From Dreaming to Doing: How to Go From Planning Your Online Course to Making Your Course a Reality

Imagine this: you’ve got a great idea for an online course. Maybe you have lots of great ideas, all chasing around in your brain. You’ve read blog posts on how to build your course, attended webinars, maybe even purchased some online trainings.

Despite all that, though, your course just isn’t coming together the way it should. There’s something missing, something holding you back from making that course a reality.

This was the case for eleven of our audience members who traveled to Montreal last September for an intense 3-day event on building their own online courses. They arrived in Montreal with established businesses, or no business at all. In either case, they had a lot of ideas about what kind of online course – and online business – they wanted to create.

We worked intensely with these students for three days, teaching them how to build courses, launch a pilot, and construct their online business around their courses. To say they came away from that weekend with a definite plan to put their ideas into practice is putting it lightly!

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I believe that, like the people who attended Course Builder’s Live, you dream of creating an online course. You’re a lot like our attendees: smart, driven, passionate, full of ideas. But you’re also missing something.

Today, we want to give you an inside view into what it looks like to discover that “something” that’s missing, and really get moving on your course-building dreams. And who better to give you that insider view than seven of our own Course Builder’s Live alumni?

Henry, Jane, Jerome, Jessica, Juan, Judy, and Kathryn were all where you are now: stuck and unable to move forward. I hope they inspire you to get unstuck through their own stories of moving through the process of creating an online course!

Henry Mittleman, Small Business Advisory Council

What drew you to Course Builder’s Live? What did you hope to achieve?

Henry MittlemanWhile doing things “virtually” is highly effective for many things, it’s not highly effective for everything. It’s great if you want to just acquire knowledge. In my opinion, it’s not so great if you need help implementing that knowledge.

There’s nothing like spending a few days sitting next to an expert who can show you the ropes, and actually help you “make something happen” with the knowledge you’ve acquired.

I have a highly successful coaching business. When it comes to helping small business owners be successful, I’m an expert. I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. However, I was not an expert in what would be required to take my traditional business model and successfully get it online.

That’s why I reached out to Danny. I liked the way he presented information, and the empathetic way he interacted with his clients. He impressed me as an expert teacher, and that’s why I signed up for the event.

I hoped the course would provide me with not only a better understanding of how to do business on the internet, but also help me to actually implement and execute my plan.

What was your biggest “aha” moment?

My biggest aha moment was realizing that I made the right decision. We all make many decisions over the course of our lives. Unfortunately, not all are good ones. I could have spent a real long time trying to do this myself, and maybe I would have succeeded. But time is money. If possible, why not take the shortest route to success.

Where is your business now?

The four days were amazing. The time with Danny and his team exceeded my expectations by a mile. I’ve developed my business model, my service offering, and have already started working with new clients around the country.

If you feel “STUCK” in your business, are constantly distracted, stressed out, and can’t seem to implement the strategies that you know will drive your business, maybe we should talk.

Jane Tabachnick, JaneTabachnick.com

What drew you to Course Builder’s Live? What did you hope to achieve?

Jane TabachnickI had been on the Mirasee list for awhile, and had recently heard Danny on a webinar. I was very impressed. When I got the offer for CourseBuilders Live, I was immediately interested.

I had created and sold some courses online and felt that I could be doing better, selling more of them, more consistently. I decided to attend as I knew I would learn from Danny and the Mirasee team and it would take my business to a new level.

The course was great, and I learned a lot that I know is going to make my courses and my business more successful.

What was your biggest “aha” moment?

The biggest takeaway was that I wasn’t doing enough research in advance of creating a course. I was guessing too much about what my clients and prospects were interested in and felt they needed. The research I did before building my new course was enlightening and paved the way for a much easier time creating my new course.

Where is your business now?

We just created the 2015 Publicity Planner and Toolkit, which is a complimentary download that you can grab here. We’re very excited to be doing listbuilding, ramping up to run the pilot for our new course and can’t wait to roll it out and see the results our clients get as a result of it, as well as the positive impact it will have on our own business success.

Jerome Stone, Minding the Bedside.com

What drew you to Course Builder’s Live? What did you hope to achieve?

Jerome StoneI’ve been following Danny since his earlier days with Mirasee. I’d wanted to work with him in the past but was still trying to figure out what I didn’t know…if that makes sense. After a few years, and many false starts, when the announcement for CBLive came out, I decided that it was time.

