The sad truth… If you have ever tried to create an online course before you were likely met with failure.
You likely found that it ended up costing you more money than you ever thought. Perhaps you got all the way to the end and realized that you had ZERO ideas on how to sell it.
You’re not alone. Creating online courses is the hardest thing a coach, consultant, or entrepreneur can do.
Here’s the typical experience:
Well, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re a member of a group of folks that grows every day. Day after day after day.
The Frustrated Online Course Creators Club!
Just so you don’t feel alone — here is a terrible and embarrassing truth…
I was basically the Mac Daddy, Founding Member of that frustration society in 2013!
See, a few years back, I was running a social media marketing agency (Back then agencies like that were WHITE HOT. I think we still called social media “Web 2.0” back then), and business was GOOD.
I was working in the Silicon Valley with several different corporate tech clients that kept me up to my ears in work.
Something interesting started to happen… I started to be miserable. Not slowly over time but all at once.
It felt like one day I work up, and the world had gone grey. I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
I’m not a stranger to this sudden shift moments either. A similar “Grey-out” feeling hit me the day I decided to drop out of college and abandon law school.
I knew I had to trust it.
Weeks lost in thought passed and I came to a decision that I was going to stop taking clients and close the business. I had decided I would rather be a creator than feel like a wage slave for somebody else or some other company.
I had been buying courses from gurus, coaches, and more for years at that point, so my first idea was to just sit down and create a course from scratch to sell and watch those sweet sweet Benjamins roll in!
And surprise of all surprises… it was a Freddy Kruger haunting your dreams level nightmare!
The Challenges I Encountered:
- 1No good templates or systems to follow. I was making it up as I went.
- 2I was a terrible teacher.
- 3I was horrible on camera.
- 4I had NO technical knowledge in video or audio.
- 5I had ZERO ideas on how to sell it or market it.
Before I get into how I solved those issues later…
Let’s fast forward to today, I’ve gone from being dead broke and in debt after my first course failed to personally planning, shooting, and launching over a dozen different courses in 2018 alone.
My team also holds the honor of being the first company to plan, shoot, and fully produce an entire information product business from scratch for a client in just 30 days.
We have created courses and training in 33 different niches in the past few years alone.
Here’s what no book, podcast, pdf, course, or YouTube video has ever shown you before…
The 7 tips below are my guide to creating amazingly impactful and financially rich courses that have become key to our success over the past few years.
How To “Weaponize” Your Storytelling
Imagine a slow Monday morning.
You’ve flopped and floundered out of bed, zombie walked to the bathroom to brush your teeth, and made a mess of the kitchen to create your life’s blood — A magma hot cup of French Roast.
You’ve barely sat down to wipe the sleep from your eyes and burn off your taste buds with that sweet, sweet first sip when you get a phone call.
It’s 8 am! Who has the AUDACITY to call you this early (Besides your Mom — Who you need to call back eventually or she’ll just keep calling like a debt collector)?
You answer the phone and hear an unfamiliar voice. The voice introduces itself to you in a way that is more proper and professional than anything you can ever remember having pulled off yourself.
It’s a prospective client that has been referred to you. And after chatting for a few minutes while you race to gulp your coffee down to summon alertness or some sort life into your husk of a body she drops a bomb on you.
She’s willing to pay you more money than you’ve ever, ever received before.
In fact, it’s the number she offers you is so big that it would change your life right away. Here’s the other kicker — she just wants 48 hours of your time.
Once she arrives, she’s going to want to squeeze you for every ounce of value you can give her.
She’ll likely be your BEST student or client ever because if she spends this much money and doesn’t get a result or implement what you teach her, then she is going to be a deadlock winner for the Dope Of The Century award.
She’s invested, motivated, and because you’re face to face it’s easier to build that connection and really deliver a fantastic experience — in fact, you’re confident that you’ll be able to wow her!
Now, I want you to imagine that you’ve never met this person, and instead of a crazy amount of money like $200,000 for a weekend, they have spent $497 for your course.
And, instead of being limited to 48 hours with you, they have unlimited time to finish the course once they’ve bought it.
Can you see how different that level of motivation and commitment is?
When you only spend a couple hundred bucks on a course, and there’s no time constraint forcing you to go through and utilize the material your motivation level is TERRIBLE.
In this second case, finishing starts to matter less to your users.
You need combat that right away.
You need to grab their attention and create tons of value and motivation by making it FEEL just as important and exclusive as that 48-hour one-on-one session.
Creating a connection through the screen is hard.
In order to succeed, you need to know what to do to effectively teach thousands of different people all at once without losing their attention.
