How to Start An Online Course Business Teaching Your Passion

This article is the fourth and last part of the “How To Start An Online Business With 0 To Little Capital” series. To read the other parts, check out the links below.

Part 1: How I Started A Million Dollar Online Business With $300
Part 2: How To Start An Affiliate Marketing Business With 0 To Little Capital
Part 3: How To Start An eCommerce Business With 0 to Little Capital



In the last few articles in this series, I have shared with you my personal experience on online business, affiliate marketing and physical products eCommerce. This article will primarily focus on how you can start an online course business teaching your passion. To be completely candid, I only recently launched my first ever online course and it has been an extremely gratifying journey.


So let’s get started.

First and foremost, I want to share with you on why starting an online course business teaching people is one of the most profitable business models available for aspiring online entrepreneurs. Looking back at the business models that I’ve shared with you in the previous articles in this series (read them if you haven’t already), you should know that I have a focus on minimising risk and maximising returns.

To do so profitably and sustainably, it’s very important to focus on the NECST framework – popularised by one of my favourite authors – MJ Demarco in his book The Millionaire Fastlane. I’ll admit it’s a clickbait-y name – but the content is top notch. He says that making a million dollars fast is possible, but it’s not easy. The NECST framework is the biggest takeout that I have from his book if you haven’t read it already. I highly suggest you read it.


So, what is the NECST framework you ask?

In short, NECST stands for:
NEED – ENTRY – CONTROL – SCALE – TIME.


If you want to build a life-changing business, you want to do it the right way. NECST serves as your guiding light, your northern star to a profitable, sustainable business. For the purpose of this article, I will focus only on the NEED, SCALE and TIME aspects of this framework.

Need refers to validating if there’s a need for your product & services out there. For example, you’re a specialist in breeding mutant dogs, so the first thing that comes into your mind when starting a teaching business is to teach people how to breed mutant dogs. It’s highly doubtful
that there are that many people out there that shares your passion in breeding mutant dogs – but I could be wrong.

So it’s your job as an online entrepreneur to find out to find out a profitable niche, and craft a product/service that’s serves your audience’s NEEDs. Before you invest heavily into ANY online business, you want to validate your idea first. To learn how to do this, read the previous parts of this article series.

How I personally did this, is by diving deep into what I’m good at, and then launching a free webinar or online workshop with webinar softwares like *WebinarJam* (special promo affiliate link that gives you access to a $1 trial for 60 days). Test it out and get sign ups by going out to forums, subreddits, Facebook groups and other community pages to get interested people to sign up.

If you can’t seem to find any communities around your idea, you need to rethink your niche because chances are not many people are interested in the niche you want to penetrate (ie. there is no NEED for your course). Identifying a niche is the single most important part when starting out ANY online business. You need to think it through, and test out your messaging, your offer with a landing page builder like ClickFunnels or Thrive Themes.

If you’re interested in creating a webinar funnel, you might want to check out Russell Brunson’s Perfect Webinar Script. Some parts may be quite cheesy, but it worked like a science for me when I ran my workshops.

Moving on, Scale and Time are interlinked aspects in the NECST framework. These aspects basically make you think about the scalability and time needed to make a sustainable profit. A good mindset to go into is thinking that a successful internet business should be able to scale almost infinitely, and the income generated from running a good internet business should be almost independent of your time put in.

With this in mind, online courses are the best things you can sell in this digital era.

Let me digress a little bit and break down the logical process of achieving your first million dollars if you haven’t already. Thinking of this as a scale, you can either profit $1 from 1,000,000 people (selling hot dogs) or you can profit $1,000,000 from 1 person (curing cancer). This is on a super polarised scale, most businesses are somewhere in the middle, so don’t worry if this sounds daunting.


So, let me dive in a little deeper.