In the course of learning what I needed to know, I realized that I didn’t have a good plan in place. I had TONS of ideas, but hadn’t parsed it down to something that I could create and implement quickly. CBLive offered me that opportunity.

What was your biggest “aha” moment?

I’d say that I’m in the process of moving from one “aha” moment to the next. When I returned home from Montreal, my “aha” was that I needed to begin by re-building my audience engagement and increase my online presence and visibility. While the CBLive event had given me a good idea of what I needed to do in order to roll out a pilot launch, I didn’t have the base to support it.

My next “aha” occurred after I’d sent out surveys to my readers and had received a wealth of info and data from them. I realized that I hadn’t been addressing their pain points and needs directly enough and that any course that I provided had to focus on what I’d learned from the survey.

Other “ahas” that I’ve had:

  • Just getting off my ass and creating SOMETHING, and piloting it was vital. I’d been waiting to “perfect” something and – duh! – it wasn’t happening.
  • As unsure as I was about my ability to create something that people would want, waiting around and not doing anything wasn’t going to help me to make any progress in my business.
  • The posters and mugs that you have at the Mirasee Office are all about what it takes to move in the direction of success. When I make enough $$ from my launches, I’m going to get a few for myself! And my office!
  • The uncertainty that I feel about whether this is going to “all work out” is still prevalent. However, in the past, THAT was why I didn’t do anything or move any further from my place of “stuck.” Now, that uncertainty is why I remain in motion!

Where is your business now?

I’ve launched my pilot and have 14 people enrolled. I’m finishing up my first week and have gained TONS of feedback and info that will help me to eventually build a larger, more comprehensive product/service base.

Jessica Oman, Regenade Planner

What drew you to Course Builder’s Live? What did you hope to achieve?

Jessica OmanI have been trying and trying to develop online programs that sell since 2010, and I just hadn’t figured out the formula. Because I had used a lot of Mirasee’s free resources with excellent results, I knew it would be well worth the trip and that I’d learn a lot. And I did!

What was your biggest “aha” moment?

There were a couple. First, the magic wand tactic (if I could wave a magic wand and create the perfect course with everything, what would it be). Starting there and drawing it back to create something I could reasonably offer at a reasonable price made a lot more sense than starting with a blank page and trying to create a program out of it. I mean, what could I do with a blank page? I don’t even know how to make a paper airplane!

The second aha moment was when Danny posed a possible headline for my sales page: “From the desk of a woman who created a 6-figure business with just $200.” WOW, that sounded so compelling that I didn’t even realize he was talking about me! It was my first realization that yeah, I do have a great story to tell and I need to own it.

Where is your business now?

I launched a very small pilot program last December and it gave me great feedback and inspiration to do something bigger this June. I plan to launch a daily business planning challenge that helps new online and service-based entrepreneurs create a quick, actionable business plan in just ten days.

I also have two other exciting programs on the horizon, that have come about as a result of asking my audience more questions and really keeping track of, and analyzing, their answers to look for patterns and better understand what they really want from me.

Juan Garzon, Accelerate Your Growth and PitchStart

What drew you to Course Builder’s Live? What did you hope to achieve?

Juan GarzonI was drawn into CB Live because it was an opportunity to sort of peek behind the curtain at what an online information business like Mirasee looked like. I hoped to get some insights and practical knowledge into setting up and planning a similar sort of business for myself.

What was your biggest “aha” moment?

My biggest “aha” from the whole experience was probably the diverse mix of industries and product ideas that could benefit from this type of business model. I tend to follow a lot of online marketers of marketing products, but the group ranged from photography to alternative nursing. It was eye-opening.

Where is your business now?

I ran a small pilot in January and am going to be re-launching in a few months at www.accelerateyourgrowth.com. I’m also transitioning another project into a course using some of the same framework we learned in Montreal. It’s called PitchStart and helps startups with their investor pitches.

Judy Gotwald, 2×2 Virtual Church

What drew you to Course Builder’s Live? What did you hope to achieve?

Judith GotwaldCourse Builders Live interested me because I was working on a course but have never marketed anything online—at least in a concentrated way. I had been following various “gurus” but the typical self-promotion format turns me off. I don’t think my conservative market (churches) would go for that approach either.

Danny impressed me as being a considerate marketer who valued integrity above all else. He fits the definition of good salesperson I learned decades ago: a truly good salesperson will not sell you something you don’t need.

What was your biggest “aha” moment?

I valued the discussions on polling and researching before building a course and also on building an online identity through commenting and guest blogging.

