The Course Creators Circle Podcast is a podcast created just for Course Creators to support you throughout your course creation journey.
Your host is The Course Creators Circle founder and Thinkific Expert Linda Reed-Enever. Linda has been teaching since the age of 14 (dance) and is even trained as a teacher...now she helps people Educate their market through Course Creation and Marketing.
Subscribe to get the latest episodes delivered to your inbox as Linda takes you on a behind the scenes look at the Course Creation journey with interviews, tips and tricks, and conversations with Course Creators just like you, in The Course Creators Circle Podcast
Reducing Failed Payments with Richard from Stunning
Failed payments are a pain. They stop you from growth, they stop you from moving forward with your next course offerings. The passive income you were aiming for with your courses is suddenly no longer passive because you're actually putting in more work chasing payments.
In this podcast, I had a great interview with Stunning founder Richard Felix. We talk about ways you can reduce failed payments. A lot of these are unintentional. Your students aren't being delinquents. The payments might be failing due to circumstances outside their control, like bank fraud protection, expired cards, and so on.
Good news: You can manage this process, reduce the risk of failed payments, and see more money coming into your bank accounts with tools like Stunning.
Automate your payment reminders
You have payment plans, you have memberships. The last thing you need is to be in the middle of charging your students, trying to keep track of things in spreadsheets or emails. That's just a huge headache. And that's not counting the failed payments, which happen 20% to 40% of the time, depending on the type of business, the users, the banks, the cards used.
Whatever the case, Stunning gets notified by Stripe about a failed payment, and Stunning reaches out to your customers via push notifications (integrated with Thinkific), SMS, and dunning emails.
A dunning email is basically a dunning letter. To dun means to demand payment. It's that simple. And user-friendly! Because Stunning sends an email with a link your students can click. It goes to a payment page where they can easily update their billing information without any required logins.
Stunning supports face ID, fingerprint authorization. If their card information is stored in their phone, this billing/payment update can be done in seconds.
Stunning also monitors email send rates and bounce rates, so that if your email doesn't make it to your student and the failed payments continue, you'd be prompted to reach out to them.
You want to implement failed payment management immediately
Once it's in place, it's like an insurance policy.
Stunning actually has a plan where you can start for $0, and you can do something for as long as you need, and you won't be charged until you start recovering revenue. As Richard Felix says in this podcast, they know, "how important it is to get a handle on as soon as possible."
Failed payments can seem like a small issue at first, but it's an insidious problem that over time, becomes a huge stumbling block for the growth of your course as a business.
Your Course doesn't have to be a "course" an interview with Karen Hillen Course Creators Circle Member
One of the most common pitfalls in course creation is getting stuck with your course format. In an interview with Karen Hillen, we talk about how your course doesn't have to be a course.
Karen Hillen is a HR advisor. Karen and I've known each other for many many years, and I'm excited to say that she's finally teaching online and she's delivering her programs by her Thinkific school, and the Course Creators Circle has been lucky to be part of that journey.
How Karen's course started
It was something people mentioned every now and then. They say, "You should do a course. Put all this information in a course." And Karen always sort of just discounted it.
She couldn't see how this could be a course, so it's just been there and she "never seriously thought about it until I started talking to you, Linda. You made me see that the information I know can be made into courses, whether they're short or longer courses."
"Or you know, a course that's not really a course. I've been thinking about it but didn't take it seriously."
Karen's course and course format
A course that's not really a course meant Karen offers her services and expertise in a membership style.
She's an HR advisor so she provides HR services to small businesses. Performance management, managing staff and managing HR for businesses.
Rather than courses, Karen offers membership, and this membership entitles you to a virtual HR management service. She puts all her clients' documents together and gives them templates like employment contract templates.
Creating memberships is something we've focused on in particular throughout Karen's course creation journey. It makes sure you get paid and you continually get paid. You can easily remove access if someone cancels or is not paying.
A course doesn't have to be a course
Karen had the most amazing programs for her members, but it was also taking a lot of manual work to get everyone what they needed.
If you're in the same boat, that's where the courses that aren't really courses can come in.
These are materials and course content that can lead people through your other, more advanced offerings as they progress.
These contents or materials aren't technically courses, but you're using a course to deliver that component.
What you can teach or impart doesn't have to be a course. As Karen said, "It may be the delivery of a service or information. It doesn't have to be what you think of when you think of a course."
Once you get your head around that, you can have tons of "lightbulb moment" ideas.
What do your students need? You can think about different ways you can package your expertise for your students.
For Karen, she has step-by-step videos and downloadable templates her students can consult and tweak instead of a course on how to create their HR policy handbook.
A course is guidance
Any way your students can take guidance from you is a course, even if it's not a course. For instance, anyone confused about HR can consult Karen's templates and get guidance from there.
Start with something small and easy. You don't have to create a full course with a whole heap of content. Sometimes we think this or that is too basic, but remember, you do have to teach the basics.
You can have a workbook on the basics, some video instructions, and you have an entry-level course that will allow people to come in and learn from you.
Karen shared that...
Embracing Learning Styles in Creating Your Course
Ask any teacher worth their salt and they will tell you they embrace every student's learning style instead so the student gets the best experience in their courses.
Now when it comes to course creation, online or face to face, that remains true. You need to understand the different learning styles so you can engage every type of student with your courses.
Important Big Thing to remember: We know our stuff. Our students don't. Not yet. We need to bridge that knowledge gap, and to do that, we need to step away from our own learning style because we naturally have a bias toward it.
