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INTRO Online Video Course Idea

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civilpro

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I'm a 38 year old living in Denver. I was educated in civil engineering and 5 years after college went into business for myself doing wedding videography and made a living doing that for 7 years. The business didn't quite fail, but 30-40k a year is poverty in Colorado. I made a goal to make 100k last year and only made 35k and worked every day including Sat night. I ran out of savings and decided that life wasn't for me. I decided it was time to call it quits. I decided that being self-employed isn't worth the stress for anything under 75k, unless its off-hands. Its only because of the economy and high demand for civil engineers that I was able to get back to employment after such a long gap in my resume. Although I'm currently on the sidewalk I am using this as an opportunity to learn.

And learn I have. I have learned so much that I am motivated to create and sell an online video course on a few technical topics related to the land development industry. I'm thinking of first selling it myself and maybe going over to Lynda.com or something, which I noticed teamed up with linkedin. Reading unscripted on my commute. I'm in a difficult field to break into, barrier to entry, check.

I'd love to hear from others who are in the educational business. I'd prefer to make 1 good product that I'm proud of, even if I have to spend 500 hours on it.

My dream is a several-month long solo motorcycle trip throughout the western US. I'd only be comfortable taking such a long adventerous trip if I wasn't using savings and I was making money along the way.
 

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George Appiah

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Hi @civilpro,

Thanks for your introduction, and welcome to the Fastlane community forums!

went into business for myself doing wedding videography and made a living doing that for 7 years. The business didn't quite fail, but 30-40k a year is poverty in Colorado. I made a goal to make 100k last year and only made 35k and worked every day including Sat night. I ran out of savings and decided that life wasn't for me. I decided it was time to call it quits.
Man, sorry about that.

But, certainly, there are people crushing it, or at least making a decent living, doing wedding photography. I know of a dude who does only 12 weddings the entire year, one in each month, at $15k each (all expenses extra), and is often booked at least 4 months in advance.

So what would you say are the primary reasons why you did not succeed as a wedding photographer?

Digging deep into this could, at least, direct your learning. And if the issues have anything to do with the person in the mirror and they're not addressed, you're bound to meet them again and again in the 100th business you pursue.

... Lynda.com..., which I noticed teamed up with linkedin.
LinkedIn bought Lynda.com in 2015 for $1.5 billion in cash and stock, and Microsoft bought LinkedIn a year later for $26.2 billion.

My dream is a several-month long solo motorcycle trip throughout the western US. I'd only be comfortable taking such a long adventerous trip if I wasn't using savings and I was making money along the way.
That in itself could be an interesting idea for a YouTube/Facebook vlogging with the occasional live Q&A. And a course, based on your personal experience doing such a trip, would be unique and could sell well -- especially if you're able to grow a large audience of couch travelers during the trip.
 

RazorCut

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I'd love to hear from others who are in the educational business. I'd prefer to make 1 good product that I'm proud of, even if I have to spend 500 hours on it.
I would avoid Linda.com as the payment system is very much akin to YouTube. In other words you will be paid pennies unless you have a very large number of views.

Same with @George Appiah idea of vlogging on YouTube/Facebook. It *could* work but you need a very large audience to achieve any decent revenue. I have a friend with 30k followers on YouTube, a strong Instagram account, a podcast and several Patreon accounts and combined it wouldn't pay your monthly food bill let alone anything else. His favourite saying is "thanks for your support, it's helping keep the lights on". That's how little it brings in. It also took a couple of years to get those number of followers so unless you are lucky or work your arse off then that is not the way to go unless you have a passion for it (and can fit it in around your paying job).

If there is a market for your product then I would go the online course route with a company like Teachable.com where you create your course, they host it and handle payment processing and you market it.

You can then sell it for whatever you think is appropriate (they suggest pricing at $100-$500 for a standard course and $500-$2000 for a flagship course). If your course has a lot of value to your target market then around $500 is the sweet-spot from the research I have done elsewhere, (most people undervalue their course and regret not charging more for it later on). Obviously you need to provide good value for money.

Hope that helps some and good luck.

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jon.M

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Same with @George Appiah idea of vlogging on YouTube/Facebook. It *could* work but you need a very large audience to achieve any decent revenue. I have a friend with 30k followers on YouTube, a strong Instagram account, a podcast and several Patreon accounts and combined it wouldn't pay your monthly food bill let alone anything else. His favourite saying is "thanks for your support, it's helping keep the lights on". That's how little it brings in. It also took a couple of years to get those number of followers so unless you are lucky or work your arse off then that is not the way to go unless you have a passion for it (and can fit it in around your paying job).
I agree. A niche channel with focus on something of high value, for example, a channel for programming where you sell viewers a $15'000 bootcamp, might be possible to keep you alive with 30k subs.

