How to identify a topic you could turn into a course? What are the steps of creating an online course? These are some questions I asked Katy Miller, a course creation expert and social media strategist.
What you will learn in this episode:
- How to identify what would make a great course
- The steps involved in creating a course
- The importance of social media to share your course
- Tips for brainstorming your course.
About Katy Miller:
Katy is a course creation expert and social media strategist. She owns Miller Social, a social media marketing and coaching firm based in Frisco, TX. Her background in education, instructional design and development, and network marketing drives her passion to help people build their course from idea to launch. Her clients love her straightforward, practical approach to course creation and social media. She believes social media should be fun, social, and not something you dread. She is also the co-founder of Network Like A Mother, a networking group for mom entrepreneurs.
When she is not working, you can find her hanging out with her husband, two boys, and dog, Daphne. She is a self proclaimed coffee snob and loves a Target wander.
Connect with Katy:
TP: Hello, today, we're speaking about creating profitable courses, and my guest is Katy Miller. Welcome to the podcast.
KM: Thank you so much for having me.
TP: There is one question I ask from every guest. Can you please share your story of becoming an entrepreneur?
KM: It's a yeah, it's kind of a long one, but I'll keep it brief. I thought I've always had, like, an entrepreneurial heart, which started when I tried to sell drawings on my front porch with my best friend when I was six years old. So I knew that it was kind of I always worry. I know, very early. I kind of always knew that I wanted to do something for myself and marched to the beat of my own drum. But I also love teaching. So I went to school, became a teacher, an elementary school teacher, and in between having my kids, I was an instructional technology coach. And because I was an independent contractor for the school and I didn't work for the district, I had a lot more flexibility. And I turned that into my first sort of consultancy. And then once my second son was born and my pilot husband was traveling a lot for work, I didn't really have the flexibility to be outside of the home. I could have made it work, but I was like, "Oh, he's gone a lot. I want to be home". So that's when I joined the network marketing company and I really loved the community aspect of it. But again, that need to work for myself was kind of at the back of my mind. So I wanted to do things my way with a lot of what I was doing in my network marketing business is figuring out how to market myself on social media along with everybody else in the company who gets the same assets and things and trying to figure out how I could set myself apart. So that's where the social media stuff came in. And I from there, I realized I could help other people do the same thing after I studied it and kind of developed a social media strategy. And I realized not everyone understood the strategy behind social media and I could help people maximize their time. And that's when Miller Social was born. So it's kind of a winding path to get to where I was now, but definitely worth it.
TP: Quite broad experience, I could say, starting from drawings and now it's social media mostly.
KM: Yes, like I said, winding path. It's just sort of like, you know, you go through different experiences and always in their education was kind of always weaved in to everything that I have ever done in teaching anything with kids. And so when I was an instructional technology coach, that's when I shifted to helping adults. And I was like, "Oh, well, maybe I do this instead". And so it's always the education piece of what I do is still pretty strong now. But yeah, I like the idea of doing things on my terms.
TP: Actually, me too. So yeah.
KM: Right? Entrepreneurs, we get it, we kind of want to do it or we're like we want to do it our own way. Right.
TP: Yes. What is suitable for us. For our family. Yeah, definitely.
KM: Exactly. And and I think that's what's valuable is that we can find a way to work for our family and it's so different for everybody. And we all have this thing that we can offer because we find a way to make whatever we're doing work because we figured it out for ourselves.
TP: So you have background in course development, as you mentioned, and selling courses is really a great way to get money. So one question, how to pick the perfect idea?
KM: This is a question I get a lot, actually, and it's pretty like a lot of people are thinking, like they have an idea. They know what they want to teach, but they're not sure how to develop it into a course. So I personally believe that everyone has something to teach. And taking the perfect idea depends on a few things here. Here's kind of what I break down for people. Does your audience ask you about the topic a lot? So, is it something that your clients or your audience are coming to you and they want to know more about it all the time and it's a common question? Are you repeating yourself with clients feeling like you're talking about the same thing all the time? That's another great way to know that you have a topic for a course. And is it something you can talk about easily? So we cover that in my new course, but also like more in depth but there are methods to flesh out your idea and kind of the information you have to share. But if you think about the things that people are asking about all the time and the things you're telling your clients all the time and you feel like you're just saying the same things all the time, plus you can talk about something with no prep when people are like, "What can you talk about for 30 minutes without preparing anything?", that's the thing that you could make a course on.
