Hey friends,

I get this question a lot and have a lot of thoughts to share! If you’re ready to record your first online course but don’t know where to start let me support you in setting yourself up for success. 

Tune in to learn more about:

  • The cheapest and easiest ways to deliver an online course
  • The questions you should ask yourself before you start
  • The possible long term factors to keep in mind
  • Ways of creating a sensible budget for your course
  • Why creating community around your course is so beautiful and important

Listen to the Embodied Business Podcast

on Apple Podcast // Spotify

 

⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow.

My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a livelihood with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I offer practical guidance on tech, strategy, ethical marketing, creativity and money and interview other small business owners who do things their own way.

You can learn more about my work, listen to other episodes or join my community at PinkWellStudio.com

You can also sign up for my newsletter - I offer free monthly Spark Sessions and share resources, ideas & new episodes about once per month over on Substack

Transcript

Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY business podcast. And excited you’re here. And I want to talk about the software that you can choose to host your online courses on in this episode. So if you are planning an online quiz, or you’re thinking about maybe updating or upgrading the one you already have, and you’re a bit overwhelmed with all the different tech choices, and I really hope you’ll get something out of this episode. Before we begin, I want to announce that the DIY business collective is open for enrollment, and I’m offering a pre launch lifetime access sale until Saturday the 10th of August. So if you’re listening to this later, you can definitely check that out, because it’s still gonna be super affordable. But if you’re listening to this this week, then you can consider getting lifetime access, which means lifetime access to the course for many years to come, for $220. So let me tell you briefly about what this community is. It’s a 10 module online video course where I’m taking you step by step behind the scene and of how I’m doing things for my business. So you’ll find trainings on how to integrate and build your newsletter list, how to think about social media strategies that work for you. I’m also having videos about pricing and accessibility about self care for entrepreneurs. So really, it covers everything that I feel that you need to know in the first few years of your business. And what’s cool and new about the programme compared to what it was last year is that I’m now offering monthly group coaching calls, monthly live workshops, weekly journaling prompts, and quarterly business planning workshops. So all of this is happening overnight mighty networks in my community, that’s 60 people already in there. And it’s just a really beautiful space of like minded people, I feel like it’s very non competitive and nourishing. we cheer each other on, we share our wins, and we ask for feedback. And it’s really great to have that accountability. So we begin with all of that on September 1. But when you become a member this month, you can already start diving into the existing chorus. And then from September 4, there will be lots more group accountability and engagement and contact time with me. So that you can make the most of it and really kind of, you know, manage to do what you want to do. Because I know it can be incredibly overwhelming to work through everything by yourself. So yeah, the link to that is in the show notes, the sale is happening till August 10. And it’s $220. So let’s talk about software to choose for your online course, I want to begin with a couple of questions. And actually, you might want to pause this episode and even journal about them a little bit if that feels useful. I really think that journaling for me is such a key practice in business because it brings me clarity. And it also helps me track my progress. I feel like sometimes it can feel a little bit like we’re on a hamster wheel. And things never change. And it feels difficult. I’ve definitely had those periods of time too. And it helps me so much to now read through my journal from the first and second year of my business, to really see that actually, things have dramatically changed to become so much easier in many ways. And I really want to celebrate that. So here are my questions. The first one is what is your intention right now? So for the next evolution, or the first evolution of your online quiz, what is your main purpose here, that could be something like I want to teach something I really care about in an accessible way. Maybe you’ve been working one on one for a while, and you’re noticing that not everyone that you would want to serve can afford your services. So maybe then an online course would be a way to make that available to more people at a lower cost. Or you could be that who actually want to work with new people. And maybe you want to create a cool coaching programme because you really love working with groups. And, you know, you’re kind of wanting to transition more a little bit more into this teacher role, which is also like a totally valid intention to have right now. The second question is, what is your long term goal and I think that’s important because
