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Episode 078: 10 Things Every Course Creator Needs to Hear

October 5, 2021

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I'm  Amanda — simplicity-focused content marketing strategist.  I'm here to help you fit your marketing into your business.

Meet Amanda

10 things I wish someone has told me as I began my journey as an online course creator, and 10 lessons learned as an online course creator.

If you’re an online course creator, this is for you

The first course I created was called Your Cultivated Capsule Wardrobe, and it was an 8 or 9 module monstrosity that taught every possible aspect of creating a capsule wardrobe from decluttering your closet, determining your body shape and how to dress it, how to create a capsule wardrobe and so much more. And looking back at that course is so cringey. I did a lot of things wrong when creating that course, and I also learned a lot.

Which, ultimately helped make Club Content Batching such a success – because I knew what NOT to do this time around. So, today I’m sharing 10 things that every course creator needs to hear – and these 10 things are things that I wish someone had told me before I created Your Cultivated Capsule Wardrobe. Then I wouldn’t have had to learn it all the hard way. Luckily for you, now you won’t have to!


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Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!

*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.

The first course I created was called your Cultivated Capsule Wardrobe. And it was an eight or nine module monstrosity that taught every possible aspect of creating a capsule wardrobe from decluttering your closet, determining your body shape and how to dress it, how to create a capsule wardrobe and so much more.

And looking back at that course. So cringy, I did a lot of things wrong when creating that course. And I also learned a lot, which ultimately helped make Club Content Batching such a success because I knew what not to do this time around. So today I’m sharing 10 things that every course creator needs to hear.

And these 10 things are things that I wish someone had told me before I created Your Cultivated Capsule Wardrobe, then I wouldn’t have had to learn it all the hard way. Luckily for you now, you won’t have to, at least.

You’re listening to episode 78 of chasing simple. And I’m your host, Amanda Warfield. Let’s dive on in.

So I’m going to do this in sets. The first set are all fairly similar, but I want you to hear each of them. And I want you to hear each of them really, really clearly. So first things first, it is okay to take time off if you are sick. I know that in the, the quote unquote corporate world, which not all of us come from a corporate background necessarily, but that world, the non-entrepreneurial world, where you have a boss and you go to work, et cetera, et cetera, in that space, it is always encouraged for you to go to work, unless you’re basically dying.

The amount of times I went into work sick when I was teaching is unreal. And it’s not that I. I had a boss that told me to come in when I was sick, but that’s just the atmosphere. That’s just what people do. And frankly, when you’re teaching, it’s so much easier to just go in and teach sick than it is to.

Figure out, you know, who’s going to take over your class for you, whether you have a sub or whether, you know, our preschool, we just pitched in for each other. If we were sick and making sure they knew what you were teaching that day and what the lesson plans were. And even for someone as organized as I am, it was still a lot to relay and communicate.

And it was just easier to go in for three hours while I was sick, which is terrible in the state of our world. Now it just blows my mind that that’s what we used to do. And that’s what is still highly encouraged. First things first, when you are sick, it is okay to take time off. Do not feel guilty about staying in bed because you’re not feeling well.

Even if it’s quote unquote, just a cold, you don’t have to be dying to take time off. The second thing that every course creator needs to hear is that it’s okay to not work, just because. The amount of times that I have sat in front of my computer struggling to get anything done, because I just wasn’t in it. I wasn’t in it mentally.

I was exhausted. Whatever the reason was, I just wasn’t making progress. I wasn’t feeling like working the amount of times I’ve sat and struggled, trying to get work done when realistically it would have been so much better. And I tell my husband this all the time, but of course I can’t take my own advice.

It’s so much better to just walk away if you’re not making progress and it’s frustrating and it’s difficult and you know, you’re not helping yourself in any way. It’s better to walk away and come back when you’re mentally ready. So no matter the reason, it’s okay to walk away from work, obviously as an entrepreneur, where you have to be self disciplined, you have to get work done.

But you don’t have to get work done all the time. You don’t have to constantly be working. Do you don’t have to work 40 hours a week to make progress. Okay. If you’re making progress in your business and you’re seeing growth and you’re seeing results when those times come, even if you’re not seeing growth and results, but you’re still working hard and you’re working at it.

