How to Sell Online Courses: Selling Your First Online Course


– Hey everybody. This is Roberto Blake of RobertoBlake.com, helping you create something awesome today with my friend Cielo. – Hey there. – Yeah, so, we have something
interesting for you today, we’re gonna be talking
about selling online courses with Teachable, it’s another
great way to monetize, it’s a great source of passive income, something I’ve talked
about here on this channel a couple of times, and
Teachable is one of the best online course platforms
that you can develop, it also is great for actually
just selling information parks in general, and so you’ve
actually recently developed your first Teachable course
and it’s around something that’s near and dear to my heart, it’s around photography and videography. – [Cielo] Yes. – But it’s also about doing
it with just your smartphone. – Yes. – Something I’ve been
talking about a lot more. – Yes, you have. I really believe in it,
so, why don’t you tell everybody just a little
bit about your background, how you got started, and then
let’s get into some questions about how to start and
launch an online course with Teachable. – Sure. So, I got started with
smartphone photography, actually, when the iPhone 6 first came out. I was prolific. I loved the phone, I loved the tool, and what happened was Apple actually found some of my work online
and so, I became part of the shot on iPhone ad campaign for Apple, so, I had photos and videos as well that were included in the campaign. – [Roberto] Nice. I actually remember that campaign. – Yeah, it’s still going on, so it’s a really great campaign. So, what happened was I just became known for using the iPhone for photos and videos and I really got into creating videos with just the iPhone and
with the technology now, I feel like it’s really come a long way and more and more people
like you are recommending it to use it for if you’re just
getting started with video and so, I decided to create a course, teaching exactly how to do that. – Do you feel like, coming from
a background of photography and video, that you’re more
limited by using a smartphone like the iPhone? Or do you feel like you have
just as much creative freedom? – Honestly, with the
phones that we have now and with the new phones
that are coming out, I think there is less and
less of a limitation now. The only thing that I say
that the phones cannot do just yet is that really
nice bokeh blur background but now you actually– – The newest phones are getting that. – The newest phones are
totally getting that but with video, it’s
still not quite there yet but otherwise, I think
you can do so much more with your phone and almost just as much as you can with your DSLR and
even more, I’d have to say, ’cause you can actually
edit on your phone. – That’s true.
– And not on your DSLR. – That’s true and there are
a lot of great mobile apps for editing. We talked about one of my
favorite simple ones being Premiere Clip but you
actually brought up something that I’ve been hearing a
lot more about, LumaFusion. – Yes, LumaFusion is great. It is the pros editing tool for the iPhone and it’s a little bit pricey
but you can seriously do some serious editing using LumaFusion. – Well, you know that I’m a
big fan of serious editing, so that’s definitely what I like to hear. So, now we’re gonna get
into a little bit about what you guys need to know
about selling online courses and, in this case, we’re
gonna be talking about the context of Teachable but
you could probably apply this to any online course
platform that you wanna use or if you’re using your
own website, but like, why don’t you tell us what made you, out of all the options out there, there are things like Kajabi and there are things like Think Get Fit and I’m getting ready to actually
use all of these platforms for one thing or another,
what made you specifically pick Teachable? ‘Cause I know you had to have
looked at the other platforms. – I did look at the other platforms but I would have to say,
I personally experienced Teachable from a student’s
perspective first whereas the other ones
I did not experience it from a student’s perspective, so, maybe that’s why I was biased. – So, what you mean is that
you actually took a course? – That was taught on
the Teachable platform. – Which course did you end up taking? – I took a course that was
for how to make online courses which is, it was so meta. – No, that’s practical. That’s very practical. – Yes. Yeah, and it was a really easy course and I found it was very
easy to go through each of the modules and when
I started looking at the different platforms,
I really liked the fact that I could try out Teachable for free and put my course, my whole
course, on there for free and not have to pay anything. – So you were able to
outline your entire course, your lesson plan, build
and develop everything free and was it a trial period
or was it free until you just decided that you’re gonna upgrade? – Yes, it was free until
I decided to upgrade and the upgrade allowed
me to have things such as giving out coupons for
students who enrolled early and for me to do a lot
more with my email list and connecting to a lot of
