Are you just starting out as an online entrepreneur?
If "YES" that means you are about to create your first information product (online course). This is awesome, you must be excited. You will finally share your knowledge with people around the world (and get paid to do so).
To make this process even more pleasant for you, I want to point your attention to the top 10 mistakes I've seen beginner online entrepreneurs repeatedly do.
Plus, I want to provide you with fixes to these mistakes which will result in an increase of your chance to succeed.
Top 10 Costly Mistakes The Beginner Online Entrepreneur Does
Okay, let's get started!
Beginners Don't Research And Validate Their Product Idea
You've heard that the e-learning market is growing fast. Students are buying all kinds of products. Marketing gurus are recommending that we should strictly follow our passion when it comes to product creation. Probably, they've heard one of the Steve Job's motivational speeches.
Yes, our level of passion will determine the quality of the info product and the ease of implementation. However, what happens when our passion doesn't fit well in the marketplace?
"Do what you love and money will follow."
Well, I cannot agree with that. What if I'm a lazy person who loves eating pizza and drinking soda all day long? At which point money will come to me?
The point I'm making here is that these statements are partially true. So let's get down to Earth for a bit and do a market research.
Because let me tell you something, besides an online entrepreneur, you are a marketer as well. If the first role is more about ideation and vision as a marketer you will have to make decisions based on data and numbers. No feelings involved here.
For example, the ugliest squeeze page might turn out to be the best converting one - what are you going to do? Of course, you will keep it running and kill the other variations.
Do Your Research Before You Spend The Time On Product Creation
With that being said, it is your job to research the hot marketplaces for your info product and see what are people currently buying.
It is not by chance I chose research to be the first phase in the online course creation process. As you will see, I primarily use Udemy, Amazon, Reddit and social media websites to perform such research.
Competition is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it shows you there are people buying in this market.
Beginners Are Not Specific When Choosing A Topic To Create An Info Product
I've noticed there is an innate desire of pouring all the knowledge infopreneurs have to one info product. Very often this is their first product, let's say an online course. I'm repeating this, your first course will most likely suck. I hate to be the bearer of the bad news but I promised myself I'm going to be totally honest with you.
This is not a secret. Most of the activities we do for the first time are poorly performed. However, when we continue and discipline ourselves, when we commit to improving, this is where the magic happens.
Let's say you are a marketing expert but you've been working for companies and don't have experience with creating and launching digital information products. You would want to create an info product on marketing. This is logical.
Please, don't create The Ultimate Marketing Course that includes digital marketing, traditional marketing, email marketing, SEO, mobile marketing, branding, copywriting, paid advertising, social media, etc.
Drill Down Your Market And Get Specific
Choose a narrower topic and tackle it well. Create a short online course (around one hour) but make it comprehensive.
This is how I applied solution #2:
- Niche 1
- Sub-Niche 1
- Sub-Niche 2
- Headline Writing
And I ended up with one of my most successful online courses.
Copywriting: How To Write The Most Powerful Headline Of Your Entire Life
As you can see 8 videos, 51 minutes of video content. It has received 101 reviews 99 of them positive. Over 1,400 students have enrolled.
When I launched this course on Skillshare, they were using the old teacher payment model. That means Skillshare was paying approximately $1.5 per premium enrollment. If we do that math, I made $2100 from Skillshare but I also launched the same course on Udemy (with a different name) and I earned $2,244 as well.
The course is also launched on Curious and Amazing and it's bringing income from there as well.
That amounts to approximately $5,000 from my 51-minute course.
You should also consider three very important points.
- is still generating a monthly income.
- has received a ton of social proof (positive reviews).
- has built a student base which I use to market my new courses (some of which up to 5 times more successful in terms of revenue).
I can safely assume this course has brought directly and indirectly over $10,000 in profit without spending a dime on ads. It took me approximately a week to create it because I really wanted high-quality.
As you can see from my example, this is the faster, easier and safer way to go.
