If you enjoy teaching others and are interested in a new business venture, starting an online course may be for you. Read our guide and start creating your course today!
Pick your subject
Your course could be about literally anything, from knitting to animation to advanced maths. The most important thing is that the subject interests you and your audience. You need to enjoy what you teach to get your passion across; at the same time, there needs to be demand for it.
Choose a subject that you already have a background in or are committed to learning about. To help you decide, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I an expert on a certain topic?
- What do my peers come to me for advice on?
- What do I want to learn about?
To get a feel for the market, ask your audience or peers for their opinion on the course subject. You can gather data on this using polls and surveys. Before you dive into creating a full course, film a short lesson and measure its success. You can do this by uploading it to social media and asking viewers to leave a comment below the post.
Check out the competition too. If there are similar courses out there, and they are successful, this is a good sign. Just make sure you can differentiate yourself from the crowd. Whether that’s through the modules you teach or by offering extra one-to-one tutorials. Having a course topic that’s in demand with an engaged audience is a great starting point.
Write a course outline
You’ve picked your subject, great! Now you need to write the course outline. This will be a guide to plan your content around, so take your time getting this bit right.
Write down all of your lesson ideas and break them down into smaller modules that you want to teach. As you map each lesson out, make sure they link to one another with a natural flow. To help you do this, give each lesson an objective. This clearly states how attendees will develop their knowledge as they work through the course.
The topics should get more advanced throughout the course, and the final module should summarise what the attendee should now be able to do. Having this structure keeps you on track and makes attendees feel fulfilled. Happy attendees are more likely to stay loyal, promote your course on social media and recommend it to their friends.
Mix up your teaching methods too. You could add mini tests and activities at the end of lessons to help cement attendees’ knowledge. If your online course is live, take advantage of group discussions. The more interactive, the better.
Create the content
Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time for the fun part! Create the online course content. The most popular format is video; however, you can opt for worksheets, audio recordings or PowerPoint slides. Or why not try a combination? A variety of content types will keep your course interesting and gives you the chance to test what works the best.
Before you film your videos, write a script that includes your main points. Display it on a tablet next to the camera so it still looks like you’re speaking to your audience. If you prefer, you can simply share your screen whilst you provide a commentary. Although you don’t need to buy a flashy new camera, make sure the picture quality is up to scratch. If you’re charging for your online course, people need a professional experience, and nothing less.
Once you’ve filmed all of your videos, there will be a lot of footage to prune. Each lesson should be around the same length for consistency and should be no more than an hour. People are better at digesting information in chunks, and longer videos will cause attendees' minds to wander. To make the videos more engaging, add some background music and overlay text onto the screen. This is your chance to get creative, so experiment with different editing techniques.
Upload the course online and take bookings
After you’ve created your online course, it’s time to put it out into the world! Upload the course information to your website and make it easy for people to book their place.
To help you manage bookings and monitor your capacity, you’ll need a course booking system. This handy tool can be white-labelled and integrated seamlessly into your website. When you use BookingLive, you can embed a booking widget next to your course. Meaning your audience can browse your offering, sign up and pay in five simple steps. The system’s data updates in real-time, so you can view the bookings roll in on the dashboard.
When you create an online course, you want to get involved with teaching rather than the boring admin work. The course booking system takes care of all of this so you can invest your time in the important things.
If you’d like to learn how to increase your bookings, read our blog on how to sell online courses.
Gather feedback and refine your course
There’s a real buzz to teaching your first online course, so give yourself time to let the triumph sink in. When you’ve done that, it’s time to get cracking again to improve your course! You should listen to customer feedback and continue to adapt your course to make it the best in the market.
With BookingLive, you can send automated follow up emails to attendees. Ask what they liked and didn’t like about the course, as well as other topics they’d like to learn.
Perhaps you could add more modules or interactive elements to increase the value of your course. Could you create exclusive content that’s only available to email subscribers? As you become more established, these extra features will allow you to charge more. Generating this cash means you can invest in creating more online courses to expand your portfolio. Before you know it, you’ll have built a successful business!
If you’re thinking about testing the waters with something more small scale, read our blog on how to sell webinars online.
Get started with BookingLive today
BookingLive offers a comprehensive booking solution for businesses just starting out, to established enterprises. Our course booking system sorts out the admin so you can focus on planning new lessons. If you’d like to see our booking system in action, book a demo today.
If you plan to run your course via Zoom, BookingLive allows you to connect your Zoom account to your online booking system. This means your customer will receive the Zoom link in their confirmation email and you can easily manage your Zoom calendar. Allowing you to grow your business by creating a client base from all over the world (time difference permitting!) Our expert team welcomes any questions you may have, give us a call on 0800 1310 342 or email email@example.com.