But a normal travel/lifestyle vlogging channel? You'd have a serious challenge to pull that off. It's the modern day Hollywood Dream. Some successful people exist, but please take note of the thousands that don't.
 

Real Deal Denver

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I would avoid Linda.com as the payment system is very much akin to YouTube. In other words you will be paid pennies unless you have a very large number of views.

Same with @George Appiah idea of vlogging on YouTube/Facebook. It *could* work but you need a very large audience to achieve any decent revenue. I have a friend with 30k followers on YouTube, a strong Instagram account, a podcast and several Patreon accounts and combined it wouldn't pay your monthly food bill let alone anything else. His favourite saying is "thanks for your support, it's helping keep the lights on". That's how little it brings in. It also took a couple of years to get those number of followers so unless you are lucky or work your arse off then that is not the way to go unless you have a passion for it (and can fit it in around your paying job).

If there is a market for your product then I would go the online course route with a company like Teachable.com where you create your course, they host it and handle payment processing and you market it.

You can then sell it for whatever you think is appropriate (they suggest pricing at $100-$500 for a standard course and $500-$2000 for a flagship course). If your course has a lot of value to your target market then around $500 is the sweet-spot from the research I have done elsewhere, (most people undervalue their course and regret not charging more for it later on). Obviously you need to provide good value for money.

Hope that helps some and good luck.

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EXCELLENT post @RazorCut

The wedding video thing sounds exactly like what I went through.

It's fun - it's good money for a side gig. I often made more working one day than I did at my full time job. And it can jump up and bite you. I got out.

The problem is that you're dealing with consumers. For the money, they expect Warner Brothers. Ain't gonna happen, no matter how good you are.

You are on the right path now. Commercial work will not ever turn into the "end of the world" if you miss a shot. You can redo it to get it perfect. And you have recurring income, and residual income if you work it right!

That's not even mentioning that it's so much easier and pays so much better.

Razor did you a big favor in spelling all this out. Now you have the path to follow! Good luck!
 
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civilpro

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The wedding business is done, I let that baby go. Yes some people were willing to give me $4-6k on the higher end but most people wanted it for $1500 and I needed the cashflow so I burnt myself out.

Because of my limited cashflow, I don't see too many options outside of producing informational products for my near-future, until I can save enough to make a bigger move in business.

Right now I think its a bad idea to think about what I charge for the product, however, until this point I was indending on selling it to individuals looking to jump their career or improve their boss, maybe something in the $60 range that nearly anyone can afford. The problem with trying to sell a $500-2000 product to businesses is that that sounds like a full time salesjob.

I'm just going to make a 1 hour video that can be streamed online or purchased on DVD/usb and sell it for $60. That way any twenty-something in the industry can afford it. I personally have purchased video courses in that range. Its cable bill type of money. No selling required other than a good website.
 

The Abundant Man

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The wedding business is done, I let that baby go. Yes some people were willing to give me $4-6k on the higher end but most people wanted it for $1500 and I needed the cashflow so I burnt myself out.

Because of my limited cashflow, I don't see too many options outside of producing informational products for my near-future, until I can save enough to make a bigger move in business.

Right now I think its a bad idea to think about what I charge for the product, however, until this point I was indending on selling it to individuals looking to jump their career or improve their boss, maybe something in the $60 range that nearly anyone can afford. The problem with trying to sell a $500-2000 product to businesses is that that sounds like a full time salesjob.
Sounds more like a job than a business
 

RazorCut

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Because of my limited cashflow, I don't see too many options outside of producing informational products for my near-future, until I can save enough to make a bigger move in business.
I'm not saying this should be your gig but info products are a big business. Not only that but pitched to the right people at the right price they return a very high margin of profit that makes advertising much easier as you can afford a much higher CPM so it is easier to get into the black.

Also a higher price point (above $60) is not as counter productive as you might think. Pitched at $100+ could actually see more sales, plus give you the option to run high % discount days.

People expect to get what they pay for. A $60 course can put people off as they automatically feel that they need more than $60 of advice to get them out of where they are at at that moment.

I remember looking for my first car many, many years ago and found one that was around $600-700. All seemed fine with it but I just couldn't pull the trigger even though it was a nice sports car. At that price there was obviously something seriously wrong with it that I had overlooked. The guy had been trying to sell it for weeks and I was the only person that had responded to the advert.

A friend told him his problem was he was selling it way too cheaply. So he advertised it for something like $1600-1700 and had several enquiries straight away and the car was sold within days.

No selling required other than a good website.
Unfortunately products rarely sell themselves. The saying "build it and they will come" doesn't work for the internet.

One good thing about the net is you can experiment. Easy enough to split test to find the optimum price. With an engineering mindset you'll have no trouble with that.

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