TF #003 : The #1 mistake that's costing online course creators time, energy, and money!

Jul 07, 2022
#1 mistake that online course creators make

I've helped many experts create online courses and hybrid group coaching programs, and I've noticed that most of them make this one mistake that costs them a lot of frustration, time, energy and money.

Most experts begin their online course creation process by making the course content. Instead, they should pre-validate an offer BEFORE building a course.

This is the #1 mistake that's costing online course creators time, energy, and money!

First, let’s clarify what is an offer. An offer is your promise to your customer that you will solve their particular problem.

So, unless you have validated the offer, you don't even know if your target audience is willing to pay for that problem to be solved. Hence, there is no benefit in creating content before having an offer validated.

By now you should probably begin to wonder what I mean by pre-validating an offer. I’ll explain it further in the article (see the Forth step), but before we get there, I want you to understand how easily anyone can fall into this common pitfall.

Why does this happen so often? The answer might surprise you!

In order to understand why this happens so often, it's important to look at the reasons behind it.

Here are three of the most common factors that lead to many experts falling into the trap of course creation without a pre-validated offer:

  • Many people creating online courses and online group coaching programs are experts in their field but they don't have any sales or marketing experience. Launching and selling a product is a completely different process from content creation.
  • Sometimes people are aware of the pre-validation or pre-selling process, but they are still hesitant to try it because it means that they might have to face rejection right at the start. They are so excited about their product that they are just not ready to hear that nobody might want to pay for their course. Hence, they forge ahead and start creating content.
  • Creating content is fairly easy for many creators; However, actually putting together a plan for how others will find out about your product without being too sales-y in your approach can be difficult or anxiety-provoking (if done incorrectly). So, many experts choose to take the easy route and just put all of their focus on what feels good - content creation.

When I started my online business I fell into the same trap again and again, so if you too are nodding your head while reading this article, don't fret! I will show you how you can change your game. Following my proven pre-validation method, you’ll be able to relaunch your course and get great results fast. I have done this several times for many of my clients.

Here's what you should do instead if you want to launch a successful online course or a group coaching program

  1. Figure out who needs your help, who wants it, and what problem you can solve for them.
  2. Think about how you can help them get results fast and with minimum effort!
  3. If you are a coach, consultant or an expert who has already delivered 1:1 results to your clients then consider a hybrid coaching program that includes course content + your support in a group setting. Hybrid group coaching programs are the fastest way to $100K revenue months. Read more about how to launch your own hybrid group coaching program here.
  4. Pre-validate your offer.

First, figure out who needs your help and what problem you can solve for them

The best way to do this is by niching down to a very specific person whose problem you are solving. Think in terms of a single person. There are various ways to segment people for market research such as Demographics, Psychographic, Behavioural and Geographics:

Demographics:

  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Gender
  • Ethnic Background
  • Income

Psychographic:

  • Activities
  • Personality and values
  • Attitudes

Behavioural:

  • Benefits
  • Usage rates
  • Patterns

Geographics:

  • Local
  • National
  • International
  • Regional

The most common way to segment people is by using demographics and psychographics.

For example: Let's say you want to help people get fit. Now let's break a targeted persona in terms of Demographics and Psychographics:

Men > Over 40 > Executives > Mostly working on computers living a very sedentary lifestyle > Short on time for exercise > Not over-thinkers but action takers

Second, think about how you can help them get results fast and with a minimum effort

You don't want to overwhelm them with too much information, so keep it simple, relevant, actionable and focused on what they want to accomplish.

If your product is a course, then keep it to the 2-3hrs max. Your clients need to feel that they can quickly go through the course, take action and, hopefully, see the benefits very soon.

Let's look at our fitness example. Helping men over 40 get fit won't happen in just 2-3 hours, but you can certainly target one key aspect of getting fit, let's say - fixing neck pain. You could create a series of exercises that people over 40 can do while working on their computers and instantly start feeling the effects.

Now, if they love your online training style and actually receive the promised benefits, then they will be very likely to join your premium high-ticket hybrid-group coaching program.

Third, consider creating a hybrid group coaching program

As I said earlier, having a hybrid group coaching programme is the fastest way to scale your online expertise-based business.

For example, you can create a high-ticket program that includes course content (your program) + support delivered by you to your students in a group setting on scheduled days (i.e. weekly). This way you can help people get results fast instead of them having to search for information on their own.

Read more about how to set up your own group coaching program here.

Fourth, pre-validate your offer

Now that you know the ‘who’ and the ‘problem’ that you wish to solve with your course or your hybrid group coaching program it's time to pre-validate and pre-sell your offer before even starting to create any content. This step is crucial and if you skip it then be ready to face the frustration of losing time, money and energy.

Here are a few ways you can do it, using our fitness example:

If you have an active community for men over 40 or an email list:

  • If you have an active FB or some other community then just share an update with the offer and ask if people in the community will be interested to learn how to relieve neck pain.
  • If you get lots of feedback and it looks like people are interested then start creating content and engage with the community. Ask your community questions regarding the main problems with their neck pain.
  • Once you have enough intel then go ahead and create a course outline of your course and offer a ‘founding members deal’ to the members of your community and limit entries quantities (let's say to 20), and charge some ridiculously small amount for the course - $4.99 (cup of coffee).
  • Create a separate group for these members, create your program with their input and deliver them an exceptional value.
  • Ask for reviews from this group of 20 so that you already have raving testimonials right at the start of your launch.

If you don’t have a community or an email list:

  • Hunt people in your network who match your target audience and send your offer to them to get their honest opinion.
  • If the feedback is positive and then go ahead and create your course.
  • If the feedback is negative then ask questions, create a new offer and seek feedback again
  • Iterate till you get a resounding ‘YES TAKE MY MONEY’
  • Build the course :)

Students in my Evergreen Momentum™️ program have used the above techniques coupled with a pre-validation letter template to successfully pre-sell high-ticket programs just with an offer presented on a Google doc, without creating a single piece of content beforehand, not even a landing page! Here is a snapshot of one such case study:

Conclusion

It's not easy to find a way to make money with your expertise. It takes time, effort and commitment. I know this because I've been in business for some time helping experts to set up online courses and high-ticket group coaching programs.

Hope you found this article useful. Have fun creating and scaling your expertise business online :)

Next Steps:

If you need help launching and creating your expertise-based business online then check out Evergreen Momentum™️, an online business accelerator for coaches, consultants, experts and thought leaders.

You can learn more about it here.

If you have any questions or suggestions then message me on LinkedIn

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