Beginners Write Headlines And Descriptions First And Then Create The Info Product
Well, this is a bad starting point because during your creation process, you will be having new ideas that you'd like to include but haven't thought of previously.
This changes the content and if you work on a longer than an hour project you may end up with a description that will not be 100% accurate.
Your headline is of a paramount importance and you need to consider it as the ad for your course. It will draw people in, so it should be attention-grabbing, packed with highly emotional power words.
You might end up testing headlines so do not write the first version of the headline in your PowerPoint presentations. Instead, you can write something general that no matter what headline you write later, it will always be congruent with your content.
Write Your Final Headline, Subheads, And Descriptions Last
While in draft mode, it would be helpful to give a name to the project. For example, when I was working on my course on headlines, I chose Headline Masterclass as a draft name.
Once you are done with creating the content then start working on the headlines and descriptions. Please, use proven formulas to craft powerful writing. Read more about such copywriting principles in this post.
Beginners Don't Pay Enough Attention To The Student While In Content Creation Mode
Instead of asking yourself "What do I know so I can teach it?" ask "What does my student need to know so they can achieve their desired outcome?"
Ultimately, the majority of students will judge your course based on whether it will deliver the results you've promised in the description and sales video.
Will your course help them solve a particular problem?
If you begin with the end in mind, planning becomes super easy.
Let me share with you a conversation once I had with myself (I'm not crazy).
- Okay, my students want to learn how to write headlines for their online projects.
Maybe they write headlines for blog posts, ads, eBooks, online courses, e-mail subject lines, etc.
- What would be the most desirable resource I can give them?
- Well, I think if they have proven formulas, plug-and-play type, so they don't have to do the hard thinking but in the same time crank out powerful headlines, my students will be happy.
- What do they need to know about headlines?
- Hmm, I've seen my competitors are promising that if you learn to write headlines you will make more sales. Yes, this is true because more people will read the body copy and call to action but that's not the ultimate purpose of a headline.
- What else do they need to know?
- It would be really nice they know the different styles of headlines. This will give them flexibility when they work on different projects.
- Anything else?
- Yes, they need to know about testing and how to pump up their headlines (by using power words).
- Okay, nice, I think I can do that.
Begin With The End Result That Your Student Wants
When planning and creating content, always keep your students in mind. Their opinion is what matters most. If you already have experience with digital marketing, chances are you've built a following around a particular niche. Ask them what they need help with and use that information.
Beginners Use Only One Platform For Education Because They Were Told "It's The Best"
I don't want to talk about eggs and baskets but listen...
The most successful and richest people in the world have multiple sources of income.
It's called diversification. We can use that principle as well by launching our information products on more than one platform for education.
The majority of online instructors start with Udemy because it's the biggest one. However, there are other smaller platforms which will bring you revenue as well. I'm talking about Skillshare, Amazing, and Curious.
I personally teach on these, as you can read on my about page.
There were months I was making only $200-$300 on Udemy but that's okay because I was making $3000-$4000 on Skillshare.
There were months I was making only $500-$600 on Skillshare but that's okay because I was making $1800 - $2200 on Udemy.
Plus the few hundreds from Amazing and Curious my income stays consistent during the months.
This is what my experience taught me, this is what I share with you.
Beware New Platforms
But keep in mind that as the e-learning marketing is growing so rapidly, new online platforms for education are being launched constantly.
Many of them will never make it but you might spend time uploading your online courses there.
For that reason, do not spend time on platforms that haven't been proven to pay instructors!
The four I mentioned about do pay their instructors. However, I also tried other platforms and I lost a lot of time in communication and content preparation. Such example is OpenSesame. I launched two courses on eduPOW and for 2 years I made 0 sales.
The biggest time-waster for me was OfCourse. The reason was they don't have a functionality where online instructors can upload their courses by themselves. No, you have to provide them the files via DropBox or Google Drive.
I was waiting several weeks to have my course launched in their marketplace but the last two courses I requested to add.... Oh, boy... it's been over 6 months waiting period and they are still not live on the platform.
