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How I Made $10m - An Ultimate Guide to Online Courses

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How I Made $10m - An Ultimate Guide to Online Courses

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Ali, a doctor turned entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller "Field of Productivity", specializes in creating online courses.
  • This video aims to provide a comprehensive guide on making money with online courses.
  • The video will cover various aspects, including Ali's 12-year journey selling courses, examples of successful online course creators, specifics of selling courses as a business model, and a rapid-fire Q&A.
  • Timestamps will be provided for easy navigation.
  • Ali started creating online courses in 2010.
  • In the first year, he made $100,000.
  • By 2014, his income from online courses reached $1 million.
  • In 2018, he crossed the $10 million mark.
  • Ali's courses have been taken by over 1 million students.
  • Pat Flynn: Makes over $1 million per year from his online courses.
  • Amy Porterfield: Earns over $1 million per year from her online courses.
  • John Lee Dumas: Generates over $1 million per year from his online courses.
  • These creators have built successful online course businesses by focusing on specific niches, creating high-quality content, and effectively marketing their courses.
  • Online courses offer a scalable business model with the potential for passive income.
  • Key components of a successful online course business include:
    • Choosing a profitable niche.
    • Creating valuable and engaging content.
    • Building an email list.
    • Utilizing effective marketing strategies.
    • Providing excellent customer support.
  • Steps involved in creating an online course:
    • Identify your target audience and their needs.
    • Outline the course content and structure.
    • Create high-quality video or written content.
    • Develop quizzes, assignments, and other interactive elements.
    • Set up a learning management system (LMS) to host the course.
  • Landing pages are crucial for capturing leads and converting them into customers.
  • Effective landing pages should:
    • Clearly communicate the benefits of the course.
    • Include social proof (testimonials, reviews).
    • Have a clear call-to-action (CTA).
  • Sales pages should provide detailed information about the course, including:
    • Curriculum overview.
    • Instructor bio.
    • Pricing options.
    • Bonuses and incentives.
  • Various methods to drive traffic to your course:
  • Consistency and patience are key to building organic traffic.
  • Building an email list is essential for nurturing leads and converting them into customers.
  • Effective lead magnets (freebies) can attract potential students.
  • Sales funnels guide leads through the buying process, from awareness to purchase.
  • Answers to common questions about building an online course business.
  • Topics covered include:
    • Course pricing strategies.
    • Dealing with competition.
    • Creating a sustainable work-life balance.
    • Overcoming challenges and setbacks.

My history of selling courses (00:01:26)

  • In 2012, the speaker was scammed while trying to buy an Apple product on Craigslist, prompting them to explore ways to make money using their skills and knowledge.
  • The speaker started teaching a classroom course on BMAT preparation in 2012, earning around £300.
  • In 2013, they expanded their business online, reaching 150 students and earning around £6,000.
  • From 2014 to 2019, the speaker continued running classroom courses, earning approximately £150,000 annually.
  • In 2018, they launched a successful online BMAT crash course during their summer break.
  • The speaker created more online courses, including ones for the UKCAT medical school entrance exam and medical school interviews.
  • In 2020, they made $847 on Skillshare and $515,000 in 2021 by creating multiple courses and promoting them to their YouTube audience.
  • The creator's earnings peaked in 2021 during the pandemic, with $859,000 from Skillshare alone.
  • In 2020, they launched the Part-time YouTuber Academy, which generated $294,000 in revenue.
  • The Part-time YouTuber Academy experienced substantial growth, reaching $2 million in revenue in 2021, $1.7 million in 2022, and $3.6 million in 2023.
  • The speaker provided detailed revenue figures from various platforms, totaling approximately $10.1 million.

Examples of other course creators (00:09:11)