TP: And if you start to make a list, there will be more than one perfect idea. How can we select the first one? Let's say so.
KM: So what I, I recommend people do make it, like make a longer list, take your topic that you want to talk about and then write out everything that you would say for that topic, all the things you would cover for that thing you want to teach and see how much there is for each of those topics, because what you might find is that there is an idea that you have it's a really great idea, but there's not actually a lot behind it in terms of like how you would teach it or the method that you would use. Maybe it's a little simpler than you thought it would be if you're going to break it down for somebody. And that might be a great workshop or a webinar type of thing and not a full course, but really, courses are going to take you through a longer process. And obviously there are like a million different ways to do a course. But you want to make sure that you have and you have enough information. So it's not just going to be maybe like one or two lessons, but it's really going to be broken down and people are going to have that transformation from the beginning to the end of your course.
TP: Oh, so, OK, we've got this long list. We've got this one idea. What now? What is the next thing? How you mentioned that.. Ok, yes. See what would be included in that course. How can we build it or what is the best way to do so that it would be successful course?
KM: The beginning part of it is where is the most important part. And that's the part that so many people skip. There are a lot of planning and questions that you have to ask at the beginning phase of when you're planning, of course, because you want to make sure that it's something worth doing all the work for, right? Like we have to you have to make a video. You have to make an outline. You have to do all these things. And people get through the whole process of, of course, and they get a little overwhelmed by it and they get stuck on their idea. So I follow the ADDIE model, which is ADDIE. And that's analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation, and I'll break it down for you, too, but the, I've kind of modified that method for the modern entrepreneur and included social media into it. The beginning, like I said, that planning phase, that analysis phase is where you spend most of your time. This is where we're asking questions like who's your audience? And you're really fleshing out the idea of like what problem you're trying to solve. Why are we doing this? Is this something that I want to do? What do I want my audience to walk away with? And having those clear objectives from the beginning is key and organizing is the next phase. So that's the design of your course. And you want your course to make sense. It has to follow the process. This is the the planning of what it's going to look like. And that's where you can kind of look at the process that you went through, because it's probably a process or something that you have gone through yourself or you've developed for yourself. And you can take that and break it down into the order of how it went or what do people need to do in order to get from the beginning point to the endpoint of what you want to teach them. And you can use a mind map for this, a brain dump post it. It's, there's really a few ways to go on when you're organizing and getting into this phase. But people are surprised by how much we spend in the analysis and the design part of planning a course, because you want to get that stuff right at the beginning before you get into making your videos and the handouts and launching and all that. And development is when you film the videos, you're creating your materials, you're writing your script, you're doing the part, of course, development, like the meat of it. We talk a lot about best practices with my clients. We talk about best practices for videos and using the materials we have, because most of us are teams of like 12 people with video editors, right? Where we're just trying to make something and do something from home and it's us. So we talk about how to edit our videos as our own team, and the goal is to keep it simple and professional. And then there's the implementation phase, which is my favorite part. And that's really the launch phase of the course where you're mapping out your launch plan on social media and finalizing your pricing. And then the last phase, which is the evaluation, is figuring out what worked, what didn't work, what you might need to change for the next time. And that's it, that's that's how the whole process broken down really quickly.
TP: You already mentioned this launch phase. So I think for many people or many entrepreneurs before they start doing this, course then they have this vision, "OK, there will be thousands of people waiting in line when I come out with my course". How can we get those thousands, let's say, at least one hundred persons.
If you have your idea, you need to talk about it now and then get to all the planning phase. - Katy Miller, Podcast Step Up & Thrive
KM: Right, that we want somebody to be ready for our course. And that's, you know, like I've been there I've been in the in the stage of I had, of course, that I launched too early and my audience wasn't ready for it. And it was not pretty. The value was there. The value of the course was there. Because obviously what you're teaching, the value is there. You know, it is because you're teaching other people probably. But when you want to build your audience, that's important, too. So that is really a presence on social media and talking about it, talking about it before there's one slide or material or script or outline done or questions answered. Talk about it. If you have your idea, you need to talk about it now and then get to all the planning phase. I see a lot of my clients will not talk about it until it's perfect and ready. And I can't do that. You have to do you have to start talking about it now? I can't tell you how many presentations or workshops or things I've done that I start talking about on my social media before I have one slide done in the slide deck or I even know how it's going to be organized. You just kind of you have to get the word out there so people can get comfortable knowing that you are the expert in that and that you are going to be someone that they can come to for whatever topic your course is going to be on. So my biggest thing is talking about it and building your audience with the value that you share on social media.
