Ep 51 | Online Courses with Debbie Hodge

Have you ever thought about creating an online course? Don't do a thing till you listen to this episode!!!

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Starting an online course is no easy task.  So before you go down that road, learn what you need to consider before you start the process.

What You'll Learn

(3:33) Why did Debbie decide to start an online course?
(4:46) What is the driver for people to start an online course?
(7:05) Step #1 – What are you going to teach?
(15:21) Step #2 – Make some pretend lessons.
(25:52) Step #3 – How will you grow your audience?
(40:29) Recap


Austin Kleon

Debbie Hodge

Debbie Hodge

Founder, Teach What You Do

Debbie Hodge has been teaching online since 2007 when she launched a school of courses for memory keepers at GetItScrapped.com. In 2015, Debbie started helping creatives, coaches, healers and experts turn their special talents into their own profitable online courses at Teach What You Do.com.


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Hey there, Sammy, your host of the digital marketing therapy podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. We have a special guest Debbie has joining us today to talk all about online courses. Debbie has has been teaching online since 2007. When she launched a school of courses for Memory Keepers, I get it scrapped calm. In 2015, Debbie started helping creatives, coaches, healers and experts turn their special talents into their own profitable online courses at teach what you do.com and she's here today to talk to us all about what it takes to start an online course and what three things should you consider before you even get going. She drops so many knowledge bombs here you guys you are going to want a pen and paper for this one for sure. But we had a great conversation, all about things to consider and ways to approach your online course that are a little bit different than maybe what you've heard, and just how an online course can really be supportive in your business. And if you're really ready for one, or if you maybe should wait for a little bit. So I think you'll really enjoy this episode. And so I want to jump right into it. But before we do, this episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions. If you've been listening to these podcasts, and you're thinking, you know, I really just need a little bit of help with this, or I just need a little bit of time with that. And if I could just pick her brain for a little bit on this. That's what these sessions are for. You can book them at the first click dotnet forward slash office hours and book 30 minutes with me to walk through whatever it is that you're stuck on. We will meet via zoom, record the session and you will have it to reference whenever you need to. But please take advantage don't get stuck. I don't want you to stop moving your marketing forward. And that's what I'm here to help support you in. So first click dotnet forward slash office hours. I look forward to seeing you there and meeting you and learning more about your business but for Now let's get into the interview.

You're listening to the digital marketing

therapy podcast.

I'm your host, Sammy del mulhern. And each week,

I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.

Welcome, Debbie to the digital marketing therapy podcast.

Thank you, Sammy. I'm happy to be here.

So I want to just to start out, why don't you just share with people a little bit about who you are and what you do.

So I'm Debbie Hodge. And I started teaching online. 12 years ago, I was at that time in I was writing for scrapbooking magazines, I had a scrapbooking book. And so I started teaching online and I started teaching people about layout design and storytelling scrapbook pages. I had my own very little niche within that industry. I did that for a very long Long time had a membership for over eight years. And about four years ago, I decided to start teaching people how to teach online. And that's when I started, teach what you do.com where I, I have one signature class that teaches everybody soup to nuts about how to build an online teaching business and do the marketing. But I'm also starting to develop new courses that are really focused on course content and turning your expertise into a signature system. So that's what I do. That's awesome. And why? Why was it that you kind of decided to develop a course or a membership and get it scrapped? A Well, this was in 2010. And partly and this is what I think is so great about online teaching, with online teaching, making an online course you get to just make stuff out of your ideas, if you can wrangle a little bit of tech, and so I was teaching courses and I had multiple teachers teaching for me at get it scrapped. So I was doing all the modules. For them, I was doing all the the layout and editing for them. And they were doing really well. But I wasn't getting to teach much of my own stuff. And it was membership plugins had just become sort of known then and I think I just wanted to give it a try. Um, so and it was it was and I already had an audience I'd already been teaching for almost three years. And I think memberships can be difficult until you have that seed audience that you know that you'll have a lot of people jump right in. So partly I just did it because I just wanted to try something new. And then it did work out for a long time. I'm not so much about memberships now, though, but that's another topic, right? Yeah,

no, for sure. So, um, if you have an existing business, because the topic we're going to talk about today is kind of the three things to consider before creating an online course. But um, why? Why am I like, what do you see in people because I know you have Hundreds of thousands of students or thousands of students, right that have come through your course in your program. And kind of what do you see being that driver that pushes people over the edge to say, Okay, I think I'm ready to create an online course.

