EPISODE 87

How to Launch a Business, Marketing, or Leadership Online Course

If you’ve been thinking about building an online course, this LMScast is for you. Chris Badgett tells you how to launch a business, marketing, or leadership online course even if you’ve never had a website before.

If you’re like Chris you have experience, skills, and expertise in leadership, marketing, and/or entrepreneurship, and you’re passionate to share your knowledge with others. Online courses will allow you to reach learners around the world who are hungry to learn what you can teach them.

You can enjoy a side income from your courses, or possibly even leave your existing job to do eLearning full time. First you need a foundation to build upon, and that consists of 3 parts: the teacher (you), the content, and the delivery system.

There is no course without your business, marketing, and leadership expertise. You must have valuable information to share. But you also need to be a good communicator. It will help if you are already training and mentoring people in some area of your life or work.

The second element is your learning content and instructional design. This is where you take what you know and package it into a course design other people can learn from. It needs to be clear and accessible and deliver a desired result for the learner. You’ll want to plan your content and decide how to present your information before you start building the course.

Once you’ve put your course together, you have to make it available. You need a course delivery system, possibly a full learning management system. You can either host your course at a site like Udemy — pay their fees and play by their rules — or host it yourself and have complete control of your learning environment.

Our LifterLMS software solution lets you create, administer, and sell your online courses on your WordPress website. If you have technical ability and want to do it yourself, this is a great option for you.

If you have a great course but don’t want to handle the technical end yourself, our Boost service offers you the option to professionally put together your eLearning site in just 5 days and get you started at the level where you’re most comfortable.

Knowing how to launch a business, marketing, or leadership online course begins with your abilities as an instructor and your instructional design. Once you have that you can choose your course delivery. If you’re ready to build it yourself, try a demo of LifterLMS, or if you want to focus solely on your course try our Boost service.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello and welcome to this Blab where we’re going to be talking about how to launch your online course if you’re into leadership, business, or marketing. If you have skills or life experience or passion in those areas and you’ve ever thought about launching an online course as a way to create more income and impact in your life, this Blab, this video is for you. My name’s Chris Badgett; I’m the cofounder of LifterLMS. It’s a powerful tool for creating online courses on your own WordPress-powered website. It makes it easy to create, sell, protect your engaging online courses with a simple WordPress website.

I want to talk about this a little bit. This is definitely an area of passion for me since I have a background in leadership and in marketing. Also, I’m an entrepreneur. I run a business. I love learning new things about business and entrepreneurship. Because of that, I have a lot of time and experience and skills that I could go out and I could create an online course about those things. There’s lots of you out there like me who have skills in these areas.

The purpose of this Blab here is to show you where your blind spots might be, because launching an online course always sounds like a good idea, you could teach to people all of the world and potentially produce a significant side income or even replace your existing job, but there’s a lot of pieces that have to click together in order for you to successfully launch that course and launch that as a business, as part of your brand or your entrepreneurship strategy.

First I’d like to say that there’s really three parts to creating and launching an online course. The first part is really it’s you. It’s your expertise. It’s your skills in business. That’s what you bring to the table. That is only 33% of what you need to have a successful online course. The other piece that you need is you need to take all that value and package that into a digestible, easy to follow, attractive, impact-producing online course. Some would call that instructional design. In order to do that, if you’re in business, or you’re into leadership, or you’re into marketing, you’re probably above average communicator and have probably had to mentor or guide people before. You have some experience there in creating a learning process, or training somebody in some activity, or teaching somebody something. But you really need to design your course so that it has a clear promise, it has a clear start and end, it’s well organized, and it can really take that person that you’re trying to get to improve in their business through a desired result.

The classic mistake that people make is trying to cram too much into an online course. You know a lot about business and entrepreneurship and marketing, but you don’t necessarily have to package it all into one course. When you’re designing and creating that design around your learning content, that instructional design, really have a clear picture of what you’re helping, and what the starting point, and the end point, and what your promise is. Then when you create that training, you yourself may not have a lot of technical experience, or video experience, or internet experience. That’s okay. There’s people out there that can help record videos or show you how to use the tools that you already have on our computer. The most important thing is to just either hire somebody to help or to get it done and don’t focus on being perfect.

Because if we look around us, we’ve all had those great coaches, those great bosses, those great leaders or managers in our life who we had an in-person experience with. Maybe that was a long time ago before the internet was big, or maybe that leader or that person or that mentor is just not a real technology person so everything was just conversational. The real opportunity here … when I see somebody like that, I’m like wow, that leader or that businessperson, that entrepreneur has so much value but they’re only ever able to deliver to that group of people who immediately surround them, or at the conference or whatever. That’s the big opportunity, is we need to take all this great value and package it in an online format. The best way to think about that is creating multimedia content in terms of videos, audios, text, images, worksheets, infographics. Whatever you can think of in a multimedia format, because there’s different learning styles, is really important. You put that into your lessons.

Then your lessons, I recommend mapping it out on paper, like what is the process I’m taking this new person through in my online course. You have to develop that, and then you have to fill that architecture with the various components or bite size pieces of lessons, which you can then have a hierarchy and organize a group of lessons into what we would call a section. A classic way to divide a course is into three sections. You could look at that as a possibility. That’s number two. That’s the instructional design. Again, number one is the expert; that’s you. Number two is actually creating learning content or the instructional design.

