Creating an Online Course as a Home Professional
In this article:
- Step 1: Figure out what course you want to create
- Step 2: Choose the format of your course
- Step 3: Create content
- Step 4: How to market your online course
- Step 5: Create the business plan for the course
- Step 6: Keep improving your online course
As an established home professional, there are many things you can do to scale your business or earn additional income outside of it. Creating an online course is one great option and can generate new leads, showcase your expertise to clients, and even help those who want to enter the field.
After the shift to remote work that was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are looking for online training. More than 20 million new learners registered for courses in 2021, according to the online learning platform Coursera 2021 Impact Report. Coursera’s mid-COVID growth in just one year was equal to the previous three years before the pandemic – online learning is now bigger than ever.
And it’s not stopping just because COVID is no longer front of mind. According to Straits Research, the online education market will reach $198.9 billion by 2030.
As a home professional, you can cover various topics in your course. Your course should reflect the subject of your expertise. It could be selling homes, marketing real estate, or conducting home inspections.
Step 1: Figure out what course you want to create
Take time to reflect on your business and expertise to determine what course you can create.
What valuable information can you share? How can you help those people who are looking to enter your field? What makes you different from your competition? And finally, what things are people looking to learn at the moment?
Decide what knowledge you want to share
Brainstorming your future course is the first step you should take. Think about what you are doing better than your competition. The answer to this question will help you choose your course’s topic and market it.
If you are a home inspector, you could talk about safety during home inspections by combining videos and photos. If you are a realtor, you could cover how to reach a high number of sales.
If you have good sales numbers, showcase your results to attract more attention. If you have years of experience and many clients, communicate it to your potential students.
When people look for online training, they want to see that you are an expert. Back up your expertise with sales numbers, awards, or other accomplishments.
Research the topic of your course
After you figure out your course’s topic, it’s time to research what’s already out there. If there are other courses on your topic, find out how well they cover it.
Sometimes, there could be several courses on the same subject from different angles. But don’t let that prevent you from creating your course. Various course creators have different experiences and levels of expertise. Your online course will most likely be different from others because your knowledge and expertise are unique to you.
Showcase your knowledge and experience on the topic and add some personality. Your audience wants to know why you are the best person to teach this course, and you should establish yourself as an expert.
Find your target audience
Figuring out your target audience is one of the essential parts of building your online course. If you don’t know your target audience, marketing your product will be tough.
To figure out your audience, consider their demographics like age, location, occupation, and income. Don’t forget about psychographics covering interests, attitudes, and other psychological criteria.
Think about your target audience’s problems and how your course can address them. Your course should provide actionable strategies for solving your customers’ problems.
Step 2: Choose the format of your course
You can present your content in more than one format. Online courses include videos, slideshows, photos, infographics, and text. Videos have become one of the most popular formats for online courses because they make it easier to digest information.
Remember that you don’t need to follow only one format when creating your course. You can use videos, slideshows, and text for different modules.
Choose the medium that fits your product. The skill you want to teach should determine what format you need to use. Think about what will help you to drive the message and help your students to learn more quickly.
If you want to include videos in your course, you should decide how you will appear on the screen. Will you be the talking head, or will you do any demonstration for your students?
High-quality videos cost money to produce, but you can also shoot a video with your smartphone if you don’t have a big budget.
Many learners like videos because they allow people to digest material at their own pace and take a pause when necessary. But your students can use text-based materials in the same way.
Only you can decide what type of video you need for your digital learning course. If you choose videos, expect to pay more for professional video production.
The text is a perfect alternative if you don’t have high-quality videos. You can use text to communicate the topic of your course in every module. Break up the text with photos, infographics, and other visuals to demonstrate your concept and back up your point.
Many online course creators use photos in their courses in some capacity.
While you can get photos from stock websites like Shutterstock, hire a photographer if you want more exclusive content. Like video production, expect to pay high fees depending on the type of photos that you need.
Infographics and charts can be helpful if you need to include data and statistics. For example, add some visuals from authoritative websites if you want to talk about how the real estate industry will grow.
Step 3: Create content
Creating content is one of the most fun parts of putting together your online course. Create an outline of your course by breaking it down into modules.
Your modules should be in logical order. The first module should give your audience an overview of the course and introduce them to the topic. And the last module should wrap up the course. Sometimes, students could also see their first results by the time they get to the final module.
Where to get your content
Creating content from scratch takes time and effort, but luckily you can also use the content already available on the Internet. You will need to pay fees if you want to use paid stock photography. And if you use graphics, charts, and infographics, you must cite the source and ask for permission.
Home inspectors can also use their inspection reports and other materials to teach how to write a home inspection report. Realtors could use stats and personal experience to describe the growth of a specific real estate market.
Create brand new content
Creating content for your course could be labor intensive and cost money. But it can also help you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and establish your brand.
Stock photos and videos pulled from YouTube will not likely make your course stand out from the rest. Your students will take note if your videos are shot on professional equipment and your course uses original content.
Include interactive content (puzzles, quizzes, etc.)