The typical course follows a “shotgun approach”.
It’s a speaker or teacher speaking to hundreds or thousands of students at once, and it makes the user or student feel nameless, faceless, and unimportant.
“If you want to be successful in selling your online course, you need to create an environment for your students that FEELS like a one-on-one session with you.”
Here's the basic core truth of teaching:
If you don’t create that authentic connection with your students, then it doesn’t matter how great your content is, how great of a performer you are, or how bad they want what you’re selling — you’ll fail to create a great experience.
This game is won or lost in the quality of the connection you make with those men and women on the other side of the screen.
Storytelling is how you create these deep long-lasting bonds with people.
Imagine the power you would possess if you could reach thousands of people and communicate as authentically and as deeply as you could face to face with the people that you love the most.
That’s the kind of power that would allow you to change the lives of the people who need what you’re teaching in a desperate way.
Whether you’re meeting a new friend as a little kid on the playground, or you’re meeting the person that you’re going to end up falling in love with — the way you get to know each other is through STORYTELLING.
Look at the old cave paintings or the hieroglyphics in Egypt — that is how far back storytelling goes.
It’s the basis for how we form relationships and for how we build trust.
Everything you do in your life is just a story you’re telling to those around you that either draws them towards you or push them away from you.
You can create those bonds through their computer screens just as deeply as you could in person by utilizing the power of telling a story (And you should tell TONS of them in your teaching).
Using Dynamic Ascension Training (Fancy Talk For How To Make Hard Skills Easy To Learn)
The most commonly taught skill in the world is language, yet still, most people deeply struggle with learning new languages.
Studies show that learning a language 100 percent fluently can take up to 20 years.
So, if you’re trying to get everyone that reads your stuff, watches your course, or engages with you to ‘mastery’ level in just a few hours, you’re going to find that it’s impossible.
However, the same studies show that you can learn almost any skill (Including languages) with 80 percent or higher fluency in just three to six months. That’s 1/80th of the time it would take to get you to 100 percent fluency.
It’s all about how you frame the learning experience.
You simply need to understand that there are two secrets to accelerating learning: a proven game plan and Dynamic Ascension Training.
It doesn’t matter if you’re learning how to throw a football, or if you’re learning how to diffuse a bomb, any skill can be broken down into the building blocks.
The reason is that every complicated skill is made up of a bunch of little steps and sub-skills that build on one another.
So, by breaking down your course into its simple building block components, we can move our students along much faster and guarantee a significantly higher level of recall.
When you’re building step by step by step towards mastery, every skill you’re giving them MUST build on the last one.
More than that, you need to be a fantastic editor because you can only teach what is expressly relevant to that particular building block lesson, rather than teaching big broad and complicated concepts.
Simply put, the D.A.T breaks down complicated skills into simple digestible training programs.
Picture just how deeply impactful your content is going to be when you can really take everything you know from years of work and experience, and harness it into a course that can change people’s lives.
That’s nuts, right?
Just by understanding and applying the D.A.T. principle, you can teach people the sum total of everything you’ve learned, and transform the lives of your students without them needing to spend 20 years becoming as fluent as you are.
TIP #3 — Create A Curriculum Ladder
Pay close attention, because this is dead important.
I want to talk to you about creating your very own very first Curriculum Ladder.
All of us seem to go through this weird kneejerk reaction when we want to create a course — we outline.
The horrible moment of realization after spending two hours sitting at your desk hits — what you thought was elegant is actually a horrible jumbled mess of points and subpoints, lessons, modules, and different little notes that you’re scribbling in the margins like the Zodiac Killer or something.
Universally, we all seem to sit down and set about feverishly competing to create the world’s ugliest outline.
Have you ever gone through that?
I abandoned so many projects in the early days because I couldn’t get the damn outline done!
Now the real problem with this whole thing is that the traditional outline gets messy because it puts all of your key points on the same level of importance.
If you design your course properly, every single module should build on one another, which means there are modules that are significantly more important and foundational than some others.
There are modules you just absolutely can’t teach unless you’ve taught the one before it.
Inherently, you know this to be true.
However, our inclination to jump into creating outlines actually goes against our true nature as teachers and your students’ nature as learners.
It gets ugly because you’re not creating an ascension model that teaches them the building blocks of the skill.
Here’s the juicy secret…
Instead of creating an ugly outline, I want you to organize your stuff into a curriculum ladder.
At the bottom level, you have your foundational skills and module by module you move further up the rungs of the ladder to ‘Mastery’.
Mastery is simply defined here as whatever they want to learn or achieve. Another way of defining mastery level is by asking yourself “What do they want to HAVE, BE, or DO”.
