The 7 Must Knows Before Creating Your 1st Online Course

Kleo Merrick
9 min readFeb 8, 2023

You’re probably running a few workshops, maybe doing a webinar or two, all while you maintain your ‘one-on-one’ clients…

And even though it’s rewarding, and your business is growing, you know that something must change.

In truth, you know in your bones you need to move away from the ‘one-to-one’ client model your business is built on because — let’s face it — you’re exhausted.

You’re now ready to expand your business to a more profitable ‘one-to-many’ model. And you even know what to do.

The problem is you’ve no idea where to start.

If nothing is done soon, you’ll only get busier, you’ll eventually drown in work, and it will never happen.

But making an online course is a lot easier and faster than you think.

And regardless of if you have a product-based or service-based business, these 7 steps will get you started in the right direction.

So, let’s dive in…

1. Decide the Purpose of your Online Course

Exactly WHY are you creating this? What’s the purpose of your course? In essence, how will it benefit your business and clients?

Before setting out to plan your course there are a few questions you must ask and answer honestly. Depending on the purpose of your course, the outcome will be very different. Are you creating a course to:

· Create new leads?

· Increase your sales?

· Increase your profits?

· Create Assets for your business?

· Deliver on your promise for client fulfilment?

For example, if your online course is to generate new leads, it will most likely be free of charge, packed with valuable and easily implemented solutions. Using this course to entice your audience to take the next steps and interest them to want more.

On the other hand, if you were creating a course for client fulfilment, this would be bigger, in-depth and with more hours of content available. The purpose of this course would be to educate your clients in much more detail and offer more information. Often, this course would also carry a hefty price tag and have a much higher perceived value.

2. Identify your Target Market

Before you create anything, you must know your target market thoroughly. This includes what your target wants, what they need, what they desire and what problems they want solved.

Ask yourself: what problems will my course solve for my clients?

If you make a course without answering this question, your clients won’t need or want your course. It’s as simple as that.

As consumers, we are all constantly asking ourselves ‘what’s in it for me?’ and your clients are no exception — so tell them — ‘What’s in it for them?’

If you don’t explain, or make it crystal clear, they will not buy it!

One of the simplest mistakes people make is creating their course first and then trying to sell it to their client list with no results.

This occurs when we assume the correct solution for our market — without bothering to ask them. This is one of the biggest traps you can fall into when creating content.

So, take the time to ask yourself a better-quality question: Who am I making this course for? And what problem will it ultimately solve for them?

3. Create Your Content

When creating and planning your content there are 3 main things to consider:

a) How much content?

The amount of content you create is usually dependent on the price point that it’s offered. For example, as we mentioned in the 1st point, if you’re offering a free course purely for lead generation, your course may be anything from 7-Days to 6 weeks.

Even John Lee Dumas, from ‘Entrepreneurs on Fire’ offers a FREE 15-Day Podcast Course and gives fantastic, step-by-step advice. Start small and work your way up and remember to always ask your clients what they want. Whereas, if you’re offering a 12-Month mentoring course, you would expect much more content.

b) Too much content?

You must be careful not to overload your clients with content and send them running for the hills. Remember your clients are learning something new. They’re not as well-versed in your topic as you are, and if you overwhelm them, they’ll think twice about coming back.

As entrepreneurs, we are all about value, service and integrity and want to offer amazing content that will blow our clients away. Just ensure you don’t scare them away by making their heads explode with content. They won’t think your content is amazing if they can’t absorb it.

c) What time frames?

As explained in section a), the time frame will be a reflection of the amount of content you want to provide and the price you charge for it.

As a rule of thumb, ask yourself, “will my clients, having completed my course, be able to walk away with a complete solution to the problem they had before my doing this course?”

If the answer is ‘no’, ask them what would make it a ‘yes’. Actively listening to the feedback provided and adjusting accordingly by adding more content/time.

If the answer is ‘holy moly yes’, then ask if it would be too much and overwhelm them and then simplify or reduce the course.

4. Record your content

The next step to work out is, how you want to deliver your content to your clients. There are many ways to present your online course and here are some examples:

· Videos

· Webinars

· Audio Recordings

· Podcast

· Screenshots

· Facebook Lives

· Facebook Groups

· Workshops or seminars

· Live Streaming

· Zoom calls

· PowerPoint Slide-decks

And any of these methods could be done live or pre-recorded. You may even decide on a combination of these.

For example, if creating a meditation course, you could create Facebook Lives in a Facebook Group, as a challenge. Whilst providing Zoom calls for your weekly 1-on-1 check-in, and pre-recorded audio tracks of guided meditations.

So, what’ll it be? Not sure? Ask your clients what they would like.

5. Choosing the Software

Whilst there are multitudes of software with lots of bells and whistles, what’s suggested may not be as flashy as some others you may have heard of, BUT they work!

a) Recording Software:

To record video content, here are two different recording systems:

i. Demio:

This is a simple and user-friendly webinar software and works out to be around USD$34p/m with an annual commitment. Demio offers a 14 day free trial to test the software out, allowing you to see if it’s right for you first.

