How To Discover Your Profitable Course Idea

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Are you a consultant, coach, or entrepreneur who wants to monetize your expertise and stop trading time for dollars through an online course? 

Are you frustrated with unpredictable revenue and worrying about where the next client is coming from? Do you want to launch an online course to combat these issues, but are concerned about finding the perfect course for your business?  

After all, you're a busy entrepreneur and can't afford to waste any time on a project that doesn't yield results. 

You can spend hours and hours brainstorming course topics and content only to find out that there is a course out there on the same topic. Even worse, creating a course that no one buys after you have put all that time, energy, and marketing dollars into it. 

The good news is just because there is a course on the market already covering your exact topic means there is a market for what you want to teach and people are willing to pay for it. 

Remember that competition validates market demand.

Tweet: Competition for your online course topic validates market demand. https://ctt.ac/wUbds+ via @destinicopp"Competition for your online course topic validates market demand."

This 4-step system will walk you through the process of discovering and validating your course idea so you can move forward with your revenue generating course project today.

1. Brainstorm Your Course Concept Ideas

Start with reviewing your passion, skills, and achievements. If you are a coach or consultant, think about what aspects of your current role would translate to an online course. If you are a service professional, consider if you could supplement any part of your current service with an online program. 

Talk with your customers. Ask them if they would pay for an online training if you offered it. 

Do you have a certification that you offer in your consulting line of work? This is an excellent opportunity to put your content in an online course with a digital badging program. Or perhaps an online course would allow you to expand and help customers that you aren’t serving today due to geographical limitations or other reasons. 

Anything goes here! List any course idea that may be viable for your business which fits your skill set and passion. If you some additional inspiration, here are some sites and places to go for ideas about your idea course. 

  • Online course sites such as Udemy, Brit + Co, Skillshare, Lynda.com, 360training, Ofcourse, SkillSuccess, Mobe Marketplace, and Bloc.

  • Search for Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups in your niche. Spend some time in the groups to see what kind of questions people are asking related to your area of expertise.

  • Amazon is a great online research tool and will show you hot topics related to books which can translate into an online course.

  • Your good friend Google. Google trends and just searching on Google will give you some great insight into what's popular and in demand related to your area of expertise. Search for your area of expertise (e.g. how to eat vegan) + course and see what you find.

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2. Identify Your Ideal Customer

What does your perfect customer look like? This customer may look different from the individual you serve in your face-to-face consulting, coaching, or service business. 

Perhaps they are more budget conscience and can’t afford to fly their employees into a facility for face-to-face training, but they would be willing to pay you for an online training course. 

You will get very specific and identify one ideal customer for your course. Big Hint: it’s not everyone and it’s not general. It’s not just a stay-at-home mom or an entrepreneur. 

Think about income, age, what web sites they visit, what are their pain points, fears, frustrations, dreams and desires. Where do they want to be this time next year? 

Here are some questions you will need to answer:

  • Age range

  • Gender

  • Where do they live?

  • Marital status

  • Education level

  • What do they do for work?

  • Where do they go for information?

  • What are their dreams and desires

  • What are their pain points and frustrations

  • What benefits do they want to get out of your course?

  • What would they pay money for to fix?

  • How can you help them?

  • What keeps them up at night?

If you can, interview individuals who are your ideal customer. This can be done via an online survey or a phone interview. Another option is to find an online community and ask for feedback in that forum. 

You will want to tailor the questions for your ideal customer, but here are some to get your creative juices flowing: 

  • What frustrates you about x (insert the problem you are solving)?

  • Have you ever paid to solve this problem?

  • How much is it worth to you to get this problem resolved?

  • What frustrates you the most about x (insert the problem you are solving)?

  • What do you think could be improved about x?

  • If you had to change three things about x, what would they be?

  • How would you feel if this was solved for you?

  • What type of pain does this cause you?

  • How much would you pay to solve this problem? (Hint: It’s important to confirm that your ideal customer will pay money for your online program)

The biggest ah-ha moment that you are trying to get out of this exercise is your ideal customer’s pain point. You want to know what her problems are so you can figure out how to solve them.

Let's use this as an example: Corporate female in her 40s (let’s call her Sarah) who travels a lot for work and struggles with weight. Her biggest problems or concerns include:

  • Rushed for breakfast and lunch

  • Travels for work

  • Wants to lose weight

  • Little time to exercise

  • Eats out frequently on weekends due to busy schedule

  • Wants to focus on eating a plant based diet

Step 3: Outline Your Unique Selling Position

What is your unique selling position? What do you offer that others in your field do not? You can’t attempt to be known for everything or else you risk being known for nothing. It has been said if you cannot summarize what sets you apart in a few sentences, then you are not unique in your market. 

Going back to our example above, think about how you can uniquely solve Sarah’s problem. Systems and step-by-step processes sell in the online course world and they can provide powerful solutions for your customers. 

Summarize your 1-2 sentence description of what your course does and who it is for. It should also provide the promise you are giving your students when they sign up for your course. 

Using Sarah as an example, we may say: 

This course teaches busy moms the step-by-step process on how to eat a plant based healthy diet so they can lose weight without exercise.  

TIP: The more specific you are in your unique selling position, the more your course will appeal to your ideal customer. 

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Step 4: Pick the Perfect Name

By now, you have the idea for your course, an outline of your ideal customer, and how you will differentiate your course in the marketplace.

Here are three tips on naming your course.

1. Be as specific as possible. 
2. Outline the benefits that can be achieved. 
3. Convey emotion. 

In our example, a name for this course could be: 

How to Eat a Plant Based Diet: Learn How to Eat Whole Food on the Go and Lose Weight Without Exercise

The words in this title are directly related with the problems and concerns conveyed by our ideal customer. It also conveys emotion (you can achieve all of this without exercise!). 

Our ideal customer did not have time to exercise or cook, was always on the go, and wanted to learn how to eat healthy; specifically a plant based diet. 

TIP: After picking three course titles that you like, survey your audience on social media to get their feedback on your selections. You will find that their feedback is so valuable. It also lets them know that you have something awesome in store for them! 

What about you? What course topic did you come up with for your profitable online course? Share in the comments below!

Join our FREE Private Facebook group specifically designed for course creators. 

In this group, you will learn tips & tricks on the following: how to validate your course idea(s), platforms used for hosting online courses, developing online courses, & launch strategies. Come join us at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/coursecreatorsroom/