  • Justin Welsh, an online business expert, generated $7.5 million in revenue with three courses over 4.6 years, with a 91% margin.
  • Amy Porterfield, known for her online marketing courses and podcast, has sold over $100 million, with courses priced between $300 and $2,000.
  • Jenna Kutcher, with her popular website and courses on Instagram, Pinterest, and podcasting, likely generates several million dollars annually, possibly reaching $10 million.
  • George Blackman, a former employee turned entrepreneur, launched his first online course and made $63,750 in 48 hours, with a consistent monthly income of $8,000 from course sales.
  • Kieran Drew, a writing course creator, openly shares his revenue, reporting a March net income of $132,000 and consistent annual earnings of at least $500,000.
  • Thiago Forte, a productivity expert and course creator, generated $8.9 million in revenue over ten years, with an average annual profit of $334,000.
  • Online courses can be lucrative, but teaching others how to make money online is not the only profitable topic.
  • There are many other subjects people are willing to pay to learn about, such as yoga, guitar, coding, and soft skills like public speaking and goal setting.
  • The key to success in selling online courses is identifying a niche market and creating high-quality content that meets your target audience's needs.
  • Teachers can make money by charging for courses, offering memberships, or selling related products and services.
  • Teachers can work for schools or universities, receiving a salary while the institution charges high fees to students or the government.
  • Teachers can also make money through one-on-one tutoring, offering their expertise to individuals seeking personalized instruction.
  • Workshops are another way for teachers to generate income by charging a fee to participants for weekend workshops or training sessions.
  • Businesses can hire teachers to provide training and development programs for their employees, creating an opportunity for teachers to monetize their skills.
  • In ancient times, philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates relied on patronage from wealthy individuals or emperors to support their teachings and philosophical pursuits.
  • Teachers can distribute their services to a wider audience by creating online courses, allowing them to reach learners beyond their immediate geographical location and potentially earn significant revenue.

The courses business model (00:19:45)

  • Online course creators use the internet to sell their teaching services.
  • There are two main types of online courses: self-paced and cohort-based.
  • Self-paced courses are pre-recorded and can be accessed by students at their own pace, while cohort-based courses are live and interactive, with students taking the course together at the same time.
  • Other ways to make money online as a teacher include one-on-one coaching, writing and self-publishing books, and creating online content such as blog posts, videos, and podcasts.
  • If you enjoy teaching and explaining subjects to others, becoming an online course creator might be a good fit for you.

Building your course step by step (00:24:09)

  • To make money through online courses, provide a transformation from point A to point B for the learner.
  • Choose a fun and alliterative name that reflects the transformation.
  • Identify the target audience and understand their needs and desires.
  • Create a simple course outline with modules and lessons covering the necessary topics.
  • The speaker created a completed online course in a short amount of time.

Choosing a platform for your course (00:28:24)

  • There are two ways to sell online courses: on your own website or on a platform like Skillshare or Udemy.
  • Selling courses on your own platform is generally better but requires more effort in building a website and handling payments.
  • Platforms like Podia and Kajabi make it easy to create and sell online courses, with Podia being a more affordable option.
  • With Podia, you can upload MP4 videos, create a website, and set up a sales page for your course.

Setting up your course for purchase (00:30:57)

  • Kajabi is a good platform for creating and selling online courses.
  • Kajabi pricing starts at $119 per month and goes up to $319 per month.
  • Kajabi has an AI course builder that can help you create the outline of your course and a landing page.
  • You can add videos and other content to your course easily.
  • Kajabi provides a preview of your course so you can see how it will look before you publish it.
  • The YouTuber Academy course uses Kajabi's elaborate template.
  • The course includes an introduction module, video lessons, comments, and a quiz.
  • Students can sign up for the course and take it through the Kajabi platform.

Creating your landing page and website (00:34:28)

  • To sell your course, you need traffic to your course website.
  • A course website should have:
    • A clear and concise overview of the course.
    • A preview of some of the lessons.
    • A call-to-action (CTA) button that allows people to buy the course.
  • A landing page is a one-page website that has a CTA button on it that allows people to buy your course.
  • Landing pages are often used interchangeably with sales pages.
  • Platforms like Podia, Kajabi, and Teachable have built-in landing page features that make it easy to create a landing page without coding knowledge.

Creating your offer (00:38:02)

  • An offer should be clear, concise, and promise value to the customer. The price should be significantly lower than the perceived value.
  • To create a good offer, refer to the book "$100 Million Offers" by Alex Hormozi.
  • For an effective landing page, read "Copywriting Secrets" by Jim Edwards.
  • Creating the online course is easy, but building a business around teaching and selling them is challenging.
  • Platforms like Skillshare and Udemy are suitable for those who enjoy teaching but don't want to deal with building a business.
  • The key to success with online courses lies in attracting visitors to the landing page, crafting an enticing offer, and building an email list.
  • The landing page, checkout page, and website are crucial for generating revenue.