It can be for many reasons. So lots of times, people just have an expertise that they really want to get out into the world. They want to have an impact with it. And lots of times when I work with people in the wellness area, or the spirituality area, or even the creative areas, they've discovered some approaches and techniques through their many years of practice, that are a little bit special, they're a little bit different. And they just it especially in the wellness of spirituality that they feel can change people's lives. So a lot of people want to have that impact on their students and they believe it also has a ripple out into the other areas of their student life. A lot of people want to do it to earn money, if you can, and I think it takes a good 18 months to get a course created and get a marketing system in place for it. Then you usually need to, you know, figure out your selling system. But once you get it going, it can be consistent income income that you can count on, that doesn't require you doing the one to one work. Other people want to do it because it raises their authority by having a course by showing up with their course, then they get to do other things like speaking or higher ticket coaching or setting up mastermind programs. Even spin off new ventures maybe like supplying licensed curriculum.

Yeah. Yeah, cuz I've heard some people that are in the space where inside their industry, they have to have so many education credits. And so they've created a course in order to because there's an audience that has to take so many education credits, like in the medical space, or even like estheticians and stuff.

Yeah. So lots of reasons to do it.

Yeah, um, okay. So let's jump into kind of the three things that Then. So if we've decided we want to have an online course, what we kind of need to process before we jump into really pushing it, right?

So the first thing is you have to figure out what you're going to teach. And either you've never heard this and you're thinking, Well, of course, I'm going to teach what I know. Or maybe you've heard over and over and over again, that you've got to validate your idea. So I'll talk about it again. And I think I've got a slight twist to it, that makes it easier. So you've got this area of expertise, this thing you're passionate about. Now you've got to really refine what angle Are you going to come out with your class in order to serve a need that people will pay for. So um, and I'll give you a resource at the end that digs more deep that gives you some ideas if you if someone's never done this before, and wants to know how to go about doing this research. But the key is you've got to talk to the kind of people that you want to serve and figure out either what problems or desires they have and what they see as being in way, but where I like to really push it is it's not just that you're getting a list of all those things. What you're then doing is asking why about these these problems that you're seeing? I want you to be really strategic about that problem you decide decide to serve within your niche. So you're saying, um, you know, why do you want to get rid of knee pain? Well, because I don't want to hurt. Well, why do you not want to hurt and then you're going to get answers like I want to be able to get on the floor with my grandchildren, or I want to be able to carry my dog up the stairs, I want to be able to dance. So as you do this research, I want you to look at the different areas that people want solutions to but then I want you to think about the whys. And then here's the further step that I think can really give you good punches. Figure out the value of those different why's that you're seeing the different benefits that people are saying they want to have. And value usually comes down to one one of six things, more money. more time, more hiring, improve status, improved relationships, personal growth and improve health. So connect it to one of those things, do that work of connecting it to it, and see if you can put $1 value to it. Or if you cannot put $1 value to it, try to try to deeply understand the impact that it would have in people's lives. Because what I think is really great is if you could look at all these benefits and their values, and pick out the ones that have true impact, because if you're going to go to all the trouble to make a course, let's make sure that it's a course that really has a bang for its buck. Right?

Right. And let's, I mean, all courses don't have to be huge. But if you're really going to invest in making this, like your signature thing, I like what you said about starting with the customers that you want, because more than likely you're going to be engaging with them on an ongoing basis and you want them yeah, you want to have fun with Working with them and not just fill your course up with people that you don't you don't connect with as well.

