March 30, 2024

8 Steps to Your First Mini-Course

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Most new and aspiring solopreneurs make a huge mistake early in their journeys.

They focus on monetization too soon.

And I understand why, of course. We’re all eager to find out if a business idea can pay the bills.

But I see newbies jumping into massive projects like creating multi-hour courses, complicated pieces of software, and trying to build high-ticket masterminds. They’re creating stuff before they know if people want it or will ever buy it. Putting the cart before the horse.

In reality, going straight for the money can hurt your opportunity for long-term success. Because there are no shortcuts. Product and service development takes time. And if you burn through your resources building something that doesn’t sell, you’ll regret not being more patient.

So if you’re early in your solopreneur journey, aim to be strategic and frugal with all of your resources until you have enough data to support a big investment in your time, energy, and money.

This can actually be the hardest part of solopreneurship - slow playing a big idea.

So today I want to help you avoid the impatient rush to money, and offer up another idea to help you get the ball rolling.

Test The Waters

So let’s say you have a big idea. But you don’t have enough data yet to support building it.

This is the perfect time to create something small and valuable to get started. Something that doesn’t take a lot of time to create.

One of the simplest and easiest things you can make is a mini-course. I’m talking about an instructional video that teaches people one specific thing in less than an hour - how to do something or how to solve something.

Sounds so basic, but building a mini-course can be a powerful start toward your bigger idea. You can create it quickly. You’ll learn a ton just by producing it. And you can use your mini-course to test the market for interest in your bigger idea.

I’m a big fan of mini-courses, as a course creator and as a customer. So today I’m going to show you how you can create one.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Choose a Very Specific Topic

When you start thinking about your first mini-course, you want to be specific, not broad.

For example, instead of creating a course on "How to Play Guitar," you want to narrow it down to more specific topics like "Finger Picking 101" or “Expressive Rhythm and Strumming” or “Music Theory 101”.

These are real examples from Lauren Bateman, a mini-course creator who teaches beginners to play guitar. Lauren has made over $2M selling online.

The more specific the better.

Step 2: Create a ‘Interest’ Page and Promotional Materials

Before you decide to spend some time creating your mini-course, it’s a good idea to figure out if anyone is interested in buying it.

That’s where an interest page comes in.

You want to create a simple page that describes your mini-course, its benefits, and what students will learn.

Make sure that you are focused on the transformation of your students (what should they expect?) more than the features of the course or simply the agenda.

Transformational language sells.

Tell people that it’s launching in the future and that they can learn more about it by giving you their email address.

If you collect a few hundred emails, it might be worth getting started.

Step 3: Outline Your Course Content

Once you’ve decided to move forward building your course, you’ll need to start with an outline.

So look to break down your topic into 3-5 main lessons.

Each lesson should cover one key concept or skill that helps your students achieve the desired outcome.

Create a simple outline for each lesson, including the main points, examples, and any resources or exercises you want to include that will help the students reach their outcome faster.

Step 4: Create Your Course Content

Begin creating your course content based on your outline. Here’s a simple structure you can use for each lesson:

  1. Introduce the main points students will learn
  2. Explain the concepts or demonstrate the skills using clear examples and visuals
  3. Include any necessary resources, like worksheets
  4. Summarize the key takeaways and provide a clear action step(s) for students to take

As you move onto each new lesson, explain how it will build upon the prior lesson. That way, students can digest your information in a logical sequence.

Step 5: Set Up Your Course Delivery Platform

Choose a platform to host and deliver your mini-course.

If you’re just getting started, choose something simple like Gumroad. Don’t worry about making a huge amount of money right now. You’re just trying to get some traction.

And if your mini-course is successful, you can always move on to something more robust like Kajabi.

This was my exact path. I started with Gumroad and moved to Kajabi as my business got more complex.

Step 6: Price Your Mini-Course To Sell Easily

Just because you think you’re providing $1,000+ of information doesn’t mean that you can price your mini-course at $1,000. In the early stages of your journey, you probably don’t have enough social capital to charge that kind of price. And remember, money is not your top priority with your first mini-course.

Consider charging anywhere from $25 to $50, and keep the content short (an hour or less) to generate low-cost tripwire sales and get people to finish the course content.

Then, at the end of your mini-course, set up a simple testimonial collection widget so you can add testimonials to your website over time.

Step 7: Create a Sales Page and Promotional Materials

Lastly, edit your interest page and turn it into a sales page.

Simply replace the email box you used to collect emails with a strong CTA (call-to-action) button to purchase your mini-course.

Make sure that you include the button in each section so that when people are ready to buy, they can do it easily.

Step 8: Launch and Promote Your Mini-Course

Set a launch date for your mini-course and begin promoting it to your audience.

Use your email list and social media resources to generate interest and enrollments.

Consider offering a special launch price or bonus to get people to sign up during your launch week.

Then close the cart at the end of the week to take a break. Allow students to move through the mini-course, ask questions, and submit feedback. This stuff will help you improve it and create better mini-courses in the future.

Start Building Something Small

If you follow these steps, you can create and launch your first mini-course in just a few weeks. And I want you to remember: making money is great. But providing value and helping your students achieve a specific outcome will build a ton of trust as you continue to grow your brand.

Let your students’ success be a measure of your own.

This is the path I followed when I started my business. My first course was $50, and subsequent courses became $75, then $150, and finally $900. Trust is built over the long-term. So start small, and start building it.

And if you want to dive deeper into creating and launching profitable online courses, check out my flagship product, The Creator MBA. Over 19 hours of instructional content, I teach you step-by-step how to build your first online business. If you're interested in proven strategies for turning your skills and knowledge into a successful online business, join 4,000+ internet entrepreneurs inside.

Start sharing your expertise through mini-courses, and watch your impact (and business) grow.

That’s it for this week. See you next Saturday.

Whenever you're ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Creator MBA:  Join 4,000+ entrepreneurs in my flagship course. The Creator MBA teaches you exactly how to build a lean, focused, and profitable Internet business. Come inside and get 5 years of online business expertise, proven methods, and actionable strategies across 111 in-depth lessons.

2. The LinkedIn Operating System:​  Join 22,500 students and 50 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 2K to 550K+ followers, be named a Top Voice and earn $7.5M+ in income.

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