switching software later on is totally doable, but it does take quite a bit of time and energy to do I’ve done it myself. So my first course was on gumroad. And then the second was was bourbon ontraport. The second one was in teachable and now over right at mighty networks would ever really love and I’m planning to stay on for a long time. And Had I known in this very first version of the course, that I love building community so much and that that’s really going to be my long term goal for many years to come. I would have not needed all these different steps in between, and obviously is totally okay, you know, like it didn’t break me on my business. But I I still think it’s really good to identify your long term goals right now. So maybe you are pretty sure that you only ever want to offer evergreen courses where you’re not necessarily spending time in your community answering questions and being around other people, which is also totally fine. And if you know that now then you don’t have to consider options like mighty networks. And that’s cool. But maybe you do want to build community. And maybe you also want to hire certain aspects of your business out, maybe you’re at a point where, you know, that will become affordable as you sell a few more spots in your course. And therefore, you can say, you know, choosing a slightly more complex or expensive tech setup right now is okay, because I know that teaching these online courses is going to be a key part in the near future. And that justifies that investment. Which brings me to my last question, which is, what is your budget? So this is a tricky one, obviously, I am recommending ways of doing this that are completely free. And then I’m also going to talk about a few options that do cost money. I will say that I have, in all honesty, I’m in my fifth year of business now. And I started on teaching online and my second year, I would at the beginning really rightly estimate overestimate how my first cause would fly, and I invested a little bit too much in its production, compared to what I made from selling it. So I think that’s, that’s common. No. And I also know that it can feel really hard to to really kind of estimate how people are going to respond to it. So there’s always a risk involved. And that’s good to know. It’s also Okay, I think. So let’s talk briefly about conversion rates, which I know is like a tricky subject that is feasible, icky, because it’s kind of feels a bit like, we’re looking at people as numbers. And we’re thinking just about how they are converting from being someone who just follows us online into a paying person. And that’s certainly not a view that I want to promote. However, I do also think that thinking about numbers, and sunrise sometimes is helpful when we’re making decisions about the money that we’re spending and investing upfront into something that we’re creating, because our work has to be sustainable for us as business owners as well. So, so honestly, say I think a conversion rate between two and 3% is really good. And what you can probably expect it expect. So obviously that will depends on depends on so many different factors, it will depend on the price where your core is, the engagement of your audience, bore you offering, you know how well received that is. So really, you know, don’t take my word for it, there’s no way of predicting that with absolute certainty. But this is just like something that we see in across different industries a lot, 123 percent. And so if you look at your current audience, your newsletter list, maybe your social media, following your existing private kinds, that gives you a very rough idea of maybe the kind of income you can expect. And so you can start playing with these numbers and think about, okay, this is what I’m going to spend on software, this is the audience I currently have, maybe I’m going to grow my audience in the lead up to launching the course that I’m planning, and maybe I’ll spend some money on that as well. And then this is kind of maybe the initial group of people that I can expect to join in the programme, just to give you like a very rough idea. So okay, so now that we’ve looked at these three questions, I’m gonna repeat them one more time. What is your intention right now? What is your long term goal, and what is your budget. And now I’m going to talk about the different options a little bit more. So the easiest way is certainly to deliver your course an email format, the upside with that is it’s relatively easy to set up. You just need a good email provider, I use mailer light, and fucking love them. They’re pretty affordable as well. I’m not an affiliate. But I’ve tried different ones, I’ve really been through, I think four in total and landed with mailer light, and we’re going to have to be happy with them for many years to come. Because I really think that they’re super affordable for the functionality that they offer. So up to 1000 subscribers, they’re free with even under free plan, you get customer care, which is awesome if you’re trying to figure something more complex out. And then from
