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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!

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5 Big Course Creation Mistakes Holding You Back from Making More Sales

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After four years of working as an online course creator and strategist (and over a decade of working in one way or another with curriculum and education), I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about the little things that can make your course successful…and what can hold you back from making more sales. This week on the podcast, we’re talking about the five biggest course creation mistakes, so you can use that information to make your course the best it can be!

Mistake #1: Thinking you have to be an “expert” before you can create your own online course

I’ve worked with everyone from business owners with just a handful of email subscribers to people who are absolutely killing it and of hundreds of thousands of followers. They all struggle with feeling like they’re not qualified to create their first online course! It’s extremely normal to feel imposter syndrome around creating a course. 

The truth is, you really don’t have to be the world’s foremost expert on your course subject in order to teach it. Sure, that might be the case if you’re teaching college-credit courses. But for most online course creators, you just need to know enough about something to teach someone else how to do it. That’s it! It can actually be more helpful for your students to learn from someone who’s just one or two steps ahead of them and hasn’t lost sight of what it was like to be a beginner.

The Takeaway: It’s OK if you’re not the expert! Just focus on who you want to help and what you can offer.

Mistake #2: Taking forever to choose an online course software to use

I see people get stuck on this decision for years. I’ve also seen people change up their online course software multiple times before they ever launch! It’s soooo easy to get caught up in trying to find the “perfect” online course software, and then never actually get around to building your course. Each online course software has pros and cons, but don’t think too deeply about getting it right…because there isn’t one “right” answer! It’s really all about what meets the needs of your business. If you’re feeling stuck, take my quiz to help you figure out which one is the best fit for you.

The Takeaway: Any online course software is better than no software. Once you’ve done some research, move forward with one you like – it’s OK to switch it up later if you want to!

Mistake #3: Making your course too long

Trying to stuff in every single thing you know about a topic gets overwhelming for students and usually leads to them not finishing your course. It can seem a little counterintuitive, but when people take your course, they’re looking for the shortcut to get results as fast as possible; they usually don’t want to know all the nitty-gritty details about a topic. 

When it comes to individual lessons, try to keep each one around 10 minutes long. It’s easier for your students to find time to watch bite-sized lessons rather than sitting down for an hour at a time. 

The Takeaway: Edit your course and use time efficiently! If you’re ever in doubt about including something, remember that less is probably more. You can always add things as a bonus in the future, which will surprise and delight your students once they’ve finished the original course.

Mistake #4: Overcomplicating your first course launch

There’s so much advice out there about how to plan and market your launch. Personally, I love digging into launch strategy, trying new things, and analyzing all the statistics! But I wouldn’t focus on all that for your first launch.

Launching a course for the first time is a HUGE undertaking, and it might take most of your time and energy just to get your course out into the world! Adding in an elaborate strategy can end up as one more distraction that keeps you from creating quality content and crossing the finish line. 

The Takeaway: First, focus on making your course the best it can be. Once you’ve completed the course, you can focus more on marketing and launch strategy.

Mistake #5 Not supporting students after launch day

So much work goes into launching a course that people often forget about everything after launch day. That’s when your students will be working through the course and need support to have a good experience, complete each module, and get the results you promised.

Nurture your students to succeed with email sequences, checklists, and online communities that give them the accountability and encouragement they need to work through the course they bought from you!

The Takeaway: Have a plan for how you will support students in the long term.

Whether you’re preparing for your first launch or looking for ways to improve your existing course, I hope this episode helps inspire you and find some practical tips for making an even better online course!

To hear my full advice and even more ways to build a better online course, listen to the full episode!

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