As a content creator, you wear many hats. Educator is certainly one of them. If you are looking to explore more of the education process, you might be wondering if it’s worth it for you and your audience to create an online course. It certainly is possible to create a profitable online course (think six figures!) that leaves a lasting impact.
But how do you determine what knowledge to share? How do you set up an actionable process that will help students grow and take action?
To learn more about making a money course, we sat down with Amanda and Jonathan Teixeria from WalletWin to discover how their course went from its beta version to pulling in six figures in just a few short years.
If you are considering new ways to educate your audience, take a deeper dive into what it takes to create an online course and see if it might be the right move for you.
How WalletWin Started
When Amanda and Jonathan tied the knot in 2011, they combined a lot of things–including their debts. They realized they were starting their marriage with about $25,000 of debt. It felt like a dark cloud looming over them, so they committed to get rid of it.
With very modest salaries, they did whatever they could to become debt-free. The couple sold things, went down to one car, and got creative. In under a year, they paid off their debt.
During their debt freedom journey and afterward, they found themselves offering insight and advice. They started by talking to friends, family, anyone who was interested in their story. That quickly evolved into facilitating trainings for their organization and delivering one-on-one coaching. After doing this for several years for free, someone wrote them a check.
It was at that moment that they realized their teachings were actually laying the foundation for a profitable online course. They launched the beta version of their course in 2017. That meant 3 am wake-up calls to record and push out new coursework to their students to follow a one-week turnaround schedule. It was a lot of work, and it was entirely worth it.
Why They Started With a Money Course
Amanda and Jonathan started their course when they realized that they had a chance to help people. Whether they led group sessions or delivered individual coaching, people were noticing results. Those results really motivated them to move forward with the course. Amanda and Jonathan saw an opportunity to really make a difference on a broader scale and they seized the opportunity.
When Jonathan lost his job, they decided to go all-in on the course. Determined not to dip into their savings, they knew they had to make the course work. To get the ball rolling, they hosted a free workshop and offered a sales link to their course as a suggestion for one of the next financial steps to take. They had 20 people commit and were off and running.
How to Create an Online Course Idea
One of the most challenging parts of running an online course is coming up with the initial ideas for your course. This can definitely require some strategizing on your part. Knowing what content to offer your students is a bit of a balancing act. After you determine your content focus, it’s time to get your product out into the world.
Here’s how Amanda and Jonathan suggest proceeding if you want to lay the foundation for a profitable online course.
The Right Amount of Content
When you are ready to create an online course, you might be wondering where to start. Amanda and Jonathan found Amy Porterfield and her Digital Course Academy to be really helpful in terms of offering a step-by-step system to create a course. The most important thing they discovered, though, is making sure you take a step back from your money course.
As a money nerd, there is going to be an obvious temptation to pack as much into your course as possible. Amanda and Jonathan say it’s essential to do the opposite. Pare your content down to avoid overwhelming people. Make sure your course emphasizes content that will help your students get results.
Then, as you set up your money course, design the material so that students can make quick money wins as they progress. That way, motivation is high and students are more likely to see your course through to the end.
Once you have your content planned, it’s time to create the course itself. How exactly your course looks is up to you.
Amanda and Jonathan’s course consists of voiceover work on top of animations and slides. Do some research online. Consider what feels like a good fit for your content. Plus, you want to put yourself in your students’ seats, considering ways to display your content that will pique their interest and help them focus on your key points.
Review these tips from Ramit Sethi on developing a point of view to help you focus your content further.
Get Out Of Your Own Way
Once you have your course content, it’s time to get your course out into the world. Of course, Amanda and Jonathan know that the temptation is to keep tinkering until your work feels perfect.
Before they launched, they initially had plans for a custom-built membership site. Jonathan already had the skill set to do the work. While they had the skills, they didn’t have time. In fact, Amanda points out that spending too much time on any one aspect of your business is akin to flushing money down the toilet. The longer it takes for you to put your work out there, the more times you move the target on yourself.
Instead, she advises not to let your quest for perfection get in the way of your forward progress.
For the duo, that meant putting a pin in their custom build idea and exploring Kajabi instead. Platforms like Kajabi, Thinkific, and Teachable allow content creators and educators to house courses for their members. The set up is easy and streamlined.
