Pros and Cons of Creating an Online Course

If you are thinking about starting an online course and are wondering if it’s the right move for your business at this time, this episode is for you! It has been almost 3 years since we first launched the Wanderlover Business Academy and I share pros, cons, and insights into the process of creating an online course. Tune in to learn ways you can set your course up for success!

You may have heard that online courses are a great way to grow your business, audience and income stream. But what ACTUALLY makes it good and what are the down sides? We’re pulling back the curtains in this episode. Tune in or read below!

Prefer to read? Here’s the blog version…

Rote Reflections

Hello, my loves – welcome back to the Wanderlover podcast! I am recording this episode from Rote Island, Indonesia. The last time I was here was in 2021 during Covid, and it’s crazy how much things have changed, but it’s also so incredibly humbling to reflect back on the past three years and how much I’ve grown as a human, as a business owner, as a wife, and how far the business has come since then.

I feel like a completely different person, but yet still the same. Do you guys ever feel like that when you’re like, wow, I feel like I’ve just lived so many different lives and lifetimes and one of the biggest reflections that inspired this episode was that the Wanderlover Business Academy my online course teaching new and aspiring coaches and creatives how to make money online and design a location independent lifestyle. The Wanderlover Business Academy was birthed in Rote. I recorded the modules on this island and the course itself, it changed not only my life in terms of my monthly recurring revenue and business revenue, it also has changed so many students’ lives since its inception.

Pros and Cons of Creating an Online Course

And so today’s episode is going to be about the Pros and Cons of Creating, an Online Course, what I’ve learned from the past three years of running the Wanderlover business, Academy and if you are an online business owner who’s thinking about possibly starting or offering a course. This episode is going to really give you some perspective on whether or not it is the right move for you at this time.

To be completely transparent, I only have one online course and that is the Business Academy. I have launched it three times, so with three different updates and within the past three years of launching the first business, Academy, then 2.0, then 3.0, we have brought in over six figures of revenue, so over a hundred thousand dollars within the past three years just from the business Academy.

Pros

Passive Income Stream

And so that brings me to my first point of the pros of having an online course is the extra income stream and a relatively passive income stream because when you create a course, you are recording all of the modules upfront and you are packaging it in a way that is accessible to many students at once. It isn’t directly tied to your time. It’s not like my private coaching clients or my mastermind where I actually have to be signed onto my computer at a certain time to give a lesson or to have a client call because you can also offer different payment plans as in pay in full or pay over time. It also opens up the possibility of monthly recurring revenue, and that is what I find to be truly passive. 

Self Paced Learning

The next pro that I found was very beneficial and what our students find is very beneficial is the self-paced learning. So the Wanderlover Business Academy is structured in eight modules, but students go through the modules and implement at their own pace. And oftentimes our students are starting their side hustles outside of a nine to five. So they have the time constraint. And what they love about it is they can go at their own pace, but they can reach out whenever they need help and they have the community for support.

So it is more flexible than, again, my private coaching, my intensive, my Masterminds and if you find that your community or some members of your community need more flexibility. A course may be a great option for you. 

Offers ‘Medium’ Ticket Entry Point

Another thing I really love about the business Academy is that it can be used as an upsell or a downsell for my other products and services. For example, the Digital Nomad Society or Travel Influencer Handbook, a lot of our members and readers, they want a more comprehensive course. And so they’ll first enter my ecosystem through one of my lower ticket offers and then they will be upsold into the business Academy where I can support them even further. On the other hand, if someone isn’t ready to fully commit to private coaching or a business intensive, then I direct them to the business Academy as well. 

Internationally scalable

Online courses are also incredibly scalable, as in you can reach an international audience. We literally have students access the course from all over the world. It truly has the potential to reach an international audience if that is where your client base or customer base is. And like I mentioned before, it’s not constrained by space. You don’t need to rent out a classroom, you don’t have to pick a location. It truly is something that you can launch on the internet and drive traffic and drive sales for many years to come.

It’s been three years since I launched the Academy, but trust me, we are not done yet. There are still so many people who have yet to find it. And so once you create it, what you have to focus on afterwards is selling it and we’ll get into that later.

Cost Effective

Creating a course is also incredibly cost effective. So other than signing up for a course hosting platform, and personally I use and recommend ThriveCart and ThriveCart is a one-time payment of $695. There is no monthly recurring fee.

And the only other expense that we have for the course is once in a while we’ll have to top up our bunny.net hosting platform where all of our videos are stored and it’s super cheap. It’s like $25 every few months. And other than that, there really is no other expense to create your course, which is amazing. And that is why it’s so cost effective because in my case, we’ve made over six figures in revenue and we’ve spent less than a thousand dollars creating and hosting it and distributing it.