The third thing you need to do to launch a successful online course is to have an online course delivery system or a learning management system. There’s lots of options out there. You could choose a hosted solution like Udemy. The trouble is there that’s like the Walmart of online courses. It’s not your platform and there’s going to be a lot of competition there. You have to play by their rules and share revenue with them and that sort of thing. It’s not necessarily a bad idea.

The other option is to host your own, which I definitely recommend to create your own training site. The way that works is you get web hosting. If you haven’t had a website before, essentially you create a website that is able to deliver the online course, to protect the material, and to handle the ecommerce component, if you’re selling your course, to collect the money for that one time or that recurring payment. Now that’s all possible with our software that we make, LifterLMS.

The reality is, what you would need to do is if you’re not already technical or have a background with using tools like WordPress, or working with webhosting, and working with embedding content into webpages, some people come to us and they go through our boost services to have us do it for them so that third leg of that stool, the learning content delivery system, it’s not a new skillset they have to learn. That’s something that we help with at LifterLMS.

Just to recap on how that works. There’s really those three components. There’s you as the expert. There is the learning content, like packaging that material, that value that you have inside of you, into an online course. Then the third piece is to have that online course delivery system that’s going to handle all of the mechanism of having a user account, manage the transaction of the money if you’re selling your online course. You’re really have to have those three things come together for it to all work out.

If you check us out at lifterlms.com/boost … I’ll put that in the chat here … you can see where we have a way to set that all up for people. If you’re comfortable with building your own website, you can use our free software, LifterLMS, and get up and running. We have a lot of people come to us who aren’t technologists; they’re experts and they just want help. They want it done correctly. They want it done fast.

When we set up a learning site for somebody, we do it in just five days. We set up all the tools. It’s up to you whether we install the content or not. We take that whole technical piece out of the equation and get that done for people. If you want to see some examples of some learning sites that are powered by LifterLMS, I think a great one is wp101.com. That’s a technology training site. There’s a lot of great opportunities to package all that information that you have, all that knowledge, all that wisdom, all that hard work, all that life experience into an online course. I encourage you to focus on that. If you’re just in the beginning and you know you’re the expert, don’t even look at the software, don’t even look at our boost services. Look at the instructional design piece. Spend some time thinking about it, thinking about how you could best train somebody in a digital format, like what resources would you give them, what kind of video presentations or slideshows, what kind of PDFs, audios could you deliver, infographics.

Maybe you’d like to include a live coaching call, one on one or one to many. All that stuff is possible. Really think about how you can package, design that content. Then after that, it will be time to look at the course delivery system or the learning management system. Thank you very much for coming. If anybody has any questions or would like to discuss working together, you can find me at lifterlms.com. If you’re one of those people who are looking to not do the technology part and just have it done for you, check out lifterlms.com/boost. Thank you all.

EPISODE 86

Am I Making a Membership Site, Online Course, or Learning Management System?

In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett tells why you need to ask yourself this one question before you build your eLearning site: Am I making a membership site, online course, or learning management system? You may be thinking they’re all pretty much the same thing, but there are differences that become significant as you decide what you want your site to do. So let’s start by defining each kind of site.

A membership site is an online content resource that users pay a fee to access. It may include an email newsletter, media files, interactive groups, or other features and materials. There may be online courses included in the membership as well.

An online course is an educational or training class that’s delivered over the internet instead of in a classroom. Many universities are offering some classes as MOOCs (massive open online course), but online courses can also be developed by individuals who have knowledge and skills they want to share. These courses employ text, audio, video, and other content in an engaging learning package.

A learning management system, or LMS, is the next level up from a simple online course. This is where you want to offer tests and quizzes, grading and analytics, and tracking and certification, possibly for multiple courses and levels in one or more subject areas.

You can see the importance of knowing what you want to build before you start putting it together. It’s also a good idea to think ahead from what you want to start with to where you might want to scale to in the future.

Whether you want to make one or a blend of these site formats, our LifterLMS course development plugin for WordPress will help you build it. We’ve designed LifterLMS with engagement at the core, so whatever you create will attract an audience and hold their attention with elements like attractive themes, multimedia, gamification, easy integration with other tools, and personalized interaction with students.

Before you even think about software, web hosting, or technology, make sure you’re clear on this question: Am I making a membership site, online course, or learning management system? Then try a demo of LifterLMS to see how this course development platform can help you build the site you really want.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello. We’re back with another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett. In this episode we’re going to be answering a question you should be asking yourself, which is am I creating a membership, and online course, or a learning management system? This is a big question that comes down to semantics, and people are often confused. What I mean by that is somebody may be trying to build a membership site, or they at least think they are, but they actually are trying to build a learning management system. Or somebody might be trying to build a learning management system, but all they really need is a simple online course site or online course delivery system for their material.

Let’s break this up and explain what all these different approaches to what seem like the same thing but actually aren’t and help you understand the landscape around membership sites, online courses, and learning management systems and how they’re different. First I’d like to give a shout out and just thank a good friend, mentor, colleague, industry thought leader, and fellow person in the online course learning management system space, and that’s Chris Lema. He wrote a post about asking this question am I building an online course, a learning management system, or a membership site, and depending upon your answer to that question you’re going to need different tools. So thank you to Chris for inspiring some of the ideas behind this episode.

