What to do when you have too many ideas for online courses
Struggling to get started because you have TOO many ideas for online courses? Too many directions you could go? Too many paths you could take?
While we can most assuredly file this under #FirstWorldProblems, we also know it can be a sticking point for a lot of people and seriously stall their progress.
So if that’s you — if you’ve got all the ideas and none of the clarity — today newest episode of Course Talk is for you.
The solution is easy: You just need to create a customer journey, that’s all 😉
But what does that mean? How does that work? And how does it apply to the swirling storm of frenzied potential that is your course ideas?
That’s what this post is all about. 😉
Today, I’m talking about what to do when you have too many ideas and not enough clarity. If your problem isn’t a shortage of ideas but rather choosing which idea to go with when you’re creating your online course, then keep reading!
(Need an idea for an online course? Check out my other blog “How to come up with an idea for an online course”)
Today, I want to address a concern that I hear all the time, both from my students and those in my free community, and that is:
“What do I do if I have too many ideas? How do I know which idea to choose for my first course… and which idea to leave behind for later?”
If this is you, I get the struggle. I’ve been there. I know how overwhelming it can feel to have so many ideas, but be paralyzed by indecision. After all, maybe if you go with this idea instead of that idea, you won’t have as profitable or as successful a course, right?
Or, maybe if you go with that idea you’ll later regret not starting with this idea and you’ll be spinning in circles, and then you won’t do a great job of creating or launching either course idea.
Maybe you are like some of my students and you have a couple of different course ideas that don’t necessarily serve the same audience. Perhaps your course ideas aren’t even related to your business. Maybe they’re a whole other thing. Perhaps a totally new business.
Wherever you are in all of that mess, I am here to help you. Of course, I can’t tell you which idea you should choose and which you should leave behind, but I can walk through a few questions to ask yourself and a few things to consider when trying to pick one course idea.
(🎦Also, if you want to see the video where I talk about this very subject, visit this link! If not, keep scrolling and reading.)
(Want more episodes of The Courtney Show? Click here to check out our Youtube channel!)
Create Just One Course at a Time
Speaking of trying to pick “one course idea,” I think it goes without saying, but I’m just going to throw it out here and then be done with it: you never want to create more than one course at the same time, right? You dilute your efforts, your energy, your time, all of your resources really, and by trying to create multiple things at the same time, you seriously slow the progress in creating anything at all.
So, if you are wanting to create an online course, you would create one course at a time. And for that matter, you should only take on one big project in your business at a time, unless you have a huge team.
If you’re someone who is about to launch a podcast or you’re in the process of writing a book or planning an event or whatever, you don’t need to be also creating an online course. You want to do one big project at a time so that you start and finish one project before moving on to the next.
Assuming that you’re not multitasking, let’s talk about choosing one course idea. And I’m going to share with you the same questions and considerations I share with my students inside my paid programs, The Course Course and Launchpad.
What to Consider When You Choose Your Course Idea
So, say you’re wanting to create an online course for your audience, but you’re not sure which idea to choose first.
What I tell my students is to consider the student journey.
What journey are you wanting to take your students on? If you had it your way, and you could tell them what to do first, second, third, and so on, what would that look like? You’re the one who’s the expert, you’re the one with the boots on the ground, you probably know what is best for your audience. So, if you have a say — and you do — where would you want them to start?
And with that in mind, looking at all of your course ideas, which of those feels like a starting point?
Sure, you may want to teach lots of things, and that’s great, but what’s that logical first step?
What’s the information or system or strategy that they need or should learn before they learn anything else from you?
Think about what foundation they need before they get fancy and get into bigger strategies or systems. What’s the primer to their paint?
By choosing to create a foundational course first, you are providing something to your audience that they need, absolutely, but you’re also preparing them to receive your future offerings. And of course, maybe you just create one course ever, and that’s okay. (In fact, that’s great!)
But if you want to increase your ACV (your average customer value), and you know you want to create other courses or programs or even a membership in the future, then starting off with the foundational course sets you up for serious success. And of course, serious profitability.
And the good news? If you start off with a foundational course, you may find that some of your other course ideas shouldn’t be courses in the future but maybe a membership or a higher ticket coaching program, or something like that.