It is okay to take time off from work and to step away from work. Just because if it’s 10:00 AM on a Tuesday and you were just not feeling it, get out of the office, go take a walk, go read a book, go do whatever you need to do. Maybe you’ll come back later in the day. Maybe you want either way. Now the third thing in this first section, this first clumping of things that every course creator needs to hear is that it’s okay if your business, isn’t your number one priority.

And it’s also okay. If it is, I see so much back and forth on this idea. In this business space, and you’ve got one side of people who are very much like your business needs to be your priority. You need to hustle, hustle, hustle, you need to get things done. And if it’s not your number one priority, you’re not going to see any growth.

And I also see the other side of things. It’s very anti hustle culture, right? And your bad, if it’s your number one priority. And if it’s all you’re doing is hustling and then you have no balance, et cetera, et cetera, either way it is okay. If your business is your number one priority and it’s okay. If it isn’t, as long as you do have some sort of balance, something has to be your number one priority in your life.

And if it’s your business, Listen, If that’s your business, that’s your life. I’m not here to judge you and that’s okay. Frankly, my business takes priority a lot in my life. I don’t know if I would necessarily say it’s number one, but it is a big priority in my life. And I struggled with accepting that for a long time because of this whole anti hustle culture movement that’s going on.

But the opposite is true too. If it’s not your number one priority, you also should not feel guilty. about that. So those first three things are just a couple of mindset. Things that I think every entrepreneurs should hear but especially every course creator because. We can get so wrapped up in pouring into our students and loving on our students really well that we can get lost in that.

Now let’s talk about the course itself. I’ve got three things here that every course creators you’re here about the course itself that you’ve created. The very first one is to stick to one topic in a really narrow in. For example. I could create an entire course surrounding marketing and different types of marketing and how you can do this kind of marketing and that marketing. And that’s typically the kind of course we try to create. We try to create a course that has a ton of stuff in it because we want to cover everything and something that we feel like we’re an expert in.

But by focusing in very, very specifically on content batching, which is just one teeny tiny sliver of marketing by focusing in very, very specifically on content batching. I’ve made sure that I can communicate a clear transformation. Not only can I communicate at clear transformation, but I can also ensure that my students actually achieve that transformation.

Here’s the problem that I see with a lot of educational courses right now. And It’s all about throwing information at someone, but a course is not about just throwing information at someone it’s not about just giving someone information, taking someone through your course and having them go through that course journey from beginning to end, you need to be providing a clear transformation.

There has to be a goal, something that they are achieving through that course in order for it to really resonate with them. Just information isn’t enough. I can go Google, literally anything, literally anything and find the answer that’s information, but providing a transformation, takes them on a journey from point A to point B.

And if I’m just saying, I’m going to tell you all about content marketing. that’s not doing anything for my clients. That’s great. You can, you can listen to this podcast and learn about content marketing. But learning how to create a batch system for your specific and unique business that will help you batch a month of content in just one week.

That is a transformation that takes them from overwhelmed point A and stuck on the content creation hamster wheel to having space in their business three weeks, every single month to move the needle and get things done and grow their business. point . So stick to one topic. How you find that transformation is getting really, really specific and narrow in on one specific topic, which leads me to the next point.

Number five, your course does not have to be huge to be worthwhile so many times we think, okay, I need to put a ton of stuff in my course, so that it’s worth the money I’m asking for it, but that not how you make it worthwhile. Again, going back to the information is out there. You can listen to this podcast for free week after week after, week after week.

And I’m giving you all kinds of information,

 but,

giving that clear transformation. That transformation doesn’t have to be a million steps in hours and hours of information. And in fact, a lot of times, the shorter, the better. The quicker you can get me into that transformation, the more happy I’m going to be because your students are more likely to stick it out and students that stick it out and actually achieve that transformation.

Those are the ones that are going to shout about you from the rooftops. Here’s the thing. The customer journey doesn’t end when someone swipes their credit. Figuratively, obviously when they give you that credit card number, that’s not where the journey ends. In fact, that’s just the beginning, but so often we see it as, okay, I’ve got this student in my course and that’s it.