To start off, we’ve always said at LifterLMS we’re kind of the next evolution of the membership site. What we like to see is we like to see people not just trying to create a membership and put stuff a bunch of content behind a pay wall, but actually create an engaging learning experience for the people that come to this system. That’s always been our angle at LifterLMS and why we’ve focused on creating an engagement system that makes courses more gamified, fun, engaging, and really help scale the human touch of the instructor in the online course.

Let’s just back up for a second and talk about a membership site. A membership site is for having content behind a membership level where you’re basically blocked unless you pay the membership for a one-time or recurring fee in order to access that material. That’s a membership site put simply. Another membership might just be some kind of access to an email newsletter that’s not free. It’s a paid membership. A membership is a very basic thing and you can put different types of content behind it. Online courses and engaging learning experience is just one example of what could be included in the membership, or a membership could just be really simple, like I said, and just be a premium email newsletter that has a monthly fee or a one-time fee. That’s a membership.

An online course, or if you look at something called a MOOC, the acronym or that is M-O-O-C, massive open online course, these are where universities put their courses online for the world to see on a platform like Udemy, which brings courses to the masses, these systems are essentially just delivering an online training of some kind. They’re full of oftentimes video or audio content, perhaps some other multimedia, like PDF downloads or lists of resources and links to external sites and stuff. That’s basically an online course.

The thing I really want to focus on here is what’s the difference between an online course and a learning management system, or LMS? Before I get into that, I just want to say with LifterLMS, the online course software that we create, you can actually use it to create a membership site. You can use it to create an online course. If you started using a lot of the features in there and really getting into it, you’re really getting into using a learning management system and doing more than just creating an online course delivery system or a membership delivery system.

The difference between an online course, or shall I say the evolution beyond an online course to a learning management system, is where you get into fancier elements where you may need to have quizzing to reinforce the learning, the gamification like we have with LifterLMS with achievements and certificates. Looking at student analytics, now we’re really starting to get into the management system part of it all. You can add and remove students from courses. It’s not simply just an online video course with a bunch of videos put in a certain order.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and perhaps your material caters to that just simple online course format, but when you want to get into more advanced things with your online courses and perhaps you want to start blending in memberships too, which you can do with LifterLMS, then you want to be able to drill down and look at what is this one particular student doing, where are they at, where are they stuck, what’s the last lesson completed, how many days has it been since they last logged in, these are all things you can do with LifterLMS and these are examples of a learning management system in action.

I just want to ask you to take a step back and ask yourself are you really building a membership site or are you trying to build an online course or do you need a learning management system? The truth is here at LifterLMS our software can really cater to all that, depending upon what you’re trying to do, especially in terms of creating and delivering an online course. You can do a simple online course with LifterLMS, but you can also do a more complete, robust learning management system that includes online courses with LifterLMS as well, so take a step back and before you start selecting your software tools and the website materials and all the technology stack that you’re going to need for your education project think about it for a second. Do you need a membership site plug-in? Do you need an online courses plug-in? Do you need a learning management system plug-in? Which one of those are you?

EPISODE 85

Developing Antifragile Online Education

In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett explains his concept of antifragile online education and how you can set yourself up to benefit from progressive global transformation in your eLearning business.

The antifragile concept was presented by Nicholas Nassim Taleb through his books, Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and most recently, Antifragile. In essence, being antifragile encompasses benefiting from an unfortunate “black swan” event through having made a fortuitous counter-intuitive decision beforehand.

Let’s say you’re developing an online course, or you already have some courses available online. You’re aware of rapid changes the world is currently going through – core conventions are giving way to new solutions in a massive upheaval. Formal education is one of those conventions.

At some point the global consciousness shifts away from physical classroom instruction with its related difficulties of scheduling, transport, location, and debt. Your online courses are now in primary demand and your profits go through the roof.

This scenario can apply to any kind of training or instruction you offer. As the economy declines, wages drop, and jobs become ever more difficult to secure, more people will have to become entrepreneurs to survive. They will need to learn new skills or leverage the skills they have into generating income.

Think in terms of creating courses that people will find valuable with or without a black swan event. If a cataclysmic shift in your area of expertise suddenly drives more people to your courses, you will become antifragile, and your success will increase exponentially.

Our LifterLMS development platform is a powerful tool for your instructional design no matter what kind of courses you build. The more entrepreneurial education becomes, the more valuable LifterLMS will be. Try a demo of LifterLMS today to see how our course development platform can help you create an antifragile online education business.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello, and welcome to this episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and today we’re going to be talking about antifragile online education. What am I talking about here? What is antifragile? Well the concept of antifragile comes from the work of a book author, modern day philosopher by the name of Nicholas Nassim Taleb. He wrote a book a while back called Fooled by Randomness. He’s very famous for a book called The Black Swan, and one of his more recent books is called Antifragile.

Now the concept of antifragile comes from something that not only is robust or strong, but actually benefits from chaos or disorder. Now why is this important, and how does this apply to online education? Well let me start by explaining how Nicholas Nassim Taleb got into all this and the concept of a black swan event. A black swan event is a highly improbable event that you could either benefit from or really be hurt by, so in terms of Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s experience, he was a stock trader, and he was shorting the airline industry or betting against the airline industry when it was booming, and then the black swan event happened, which is tragic, and that was September 11th.

