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EXECUTION 20 point plan to start a digital course from scratch with zero cash

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SK1

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Hi all,

So, it has been a few months since my "F*ck this moment" - Link.
Quitting job in July (I currently work in education and this is the end of the term).

Finally got my a$$ into gear and decided to draw upon my current skill set to develop a range of online courses.
First course: How to start a digital course with no money in 30 days.

Following some research, I have developed a 20 point plan to develop and sell a new digital course with zero cash.

I would love your thoughts on this - what have I missed?

  1. Develop course ideas that people will buy
  2. Find potential customers for your course, start email list
  3. Generate targeted leads
  4. Validate the course before working on the content – Ask prospects
  5. Select course hosting (Teachable?)
  6. Set up course structure and first 20% of the content
  7. Email campaign – lead generation – free course introduction
  8. Pre-sell the course with beta release (20% content and 20% cost)
  9. Social and PPC ads to generate targeted leads using income from beta release
  10. Gain feedback and testimonials from beta
  11. Sell the full course
  12. Add upsell, side sell and down sell
  13. Build another 40% of the course
  14. Launch course
  15. Build remainder of course
  16. Get feedback and testimonials
  17. Tweak content if needed
  18. Re-sell course
  19. Re-launch
  20. Repeat 16-20 whilst continuing lead generation

I think I can get to 14. Launch Course in 30 days - spending zero cash, starting with no leads and working on during the evenings and weekends only. Too optimistic?

Would be great to get some feedback.
 

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What will this be on?

- why will people listen to you?
- what have you done?
- what unique value can you bring?
- how can you do things better than others who came before you?
 

MTEE1985

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So on the forum that can’t stand fake gurus you’re asking advice on a plan to become a fake guru?

If I’m misinterpeting this please correct me.
 

Andy Black

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I’m curious... have you created (and sold) a digital course in 30 days?
 
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SK1

SK1

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Hi.

Guru - no not me.

I have been teaching engineering for 10 years and have many specific, specialist skills that I have passed on to thousands of learners, at different levels. I have also set up and managed a number of adult professional courses.

I haven't set up independant digital courses before, so was after some clarity if I had the process down.
It's a little different to my normal line of work as I will be doing lead generation and sales myself.

So no, not looking to be a guru, just continue to pass on my knowledge in engineering.
 

Lex DeVille

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Hi.

Guru - no not me.

I have been teaching engineering for 10 years and have many specific, specialist skills that I have passed on to thousands of learners, at different levels. I have also set up and managed a number of adult professional courses.

I haven't set up independant digital courses before, so was after some clarity if I had the process down.
It's a little different to my normal line of work as I will be doing lead generation and sales myself.

So no, not looking to be a guru, just continue to pass on my knowledge in engineering.
Why not sell beginner engineering courses then? Engineering is a high-growth field with a lot of people wanting in. You already know the field, so I don't understand why you'd want to sell courses on how to make courses. Not sure if I'm understanding your approach correctly.
 
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SK1

SK1

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I don't understand why you'd want to sell courses on how to make courses. Not sure if I'm understanding your approach correctly.
Sorry, not wanting to sell courses on selling courses - selling courses in engineering, yes.

I am process driven and like together my own process in place to work from.

Just to clarify - I don't want to sell course on how to sell courses.
 

Lex DeVille

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Sorry, not wanting to sell courses on selling courses - selling courses in engineering, yes.

I am process driven and like together my own process in place to work from.

Just to clarify - I don't want to sell course on how to sell courses.
That makes so much more sense. I saw someone in the Udemy instructor forums recently asking for advice on how to sell courses when her course was on how to sell courses.

I'm totally on board with selling courses when you can add real value for your students. In this case it sounds like you can.

You can build, launch, and sell a course within 30 days easily depending on your approach. My recent courses have all taken less than 14 days to map out and record. They ended up taking most of a month since I put them on Udemy and there is a review period and some other things to tend too.

If you do it through your own website it will be faster, and you'll have more control over your pricing, but you'll have to drive traffic.
 

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Maybe edit your original post with some context. Definitely sounds like you are either selling courses on course or making a course on something you don’t know yourself.
 
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SK1

SK1

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Maybe edit your original post with some context. Definitely sounds like you are either selling courses on course or making a course on something you don’t know yourself.
Point taken. Lol.
 

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ProcessPro

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Hi.

Guru - no not me.

I have been teaching engineering for 10 years and have many specific, specialist skills that I have passed on to thousands of learners, at different levels. I have also set up and managed a number of adult professional courses.

I haven't set up independant digital courses before, so was after some clarity if I had the process down.
It's a little different to my normal line of work as I will be doing lead generation and sales myself.

So no, not looking to be a guru, just continue to pass on my knowledge in engineering.
This was the missing context. I like the idea! I could be a bit biased because my fastlane idea is a bit similar, i.e. creating and selling educational content. It definitely lends to scale which is something I'm personally happy about. I like your 20 point outline, but I'd warn you to beware of planning fallacy. The planning is the easy stage and it all seems so perfect on paper, but when you start taking action, it's a different story. You have nothing to lose though, I say go for it!
 

LuckyPup

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Hi.

Guru - no not me.

I have been teaching engineering for 10 years and have many specific, specialist skills that I have passed on to thousands of learners, at different levels. I have also set up and managed a number of adult professional courses.