1000, to 2400 500, to 1500, it’s $10, and so forth. So they offer you the chance to segment people, which is really important, if you want to offer course now, almost every newsletter provider I know of does offer segmentation. But it’s really a question of how easy is that to set up and handle in the future as you grow? And I think malad has a good system for tagging and, and kind of grouping people together. So for example, if a year from now you’ll want to see where this this content come from, you know, like has this President attended workshops with me, what have they signed up for? Have they bought a programme from me if they have already got the programme that you want to promote, then you don’t need to email them again about it, you can email them about something else. So that is really important information. It’s good to get that organised right from the beginning. The downside, I think with email courses is that they’re a little bit harder to navigate. So I feel that I personally feel that the user experience isn’t as smooth or elegant as it might be on a course platform. So for example, if I sign up for a self study course, and I get an email about a week, that’s cool. But if I want to go back to the beginning, or I want a reference, and a lesson that kind of came in between, I have to search through my email inbox. And that’s kind of a little bit of a bummer. So the alternative would be that I just log into a cross platform, I have everything in place there, which I find quite inconvenient, but it’s a small thing. And it really also depends on the nature and the format of your course. So if your cause is just a one off pre recorded workshop, then delivering that an email is obviously totally fine. So what does that mean, in practice, you would need an email newsletter provider, I recommend mailer light, then you need a payment gateway, that could be PayPal, for example, or WooCommerce. If you’re using WordPress, you need a sales page. And at the end of that, you’ll need your checkout system at the payment gateway. And that needs to be connected to your newsletter so that when someone purchases they receive the email delivering them. The one off workshop recording whatever it is, or a series of emails, that kind of leading them through an experience. So the upfront cost of that can be pretty low, depending again, on your list size and the exact payment gateway that you’re using. But if you’re on WordPress, there should be free solutions for that. I use WooCommerce, for example, at the moment that works really well. And it integrates seamlessly into mailer as well. If you’re feeling overwhelmed thinking about these integrations, there’s there’s usually stuff that you can Google. If you Google something like integrating mailer light into PayPal, and reclose, and all that kind of stuff. There will probably be guides coming up. I do have a tech support sometimes However, I’m pretty booked at the moment. But But yeah, if you have any questions, let me know. And I might just create another episode about that in detail. The second option is to choose a cross platform such as teachable, I have used teachable for a couple of years really loved them. And I only left because I wanted to focus more on community building on mighty networks. So teachable has a free free plan, for example, it’s pretty easy to set out, you can customise it and it’s going to look a little bit similar to your website, you’ll have the same branding, colours, graphics, all that. And it’s pretty easy for people to navigate. So they will create a login for themselves. And then they can access all your material on there. Under premium plans for teachable, you can also have features like dropping content out if you don’t want them to access everything at all at once you can create an affiliate network if you like. You can offer a discount codes, all kinds of different interesting things. And they also have different payment gateways. So you don’t necessarily need to receive your income through PayPal, if you don’t want to test different options on them. So the cool thing with that is that is a free plan, if you don’t need to premium features, you can start for free. And then they will take a cut from each of the different sales that you’re making. So if you’re feeling really unsure about this, at this point about how you know how this will go, how many people will sign up, there might that might be a great option for you, because you’re not taking any big risks except investing time and energy, obviously, in producing the course. Also, this is pretty easy to navigate from a mobile. So they have a nice app that you can use where people can learn on the go, which is, I think a really important part. For many of us, we need such busy lives that when I’m taking a course, I definitely want to be able to listen to someone to content as I travel as well.
The third option would be what kind of business actually part of the second option. So there’s different alternatives, obviously, and across platforms to teachable, one would be kajabi kajabi is quite a bit more expensive, because it’s very all in one system. So they also offer, they would then also be a newsletter provider, they offer templates for sales pages, and landing pages, all kinds of different things, and that the cost of that are $119 a month and app. So that really makes sense if you have a larger audience already. And you really want a fairly integrated all in one system rather than piecing different things together. Because I like tech and I like playing with different components. And I don’t mind putting it all together. That’s not something I would choose, regardless of how much my audience grows because I just love working in mailerlite and everything, everything I’m making networks, but just to put out there that that’s an option. And then the third category of kind of deliberately delivery options in online courses is to create a community on