Let’s say you’re selling physical products with the eCommerce self-fulfilment model. Some issues you might face when trying to scale the business include inventory risk – where you need capital upfront to stock inventory before you even sell it.  You will also face some issues scaling to the most remote areas in the world due to expensive shipping fees. Dropshipping also has some scaling risks, people from Ethiopia might not be able to afford to buy from your dropship store because your dropship supplier is in China for example. I’m not saying you can’t succeed with these business models, but nothing beats the scalability and time-independence of selling online courses.


Why?

Reason # 1: Online courses are fulfilled over the internet, either as digital downloads or membership sites. I personally use Teachable to host all of my online courses. It’s cheap, powerful and frees you from a lot of the technical aspects needed to run a successful online course. The basic plan starts at $29 per month. So it’s quite affordable, you only need to sell to at most 1-2 students to basically break even or turn a profit on your course.

Reason # 2: You only create your course once, and you resell it over and over. This is the true definition of scalability. This is exactly how companies like Microsoft, Facebook grew into giants. They develop their product once, but billions of people use it. Of course, from time to time you’d have to refresh your course to make it remain relevant in whatever industry you’re in – unless what you’re teaching is evergreen. But you get the drift, create something once, sell it a thousand, million, billion times. You don’t have to be like the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, you just have to be you.

I firmly believe that everyone has a skill set to offer the world. Even if you’re reading this blog, I know for a fact that you’re definitely smarter than me in other areas. Perhaps we could connect and you could teach me something I did not know.

You might be thinking something like ”Jeremy, I’m not good enough to be a teacher” or “I’m not good enough to teach anything”. I’m here to tell you that you are good enough and you need to remove all these self-limiting beliefs – if you believe you can do it, you can. If you know me well enough, you’d know that I hate being on camera, but it’s like second nature to me right now.


How?

Before you start shooting your first content, you need to know who you’re trying to specific as possible, create a customer avatar, understand their pain points and then structure your curriculum or course around solving these pain points. Repeat until you have this nailed down. You want to be able to deliver before you promise people.

If you need help with this, you can download and go through this business planning checklist. Just promise me it won’t sit in your downloads folder. Print it out and do something about it. That’s how you’ll learn


Download the HUSTLR Business Canvas

HUSTLR Business Canvas


You also want to be very focused on your first 20-30 students. By focusing on their success, you are actually building a strong community around your teachings. Once you’ve proven that you’re able to guide them through whatever transformation you’ve promised them, you can use them as case studies and marketing materials. Nothing beats having real advocates spreading the gospel and greatness of your course. One way you can do this is by creating a private Facebook group, where you offer dedicated, personalized support.

With all that sorted out, and taking inspiration from Nike’s tagline – Just Do It. Stop giving excuses to yourself. Stop pitying yourself. A lot of people view success as an event. In actual fact, it’s a process of constant improvement. For example, lots of people will ask me stuff like “Jeremy, what’s my secret sauce to success?”. I’m sorry to break it to you, but there is no secret sauce. Get your feet wet, go out and start doing it. Mistakes can be expensive, learn how to learn from other people’s mistakes – and get better over time.

For those of you wondering how to get started, you might not be comfortable launching a webinar as I did. So, taking into account the 4 types of learning, you might want to structure your course and content strategy to cater to different types of people – or all at once. The four different types of learning styles are :

1) Visual
Visual learners prefer to take in information in the form of how-to videos, diagrams, graphs. So a video course and YouTube learning would appeal most for these people.

2) Auditory
Some people prefer learning by listening, which is why I believe starting a podcast is one of the best ways to build a loyal following and is a fantastic addition to your content marketing strategy.

3) Reading/Writing
I’m a learner by reading and writing. Primarily at least. Even if I know my course has to be done up in a mixture of video and text, I usually create scripts and lesson outlines in the text before I shoot my video courses.

4) Kinesthetic
Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. These are the people who you could sell “done with you” learning models. It could start off as an offline workshop/training if you’re not comfortable talking in front of the camera.

