How to Create an Online Video Course

What to Create a Course About?

During Teachable’s free webinar, they suggested these prompts to begin brainstorming:

  • what are you good at or passionate about?
  • what do people come to you for advice about?
  • what have you overcome?
  • what have you spoken about?
  • what types of questions do people ask in comments/group?

The most important thing I took away from the training is that an online course needs to provide a transformation.

What’s the tangible outcome of your course? What’s going to be different in their lives after working through your material?

The other important thing an online course must do is simplify the steps.

That was my challenge in coming up with the material for the course — how to best distill the years of content into a step-by-step plan that works.

  • With the topic of side hustling being hopelessly broad (something that honestly held me back from creating a course for years), I knew I had to narrow the scope right away.
  • With the topic of side hustling being hopelessly broad (something that honestly held me back from creating a course for years), I knew I had to narrow the scope right away.
  • I began outlining the course, but then remembered my notes from several podcast guests that sold courses. “Don’t build it and then sell it; sell it, and then build it,” they advised. In other words, create a pre-sale.
  • I sent 3 emails to this list:
    • Introduction – basically, “Hey, I’m making this thing and thought you might be interested.”
    • FAQs – An email based on questions I’d received/anticipated receiving.
    • Last chance – basically, “The limited-time half-off pre-sale special ends tonight. Are you in?”
  • Building Out a Sales Page: It was a little weird to create the sales page before the product was even finished, but such is the nature of a pre-sale. Thankfully Teachable makes this easy.
  • On your sales page, you’re trying to:
    • identify your target audience
    • empathize with their goals, interests, fears, beliefs, and challenges
    • showcase your qualifications to help them
  • As I thought about the transformation people told me they wanted most — pick an idea and get started — I began mapping a curriculum. For this, I actually found it helpful, as Teachable recommended, to start at the outcome and work backward.
  • Of the courses I’ve taken, I found I assigned those with a companion workbook a higher perceived value. So naturally, Start My Side Hustle needed a workbook.
  • Most courses I’m a student in have some sort of community element for peer support and instructor Q&A. So I created a private companion group for Start My Side Hustle students as well.
  • In ActiveCampaign, I wanted to make sure that student was tagged as a course customer, and got a welcome/thank you email. I built out a short automation with some important links and next steps that only goes out to course buyers. Again, not hard, but just another thing to think about.
  • Pre-Launch Sequence. Instead of just coming out and announcing the course was for sale, I took my mastermind group’s advice and warmed up my audience a bit first.
  • Email 1: The “Problem” email — everyone says “just start” but it’s unclear “what” to start.My subject line: “Just start” … but WHAT?
  • Email 2: The “Agitate” email — In addition to needing to know “what” or have an idea, you’re also facing time and money constraints. No solutions were presented. I asked people to reply to this one with their biggest challenge and got nearly 200 responses. It seemed like this one really struck a nerve. I tried to reply to each of those. My subject line: “Which is it, %FirstName%?”
  • Email 3: The “Solve” email — So what’s the answer? The answer, as demonstrated by 300+ Side Hustle Show guests, was to start with a service business. This email also announced that the cart was open. My subject line: “Found this”
  • With the audience now primed and ready, I was ready for the sales to start rolling in. To support the launch, I had several more promotional emails go out over the next few days. Along the way, I also gave people the option to opt-out of this specific promo, but stay subscribed to the broader newsletter.
  • Email 4: Course is now open: here’s what’s inside. My subject line: “Now open: Start My Side Hustle 💡”
  • Email 5: FAQ email. My subject line: “Is “Start My Side Hustle” right for me?”
  • Email 6: Logical appeals. This one only went out to subscribers who’d opened one or more of the previous messages. It mentioned that the course was closing tomorrow, and highlighted the benefits of following a proven plan instead of “figuring it out on your own.” It also mentioned the 30-day money-back guarantee as a risk reversal. My subject line: “Is “Start My Side Hustle” worth it?”
  • Email 7: Last Day. This quick message only went out to those who’d clicked over to the sales page. In hindsight, maybe I should have sent it to everyone. It gave a quick overview of what was included in the course and invited people to join before the doors closed. My subject line: “Are you in, %FirstName%?”