You still don’t get it? Here’s an example:
The typical example is my fictitious “Baking Brownies 101” course.
Imagine for a moment, that you had never seen an oven before (maybe you were born in one of those “uncontacted” Amazon tribes).
For some reason, after being introduced to the modern world, you become fascinated with brownies.
It is now your mission in life to learn how to bake brownies at a gourmet level.
However, the reality of the situation is that you don’t understand how to use the oven.
If you don’t know how to use the oven, you’re not going to be able to bake the brownies.
Think of it this way, teaching you how to bake brownies (Step 4), teaching you how to mix the batter (Step 3), or teaching you how to shop for the ingredients (Step 2) is a waste of your time unless you know how to use the oven (Step 1).
Each key skill or each module builds on the one before it and without its predecessor, you’ll have holes in your teaching system.
Why does the old school outline fail you EVERY time?
The traditional outline doesn’t follow this essential model and leaves gaps in your teaching later.
As an expert, you tend to not remember what it’s like to learn things piece by piece as a beginner does.
You just casually canvas how you do things TODAY… “Well this topic is important, and this is important, hmmm…this is important, yeah, and… this is important. Okay, well, that’s my four or five modules settled”.
Because you’re not ascending them from foundation to mastery, they’re not getting every single drop they can out of your course.
And that means it’s not engaging. That means it’s not approachable, and that they can’t apply it later because you’re using the traditional ugly outline.
Again, I want you to remember you’re going to start from the foundation — the underlying principles (theory, philosophy, or just foundational principles) that should always be your first module.
Then you will slowly start ascending them further and further from the foundation, all the way to the top of your ladder or ‘mastery’ level — achieving whatever they set out to do.
Can you imagine how much more powerful and how much more impactful every single piece of content you produce will be when it’s building up to this amazing crescendo?
Can you imagine how much more your fans are going to love you when you can take them from zero to expert? Can you imagine how much more valuable that will be to them? And I guarantee you it will be when you use the Curriculum Ladder.
Avoiding Headaches: Maximize Effectiveness, Minimize Time-Wasters
Now tip four, this one’s a little more abstract but it’s one of the most important things I’ve learned over the past five years.
You need to start moving in columns and not rows.
It weird but ever since we were little kids we were taught that everything moves from left to right.
We were taught since kindergarten that you had to read and write from left to right.
And believe it or not because of that you run into this huge huge productivity wall.
It’s causing you to fail, it’s causing you to quit, it’s costing you money every time you do it and it’s not just in course creation, it’s costing you money in every single thing that you do.
The 3 Secrets to Creating Your Course/Coaching Curriculum:
• Create your Curriculum Ladder.
- Plan out your modules (Think mini-ladders), by choosing the lesson titles that are going to go inside of it.
- Fill in your S.E.Ts.
Your natural instinct will be to start filling in the first module’s name before filling in one lesson at a time until you’ve finished the whole module and are ready to move to the next one.
You’ll be slowing yourself down by more than double doing this.
There are tons of productivity studies out there that says when you switch back and forth between multiple tasks it actually takes your brain 17 minutes to get refocused every single time which leads to tons of wasted time and energy.
Your Default Workflow And Why Its Frankly Screwing You Over
In your default workflow, you’ve decided Module 1 is Understanding the Oven. And then, what do you do?
You say, “well, the first lesson in that module is titled this and now, I’m going to fill in all the lesson content.
Now, I’m going to do the Lesson 2 title and then I’m going to fill in all the Lesson 2 content and then Lesson 3 and then the Lesson 3 content”.
And you make your whole way up, you fill all your lessons on Module 1, then you start Module 2 and you slog through the whole damn thing again.
You’re moving in rows and it’s stressful and painful. You’re not made for that.
Here’s what you should do — move in columns.
First name ALL of your modules (Those are the rungs in the ladder).
Then go back into each module and fill in the lesson titles.
Module 1: Lesson 1 title., Lesson 2 title, Lesson 3 title, Lesson 4 title.
Module 2: Lesson 1 title, Lesson 2 title, Lesson 3 title, etc or 4 until you’ve named all the lessons in each module.
The final step is to then go back and start filling out your lesson content using the system I will teach you in a moment called “S.E.T”.
By doing this, you keep your brain in one lane rather than weaving all over the road.
You’re staying focused, you’re having a bigger impact, you’re getting way more done and you’ll see this not just in your course creation.
If you have been stuck in an outline for months, applying Secret #3 and Secret #4 in this post is going to change your life, your outcomes, and your future.
