Teach What You Know and Love

Hi. Welcome to Living Authentically After 55. I'm Karen Crowell, and I'm your host. In previous episodes, we've looked at setting goals, making plans, and using intention to bring the plan to fruition. We've also looked at mentoring and sharing your life experiences. I hope you've had fun dreaming big, setting great goals, and helping others, and I look forward to hearing about your progress in the Facebook group. If you're not a member of the group yet, just click on the link in the podcast description. https://www.facebook.com/groups/245015682512938/

One of the possible goals that I mentioned previously was turning your life experience and skills into an online class. For this week's motivation for momentum, we're going to look at the steps involved in making a course. But first, let's look at why online courses are so popular.

We're living in a time when people want quick access to learning all kinds of different skills, and online courses give students an environment to accomplish that goal. Here's a list of some of the reasons students like online classes.
They are available 24/7.
They are available all over the world wherever there is an Internet connection.
They are inexpensive to take compared to a university course.
Students get to choose courses they want as opposed to a university where they are required to take certain courses whether the student wants it or not.
Students can go at their own pace.
Once a course is up, it's basically up forever, so a student can review the course as often as they'd like for no additional charge, even years after they initially took the course.
Students can take courses to prepare for a promotion, personal growth, or to learn a hobby, language, or computer skill.

The topics and opportunities are endless.

A quick disclosure, I am not promoting one company over another. I personally have my classes with Udemy, but I'll give you the names of other companies, and you can decide which one would best meet your needs. For the purpose of this podcast, much of the information is based on Udemy's policies and recommendations because that's what I am familiar with. Other companies may have their own way of doing things, so if you choose another company, you'll want to make sure to check out their requirements.

Because there's a lot of information concerning how to produce a course, in the next few episodes, I'll be including the transcript in the podcast description as well as a printable copy under the file tab of the Facebook group.

There are 4 stages to creating a course. The first stage is deciding what you want to teach and if you plan to charge for the course or offer it for free. The second stage is producing the course. The third stage is publishing the course on the site of your choosing. And the fourth stage is promoting your course. This week, we will be looking at the first stage. We'll look at the other stages in upcoming weeks.

Let's break down the planning stage. This is the first and most important step to creating a course. Consider all your skills and experience and decide what you'd actually like to teach. You want to be specific about your topic and who your target audience will be. The more unique and different you can make your course from the rest of the courses that are offered in the marketplace, the better your course will do. Keep in mind that you don't need to have a degree in order to teach an online class with the companies that I am going to mention.

The best way to pick your topic is to teach what you know and love. The topic can be anything. To narrow your topic, ask yourself:

What your ideal student will look like?

Who is your target audience?

What level course do you want to teach? In other words, beginning intermediate, or advanced.

What aspects of your topic would your target student be interested in?

Why would they be taking your course?

What would motivate your target student to not only enroll in your course but complete it?

Once you have defined your target student, keep that student in mind throughout producing your course.

To help you decide what to teach, you can do a self-assessment and answer the following questions.*

What topics are you passionate about teaching?

What are you known for?

Do you have a reputation in a particular industry or on a particular topic already?

What credentials or accolades do you have in your field? Keep in mind that successfully doing something gives you credentials. For instance, if you want to teach a woodworking course and have 10 years of woodworking experience, that is your credential.

Here are some more questions to consider.*

What makes you stand out?

What makes what you plan to teach unique and valuable?

Why should someone learn from you?

What does your brand or business stand for, and what would you like it to stand for? In most cases, you are your brand.