I'm not saying OfCourse doesn't have potential, it's just as for now it can take 30 emails back and forth and a lot of time. You can invest that time in content planning and creation.
Our time and mind are the most precious resources we have.
Start With Proven Platforms
If you spot a new platform with good chances of success, give it a shot. You might experience the first mover advantage. Also, share it with our community, we'll appreciate it :).
"I'll Figure It Out On My Own" Syndrome
I learned a lot from Tony Robbins but one of the most valuable concepts was the one on modeling.
Here is a secret Tony shared:
Ask someone who can help you. Whatever you want in life, someone has already discovered how to get it — and you want to figure out what they are doing right. Someone can likely save you time and pain with the knowledge they’ve gained in their own experiences, but understand that their time is valuable. First, figure out how you can help them, add value to their life, and then they will be more likely to help you.
So, if you want to become an infopreneur, earn income from your knowledge, help thousands of people around the achieve their goals, and establish your authority and brand online, I suggest you join our community of infopreneurs.
You Are Invited To Become A Member Of The
Self-Made Infopreneur Community
Sorry, Program Currently Closed 🙁
Beginners Do Ugly "Talking Head" Videos
If you don't have the experience and equipment, please don't do that. Start with a screencast video.
I talk about the types of videos in one of my posts. If you can do them right, talking head videos are great because students see your face and get a sense of your personality.
My assumption is you are starting out, so don't do talking head videos. Generally, your intro for Udemy would be 2-3 minutes long and it's a great place to show your face. Even if you don't, it doesn't mean your course won't be successful for that.
Start With Screencast Videos
When you get more experienced, you can try talking head. Another mistake I see is instructors use talking head videos for all the videos. This is completely unnecessary.
Depending on what you teach, you might need to share your screen and show a demonstration. For example, how to use Photoshop. Or, you can create a beautiful PowerPoint or Keynote presentation and go through the slides explaining the ins and outs of the subject.
Beginners Don't Interact With Students
No matter how comprehensive your course, students will have questions and you have to be there for them. Forget about the "passive income from online courses" notion. The income from information products is not passive. It requires work and maintenance. Handling students' questions is a part of the business.
Most of the platforms have discussion sections which all of the students enrolled in a course can see.
If you don't answer a question the rest of the students can see that. It means you are not supportive and reliable. Why should they enroll in the next course you launch? So, this is a critically important point.
Answer Students' Questions Quickly And Accurately
Leave no question unanswered and your students are going to love you. These students are your customers. It's up to you if they will become repeat customers or not.
Beginners Are Concerned Only About Money
Although money can be your prime motivator for building an online business, it shouldn’t be the only one. With your Information products, you teach people how to solve a problem.
The keyword here is teach.
Teaching is not just another job you do to make money. Teaching is about positively influencing and changing lives. Teaching is about helping people solve their most urgent problems. Teaching is about sharing your experiences and ultimately teaching is about changing the world!
Teaching is about positively influencing and changing lives.
You Will Have To Find The Balance
Create and launch information products for the money, but also, care about your customers. This is how you will experience rapid business growth.
Beginners Create One Long Course That Doesn't Sell Well And Give Up
Online infopreneurs often create one 5+ hour long course (info product) that doesn’t sell very well, they get discouraged and give up.
I will not let you do that mistake.
Your first product is about familiarizing yourself with the creation process. Once you gain experience, you can create 20-hour course if you want, I will not stop you. BUT, do not do that while you are learning the ropes.
It Is Best To Start With Baby Steps
If you will be creating and selling online courses, I do recommend that you start with a one-hour comprehensive and niche-specific course.
There isn't a beginner online entrepreneur who doesn't make at least three or more of these mistakes.
Now that you know them and their solutions, please take this advice and start taking action on building an information product business.
If you want to avoid making mistakes from all levels, not just a beginner ones, then I invite you to join
the Self-Made Infopreneur community.
Got a question?
Ask it below and I will asnwer it.
I'd like to thank you for reading this post and remember - stay purposeful!