Smaller versions of a big idea aren’t just a good practice for saving time, money and effort in course creation. They’re also a great way for any entrepreneur to earn substantial income by creating courses. These days it’s easier than ever to create digital products and start getting paid online. People will shell out good money to solve a frustrating problem or to learn new skills that allow them to charge higher rates.
Michelle Martello, an award-winning designer, a digital strategist and the founder of Minima Designs, has some counterintuitive advice when creating a course: think small. Martello outlines her five-step plan on how making a mini-course can lead to big payoffs.
1. Think Practical When It Comes To Topics
“It’s easy for a customer to say yes to a mini-courses that helps their business become more profitable or helps them become more efficient—especially when it comes to arduous tasks. Maybe you’re rocking your kid’s virtual classroom and other parents could benefit from your planning secrets. Or you know how to make amazing, clean skin care products using household ingredients. Or perhaps you create animated graphics in Canva. I’ve seen all of these examples sold as successful mini-courses,” says Martello.
“Brainstorm a list of topics that you could teach in 120 minutes or less. Two hours is the perfect length because it allows students to schedule your mini-class during their workday or weekend.”
2. Pick A Scientific Price Point
“The no-brainer, perfect price point for impulse buyers is $99 or less. Classes priced over a few hundred dollars tend to require payment plans or buy-ins from a spouse or boss which can add friction to the buying process (not to mention complexity to course set-up).
“To spur sales, test using coupon codes or offer generous early bird pricing. I recently revamped an old e-book and offered it to my email subscribers for $20 for a quickie sale,” notes Martello. “This limited time offer generated a few thousands of dollars in just hours—and led to a ton of higher-priced consulting work.”
3. Make Production As Simple As Possible
Teaching live is a great way to test out your concept with minimal expenditure of time and money. “Free and low-cost tools like Facebook Groups, YouTube, Gumroad, Vimeo and Zoom give you the ability to share live or pre-recorded content with your audience. You don’t need a fancy website or an expensive course platform when you’re starting out. You can always reiterate and upgrade the experience (and price) if you run it again or decide you want to build something bigger,” suggests Martello.
“Late one night, I discovered a new fitness pro on Instagram and purchased a month’s worth of workout classes for under $75. After I paid, I was sent a link to a private instagram channel where the pro taught live from his apartment living room. After class, replay links were emailed to buyers. This class was super easy to produce using only a phone. What’s more, hundreds of people purchased it which means the instructor made an easy extra $10k+ for the month.
“Don’t worry about creating the perfect looking product. With COVID-19, the expectation of what things look like is low. Everyone is teaching (and taking class) in their living rooms. Deliver fast and get instant feedback on your concept.”
4. Pay Attention To Your Timing
“We’ve all been on those Zoom calls that have gone on too long. If you’re doing a live training, give your audience an agenda so they know what to expect and structure your workshop with breaks and time for Q&A. Another consideration for live trainings is whether or not you’re offering it to a national or global audience. If so, be conscious of your start and end times in different time zones,” reminds Martello.
“If you’re pre-recording lessons, keep them short and actionable. Chunk information in 10-20 minute learning “nuggets” with one key objective per lesson. Think about the one major thing you want them to take away from your course that will give them the transformation they’re looking for.”
5. Give Students An Easy Win
“Done-with-you courses, where you create something together and try out techniques during the session, are one way to make sure students achieve success during the class. For example, if you’re leading a webinar on facial acupressure, let students show you that they’ve located and manipulated the proper pressure points for relieving stress. If you’ve gone over Tik Tok video creation, let a few students share quick videos they’ve made,” says Martello.
“Done-with-you courses enable students to ask you questions, try sample exercises and show you their work to get immediate feedback. They’re also easy to pull together because there’s often less for you to prep when you’re teaching live. At the end of the class, encourage students to show off what they’ve learned and tag you online. They’ll be excited to share their newfound skills with others who may decide they need your course, too!”
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