I totally hear you. A lot of very talented instructors have been burned trying to create and sell online courses. I think this is made worse by the sky-high expectations from hearing all the success stories of the top 0.01% of earners.
It was also very important to me that my content be affordable. Most of my background is in non-profits, and I know how badly the disadvantaged need better ways of working.
The epiphany for me was when it really hit me that I wasn’t serving anyone by charging low prices. I wasn’t serving my students, because that price point didn’t provide any real accountability or commitment mechanism. Also, I wasn’t able to spend much time with them for so little. And I also wasn’t serving myself, because I realized chasing the dream of “passive income” was actually shielding me from the feedback and learning of intensive personal interaction. This became clear to me when I tried to be a digital nomad in Italy for 6 weeks. I was miserable. All I wanted to do was go home and help ppl learn! The dream of total flexibility looked good, but was ultimately empty when I realized that teaching is not work for me. In the STEVE I just finished, it was challenging in many ways, seeing how many defects and oversights I had in the material, how many ways there were of misunderstanding or misapplying the techniques, and sometimes hearing what felt like harsh feedback about my “little baby.” I may eventually turn this material into a passive form, such as a book. But first it must run the gauntlet of fire and be proven worthy.
How would you design a STEVE in your field, applying some of the ideas I talked about here? Do you see a way of providing real accountability to online learners, to bring their engagement much closer to offline learners?