Imagine getting twice as much done in half the time… that’s what this secret has in store for you if you actually go out and you implement aggressively.
If you start moving in a straight line, you’ll get a whole hell of a lot farther than if you weave all over the road.
Common sense, right?
Okay, we’re about to head into my favorite tip, guys.
TIP #5 — S.E.T Your Curriculum
Now, my favorite discovery (Credit to Dr. Sean Stephenson and Dale Carnegie who created this concept) from the past few years — S.E.T (Story + Exercise + Takeaway).
It’s a well-known fact that there are three types of learners:
- The AUDITORY LEARNERS — these guys are the ones that learn well from audio books and CDs and they learn well from lectures.
- Those guys get charged up when they hear, information enters into their brain better that way.
- The KINESTHETIC LEARNERS — now, kinesthetic learners are typically engineers, they’re technical guys. These guys absorb information more when it is hands-on when they can interact with it. So, they love the worksheets and physical tasks.
- And then, you have the third and the most common type, the VISUAL LEARNERS — these are people that absorb everything best through viewing presentations or movies or informative programs. If you start telling them a story, they start playing a movie in their head and that’s how they anchor everything.
80 percent of all people are visual learners, and as a result, most curriculums lazily abandon the other 20%.
They pander to the visual majority, which is why so many schools are giving young students iPads and showing movies in classrooms.
…But the thing is they’re leaving 20 percent of those students behind.
If you’re going to create a course, you can’t afford to leave 20 percent of your students behind.
Imagine if you had a 20 percent return/refund rate, your business would collapse, you’d make zero money after the ad spend. That’s scary, hairy terrifying stuff.
The good news is, you don’t have to cut the same corners the good ol’ U.S. school system does.
For you to do your job effectively as an online educator and actually make money doing this, you have to care about the 20 percent as well.
Using S.E.Ts to Become A Superhuman Coach
So, how do you reach all three learners at once?
To reach all three of these learners and to build that authentic, that heart deep relationship with your students, every single lesson needs to have a full S.E.T (Story, an Exercise and a Takeaway).
If you can make sure that your lesson has all three of these, you will be successful.
Use the story to engage the visual learners — that’s 80 percent of your students, remember, — so lead with it.
Catch their interest, get them engaged, and they will start playing a movie of it in their minds.
Next, we want to tackle our kinesthetic and your auditory students.
Stories don’t always grab these two groups as they do with your visual guys, so you’ve got to go through a little extra work.
So, after you finish the story you go straight into an activity.
By giving them an activity, you’re providing context to that story and you’re anchoring it deeper into their brains.
You’ve already got your visual and kinesthetic students, but your auditory crowd are sitting there; they’ve done the activity, they’ve listened to the story and they’ve probably got a strong understanding of it.
Now, it’s time to really finish strong.
The last step is to appeal to your auditory listeners with a final definitive takeaway for the lesson.
Call out the major key takeaway in one or two simple sentences, and you’ll have put a bow on their entire experience.
You’ve created a transcendent educational experience, something that reaches everybody, something that anchors deeply the knowledge into their brains.
Imagine creating pieces of training that reach all learners
One that creates an empathetic deep connection with them, ensuring that your content is learned and retained.
It’s something that most educators would never dream of, but you have the unique ability to do it every time you create content.
Do you think that having the power to reach these people in ways that no one else has reached them before will spark trust that will keep them with you, turn them into your biggest fans, and get them excited about everything that you’re doing?
What kind of doors with that open financially for you?
S.E.T’s are a complete game changer for anyone creating content because it allows you to make sure you’re resonating with all types of learners.
TIP #6 — OPTIMIZATION IS KEY
Now, this is crucial because it needs to become a part of everything that you do long term.
The issue with most of us launching our courses is that we have some weird predilection towards perfectionism.
We’re always pushing to be perfect. We’re always pushing to have no flaws. We’re always pushing for perfect tomorrow rather than good today.
Don’t settle for perfect tomorrow — good today good enough.
Your key ethic here is not perfect, but instead optimization.
Get good today, build good today, launch good today, because tomorrow is for optimization.
Tomorrow is for making today’s ‘good’ better.
Successful information product creators use customer feedback to optimize a product. We don’t expect it to be perfect on day one, we launch early and we optimize.
It’s impossible to create a perfect product or a perfect business from day one and the big myth is that you’re expected to do it.
Your customers don’t expect perfection because they have never seen what perfect looks like either!
What you need to do is get out there, and put something into the world. If you start collecting that feedback you can create something perfect in the long run.
