Many visitors show up at Learning Revolution because they are looking for a platform to sell online courses and have found my post on that topic. As important as having a solid, user-friendly platform is, though, it is nowhere near the most important factor in success as a course entrepreneur.
The most important factor, hands down, is strategy.
Let’s face it: it’s incredibly crowded out there in the market for online courses – or most other kinds of education, for that matter. Even if you have identified a great niche where you have lot’s of value to offer, your prospective customers almost certainly have other options – from free videos on YouTube to other edupreneurs you may not even have discovered yet.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and actually make money teaching online, you better have a strategy that will get you in front of your target learners and pull them to you. (And, years of experience has taught me that most edupreneurs really do not have a strategy, which will automatically put you ahead of most competitors!)
With that goal in mind, of rounded up some key Learning Revolution posts that address the topic of strategy. These definitely aren’t the only ones, but they will get you started with developing clear, effective strategy for your online course business – and, all of them link to other posts that will help you go deeper wherever you need to.
So, let’s get going
The Market for Online Courses
All effective strategy starts with a clear, honest, objective understanding of your current situation. That’s worth repeating three times as so many businesses simply don’t do the work to understand their situation and, even if they do, often aren’t really honest and objective about it.
This post provides part of the what you need to understand your situation: an assessment of what the broader market for online courses looks like right now, including how buyer expectations are evolving.
Hitting Your Strategic Sweet Spot with the 3M Model
Another key part of understanding your situation and starting to figure out where you want to go is assessing your own motivations and capabilities against the backdrop of the market you aim to serve. The 3M – or, Market, Means, Motivation – model is my simple but powerful approach to doing this.
In a nutshell, you want to find the sweet spot where what you are really excited to do, what you have the ability to do well, and what your audience wants intersects. The post provide more detail about what that means and how to do it.
15 Ways to Validate Your Online Course Idea
Finally, to truly understand your situation, you have to be willing to get real – very real – about whether there really is an audience for your online courses.
Beyond Courses: Building Your Value Ramp™
In most cases, online courses are not going to be the only types of learning experiences an edupreneur offers, but even if they are, you have to think of the range of ways in which you can provide value to your prospects and customers. Only by doing this will you be able to strategically plot the path that leads a prospect to becoming a customer.
I view this path as a ramp, along which you build momentum and along which value – and price – increase. This free PDF download provides an overview:
Understanding your situation is critical to setting strategy. If you spend time to really think through the ideas and issues raised in the items above, you should begin to see clearly what your customers value and ways in which you – mostly because you are you – can stand out in meeting your customer’s needs.
As you consider your business model, though – the way in which your strategy will actually convert into making money – make sure you are clear about the type of business you are and the trade-offs of one of the most popular business models:
Which Type of Online Course Business Are You? (And Why It Matters)
The question I raise in this post may seem like a no-brainer, but I finally felt like I had to write about it because I see so many edupreneurs make bad choices because they haven’t really thought about the answer to the question. The answer is fundamental to your strategy and it will (or should) greatly impact the type of platform you should choose, your products, and many other aspects of your learning business.
Don’t take this for granted. It usually doesn’t take long to figure out, but being crystal clear about the answer could make a huge difference in the whether you are successful or not.
When to Consider the Udemy Model
Many edupreneurs who want to sell online course, but aren’t comfortable with markting and selling, think that Udemy or other similar “marketplace” sites are the answer. You don’t have to follow me for long to know that I am not so sure. If you are really serious about being an edupreneur, think long and hard about whether the Udemy model is really right for you. This post will help:
Finally, let’s wrap up with a couple of posts on success.
5 Steps To Succeed As An Online Course Entrepreneur
This post blends together a number of the insights and tips from above and also gets into creating and marketing courses. I should stress that while I’ve aimed it at online course entrepreneurs, the principles in it really apply to all types of edupreneurs.
The Key to Long-Term Success as an Edupreneur: Demonstrating Educational Impact
This post addresses one of the most persistent themes in everything that I do at Learning Revolution and in my broader work with learning and education businesses: you have to move the dial. If your offerings don’t actually lead to significant positive change for your learners, then the people who make buying decisions – whether that’s the learners themselves or their employers – won’t be back for more.
When that happens, of course, it’s extremely hard to sustain a business over the long term. This post discusses three keys to demonstrating impact
So, that you get you going in thinking strategically about your education business. If you’d like more insights and tips over time, be sure to sign up below to get updates from Learning Revolution.Strategy Insights for Edupreneurs