Where is your business now?

My pilot is ready—prematurely, perhaps. I still have a way to go with list-building. I spend an hour or so daily reading leading blogs and commenting to gain some recognition.

My pilot is ready to advertise. I am currently making a sales video. I am still struggling with one difference. I want to offer my product to groups of people, not individuals. I’m not sure the live webinar format meets my goals at least at this time, despite the list-building potential. I have never seen ANY webinar offerings in my field, which amazes and encourages me. I’m trailblazing!

I learned a lot. I now know how to read music, so to speak. I just have to practice.

Kathryn Goldman, Charm City Legal

What drew you to Course Builder’s Live? What did you hope to achieve?

Kathryn GoldmanI knew that if I got into a room with a handful of other energized entrepreneurs plus Danny and his team, I would make significant strides in my online business. Danny had the formula and what I needed was the structure of the live workshop (away from my office) to help me create the business I was aiming for.

As a practicing Intellectual Property attorney, I’ve been lecturing on copyright, trademark and business issues for years and it is time for me to take the classes online. My goal was to make legal advice for creative professionals useful, actionable and affordable. I wanted CBLive to help me make that happen.

What was your biggest “aha” moment?

I went to CBLive with no list. My first guest post ran while I was in Montreal. I spent a great deal of my workshop time getting my landing page copy and sign-up confirmation sequence working properly before the sign-ups started. Even after overhauling the confirmation sequence, 10% of my sign-ups were still not confirming.

My “aha” moment was that the loss of that 10% is just the way it is. As frustrating as it may be, 10% of the folks who sign-up are not going to confirm for one reason or another and there is nothing I can do about it. But business must go on.

Where is your business now?

I am still in the list building stage of my business but am close to launch. This has been an interesting and fun part of the process. I’ve made many solid online business relationships which should form the basis of joint ventures as I roll out my online course. My first impression incentive is the Digital Artists Rip-Off Protection Report.

I’m through the data collection and analysis stage of my pilot, so the content outline is ready. I have put together the equipment I need to create a video promo and have started creating the sales page copy. Next up is the sales sequence and putting together the technology needed for launch. Watching Jerome launch has been inspiring. Being part of the CBM Facebook group has been great reinforcement for me as I keep working toward my goal.

Sarah Kohl, Travel Ready MD.com

What drew you to Course Builder’s Live? What did you hope to achieve?

Sarah KohlI came to Course Builders Live to launch my travel photo course. My photography partner had just backed out of our plans to build an entry level class to help people take better photos with their phones. Many people didn’t know how to make beautiful photos with the cameras on their phones, so I was excited. I really wanted to create a course that would actually teach what people wanted to learn. There are other courses, but they really don’t consider how people learn or why they were struggling with the camera on their phone.

What was your biggest “aha” moment?

I met some very interesting, thoughtful people who want to create courses in all different areas. We worked together to learn the material and to help each other. We still support each other as we work our way through our pilots and our launches. It’s so much easier to learn when you actually do things and get your questions answered in real time.

Today I gave my first pilot class…but not in photography. That’s because I thought about the photography class now and in the future. After some hard thinking and a little prompt from my business forum, I decided that what I really wanted to do was develop courses to help keep travelers healthy (not just happy).

It was hard to walk away from all the work I had put in to develop the photo pilot and my ‘list’, but it’s like riding a bike: once you know how to do it you can do it for life. Now I use the techniques I learned in Course Builder’s Live everywhere. I am always listening for ideas, surveying people for problems which need to be solved, and evaluating what I can do about those problems.

Where is your business now?

In my area of medical expertise, travel medicine, I found that there is really a shortage of doctors who know how to prepare people for travel and how to use the travel vaccines. So today, I gave my first pilot presentation to a group of pediatricians who want to learn about travel medicine. Sure, there were glitches. But, I found that my new students were happy to overlook these because they wanted the knowledge. And they asked such insightful questions! I’ll make sure to include that material in my final product.

That’s the beauty of the process. You frame your first go-rounds as a pilot and both you and the students relax and just have fun with the content. You don’t get all fussed about screen share issues etc. Your students want you to succeed so they help you. Believe me, it’s much easier this way! I have two more pilot classes with this group and then I’ll re-evaluate to see what’s next. And if you’d like to check out what I’m up to now, you can grab your free Resource Guide for Business Travelers. I’d welcome your feedback!

What about you? Where are you stuck in your course-building dreams? Let us know in the comments below.