other third party platforms. – So, as someone who’s
never built an online course and it being new for you,
Teachable was really practical ’cause you didn’t have
to take any upfront risk. – Correct. – You could build everything out, you could get a feel for it. – Yes.
– And then you could actually start selling and making
money before going up to the next tier so you could justify it. So, for an absolute beginner,
if you’re nervous about it, then Teachable is really
a good platform to start if you’ve never marketed
or sold anything before? – Yes. – And that’s kind of the
background you were coming from? – Correct. – Okay.
– Yes. – That’s super interesting. Besides the free option
and the minimal risk, what were some other unique features that you saw in Teachable
that you didn’t see in the other platforms? – I honestly liked the community
that was around Teachable, I felt like there was a lot of support and, to be honest with you, I knew other people that
were using Teachable and so, we tend to use what
other people recommend to us. – Well, I know that Pat
Flynn and Seth Godin, two mentors of mine
from afar, use Teachable as the platform that they
sell their online courses from and who were some mentors
that you were seeing that encouraged you to use the platform? – Well, one that I’m a really
big fan of, Mariah Coz, so, she’s great and I
felt like she knew exactly what she was talking about and she knew– – For those of you who are not familiar, tell us a little bit about Mariah. – So, Mariah Coz, oh, she’s a
great marketer, entrepreneur, she has, her website’s
called Femtrepreneur.co, so definitely check that out. I learned a lot from her in
terms of how to use Squarespace, marketing, how to build up your list, and so, she’s just a really great mentor. – What did you end up using, you’ve brought up list
building and your email list a couple of times, what
platform did you end up using to build your email list? – That’s a good question.
– ‘Cause I think one of the things that people need
to understand is that when you’re getting ready
to sell an online course, one of the ways you get
traction if you don’t have a big social media
following, in your case, you have about 3,000 Instagram followers, 600 YouTube subscribers,
and you have some people in Twitter as well, but it’s
not like a huge group of people but I’ve always said that,
I’ve learned this from, I believe the founder of
ConvertKit, if I’m not mistaken, – That’s so funny. – That there’s such thing
as a minimal bible audience, even 2,000 people is more than enough and if you have the right price point, converting even 10% of
them is a six or seven figure business, so, when
it came time to build your email list, what
were the challenges there and what platform did you go with? – So, I actually started out on MailChimp and I think a lot of
people start with MailChimp because it is free. – Gary B. Still uses MailChimp. – Yeah. So, I was using the free version. I decided to actually
go and use ConvertKit because I felt limited by MailChimp with some of the things that
I wanted to do with my list, such as create– – Lead magnets.
– Lead magnets is a big one. So, I have a lot lead magnets on my blog and then also, being able
to easily create sequences, I mean, so if you sign up from my list, then you get a sequence of emails from me. So, I thought, it was
really easy to create that on ConvertKit. – Now, actually, I have
two affiliate links, I have one for MailChimp, if
you wanted to start there, even if you wanna start with the free because that does make it acceptable. – Yes, definitely.
– And then added all of their automation tools
to that but I will say that what I did, even though you guys know, if you’re in the Create
Awesome community newsletter, that I started with MailChimp
but I’ve been moving slowly, completely over to ConvertKit, I actually think I’m gonna
hold onto some things in MailChimp, possibly
even keep the primary stuff even for the newsletter, for
the people already on there, and just duplicate until
I’m fully comfortable to get them over but for
lead magnets, for everything that I’m developing now,
I’ve been moving completely over to ConvertKit and for my
free email sequence courses. – Nice.
– I’ve been moving over to ConvertKit for all the
reasons that you said, so, that’s super practical,
so, I’m gonna link to both of those,
MailChimp and ConvertKit, pick whatever one you think is best for where you’re at right now. There are limitations with MailChimp, it’s a good place to start. – It’s a great place to start. – When you’re ready, I
think it’s time to move over to ConvertKit and the best
thing about ConvertKit for me is it stops the duplication
of email addresses which means you’re not
paying over and over ’cause like when you decide
to go into the paid MailChimp, you’ll end up paying more in the long run. – Yes, that’s the one thing
I really love about it, actually, you don’t get those duplicates. – Exactly. So, no, that was very practical. So, tell us some of the
things that we need to know before we start putting
