The final benefit of getting your course out fast
This is going to be my last post extolling the virtues of live pilots and other ways of getting your course out onto the market fast.
But it's an important one.
There's a great story in David Bayles and Ted Orland's book “Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking” that my friend Lee told me about.
The story is about a ceramics teacher (although on investigation it turns out that the true origin is a photography class but the authors didn't want the story to be about a media they were known for).
Anyway, the story goes that the ceramics/photography teacher used to split his class into two groups. He told the first group their work would be graded only on quality. He told the second group their work would be graded only on quantity (ie on how many items they produced not how good they were).
At the end of the course when the works were graded it turned out that ALL the highest quality works had been produced by the group who'd been told they'd be graded on quantity.
What had happened was the “quantity” group had produced a high volume of material and learned from their mistakes each time and got better fast.
The “quality” group had spent so much time trying to make high-quality items (despite not really having much skill initially) they hadn't produced much at all and had less to learn from.
Quantity leads to quality.
A similar thing happens with your online courses. In this case, though, speed leads to quality.
When you're creating your course you should – of course – try hard to come up with a great topic and find the right audience. And you should talk to them to figure out what they want from the course and try to build a course that meets those needs.
But in the real world, your customers never know exactly what they want, you can't possibly interpret what they say perfectly, and you can never build the exact right course that matches what you think their needs are.
If you go through the process quickly in a few weeks you can probably build a course that's 70% or 80% right. If you agonise and try to get it perfect and take 6 months, you might get it 90% right.
The problem for the “agoniser” is that in those 6 months the person who created their course quickly can have gone through half a dozen revisions and updates to the course and got it to 95% or more based on actual customer feedback.
You can never get a course right without feedback. So as long as your initial version is decent and helps your customers get results, your best bet by far is to get to that point of feedback fast and iterate.
And not only that, by then the person who launched with a live pilot or found some other way of getting to market fast will also have onboarded way more customers and been paid a lot more than the “agoniser” who's still on their initial round.
It just takes a bit of courage (and humility) to accept that the first version of your course can never be perfect – and so to just get on with and get it done fast.
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.