You have to take your people on a journey throughout your course. So not only do they need to buy from you, but you want to make sure they actually move from point A to point B. And the shorter amount of time that you can get that transformation in the better. The more likely someone is to actually finish the course, the more likely people are going to go all the way through the more likely people are going to get that transformation.

So number five of 10 things that every course creator needs a year is a year course does not have to be huge to be worthwhile. It doesn’t have to be jam packed. In fact, a lot of times the smaller the better.

Number six, the way that you teach matters. Again, it is not a matter of just throwing information out there and hoping that it’s just going to click for everyone as someone who has a degree in education, I feel very, very, very strongly about this. Very passionately about this. There are a lot of courses out there in this online space.

That are complete and utter garbage because someone’s just saying, okay, I’m going to create a course and I’m just going to give the information and okay. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. You have to actually educate, and there is a difference information versus education. I don’t necessarily think the degrees are necessary.

I am trained. I have a background in education, my degrees in education. Yeah. But something that I learned inside of my educational courses, that there are natural educators out there, but you’ve got to hone your craft. So I’m sure there are plenty of you listening that are course creators. That really truly are national educators.

And for whatever reason in life, you didn’t go get a degree in it. And that’s okay. I don’t think you have to have a degree to be an educator, but I think it isn’t. To hone your craft. So I want you to go check out Layli Amati, I’m going to link to her in the show notes. Her creative educator academy will help you hone that natural educator inside of you will help you learn how to create eight education versus information with your courses.

I highly, highly, highly recommend that you go check her out. She already does this. she was a former teacher. Highly recommend that you go check her out again. I’ll link to all of her stuff in the show notes. She’s actually been a guest on the podcast already. And she’s talking about making hard decisions as a business owner and episode 18.

And she actually shares a lot of her story about deciding to leave the education field, where she was teaching and she loved it to move into running a business. So go check that one out. If you haven’t and already, and go check out her Creative Educator Academy, if you know that you need to hone those, those educational skills in order to give your students the best possible education through your course that you can.

Now I want to move into the topic of making money. So these next two are about monetizing. Your course First and foremost, it takes a lot of time and many iterations to build out your course. And then even more time in iterations to create a funnel around it. Having a course and creating a course is not the instant, passive income many people believe it to be. So often. And I know that I fell into this trap too, when I first started my business. But so often we think, oh, I want to create passive income and I need to have a shop .And I need to sell templates and I need to sell downloadables and I need to sell courses.

And these are all passive income schemes. Yes. But no. That’s, it’s way too much of an over-simplification, which you guys know. I love simplicity, but it’s way too much of an over-simplification to just say, I’m going to create a course. I don’t have passive income. That’s not how it works. Eventually, a course can be passive quote, unquote income potential.

In a way sort of, but it takes a lot, a lot, a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of iterations of the same thing over and over and over again to get there. You have to sell the course, right? You’ve got to get students through it and then you’ve got to take their feedback and make it better and then sell the course and get students through and get their feedback and make it better and continue to make the course better until it is the best possible thing that you could put out there.

Your first iteration of your course is not going to be that good. It’s going to be okay. But you have to update it and tweak it and make it better and make it better because you have to have those people going through it to learn how to truly give them everything they need to get through it. What works for you and what you’re teaching on whatever system you’re teaching them, whatever it is you’re teaching on.

It may work for you so well, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone. So you have to learn how to continue to tweak it for every single person.

And this is why I recommend teaching it live a couple of times before you actually try to even really create the course itself, which I talk a lot about in episode 77. So definitely go back to that. If you want to hear more about what it takes to actually create a successful offer, but. It takes time to do that.

And then once you’ve got that figured out, you have to figure out how to create a funnel around it, which means setting up the technology to when someone ops in to.

Which means what are your steps going to be? What is going to be the first entry point to your funnel, then what’s going to be the next point then how do you get to the course, et cetera, et cetera. You’ve got to figure all those stepping stones. You’ve got to create all of the emails that surround, okay.

Maybe you start with a freebie or a low cost offer. Well, you’ve got to get people into the door for that. You’ve got to. Create the sales page for that. You’ve got to create the emails surrounding that. And then you’ve got to create the emails that deliver that thing. And then you’ve got to create the emails that lead them to the next step.

