Courses are a great way to establish yourself as a leader and influencer in your discipline. By educating others on your topic, you are demonstrating that you know what you are talking about, you are good at what you do and that you are an expert in your field. There is no better way of showing your expertise, than by creating a course. They establish your credibility and help you create a loyal following.
Even if you do not consider yourself an expert, you will be surprised at all the knowledge lying dormant in your brain. You know more then you think it may be time for you to turn it into a credibility-building, income-generating, and impact-making course.
What is it?
A course is typically a study plan or programme over a duration of time. Typically, the objective is to provide the client with knowledge they learn and apply for themselves or where the facilitator works with the client in helping them achieve an outcome.
A course is therefore quite extensive, and the programme may be a combination of service types, such as workshops, e-content (videos, workbooks, podcasts) and appointments. The client will work through the programme to take the learnings from the whole course.
When to use it?
When you are incredibly passionate about your subject matter, and have knowledge and experience, it may be time for you to branch out into offering courses. More than helping a client with an immediate need, you are teaching them to help themselves by imparting your wisdom for them to learn.
When you create a course, you package up information you have, to solve a problem or aid an outcome, which provides a benefit for your client. Courses really can make a difference to their lives, which will increase your success stories as well as your income.
Choose this format when you are ready to step up as a leader, to move from facilitator to educator and when you can invest the time a perhaps even money it may take to produce the course.
What are the benefits?
There are numerous benefits to offering a course, and if you are serious about your clients and your business, you should consider it. Courses can have an amazing impact of the lives of your clients. Unlike a single experience or treatment, clients are engaged over a period to truly embrace the knowledge and to apply it to their lives. Learning is great but learning without applying is not really learning at all, so a course will give them the motivation and dedication to make a lasting change.
As mentioned above, the benefit to your business is also huge and will be seen in so many ways. For example, being part of your client’s journey creates a lasting relationship, gives you success stories and confidence in your work, and can generate word of mouth referrals from your loyal following.
Courses tend to be higher priced items, which can boost your income significantly. They may also include recordings and materials which are reusable and do not require your direct delivery. This can free up your time for other income-generating opportunities, while still achieving results for your clients. And of course, they demonstrate your knowledge, your professionalism as a practitioner and your credibility and leadership within your discipline.
What are the challenges?
They are not without challenges though, but nothing that can not be overcome with your dedication and focus. Many people assume the hard part is selling the course and worrying about this, can detract them from getting started. But if your focus is on creating an awesome course that will inspire a real change in your clients' lives, then the sales will happen. Great content means good reviews, and good reviews mean more money.
Focus on your content, have a plan to create it, and stick to the plan. It can be a big undertaking depending on the materials you want to produce and the formats you want to deliver, so staying organised is key. If you scope out what you want to do first, you can then work out what needs research and creation and give yourself time to do those tasks. Look at the success points below to help you stay on track.
What makes it successful?
Here a some top tips for creating successful courses.
1. Know the Theme and Topics
Even though your course can cover a large array of topics, you should still have only one central theme. To bring cohesion to your course content, and to attract the target audience for the course, you should always start with the central theme in mind. This is the true essence of your course and is the vibration that will serve you as you go through every aspect of planning and delivery.
Once you have the theme, decide on the topics, premises or concepts that should be covered to really bring that theme to life. While there can be an urge to cover absolutely everything you know, it is not the best way to give value to your clients. Remember, there are no “nice-to-have” topics – if a topic is not related to your theme with a clear purpose and reason it needs to be included, then do not include it.
For each topic you choose to include, summarise the essence of it in a simple, but meaningful, sentence. This will guide the rest of the process, as well as marketing activities.
2. Define the Learning Outcomes
Learning outcomes are key, because after all, they are why your clients will buy your course. Unless your clients have a clear understanding of what the course will do for them, and what they will get out of it, they will not part with their money.
For your entire course, and for each topic within it, you should define the learning outcomes. Here, you will want to specifically identify what the learner will be able to do, know and feel by the end of your course. These outcomes should be measurable, to validate it has been achieved.
Start by asking yourself
- What skills will your clients be able to demonstrate?
- What new knowledge will they have obtained?
- What feelings will they have moved away from or to?
Having clear learning outcomes ensures that only the right clients are joining your course. This means higher completion and satisfaction rates and lower requests for refunds.
3. Choose Content Wisely
Just like choosing topics, you need to be ruthless at this stage to ensure that only relevant content is included. Many people get stuck at this stage, procrastinate, or give up because they are trying to cover absolutely everything. They find themselves buried in notebooks, research papers, and endless rummages through the vast amount of information available that could be included. Make sure your content is relevant.
Relevant content means:
- It directly addresses the theme and the topic
- It is aligned to a learning outcome
- It answers the questions your clients have about the topic
Sometimes it is more about what is not included, than what it. Once your content is boiled down to the essential, it is time to organise it into the course plan. Here, you want to group together similar concept, tips, and ideas into the core learning modules. Then order the modules in logical manner so that they form a flowing sequence of lessons. Now you have the basic structure of your course.
4. Variety of Formats
A course can be delivered through many different formats and you should consider the options and choose what will best serve the learning outcomes. It is important to note that people learn in different ways, so having a variety of formats in the course will best serve your clients.
Your content can be delivered through audio and visual content, reading content, live demonstrations, practical activities, workbooks, and community discussions, to name a few. Variety will keep your clients engaged throughout the course and ensure an optimum learning experience.
5. Trial and Feedback
No course is ever perfect when it launches, and if you try to make it perfect, you will never launch. Instead, start with an initial version which you improve after receiving feedback from your clients. Go through all feedback, good or bad as it will all serve you in improving your offering.
For more fabulous resources to empower you in defining your service offering,
check out the Holistify Resource Pool!