together our online course, what does that look like? – That is a good question. I think you have to really plan it out. You really have to plan out your outline. Even before you get onto
any kind of platform, it’s best to do your outline. Create your modules, really
outline in each module what are you going to talk about and to figure out the
media that you want to use for those modules. So, for me, I decided to have video, my whole class is video
but other people have, it’s just a written course, do you read it and then there are links
out to different resources. – Now, are yours with you on camera or are they slide presentations? ‘Cause I’ve seen a lot of
people who do online courses as slide presentations. – Right, right. So, mine are just me on camera. – Okay. That’s more my style. I have both coming up in my
courses on personal branding and then my YouTube development course but you have to do what’s
comfortable for you. For me, what I found
is that I’m, obviously, very comfortable on camera,
not everyone might be, and then from an editing
and practicality standpoint, it might be easier to use
slides and people are fine with that too and sometimes
it helps for them to see a visual diagram or see
a list of things, so, you know, don’t be overly concerned about whether or not
you have to be on camera and able to make an online course. If you feel you’re good
at teaching something, maybe you’re a podcaster or
maybe you’re more comfortable with audio and then you
just put slides over it. So, you know. – Yeah and I say feel free to mix it up ’cause you can do that,
definitely on Teachable you can have one module be video, another module be slides if you want, so you can really get creative with it. – Yep. So, one of the things you
mentioned after the outlining and that process, you talked
about the email sequences, you talked about your list,
what did you do initially to market your online course
or are you at that stage yet? – I’m at that stage right now. So, well, before releasing the course, I did try to build up my
list and the way you do that is you reach out to other bloggers and you try to get featured,
you reach out to publications and have them talk about your course and then once, if you feel like
you’ve done enough of that, I’m actually going into
starting to figure out ads, advertising on Facebook and on– – Instagram.
– Instagram, yeah, like you recommended. So, I’m going into that
phase of it right now. – Eventually you might
even want to look at YouTube advertising, that’s something I’m starting to talk a lot about more. The AdWords for video product
is actually really good at a cost-per-view standpoint. – Huh, okay.
– It could be as little as a penny per view to up to
three to five cents per view and for something if
you’re targeting right, especially since you can target by topic in YouTube ads, you can
target my age, location, language, all of these things,
it makes real practical sense and it can be cheap to throw
$100 dollars, $150 dollars for the month at that and
get some real traction and that audience is also
very likely to convert but I would say that
between Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, that that’s
strong for a marketing mix even if your budget is
only like $500 dollars. If you do advertising in the
first month to get some sales and then I would say
take those initial sales and dump that back into a
little bit more advertising – More market, right. – and once you figure
out how to get the cost per sale down, or cost
per acquisition, so. – Yeah, that’s really good and that’s where I am right now, trying to figure that out, I’ll definitely check out YouTube. – Yeah, absolutely. So, with selling your online courses, for the people that
you’ve already sold to, has the feedback been positive? – Yes. Yes, definitely. I have taught this class
before on a smaller scale, so I already knew that
it was going to do well, so I kind of vetted out the class but yeah, I’ve had people asking, when’s your next course? – How did you know and how did you qualify that you had a course that
people were willing to buy? – That is a great question
because I felt like this is something that people
always ask me about in person ’cause I personally create
videos on my smartphone and people are like, how did you do that? Could you tell me? What app? Just to, like, you know, things that people ask you
then think, oh, maybe I should put something together, try and answer all of these questions. – Right. I think one of the challenges for creating an online course is figuring out how long
everything is going to take. A lot of people don’t want to over commit and make a huge investment
of time and money. How long did it really take you to put together your online course? – So, I would say the
filming and the editing part because I did do a video course,
it took me about 20 hours to get that all done but
then I did it all myself. – And that was for two hours of content? – For two hours of content, yes. – So, in general, I’ve
heard things like that and I think the rule of thumb
is for every hour of content that’s gonna be, it’s gonna
take 10 hours of production and editing behind that and I
think that you prove that out, so just kind of keep that
