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Should you offer an online course?

Have you ever thought about adding an online course to your business or organization’s offerings?

People have seen their businesses (and nonprofits—don’t forget our friends in that world who are deeply impacted right now) dipped at a sudden and jolting level they’ve never seen before and are thinking it’s time to try something new.

I’m in the same boat! Josh, Kath and I have long had plans to roll out “infoproducts” (courses, ebooks, printables, workbooks, etc) but, frankly, we’ve been so, so busy over the last few years with client work, those projects have sat in the planning stage. So, we’re dusting them off and evaluating what we should run with in this weird time. Diversifying revenue streams is important in any climate.

Before you leap into offering course (or other infoproducts), first ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I have a unique angle or perspective that other people will connect with? (This is your niche.)
  • Is there a market I’ve identified that is ready and able to buy my course? (This is your audience.)
  • Have I done the legwork to build an audience? If not, am I willing and able to invest in that? (This can be your time via content marketing or money if you want to go the advertising route.)
  • Am I willing to set aside time to maintain my course when my “normal” business picks up again?
  • Am I comfortable in a customer service role? Selling infoproducts requires more customer service work than you’d think—you’ll need to answer pre-sales questions, technical questions, deal with refund requests, etc.
  • Can I handle “failure”? The reality is you could end up having few sales and will have to make some tough decisions.
  • Can I handle “success”? A successful course can change the trajectory of your business and life. If you love your work right now, you should prepare for having to make tough decisions about what your priorities are if your course takes off.

Do you think maybe your answers to these questions are “yes”? Then head over to my new 3,000 word (yikes!) guide to how to create an online course for the first time. I hope it’s helpful to you as you consider infoproducts in your own business. Last year, Josh wrote a couple of big picture pieces about teaching as well that are likely helpful to thinking through this stuff. You can read those here and here.

This all sounds pretty doable, right? That’s because it is! What worries me is when I hear people getting stuck. Even when things are hard, forward momentum can make you feel more in control and Future You will be be grateful you did this work now.

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