We need to embrace all the learning styles when it comes to putting together your course content.
The Three Major Learning Styles
The Visual Learner
Perhaps the most common type of learner, and I think all of us are visual learners to some extent. After all, our brain receives 80% of information visually.
Visual learners prefer images. They retain information better from infographics, flash cards, and they love interacting with content they can see, like filling in worksheets.
What you need for visual learners: graphics, video walkthroughs, annotated transcripts, show notes, flowcharts, text images, workbooks, imagery in your course materials like boxes for important notes
The Auditory Learner
Auditory learners can be mistaken for visual learners because they love to read, but the difference is they like reading to repeat it to themselves, or they listen to it in podcasts or audiobooks. They store it in their heads in their own words or memorized.
Auditory learners work well with repetition and rote learning. They love hearing a concept and turning it over in their minds, taking notes while listening to help themselves remember or understand.
What you need for auditory learners: discussions, talks, interviews, audiobooks, podcasts, audio chapters
The Kinesthetic and Tactile Learner
Kinesthetic and tactile learners like immersion. They want to take part in things. These learners love pop quizzes and learning the answers through those tests. They like going underneath or behind the scenes, building things and getting really hands on.
What you need for kinesthetic and tactile learners: Step by step guides, activities, projects, workbooks.
New type of learner: The Social Learner
The social learner prefers learning within groups. They like that group or class component, brainstorming or discussions.
This branches off the auditory learner, but while an auditory learner might prefer listening and taking notes alone, the social learner thrives in group settings, participating in a discussion instead of just listening to it.
So these are the four learning styles. It's important to consider each one as you plan your course content. And every learner type's preferences are also goldmines of ideas for your course materials and creative assets in your course creation journey!
Questions to ask yourself before Creating Your Online Course
As the saying goes, "Those who can't do, teach; and those who can't teach, teach gym." Funny as that may sound, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, teaching is one of the most time-consuming jobs you can take on.
Is there a need?
Before asking yourself how to market an online course, the first thing you need to establish is whether or not this particular class already has a need.
In other words: Do some market research before creating your online course.
Use tools like Answer the Public to see what people are searching for around your area of expertise and base your courses around them.
Who is your ideal student?
Creating a student persona (your target audience) early on will save you future headaches as you will be attracting the right people. (There is a student persona template for you in the Membership area of the Course Creators Circle).
What's your price point?
This is a factor that too many online course creators leave as an afterthought. They build their product and then determine it's value.
While you don't need to think about the exact cost of this course, you should have a rough idea of what the price tag will be. Or, at the very least, you should determine if this will be a high-ticket course (over $1,000) or a low-ticket course (under $1000)
Lots of course creators either drastically undervalue or overvalue the worth of their online courses. So spending a little time getting the pricing right is key.
How Will You Present Your course?
You should determine how you're going to get your knowledge to your students in a way that they'll retain the information. A lot of that has to do with your personality and teaching style.
But there are other factors as well:
What's your budget?
What platform will you use?
Will it be mostly video-based or text-based?
Your budget is an obvious concern. If you're creating an online course and working with almost no money, then you need to get creative. This will also impact the platform you use to deliver your content.
Do I have the time to create a course?
Yep... I said it, course creation does take time and we need to have time to create the course, as well as sell the course so it is a really important question to know the answer to this.
You can also, of course, outsource the creation of course materials. You can hire writers who can adapt your voice and write the course materials from your voice notes or other existing content.
But even then, reviewing the course and creative assets your team creates will still take your time. When you're the teacher, you're the sun.
What can you teach as a Course Creator?
So you want to teach a course but are stuck for ideas on what to teach. In this episode of the Course Creators Circle Podcast, we are going to tackle the topic of "what can teach" as a course creator.
Course Creation comes from the knowledge that we have and someone else (hopefully many) want to know about.
So when starting on our course creation journey one of the natural questions will be what can I teach, so let's dive in
Course creation comes from knowledge. The knowledge you already have.
Your expertise is something truly valuable, and you just need to tap into that and share it to people who want and need it.
So how do you unlock ideas on what you can teach as a course creator?
Teach what you know:
These are your passions. Something you can talk about for hours.
If you know it inside out and you're very passionate about it, you can teach it. Both your expertise and your passion will come out in your courses.
So make a list of the things you know and love doing. It doesn't have to be related to your niche. If you're a lawyer, you don't necessarily have to teach lawyering techniques or even marketing your law firm, though you absolutely can. You can offer a baking class if you love baking!
Think of the key steps you can teach people, the key steps that might be unique to your own experiences and expertise.
Teach what you've learnt:
These things stick to you: the things you wish you knew when you started, the mistakes you can now teach others to avoid because you made them, the shortcuts you have picked up throughout the years.
This is where it really gets interesting and special, because your expertise comes with unique systems and processes you've learned or built from what you've learned along the way.
Teach what you know your students should know:
What do people always ask you? If you find yourself answering a specific question or set of questions all the time, you can bet on it that people are also asking Google.
And they can learn so much better from you than from Google.
Turn their questions into a course. At some point, it probably frustrates you that you end up talking about this again and again, but for the people asking you that question, they don't know that. The question is important to them. They want the information and the advice you can give them.
So there you have it a few ideas on what you can teach and hopefully, you have some answers to your own "what can I teach" question ready to put into a Course Creation plan.