6 Successful Online Course Creators Share Their Secrets

With the upcoming launch of The Course Course, I thought it’d be fun to host my own little round-up of sorts.

So I asked all of my brilliant internet friends that also have an online course to tell us about theirs, who it’s for, why they created it, how it’s benefited their business, one thing they did right and one thing they’d like to improve. 

And it came out great – I’m excited to share their answers! This post is for you if a) You’re considering adding products to your business model or b) You’re looking for your next course to take. 

1. Brennan Dunn on Charging What You’re Worth

brennan-dunn

Brennan Dunn is the founder of Double Your Freelancing and helps teach freelancers and consultants how to earn more money and work with better clients. He’s the creator of Double Your Freelancing Rate and Double Your Freelancing Clients. His free pricing course, Charge What You’re Worth, has helped thousands of freelancers and consultants charge what they’re worth.

 What’s your course and who is it for?

Double Your Freelancing Rate is a course that teaches creative freelancers how to qualify, pitch and ultimately sell clients on high-value projects. It’s for anyone struggling with low rates and getting paid their worth.

Why did you launch it?

I found myself giving out the same advice over and over via email and Skype calls, so I decided to package it in a way that could be useful to anyone.

First it was released as a book and then I realized that courses are much more actionable. So it has evolved to include templates and case studies, in addition to the evergreen material.

How has it impacted your business?

In the last month I’ve sold ~$40,000 in course enrollments. Since the material is evergreen, the advice doesn’t go out of style. DYFR is a great next step to help people who find my free resources take their business to the next level.

What’s one thing you did right? 

I implemented a post-purchase email accountability course, which basically takes students chapter by chapter through the course and keeps them on track using worksheets. Student success rates skyrocketed after the fact since it helped ensure they did the work necessary to get the desired results.

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

I’m working on adding software that helps the course go from knowledge transfer to a tangible tool to help them generate contracts and proposals.

2. Sophie Lizard on Getting Freelance Clients

Sophie-Lizard of Be a Freelance Blogger

Sophie Lizard’s freelance blogging and copywriting career supports a family of 6, including a newborn daughter of whom she’s ridiculously proud. Through her blog, courses and other resources, Sophie teaches writers how to earn real money blogging for hire.

What’s your course and who is it for?

I run two courses.

Get Started for Freelance Blogging Success is a 28-day training for beginners. The course walks the writer through setting up a freelance business and finding their first clients.

The Freelance Blogger’s Client Hunting Masterclass is an 8-week training for more experienced freelance bloggers. It teaches you how to find and win better, higher-paying clients.

Why did you launch it?

I decided to launch an online course after realizing that although there was a lot of information and training available for freelance writers in general, there was no course designed specifically for freelance *bloggers.*

Having been a successful freelance blogger for the past 6 years, I knew there were some big differences between a typical blogging gig and other freelance writing projects such as white papers, magazine articles or sales copy.

It’s important for freelance bloggers to avoid being misled by advice that’s really focused on other types of writing.

How has it impacted your business?

Launching a course has made a big difference to my business – not only do I earn thousands of dollars from course sales, but I also get to “meet” some of my blog’s most engaged readers when they take one of my courses.

That’s a great opportunity to get to know my audience better and understand what they need to help them succeed.

What’s one thing you did right?

It was definitely launching my course for experienced bloggers before creating a course for beginners. That sounds backwards, because you want people to take the starter course followed by the advanced course, right?

But for that to be possible, you actually need the advanced course to be ready and waiting when students reach the end of the beginner course – so you need to build the advanced one first.

(Your first cohort of advanced students will be people who don’t need the starter course, so that works out fine.)

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

One thing I often consider improving is the training fulfillment medium and platform.

I designed the Get Started course to be presented entirely via email, so that even non-techie students could get to grips with it as easily as possible. Sometimes I think about turning it all into video based lessons, but then there’d be more passwords and technology issues for students to handle, which is not ideal.

The Client Hunting Masterclass already includes videos, and I do think video is a fantastic medium for education. But I’m considering moving that course onto a different platform to integrate more tools for students to submit their homework and track their progress – I want to make sure my students know the path, do the work and reach their goals!

3. Kristin Larsen on Growing Your Business with Pinterest

Kristin Larsen Pinterest Presence

Kristin is a #GirlBoss and the creator of Believe In A Budget. Her course, Pinterest Presence, helps bloggers and businesses grow their traffic through specific Pinterest marketing techniques. She is also the author of The Ultimate Resource Guide, a book that teaches others how to side hustle and make money.

What’s your course and who is it for?

Pinterest Presence is an in-depth, three part course that is geared towards bloggers and businesses that are interested in learning how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to their website effectively, as well as to create dynamic Pinterest images to engage viewers.

Why did you launch it?

When I reached my cap on accepting new clients for my Pinterest management business, I had to add a waiting list for my services. Because I wanted to be able to help as many people as possible, I created Pinterest Presence so everyone who purchased my course could learn my exact Pinterest applications and strategies when working directly with clients.