While you might want to finesse every detail, Amanda and Jonathan stress the importance of setting up a pathway for people to move through your content and then getting your work out into the world. Though they acknowledge that working under Jonathan’s looming job loss might have held their feet closer to the fire than other people, all course creators should strive to move forward quickly.
There will be myriad opportunities to refine and re-record content. The important thing is to put your course out there so you can start helping people.
Promoting a Profitable Online Course
After you create your money course, it’s time to promote it. The first thing to note is that one launch does not mean you have a business. Instead, Amanda and Jonathan say that you will actually be launching your course again and again.
When they first started out, they found themselves launching every few weeks. Sometimes, they rolled out a full launch. Other times, they did webinars or workshops.
Growing Your Audience
They also quickly realized that they needed a promotion plan. That meant building an audience and cultivating an email list. To do that, they tried just about any tactic they could think of.
To date, their experience shows that joint venture partnerships are the best path for them. Sometimes, that means creating a one-off webinar for another content creator’s audience.
Another partnership option that works well for them is combining forces as joint partners doing free workshops. Audiences can then be offered a bonus if they buy the course after completing the workshop.
Learn more about creating responsive content and supporting readers during hard financial times with these tips.
Active and Evergreen Promotion
For Amanda and Jonathan, watching their course and audience evolve means changing when they promote their course as well. Initially, they found themselves promoting the course every four weeks. Now, though, they focus on two key times each calendar year.
They target the fall and then the new year. The fall is like a new year for many families who are still tied to school calendars, and the new year itself is primed for people looking to learn more and enact change.
In addition to active promotion, you should also create an evergreen funnel. That means that you want to build your audience through a blog, podcast, or other formats. Then, you nurture that audience through your email list. Eventually, you offer them the opportunity to enroll in your course.
As you explore what is the right fit for your course and your audience, you can consider other options as well. Amanda and Jonathan suggest possibly pairing a membership or coaching opportunities with the course. That allows your students to go even deeper with the course content. To keep things manageable, those opportunities can be opened up only a few times a year.
One aspect of creating a profitable online course is considering the different revenue opportunities. Amanda and Jonathan said that like most businesses, they ran lean and scrappy at the beginning. WalletWin started nearly for free outside the cost of their time. They did make a point to outsource their branding after several disagreements about which direction to take.
When their course started to generate revenue, they made sure to reinvest. One of the first things they did was purchase a teleprompter tool for an iPad. Now, they have someone who runs the teleprompter for them, which allows them to be more present and focused on screen.
They also plan to work with a videography team to film and edit new content. Of course, it is essential for them to retain creative control. But they do see value in taking small steps to get more help with some of the tasks. As their budget allows, they make those investments.
In terms of revenue, the course generated almost $150,000 in 3 years. Amanda and Jonathan are quick to point out that most of that revenue happened in the third year, not the first two. In fact, they say that without a gigantic audience, no course creator should expect a six-figure launch. Most people should expect to see a slow build that gathers steam over time.
Learn more about building an audience with these tips from Mr. Money Mustache.
Creating a profitable online course gives you an opportunity to make a lasting impact on your students. Amanda and Jonathan say that the revenue matters, but the impact opportunity is really what drives them.
One of their favorite moments is when students send an email or a social media message about a particular milestone they’ve hit. Those comments helped them realize that someone’s life is about to change. Thanks to their course, students can find peace, confidence, and direction.
Recently, one of the earliest members of course messaged the group. They shared that they aren’t feeling any strain during the pandemic. Because they created such a solid financial footing years ago, they are in a position now to stay generous and help their neighbors.
Another story that keeps them motivated comes from one of their very first students. She was a single mom with three children. When she started the course, her loans were in forbearance and the total amount she owed was more than she took out in loans. Within two years of finishing their money course, she was debt-free and purchased a home.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Profitable Online Course
A profitable online course won’t happen overnight. Depending on your audience size, it could take several launches to grow your course membership.
Fear not, though. You can make an impact with your course from day one. As you continue promoting your course, both the revenue opportunities and impact opportunities will continue to grow.
Are you considering developing an online course?
Please let us know in the comments below.