Right after that event, airline stocks really started plummeting, people stopped flying, stop taking as many vacations and so on, so that black swan event actually made him very wealthy, and he was able to leave that profession and go pursue his dream of becoming an author, and he’s a very vocal, doesn’t care what other people think. He’s kind of rough around the edges, let’s say, but he got to do that by strategically betting against the likely outcome. When that black swan event came around, he benefited.

Over time, he’s developed this concept of antifragile. If we think about it like this, if there’s a box of dishes in a moving truck, it’s a really fragile situation. We don’t just want strong dishes made of metal in a box that aren’t going to break. What if as that moving truck goes down the road and starts bouncing up and down, the dishes actually became more valuable or stronger? That’s a very kind of interesting concept to wrap your head around in that the opposite of fragile or prone to entropy and so on is not necessarily strength or robustness, it’s actually becoming antifragile.

In terms of online education, when we create a course, when we create a learning opportunity for somebody, when we create our business model as an education entrepreneur, how do we make it antifragile? To give you a few examples, let’s say like as we know in the current modern world that a lot of myths or generally held truths are being challenged. The whole thing of okay, if you’re growing up, you do a good job in school, you get good grades, you go to a good college, you get a good job, and you’re going to be just fine. What we’re finding is that doesn’t always work especially in professions outside of the more guaranteed things like becoming a doctor and so on.

If you were to create training around entrepreneurship, if graduating college students trying to get jobs continue to have to struggle and not be able to pay back their student loan and get that job, it’s only going to put more pressure on people to become entrepreneurs and start their own business. As Seth Godin says, stop waiting to be picked for a job. Really, if you look back historically, most people were entrepreneurs. They operated small businesses in their community and their tribe, they added some kind of value to the collective tribe. They weren’t necessarily plugged into a machine in the modern industrial way of working.

That’s just an example of if you’re creating training that helps graduating college students quickly become entrepreneurs and build businesses, that’s an example of something that’s going to benefit from disorder if the global economy continues to struggle in providing jobs for our up-and-coming young adults and graduating college students. That’s just one example.

Another example, let’s say, I’m going to go into the health and fitness industry. Let’s say you are creating material about how to detoxify your body, and you have a process and a method and a training around how to go through a detox, how to develop a stronger immune system, and so on. As we know in the modern world, we’re surrounded by pollution, chemicals, there’s things in our food, and so on. If you’re creating training on how to make the human body stronger and more resilient, that kind of course is going to be in hot demand as the scientific research continues to come out about various toxins in our environment, or micro toxins or how our gut microbiome is negatively impacted by antibiotics in meat and other things.

That’s another example of where your course is antifragile because it’s going to benefit from the disorder of that let’s say you’re just one major scientific study away from the global consciousness making a shift in how they approach health and having a strong microbiome and being resilient to toxicity in the environment. Those are just some examples.

I’d encourage you to think about antifragile, think about creating content that is going to be successful even if the black swan event doesn’t happen, but if something were to happen, it would actually make your course even more desirable, valuable, powerful, high impact, and that sort of thing. Just to leave you with a parting thought, I just want to give you an example of you that you can take to heart of antifragile.

Here, we create a learning management system software called Lifter LMS, and that’s a tool that allows teachers, education entrepreneurs, corporate trainers, whether you’re in the health and fitness or you’re in real estate or you’re in Internet marketing or business, entrepreneurship, music, language learning, corporate training. You’re an instructional designer. Lifter LMS is a powerful tool for creating online courses, and that product is successful in its own right, but is that antifragile because as the education system struggles and like we talked about, the student debt earlier and downward pressure on teacher paychecks and that sort of thing, the teacher economy could stand to become much more entrepreneurial, so Lifter LMS is sitting there where if the education system continues to be disrupted, it’s a tool that could benefit from disorder.

That’s how Lifter LMS as a learning management system software is antifragile. Thank you for listening to this episode, and we’ll catch you in the next one.

EPISODE 84

Creating Morning Routines for Teachers

Our LMScast today is about morning routines for teachers like you with much to do and too little time. Joshua Millage and Chris Badgett share their morning routines and discuss how the way you start your day determines the way you’ll end it.

You’re probably eager to build your online courses and start enjoying that income, but you just don’t seem to have time to do the necessary content curation and creation. The solution could be as simple as establishing a morning routine.

Spending an hour or two in the morning taking care of yourself can help you maximize your time throughout day. Especially for teachers, a morning routine can help you get more done, even if you’re working around a 9 to 5 job. Finding more time is vitally important, because building a great online course is time intensive.

Setting a routine to start your day is as much about boosting energy as expanding your time. Addressing the needs of your body, mind, and spirit as soon as you wake up gets you centered, grounded, and wide awake. That makes you more efficient and energetic and is especially helpful when life gets chaotic and priorities change rapidly.

It’s best to start simple with a basic 5 to 10 minute task and add to your routine as you discover what you need. Take care of your body by drinking water, eating something light and nutritious, and doing some exercise. Stimulate your mind with reading or listening to a podcast, but don’t check email or think about work. As little as 5 minutes of meditation can clear your mind and help you focus with clarity. You might want to do journaling or spend a moment visualizing how you want your day to go. Allow yourself the time you need, and remember this time is an investment toward the quality of the rest of your day.

Morning routines for teachers really do help you get more out of your day and make you more productive as a person by giving you a clean slate to create. The true power of habit is that once you begin to reap the rewards of consistent, healthy morning activities you’ll find it easier to follow your routine than not to.

