Over the years, I have created and launched twelve different large group or online programs. As you can imagine, I’ve made a number of mistakes – including one I see coaches make over and over again. I spent months creating a beautiful, soup-to-nuts, ready-for-market online course without testing it or “workshopping” it first.
If you want to build a powerful course that truly serves your audience and feeds your business bottom line, you’ve got to build it out in layers. Otherwise, you risk wasting months (sometimes years!) hiding behind your laptop creating the world’s greatest program with all the bells and whistles. But when it’s time to launch, your course just misses the mark.
But never fear, my fellow coach! There’s a simpler, more lucrative way to design that course of yours. It actually takes less work and you don’t have to disappear for months slaving away at your course all by your lonesome.
Let me tell you what I mean… But first, here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you stay on track as you bring your bold, beautiful course to life.
Through trial and error, I’ve tapped into a course creation formula that ensures you don’t waste time, money or effort as you develop your course out in three distinct phases.
Phase 1: The Workshop Phase
Think about the work you do with your private clients. What common dreams do you help them achieve? What common problems do you help them overcome?
That juicy one-on-one coaching material is the starting point for your wonderful course. Resist the urge to create a complicated course that addresses every fear, dream, obstacle, or question your students might have.
As one of my clients Julie loves to say, “Niche is rich, broad is broke.” So, your course will be easier to create, simpler to sell, and more helpful to your students when you narrow your focus.
For example, if you’re a relationship coach, your program might be designed to help students make their online dating profiles stand out. You could call it, The Ultimate Dating Profile Upgrade.
If you’re a health coach, you may realize that every private client eventually hits a weight loss plateau. But you know exactly how to snap them out of it and you can share your solution in a course called, “The 30-Day Plateau Buster.”
Once you’ve chosen the specific focus for your program, it’s time to outline the process you’ll teach.
Note: I did not say that it’s time to shoot any videos, build any powerpoint presentations, create any worksheets, or hire any designers.
Just outline the process you would take a private client through to help them accomplish their dream or overcome a big obstacle.
Next, craft 3-5 sales emails to invite people to participate in an interactive class where you will teach them the course that you’ve outlined. Think of this as a soft launch.
Keep your course delivery super simple. You can host a large group course on Zoom or Google Hangouts. All you need is a place to meet and your prepared course outline – no bells and no whistles allowed just yet.
I followed this exact formula last summer when I introduced a new program in the Thriving Artist Circle designed to help actors reignite their passion for their career.
I wrote out a 4-step outline for how I would help an actor get her groove back. I threw together a LeadPage offering a workshop called “Acting 180,” sent out two sales emails, and easily sold 50 spots for the workshop.
Handy Post-It notes in tow, I showed up to teach the workshop. The participants were excited to be part of this discounted beta test and they gave me lots of great feedback.
In fact, I discovered that I’d missed an important step right in the middle of my four-step process! Thank goodness I hadn’t slaved away building out a fancy, full-fledged program before workshopping the material because I would have had to recreate all of it.
Not only did I learn a ton, but I got paid nearly $10,000 to develop and fine-tune Acting 180 in cooperation with my dream clients. Best of all, my students got a sweet deal on a live workshop they loved!
Phase 2: The Q+A Phase
Once you’ve actually tested your course with a live (in person or online) audience and made improvements based on student feedback (not to mention gathered insights, testimonials, and success stories), it’s time to turn the workshop into a more official online course.
During the Q+A phase, your course (just like mine) will consist of 50% pre-recorded training and 50% live coaching.
Here’s what that looked like with Acting 180:
- I took the course outline from the Workshop Phase and created 5 training videos in Keynote (Powerpoint for you PC users).
- I recorded the videos with Screenflow and housed them on Course Cats, an online course platform.
- Then, I launched the online program through a 5-Day Challenge, followed by a series of seven sales emails and enrolled just over 100 students.
- Once Acting 180 began, a new training video and companion worksheet was released every Monday. Students had four days to watch and absorb it.
- Then, I hosted a large group Q+A call to answer any questions about that week’s module and coach volunteers through their obstacles. Those wonderful, deep-dive calls were, of course, recorded. #ThanksMaestroConference!
- I also threw in a few bonus Facebook Live sessions throughout the six-week program and everyone (me most of all!) had a blast.
The Q+A Version of Acting 180 was an incredible experience. The program was fun, it was well thought out, and my students loved the live interaction with me. Plus, I generated an extra $25,000 bringing my total revenue for Acting 180 to $35,000 (and the finished product wasn’t even done yet).
Hungry to create a course of your own? Don’t make another move without this Course Creation Checklist. CLICK HERE.
Phase 3: The Evergreen Phase
At the end of the Q+A Phase, you’ll have your fabulous training videos and companion worksheets, plus the audio recordings from your Q+A calls and any videos from your Facebook Live sessions.
Put it all together and just like that, you’ve got your very own evergreen program, my friend. Psst… An Evergreen program is a self-guided program that stands on its own two feet without you showing up to teach a thing. It’s all recorded and ready to roll.
Now, you can host an annual Flash Sale for your mighty course, launch it once per quarter or sell it year-round on your website.
Students will have full access to the final program which they can tackle in their own time and at their own pace. It’s completely self-guided, yet the experience is really rich since they get to go through material that you have meticulously tested.
That’s exactly what happened with Acting 180. In March, I had an idea for a new program. I hosted the Workshop version in April, launched the Q+A phase in July, and rolled out the evergreen program for a year-end flash sale in December.
Now I have a really incredible offering for actors that I can offer again and again. Better yet, I know that it works because I created it right alongside my students. Plus, I saved a ton of time and made some decent money along the way.
Creating your own course is daunting if you think you have to get it perfect. Instead, use my three-phase formula to build out your fabulous course in layers and share your brilliance with the world.
Sound good? Download my free Course Creation Formula below to get started.