Start Fast, Start Lean
One of the biggest common themes in the interviews I've done for Course Builders TV is the idea of getting a fast start for your course with a “minimum viable product”.
OK, maybe not that kind of fast start :)
Time after time I've heard from successful course builders how they launched their course by pre-selling it before building it. Or by offering a live online workshop version of it the first time around, rather than recording all the content first.
Some of the advantages of this type of approach are obvious:
- If there's no demand for your course you find out fast before you invest time and money in building it.
- You get real feedback on your course ideas so you can improve them before “casting them in stone” with recorded videos.
- You get money in the door fast, rather than after months of development.
- Your early customers feel like they're part of the development process and can become real evangelists for your course afterwards.
But I also want to talk about one of the less obvious advantages.
In particular, seeing results fast motivates.
I know from my work in corporate consulting that on any major change program there would always be periods where it was hard work. Where doubts set in.
Having some “quick wins” already in the bag gave you motivation to push through those tougher times and keep going. They gave you faith you were on the right track.
Recent research into dieting has shown that if you lose weight fast in the first few weeks, you're more likely to stick to your diet long-term than if progress is slow early on.
Again, the early results give you faith that you're on the right track so you keep going when times get tough.
Building courses is just the same.
Sometimes writing slides, creating videos and setting up your online learning system can be a real slog. The same when you're trying to build momentum with your marketing.
Sometimes it can feel you're making no progress at all for days or weeks and it's very tempting to just give up with courses and go back to your “old job”.
But if you've successfully sold and run a great 2-hour webinar workshop where you taught the core of your course material it gives you much more faith you're on the right track.
The same with any type of fast-start approach.
It gives you confidence there really is a market for this. And that people are willing to buy from you. And that you can teach this and get great feedback.
It's usually enough to push you through any doubts or sticking points.
So for all those reasons, I'd definitely recommend some type of pilot or minimal viable product or pre-selling approach.
But I also know from experience that there are a few fears that can hold you back from this kind of fast start. So I'll share some of my experiences overcoming those fears in our next post on online courses.
See you then…
Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win the clients they need using Value-Based Marketing - an approach to marketing based around delivering value, demonstrating your capabilities and earning trust through your marketing.