Five Questions To Answer Before Launching Your Online Course

Destinee helps healers, yoga teachers, holistic coaches and spiritual teachers to launch digital schools, training platforms and courses.

During the pandemic, countless businesses have realized the necessity of shifting some of their offers online. I’ve seen brick-and-mortar owners in various spaces — yoga studios, wellness centers, doctors and astrologers — raise their hands and welcome guidance on their online transition.

For many businesses, the perfect solution is an online course, which allows you to package your knowledge into a product and sell it to customers across the world. Even before the pandemic hit, the online education industry was forecasted to grow to $350 billion by 2025, according to Forbes, and now it’s projected to reach even higher.

Simply put, courses open up endless possibilities for scaling and creating multiple revenue streams, and you don’t have to wait to make it happen. Even during the pandemic, several of my students have launched courses to train others how to become yoga instructors, coaches and mindfulness experts.

The brilliant business leaders I work with know they need to be online, but they often face blockages. Take this quick self-assessment to discover what’s holding you back and what you need to do next to move forward:

1. What should I teach?

If you’ve been in business for some time, you likely have offline programs or one-on-one coaching experiences that you can leverage as an online offer. Don’t reinvent the wheel or fret over a new program — use what you have. Based on your previous work, you already know that 20 people showed up for your in-person workshop or that 200 people signed up for a webinar. It’s time to take that established expertise and translate it for the virtual world.

For instance, one of my students launched a brand-new training program for yoga studio owners after her in-person leads dried up due to pandemic restrictions. Another enrolled thousands of students in her applied astrology school, and yet another expanded her program about feng shui. They looked at their existing businesses and found clarity around what they could offer online.

2. Can I do this?

After my clients identify their strengths and what they’re known for, they often get excited about the possibilities. But then they hesitate. This is usually where mental roadblocks pop up, and their inner voice challenges them. Unfortunately, this is where most people get stuck and then quit. Ultimately, all of these questions point to a similar fear — the fear of failure. We want “permission” to try this online model and some reassurance that we’ll be wildly successful. In the end, though, only you can give yourself permission.

These roadblocks require deep, thoughtful work to overcome, and I often ask my clients to consider one major question: Why did you get into this work in the first place? If you’re in the business of changing lives, you’ve likely had a transformational experience yourself, and you’ve seen how your work helps others, too. If you create an online course with service in mind, you can move forward with confidence.

3. What if I’m not great at marketing?

Even if business leaders have successfully sold their current offers, they often worry about promoting an online course. They may see social media, content marketing and online advertising as flashy and slimy, and many times, they grow wary of appearing self-promotional or inauthentic. They worry about what other people think.

In the end, though, you’re the one who must feel comfortable with the message you’re sending out into the world. Here again, service lays the foundation for connection and effective communication with others. Build an email list among your current customers and nurture them with timely, consistent updates. Start where you are now and reach out to those who already support you, and your audience will grow naturally from there.

4. What timeline is realistic?

One downside to the current rapid transition to online business is that everyone wants to be there, and plenty of salespeople are hawking their products that promise immediate results. These red flags can be a major deterrent. Typically, I suggest a “skinny launch” with a minimal viable product based on a 60- to 90-day roadmap.

The truth is, you don’t need as much as you think, and it’s far more important to go to market, prove the model to yourself, and adjust from there. Instead of 50 launch emails, start with 10. Instead of 15 webinars, start with a few. Your first launch may bring in $5,000, which will seed your next launch of $35,000 and your six-figure launch after that. Now some of my clients earn millions of dollars per year from their courses, but you must start small.

5. What’s next?

As you overcome the above roadblocks, you may realize that you’re excited but also somewhat overwhelmed. This is also extremely common. It can be tough to decide the next best step, which leaves you reeling in indecision and worried about picking the “wrong” step.

In reality, you can’t go wrong as long as you’re making progress. The best process is to evaluate where you are now, gather your assets and create a launch roadmap with deadlines. Look for webinars and other resources that outline a step-by-step template for your problem area, whether that’s building an email list, creating consistent content for your audience, or setting up the technology to run your course. If you still feel stuck, seek out a coach or specialist who offers a program that can accelerate your results.

In the end, this online journey is exactly that — your journey. Decide what you enjoy, what you can offer to others, and what you want to spend time creating. Make it a personal experience that feels like a natural extension of your business. That’s the best way to overcome the roadblocks and scale your offers. If you put in the work and seek help from an expert, your business and life could transform in the next three to six months in a way that was unimaginable before.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

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