How To Generate Awesome eCourse Ideas (+ How To Choose One To Roll With)
Coming up with ideas for passive income/digital products, and actually choosing which ones to roll with can be a bit of a mission.
If you’re a textbook entrepreneur, you’ll probably have a bajillion ideas and the hardest thing for you will be choosing just ONE to roll with. Or maybe you’re having trouble coming up with ideas to start with, but you know this new way of doing business is something you want to experiment with a little more and you just need a little help getting started.
Well my friend, this post is just for you. We're gonna jam on how to generate ideas, and also how to choose one that aligns with your biz and your mission.
But before we dive into the strategies, we gotta cover the basics of what makes a badass eCourse in the first place.
The essentials for a kick-ass online course ::
- The topic is something you already know about. i.e. Don’t create a course on something you’re still learning about, or just took a course on yourself. It should be something you could talk about for hours on end.
- It’s something you’re passionate about. If there’s no passion in what you’re talking about or trying to sell, it will show and people won’t want to buy it, or they won’t get anything out of it.
- It’s fun, and DIFFERENT. Take a look around at similar courses or products in your industry. Take note of what you want to change up. Could you pimp out the design? Could you deliver the material in a different way? How can you change the game?
- It takes the buyer through a clear process. Once they’ve completed the course, what will they be able to do? What’s the end game for them?
Alright alright, we've covered the basics so let's do this.
Step 1 :: Generating Ideas
Below you'll find three simple strategies for generating ideas for your eCourse. Be sure to write down all of the ideas you generate as you go, so you can come back to them later.
Strategy #1 // Send out a survey to your audience.
The goal of creating a survey is to get a feel for what people need, and what they feel is missing in the market right now. Send out an email to your current tribe, and post it on your website and social media. Tell people you’re working on some new things for them and you’d love to get their input.
Here’s how to set up a survey :
Here are some example questions you might ask :
- What are you currently struggling with when it comes to X? (X is where you insert what kind of business or topic you have. For example, if you’re a Copywriter, you would insert something like ‘writing copy for your business’. This will help you understand where they need a bit of help).
- What is a product you’re pining for? What do you just WISH someone would create? (This would be an open-ended question that gives people free reign to hit you with ideas).
- What are you sick of seeing + reading about? (This will give you pointers on what people don’t want).
Two quick + dirty tips for doing surveys :
- Think about offering an incentive or a freebie for completing the survey, but keep in mind this may skew the results. When you offer a freebie, you might get more than just your true tribe completing the survey, as people will only do it for the bonus.
- Read through the results with a grain of salt. Take notes and ideas from the survey and combine them with your own ideas. If people suggest something that you really don’t like or you know goes against your values or mission, don’t do it. Simple as that.
Strategy #2 // Think about what questions people are always asking you.
If you look through your blog, your emails, and your social media, are there certain types of questions people are always asking you? Is there a recurring theme?
What do people come to you for?
Strategy #3 // If you’re in any business communities (such as Facebook or Slack groups), go have a look through the posts to see what people are constantly talking about, or asking for advice on.
This is one of my favourite ways to jam on new ideas. Is there any topics constantly being talked about, that you feel like you’re a pro at, or could create a eCourse on?
Could you also post a question in a group to gauge interest on some ideas?
Step 2 :: Hashing out your ideas some more
Okay, so from Step 1 you should have a shit load of ideas written down. Now we’re going to go through those ideas and pick the ones that have the most traction.
Going back through your list of ideas and choose THREE that stand out the most to you. Then, work through the questions below for each one. These questions are designed to help you flesh out the idea a bit more, so just answer the ones that will help you.
- Does this idea line up with your overall brand mission and values?
- How could you break down that idea even more? How many lessons or modules could be included?
- What format might you create in in? (PDF Workbooks, Video, Audio, Live Workshop, etc)
- How long could the course be? 14 days? 30 days? 4 weeks?
- What price point/position could it sit at?
- Who is the ideal audience?
- What differentiates this idea from everything else out there? How can you make it your own?
- What’s the end goal? What do you want them to be able to do once they’ve completed your course? Keep in mind nothing here is concrete — you’re just jamming on ideas.
- How stoked does this idea get you? How pumped are you thinking about creating a course based on this?
Step 3 :: Getting some justification
So here’s the thing… If you want to be hella-sure people will buy your course, you need to get some form of justification that they’re actually interested.
The easiest way to do this?
Write a couple of blog posts on the topic, or offer a small taster-freebie to see how people respond.
But if you have an idea that just gets you super stoked and you know you have to create a course based on it, just do it. Doing this means there’s less justification that people will buy it, but I know some people prefer that approach, so if it works for you — run with it.
Here’s a personal story…
For me, I kinda did this justification step backwards, without even thinking about it. Back in March, I wrote a couple blog posts on Branding + Website tips for business newbies. At the time I just thought it would be a rad post idea, as I was always getting questions about Branding specifically for new businesses who might not necessarily want to hire a designer right away.
As it happened, those two blog posts went nuts. People ate that shit up. At the time I knew I wanted to focus more on building digital products, but I lacked the motivation to actually start creating them… Until I wrote those two posts. When I saw the feedback I was getting and how much those posts helped people, it became uber clear to me that people wanted more help with Branding for new businesses, so that’s when I decided to create my Branding course, Be Unmistakable.
So something as simple as writing a couple of blog posts could help you BIG TIME in getting some justification on your idea, before you go to the trouble of actually building it.
If you do choose to write some posts to gauge the interest, here’s a few tips ::
- Write at least two posts on the topic to see how people respond. Go back to Step 2 where you hashed out the topics to brainstorm some ideas for the posts.
- At the end of the post, straight up ask people if they would be interested in a course on that particular topic, if you created one. You might write something like… ‘This post is based on an idea I had for creating an eCourse based on X. If this course is something you would be keen on, hit me in the comments and let me know!’
- And be sure to give the posts a couple of weeks to see how people respond!
Step 4 :: Choosing your final idea
So steps 2 + 3 should have helped you flesh out your ideas a lot, and hopefully you’ve already got a vibe for which one you want to run with.
But if you’re having trouble choosing one, take a couple days off and don’t think about it or work on them at all. Come back with fresh eyes and just CHOOSE one. Flip a damn coin if you have to.
(And remember, you can always come back to the other ideas later).
Use the checklist below to be sure you’re onto a winner idea.
The Killer eCourse Idea Checklist
Is this idea something...
...you’re totally stoked on?
...you know your people are keen to know more about?
...you have experience in, and could talk about for hours?
...that’s in line with your brand and mission?
At the end of the day you just gotta go with your gut and do the work.Don't let procrastination stop you. I truly believe that anyone has the ability to create an eCourse or digital products, and I think they're a really amazing way to reach a wider audience of peeps.
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