The biggest problem: traffic and leads (00:43:48)

  • Generating leads or traffic to the landing page is the key challenge in selling online courses.
  • SEO is not a viable option for beginners due to intense competition and time required for ranking.
  • Creating valuable free content and running paid ads are two main strategies for generating leads.
  • Paid ads can be expensive and may result in financial losses if not managed properly.
  • Many successful online course creators focus on creating free content to attract leads.
  • Building an organic audience through platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn is crucial for driving traffic.
  • Creating an online course is relatively easy, but generating traffic is the main challenge.
  • Converting website traffic into sales is generally easier compared to attracting traffic.
  • Building a successful online course business requires both teaching skills and marketing efforts.
  • Creating a successful online course requires significant effort and time, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
  • Creating valuable free content to promote the course is crucial, but there's a risk of giving away too much information.
  • Building a career through online courses is viable but not an easy path to wealth.
  • Compared to becoming a neurosurgeon, earning millions through online courses requires less training and time commitment.
  • Enjoyment in teaching and content creation is essential for success in this business model.

Frequently asked questions (00:52:42)

  • The speaker will answer commonly asked questions about making money through online courses.

What if you feel you have nothing to teach? (00:53:09)

  • Many people feel they have nothing to teach, but this is often not true.
  • You likely have learned valuable skills and knowledge from your job, hobbies, or personal experiences that you can share with others.
  • Imagine giving advice to yourself from a few years ago, or teaching a skill to someone younger than you.
  • If you were forced to give a 20-minute talk, what would you talk about?
  • If you don't have any valuable skills or knowledge to teach, you can learn something new and create a course about it later.
  • The speaker taught themselves video editing from scratch and created a successful course about it.

What order should I do the things to build this kind of business? (00:55:45)

  • Start with lead generation and getting people to sign up for a free version of your product or service.
  • Watch the interview with Daniel Priestley on the Deep Dive podcast to learn more about lead generation.
  • Create a free webinar or educational email course to provide value and generate leads.
  • Use a survey to ask leads about their challenges and willingness to pay.
  • Once you have a sense of demand, create a landing page and collect pre-orders for your course.

How do you choose a price for your course? (00:58:42)

  • Start with a low price and increase it over time.
  • Starting with a high price and decreasing it later can upset early customers.
  • Alternatively, start with a high price and provide exceptional value.
  • Pricing is a complex topic with entire books dedicated to it.
  • Search for books and resources specifically about pricing online courses.

What’s a funnel? (00:59:49)

  • A funnel describes the customer journey from initial contact to purchase.
  • The top of the funnel is where potential customers first learn about you (e.g., YouTube videos).
  • A small percentage of those people will visit your website.
  • A smaller percentage of website visitors will make a purchase.
  • The goal is to get people into the top of the funnel so they can progress to the bottom and make a purchase.
  • Russell Brunson's book "DotCom Secrets" provides detailed information about funnels.

What if I don't feel like an expert in my field? (01:01:05)

  • You don't need to be an expert to create an online course.
  • You just need to be able to teach something to people who are one or two levels below you.
  • Most people never feel like experts in their field.
  • What matters is if you can provide value to people who are a few steps behind you in the journey and if they are willing to pay for it.

What are the most common mistakes to avoid? (01:02:30)

  • The most common mistake is not validating the demand for the course before making it.
  • Create a waitlist for the course to gauge interest.
  • If you can't get people to join the waitlist, there is no demand for the course.

What do you do about people pirating your content? (01:02:56)

  • People will always pirate your content, there's no point in trying to stop it.
  • Focus on creating valuable content that people are willing to pay for.

How much should I give away for free? (01:03:23)

  • The more you give away for free, the more money you'll make with your course.
  • When people buy a course, they are making a commitment to themselves and want all the information in one place in a structured way.
  • Sharing bits and pieces of your course content on YouTube is not a problem and can actually increase sales.

How do you handle refunds and dissatisfied students? (01:04:07)

  • Offers a frictionless money-back guarantee.
  • Believes that if someone doesn't find the course valuable, they shouldn't keep their money.
  • Has an easy refund process: email and fill out a form.
  • Views refunds as a way to overcome imposter syndrome and assure customers of the course's worth.
  • Acknowledges that some people may request refunds after downloading and pirating the course, but considers it a normal business practice.

What are some resources you recommend checking out? (01:05:13)

  • Books:
    • "$100 Million Offers" by Alex Hormozi
    • "$100 Million Leads" by Alex Hormozi
    • "DotCom Secrets" by Russell Brunson
    • "Expert Secrets" by Russell Brunson
    • "Traffic Secrets" by Russell Brunson
  • Online Course:
    • "Experts Academy" by Brendan Burchard
    • "Total Product Blueprint" by Brendan Burchard
  • Podcast:
    • "Deep Dive" podcast interviews with course creators like Thiago Forte, David Perell, Dicky Bush, and Nicholas Cole.
  • Playlist:
    • Created a playlist of recommended videos and podcasts that provide a foundation for building an effective online courses business.

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