Choosing the right tools to build your courses will also optimize your time and energy. Our LifterLMS development platform is powerful, accessible, and intuitive. Try a demo of lifterLMS today to see how our course development platform works for you.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Joshua: Hello, Everyone. Welcome back to another LMScast episode. We’re switching it up today. Chris and I are actually in-person, which happens a couple times a year, so this is very much a special edition episode.

We’re going to go off the beaten path a little bit today, and we’re going to talk about morning routines for teachers and the importance of setting up a morning routine so that you can maximize your time. We all need more, and the number one thing that I hear when I’m talking about how to build a course or teaching on how to build a course, everyone says, “Well, that’s great, I’ve learned all the tips, I know exactly what I want to teach, I have an outline I just don’t have time to create the content.” For me, dialing in my morning routine allowed me to get 15 minutes back here, an hour back over here. 15 minutes is roughly 1% of your day, so those can add up pretty quickly if you can start to take 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there.

I actually learned most of my morning routine mindset shift from this man right here. Chris, lets just start from the top. What is the most important thing about a morning routine. Why do people need a morning routine? And what does it do to the rest of your day. That’s a handful of questions, but …

Chris: Awesome.

Joshua: I think you know where to go.

Chris: I think people need it and it’s really easy to underestimate the power of habit. Once you have a habit installed successfully, good or bad, it’s going to happen pretty easily without having to think about it. It’s almost like it’s less effort or less painful to do the habit than to not do the habit. Like a good exercise habit once you get into your routine, you actually start feeling guilty or bad and antsy if you don’t exercise 3 times a week or whatever it is you’re doing. Same is true with your morning routine. Once those benefits start compounding you get so excited about all the benefits that you’re like, “Why didn’t I do this sooner, how do I do more of this, how do I make it even more powerful.” That’s the big motivator.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: As an entrepreneur and as a business person, there’s not enough time in the day. We talk to education entrepreneurs all the time about, yeah, all the information is out there, but your job is to curate that. People are really short on time, including you the teacher, you the instructor, you the entrepreneur. You need to be resourceful and curate your own time a little better too.

Joshua: Curation is a time intensive process. At a very base level you have to consume that content to accurately curate it and to curate well. I remember back in the day I curated a bunch of Mixergy interviews, Mixergy is a podcast for start up entrepreneurs. My buddy Andrew runs it and he does a great job but at that time he had no organization on his site. What I did was I listened to somewhere in the range of 100 to 150 interviews, granted I was sick at the time, I had a cold so I couldn’t really do much else, but it took hundreds of hours to put together a three page document around how I thought he could structure these interviews into a course.

This is before I was in the course building world, this is just something I did for fun, it did instill in me the time constraint that is involved when you go to build an online course. I think, for me, the interesting thing about a morning routine is if you structure it well and you do a handful of things well, it really gives you this momentum early on in your day, which I think helps you get into flow state faster when you’re in your tasks later in the day. It gives you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when you get just a few things done.

What are some of the things that you do, Chris, you have kind of like a floating scale between an intense morning routine and you also have one where it’s like if things are very constrained. You’re a dad, you’re traveling in a 20 foot travel trailer. It’s pretty crazy what you’re doing to for you to fit either of these in is pretty interesting. Start us off and kind of break down, what are some of the components of yours.

Chris: At the highest level, it’s not just about getting more in your day it’s about making you the person, the human being, more productive.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: You may actually take more time to do the routine but when you do snap in, you hit the ground running. There’s no, “I have to ease into it.” You’re ready to go. I think it’s really important to look at it as a way to manage your energy, not just time. In fact I would put more emphasis on the energy.

I am travelling right now, I’m a family guy, which means from a productivity standpoint things are always shifting and changing, your priorities and chaos can happen instantly. You have to deal with those sorts of things. In terms of what I do, it’s a combination of waking up the body, waking up the mind, waking up the spirit and really getting grounded on all those levels.

The first thing I do is I take care of my body so that’s water. I don’t try to chug the massive amount, just some water. Then I do some food really quickly. For me, I’m going for high fats, so I do avocado and some nuts. I get a high water content piece of fruit. And then I go for a 10 minute walk. That’s the body part. I actually have a really short 5 minute yoga routine which opens up my back and taps into flexibility.

After that, while I’m doing that I listen to a podcast which helps me open up.

Joshua: Sorry about that everyone, my laptop ran out of drive space, so I cleared that out and now he can continue to talk. You were right at your yoga routine. You’ve got all these body components.

Chris: Yeah.

Joshua: That’s where you start, right?

Chris: Absolutely, yeah. Super short, there’s a 3 pose thing that I go through 3 times, it’s very fast. There’s a specific exercise I do to wake up my back muscles. That’s that. While I do that i listen to a podcast that’s not related to business. It’s important that it’s not related to business because I’m waking up my mind but I’m not trying to start a bunch of stress about work or something I’m not doing in terms of marketing or innovation, whatever. Usually it’s some kind of health and fitness podcast that’s turning my brain on without stress. From there, I do meditation. I use an app called calm. I know you use one called Headspace. I just do 5 minutes, that’s all I need. I could do longer but that’s where I’m at. I do all the stuff, take care of my body, take a shower, get ready for the day.