mighty networks. That’s what I’m doing now. So mighty networks has cross functionality, it means that on the higher plan So you can upload your online courses into the platform and it also be a community away from Facebook. I really think that community access and exchange with other course members is a really beautiful, important part of online teaching in most fields. So obviously, there are things like to give you an example, I’m considering to maybe record a little mini course on getting people set up on teachable on mighty networks. And I think that’s an experience that you can probably do on your own. So in that case, the pain point or the problem a student has is that they want someone to show them step by step how to set this up. And it will probably be like a two hour workshop, they can just follow along as I share my screen. And we’re done. So he taught me to talk to other people about that experience, because it’s ideally pretty straightforward. But if you’re teaching some something that is more personal, that may be related to some kind of transformation in the lives of businesses, but you do need to expect that people have questions and will need some kind of support. And I think building community around your cause is something really beautiful. So 19 mighty networks has a free plan. So if you’re interested in just kind of starting out with a free community, maybe where are you going in and you’re offering things like weekly journaling plans, which I’m doing as well, or just a space where people to get to know each other and discuss what’s coming up for them as they engage with what you’re telling them, or teaching or talking about a sharing run, that is a really cool option. And then there’s one Arbiter’s $12, which then gives you the ability to kind of charge for access and give people free trials and all that kind of stuff. And the most expensive plan has $57. And that enables you to also offer courses on your platform and also bundle them. So one thing that you can do is, for example, have a free open space on their mighty networks that anyone can check out. And that could maybe be also be a way to grow your community itself. And you can offer some value in there, you know, you can post your podcast episodes in there, you can ask questions, you can bet be there for other people’s questions. And then there can be kind of premium sections of that platform that are your courses that people need to pay for. And they can pay for them either one off or as subscriptions or in payment plans. So there’s lots of different options. And what I love about that is that it’s away from Facebook’s, it’s not another social media platform that just distracts people from doing what they actually came to do. But it is also very intimate and personal. So people set up their own profile, they can live their interests in their bio, and link to their profiles if they want to if they have Instagram, or a website, whatever. And they can really interact with each other as well. And there’s a sense of not being alone and that learning experience. So that has made such a big difference to me. I’m running live monthly workshops as well. And it’s really easy to set them up on mighty networks. And people can just click that they want to turn them and add stakeholder immediately. And I think those small things might seem small, but I do think that they do really make a difference in how people engage with your content and experience the learning that they do with you. And that’s kind of where I want to end here is like thinking about the user experience and keeping that at the heart of the software system that you’re choosing. You know, so I think it’s really beautiful to feel like you’re properly set up. And you know that even if your business is going to grow, you have the systems in place to really hold that. And you’re also making space for people to grow and get to know each other as they explore what you’re teaching.
I think also something that’s good to remember that you want to kind of excite people beyond starting the chorus. Because they are I heard that the reality is that only 10% of us finished completely self study online courses that where there’s no good contact or any accountability. And that makes sense to me, because we have incredibly busy lives. And it’s just hard to stay motivated when we’re overwhelmed with so much content all the time. So to me good online teaching is not just about putting information out there. It’s also about creating a really beautiful, easy to navigate experiences in which people stay motivated and engaged. And and that’s great for you as a business owner as Rob, because obviously people will talk about that positive experience. And the difference is it’s made and allows in a different way if they have had a really positive experience. So yeah, I really hope this has given you an overview of the different options and we know that wherever you add is totally cool. Don’t feel that going with kajabi or starting a community right now is necessary what you have to do, but maybe that is something that you want to keep in mind for now as something that will come further down the line. And if you just want to start with an email course for now or you just want to create in the form of recording Something that you’re excited about that is totally cool. And I’m really excited for you. So, yeah, let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for listening

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