Have you thought about creating an online course and generating some additional income? Of making a bigger impact and help people in your niche from all over the world?
But now comes the big question: what should your course be about?
How do you pick a topic for an online course that is going to sell?
In this post I’m going to share 3 steps to pick a fail-proof topic for your online course, perfect if you’re struggling to decide on an idea, or if you’re looking for a little bit more inspiration and a creative spark to get started.
#1 What Are You an Expert in?
What’s your niche? Where are you an expert? What skills do you have that you can teach?
What are other people always asking you for help for?
It can be something incredibly unique, that would be amazing but that’s super rare, or it can be something really obvious.
Like teaching yoga for beginners!
To teach yoga for beginners you don’t need to be an expert in Sanskrit, or yoga philosophy, or even advanced poses.
You just need to be more advanced than your students are. You need to feel confident teaching them what they need to know to get started on their yoga journey.
Now, there are a lot of people teaching yoga for beginners.
You want to embrace your personal experiences and special skills. What makes you unique? Play that up and embrace it. Your quirks are what’s going to make you stand out.
Stop telling yourself you’re not good enough yet, or you need this other training first, or you need more experience before you can create an online course.
If you have experience in your field, you’re ready to take that knowledge and experience and apply it in a new way through creating an online course. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked with people 1-on-1, or how many years’ experience you have, or if you’re able to get into advanced yoga poses.
What you need to bring to the table is knowledge about your chosen topic. You shouldn’t teach things you don’t understand obviously, but you don’t need to be a total expert. You need to know more than your audience.
With that in mind, sit down and write a list of everything that you’re really good at, that you could teach others. Don’t edit yourself, let it flow.
Your online course should be a reflection of something you have done yourself, a process or transformation you have gone through, or skills you have learned and are now ready to share.
Another way to come up with ideas for topics that you could teach is looking at what you’ve already done.
What workshops have you done that have been most successful? What topics that you share on social media get the most engagement?
What are your most successful blog posts? Have you ever had a blog post or image go viral on social media? Can you expand on what you know about those topics?
This is one of my favorite ways to find product ideas. If it’s getting a lot of traffic, it’s probably a great candidate for a course topic AND it’s something you already know about!
#2 What Are My Students Struggling With?
For your online course to be successful, it needs to solve a problem your audience is having.
Nobody will purchase your course because they like what you are selling, they will purchase your course because they have a specific problem that you are going to solve.
Make a list of all the struggles, problems, blocks, frustrations and desires that your students or clients have told you about.
“I really want to lose weight so I can zip up my favorite jeans!”
“I’m just not strong enough to do arm balances but secretly I wish I could do handstands.”
“I would love to do yoga but I’m just not flexible enough.”
Focus on writing down specific things that the people in your audience want, need, crave, or need help figuring out and write down as many ideas as you can.
If you come up with a blank here, what I found to be super helpful is either sending out a survey, or, and this is even more powerful, doing short interviews with a few of your students or customers.
This step is super important and it’s where a lot of course creators are failing.
A lot of times, somewhere between connecting with your audience and delivering your course content, something gets lost in translation. You start creating and you go further and further off course forgetting why you are creating your training in the first place, what problem you are trying to solve.
Solving a problem for your ideal customer should be front and center the entire time you are building your course.
#3 Choose Your Favorite Topic
Now you have a list of ideas what you want to do, and you have a list of struggles and problems your potential customers have.
Once you’ve finished making your epic lists, step back and read through the whole thing.
Check in with your intuition as you read each item.
Do certain ideas make your heart race with excitement? Are you an expert in these topics and able to deliver solutions? Do they solve a problem your customers are having?
Do others make you feel all frowny and feeling blaah? Or freak you out because you feel you don’t have the knowledge to teach that confidently? Those have to go for now.
Next, you choose ONE problem on your list. Whichever one makes you go, “YEEEEEEEEAH! I can totally help out with that!” more than any of the others.
THAT is going to be the topic of your online course.
So easy, right?
I want you to take some time for this process. Brainstorm ideas. Sometimes it will be very intuitive and clear what you should be offering, and sometimes you’ll need more time.
If you need inspiration, click here and listen to episode 4, where I share 15 ideas for yoga related online courses.
What you don’t want to happen is that you have this great idea, you get all excited, you might even record a few videos, and then… it fizzles out.
I see this happen all the time and it’s heart breaking!
Building a successful online course isn’t particularly hard or complicated but there are many moving pieces and potential failure points along the way. And it can fell overwhelming, I get it!
What you need is a plan. You can’t just wiggle around here without a strategy. Your online course is an immensely valuable asset that, when done right, can generate some serious income for you.
And you need to set aside the time to plan for it, build it, and market it.
I’m so passionate about the fact that you can’t dabble and you’ve got to make a commitment because my entire business changed when I started to successfully create and sell online courses. 75% of my revenue comes from the sales of my online courses. It is a huge part of what I do and I love to share this with you and teach you my process.
Click here to learn more about my program The Blissful Biz Academy, I’d love to see you on the inside and support you on your online course journey!