TP: Ok and tips for those introverts?
KM: Yes, yes, yes, yes. That's my favorite. I'm an introvert. Surprisingly, I'm an introvert. People don't think so based on my social media. So it takes me and it takes me a little bit before I'm like ready to do a video. And I, I forced myself to do a hundred videos in one hundred days because I wanted to break out of my comfort zone. I don't recommend that for everybody. But I do think that I think it's overwhelming. It could be a lot. But having got like maybe you say five days, let's go with five days and maybe you say I'm going to show up on stories every day for five days. And just doing something of stories is where that's where I tell my clients and people in general to start. If you're, like, nervous about video or if you're someone who's like, "Oh, I don't want to do a video at all. I don't want to start talking about it. I don't want to show my face.", stories is the best place to start because it's so casual and it's like easy. You can show up however you feel comfortable. You don't have to look perfect. Plus, none of us want to see the perfect anymore. Like, we don't want to see this perfect look at how wonderful your life is. We all know, OK, you have a great life. But it's also kind of messy. If you have kids, it's probably really messy. So just share that part. People want another relatable and people want to know what you have to offer.
TP: So now it's time for our Quick Tips section. This is something what we do regularly on our podcast. And my question is, what is your biggest revelation about creating a profitable course?
KM: And it's the social media piece for me, the social media piece in the launching part. I think that that's left out a lot from what I've seen on the market. And what I see from the experts in the field is there's not there's not that piece of it. There's people talking about "Here's how you create a course or seven steps to create a course" or like "Create a course in twenty four hours". But nobody talks about how you actually have to launch it and sell it. And so people have this course and they're like, oh, I have this course and they put it out there and they're like nobody, nobody bought it because, you know, like I made this beautiful thing, why are you buying it? And so people don't talk about the social media piece. And I think if you want to make something profitable, you have to let people know what you can offer. And it doesn't have to be like, "I'm going to do a video and I'm going to like blow up all the things that I need that I can help you with. And I'm going to talk about for hours. I'm going to tell you everything I can do". It's not that. It's just dropping these little things like "here's the value that I can show you. Here's something you can do today if you want to create a course or here's something you can do today on social media that's easy". Your entire social media strategy is going to be this. That's overwhelming. So that piece of just the social media launching piece and how to sell your course is the biggest piece that is missing for so many.
TP: And at the same time, it seems to be so important.
KM: It can be a great source of passive income, something that you can have out there that you never have to touch again unless you tweak a few things later. You know, there's so many benefits to having a course out there, but it has to be done right. So you're not going back and fixing it all later.
TP: That's true. Thank you so much, Katy. It's really valuable information. And let's hope that our listeners do their own courses and get some passive income so that there will be more time for family.
KM: That's right. That's all we need more time. Right? We want more time with our kids. We don't want to be working all the time. We didn't do this to work all the time to be crazy.
TP: Yeah. So if our listeners would like to know more about you and to follow you, what can they do?
KM: So you can find me on Instagram and Facebook at the Social and on my website, which is probably going to be in the show notes because it's more complicated at the Miller Circle. And I remember Volpe's to host my site. So social media is probably the best. Instagram is where I'm the most active.
TP: And I know that you have several great freebies, which would definitely help the life and your business. So can you a little bit talk about your freebies as well.
KM: Sure, I'd love to. So I have a couple options on my website, free masterclasses. One is about planning out your month and then I have a course hosting platform kind of guide breakdown because that's a big piece of it, too. Where do I put my course? So I have a breakdown of that. But there's a couple of free things on my website around social media and courses and. I think that covers the freebees that's on there, but there's a few things on there that depends, if you like, in social media or of course there's a few things.
TP: But in a way, if you want to use your course and go out with social media, then those two could be probably combined.
KM: Well, yes.
TP: OK, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for this valuable information. And and yeah, it was fun.
KM: Thank you so much for having me. I love talking about course stuff in social media.
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