Right? You want to get excited about that you want people who fill you up and get it scraps. While people there's tons of people teaches scrapbooking classes. I never taught how to actually cut paper and do that kind of thing. We focused on storytelling and layout design, and really had a tribe of women who were very committed to telling personal stories through scrapbooking. Mm hmm. And that fired me up. And that worked for me. So and So then once you have that value, the other part that goes with it is spend more time with yourself and your expertise than you think you might need to because a lot of us take our expertise for granted. But if we dig in, then we can find out we it's basically you're going to do an inventory like okay, what tools do I know how to use, what skills do I have? And then even for that say, Well, what special about the way I use these tools? What's special about these skills? Do I use different techniques? Or do I use something that saves time? Or do I use something that gets different results because I use an unexpected tool. Spend time asking yourself about what you can DIY that others wouldn't DIY. Think about a study that you've done, whether it's directly in your field or related to it, and how that might bump up against what you know, and how it probably is informing how you do what you do. You can also think about what experts do you know, that you might bring in, or maybe you're not somebody who's really good at tools and skills, maybe what you are is somebody who can get somebody to new behaviors. So you you're somebody who can really help someone change their mindset so that they could lose 100 pounds or love talking to their family member that they've previously been estranged from or right so if you're a coach Or it may be that you're really good at beliefs and philosophies and working with those, or maybe you have a system. So there's a lot of work that you can do. And I think a lot of that has to do with just journaling and writing to discover what's special about your expertise that you didn't even realize, yeah.

Well, if you're working one on one with clients or customers currently, that would also be a great place to go for research as well. Right about how they perceive working with you what what things surprised them or what were differences between you and maybe somebody else they've worked with in the same space?

Yeah, I'm taking a new copywriting class on web web copywriting for my website with Allison Evelyn. And right at the very beginning she had I have to send Well, I mean, I want to make the course work so I did what she said and I she she had sent emails out to our clients we most love working with and ask them you know, the basis like why did you choose me but also to give us some adjectives about how they see us. And I was surprised. Like, I thought people would say that I was nurturing and committed. But a lot of people said I was really intelligent. And I think I am intelligent. But that's in no way anything I thought about as being a part of my brand, right?

So it's also a difference in the words that people reflect back to you also show that that's what's top of mind. That's what's most important. So maybe having somebody who is nurturing they like but it's more important that they have somebody supporting them that's intellectual and it could be different.

And how come I never leveraged that or thought about it or? I mean, it's right there. And of course I am delivering to it but yes, you're right. It's good to talk to your favorite clients and see what they're seeing in you talk to the people that you work with maybe the peers that are also painting alongside you or coaching alongside you are doing some tech you know, programming alongside you and see what they see As your expertise because when you can define your own method, I think we all have our own method. But when we can take the time to analyze it, deconstruct it, give different pieces of it names and processes, then we actually have a method inside of ourselves. Absolutely. That's really appealing to people when you're offering a course. So yeah, so number one is, figure out what you're going to teach in a really strategic way.

So I have one other question about this before we move on to step two. Yeah, I'm, as you're doing this research, is this also a good opportunity to kind of niche down and kind of get a little bit more specific about what you're teaching? Like you said, with scrapbooking? You were very specific about what Yes, using this research to really refine your topic?

Yes. And we're all scared of that, right? We don't want to leave money on the table or at the beginning, we think, well, I'm just going to need to appeal to as many people as possible because I want to you know Because what am I going to appeal to? But when you can do that, then you're speaking to people. Your method, right has more impact when you're working with a very specific group, because it can serve them. Yes.

Okay, great.

So we've done the research, we've got our topic ish.

Yeah. What's the next step? So I think the next step is before you actually make lessons, make some pretend lessons, because I want you to figure out how you're going to show up in a lesson and so students nowadays everybody expects video. I mean, do you expect it Sammy? We're not taking the course. Yeah, I get disappointed when there's no video. So everybody expects video, but depending on what you're teaching, there's many different ways to show up on video. You could maybe you're doing a demo right on screen, you're you're paging or you're repairing a bike or you're doing something hands on. So that means you know you've got the camera on you. Or maybe you Direct a camera, you're sitting in front of your, you're sitting in front of a camera in a lovely space and you're talking about mindset, or you're talking about, you know, credit coaching kind of topics where you don't necessarily need illustrations, either hands on illustrations or slides, because one more way to make video is to have slides narrate over them, right? Another way is to do a screen demo. Like, you build websites for people you have teach people how to build websites, right? So,

you know, a lot of our course has is just that, like us walking you through actually doing it.