in mind and that’s why initially doing a smaller
course and keeping it short is very practical. – Yeah, definitely. I think if it’s your first time, I wouldn’t overwhelm myself with– – Especially doing it by yourself. – Especially doing it by yourself, a five hour course. I mean, that’s 50 hours
of work right there. So, two hours was a really good amount. – Yeah, two to four hours, I think, is very practical because
then doing your course is like a regular
workweek, so, there’s that. How long did it take you to put together the outline for your course? – For me, ’cause I already
knew a lot of the content, it was something that I
have been asked about a lot, so it took me about
half a day, I would say, to just sit down and really
outline what I wanted to say. – Okay. No, that makes sense. And so, you did all video. If you were going to add some
written material a little bit to that, how much longer
would that have taken? – I would say after putting in videos, I would say another half a day
or maybe two thirds of a day, so, total– – So, really not that long at all. – No, not that long at all but I think the reason why it was, I think, for me, so quick to put it all
together was something that I have already been asked about, I already knew the questions, I already knew what people wanted to know, so it made it a little bit easier. – No, that makes perfect sense and so, how long to put
it together on Teachable? – Teachable was really easy, actually, and it didn’t even take a day, it’s just because I’m
just uploading my videos, I didn’t have written content,
so, that’s what made it a little bit faster. – But even if you did, plugging
that in is copy and paste. – Yeah, it’s copy and paste
what you already wrote and so, the Teachable part
was the quickest part, to be honest. – Okay. So, again, not an overwhelming investment. You could put something together like this with a regular workweek of time and so, I think that even
in less than 30 days, someone could put together
their first online course. – Oh yeah, absolutely.
– And, again, I mean we’re primarily
talking about Teachable ’cause that’s what you
have experience with but I’d imagine it’s
pretty much going to be just that straightforward in
any platform that you choose for doing your online
course, so, you know, that’s just something to keep in mind. So, just good to know that
this doesn’t have to be overwhelming, it doesn’t
have to take a long time. – No, not at all. – So, Cielo, thank you so
much for talking with us about how you started your online course for the first time with Teachable. In fact, we’re gonna link to
that down in the description below if you guys wanna check it out and where else can people
find you on social media? – I am on YouTube, my channel
is The Storyographist. I’m also an Instagramer, of course, being a photographer you
can’t not be at Cielodlp. So, those are where the
places where I hang out most. – Alright, awesome. So, all of that will be linked down in the description below. Thank you, again, so much
for coming on the channel. – Yeah, this was fun. – Yeah. Alright you guys, so, go ahead
and ask us your questions in the comment section
around any topics you have about selling and building
your first online courses, definitely make sure you
check out Teachable.com, we’ll have a link for you in
the description down below. Like this video if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe, check out the other awesome
stuff on both of our channels. As always you guys, thanks
so much for watching and don’t forget, create
something awesome today. Especially if it’s your
first online course. Take care. (soft music)

19 comments on “How to Sell Online Courses: Selling Your First Online Course

  1. Great video and location! Excellent content. The background noises were funny but that comes with the outdoor location.

  2. Roberto, recently discovered your content and I’ve just been binging for the past few days haha. Thank you for your passion and effort to do so much for the artistic community. From my heart, thank you!

  3. Roberto, I love all of your videos. Thank you for providing this content. How do you recommend someone to validate that the course idea when they do not have a large audience?

  4. Whilst this is a cool story, I can't help but think that the story lost a bit of authenticity when she mentioned about being involved with Apple's Campaign. Not everyone will have that accolade to kick start their online course. Nice video with some helpful information nevertheless.

  5. I haven't read all the comments but Roberto I'm curious how should you price what your sell on a course? And does it make more since to do what's been done or make new content for courses? Thank you in advance

  6. You guys have a good flow of conversation and shared value and tools – appreciate it. – Mario – Valuetainment channel. 😉

  7. You are Great ….
    I am teaching Mathematics of higher classes from 21 years(in India)
    & I am physically disabled
    But now I'm free (some physically problems)
    I have no knowledge of online incomes and i have no camera
    Thanks

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