For running webinars, it’s so super user-friendly and has training videos and fantastic support available from the Demio team.

ii. Zoom:

Again, this is a super simple and user-friendly online conferencing software. Zoom allows you to use the free version for most things, like 1-on-1 Meetings, recording your content videos, recording your screen, etc.

Because Zoom is widely known, most of your clients would have either heard of or used it in the past. You can sync it with your calendar, record your sessions, and offer password protection and security if needed. And of course, it’s FREE! Gotta love that.

Even though Zoom does offer a webinar option, it’s USD$690 for the annual licence, so you’re better off starting with Demio for your webinars, as mentioned above.

b) Editing Software:

Essentially this needs to be user-friendly with quick results — remember you are not recreating James Cameron’s movie “Avatar”.

A little-known software called Filmora, created by Wondershare is a saviour.

Filmora allows you to chop, snip, edit videos, add transitions, add text, etc. simply and quickly — to create great, professional videos. Giving your online courses that final professional touch.

You can check it out free with a 14-day trial, and when you love it, then upgrade to the paid version.

The payment options are either an Annual Plan for USD$39.99 per year or The Perpetual Plan for USD$63.99 for a Lifetime plan and access.

Alternatively, you can use AVS Video Editor, which is similar and includes recording capabilities and audio recorders for an annual or unlimited subscription.

Remember it comes down to your preference, your budget, and your business.

c) Storage Software:

One of the most important factors to think about when creating your content is where you will store it. You may opt for Dropbox — but your videos can use up a ton of space and if you move your content files all your video links will suffer.

Another option is YouTube, by creating your own channel and uploading your videos to a specific playlist, only sharing the playlist links with your clients.

What many people don’t realise is that anything that you upload to YouTube is now owned by Google. This is not said to put you off, just be advised Google will have ownership of your content. It’s great for short videos to give free advice if you’re looking to monetize your channel, but not ideal for the content of your high-end packages that your clients pay you mega bucks for.

Amazon Simple Storage Service or Amazon S3 is a paid storage service, but your content is safe and secure and superfast for your clients to download and view. The cost is minimal, and you’re only charged when someone accesses or opens your content, i.e., views your videos.

d) Payments Systems:

How will you take payment? In the past… there was only PayPal, but now there are countless online payment gateways to choose from.

Such as SumUp, Square, Stripe, Amazon Pay, Braintree, Adyen and many, many more.

Do your research, specifically looking at fees and charges for each and weigh up the best option for your business.

Also, speak to your peers and see what they’ve used, listen to their feedback, and make a list of all the pros and cons.

With any software that you choose to use, remember that there are rules, Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) and real people behind the computer. When you get stuck, ask for help, they are more than happy to help you.

Please, please, please, be courteous, respectful, and patient. The last thing you want is to be locked out of accounts because the T&Cs of the software have been violated.

6. Promote your Course

The biggest question on everyone’s lips is “where do I market my online course?”

EVERYWHERE! Like every other aspect of your business, if no one knows about it, no one will buy it.

So, you must decide how it will fit into your marketing plan. Here are some suggestions for where to promote your online course:

· Speaking Gigs

· Blogs

· Newsletters

· Newspapers, Magazine Articles

· Your Email List

· Social-Media Posts

· Facebook Live

· YouTube Videos

· Webinars

· Podcasts

· Workshops, Seminars, Retreats

· Live Streaming

· Networking Groups

This list will get you started with your marketing and promotion. You could even give your online course away as a ‘digital’ business card.

7. Repurposing your content

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, what have you already got that you can use? Even though you might not be able to think of anything.

Have you ever created templates, worksheets, spreadsheets, and information sheets for your events or clients?

If you’ve already run some webinars, can you repurpose the recordings and use that to create your 1st Online Course?

Even if you haven’t got a webinar or any templates or worksheets to start with, it’s so easy and quick to make amazing content for your target market, simply by answering the questions to the problems that they have.

The key to repurposing your content and (something to think about when making new content) is this:

Keep Your Content Generic!

· Make your videos simple, step-by-step, and easy to absorb.

· Only talk about one topic PER video.

· Do not talk about your other content or other programs.

The reasoning behind this is that all your future content will now be able to be repurposed.

The trick is to make your Marketing Specific & Targeted but make your Content Generic & Valuable.

Now that you’ve had time to consider these 7 steps, take a step back and look at your business.

How could this work for you?

Some people choose to create a Video Tutorial (Online Course) of what their clients can expect before their session, including filling out client questionnaires.

Some choose to create a Free 30-Day Challenge (Online Course), then upsell their clients to a high-end 1-on-1 Mentoring Program with a Membership Site (Online Course).

Where could you add an Online Course to simplify and benefit you and your client’s lives?