And if you really don’t want to have a heavy investment upfront such as ThriveCart or Kajabi. You can start offering your course in beta, so you don’t need to record everything and upload upfront. You can either deliver the modules in a Facebook group every week or you can set up automated emails in Active Campaign or ConvertKit or go high level.

There are many ways you can deliver the content without having to fully commit upfront, get a few sales, and with that revenue you can then reinvest it into your systems. There are many available resources such as YouTube, Vimeo, for you to deliver your content and have it be within your budget. 

Can Constantly Update

The last pro of creating and selling an online course is that you don’t have to get it perfect on the first try. It has been three years since we first launched the first version of Wanderlover Business Academy, and we are currently on Wanderlover Business Academy 3.0. And so if you get over your initial vision of perfection.

I guarantee you that over time your expertise is going to change. The platforms that you teach on are going to change and whatever it is, there’s going to need to be updates. And with an online course, it’s so easy to modify your content, to add in content, to remove content that’s no longer applicable and you are able to relaunch it as if it were new. 

Cons

Upfront Work

The first con is underestimating how much work upfront it really takes for you to have a successful online course. And what I mean by that is you really need to know how to get your students results. And that takes time. It takes experience, it takes a buildup of confidence to believe in yourself, to be able to get results with an online course, right?

And so the runway to finally getting one out there or even start recording modules and knowing what modules to record, that can take a bit of time. And for some it takes a few years to get that experience and that know-how. For me, especially before the first time of launching the Business Academy, I really underestimated how much time it was going to take me to record all of the modules, to get all my launch material ready and to just get things in order. So my advice to you if you are thinking about creating and launching a course is to give yourself more time than you think. It will make you feel so much more at ease if you have more time as a runway.

The Tech Set Up

The next con that I will warn you about is the tech behind processing payments, delivering automations, coaching support. The tech behind Having a successful online course can be difficult. if you are not so tech savvy. And so in this case, I would definitely recommend reaching out to a developer or just reaching out to someone who can give you advice. Personally, I had to trial and error so many different platforms before finding ThriveCart. So the first version of the business, Academy was actually hosted on WordPress and it was just so complicated trying to collect payments and then delivering the course and managing students.

It wasn’t until I found ThriveCart where I was like, oh my God, this is so easy and so user friendly. I’m able to immediately collect payments and then you know, deliver the course right after. And so it took me a lot of trial and error and just unnecessary mistakes that I’ve obviously learned from to figure it all out and make it really easy. So I hope you learn from my mistakes and I hope you get it right from the beginning.

Learning Marketing Specifically For Selling Courses 

Okay, and the last con, and I wouldn’t call this a con, it was just maybe like something I was blindsided by, is that you need to know how to market your course in order to sell it. Just because you create a course doesn’t mean it’s going to sell itself.

So you really have to test marketing strategies to direct traffic to your course and get people who need your course to land on your course sales page. This comes from organic and paid marketing. If you have a large audience, it may be easier for you to create and launch a course versus if you are completely starting from scratch (get my tips on starting from scratch here!), but there is going to be a lot of trial and error figuring out who your ideal client is, how to target them, and how to set up your sales systems so that it makes you course sales on a consistent basis.

The Conclusion

The good news is once the course is created, it’s yours to sell forever. You don’t need to make the majority of your sales in the first month. You can give yourself time to learn new marketing strategies, to speak to new people about your course, create branding around it, and there’s always room for improvements. As you can tell, the list of Pros completely outweighs the list of Cons, and I have never regretted creating this course because it’s just changed so many lives around the world. So many lives I previously wouldn’t have had the honor of maybe mentoring for such a long time.

The community we’ve built inside the Academy with our live coaching calls every month since its founding, it’s just been so special seeing everyone’s businesses and confidence grow, seeing their location independent lives, completely blossom if you are an online business owner. I know that this impact is also possible for you within online course if you do want to set yourself up for success. Get a few beta testers before you go out recording all of your modules and spending all your time speculating what you think your customer or student needs versus what they actually need.So get some people, test out the transformation, test out the modules, get feedback before you start recording the final version of your course. 

The other piece of advice I would give is to make sure that there is some form of accountability because it’s one thing for your students to learn the content and another to actually implement it, right? So in the Academy I’ve had to introduce homeworks where people complete each action item and it’s very simply laid out for them exactly what they have to do. And also having the Facebook community to hold them accountable and be top of mind to be like, ‘Hey, don’t forget about me’. There’s also an option in the checkout page to include one-on-one private coaching.

So that’s also an option that I include for additional support. But if you’ve been thinking about an online course and after listening to this episode, it’s a hell yes. This is exactly what my business needs at this moment. I would love to help you create it so that you have the exact idea roadmap to creation and launch processes in place. Just DM me on Instagram at the Wanderlover, your life, your business, and your future students’ lives are all going to be so different because of the actions you take right now. I hope this episode was helpful and I will see you all in the next episode.

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