And then even if the next step is the course itself, you’ve got to have all of those emails that sell the course to them. And you’ve got to make sure you have them in a way that will actually sell it. They’re not just random emails. And then there’s a lot to a funnel. There are a lot of moving parts to a funnel, and it’s not something you’re going to set up in a day and be done with, it’s going to take you a lot of time.

And again, a lot of iterations. What I’ve been doing is I have been practicing my funnel, my emails that will go into my funnel, I should say, through all of my launches. And I’ve been tweaking and trying to make those better as I’ve done launch after launch, after launch of Club Content

Batching

and even now over a year later, I am still tweaking those.

And I’m just now getting to the point where I’m going to pop it into a funnel for the first time. And then I’m sure I’m going to have to tweak and iterate that over and over again. And then once you have that funnel set up, You’ve got to get people into the funnel in order to test it out. So then you have to go out and you have to speak or do joint webinars, or do whatever kind of networking and marketing you want to do.

You’ve got to bring in people from outside of your audience and get them into. Your funnel in order to test it in order to tweak it and continue and so on and so forth. So then even once you have that set up, let’s say that you’ve, you know, you’ve got the best course ever. It’s ready. It’s done. There’s no tweaking further needed.

Let’s see, you’ve got the funnel perfect workout it, you know, 50% of the time when people go through it, they buy even then in order to make that quote unquote passive income. You still have to market yourself. You still have to get in front of other people’s audiences. So on and so forth. And I don’t say any of this to discourage you from creating a course.

I think having a course is a great thing to do for business. It’s a great way to make that quote unquote, passive income. It is beneficial, but it’s not instantaneous. Like some people believe, and it is going to take time. It’s going to take a lot of time. For you to build it out and get it to a place where it is making you that passive income.

And I just want that to be something that, you know, this is something that I wish someone had told me when I first started building my first course about capsule wardrobes. So many things they did wrong with that course. So many things that I learned from that course creation process and selling that course and so on and so forth.

But all that to say, this is not to discourage you from creating the course. But it is going to take time. And I want that to be part of your plan so that you aren’t feeling frustrated and disappointing a month or two from now when it’s not quote unquote working, it’s just, it takes time All right. Number eight. Content marketing content marketing is a great low cost way to market yourself and your course, but just like creating the course, it does take time and intentional strategy.

It’s not going to be an overnight virality thing. And honestly, if that’s what you’re aiming for, you’re just going to end up disappointed over and over again. Instead aim for an intentional strategic way to use content marketing, because it is such a great way to market yourself in your course, aim for leveraging it in a way.

That will long term and consistently sell people into your course. Now, if you want more help learning how to leverage content marketing, specifically to sell your course, come join us and Chasing Simple The Summit. We start next week on October 11th, and it is going to be full of amazing educators. I am obsessed with the line of that. We have these speakers are going to give you.

So much great, valuable information on how you can leverage content marketing specifically to sell your course, this summit is geared specifically towards course creators and future course creators. So if you’re listening to this episode, you should definitely go check it out. You can head to Amandawarfield.com/summit to get your free ticket or go to link in the show notes.

The show notes we’ll have all kinds of information about it, but go join us in the summit because if you’re listening to this episode, You’re going to want to learn how to better leverage your content marketing, because it is a low cost way to market yourself in your course, without having to pay to play with Facebook ads, especially with algorithm changes and all of that fun stuff.

Number nine is to over-deliver over-deliver over-deliver remember how we talked about the fact that yeah. Your course itself is a customer journey. And you’re taking your students on a transformation from point A to point B. You want them to have that transformation? You want them to reach that goal.

You want them to have that change in their life or their business or whatever it is that you’re selling. Once you get them inside, once they begin that journey inside of your course, pour into your students, like you could never have imagined pouring into anyone before. This right here, is the key reason that Club Content Batching has grown the way it has, because I made sure that I poured into my students over and over and over again

and because I poured into them, they got that transformation and because they got that transformation and they had that major change in their life, then they started telling their friends about it and then their friends started coming in and I over-delivered to them. And I poured into them and they got that transformation and so on and so forth.

