My journey to the online education space wasn’t off to a good start.
For one, I had just quit my cushy corporate gig—don’t get me wrong, it was a meaningful job. One that paid the bills (and then some), but it didn’t challenge me. It didn’t light my soul on fire. Naturally, like any passionate businesswoman ready to dive headfirst into entrepreneurship, I dyed my hair hot pink, quit my 9 to 5, and vowed to live life on my terms. I wanted to create, to live as I please, and work from wherever. I figured I would start with what I was already doing as a side hustle outside of being an instructional designer—career coaching and beefing up resumes. But to really take my side hustle to the next level, I would need to learn more about the landscape. To start? I would invest in some of those flashy online business courses you see as you’re scrolling the ‘gram.
Sounds great until you purchase a dumpster fire of a course. Trust me; I wish I were exaggerating.
All my excitement came to a crashing halt when I realized one of the courses I purchased was all fluff. Flashy? Yes. Helpful? Absolutely not. One of my very first investments in my own business, my own dream, was a dead end. I was disappointed. But it was right then and there that I was struck with a powerful realization. I couldn’t have been the only one bamboozled into buying a crappy online business course to elevate my business, and I bet there were other content creators out there wondering why their course completion rates were slipping. Already knowing how to build bulletproof frameworks, develop creative curriculums, and having a keen eye for design, my new mission became increasingly apparent. I would partner with other entrepreneurs to help improve their education and offerings in the online space. I would make sure no one would ever have to feel this way about their investment in a course ever again.
This led to the creation of Dreampro, my done-for-you boutique course design agency.
Today, with the help of my team, we help online entrepreneurs develop binge-worthy courses that best showcase their talent and vision in a polished yet high-quality way that’s entirely unique to them.
It’s no secret that nearly everyone has an online course offering these days, but you don’t just want to create another thing that has a short shelf-life. You want to create something that brings value and long-term revenue. Whether you’ve been pouring into your own online business for years or you’re ready to DIY your first ever course, I have some important do’s and don’ts when it comes to creating a transformative online course that makes jaws drop, wallets pop, and testimonials roll in non-stop.
A good online course has top-notch instructional design while bringing intention, innovation, and individuality to the table. Sounds nice, but we all can start this journey with the right choices, only to create some blasé course that leaves an audience lukewarm at best. That’s why it’s essential to identify the most common pitfalls in this process. Here are my 4 biggest mistakes to avoid when creating your next online course.
Mistake #1: Creating Just To Make Money
Yikes! We’ve all seen this one before. Of course, making more money is not a bad motivator. Having those ambitions to earn more for yourself is a good thing, but you’ll be hard-pressed to create something that stands out if your only intention is to meet your revenue goals. Your course should serve a purpose and solve a problem. So get crystal clear on who you’re selling to and the pain point you’re helping them solve. Long-term revenue comes from high-quality programs you plan to sell in your business for the foreseeable future—make sure they align with your vision.
Mistake #2: Not Considering Your Ideal Client When Designing
Like my last point, don’t just create something for revenue without thinking about who you’re selling to. The worst thing you can do is design with just yourself in mind and not the people buying and reading your course. If your ICA (ideal client avatar) doesn’t connect with your course, they won’t buy. Make sure you understand your ICA’s current competencies, confidence level, and where they want to be. Your course serves as the way to bridge that gap!
Mistake #3: Forgetting About Client Experience
Much like forgetting to prioritize the audience, the next worst thing you can do is forget about the overall importance of the client experience. Your audience wants to feel special and guided, and not like they’re just buying something they have to figure out themselves. Creating a seamless system that allows you to check in with those who bought your courses and crafting something innovative and exciting is crucial to creating a course that will make your buyer happy. How you set up clients for success is so important. Your experience and client onboarding process (especially for self-led, evergreen courses) is key. Make sure your audience has what they need, and your user experience is intuitive and straightforward.
Mistake #4: Prioritizing Your Marketing Over What Value & Skills Your Offering
Ever come across a course that’s all fluff without any tactical advice? You walk away thinking, “What did I just spend the last couple of weeks learning?” Or worse, you don’t even complete the training! Of course, marketing is a crucial step when launching any new or existing courses. However, making a sale without focusing on what it is you’re offering will keep customers from buying another course from you. So invest in your course material and make sure the value matches the price point. If not, customers will be left feeling robbed, which then will reflect poorly on your business. High-quality programs lead to happy customers, which lead to repeat clients, which lead to referrals.
Investing in your course creation is something that cannot be overlooked, as it’s the one thing your people value most, especially when it’s at a high price point. When you prioritize the value, skill, and education you’re offering, you’re on your way to creating binge-worthy programs that leave your audience begging for more. That’s course creation magic.
This is a guest post written by Ariel Schiffer. Ariel Schiffer is a 6-figure CEO and Founder of Dreampro, the host of The Dreamers Lounge Podcast, and holds a Masters in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. After working with large corporations from Diesel to Lowe’s Home Improvement, Ariel shifted her career from the corporate world to the online business space. She offers expertise in creating courses and programs with a mission to improve the quality of education and offerings in the online space. She has successfully served over 200 entrepreneurs by developing binge-worthy courses through her detailed service offerings.