have been very minimal even though they’re asked often. Not a lot of feedback on the podcast/the brand.
With 85 people who have subscribed to be on your list – what do they opt-in for? – In Sidepreneurs, a startup checklist, an outline to determine the best idea they can start with. Then strategies are considered, then go into tactics. 6 auto-responder emails are sent to walk through the process.
With that checklist, are you getting any type of feedback? How are you checking for feedback, if you are? – In Keeping to the 411 model (in moving someone in the value chain) – 4 emails of high value, 5th email is to check-in with them and the 6th is the connection email. No real responses have been received from this.
Before you just make a course, don’t just make it because you have the expertise or for the sake of making the course. Prior to that, do the work to understand the viability (is the market there for it) and are you going to format it that will be most helpful to your audience?
With Sidepreneurs, you already know that people are interested in the show and they opt-in with the intent to be able to start being a Sidepreneur. That’s a great clue you’re on the right path. If you want to get feedback – you need to ask constantly. Ask with every single email. Ask on your podcast.
Ask what your audience may be struggling with and find out how you can meet that need. Give them a way for them to interact with you.
Q: How did you then translate into figuring out what that course would be? You’ve figured out what the problems are, how do you translate that into a course?
A: Figuring out the root of the problems and ask yourself honestly, “Do those problems really line up with the way that I can help them?” If it doesn’t, maybe you can find someone that can help them with that need.
If you can help them, maybe even get on the phone with some people and understand where their struggles are coming from and find out what they really want to achieve. This will help you to go deeper on a more emotional level. Will give you the ability to actually sell the course. You’ll be able to easily write the sales page.
Upon listening to where Shawn is at, at this point in his business, helping people with their side businesses at the same time those businesses have hired others and have impacted not only their own families but the families of those they hired. I determine that you are at a different place from where your audience is at, which is a challenge.
Shawn’s needs – how to reach 10,000 people and what’s stopping him from doing that. That’s a different place compared to where his audience is at.
Q: What is that disconnect? What is the challenge?
A: There’s a theory or a paradox – “Within a year of being out of that ‘spot’ (whatever that spot is) you tend to forget the core pieces around it.” So it becomes more difficult to relate to that unless you’re continually surrounding yourself with that type of feedback.
With Shawn, if you’re able to get on the phone with your audience, you can get immediate feedback as well as help the person on the other side. Call to action: email Shawn@sidepreneurs.com if you want him to contact you. This is for Shawn to get the deeper knowledge and how to help serve others. Even the methodology can be impacted if you really understand what your target market is really looking for.
Q: How did you figure out what the structure of the course will ultimately be?
A: I really believe you have to start with the end in mind. Chart out what’s going to be in the course long before it was actually created. It was more important to get the basic topics done right before anything else. Start with a basic outline format.
Q: To give people some perspective, Scott took all the problems, pains and conversations that he had, boiled it down to solving the problems that people were having through this course.
A: For this particular course, a major component, I created a free course. Similar to Shawn’s auto-responder series. I was able to turn it to a free course. It’s an 8-day email course and I was able to get a ton of feedback through that. Through that I was able to understand what was working well and where people are getting stuck.
Q: Where can people go to see that?
A: I can set up a custom landing page for the Sidepreneurs audience: http://happentoyourcareer.com/sidepreneur will help people go from what it is they want to their first-step decision.
Q: In marketing a guide that I’ve created, instead of calling it a “guide” call it a “course”. Will that up the value in people’s minds about what they’re going to get?
A: It really depends on your target market. Example: in the football industry targeting football coaches, “if I call it a ‘course’, nobody will be interested but if I call it a ‘clinic’ which is terminology that they’re used to that will be of more value to them.” It takes some knowing and understanding who your target market is.
Q: It boils down to who your avatar is and really understanding their pain so that you can create these offers, which in your case, created a free course where people can find at http://happentoyourcareer.com/sidepreneur that will ultimately give you an idea of what their real pain is. Within the 8-day course, you’re able to check-in once in a while, you’re able to give value and at the same time seeing what the pain points are.
