3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating An Online Course

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by Louise Blakely in Online Courses
April 27, 2020 1 comment
common mistakes to avoid when creating an online course

Have you been thinking of creating an online course for awhile now, but you haven’t taken any steps towards turning it into a reality?

If so, this blog post is for you. 

I know that there’s a lot of online entrepreneurs out there who would love to have a course. Another way to make money in your business, and online courses are a lot more passive than many other online business models.

Sounds good right about now, doesn’t it?!

 But there’s some very common mistakes or beliefs that are holding you back. Things that are stopping you from moving forward with this idea. 

I know, because I've been there. 

And I'd love nothing more for you than to learn from my mistakes so you can avoid them. It'll mean you get up and running a lot faster, and get to skip all the painful stuff! 

Mistake 1: You want to include ALL of your knowledge in the course

It’s common sense to want to add everything you’ve ever learnt about a topic to an online course. 

But an online course isn’t a way of proving to others how much knowledge you have.

Instead, it’s a process for your students to follow to get them the result they desire in the least amount of time, with the least amount of resistance. Because they don’t want to learn as much as they want the transformation you deliver. 

So it’s not about you – it’s about your students. Meet them where they’re at, and get them to where they want to be with as few steps as possible. 

what to include in an online course

Just knowing this can instantly make your online course seem doable. It doesn’t have to be an encyclopedia. It can be simple, and it should be. 

So instead of cramming in the contents of your entire brain: 

  • Take your students through a process or system that will take them from A – Z.
  • Remember that less content is often better, because simplicity works.
  • Resist the urge of cramming the course with everything you know. It’s not a case of showcasing how much you know, but what’s going to get the fastest results for your students with the least amount of resistance.

Now that we’ve got this sorted, let’s move onto the next mistake.

Mistake 2: Not launching your online course because you haven’t created it yet

Many small business owners dream of having an online course that generates sales. 

But very few small business owners actually have an online course to sell. 

The main reason for this is simply not taking action on the idea, and turning it into a reality. 

Now I get that this is easier said than done. 

The biggest barriers seem to be what tech to use, how to structure the course, how to sell the course. These barriers can seem enormous when you’re just in the dream up stage. The only way around this is to start, one foot in front of the other. 

While ideally it’d be great to have the online course completely finished before you offer it to anyone (and it could work for some super-motivated people), most of us need a butt kick. 

And there’s no greater butt kick than to be accountable to someone else. Let alone paying clients who are waiting on delivery of the course content. Nothing will spring you into gear with creating an online course more than this. 

So use it to your advantage. 

Map out what you want your course to be about, give it a name, put together your launch material and off you go! Ideally you will have at least the first module/week created and then you create the rest as you go. Just make sure you make it clear to the buyers of the course what date each module will be available BEFORE they purchase, so everyone knows what to expect. 

Another huge advantage to the pre-sell strategy is that you can test your offer. If you do the launch, and no one buys (yes, this does happen sometimes), then you haven’t just spent months of your life creating an online course that nobody bought. 

Disclaimer on this one though – because it’s a marketing-led approach, and then product development comes later, it’s vital that you plan out your course delivery thoroughly before you use this method. 

Mistake #3 – Obsessing over tech and trying to be fancy

I get it, you don’t do things by halves. 

You’ve possibly done some online courses that were so professionally done that you wouldn’t accept anything less than that for your own online course. 

But reality check – these high rollers with the fancy courses most definitely DID NOT start out like that. 

Instead, they validated that there was a market for their first course with a minimum viable product (MVP). Then they improved and tweaked that course based on the feedback they received and results their students got. Then, and only then, could they justify investing a lot of money in video creation. Because it’s not essential. 

You can shoot some decent video footage on your smartphone, and with a small lavalier microphone and some good lighting, it’ll be even better. 

shoot your own video

You don’t need those fancy intros and outros either. I definitely made this mistake. Not only are they annoying to have to place onto the beginning and end of every single video, taking up hours of your time, I’ve found that they’re actually really annoying when you’re the student in an online course too. 

Getting stuck on what course platform is another decision that I see a lot of people getting stuck on. You can spend years researching this stuff! Instead, it’s best to give yourself a time frame to make a decision. Carve out 2 – 3 hours to do research, and at the end of that period, you HAVE to make a decision!

You can always change it later but I don't believe you can make a wrong decision here. There are some excellent options you can choose from, and they all have pros and cons. 

After reading this, I hope that you’ve gotten the picture that your course content and what transformation you offer your students is much more important than anything else. 

If you’ve got a skill in a specific area, and other people can benefit from that knowledge, then you have an obligation to get it out there! 

And there has never been a better time to create an online course business, or add a supplementary income stream to your business. 

Time to get creating!

1 Comment
  1. Kim says:

    Thank you I just started an online course. If you get a chance please check it out 😀

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