So you're doing demo, but the demo is on a computer screen.


So there's these different ways to show up on camera. And by practicing, you're gonna figure out so I think just lower the stakes and just say I'm going to do a demo video. Just a short one. Don't don't think it has to be used anywhere, or do a screen capture because what you're going to find out through this is One, what is the best? How does your content shine? And you're gonna figure out? Have I got the camera right? Have I got the sound right? If I got the lighting, right? Is the flow right? Does this even make sense? Like if you're a painter and you think you're going to be standing and painting the whole lesson, you might realize, Oh, no, no, no, no, I'm gonna I'm going to narrate over that painting. So you realize you don't want to be teaching while you pay. You want to just paint and then narrate over it and maybe even compress some of those or maybe weavin slides. Maybe if you do, maybe you really want to get some direct to camera, but people really need slides, and then you realize the bulk is going to be slides, but you'll dip in some direct to camera. So one, I think this just removes the mystery of the whole thing because a lot of people can get stalled. They figure out their topic. They start to build an audience, but they just never quite get the course made. But I think it demystifies things if you just do it and then you realize, okay, it's some equipment in me And I can figure this out.

Okay, so some of my audience is probably saying, Okay, I'm done. I can't do any of the things that she just said, I can't be on camera. I don't have fancy equipment. I don't have crazy lighting. Yeah, but it doesn't have to be. It doesn't over the

top. I don't like showing up like that I have a really old course that I shut up like that for scrapbooking. And I was showing people how to digitize their scrapbook pages and collect them and make albums. And I won. I actually, while I'm a scrapbooker, I take a lot of photos. I do not like dealing with video in that kind of situation. So I after that, I was like never again, never doing that. Again. It just takes too much of my time and I'm not comfortable. Other people love doing that. And there's some really great tools nowadays for doing it. So one thing is I decided I never want to do that. So what the extent of my tools are, I do a lot of narrated slides. And that's just I need PowerPoint and Camtasia And a microphone. Yep. So that it's the simplest to do I really think and there's even simpler ways you can you could Jerry rig that. Another way that I show up, which I never really was crazy about either but now I have a great webcam and I have my office setup and I have one ring light, and I can show up and I can make a video of me talking direct to camera for a short amount of time. I don't use a teleprompter. I use detailed outline. I don't make our long classes like this. I make five to 10 minutes. And these are my my free content. So there's that. The other thing is if you are a hands on person, the tools have gotten really great your camera phone. Yeah, your phone camera is excellent nowadays for doing this work. And there's all kinds of mounts for sending it up. There's a there's a company called Ark con i think or our current, our con that has this great like big bendable arm, it could bend in a curve and your phone is in it and you can move it around. And you don't know till you try. And when you try it, then you go, Oh, I own this. I can make things out of my ideas and my work.

Absolutely. And would you I mean, I would definitely this. I'm not an expert in courses by any mean, but I would, by any means, but I would recommend at least having a short welcome video that's direct to camera, even if you dancing just so people can connect with you as a person. And if somebody doesn't want to do video, because they are mostly just talking things out. Would you say if they really are adverse to at least do audio files?

Or do you mean no video at all? Yeah, yes. So it gets really easy. Here's the thing that people don't realize also, the hard work and making a lesson is actually the script the content, what you're going to teach creative A well crafted lesson. That's the hard part. And so for me get it scrapped for years, a lot of our classes are done in ebook illustrated ebook format. Wow. So they're and they're gorgeous, then what we would do is it's really easy. Once you've once you've got your ebook, it's really easy to then read that thing you've written over a few slides. You just get the right images and put them in a slide and read it over. Yeah, that makes sense. Like,

absolutely. And I mean, I like what you're saying about practicing it now. And just getting that out of your way. So that's not the thing that stops you as you get moving. And because you're right, and we'll link up a ton of resources in the show notes. Like I mean, we use zoom and we use loom to record we use Canva to create slides and all of those are free resources. Yeah.