Joshua: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: I have a gratitude journal where I write down the 3 things that would make today great. 3 things I’m grateful for and my daily affirmation. Then I actually do a really short visualization of my life, not just about work, or the perfect day. When I set that down and turn that off that takes about 5 minutes. I go into my top 3 priorities, which are never email, and I’ve set them the day before so that I don’t have to spend time trying to re-calibrate and figure out what my top are. I’ve been working on the morning routine for a long time, I would suggest starting with something much simpler. Over time that’s what works for me, It actually takes me about an hour to an hour and a half to get through that, but when I do and when I don’t do it there’s a dramatic difference in how productive and how centered I feel during the day.

Joshua: That’s an interesting point. It’s like you’re actually burning time in a way to get time back. I think it’s a little counter-intuitive but I definitely have seen the power of it. You’ve encouraged me a lot to create your own. I think that’s the important thing, I would encourage people not to copy and paste yours. It’s probably going to be, it’s not going to work, they’re going to get discouraged. Mine looks totally different. Mine’s about an hour.

What I do is I wake up and I have a glass of water. I think that’s the simplest easier way to start your day. You’ll notice just in terms of the energy that you experience from that, your body has been dehydrated so that can really get the blood flowing and things.

Lets see, I do a breathing training program called the Wim Hof method. He’s from Holland. You guys have to check him out, it could be a whole episode, basically this guy has used meditation to do some pretty incredible things. I listen to a couple podcast interviews. I started doing his breathing training, it’s very very simple and it’s really changed the way I get into my day. I do that breathing routine. Again, you can check it out it’s wimhofmethod.com.

I do that and then right after that I do a meditation through Headspace, which is a meditation app. I do it in that order because the breathing gets my body oxygenated, gets a lot of the stale air out of my lungs. I feel noticeably better and different and calm. When I go into the meditation my physical body feels great so it allows my mental, spiritual side of myself to get into that easier. Headspace isn’t any sort of woo woo religious anything, it’s just more of like mind games that you get to play with, an instructor walks you through them.

After that I do some prayer and then I kind of jump into it. I like to read in the mornings too, but I switched that up. I would say that’s part of my morning routine, but that’s really dedicated to usually Mondays and Fridays. I consider it work because I’m reading things for work. I think that all of that needs to happen before email. All of it needs to be custom tailored to you.

This had been 18 months of figuring this out. Failing lots and lots and lots of times. I used to do a journal, there was the 5 minute journal and then I moved to, I forget the name of the second one. They weren’t my types of things. I found out I’d write the same things over and over. That’s okay, that works for you. I think the point here is figuring out what it is that works for you.

To bring this home and bring it full circle, the reason that I think it’s important for teachers to do this is, especially some of the things that are more around the body and the mind, is that it gives you a clean slate to create. A teacher, in some way shape or form, is always going to be creating. Creating a course online, creating a new lesson, creating a new idea, creating a new metaphor or visual depiction of something you’re teaching. You’re always in creation mode. I think that you have to be in your best state to do that. Figuring that out, getting yourself systematically in that state in the morning will help you be way more productive.

For me spending that hour in the morning, what I mean by getting hours back later later in the day, is that I get hours back by maximizing the time that I have and being very very efficient with the time that I’m given.

The thing that I would say is that if you’re in a 9-5 job or you’re in some sort of, you have some sort of constraints that you can’t control, you’re not an entrepreneur yet. I would say the morning routine can really give you the space to have some extra time at the end of your day after work. I know that seems crazy but getting through that day, being in the right mindset, not being slowed down by those impulses or being able to handle them better, manage the stress better, will help you be more productive with the time that you would be spending at the end of the day.

It is all connected, it’s all inter-related. We could talk about, maybe we should talk about dieting. For a teaching entrepreneurship and course creation, I’m currently testing and figuring out intermittent fasting. Chris has done some fasting. There’s reasons why we do this stuff, it’s not just that we’re crazy Montana and Californian hippies or whatever. There’s actual scientific research on how this can really help you. I think in this day and age, with all of these impulses, we have to be more mindful and we actually have to fight to be in our high performance optimum mode.

That’s my thought. Chris, do you have any closing thoughts for everyone?

Chris: Just say start small. Find something like a 5 or 10 minute routine that’s as simple as nourishing the body with some water and some kind of nutritious food. Doing something for the mind, whether that’s a podcast episode or a book. Then doing something for more your emotional state or your spiritual state whether that’s meditation, a walk in nature, a visualization, gratitude journaling, something like that. It just grows. I’ve been working on my morning routine since 2008. It’s been a process and right now I’m at the very beginning of an evening routine, which is where you wind down and turn off at the end of the day. If you’re anything like us your mind can go indefinitely until you pass out because you can’t turn your brain off. I think it’s also healthy, your morning routine gets even better when you allow yourself enough recovery time at night. That’s the flip-side of this equation.

Joshua: Yes. All right everyone, thank you for listening/watching, you can always find us on twitter @JMillage and @ChrisBadgett. We would love to chat with you there. Also if you haven’t yet, check out our plugin, it is completely open sourced and free. It’s called LifterLMS. You can find it at lifterlms.com. We would love for you to chose to use our system to power your online course.

Thank you so much for joining us, and we’ll talk to you soon.

