September 14, 2018

Has anyone made an online course?

I made a couple of online courses a few years back and they still do okay.

I considered making a new one and notice that there are millions of courses now. Which makes me think how I can sell spades to the course gold rush!

If you have made an online course in the past or are currently making one, could you please let me know if you'd be free for a short call to talk about the process you used and any struggles you had?


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    I made an online course on Udemy for people looking to get in to product management. It probably generated about $500-$800/month for about 6 months. Then I sold it to a a product management school.

    Now I'm working on a course in a completely different niche -- Wedding Planning. I hired a research/writer to write a 2 hour script for about $900. I have my VA voiceover it for about $200. And then I have a video editor that will put it together for $300. So $1400 for a course.

    I'm working on the sales funnel for it. We're generating leads through a Facebook group I started (5,700 brides right now and growing by hundreds every month organically and through $2/day FB engagement ads).

    I'm also running a lead gen ad that drives to a quiz called "What's your wedding style" that collects their email address before showing their quiz result. Building about 30 leads/day with it @ $0.40 per lead.

    Email list is at about 1,500 brides.

    Right now I'm building out the 5-email campaign to send to that list and to any new subscribers + ClickFunnels landing page. Might end up hiring someone to help with this piece too.

    We also have some backend offers after this course, but this thread is only about the course so I'll end it there :)

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      How good is the quality of the script and how much direction do you give on the content?

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    I am in the process of setting up online courses specifically for woodworking. I have been writing software to handle enrollment, sales, and authentication.

    I would be open to a call later on.

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      Why build your own software platform? I mean, I know why, because you/we/me/us are developers and that's what we do.

      But wouldn't it be better to use an out of the box LMS platform and focus on your course content?

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        That's a good question. Part of it was because I was building out a new site and wanted to have it as part of the framework and it fits in with other features of the site.

        Part of it was for the challenge (Because we're developers). I had specific things that I wanted to setup in the course and wanted to structure it based on that.

        And yet another part of it was because I would like to build up a collection of woodworking courses with a larger network consisting of multipe instructors. Make this a platform for learning woodworking and woodturning.

        In retrospect, yes I should probably have created course 1, started to generate revenue from it, and THEN started building software if (and only if) I could make a valid business case and determined that I really needed it.

        Thanks for the thoughts & helping me challenge my assumptions.

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          Happy to help any time. Can't wait to check out your woodworking courses. I'm not much of a wood craftsman myself, but always interested in a new (non-computer) hobby, and find wood craft interesting.

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        Have you got any recommendations for an LMS platform to use?

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          For someone technical, I'd recommend using a WordPress LMS theme or Ruby on Rails LMS. There are several for each, but I don't have a particular recommendation.

          For non-technical, I'd publish on a marketplace like Skillshare, Udemy, etc. Or setup your own with Pathwright or Teachable or the like.

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            My main point in my comments was not to knock @WoodFrontier (hope you didn't think that), but just to remind that in the case of a course product, the product is the course material not the software

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              No worries - no knocks taken.

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      What kind of sofware you are writing?

      For diy or wood manufacturers?

      I'm in cnc industry in Turkey.

      We made a lot of cnc lathe machines.

      May be an opportunity in my country. :)

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        The software is to teach how to make a specific project for each course. It includes presenting BOMs, assembly instructions, training videos, and similar.

        While it is primarily focused on smaller users, it could be easily adapted for training products for an industrial or manufacture user. I'm happy to chat if that is something you are interested in looking further into.

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          Of course.

          serkankemalcan[at]gmail.com

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    I used to work at Coursera and helped make a lot of courses. Happy to help with specific questions, especially on how to teach well :)

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      I notice that there has been a huge rise in trash courses. it's hard to sift through them to find something good. the whole platform needs to have a good reputation. Udemy will make some money in the short term till everyone realises it's always on sale for £8, every day of the year, and it's not a bargain because it's 20 hours long.

      I might have some questions around how Coursera ensure standards are met across the platform and how they teach their teachers for the difference in online to offline teaching. I have a friend who works at lynda.com but I think their rigid requirements for courses doesn't always fit all subjects. and as we know Udemys quality control is very weak. Maybe the future of online teaching lies in this area.

      Could you email me please on rob@firefields.com if you have a minute and you can talk about it further.

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      Hi! That's a pretty nice experience. I have an idea to launch one IT-oriented online course, would be nice to chat with you!

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        Hey, ya! feel free to reach out to me@quantumblonde.com

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    I built a platform for subscription online video courses (never launched). If your content is primarily video, I would start with youtube and do their premium channel offering. Instead of spending untold hours building the platform, just start with Youtube and focus on the content. Otherwise you're going to invest dozens and likely hundreds of hours building mostly commodity features that others have built better. Start with Youtube, see if you can build a following based on your content and move off-platform eventually if it makes sense.

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      I would imagine you'd just go with something like Udemy or Teachable depending on your needs and level of comfort with technology and marketing these days.

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    I've made several course-like material, but never a complete course.

    Meaning, I have a youtube channel with 200+ free videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/iamdavidwparker).

    My WebGL series "course" is 108 videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPqKsyEGhUnaOdIFLKvdkXAQWD4DoXnFl

    I started the youtube thing as a means to build a following, which I could later then sell a real "course" to, but never ended up following through as too much happened in real life and I went a different direction.

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    If you have made an online course in the past or are currently making one, could you please let me know if you'd be free for a short call to talk about the process you used and any struggles you had?

    I just tried to email you, but you haven't shared any contact info on your profile!

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      Sorry. I'm pretty new here. rob@firefields.com

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    I've made several courses on Bookbinding in the past. Only have them on Skillshare and Udemy. I got on Skillshare when the platform just started (~2014), so that was helpful.

    Making a course is easy. Selling a course is really difficult. Your options are to sell on a marketplace or host your own site. There are pros and cons to both. But to host your own learning site you really need a good channel/audience to marketing the course to. All the successful course launches you hear about are from people who have spent years building an audience through blogging, teaching, newsletters, etc (see Wes Box, Nathan Barry, Sean Wes, Scott Tolinski).

    YouTube is a good way to test out course ideas, before sinking a ton of time into creating hours of video content and building out an LMS.

    I don't have any suggestions for publishing on Skillshare, Udemy, or the like now. When I started on Skillshare it was invite/approval only for teachers. Now that it's open for anyone to publish the amount of content (and crap) has exploded. Same on Udemy as I think we all know.

    Happy to answer other questions or bounce ideas around if you have any.

    My profile/classes on Skillshare: https://www.skillshare.com/user/calebsylvest

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      Thank you for your response Caleb. I think you may be confirming my suspicion that the marketing is the problem. The bit I'm not good at! dam it!

      I actually prefer skillshare because you get paid per minute so there is some pressure to create something people want to watch. but now everyone just sticks there udemy courses on there (which are mostly shit) it's hard to find anything. which is a shame as skillshare was really nice for a short while when it started. I think the fact they changed their business model is probably proof that people want to just have access to loads of shit.

      Nice projects by the way

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    I have never made any online courses. But planning to do one. Any advises for me.

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    I have an idea, make an Udemy course on how to hide udemy course ads on youtube and show it on youtube. I may buy it ;)

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      Good plan. It'd just tell you to pay £12 for youtube premium. but I could pad it out with 2 hours of fluff

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    I'm currently making one on Udemy!