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.