This right here is the key thing that I did in building this course. And this is another yeah. Component of of why a course isn’t quote unquote passive income because you’re still working on it. You’re just able to serve more people. It’s a one-to-many offer, which is great. You can serve more people than you ever would have had the time to one to one.

But it’s not necessarily passive because you have to pour into these people in order for them to get through the information, to want to continue on and get that transformation and then tell others about it. You’ve got to over deliver. Well, my students, when we did the live rounds, when we have live calls, I am on those calls until questions are done.

So there were times where we stayed on for an hour and a half instead of an hour, simply because they had questions and I was going to be there until they got the material.

 When someone buys your course, it is only the beginning of your journey together. So make sure that you are pouring into them. And that is a key way that you’re going to continue to see your course grow.

And finally, number 10 of the 10 things. Every course creator needs to hear is to keep it simple and stop over-complicating things. You don’t need fancy software, the perfect funnel, et cetera, et cetera, expecially for your first launch. Again, I talk a lot about this in episode 77. But all’s that you need for your first launch is a topic, a transformation, a goal, an outline, a sales page, and a payment processor.

That’s it. I’m gonna say it again. A topic, a transformation, a goal, an outline, a sales page and a payment processor. Those are the only things that you need for your first launch. Keep it simple. Don’t over-complicate it. With each iteration, make it better, but for now, keep it simple and stop over-complicating things. You don’t have to have your course fully built out in order to sell it. Okay, let me go over those 10 things that every course creator needs to hear. One more time. One. It’s okay. To take time off if you’re sick too.

It’s okay to not work. Just because three it’s okay. If your business isn’t your number one priority. And it’s also okay if it is. Four really narrow in on the topic for your course, make sure that there is a clear transformation. Five, your course does not have to be huge to be worthwhile. And in fact, it’s usually a lot better if it isn’t huge. Six, the way that you teach matters, remember information versus education. You always want to be educating, not just throwing a bunch of information that your students.

Number seven, courses are not necessarily passive income. And they take a lot of time and a lot of iterations to build out

eight content marketing is a great low cost way to market yourself in your course, you do not need to pay to play. You can absolutely sell your course through organic content marketing. Number nine, another great way to sell your course organically is through word of mouth by over-delivering to your students over deliver, over deliver, over deliver, give them more than they ever expected.

Make sure they achieve that transformation and they’re going to help you market your course. And number 10, keep it simple. Stop. Over-complicating. You don’t need the fancy software. You don’t need the perfect funnel. You don’t need a beautiful course with beautiful slides built out right off the bat.

Start small. Keep it simple. Okay. I mentioned this earlier, but this week’s action step is to come join us for Chasing Simple the Summit. If you’re a course creator or you’re someone who is considering building out a course in the future, come join us. There are over 20 amazing speakers here to help you specifically, as a course creator, learn how to leverage content marketing, to sell your course, to build an engaged audience that will help sell.

You can head to Amandawarfield.com/summit to join us or head to the show notes. And there’ll be a link there. Now this week’s book recommendation is plain truth by Jodi Picoult. So let me just give you a little synopsis. Basically, an unmarried Amish teenager gets birth. Her baby dies, and she ends up arrested despite the fact that she denies that she’s given birth a distant cousin who just so happens to be a lawyer and is having trouble in her own life and needs to get away, ends up moving in with the family. let me preface this with this cousin is definitely not Amish. She ends up moving in with a family while preparing for the case, which leads to its own interesting set of circumstances, because obviously nowadays people are doing everything electronically, lawyers included and Amish don’t have outlets and things like that, except in very specific cases, which they talk about more in the book, but I just found this book so interesting to see how the Amish live to see not only how they live, but also she really gets into the why behind the way they live and the why behind their beliefs. And it’s very intriguing. It’s very educational. Also, it’s a great story as always because Jodi Picoult is a great storyteller, but highly recommend this book.

I read it very recently and it just, I devoured it. So, there’s a link in the show notes. If you want to check that out or go to your local library and check it out. Support the library. So again, head to Amandawarfield.com/summit. Go sign up for the summit. And until next time I hope we should go out.

And Uncomplicate your life in biz?


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