And what I use for my arm I teach what you do Facebook page, I try to put up a video every week. So I'm not somebody who likes going live. And that's partly because I don't like committing to being time. That's why I do this work. That's just where that's my nature. So I record the videos ahead of time. And I use the camera app. I have a PC, not a Mac, I have a PC and there's app called camera. And it is free and it records with my webcam. Mm hmm. So, yeah, it just, if we want to do remarkable things, it's going to take a little bit of work. And I just feel like I love seeing how my students once they learn something like how to do a lead magnet or how to show up on video. They feel so powerful.

I think I see that a lot too with, you know, with the work that I do. It's that aha moment of, Oh, I did a Facebook Live and I didn't die. Wow, okay. Nobody showed up. But I did it. And now I'm ready to do the next one. So what Yeah, so like I said before, I love that you're pushing this out right away, like from the beginning, get rid of this fear.

Yeah, I have. So my students who take the full path and get a get a one hour coaching session with me. So I was meeting with a woman last week, who had never shown up on camera had never done video, but she has, I don't know, I want to say at least 5000 people in a group about slow stitching. Oh, wow. And I met with her and she was on camera because we were in a in a zoom meeting. She's very articulate. She's just edit. You know. So I said, Well, what I said, if you want to start, you need to, you need to go show up in your group. Mm hmm. And she I and I joined her group and that night I turned on my computer. There she is live in her group. They love it. And she was totally comfortable, totally fine.

So and it's also getting rid of that imposter syndrome. And knowing that maybe you're learning Through your course. And so you see, we see Debbie show up, amazingly. And she's got all this stuff and she looks grateful a lot. But it's taken you years to get to where you are. And so I think giving yourself some grace to say you don't have to show up perfectly.

Yeah, you know, I was just looking through my videos on my teach what you do page. And I was like, finally last week, I think I nailed it.

Like, I think I finally have my chair at the right height in my room arranged right, and

you can look through years, four years worth of videos, you can see me in all different situations, the lighting is not always

great. My hair is not always good.

But I try to deliver solid content. Yeah. So that's what's important. And it accumulates. I believe a lot of people buy from me now because they see that there's a history of me showing up.

Yeah, right. And you're not you're probably not going to go anywhere. Right, right. Yeah. So then. So I guess the other point to this practice is also to kind of refine maybe some of the steps and put start to put In order Maybe,


Right. So yeah, then you'll want to outline your course and you want to figure out how you want to teach it. So this is sort of a pre, this is a pre step. But once you've got your topic once you know how you're going to show up, and showing up is really thinking about. So again, at the very beginning, I said, think about the benefits you're going to deliver. People do buy the benefits. So what I had to do by figuring out how you're going to show up, that's a bit of a feature. But it's a feature you've got to get past. So yeah, now you're going to go back and you're going to outline your course and you're going to break it down and figure out how many lessons you're going to make and get yourself a schedule and start making them.

Yeah, awesome. Okay, so is that step three? Or is there another step three, it was step two, okay.

So number one is figure out how you're going to teach number two is figure out how you're going to show up in the lessons. And now number three is start figuring out how you're going to get to start building an audience. So some of you may have already have an audience like I love it. When I meet with some of my students are like, yeah, I started this Facebook group on slow stitching or, you know, a lot, a lot of people have these little groups they started years ago, that are just sort of self, they just propel each other along. But a lot of people have nothing, they, they haven't really built an Instagram or a Facebook or YouTube or an email list. They haven't started to build an audience yet. And of course, the goal is to get people on your email list. But at first, you got to attract the right people, you got to start putting yourself out there and seeing how you want to speak to them. And again, when you first start, this is you figuring it out, you're experimenting somewhat, but I can give you four categories to think about that will make sure that you're showing up in a purposeful way. And again, these are going to change when I first started showing up for teach what you do. What people were really drawn to him. What I was known for was the tech of seven Have a WordPress classroom. Because four years ago, people weren't doing as much with teachable and think if ik and all these great platforms. So now I never want to talk about a classroom. Every time somebody asked me about a classroom, I say let's talk about your content. So things can always evolve. But I'm so um, so here's one other thing. A lot of people think in order to sell online, they need a funnel. And I get a lot of emails where people say to me, what's your funnel? And what they what they're asking me is, you know, what, what tech tool do you use to sell your course. And when I always want to say my funnel is purposeful content, I'm meeting a whole bunch of people out there in the world, and some of them are gonna say, Oh, that's pretty cool. Let me watch another free thing from her. Let me watch another one. Okay, let me give her my email address and get on this. Yeah, let me start reading those emails and then some of those down in the narrow part of the funnel are going to take me up on an offer that I make to them. So I love for my students to immediately start thinking about how they want to put themselves out into the world on some social media platform. It could be Instagram, it could be a podcast, it could be Facebook, it could be a YouTube channel, it could be LinkedIn, LinkedIn, a lot of people are having a lot of great results by showing up with these small bits of awareness content on LinkedIn.