A: Yes. The very first email they get is “email me back, I’d love to hear from you. I read every single email.” At first I wasn’t getting any response but once I added, “I read every single email.” Or “I read and reply to every email.” It’s gotten so big that I couldn’t reply to all. If people see that consistently and they see evidence that that is happening, then they’re more likely to send a response. Recently, within the last 3 months, I couldn’t respond to every single person. I’ve now automated that and though I would lose responses but it’s increased.
For Sidepreneurs, there’s a chance your first course will not be perfect. – I cringe, my concern is not being able to articulate clearly so that I’m not rambling. I’m afraid that I may not have the skill set… just have limiting beliefs. I can communicate clearly with people who ask me how to get things done but I may not be able to articulate that in the way I view the course to be.
That’s exactly what we talked about earlier as one of the 3 things that get people hung up. Let’s take what you’ve already created. You have this checklist that works for you and some other people that you’ve worked with. That’s a great place to start. You already have this in order that’s being sent out to people, you already have a mini-course format. You’re already there.
You need feedback from people now. You can launch this mini-course format that you already have, build it or create a supportive course (a course that offers additional support) for those people that want that. For some, the mini-course may be enough for them but there are others who need additional support that’s where another supportive course will come in handy.
#1 – Take what you already have and start getting that feedback
#2 – Launch it as a beta course. I found the best way to get it start is simply through a one on one basis. Email them and ask what they’re struggling with, test out the beta course on them if they’re interested, send them the link to purchase it, now you have beta testers.
Q: I used this checklist as the structure for a test coaching and received some feedbacks from that. This is helping me connect the dots logically. I have modules within the ideas section of the checklist, there are 4-5 main areas – 5 modules right there.
A: You’re so much further along than you realize.
Q: For the practical side, are there any specific tools that I can use? Like PowerPoint, Camtasia?
A: First of all, start simple and then you can get more complicated as you go along. Determine what’s working but first, get the content right the vehicle and other formats can come later on. Easiest way to do that other people is video. It’s perceived at this point as a higher format. Screen share could work very well – talking head is also acceptable. If you’re not comfortable being in front of the camera, I would suggest to start with screen share. It doesn’t have to be complicated as long as the content is good.
Tools: for Macs – Keynote, QuickTime, or iMovie, Fiverr pay someone to edit it for you.
For PC’s – Camtasia is your best bet
Q: Once I create the course, figuring out the modules and all, should I pre-sell the course before I actually build the course? What’s your thoughts on that?
A: I like that methodology but I don’t know if it’s right for everybody. There’s typically more stress that way. I like it because it forces you to ship. The other way, I don’t like as much for many people because people will delay if you don’t have a deadline placed on it.
Q: For the pricing, should I ask folks how much they would pay for these courses?
A: Don’t ask how much they would pay. Instead say, “I’m thinking of offering it at this particular price would you purchase it at that price.” If they say “yes”, you can say, “I’m going to do that actually, can I send you a link and would you be willing to purchase it?” That’s another way of validating and testing it.
Q: How long should the course be? What are some of the things that you would want to emphasize?
A: First of all, I would start off simple initially. As you get people through your course you can and should tweak it. I think between 4-6 modules would be good enough. Don’t make it more complicated than that.
Modules = for example: a live beta test, I did 4 live classes with keynote decks, 4 sections (different weeks) these are how the modules can be structured.
Sidepreneurs modules = Within Section 1, The Idea: Brainstorming, Skills & Passion Assessment, Framework, Mindset, Selecting the 1 idea. Maybe it could that I create a course around this one section.
The short answer is Yes! That could work out really well.
The added value over time, the price will go up.
If you can effectively meet people’s needs and be able to solve their problems, price become very irrelevant to people who are being served by it. We tend to get hung up on charging way less than the value the course is actually delivering. Plan on the milestone and escalation format.
Q: Scott, any parting words about the course and building it?
A: Really spend your upfront work the real problems are on an emotional level. If you’re not close to that go to http://happentoyourcareer.com/sidepreneur you can see some very basic courses. Or, get clear on what you want really to do so you can start your own side business.
Q: Why don’t you share with people how they can connect with you?
A: The easiest way is go to http://happentoyourcareer.com/ or find out podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or any place you can find a podcast.
Call to action: Email Shawn@sidepreneurs.com let me know what you think about this podcast and what you need help with or any questions you may have.