If you’re already running your own freelance business, creating a course might be something to consider. Wondering whether investing the time and effort into building a course is really worth it? Let’s take a look.
Online courses – they’re everywhere. With easy access to valuable knowledge, we can see why they are so popular. We strongly believe that creating an online course could benefit you and your freelance business, especially in the long term. Let’s dive in:
- Why create an online course – The benefits
- How to find the RIGHT topic
- Guide to create an online course
- CHECKLIST: Launching a course
Benefits of Creating a Course as a Freelancer
1. Diversify Your Income
All freelancers know that the greatest downside to the freedom freelancing provides is that your income is rarely completely stable. Creating a digital product (in this case, a course), can be a fantastic way of diversifying your income and better establishing how you earn money every month.
Even better, creating a course is a one-time effort – you can then sell that product over and over again, essentially creating a means of passive income on top of your freelance work.
An alternative digital product you could consider would be writing an e-book.
2. Establish Yourself as an Authority
Creating a course based on your niche as a freelancer clearly establishes you as an expert in your field.
When you show you are experienced enough to share your knowledge with others in the form of a course, you’ll be elevating your name in your freelancing field and increasing the chances of potential clients coming to you for future work.
3. Ability to Help more People
Consulting work is not scalable. You may reach a point where you cannot take on more one-to-one consulting work. So having an online course created allows you to help more people than consulting allows.
4. Great Way to Build Up your Community
There are different goals for why you could decide to create an online course. You may be looking to make money out of it (passive income), but you could also offer this course as a free resource while looking to build a community.
A course would be the perfect incentive and lead magnet to build your e-mail list and build up a community.
How to Find a Topic to Create a Course About
So, you’ve decided to create a course to sell. Now, you need to find what to create your course on.
What should the course you create be about?
- Related to your freelance business
- Something without a lot of competition from others
- On a subject, you are an expert in
Below, we’ll cover steps on how to create your course, but one of the most important things, before you get started, is to make sure your course is needed.
Ask yourself: Does it serve a purpose? Does it actually teach people something useful?
You could create a course on a tool you use, such as Photoshop or video editing if you are a designer, or on a particular skill you have, such as freelance writing, coding, or whatever main skill you have in your freelance field.
Guide to Create Your Online Course
1. Pick Your Topic and Audience
As we’ve mentioned above, before you do anything else you need to select what your course will actually be about.
Your course subject should be something that you are extremely passionate about – you need to be in love with your subject in order to create something other people can also get excited about. Besides, writing about a subject you’re not interested in is going to result in sub-par content that doesn’t showcase the best of your abilities, and that isn’t going to help anyone.
Your topic needs to be in demand. You could write the best, most informative course on the market – but if no one actually wants it, you’ll have wasted your time.
The best way to make sure your topic is in high-demand is to join forums, Facebook groups, and online communities and find what people are asking for. Are there already hundreds of courses on the same topic? Or have you found a gap in the market that people are asking for?
Tip: Use tools such as Google Trends or hashtagify.me to see what people are searching for
2. Outline How Your Course Will Help People
In order to sell your course, you need to show people what’s in it for them. Outline, before you start writing anything, exactly how your course will help people and why they need it.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Who is this online course for?
- What do I hope for someone who takes the course?
Keep this outline in mind while producing your course to help you create content that is actually beneficial to your future customers, not just to you.
3. Plan Your Course Structure and Format
Knowing where to start can be overwhelming once you’ve found the topic you want to create your course on. Breakdown the structure into lessons, and try to create a rough outline for your course to follow.
Ideally, your course should flow in a logical manner to create a series of sequential modules that gradually teach your students more about the topic as they progress through the course.
It’s also time to decide the content format for each topic or lesson. What content type could your course be based on?
- Video of you talking
- Video of your screen
- Just audio files
- Graphics and text
- Charts and diagrams
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4. Produce It
Now is the stage that really matters: creating the course! Once you have your structure planned out, start writing, filming, and editing your course content.
If you’re creating a course people are going to pay for, it’s especially important to deliver quality content. If you have the budget for it, it’s a great idea to hire an editor to go through the content. Otherwise, read through the content several times on different days or have someone in your family read through it to ensure it flows well.
Tip: Release a beta version to a select group to get feedback on it before officially releasing it. This can be a great way of getting genuine feedback on your course and finding out what you need to change to make it the best it can be before you start promoting your course to a wider audience.
5. Price the Course
Pricing your course can be challenging – you want to price it high enough to reflect the value of the content you are sharing with people, but you also don’t want to price your course so high that it puts a lot of people off.
There is no right or wrong price for your course – but you should carefully consider how much your course is worth before putting a number on it. As a starting point, take a look at your competitor’s courses and see how much they are charging, and use this as a benchmark for your own course.
6. How to sell your online course
Well, you now have the content for your course but there’s another detail you need to figure out: How and where are you going to deliver the course?
There are different options to sell your course and bring it to your audience, some of them include:
You could create an email sequence delivering a lesson every week/day. Each e-mail could include different formats altogether. E.g an embedded video with a worksheet attached. For this, you will need an automation email service such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite.
Course on your website or new site
You could include a section on your website with access to your course or create a separate website for selling your course. You could create a course in WordPress using their themes and plugins. One of the most widely used WordPress plugins used for creating courses is LearnDash and WooCommerce.
If you need help setting up your online course in WordPress, consider hiring a WordPress freelancer.
Simple PDF download
If your course is just text, you could consider compiling a PDF. This PDF could be available to download on your site and if you’re creating a paid course, you could use a service like gumroad.com (5% commission fee + 0,30 charge fee).
Online course platforms
There are several platforms to create online courses that offer creators all the necessary tools to create a course in one place: hosting, payment gateways, etc. These platforms support video, images, PDFs, and basically, any content format. Online course platforms charge a monthly and/or transaction fees on every sold course.
Course creators and marketplaces:
Learning Content Management systems (LCM)
These systems were created specifically for e-learning projects and are widely used by schools, universities, or companies offering training to their employees. Commonly used LCM, such as Moodle, is not the best option for freelancers just launching their course and trying to earn a bit of money from it.
6. Marketing and Promoting Your Course
Once you’ve created your course, you need to get it in front of your target market!
The ways you can promote your course are endless, but here are a few great options to consider:
- Write a series of blog posts building up to your course and why people need it
- Be a guest on podcasts to discuss your course (and reach other audiences)
- Host free webinars and Facebook lives with a preview of your course
- Run ads on Facebook to promote it
- Use social media and consider asking others to share/retweet your posts
- Create free email courses, e-books, or other digital products as an email opt-in that lead up to your course
- Create a hashtag for your online course promotion
Creating a course for your freelance business is a big investment of your time – but if you get it right, you’ll have a product you can sell over and over again for years to come.
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Checklist: Steps to Create an Online Course
FREE CHECKLIST: Steps to create your online course
If you were looking for new ways to sell your knowledge online, we hope these steps make it easier to find a topic and create your own course.
Good luck with your launch!