Well, and if you've done the work and step one, then that you should know where to start to go out there because you know, your targeting and where, where they live.

Yeah, so to break it down, what I challenge my students to do is come up with 12 or 16. topics that you want to speak to, and it gets easier when you realize you could pull from one of four categories, although I really just use three of the categories. So the categories are educate, inspire, inform, and entertain. I'll just start with the first one which I never used, but which if you can use it, it's awesome. And that's entertained. That's often means or something funny or something compelling stories. So I'm I'm just not good at that. That's my nature. But I have some students who are fabulous at it. And also your your industry may lend more to it. So there's entertain. But I think the three that gives you the most bang for the buck are educate, inspire and inform. So educate is small pieces of teaching.

And again, I'm going to hear you saying I don't want to give it away, right?

I don't want to give it away. Well, you can teach without giving it all away. And one way is by starting to just make people even aware of the kinds of things that they might learn. So you could give them the overview of the work they'd want to do. Or maybe you just do small things like, like with slow stitching, you're not giving everything away if you just get on and talk about threads and just talk about the different kinds of threads there are, people will be fine with seeing that in your free content and then perhaps in your paid course, or your paid course may not even get into that. Because you might realize you want to teach more advanced students

flip that one around on people when they say that to me, and especially if you're just starting and just building an audience is that if you can pull a little like the sequence of your course, that pulls it all together. And if you can pull different elements out of different things that you think you want to talk about, while you're building, it's great market research. Yeah, like what do I need to maybe dive deeper in? Or where do I get a response? Do you mean Yeah, like where do people get more excited and more people kind of falling flat so that you can kind of understand maybe more about how to promote your course as you go but be what content is going to really give them the biggest wins.

Yeah. Um, and it you can just you can Yeah, and take things at a higher level. I have a student who is His first class is going to be on how to loosen up your brush work. But he can still show up on Instagram and talk about there's five ways that I love loosening up my brush work. And it's really important to use these and look at the results that I get when I loosen up my brush work loosening up your brushwork yields these benefits. And then he saves the actual lesson for the course. So you can educate by showing benefits and opening people's minds up to that these even exist. So educate recipes, tutorials, formulas, if you look at my Instagram, I do a lot I give up. I take a lot of excerpts from my paid training and put them in my Instagram posts. Yeah, of course, they're much shorter than the course but they're not collected. They're not in context. So then inspire is where you're sharing things that get an emotional reaction from people that makes them look more closely at your topic. personal stories examples opinions. So if you're, if you're teaching, get rid of knee pain, then you might show pictures of people dancing, and just talk about how when they got on the other side of knee pain, they never realize they never believed they could take this course, or I have a lot of students who teach artistic topics, but they also believe that it's very connected to emotional health. So they can show things about why they made an artistic piece and how it made them feel and reactions that they got.

And also just success stories of somebody who's teaching

nutrition for youth hockey players, so she can show success stories of somebody who did really well at a hockey game because they ate Right. Yeah. So that's the inspiring piece. And then the third is inform and promote and this is where you actually say I'm this person who teaches on this topic. And here's a look at my tools, like I teach people how to how to play guitar. And I've got these guitars, and I usually use this one when I teach this particular lesson. So in other words, you're just raising the awareness of you as a teacher, as the fact that courses exist, that courses could serve them that your course could serve them. So weave that in, let people know, hey, I'm going to I'm going to be opening up a course in six months. But it also could be as simple as saying, I'm somebody who teaches and that might be you know, I taught a class live today and I covered these are the techniques that I covered.