EPISODE 83

How to Monetize Your Skills, Passion, and Life Experience with Online Courses

In today’s LMScast Joshua Millage and Chris Badgett discuss how to monetize your skills, passion, and life experience with online courses, beginning with everything you already know and do well.

Start with who you are and what your field of expertise is. You know your subject well and may even have taught people about it, but you have no idea how to monetize it or build a business around it.

First, identify the problem you want to solve: income, autonomy, or legacy. Then you can visualize your opportunities starting where you are, and see more clearly where you could go.

Income makes it possible to do the things that are most important to you, and your online courses can generate that money. If you seek autonomy, online courses can give you that freedom. You may wish to leave a legacy of your knowledge and skills, and online courses allow you to reach more people than ever before.

If you’re teaching or conducting in-person workshops, online courses can extend those classes by allowing your students to continue training with you. You’ll also be able to reach people who want to work with you but can’t attend your presentations.

We’ll assume you’re a good teacher with valuable information and methodologies to share. You just need to learn how to transition yourself into the internet environment. There are basically two ways to do that.

You can do it yourself if you’re comfortable with technology and already have a blog or website. Using a learning management system like LifterLMS can get your courses online quickly with complete hands-on control of your online business.

You don’t have to worry about the technology though, because we also offer our Boost development services to help you get your courses set up and functioning based on your content, your preferences, and your passion. Boost lets you focus on teaching without the technology holding you back.

Achieving student engagement in the online learning environment takes a different set of tools and techniques than conventional classroom teaching. You’ll need some experimentation to learn how to make the most of your teaching style in this new learning environment.

Your 3 key steps to presenting yourself optimally online are:

  • See where you are right now and identify the problems you want to solve.
  • Decide if you want to be a technologist or hire a technology partner.
  • Commit to continuous expansion and improvement.

Decide how to monetize your skills, passion, and life experience with online courses. Then choose a platform like LifterLMS or a service like Boost to make your online courses a reality. Try a demo of LifterLMS today to see how our course development platform can help.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Joshua: Hello, Everyone. Welcome back to the next episode of LMScast. Today we’re talking about how to monetize your skills, passion, and life experience with online courses. Christopher, welcome. Thank you for joining me on another episode.

Christopher: It’s great to be-

Joshua: It’s always good-

Christopher: It’s good to be-

Joshua: To see you. Your mountain man face.

Christopher: I’m actually not a mountain man today. We’re both in the same state. We’re both in California. I’m down in Los Angeles right now, and you’re in Santa Cruz. We’ll be together shortly, in the middle. We’re going to Big Sur which is a mountainous region, very beautiful, overlooking the Pacific. Can’t wait to see you in a couple of days.

Joshua: I know. It’s going to be exciting. You are close to my stomping grounds where I lived in L.A. You got some San Gabriel mountains back there.

Christopher: That’s right.

Joshua: That’s good. Well I’m excited because today we can apply what we’re doing right now to this episode and break down for people how they can look at who they are and what they know and actually create a valuable asset with that. I’m going to bat to you, Chris, the first question here which is, let’s use a character, how about that, so people-

Christopher: Sure.

Joshua: I’m a retired teacher-

Christopher: Yeah.

Joshua: I’ve taught, let’s say art classes-

Christopher: Okay.

Joshua: In the public school system for fifteen years. I understand art, I understand a little bit about the internet. I’m passionate about it. I have a lot of experience as an artist myself doing various things, but I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to actually take everything that I know, and I’m very confident in my knowledge, but I don’t know how to take that knowledge and do anything with it and make it something valuable and consumable for a business, for a passive business or a relatively passive income. Where would you tell someone like me to start?

Christopher: At first, I think I would try to help you get, as an artist or an expert of any kind, get really clear on where you are, where you’re standing, what the opportunity is, and what problems you could solve and what the road looks like ahead. If I’m an artist, I’m looking to monetize my skills, passion and life experience as an art teacher. I’m really solving three different problems. The very first problem is often income. I want to … Maybe I’m retired but I’d still like to have a little bit more money than my retirement, maybe I don’t have a retirement, maybe I have travel plans. I just want more money, or maybe I’m a little bored and I don’t want to be retired and I want to do something but not for free, I want to generate money from that. There’s the income issue that you can address with online courses.

The second one is autonomy. In another episode we talked about how freedom is important to education entrepreneurs like us. THere’s three kinds of freedom, there’s time, income and mobility. You have freedom to do what you want with your time. You’re not tied down because of money worries and then mobility. You can be anywhere. If you’re an art teacher, maybe you want to go over to Florence, Italy and go check out some art. Maybe you want to go to Antarctica and paint the penguins or something. That’s the mobility or the location freedom.

The third, which is more subtle but often living in our subconscious and maybe we don’t even think about until the end of our time here is legacy. Okay, I taught a lot of kids in school about art, but I impacted whatever over the years, two hundred, three hundred, four hundred students. What if I could impact a thousand or ten thousand or a million students? Well that’s the crazy thing about the internet, is you can.

Joshua: Yeah. It’s actually possible.

Christopher: Income, autonomy and legacy, those are the three things that you can do with online courses and you can have a lot of fun doing it.