And it doesn’t matter what your idea of perfect is today, because your idea of perfect is always changing; every time you hit perfect, perfect moves higher.
Our advice is to run a simple beta test by selling your product at a lower price to maybe 30 different users with this condition:
“Hey, this isn’t done, so you’re getting it at a discount but in exchange, I need you to give me feedback on the lessons and the strategies that I give you.”
Based on those beta test results, you’ll know exactly what to optimize within your product to make it “perfect” for your big launch.
That’s the major key; you need to be using feedback. Not operating on your gut-level assumptions about what ‘perfect’ is.
Remember, your course isn’t being built for you… it’s for people that are years behind you in their learning.
Their idea of ‘perfect’ is completely different than yours, and there are people out there today that would kill for the information that you have sitting in your head or sitting on the hard drive that you haven’t launched because you’re too busy waiting to make it perfect.
Now if there are people that are dying and hurting for what you have today, it’s your moral obligation to get it to the market. It’s your moral obligation to go and help every single one of those people if you can.
Imagine that impact… imagine how important that moment is when you launch your ‘imperfect’ course and it comes in like a beacon from heaven to that person that’s been dying, waiting for something like your product to come around and transform their lives.
TIP #7 — DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL
Listen, it’s hard enough work to plan a course when you know all the tips and the tricks to getting it done the right way every time and it’s going to take a lot of work from you.
I know that you could absolutely figure it out if you invest the time, and start checking off every single thing on the laundry list of items and actions that you need to do or accomplish in order to create your course.
Here are just a couple things on the list you’ll have to learn:
- Proving the concept
- Doing market research
- Planning the curriculum
- Shooting and editing your videos
- Creating a membership site
- The marketing components
- Figuring out how to SELL it
- The 3 dozen other fires that you’ll need to put out at some point (Murphy’s Law LOVES online courses).
…Or you can skip all of the headaches, the nightmares, the pains, the failures, and the embarrassment — all the stuff that I went through by failing again and again.
If you’re really serious about creating your first successful online coaching business, you need to first figure out what is already working for the people that have the success you desire.
It’s all about emulating the people that are already there.
The people that have done it before and have a proven track record of helping others get there.
Use proven methods and templates to save yourself thousands of dollars in production cost, failed advertising, botched launches, and tons and tons of other miscellaneous weird expenses that seem to just pop up when you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
Imagine going out next week and having the complete confidence in your curriculum ladder, in your lesson plan, and being able to walk into the room knowing that what you have to share with people is worth whatever you want to charge.
Imagine knowing with the utmost confidence that everything in your lesson plan makes sense; it delivers the value, it delivers the mastery level understanding that you promise these people.
Imagine the confidence you’ll feel when all of a sudden you’re not feeling like a fraud. You’re not a lazy lay-about or somebody that has a great idea and no follow through or no ambition.
Imagine the cameras rolling and you have nothing but power and confidence in what you’re teaching.
I think you’ll agree with me that I’ve provided a massive amount of information, a massive amount of value for you during this write up.
In fact, the only thing I’m concerned about right now is that maybe we overwhelmed you and it’s a bit too much like drinking from a fire hose.
Well, for you guys, I want to introduce our free Facebook community “Online Course Creators Club”. For the first time ever, our in-depth curriculum building training is going to be publicly available.
So, if you really want to create ideas and plan your curriculum with easy to use templates that save you tons of hours and even weeks or months of time wasted, this system is for you.
If you want to deliver your content with confidence and authority to really engage your audience and build a great long-term relationship with them, if you want to learn how to speak on camera and be authentic, then this is the system for you.
If you want to know exactly what your potential customers are starving for and how to use that to create your own high ticket online coaching program, then this is the place for you.
Or if you want to learn how to create online membership sites so that your coaching looks and feels sleek and attractive without even needing to know a little bit about building websites, this is the course for you.
Imagine, with everything that we’ve given you today…
All of the points that we gave you in just this post alone is just a fraction of a single module in my new Facebook Group “Online Course Creators Club”
Can you imagine the kind of power you’ll unlock and the monetary advantage you’d have with Online Course Creators Club on your side?
You’ll develop your ability to reach thousands of customers and ultimately really and truly affect their lives. If that sounds like something you want to do, then Online Course Creators Club is for you.
You can’t miss this gold rush.
Coaching and consulting face to face is “hard, annoying, lame, and frustrating” (Credit: Joe Polish). You can continue to run a H.A.L.F business or you can maximize your freedom, your wealth, and your client results through your own online coaching program.
Ready to Upgrade?
I’ve created a Facebook Group for creating AMAZING online coaching curriculum immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.