How to start Online course in 2020

 website in 2020 and the Mistakes to avoid

The online course industry is booming right now.

(According to Global Industry Analysts, the online course industry is already worth 107 billion. And they project that this number will triple to 325 billion within the next 5 years)

I also shared my personal journey:

How I turned online courses from a side hustle… to a multiple seven-figure businesses.

So yeah, a window of opportunity just opened. And more and more people are crushing it with courses than ever before.

But that doesn’t mean that you can create a course, put it for sale, and buy a private island.

If only it were that easy 🙂

In today’s email I want to make sure that you start things off on the right track.

Which is why I’m going to share the four rookie mistakes that hold people back from success with online courses.

Maybe you’re thinking of starting an online course.

Or maybe you already have a course that you want to sell more of.

Either way, when you avoid these four mistakes you’re primed for success.

Let’s jump right in.

Rookie Mistake #1: Packing a Course With Way Too Much Material

I see lots of people brag that their course contains “17 modules with 112 hours of video lessons”.

112 hours of the video?! How is that a good thing?

I was guilty of this with my first course. I included over 50 lessons. That way it would be “complete”.

As it turned out, this was a huge mistake.

The thing is, people buy courses to AVOID information overload.

And packing your course with hours and hours of the material makes the problem worse.

Read more on online course topic selection 

I totally get it. Someone bought your course.

So you want to make sure that you “give them their money’s worth” and cover everything. This makes sense. In theory.

But in reality, overloading students with 100 videos isn’t going to get them any closer to their goals.

It’s only going to add to their information overload problem.

Which leads us to…

Rookie Mistake #2: Creating a Course on a Hot New Trend

This is a big one.

Lots of so-called “launch gurus” tell you to create a course on a hot new topic.

As it turns out, this is the worst way to develop a course.

I’ll explain:

Let’s say that you notice that chatbots are getting super popular.

According to these so-called “experts” you should go ahead and create a chatbot course… even if you don’t know anything about chatbots.

I don’t know about you, but I want to create products that I’m proud of. So I’m not about to create a course on something I don’t know anything about.

Plus, creating a course on something you don’t know a lot about is a recipe for low sales.

REALLY low sales.


Because your course’s marketing and positioning are largely based on your personal expertise on that subject.

And if you try to “fake it till you make it” on a topic that you know nothing about, people are going to see right through it.

(Plus, even if you somehow get people to buy your course on chatbots, they’re going to notice that there aren’t any first-hand examples in the program. And your refund rate is gonna be super high.)

For example, we recently launched a program called Grow Your Blog Fast.

If you believed the so-called “experts”, this course was destined to fail.

Instead of being on a hot topic, this course was on an ancient topic: blogging.

These so-called “experts” would probably say: “a course on blogging? Seriously. That’s so 2012.”

So: why did I decide to create a course on growing a blog?

It’s simple: I knew how to grow a blog.

So instead of overthinking it, I created a course on that expertise that I already had.

And because I created a course that was based on my existing knowledge, we had one of our best launches ever.

Rookie Mistake #3: Announcing and Launching Your Course On the Same Day

This is a mistake that I made back in the day.

When I released my first course, I told people about the course and launched it… all in the same email.

As it turns out, this is a big mistake that can really hurt sales.


For your course to sell well, you need to let your students know about your course before it’s released.

This builds up anticipation for your course. Which is HUGE.

Take a look at Apple. Do they suddenly release the latest iPhone out of nowhere? Of course not. They talk about it months in advance.

Or take Marvel Studios. Do they release a new Avengers movie in theaters out of the blue? Nope! They tease the movie months (and sometimes years) in advance.

It’s the same story with your online course website:

If you launch your course without any advance warning, you’re going to catch your audience off guard.

But when you preview your course in advance, you’ll have a small army of people ready to check out your course on Day 1.

Rookie Mistake #4: Creating a Course On a Topic

I know what you’re thinking:

“Brian, how is this a mistake? I mean, my course has to be about something, right?”

Yes and no.

I’ll explain…

Not a lot of people know this, but in the early days of Alternative Adverts Ltd I decided to launch an online course.

I called it: “The Advanced Link Building Course”.

At this point I had pretty much zero experience with the online course world. So I kind of just winged it.

I had no idea what I was doing. So that course didn’t turn out that great. And my course positioning was even worse.

(Which is why I rarely talk about this course. I like to pretend that it never existed, LOL)

But this course is a great example of how not to position an online course. So I’m happy to tell you about it here.

This course was about link building. I knew a lot about link building. So at least my course was on a topic that I had experience with.

But that wasn’t enough.

As I’ll explain later this week, you want to zero-in on a specific Outcome that people will get from your course.

That Outcome is what helps your course stand out from other courses in your niche.

Unfortunately, my course didn’t check this super important box.

Instead of a specific Outcome, my course was just about a topic: link building.

It had video after video on what I considered important for learning about the topic of link building.

I talked about anchor text. And PageRank. And whether it’s worth it to get links from relevant websites.

It was just a smattering of different strategies. There was no structure to get someone from point A to point B.

(Which is the main selling point of an online course)

So yeah, there was some really good material in there.

But the course wasn’t something that you could follow from start to finish and get a specific result.

And because my course wasn’t positioned around an outcome, it failed.

It was super hard to sell. And people weren’t that happy with it.

Flash forward to a few years later, when I launched SEO That Works.

Unlike my link building course, this program wasn’t a random list of techniques.

Instead, it was a step-by-step blueprint that showed people exactly how to achieve a specific outcome: rank #1 in Google.

And because that course has such a specific outcome, SEO That Works has been a blockbuster success.

The question is:

How do you choose an outcome for your online course website?

And even more important:

How do you use that outcome to position your course the right way?

Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to cover in Friday’s email.

But for now, I’d like to hear from you:

Have you made any of these rookie mistakes in the past?

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. As I said, I’ve made all of these mistakes myself.

Or maybe one of these mistakes surprised you.

Either way, write me back and let me know.

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Digital marketing training in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt etc, Individual and corporate digital marketing course.