Seema K. Bharwani is a course experience designer and the founder of Content by Seema. She helps entrepreneurs create online courses and learning materials that create massive impact for their clients, quickly. She’s spent over 14 years in the learning and development industry and has worked with Fortune 100 & 500 companies, like Nestle, IBM, The World Bank, and United Health Group. She has also worked with best-selling authors and motivational speakers, like Lisa Nichols, Melissa Hughes, and Ron Malhotra, and 7-figure entrepreneurs like Bushra Azhar helping them create courses and learning materials that get real results – for their business and their clients. With a wave of her magic marker, she'll help you get all of those ideas out of your head, out into the world, and turn your knowledge and experience into programs, content, and courses that you can use to grow your audience, your income, and your impact.
She's the author of a book on the law of attraction and an international speaker and guest faculty in one of the internet's best-selling and most successful courses on launching your next big thing.
Why launch an online course?
Have a second stream of income
If you are thinking about launching your own course, the first question you ask yourself should be “why”. If you just want to make online passive income on autopilot, then that is the wrong reason. If you want to create a course because you're booked out and you would love to add a second stream of income because you don't always want to be working or you just reached your capacity and you can't scale, then that's a really good reason and a really good time to step into that mode of course creation.
Down-sell option for people that can't do the VIP option
Another reason why you might want to create a course as a coach is if your VIP rate is higher than normal or if your price is the only objection as to why some of your potential clients can’t work with you. In this situation, having a course that does essentially the same thing without that one-to-one connection and that ability to coach them and pull them through things, is a great secondary option as a down-sell for those people.
Opportunity to talk about a passion
The third reason to create a course is maybe that you have something that you're doing from a VIP standpoint, you have the zone of genius that you're doing as a coach, but maybe there's something else that you want to share with the world. Creating a course gives you an opportunity to talk about any of your passions and interests that you want to get out into the world.
If these are your motivators, then this is probably the best time for you to step up and to create a course.
Online course creation Red Flags
If you are not sure what you want to create a course on and you haven't put in the time and the energy and the effort to validate it, that is a red flag. If you can't think of at least 10 people that you can reach out to and ask about your course or if you can't find someone else doing the same thing, then you probably shouldn't be doing that particular course idea.
You have to be willing to commit a substantial amount of time to build, sell, and then grow the course. According to Seema, you need to look at your course as a baby and take the same timeline.
You need nine months to incubate and grow your course:
- you need probably about 90 days to come up with a course idea, to design it, to do your soft initial launch
- you'll probably need another 90 days to figure out your ads, and how to just get all of your marketing in place
- and then you probably need that last trimester to figure out how to scale it
Yes, you can go faster and you can go further with help and agencies and coaches who can take you there, but mentally bookmark nine months. If you are not willing to commit nine months to this course or this idea, then you're probably not going to have a lot of success with it.
If you are still with me, after this and you are ready to commit to creating your course, here is Seema’s process on how to do exactly that.
Seema's online course building process
As a coach, you offer your clients a certain transformation. You take them from point A to point B. When you create a course there are a few ways that you can look at this transformation.
The first thing is to write down your transformation from point A to point B, you might have seven stops, 9 stops, 12 stops, it's all okay. Now, this is where the genius comes in, there are so many things that you can do with a course because the term online course today is so fluid that it's really exciting.
Traditional course vs Membership
So, you can either do the traditional course that we all think about, which is that sequential, we're starting at the same time, we have a Facebook group, there's a bunch of modules when going on that journey from point A to B. People love that signature program where you document a journey, you turn it into modules and take people through an experience of that.
Or you can think about making each of those stops much more detailed and turning it into a membership. Each of those pieces becomes like a little masterclass, and you can invite guest experts that might add another layer and you can go deeper into that. Then you have a membership site instead of a signature program and as you know a membership site is wonderful because people pay you every month and it's almost like getting a check in the mail from an employer, which is awesome.
So, if you love the idea of having a membership versus the bigger program, this is the way to go.
You can also create minicourses. So, you have your transformation from A to B, and you have your 7 stops and each of those stops has around 4-5 steps. You can turn those steps into standalone courses or you can turn them into masterclasses. If you don't want to make the time commitment of doing a bigger course or doing a membership, then pick the juiciest thing, and turn that into a mini-course, a masterclass, or a tiny offer.
Look at your system and see what makes the most sense for you right now. Is it a signature program or a membership? Should you go more niche, take a tiny piece and create a mini-course or masterclass? Put that out there, to see if you like how the whole course experience goes and if you do, then commit to something bigger.
Seema's advice for teaching online
When it comes to teaching online, Seema has two main pieces of advice.
- Think about who was your favorite teacher back in your school days. Who was the teacher whose class you couldn't wait to get into, who connected with you on an emotional level? Think about that teacher, but also think about the teacher who put you to sleep and what the contrast was between them. What was it that made you connect to one teacher and what was it that put you off with the other?
Think about that and make a list for yourself: maybe this teacher was someone that cared about you at a human level. How can you care about your students and human level? Maybe this teacher was funny. How can you use humor as a tool when you're teaching? Maybe this teacher was someone that always mixed things up so you never knew what you were getting with this teacher when you came into class. Maybe you have to mix things up and use a variety in your course? Were they a teacher that was was just someone that always made you think big and get excited, then that is something that you can incorporate into your teaching style? Really dig back into what you resonate with and use that as part of your teaching style.
- Look at a couple of really high-ranking fitness training teachers on YouTube and see how they are teaching, because they're doing some amazing things when it comes to being effective teachers. Think about it: are they super positive, are they upbeat, are they repeating things often, do they have a framework that they're using in every single video or they are they're giving you a tip in every video, are they sharing like a piece of their lives, and that's why you're loving them, etc.
Think about that, think about who is it that you're resonating with on YouTube, and think about what you can use from how they're teaching and shift that into your subject and your own teaching.
If you are interested in working with Seema, there are a number of ways in which you can do that.
- She has some do-it-yourself courses and assets that people can tap into, including things like slide decks and worksheets that make it super easy to create a course by yourself.
- The second level is what she calls “clarity conversations” and that is where you get on a call with her, and you figure out your outline, what your module is going to look like, what your lessons are going to have, what exercises you can put in, etc. And she finds that for a lot of entrepreneurs, that's really all they need. They just need someone to have a conversation with because conversations bring so much clarity to us as entrepreneurs, and just having another person to go back and forth with helps figure out so many things. This is also a great way to get that little extra validation, that someone who's seen pretty much every online course out there thinks your course is amazing.
- The third way is for clients who don't want to be involved to a very large extent in the actual course creation, but have a clear idea and already have their content in some form, whether it's a live version or a webinar version of it, and they just want to make it into an actual course.
So, if you know this is not your zone of genius but you have something bubbling inside of you, you have the resources, you have the time, you have the space, then do the smart thing and reach out to Seema. I always tell everyone to work with someone who you know is better at doing the thing than you are on your own. It will save you time and it will save you money in the end, I can guarantee it!
Have a look at Seema’s amazing freebie Success With Seema Masterclass Series Preview which has 11 Incredible hacks on how to create and teach an online course.