I haven't set up independant digital courses before, so was after some clarity if I had the process down.
It's a little different to my normal line of work as I will be doing lead generation and sales myself.

So no, not looking to be a guru, just continue to pass on my knowledge in engineering.
Curious to see what the market is. Hope you've found a good need for a good niche.
 

Andy Black

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I didn’t read all 20 points. You’re a trained engineer, so if that’s the way you need to work then fair enough. I find engineers overplan. I subscribe to the philosophy that “overthinking is the art of solving problems you don’t have.” I prefer to “go on the B of Bang”.


I haven’t done it in 30 days, but if I was to try then this is what I envision I’d do and would happen. (30 days might be a bit too short to do it this way...)

If I wanted to sell the course online and not in person then I’d find an online forum or Facebook group where people I can help hang out. I’d immediately start helping folks in there.

I’d start getting know as The XYZ Guy, because I talk about XYZ and I help people with XYZ. I’d know I’m doing it right when people start referring to me as The XYZ Guy and start tagging me when someone has a problem with XYZ. (This is the part I suspect should take more than 30 days.)

If I end up repeating myself with the same advice then I’d create a brand new post to link people to in future. I’d know that post is battle-tested and helps lots of people.

I’d create a few super short video walk throughs (2 mins max). I’d ask for feedback on them in the forum/group where I’m now already known as The XYZ Guy. Bear in mind that at this stage they should already know, like, and trust me.

I’d respond to feedback and keep iterating the 2 minute video till folks give the thumbs up.

I’d then contact the forum/group owner, who by this stage should have spotted I’ve been helping members of his community.

I’d ask if I could create a course for his community and drop it in. I’d offer to give him a % of the sale... maybe 50%?

If it’s a go, I’d create something super short (10 mins?) and cheap ($10?) that people can buy, knowing that “the first purchase is a test” and that it’s essential I create a win-win-win (for me, the community owner, and the community members).

I’d take it from there...

If I can now sell a course to people who know, like, and trust me, then I need to figure out how to get people to know, like, and trust me before presenting them with the course.

Maybe I send cold visitors from Google Ads, YouTube ads (it’s a video right?), and Facebook ads to some email series where I send them the battle-tested posts that answer common questions?





Links to check out in my signature:
  • Who have you helped?
  • Learnings from 700+ PMs with fellow forum members.
  • AdWords Posts.
  • My AdWords Course market place ad.
  • My insiders progress thread about “Serving my DIY market”.


PS: This is pretty much what I’ve done in TFLF, but it took about three years, and just happened. Two years later and I’ve a course that sells to people who know, like, and trust me (and have had a few sales via referrals). I’m now looking at the scaling beyond TFLF part.
 
Last edited:

BigDaddyKane

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Hey SK1, courses are something that I too have recently looked into as I'm choosing between a few different routes for my next venture.

From your original post it does say that the first course will be on how to sell courses lol. That isn't a bad thing, especially if you know you can do it. But it sounds like you have more to offer in the world of engineering - I'd go with this topic since its the path of least resistance given what you can offer.

Here's how I see validation of an info product: Validating comes as a part of creating the content itself. I don't like to think of them as mutually exclusive because they are one and the same. Whatever it is that you are teaching - just start talking about it to anyone who has an interest in it or will listen. Your message will become clearer and clearer through this process. But don't think of validation as it's own "step" - you're going to receive useful feedback from people throughout the life of the business, just constantly refine your strategy and info based on this feedback.

I wouldn't set up 20% of the content. I would create 100% of the content from the get. Going through a number of full revisions as time progresses. In other words point 11 should really be #8.

Like Andy mentioned, the forum route is definitely a solid route. Especially when starting with little to no funds. This should really be step 1 as it gets you straight into the process of feedback.

What type of engineering concepts will you be teaching? Beginner? Advanced? Both?

Like I mentioned, I've been thinking a lot about the model of selling of courses online. Particularly in an environment where you can access basically any information online absolutely free.
I know some have mentioned the psychology and correlation behind pricing and the students use of the information/dedication to the course/customer retention. You really have to provide a lot of true value if you wanna make the big bucks (this value can be in the form of your ability to explain hard to understand concepts, simply).

I work in the world of film production and content creation, so for me - the actual quality of the video/audio content adds a lot of value to the product. I think hosting the course on your own site is better personally (for long term brand building) but using sites like Kajabi or Teachable does the job.

Good luck bro! Hoping you keep us updated.
 

Walter Hay

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First course: How to start a digital course with no money in 30 days.
I may be pedantic, but you could benefit from having one of @Lex DeVille's successful students do the copywriting for you, or at least edit it. I am sure they will correct errors of syntax and spelling, both of which are evident in your first post. For example, are you saying you won't have any money in 30 days, or do you mean you will teach how to start a digital course in 30 days with no money?
I would love your thoughts on this - what have I missed?
What you have missed has been explained by several members already, but most eloquently by @Andy Black. Give value first.

What Andy advises is not going to be achieved in 30 days, so you might need to rethink the schedule.

Walter
 

Charnell

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First course: How to start a digital course with no money in 30 days.
I believe this line is causing all the confusion. Maybe edit it to say "My first course of action:" or "The first thing I need to figure out is how to start..."
 

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