The Ultimate Guide To Launch Online Courses for Coaches, Consultants and Service Providers

Uncategorized Nov 02, 2021
Entrepreneurs have been scaling their businesses by offering online services for years. This is a proven way to reduce time, increase capacity and save costs. By launching online services, digital offers, and virtual ways to connect, businesses can grow, scale, and create deeper connections to their customers by meeting them where they are. 
However, choosing your model and offering architecture is a decision most entrepreneurs don't think through. They jump... and years later find they hate their lifestyle because they didn't understand the connection between their model, profit, and time.
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In 2008 my company launched probably the first course on “how to launch online courses” for coaches and consultants. I had been offering online courses to my clients and we wanted to teach other coaches how to do it as well.
In the years to come, online courses in our entrepreneur space were launched with lots of content. Programming was comprehensive and the mentality was “the more the better” and more expensive. Remember B-School by Maria Forleo? Or Amy’s Porterfield’s first versions of List Builders Lab and Webinars That Convert? In the early 20-teens we launched courses that people loved and raved about. Our students stayed engaged, paid top dollar, and made big business gains. 
But as more coaches started launching courses, some concerning trends emerged: 
  1. Course content was not great. Inexperienced coaches were stacking content and expecting to deliver a great program. Coaches are not curriculum designers and attendees were not getting the results they’d paid for. 
  2. There was so too content and no Transformational Course Design™, so students were not finishing the material. 
  3. In 2016-17 we entered the “more expensive must equal better” phase of courses. This was the beginning of attendees dropping thousands of dollars on a great marketing campaign, followed by courses that fell short of the mark.
  4. Then, in 2018 the over-saturation of “set it and forget it” (aka: evergreen) courses was the final straw. Course completion rates fell to 6% and the online course industry decreased by 13.4 billion. (Today, course completion rates are down to 3%)
As a course design teacher, this was very concerning. I met with my team and we made a commitment to help our clients (who are coaches, consultants and service providers) to engineer the best courses for undisputed niche leadership. 
  • We closed 56 of our on-demand courses to revamp the delivery model to 
    hybrid program design
  • We leveled up our Transformational Program Design™ Framework we use to teach coaches to develop signature programs
  • We brought on more expert advisors in scientific learning, neuroscience, gamification, customer experience, and curriculum design
  • And in 2018 we entered into a next-level phase of consulting coaches to develop industry-leading transformational courses, trainings, masterminds, memberships and coaching programs that crush the now 97% failure rate. 
  • Today we certify programs that are engineered with Transformational Program Design™ to guarantee results for their students.

As we dive into the conversation of "the business of courses", it’s important to start with the history. 

There are two popular ways of delivering courses: 

  1. Live 

  2. On-Demand

There’s a third powerful way called Hybrid Course Design™ that we commonly work with clients to create, but we'll dive into hybrid program design more in a future podcast episode or article. 
When you've mastered your 1-1 services (online or in-person) and you're ready to scale your reach, online courses are a great option. Online education is poised to be a $350 billion dollar industry by 2025.
Evergreen Online Courses are prerecorded and offered for anyone to join at any time. Clients have access to your information 24/7 to watch/work at their pace and they enjoy the flexibility this gives. "Evergreen" refers to the fact that the content is all prerecorded and it can be accessed forever (like an evergreen tree).
LIFESTYLE: Evergreen Courses are a great way to deliver a lot of information without having to be physically present. You will prerecord all of your content and upload it to a website platform designed for online courses. Content usually consists of videos, audio, and digital files.
Warning: Businesses who only offer evergreen content with no personal coaching, support, accountability, community component, or troubleshooting for their customers will find a low course completion rate amongst users. You may consider adding an online community aspect to your course or live QA sessions. However, doing so will affect your bandwidth, time and require you to be present, and cheering on your clients on. This can be time-consuming and cause problems for some Entrepreneurs. An alternate option can be to offer 1-1 coaching to clients in addition to your evergreen course included or as an up-sell. This helps to increase student success and decreases your time.
Sales Options: Choose to allow people to join your evergreen courses any time, or open and close your enrollment periods. Both options require separate marketing tactics that will affect your time, life and business, and both options have pros and cons.
Live Online Courses deliver high-touch live coaching to a group of people across the world. People love this interaction with you, getting their questions answered, and being part of a current movement of students learning your material. Live courses are commonly delivered via webinar, Livestream, or other live video connection (see Tech Guide). Most live courses have clear start and finish timelines and students receive a schedule of events to follow. Just like Evergreen, Live Courses are best to be offered when you've mastered your 1-1 services (online or in-person) and you're ready to scale your reach.
LIFESTYLE: Live Courses are a lot of fun. If you like to interact with your customers and want to connect on a more personal level, live courses are a great way to impact a lot of people in a short time without being physically present. Add value by delivering digital downloads, worksheets, homework, challenges or audio files to help people get results. Plan your Live Course to open at a time that aligns with your life, travel, kids, activities and other programs as it will likely consume most of your attention for the duration of the course. Entrepreneurs offering Live Courses must be okay with revenue from this product only being generated during enrollment times.
Warning: Live Courses take strategy, planning, and marketing! Your work time for this type of offer begins months prior to the opening of your course and could include a ramping-up period, publicity, affiliates, ads, funnels, receiving coaching to help you to strategize your launch, team, implementation, and more. Though these launches seem easy on the outside, they are a lot of work.


Work with us to turn your ideas and expertise into online courses:

Join the Your Signature Offer™ Masterclass

Download the guide to "Layout Your Online Course In A Day"




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