Ever wonder what it actually looks like to create and launch a course from step 1 to step done?
If so, then stick around, cause that’s why I’m writing The Fire Path Project series: to give you an inside look at how I went from answering an email to creating an online course – step by step.
In my intro post to The Fire Path Project, I outlined the 9 steps that I took in order to go from no idea to launching a course.
Step 1 was: Listen to your audience.
Step 2 was: Create content.
Step 3 was: Repurpose your content.
Step 4 was: Test your idea.
Step 5 was: Brainstorm the next level.
Step 6 was: Create an outline.
Step 7 was: Market your idea.
Step 8 was: Sell your idea.
Step 9 is: Create your product, service, community.
So what does that mean exactly, how can you do it in your business, and why is it important? Let’s take a look…
How to create your product, service, community
First things first: creating your online course means that you have to have a strong plan in place to help guide you to completion.
Not much of a project planner? Lucky for you, I am :)
Here are some steps you can take in order to create a plan to help guide you in creating your online course:
1. Define your project
We’ve already done a little bit of this in step 5: Brainstorm the next level, because the last part of our brainstorming session was to write out in detail what we want our course to look like (what it will include) based on the feedback we received from our audience.
This is the most important part, and if you haven’t already completed this from step 5, then it’s easy to tackle when you break it down into 3 questions:
- What’s the project? < creating your online course
- Why are you doing it? < to provide my audience with the next level of content they’re willing to pay for
- What does it include? < this is what you wrote out in Step 5 already
- What’s your end goal? < to grow my online course to 50 members before Sept 1, 2015
My answers above are of course just examples, but it gives you an idea of what this step might look like.
Having an overall understanding of the project itself, along with your end goal clearly in mind is important because you want to know that all of your hard work can be tracked.
2. Create your pieces
Look at creating your course as a puzzle that is broken up into several smaller pieces to be completed in progressive stages.
Breaking your course creation up into several pieces allows you to envision the progression from start to finish rather than looking at how massive it is as a whole. This takes away the overwhelm and helps you realize that the smaller pieces are much more manageable when you tackle them individually.
Another reason breaking it up into several pieces is beneficial is that it allows you to feel as though you’re making progress throughout; otherwise, frustration and a lack of motivation can stand in your way of moving forward.
3. Identify dependencies
Identifying any dependencies will help prevent you from being half way through creating your online course and then realizing you were supposed to take an extra step way back at the beginning in order to bring it all together. This is definitely not an efficient use of your time, or good for your sanity!
4. Set deadlines
By giving each of your stages a timeline for completion, along with checkpoints throughout, you’re holding yourself accountable.
If you’re not sure how long a certain piece of the puzzle will take, then give it a range; but don’t cut yourself too much slack – your range shouldn’t be more than a few days, or a week at most depending on the task.
5. Measure progress
Measuring your progress within each stage of creating your online course helps you stay very aware of what’s working (and what’s not working) with your plan.
Make sure you’re checking in with yourself and your team (if applicable) to ensure you’re on track. This is where an online project management tool comes in handy, like Trello or Asana.
6. Ask for help
If you run into a stage in creating your online course that requires expertise you simply do not have, then ask for help. Depending on the task, there are several online resources that can help you with finding virtual assistants who are experts and who can help you remotely.
You can also tap into those online communities you’re a part of and ask for help there.
Don’t try and tackle the creation of an online course all on your own. This will lead to overwhelm, frustration and burnout.
Okay, so you’ve followed all of the steps above in order to create a plan for your online course. Now what?
Next, it’s time to just start!
Here are a few examples of things you’ll need to include in your project plan:
- What content you need to create before launch;
- What membership site you’ll use to protect your content;
- What order form / merchant you’ll use to accept payment;
- What information you’ll send (and how it will be triggered) once someone buys;
- What your welcome sequence / experience will look like and what it will include – this is so you can provide your members with a WOW experience and a few emails over a week’s time to help them become familiar with the layout of the site and the content;
- How you’ll engage people in the community aspect you’re offering (Facebook group, Forum or other);
- An idea of how the membership site, content and permissions for new members will be managed over time.
Why it’s important to create your product, service, community
You need to have something to share with those who purchased your online course in step 8!
But on a more serious note: creating your online course needs to be for the right reasons. It’s important that you’re creating your online course to help serve your audience – not just because you want to make money.
Write out on a piece of paper what your mission and goals are in creating your online course: WHY are you creating it? Make sure you keep that piece of paper in view at all times so that if you hit a snag or a roadblock, you won’t lose site of why you’re doing this.
Thank you so much for joining me on The Fire Path Project to learn about the exact steps I took to go from answering an email to creating an online course!
If you have any additions you’d like to make to this plan, or any questions about creating your own online course, drop me line below in the comments section; I’d love to hear from you!