Or, maybe your other course ideas don’t need to be courses or even paid products at all. Maybe those other ideas could serve as a great lead magnet or as a bonus — a sort of an incentive — to get people to buy your course.
My Own Customer Journey with My Online Courses
Now, this might feel a bit abstract, so let me give you an example in my own business:
One of the first courses I ever created was SEO in a WKND. A foundational course if there ever was one. This is a mini course that teaches people how to optimize their website so that they can move up on the search engine results page.
So, if you go through that course, and if you have success, then suddenly you have an optimized website.
BUT how do you get even more people to that website? Through marketing. What’s one of my favorite marketing platforms? Facebook. So then, I created my Facebook course. And in my Facebook course, I show people how to increase their traffic and grow their audience.
So you’re getting more traffic to that optimized website, but you’re also building your audience, your email list.
Then what’s next?
If I’m growing my email list, that’s awesome, but what do I do with them? That leads people to my e-mail marketing course. Inside that course, you learn what to do with a list once you have one, and you also learn more strategies so you can see even more list growth.
And of course, if you’ve got a profitable business, and you’re ready to go past just growing and into scaling, then a great way to do that is by creating an online course through my program, The Course Course.
Some people can breeze past all of the other stuff and go straight to The Course Course. And that’s awesome! Because maybe some people don’t need all of those other steps. But if they do, those steps are there.
And I created all those courses in the order of what I thought made the most sense for an ideal customer journey.
Of course, I have a whole suite of online courses, but that doesn’t mean that you need to do that. You could just have one course, and be good. Or maybe you have one course that feeds into a membership that feeds into a small-group coaching program or even a mastermind. You can have any or all of those things.
But, you don’t start with all those things, you start with one foundational course. One course that provides one solution to your audience. And that one course can prime them to want to take things to the next level and get even more support from you through your other products or programs.
So, it feels like an oversimplification, but it’s true: When you’re trying to pick which course idea to start with, start… at the beginning. What’s the most logical first step in a student journey? That first step is your first course.
How to Focus on What Audience to Serve
Now, maybe you’re someone who has too many ideas for too many different audiences. Maybe you’ve got some course ideas for your current business but maybe you’re wanting to pivot and possibly explore a totally different direction.
I see people do this all the time, and I think it’s great! But, I want to rein in that enthusiasm just a bit and check one important thing:
Why are you wanting to create an online course in the first place?
What’s the reason? Is it to make more money? Is it to have more freedom? Or is it to build a totally new business? Maybe all of those things?
If it’s just to make more money, I always recommend going with the low-hanging fruit first. If you already have an established business with an established audience, you won’t have to go through all of the efforts of building a new audience for your course. You could market your course to your current audience. But, if you are going over here to a totally different audience with a different type of course, you’re going to do two or three times as much work because you’re going to have to build a brand new audience.
So, if the goal is just to make more money, start with what you’ve got — the low-hanging fruit.
BUT, if your reason for creating an online course isn’t related to that, then that’s when I do consider making a pivot, moving in a new direction, and serving a new audience.
This is where I would ask you: What do you want to do? It’s really that simple.
What do you want your life to look like in the next few years? What do you want to be known for?
If cashflow isn’t an issue, and your current business or your current audience isn’t a step in the direction of where you want to be a few months or even a few years from now, then this could be a prime time to pivot. Time to create a new audience. Create a new business. Create new products.
Just be sure that whatever you do, you first understand the reason why you’re doing it. Otherwise, pivoting in that new direction could be a distraction that doesn’t actually get you anywhere.
Now, let me know in the comments below:
What have been your biggest takeaways? Do you feel you have more clarity now with your myriad course ideas? Let me know below. Your comments give me new ideas for new posts, so I always welcome the feedback!
P.S. If you’re now geared up with your course idea and you’re wanting to get started, be sure to check out another video of mine where I walk you through how to decide if you have a micro, mini, or mega course — what that even means — and why that impacts the way you launch your course!
P.P.S. If you’re really serious about creating an online course and you want to skip the fuss and go straight to the proven stuff, be sure to check out my free class, “The 6-step System to a Profitable Online Course.” You can go watch it today over at freecourseclass.com. Enjoy!
HI, I’M COURTNEY!
I’m here to help you build, grow, and scale your business.
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