(Gina’s Tip: Kristin helped me grow my Pinterest reach from 21K to 180K in just four months!)

How has it impacted your business?

Launching Pinterest Presence has been a game changer for my business. I love when my students email me with success stories! Because my time is so limited, creating a course has been a much more passive method of earning additional income while still being able to help so many bloggers and businesses! It’s been a win-win across the board.

What’s one thing you did right?

I created the course simply because readers and clients wanted me to! After receiving numerous emails with questions from readers and potential clients wanting to hire me, I knew creating a course would be the best thing for them and for my business.

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

I want the course to be the best course available for my students. I’m currently in the process of adding video tutorials to the course, so my students can see visually see exactly how I rock Pinterest and create dynamic Pinterest images.

4. Bryan Richards on Sponsored Travel Blogging

Bryan Richards on Sponsored Travel Blogging

Bryan Richards followed his taste buds across five continents, 20 countries, and 71 cities. When he’s not traversing the globe, he enjoys the craft beer scene and local food movement in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bryan blogs at The Wandering Gourmand.

What’s your course and who is it for?

I launched 15 Steps to Sponsored Blog Travel in beta. The course is intended for any blogger – no matter their blog size or niche – who wishes to incorporate travel into their blog. Travel brands and tourist boards are starving for attention on their destination outside of the travel blogger space.

Why did you launch it?

I listened to my audience. Several readers reached out to me with the exact email. “How are you getting so many sponsored trips when your audience is a quarter the size of mine? Please share the secret to your success.” So I did.

How has it impacted your business?

I am still in the beta version of my course, so it’s a bit early to report numbers. However, the course netted me $1,000 during the beta sale.

Aside from the numbers, the greater impact is the fact that I own the material. As a freelance writer, everything I write goes to someone else to profit from. Now I can profit from my own words!

What’s one thing you did right?

I charged for the beta.

A lot of folks will give the beta away since it’s still in testing. However, when someone receives a free course, they rarely take it. Studies show that we’ve become digital hoarders with all the free content out there. When someone pays for a course, they have more skin in the game and will actually take the course. This is important in a beta because you want their feedback and testimonials.

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

I wish I would have launched the course sooner!

I worked on the curriculum for a year before launching it. That’s a year of lost revenue! If I were to do it again, I’d take a weekend as a writer’s retreat to crank out the material.

5. Zina Kumok on Paying Off Debt

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Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A trained journalist, she’s covered everything from murder trials to the Final Four. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and writes a blog about paying off her student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.

What’s your course and who is it for?

I recently launched Student Loan Knockout: A 20-Day Journey to Debt Freedom. It’s designed to help millennials and recent graduates figure out how to repay their student loans early and master the basics of personal finance.

Why did you launch it?

For months, people have been asking me how I paid off my student loans early. I knew that the skills and strategies I used were something anyone could figure out, and I wanted to help more people become debt free.

How has it impacted your business?

I think it’s made me an authority in this niche. It’s one thing to write a blog about a topic, but if you can create a course about it, it really shows you’re an expert. Plus, it’s given me the confidence to know that I can carry out a huge project like this.

What’s one thing you did right?

I got five people to go through the course and offer their advice, suggestions and critiques. You should be prepared for people to offer you advice on how to improve your course.

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

My email list is pretty small right now, and I probably should have spent more time focusing on that before launching my product.

6. Sarah Greesonbach on Writing for B2B

SarahGreesonbach - Freelance writer

Sarah Greesonbach helps writers refine their businesses at FiveFigureWriter.com. Her most recent course, The B2B Booster Shot, zeroes in on confidence in pitching and landing B2B clients.

What’s your course and who is it for?

The B2B Booster Shot – The ultimate starter course for breaking into high-paying B2B writing as a new freelancer. I’m really keen on working with my students and helping them succeed, so I’ve decided to only have the course available until June 10 at midnight. I want to give TONS of attention to this first group, and limiting the enrollment will help me do that.

Why did you launch it?

The overwhelming reader feedback I get is always centered around building confidence to go out and land a B2B client. This was the perfect opportunity to re-embrace my love of teaching and build a course that helps writers feel more confident (and then be more successful) in the B2B space.

How has it impacted your business?

The course just launched June 6th, but since it was so targeted to feedback I’d already collected, it started selling as a pre-sale!

My goal is to sell at least 100 spots in the course ($5,900+ depending on who buys it at the reduced price) and then re-invest to make it even more awesome. So far I’ve sold five. Going forward, if I could sell about 25 courses per month I would be very happy with it.

What’s one thing you did right?

By far, basing the course on reader feedback was the key to success. The course I tried to launch before was about what I thought writers needed to know. Turns out people are much more interested in learning about what they want to learn about… go figure!

What’s one thing you’d like to improve?

I know my landing page could use some love to make sure that the course really speaks to the aspiring B2B writers who land on it. I plan to keep that as a living document and update it as I get feedback from people who take the course and mentors who review the page for me.

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