You can offer your course for free, but if you are producing a course to generate income, you will want to do a market survey. Here is how to do one.*

Once you have a course in mind, go to udemy.com. That's UDEMY.com. In the course search bar, enter your topic and then hit enter. This will give you a good idea of how many courses are already out there, and you'll be able to also see how many students are taking classes similar to yours. Take a look at the objectives of those courses as well as the curriculum. Your goal here is to identify what students might already have access to and where you can uniquely add value. If there are already a number of courses available on your topic, you can still produce your class, you just need to think of ways to differentiate it from the courses that are already out there. This can be done by doing different lecture types like videos, mixed with audios, PDFs, adding projects, quizzes, contests, etc. If you decide to use a different company, then do this first step on their site. Next, go to Amazon, Google, iTunes, or other websites that might sell information products on your topic. Identify 3-4 books, podcasts, or other information products to research. Your goal is to understand broader trends in the industry and how your course can stand out from other information products.

As you are doing your research, ask yourself:*

Do courses or information products already exist for your topic? If they don't, what is the potential demand for a course like yours? I'll cover how to find that information shortly.

For courses and information products that already exist, what do they have in common?

What subtopics do they cover? What subtopics do they not cover?

Specifically for websites where you can read reviews, what do the reviews say?

What are the top 3-4 critical feedback points from customers or students, and what are the top 3-4 positive feedback points? This information will give you a sense for what subtopics to include in your course. You can also show your findings to friends and family to see if they agree with your conclusions.

The next step is to see how big the market and demand is for a course like yours.* Do a quick search in Google using narrow, specific keywords that describe your course. What kinds of search results are returned? If there's nothing, you might want to reconsider the topic you're teaching on. If there's too many, you might want to think about how you can differentiate yourself.

Next, identify the online communities and groups that exist on your course topic.* How many people are members of these communities? How many people are engaged in conversations? Finding groups that have a few hundred members or more is generally a good sign that there is a decent amount of demand on your topic.

Do a search on your topic within specific social media sites like YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
On YouTube, look at what viewers are saying in the comment sections of the most popular videos on your topic.
On LinkedIn and Facebook, how many posts are returned on your topic? How many groups exist?
On Twitter, what are the most common hashtags used? Are people engaging in conversation on a regular basis or are tweets few and far between?

You can also use Google Trends to understand the search volume on your topic. Google trends can also provide information that will help you develop a great title and subtitle for your course.

Another important step to complete before you produce your course is to find out what the concerns are of your target students.* To do this, subscribe to the most popular online forums for your topic, and even better, actively participate in those discussions. Also, subscribe to specific social media channels. Go to Amazon and read all the critical reviews of products on your topic. Pay attention to the positive and negative comments. Why did the customer find it amazing or what did they wish it had included? Write those comments down and think about how you can design your course to not only include the positive aspects consumers mentioned but also how you can include what other products lacked. If you have friends, family, or co-workers that are interested in your topic, ask them about the blogs or websites that they read and follow. Listen carefully to the words and language that your target students use. Be very specific. What are the actual search phrases they use in Google?

Once you've picked your topic and decided on your ideal student and target audience, and researched if your course would have a viable market, set a goal for the day you want to actually publish your course. This will depend on how much time you can devote each day. Some instructors have their course done in 30 days, some in less and some in more. For instance, it takes me about eight months to do one course because of my limitations on being able to be on the computer. I do know some instructors who put up a course a week, so it really just depends on how much time you want to devote to doing courses.

Your next step is to make a course outline. I don't want to overwhelm you, so we will pick up with your outline next week. If you have any questions, you can always email me at livingauthenticallyafter55@gmail.com or send me a message on Facebook. If you think it's a question that will benefit others in the Facebook group, feel free to post it in the discussion area.

Enjoy doing your research and have a great week!

*some questions based on Udemy handout.

Facebook: Living Authentically After 55

Twitter: @livauthentic55

Reaching retirement is much like graduating from high school. It's a fresh start and an opportunity to live true to who you are. The good news is that living authentically is not based on finances, material goods, health, or other external forces. It's about who you are as a person and being who you want to be, not what others expect you to be. This podcast series will help you discover or rediscover who you are, find your interests, give you valuable information to enhance your day-to-day living, help you meet the challenges that can prevent you from living authentically and passionately, and motivate you to be young at heart and enjoy your golden years.

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