Now, would this also be a good place to kind of include the behind the scenes? I mean, is this where you're building a trust factor? This is who I am. This is why you should connect with me on a personal level so that you do want to buy my whatever in the future.

Yeah. Yes, yes, yes. kinda think who's the name of the guy who wrote, um, steal like an artist. I'm looking it up right now steal like an artist, Austin kleon. So Austin kleon has these great short books one is steal like an artist. And I'm trying to think what is I can't think what his other books are right now. But in one of them, he talks about being a scrapbooker of your own work, being document your own work. So all the time while you're doing your own work. Keep a record of it. Like for me, I teach people how to market their courses. So I keep track of when I when I have a launch. I keep track of everything that I did, what Facebook ads did I use? What emails did I use? When did I put them out there? Because that's me being a scrapbook or a documentary of the things I do and then yes, those are great to put into your behind the scenes kind of stuff.

Awesome. So how long do you think people should? If you don't have an audience or even if you do have an audience But you're just starting to promote like, if I if you say it's gonna be about 18 months, roughly if you really want if you do a MIDI Signature Course, yeah. Um, how soon should they be starting to build these audiences? Should they start right away at the same right away? Yes. Right away. I thought you were gonna say

Yes, right away and one of my favorite success stories. Katrina wolf. She teaches she's she's a gardener, but she also teach us about soil. It's, I don't it's called bio Lodge. I don't totally I don't of course, I don't understand it. But when she showed up about a year and a half ago, she had absolutely no online presence. And she just started showing up on Facebook Lives, she would set her camera up while she was out, mixing soil or putting worms into soil or potting little plants. And she would just have to be a short video but she just showed up and talked about things. I'm amazed at how quickly she built a following and how she how quickly she was getting courses out within three or four. Months short courses, but she was doing it. So yes, immediately start doing it. You don't have to show up on every single platform. Yes. You can repurpose your content.

really well. Yeah, we have. I mean, in that vein, I have a client who does

movement therapy, basically, like, anyway. So, um, one of her big things that she wants to do this year is just inspire people to just get up and move spontaneously, like, you don't have to plan your workout, but like, you just need to move your body. So that's what she does is just during the day, or at least once or twice a week, she just is doing something. She's like, Oh, I'm just gonna go for a walk and she'll just pop on Facebook Live and say, Okay, guys, time for spontaneous movement. Like, this is what I'm doing here. I decided to whatever it is that she chooses to do. It's not planned. It's just on her phone. It's not and then now she's repurposing those into Instagram. And she's putting them on YouTube. She's not creating a ton of content, but she's using it on a lot of different channels.

Yep, it's exactly what you need to do because social media is like a river, people, people are not going to see your post on all those different platforms, you'll be lucky if they catch it on one. And we have the power now if we're willing to show up to build an audience, so look at me I've taught in two areas where I am not the top star I taught in the scrapbooking industry. If you're in the scrapbooking industry, you would know there's like scrapbooking celebrities and gurus, you know, top people, right. I was never one of those. But I just showed up with what was interesting to me and kept putting it out there. What I wanted to do on the course blueprint, I actually do want to say I was a little bit of a head of a lot of people, but I was totally unknown and they were known because a lot of people were already teaching online marketing and they decided to add a course course to their, to their their content, but I was making Basically nobody in the marketing industry but what I started doing was late 2015. I just started doing free webinars. I was doing one almost every week on just all kinds of things. I'm not saying they would hold up now. And I was just doing these free webinars and I, I was actually using paid traffic to get people to those free webinars. Because right I was shy, I was scared. I'm not crazy about showing up online. But I learned that really the best way for me is to just show up on on videos on my Facebook page. Mm hmm. and repurpose that. But what was the point I want to make is, you don't have to be the top person in an industry. There's a lot of people much more well known than I am teaching online courses, but people buy from me because I'm a woman of a certain age who does creative things, but also knows the tech and I make them feel comfortable. And they also know that my courses aren't so huge. They will get my eyes on things if they want it. So There's room for all of us. Yeah.