Joshua: Yeah. I think the thing about the online course space that’s exciting is that it can actually just be a magnification of other things you want to do. For instance, maybe you already do in-person workshops, or you do a class at the community center, or you work at a nursing home doing art therapy, you can take this and use it to magnify that. That’s what I love about the online course space is its never a … I don’t feel like it ever really detracts. I think a great example of that is the observation of how many tech companies are now adding an education, a paid premium education portal to whatever their product and service was. I think that it can only enhance what you’re doing. Again, I’m this artist here and I don’t know where to start. I got the ideas, I like what you’re talking about like what pain am I solving?

Christopher: Now we know where we are.

Joshua: Right. We’ve got, maybe I’m just saying I’m going to teach watercolors.

Christopher: Okay.

Joshua: I’m teaching … The pain I’m solving is people who have a desire to paint watercolors but they don’t have a system or an approach or a method or they don’t know where to go, they don’t know how to get going. That’s who my target is.

Christopher: I’m going to assume that you’re a good teacher and you have a methodology and an approach to watercolor, that you’ve done it a thousand times, that you’re ready to do that, you’re just trying to transition that to the internet.

Joshua: Yeah. Let’s unpack that just a little bit because I do think that’s really key. I think that a lot of people put the cart ahead of the horse on that one. We here, on LMS Cast and what the content that we share over at the LifterLMS blog doesn’t teach you how to have your student have an a-ha. That’s the teachers dilemma.

Christopher: Right.

Joshua: That’s what the teacher has to find themselves. If you’re a natural teacher, this is something you’re always refining and you’re always going for. I think that the curriculum creation process is something that you really have to dig into. That’s the magic in teaching. I think that a lot of people who’ve come out of an educational system, they’re use to taking someone else’s curriculum and teaching that, and that can be a disconnect. That’s for another episode on how to do that or ideas on how to do that better, but I do think that, I just wanted to put a pin in that. Take time to really develop your teaching style because what we talk about is how to take that and put it in other mediums but that teaching style and that methodology is really key and something that should always be irritative and always be improving.

Christopher: Absolutely. Now that we have that, we really have two choices. The first choice is what’s in the short term, the most economical is I can create my course, I’m going to get a learning management system or online course technology like LifterLMS, I’m just going to dive all into it, I’m going to figure it out. That’s an option. There’s a large part of our community who’s like that. Some have some technology experience, they’ve built a website before, they’ve worked with a content management system like WordPress, so they can get going and get started and get their hands dirty. The other choice which we see a lot of people do, typically people who are really time strapped but really passionate about this but also value the expertise of … They just been through the fire before, they’re seasoned, they know they’re not a technologist, they want to leverage the strength of other, like a technology partner, we have a service called Boost where those people come in and then, in and out in five days they’ve got their online course site up and rolling and we let them be the teacher. They got to provide the content like you said, they have to have the framework and everything, but we take care of all that stuff.

It just depends. That’s a choice of where to go and I think we could talk about a few mistakes like some people underestimate the technology part and they want to … They don’t realize that they’re going to have to learn this whole skill set of building a website, and what is hosting, what is content management system, which is totally fine and it’s never been more approachable and easy to learn, but there is an opportunity cost of time and learning there. That’s the next step.

Joshua: One hundred percent. One hundred percent. Yeah. I think if you can focus on being the teacher and creating the best course, technology will in a lot of ways, take care of itself. If you’re willing to make an investment, which I think the wise teachers do, make an investment, you work with people like us or other shops that can help you set this stuff up so the technology really just doesn’t get in the way, so I really love that. That’s great man. When I’ve got my methodology and I’ve got it up in some sort of system, now the rubber hits the road.

Christopher: Yeah.

Joshua: What happens after that?

Christopher: Well I think you’ve talked a lot about this Joshua, is the difference between an online learning environment versus in person, or like you said, you can add-on or it’s like I say, blend in, blend it with some live events and things. In an online learning environment, engagement is key and also having an iterative mindset is key. Just because you got it up, it’s out there, people are buying your courses, that’s fantastic, but the true serious education entrepreneur is now going to begin a series of experiments and tests to try and make the content more effective, more engaging, higher impact, better results for the students. They’re talking to the students, hey where’d you get stuck, they’re looking at their, if their using LifterLMS, they’re looking at their analytics, they’re seeing which lesson people are struggling with or not completing and they’re trying to solve that so they can deliver a course that people actually finish and actually get the result and the highest possible value they can.

Joshua: Yeah. That’s huge. That’s huge. Chris, we coming to the end of the episode, if you could sum it up quickly, what are the key things that someone who’s transitioning their life experience and knowledge and passion into an online course, what are the big meta ideas here that they need to talk hold of?

Christopher: The meta ideas are, there’s three of them. Number one is take a step back, get a lay of the land, realize where you’re at and what problems your solving, be that income, autonomy and legacy. The second thing is to make that decision between am I going to become a technologist or am I going to find a technology partner, like I said LifterLMS, and get my course out the door. Then a third is just continuous improvement. You’ve got to keep making it better. Just because it worked in your in-person art class when you’re standing over the shoulder, you might need to modify your approach and try different things to help deliver that same impact in an online format. Keep testing and the key word there is engagement.

Joshua: Yeah.

Christopher: Keep people engaged, define metrics that say, okay because of this that means they’re more engaged and then just keep making it better and better over time and change the world.

Joshua: That’s awesome. I love it. We’ll thank you so much and as always you can reach me @JMillage at Twitter or @ChrisBadgett. We love to have conversations over there with you. Thank you so much. We’ll talk to you next week.