“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
– Walt Disney
Creating an online course for the first time can be really exciting because you have made the decision to, not only create an additional revenue for your business but you’ve also made a decision to create a digital side to your business meaning that you are entering into a new space with limitless possibilities.
However, once the honeymoon period wears off and you find yourself in the midst of creating your course, you may find that there are some rabbit holes that you can end up going down. There’s no doubt about it, mistakes are going to be made especially if you are creating your course for the first time – we are only human and when we start anything, there does need to be a period of learning and figuring stuff out – however what you ideally what you want to avoid is making fundamental mistakes that will derail your progress or stop you from completing your course.
Finding the motivation or will power to keep going when you are busy spinning so many other plates in your business can lead to mistakes being made that could ultimately cost you in the long run so it’s important to understand the common pitfalls and make a plan to avoid them.
Below are 5 common mistakes that course creators make and what you can do to avoid them.
- Not being specific enough
This is a common mistake that many course creators make, simply because they haven’t taken the time to drill into the details. When it comes to creating your online course, specificity is key. The more detailed you can be about what you are creating, the more effective your course will be. Focusing in on your course topic and getting REALLY specific on what the course is about, who it is for and the results it’s going to deliver.
Getting laser clear on these core 3 areas will help you to create an effective course because you’ll be able to create the right content, for the right people who need exactly the result you are offering.
If you are not sure if what you have is specific enough, then ask yourself:
- What transformation am I offering?
- Who needs this?
- How am I going to get them where I need them to be?
Your online course should be a solution to a problem that your ideal student is currently facing so take the time to get clear on what that is. Don’t try to appeal to everyone because you won’t be able to help everyone and you’ll most likely be too vague. Decide on a specific audience that you know your course will help.
Once you have decided on your course topic, your audience and the result then you should be able to sum this up in one sentence. If you can’t then you are being too broad so I encourage you to get really clear on these areas first before you start to create any content.
To find out more about how to clarify your course topic check out my blog on Deciding the perfect course topic to teach.
- Not validating the course idea first
This is something that can be easily overlooked at the beginning of the process especially if you are creating an online course for the first time. Having an idea for your course is only the first step and having an idea doesn’t guarantee your course will sell. It’s just the first step in the course creation process.
Once you have decided on your idea and you have decided on the audience that you want to support then it can be tempting to just jump right in and start creating content that you think your students are going to want. Making assumptions can lead to your creating a course that doesn’t sell and when all said and done, we are doing what we are doing to make sales and to bring money into our business so in order to avoid this disastrous outcome, we need to mitigating the risks beforehand by taking time to validate the course idea.
It’s important for course creators to validate any ideas that they may have through which is done by gathering evidence using different methods and via various channels online to help them make informed decisions about their online course because ideally, you want to be in a position where, once you are ready to launch your course, you know that without a shadow of a doubt, it’s what your audience wants and you will be able to sell it.
A solution to this is to carry out valuable research in a systematic way, you will be able to get a clear picture as to whether or not there is a demand or a need for your course. You’ll then be able to provide your students with meaningful and effective content that will help them to achieve the results that they are looking for.
It is your responsibility as the course creator to ensure that your students have what they need in your course because they are coming to you to learn. It’s vital you build solid foundations so that you offer value to audience.
Validating your idea before you start working on your course will help you to bulletproof your online course because you’ll know exactly what your student’s current struggles, what they need help with and ho you can help them in the most quickest and efficient way possible to achieve the results that they are looking for.
If you want to find out how you can start validating your online course idea, check out blog What you MUST do before creating your online course.
- Not considering the overall student experience
Another common mistake that course creators tend to make is not considering the student’s experience of the course and learning outcomes. It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if the overall experience of the course is poor then it’s going to result in your course failing as your students will either not stick around to complete the course or worst, you’ll receive negative feedback & reviews and demands for their money back which is not ideal.
It’s important to not only think about the content that will be included in your course but also how your students will interactive with that content and the types of content that will suit your ideal student.