Puzzles and quizzes are a great way to test your audience’s knowledge and make your course interactive. Include a quiz or puzzle at the end if you use a few videos or pages of text in a row.
Tools for creating an online course
There is a variety of tools available for content creators looking to launch their online course.
When it comes to creating video content, it can be easy to be intimidated by the professionalism of others in the field. Don’t panic – the rise of video content means there are a lot of great tools for you to use. Platforms like ScreenFlow and Zoom allow you to speak and record your screen at the same time. When it’s time to edit, check out Veed, Camtasia or VSDC. You can upload your videos on Vimeo, YouTube, or 3rd party online learning platforms.
While design tools may not seem critical to building an online course, the look and feel of your presentation can really boost the user’s experience. You can certainly opt to hire or outsource design help. You can also DIY a lot of your needs through platforms like Canva.
For engaging written content, your most important tool is a grammar and spell check tool like Grammarly. Basic software like PowerPoint and the Google Suite can be great for setting up documents and downloadable. To jazz up text content, check out Canva and Adobe Spark to give your materials some wow factor.
Not every home professional will host their online course on a 3rd party platform. You may be better off hosting content on your own site to keep clients in the right spot. WordPress plugins like Beaver Builder can help you create pages to convert those watching a course into your clients.
Step 4: Market your online course
Once your course is ready, it’s time to start marketing it. You can use various means, from paid ads to your social media channels and email marketing.
Remember to always think about the return on investment you get when you spend hard-earned cash on ads. Ads are a great way to capture more of an audience but do your research before investing.
If you have a home inspection business, you can advertise your online course on your website. Create a separate page where you can talk about your course and its benefits.
Remember to pull in your target audience research here. Are you promoting your video to your own clients? To others just getting started in your industry? Your description of the course and its benefits should make it a no-brainer for your audience to sign up.
Social media is a great way to advertise your online course. If you have a big following, your product will get more exposure. You can generate a good income from your product even with a small audience, as long as you have people who want to buy your product.
You need to spend money to make money, and this rule also works for online courses. Running paid ads on Google and Facebook is an effective way to promote your course, but you need a budget. If your ideal customers don’t spend time on Facebook, investing money in Facebook ads could be a waste. Find out what channels are relevant to your audience before creating your promotional budget.
Using an external platform can help you reach an audience outside of your group. It’s a great way to get exposure and meet other course creators in your field.
YouTube videos can help drum up more interest for your online course.
YouTube is the second largest search engine, and many people use it for learning. Some of these people could be your potential students if they look for information related to your course.
Create a promotional video that covers the basics of the course and encourages the audience to learn more about it.
Course marketplaces are platforms where you can build your course and market it to millions of people. There are many course marketplaces, and each of them works differently.
Before signing up for an online marketplace, research its advantages and disadvantages. For example, Udemy is a popular platform for first-time course creators, but it takes the percentage of your sales.
Podia offers course creation software for selling digital products like online courses, but it has a monthly fee.
Other platforms where home professionals can offer their courses
You can use many other resources for marketing your online course. You can also promote your course by featuring it on platforms with big audiences like blogs and podcasts.
Consider guest posting for a website with sizeable traffic or speaking on a podcast with a big following. Conduct research and find authoritative blogs in your niche where you can spread the word about your product.
Combine various platforms to promote your course
You can also combine various platforms with marketing your course. For example, you can use social media platforms like Facebook and also create YouTube videos promoting your course.
Step 5: Create the business plan for the course
Creating a business plan for your online course is essential for long-term success.
How are you going to make money from your course?
When the course is ready, you should decide how to make money from it. Will you need an upfront payment, or will you allow your students to pay in installments? High-ticket courses that cost over $500 have payment plans.
You can also partner with fellow course creators to include your course in a bundle that offers other courses. Doing so is an excellent way to promote your course and collaborate with professionals in your field.
Determine your price
Determining the price of your online course could be tricky. Remember that you are investing time and money in your product and your price should reflect it.
If you already have an audience interested in the topic you want to teach, you can ask them what they would be willing to pay for the course. If you don’t have an audience, research online to find out what your competitors charge.
Data gathered by Teachable found that 36 percent of students, on average, completed the course in paid courses. In free courses, only 9 percent, on average, would see it through to the end.
Step 6: Keep improving your online course
After you roll out your course, you need to track your progress. Depending on your platform to market and sell, you can get information about who is buying your course and how your students find you.
If you sell your course online, track your metrics with Google Analytics. This tool offers search engine optimization (SEO) tools and allows you to learn who your audience is.
You can also track your sales and customers’ data through online marketplaces like Skillshare and Coursera.
Always ask your customers for testimonials on your course. Knowing what your students think about your product can help you to make necessary changes and stay ahead of your competition.
Creating an online course is like founding a start-up. You must identify a problem and offer a solution. Find out what your audience wants to solve and how you can help them to do that.
Identifying your audience’s needs and problems takes time to find out. Visit online communities and ask what online courses people want to buy. Creating a course is a big project. Start on it only after you know what you want to achieve with it and how you can do it.