Course Creators February 25, 2020

What does the MVP of a paid course look like?

Jonathan Thompson @JohnnyTurbo

What should I be targeting for essentially the minimum viable product of a paid course? As a rough estimate, approximately how many modules should I be targeting to have and what should the overall length of the course be? Any additional resources I should include with my courses?

I've made several tutorial videos on my YouTube channel typically 10-30 minutes in length, but I do also have an hour long one and a four hour long one. As my channel starts to grow more and more, I'd like to start experimenting with paid courses.

Here is an example of a recent tutorial video I've made to give you some reference on what I've already done:

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    I would say look at what Wes Boss and The folks at LevelUp Tuts have done. They are doing really, really well. So much so, that online teaching is pretty much their business now.


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      Awesome, will check them out. Thanks for the recommendations!

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    great question!

    i recently put together a 5-day paid course (bootcamp) and tomorrow's the first cohort's graduation (i only took 5 folks through and they each paid $299).

    so, to answer your questions explicitly... (and this isn't prescriptive—this is just what i did):

    1. 5 days, 5 modules
    2. all original writing, done in a single sitting.
    3. video is a component, ranging from 22-40 minutes per day (1 or 2 videos).
    4. but, it's interactive, so, i record 1:1 coaching sessions and share that with the rest of the cohort — this is the juice! so total video content per day definitely stretches to 2 hrs (or more).

    honestly, after just watching that example, i think you'd fucking slay. you already have a good subscriber base to start with and then on-ramp them into a paid when you're ready. you've got a great voice, good presence, and you know what you're doing.

    there's no reason you couldn't build something that you'd be really proud of this year! i'm a fan!

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      Seems like a really good proof of concept for what you are trying to do. Congratulations on taking your first group through! Appreciate the high praise, lots of exciting things in the works for this year!

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        we're booting up the second cohort now (1 paid spot... maybe 2) and we're also starting our mrr push (we just got our first!).

        it's moving!

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    Another option is to sell it as a phased course - 'new lessons drop every week so you have time to really work through the material' etc. You're on a deadline then for creating those lessons, but you also know whether you have people who actually paid for the course.

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      Yes I've heard of other people doing similar things to that. A positive side-effect of doing it this way is that it detracts people from buying the course, downloading all the lessons, then asking for a refund; so long as your refund period elapses before all lessons are released.

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    Great suggestions here! One other thing you could do is to create a pre-launch course page with a sign-up form and what's included in the course (a short blurb or even the table of contents). You can add that great video you included on that page as well!

    I have created one for a course I am currently working on here: As I build the course out, I can allow visitors to preview any of the sections of the course and view the table of contents. In my opinion, this might take you less than an hour to set up and will convert better than just a landing page if you are going to smoke test it. I am using Podia here, but any other online course platform should work. Podia does have a 14-day trial if you want to set up a quick pre-launch sign-up page and test it out. 🙌 Once you are ready to launch your course, you can send an email to everyone who signed up on your pre-launch course, right through Podia. No coding required.

    P.S. I work at Podia fulltime, and I am using it for billing and marketing with email campaigns for my SaaS side project as well.

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      Yeah, that is a pretty good idea to just collect email addresses at this stage, because it can be used to gauge general interest without asking them to fork over some cash in a pre-sale. Also once you have their email addresses, you can provide them with more information over time while you create the course and get them excited for it once it goes live.

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    I think in your case a smoke test will be the right thing.
    You can create a simple landing put some description of the course, probably sample video and purchase now button.
    You can even go one step farther and see how many people will purchase it.
    In reality, if your target auditory can be found on any social(ex. FB)/ event promoting platform (ex Eventrbright) network with an opportunity to place event you can place your course description there promote a bit and see how many people would like to participate/ purchase it.

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      I like that idea a lot. We already know that people are willing to buy courses in general, but it's not clear if the demand is there for the specific course I will be creating. Also I already know that I can create educational content, based off the YouTube tutorials I have created. But sales and marketing is something I still need to work on, and doing this allows me to experiment with that without spending a lot of time creating a course.

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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        Thank you ') I am happy that I become able to help.

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    This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

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      That's a really good point, we already know that people are willing to buy online courses. When I was asking the question I was thinking more "what is the minimum I need to do to sell a course?" But looking back, it probably makes more sense to just create a complete course with everything it needs rather than just the bare minimum. I would think that would be much better for the long term success of my product and would make people more likely to buy future courses.

      Thanks for the detailed post, lots of good info in there!

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