Everyone learns differently; some people love to read long-form text, others enjoy learning through visual content, some prefer to listen to audio recordings… part of understanding your ideal students is knowing how they like to consume content and then creating content around their needs. The more you know of what your students like then the better you can support them through your content.
The students experience of your course is so important; it can make or break your course. It’s far better to take the time and create a course that has substance and that has been well-thought out rather than creating something to get something out there quickly. Your students will no thank you for it. No one wants to pay for something that doesn’t deliver and is a waste of money. Even if you are selling something at a low price, it’s a far smarter strategy to wow them with value and quality because it will creating raving fans and keep them coming back for more in the future. Cheap and cheerful doesn’t work in the long-run ad it can be detrimental to your business.
Take the time to brand your online course…. create a logo and design some visuals in Canva that you can use at the start of your videos. Design some beautiful workbooks that your students will appreciate. Create an environment that your students want to be in. Spend some time thinking about how you can WOW your students and create something exceptional that they will want to shout about and refer to others.
Consider how you want your students to feel once they have completed your course and what do you need to do to get them to that place of feeling? Your online course is an opportunity for you to represent your business in a way that differentiates it to other businesses out there.
- Not scheduling time to work on your course
Another common mistake that course creators tend to make is not scheduling time on a consistent basis to work on the course.
Life can get really busy and if you are spinning so many plates, you may find it a struggle to find time to work on your online course. But if you don’t make the time, it simply won’t get done and then what you have done (if anything) will be wasted.
Anything that’s worth having takes effort, time and commitment. You need effort in order to get stuff done, you need time to be able to do the stuff and you need commitment to keep it going. Your online course is a vehicle that can take you to where ever you want to go but you need to build the vehicle first and that takes effort, time and commitment.
Mindset is everything. If you see ‘work’ in everything you do then it’s just going to stop you moving forward because you’ll always be aware of the work involved however if you see growth, opportunity and possibility then the results that you achieve for yourself will be different.
Look at your diary and work out what time you can dedicate to your course on a weekly basis. Even it’s it 30 mins, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are being consistent and that you keep going… which leads me on nicely to my final point…
- Letting fear STOP progress
The final mistake is the mistake of letting fear get in the way and stopping progress. I think one of the worst thing that can happen and the thing that, unfortunately does happen, is that there are many courses out there that get started and not completed due to fear.
This fear may be born out of the need to be perfect and so course creators spend so much of their time trying to perfect their course to every inch of its life that it never gets finished or launched!!!! It’s such a shame because the reality is that perfection doesn’t exist. It’s something that sits in the mind of the owner and kills progress.
Your course is never going to be perfect. And that PERFECTLY ok. It doesn’t need to be. It just needs to provide a solution to a problem in a quick and easy way.
Courses always evolve over time because student feedback can often lead to update and new material being included. You need to allow for this and accept that good is good enough. If you are trying to perfect your course to the point that you are spending a lot of time rewriting or redesigning content then it’s worth taking a step back and asking yourself… what is holding you back from finishing your online course?
Is it because you are fearing the prospect of failure or perhaps you are feeling nervous about launching?
Both are common fears, the trick is to recognise them and be aware of your behaviour and ask yourself, what do you need to do to change this?
Perhaps consider BETA test your course and ask a couple of people to test your course and give you feedback.
BETA testing or pilot testing your course is a great way to test your course first before putting it out into the work so perhaps consider this. You can use the feedback to either validate the awesomeness of what you have already done which is going to increase your confidence or it’s going to give you valuable insight into what does actually need to be worked on. If that is the case, you can then spend your time doing what needs to be done to improve it. Either way, it’s a win win!
If you are feeling fearful and you are noticing that this is stopping your progress, ask yourself why? give yourself space to find the answer but most importantly, be kind to yourself. Whenever we do something new for the first time, it can be really scary but this is where growth happens and the truth is, you are growing. not just opportunities for your business, but you are also growing on a personal level as well and that needs to embraced.
Just remember that you have something valuable to share with your audience and they need this. They are waiting for this and so you owe it to them to, push past the fear, and get your online course done. Don’t let fear rob you of your future success. Let’s put on our big girl pants and get it done!