Everyone is different, mix it up with whatever floats your boat. When just starting out, I suggest you tackle at least 2 out of 4 of the learning styles and then adapt to the other 2 when you have more resources. The internet is filled with all kinds of resources and softwares that can help you out with whatever you want to do. You don’t have to be a programmer, you don’t have to be a writer, you just have to be you.

Just to go in a little deeper, I want to share with you one of my content generation processes that really helped me get comfortable with teaching. Even though I can write, I can speak in front of the camera, I think it’s very important to find the best process for you to produce the best type of content. This process has helped me save a lot of time and is one of the most powerful content strategies you can employ right now.

1) I say whatever I’m thinking about into a voice note on my iPhone

2) I send the voice note to Rev to get it transcribed

3) I edit the transcription and consolidate everything into a blog post

4) I shoot videos with all this fresh in my mind

5) Publish blog posts, youtube videos, podcast episodes all at once.

I now have a blog post, videos that I can use for my courses and podcast episodes that I can distribute to all sorts of channels. If all this sounds like too much, start off with two channels. If you’re comfortable speaking on screen, Shoot a video, transcribe and edit it into a blog post. If you’re a writer, use your blog posts as a script for your podcast episode or YouTube video.

When just starting out, doing is better than not doing. Don’t worry that your podcast is not “world class” or “high quality”. Everyone starts somewhere. The better way to do it is to do it first and improve over time. Version 1.0 is infinitely better than version 0.0 – period.

That’s all I have to say about starting an online course. When done right, it can be an extremely lucrative business model. You might be tempted to sell your courses on places like Udemy, but I urge you not to. If you want a sustainable business, never ever build your business on top of someone else’s business.

For those of you familiar with WordPress, check out Teachable and Thrive Themes if you want to to get started with developing your own online course business. Top it off with a good hosting provider like WPX Hosting that comes with world-class support that takes the headache out of running a blog or website.

If you’re not familiar with WordPress, check out Clickfunnels instead of Thrive Themes because the learning curve is significantly lower. It’s super easy to use and literally, anyone can create a powerful sales funnel under an hour – but it might be quite expensive starting at $97 a month.

Oh and I know you hear this everywhere on the internet, but this is one of the most important advice I have for you. Start building your email list from day 1. You can start with a free service like MailChimp. Your email list is the only thing that you truly own, even for huge eCommerce businesses. You don’t want to be relying on Facebook and Google as you’ll lose control over your traffic, having an email list will reduce this risk. You’d be able to send your list content updates, announcements and offers – which will prove invaluable in the long term.

To be frank, there are a ton of other ways where you can make money online. Some other notable examples are starting your own startup, creating an agency, freelancing – the points covered in this article will have pretty much covered most of the techniques you need in order to sustainably make money online succeed. Even now, I do some side hustles like selling mobile game accounts, like Ragnarok Online on places like epicnpc.com. My best month doing this has yielded 12,000USD in sales, for online games – everyone’s hustle is different, go figure.

If you have good business acumen, you will find opportunity almost anywhere, in many forms.

For those of you who are specifically interested in starting an eCommerce business, I have a free online workshop that you can attend. I’m sure that it can help you be a better online entrepreneur. Just click on this link to sign up. The workshop contains a ton of valuable information on how you can build an eCommerce business from the ground up and best practices to do so. It’s primarily focused on Shopify dropshipping, but there are evergreen internet marketing principles that you can apply – whatever business model you choose to pursue.

What do you think about this article series? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.



This article is the fourth and last part of the “How To Start An Online Business With 0 To Little Capital” series. To read the other parts, check out the links below.

Part 1: How I Started A Million Dollar Online Business With $300
Part 2: How To Start An Affiliate Marketing Business With 0 To Little Capital
Part 3: How To Start An eCommerce Business With 0 to Little Capital

Turn your passion into teaching. Learn how to start an online course business in this final article of a 4 part series.

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