Reflections on Course Creation: What I Wish I Knew Before I StartedJul 11, 2022
As exhilarating as course creation can be, it’s also a daunting process to take all your ideas - and entire process, really- and boil it down to basics that others can learn and implement. There are lots of things you learn after the fact, that are only available to figure out thanks to that old jerk, Hindsight.
It’s definitely something that’s inherently complex with a lot of moving pieces. It's a big project, but I’m here to tell you it’s worth it. It’s so worth it I built an entire business around it- and a successful business at that. I believe in the quality and necessity of the course we created, as well as the courses we help clients build. I also believe that all of them are about to find a relevance they’ve never seen before in this new post-pandemic world.
With all the talk of complexity, it’s often hard to know where to start, and what to expect along the way. Lucky for you, I happen to have a history of course creation (who knew?!) and I’m here to share with you what I wish I knew when I was just getting started. You get to learn from my trials and errors, and hopefully go in more informed on what to anticipate throughout the process.
Before we dive right in, welcome! You’ve now entered The Dreamer’s Lounge! I’m Ariel Schiffer, and I have made it my mission to take out the digital trash one bad course at a time. I am the creator of The Course Alchemist, Industrial Organizational Psychologist, and Curriculum and course design expert.
This podcast is for entrepreneurs who are looking to elevate their digital product suite so their offers speak for themselves. Nothing is worse than being oversold into something that under-delivers just like an overpriced bottle of wine. So, if you’re ready to develop high-quality offers, bring in consistent revenue, and have a business with long-term results for you AND your clients, grab your drink and join us inside…
Here’s the Gist, a Practical List
I’ve assembled a sweet lil list of things I wish I had known going into my business and course creation in general and I’m excited to share it with you. Let’s go:
1. First impressions matter, but perfection doesn’t exist
If you’re waiting for your course to be “perfect” then hope you’re cool with waiting forever. This is not an excuse for you to throw any old crap out there; you can't make a first impression twice, especially when it comes to things like education. When people are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on your course you need to make sure that what you’re offering is up to par.
That said, I know a lot of my clients are not in the category of person to release a crap course for a quick buck, which is why I work with them. That’s admirable however it can also be a double edged sword if you’re not careful. I think what often happens is that determination to do a great job makes us put undue pressure on ourselves. We don't want to let people down and we want to feel really confident about what we're selling. Again, this can be a great motivator, until it crosses into the land of self-sabotage.
I’ve seen many times where someone is finally “ready” to get started, and then use every excuse to put things off or constantly improve things before putting it out there. And I think it's because of the fear of being vulnerable, and genuinely being afraid that what you’re about to put out there isn’t good.
Not only are you putting a personally developed solution, you're teaching people how to do it themselves which is a process unto itself. Especially when you're putting your heart and soul into something by sharing your own personal experiences and processes, it really does have the potential to feel very personal should it flop. So it becomes tempting to just be perpetually “working on it” as an excuse to never launch- you might not even realize this is what you’re doing, but it’s extremely common.
You want to create an end product that you feel proud of; one that looks beautiful and feels user-friendly and comprehensive, but not at the expense of actually doing the damn thing.. If your heart and your intention are in the program people will be able to tell, and that's going to make more of a first impression than anything. So please find the balance between being discerning and self-sabotaging.
2. Stop sitting on your idea
This one goes along with 1, but at some point you just have to do it. Take the next step. Launch it.
If it's taking up real estate in your mind, you're not making any money from it. If you have an idea and you've been sitting on it or thinking about it for quite some time, move. Do something.
it's not going to get done without you getting it done. And the sooner you have it done, the sooner you can start actually generating revenue from it. I find that many people have these great ideas and they sit on them for whatever reason- it’s not a good time. They’ll get to it. Blah blah blah.
But then life happens, business happens, and of course there’s never time. Now, it’s never too late to get started, but the longer you wait often the more complicated life becomes and the less time you’ll have to dedicate to the creation of an offshoot like a course. And truly, a course is something that, once it’s done, it’s done (relatively speaking, it’s a living thing that needs overhauls and improvements over time) it doesn’t require all that much time aside from occasional maintenance; you’re generating passive income through something that doesn’t require your time.
I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a pretty nice supplement to my primary business.
3. Ask for help when you need it.
Since your course is based on your process and your solutions it can feel like a failure to reach out for help. Again, though, it’s one thing to know your industry, but it’s another to teach it. Course creation is an incredibly intricate process, and you want to make sure that you’re crafting a comprehensive and effective course. If you are struggling with a certain parts of it, or if it would give you more time to spend in more productive ways than getting into frustrated huffs, then get help.
That means maybe outsourcing parts of the course creation, maybe it's hiring somebody like our team to help you fill certain gaps, maybe it's just finding a graphic designer to help with some slides or a tech expert to help with your uploads; whatever it is, get help when you need it.
There are so many moving pieces of course creation, and they require different skill sets- it gets complicated very quickly. That’s literally why we have a business dedicated to this with different professionals in different roles. No shame in asking for help.
4. Plan your launch accordingly
If you're going to pour all this time into a course without any planning or attention to marketing, it’s probably going to flop no matter how brilliant it is.
if you're going to spend time developing a course and really putting a lot of energy and focus into it, take the time to also plan your launch accordingly. Successful launches -especially for people who are selling a new product for the first time- need time and space to build up an audience, to show up as a credible authority, and to get people excited about what you're selling. You need to prepare people for what you have coming, so they're ready and they're excited when the time actually comes and it's not a surprise.
When it comes to marketing too, some people are going to see some things you post and some people are not going to see other things- sorry but unless you’re a Kardashian that’s just how it goes. Just know that even though you see everything that you're doing, everybody else doesn't which is why to you a marketing strategy may seem like you’re hitting people over the head when really it’s just going to lay the groundwork for a decent turnout.
You also need to not panic if you don’t bring in a massive profit after your first launch. That’s not what course creation is about. I wish I knew this when I started, because I put so much pressure on myself initially but if you build out your course right, and continue to do the work on it, each iteration is better, and it’s growth and reach is organically exponential.
This is a long game. It’s not about making a quick buck, it’s about putting something out there that is worth people’s time and letting them find it consistently. Just because you have something doesn't mean people are going to come out of the woodwork every single day and purchase it. It's a long game. It takes time, it takes planning, it takes momentum, it takes marketing to be able to sell and to grow into becoming a thought in peoples’ minds.
As long as your launches are steadily getting better and better a less than stellar (in terms of purchases) initially should be expected. It’s normal.
Final Course Thoughts: The Bottomline
Whatever it is that’s holding you back, please let it go because people need to hear what you have to say. If you've ever struggled with doubt about where to start, or even if you should, just know that people need to hear what you have to say and they need to hear how you are going to say it. The way that you teach has the potential to change the course (sorry I had to) of someone’s life, and help them learn in a way that’s never before been available to them.
If you feel called to creating a specific course, don’t ignore it and don’t hesitate because you’re afraid you might not be good enough- that’s a shitty reason to miss out on what could be a massive opportunity.
I know this process can be intimidating, but remember you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out and become a part of The Course Alchemist. I’m especially excited about this iteration, and the tools it gives you to ensure your own course is successful in every way.
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See you next week!P.S. - Creating a truly transformational course doesn’t have to feel overwhelming! Join The Course Alchemist today to begin concocting your secret elixir for creating courses that deliver extraordinary transformations and leave your clients spellbound.
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