I think that's a really good point. And it's also just important to to judge your success by what it is that you want, not by what you see other people. Because, you know, we we do a lot of that work on starting with what are your business goals. Because if you don't know what you're trying to achieve a you're never going to have any wins to celebrate and be you're going to go after something that doesn't even align, right, because you see what other people are doing.

Right? I love that. Because all the other mentorships or anything I'm in now are all about, well, you need to expand your team and you need to have a bigger team if you want to scale and if you want to have the true impact. But for me, again, I told you I don't want to show where, hey, I always show up for my coaching calls. Always. But that's the only thing I'm going to commit to right. Yep. You know, and if I say I'm going to do a podcast with you, but I I don't want to have a huge team. I'm 58 years old. I love teaching. I love creating teaching content. I love working with a certain number of students. I like being able to be hands on with my students and I can make that a profitable model.

Yeah. Well, you are making it. Yeah.

So you're right, we can, right. Isn't that exciting that we don't have to do it the way everybody else does it?

Yeah. But yeah. So okay, so let's so run people really quickly through the three again, so knowing your audience.

So start out by figuring out what to teach. So you're going to figure out what do people want, but what are the benefits of them getting it and even what's the value of that. So you can pick those really impactful solutions to serve. And you're going to look at your own expertise, and you're going to spend time journaling and thinking about how you can serve it in a way that has an eye you can build your own method to serve that. So you're figuring out what to teach but you're spending a lot of time here Abraham Lincoln said something like, if I'm going to cut down the tree, I'm going to spend the first four hours sharpening the axe Getting the axe. So, do that, then get yourself to just figure out how you're going to show up in lessons. And I, I like you to do this because it just relieves a lot of stress and it makes it all feel a lot more doable. You start to picture yourself making the videos as you're doing the work you're like, Okay, yeah. It just, it's gonna make it just gonna make you understand that it's really doable. And it's gonna just get a lot of questions out of the way. Because a lot of times these things hang people up, right? Well, I haven't started yet. Because I don't know which camera I'm going to use. We'll figure out which camera you're going to use. You can have

your camera in your computer and just do it.


And then the third thing is figure out how to start building awareness and start building the awareness. It's okay if it's just, I mean, I just use your private Instagram account, or um, you know, get on your LinkedIn and just just start sharing bits start doing it because this gives you the chance that the use of this semi, you start to see how people react. You start to figure out which things people are interested in. And it's another form of market research.

Yep. Okay, so those are the three things before you even actually create the online course. And I think I really wanted to talk about this topic, because I think a lot of people tend to just, and I did this myself, jump in, dive in, just be like, I'm gonna do it. And you can do it and be successful that way. But yeah, by putting in this foundational work at the beginning, I think it saves a lot of headache and time in the long run.

Oh, did you notice I didn't even talk about getting a classroom platform. Right.

Because that's the other question I get a lot. Which classroom platform should I use? Well, let's figure out what you're going to teach first. Right, exactly. And what you want that experience to be like for your students. Yeah. And what your budget is and what your technical level is. The tools the easy part nowadays. I know. Well, yeah,

it is. That's true. The overwhelming part is trying to do the research to find Right, which tool you want to use? Yeah. Yeah. Well, is there anything else that you want to share on on courses? Otherwise? I mean, you've given us a lot.

Now. I think that's it.

So if people want to find out more about you, and I know you mentioned, you've got some resources for folks, how can they grab those? I've got a, I've got a class that covers goes more deeply into all three of these things. It's at teach what you do.com slash strategy. And it digs more deeply into the funnel and more deeply into the

the creation of video and also into the picking your course.

Awesome. Well, we'll link all of that up in the show notes. Debbie, thank you so much for joining me. This was awesome. Thank you, Sammy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you again to Debbie for joining me in this episode. I mean, guys, how great is she? She's amazing and I am so thankful to be able to call her a friend in this business as well. She's incredible and her program is awesome. So I hope you got some good takeaways and please share them with me. I would love to hear what your favorite takeaway is. And you can do that at the first click dotnet forward slash podcast. So for now until the next episode, make sure you subscribe so you don't miss out on a single episode and share this episode with somebody that you think might benefit from it. And I look forward to seeing you soon. See in the next one

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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