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Simple Steps to Plan and Create Your Online Course or Program

Doesn’t this sound juicy my friend? Take that idea rattling around inside your head and turn it into an online offering! Keep listening because you’ll want to take major action after what you are about to learn from Gina Onativia today!

Trust me, she knows what she’s talking about because she has built programs for Tony Robbins and Amy Porterfield! Founder and CEO of the Course Creation Boutique, Gina helps experts, speakers, and entrepreneurs get their courses done and out to the world.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • When you’re ready to create a course or program
  • The unique structure to pick for your idea
  • The first few steps to get started

This is your friendly reminder that the 12-month Content Guide is on PRESALE now, but only for a few more days. Don’t miss the incredible $14 offer on a whole year’s worth of content! Get it now and take action.

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them! – John 13:17

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Full transcription:

Allison: Hello everyone. Welcome back to the show. And today we are going to get into course creations or whatever you have floating in your brain and you want to put it out into the world. I have Gina on a TV and she told me that I nailed her last name. Nailed it, so I’m going to say it. Gina Onativia is here today.

Gina: So good.

Allison: Yes, and she is the founder and the CEO of the Course Creation Boutique. I’m really excited to have her on as an expert on online courses and programs. And we’re going to get into all of her knowledge, her expertise, all the juicy details. But before we do that, I want to hear how you got started in course creation.

Allison: Because I think everybody like feels that they need to do it now in this online world. Like, I need to produce something, have it out there, have it evergreen. So how did you get into course creation?

Course Creation Background

Gina: Yeah, such a great question. Thanks, first and foremost for having me on. Love the show, Allison. So thank you for having me.

Gina: Uh, so it started when I was seven months pregnant. I have one child, I have a boy, nine year old boy, Tristan. So this is nine year, nine plus years ago. I was seven months pregnant. and working for corporate and Amy Porterfield, I’m sure. Uh mm-hmm , you know, Amy Porterfield Ames, , was a dear friend of mine, is a dear friend of mine, and she turns to me and says, you know, you don’t have to go back to work.

Gina: Courses are the future. You are awesome at them. Build a business. Cool. And that really, she planted the seed for me. She’s always been an advocate for me. And , and then I left, I left corporate when Tristan was three months old. And I’ve never looked back because I believe in courses. I believe that if you have a result and an audience and, , the passion for it, you should put out a course.

Gina: So I’ve been building courses ever since then for experts and entrepreneurs and speakers. So that’s where it all. and

Allison: that’s really cool. And to get that personal advice from a Amy Porterfield, I mean, that is just amazing. I know that you have built successful programs and content for Tony Robbins, who is just an icon in the world.

Allison: I don’t even know what else to say. He’s just an icon.

Gina: Absolutely. Yes. He’s a force of nature. Yes.

Allison: Just like Amy. There you go. He is a force of nature. So I just want to get down and gritty because. I currently actually don’t have a course and I’m thinking this is probably something I need under my belt coaching session.

Gina: Let’s go .

Allison: Uh huh, I mean, I have a membership, I have coaching.

Gina: Yeah, I saw you have a membership.

Allison: Yeah. And are you coaching? Yeah, I have the podcast and I have, you know, publications and I have journals and planners out there and I love it. Yeah, I saw that. Okay. And I’m like, okay, let’s talk scalability and I’m sure that’s something that you can do with courses.

Allison: So, . Here’s the ultimate question. Yes. How do I know if I’m ready for an online course or program?

Are you ready to create an online course or program

Gina: Yeah, so I think that’s a great question, and I think it starts with knowing you can get a result. that you can provide a transformation for people like Allison. Do you know, you provide transformations for people left and right?

Gina: Right. So, and, and it could be when you’re starting out a transformation that you have done on yourself. So maybe you have, like, uh, I talked to, I’ve had students who l lost weight in a certain way or got fit in a certain way or help their friend, uh, uplevel their health, right? And now they have this system that they can teach others.

Gina: So to me it starts with that transformation in saying like, I’ve got a system here for results, and then I’ve got an audience. I like a good niche audience to start with, and knowing that you want to serve them. So, and then knowing you’re ready to put out an offer. So I’m a big prop. Like of not just putting out incredible content, you teach us how to put out incredible content.

Gina: Alison, I also want us to have an offer at the end of it and courses. And by the way, a course can be a two hour workshop. It could be a self-paced course, it could be a live course. Like there is a lot of options these days. It could be a 30 day course. So for you, thinking through like, okay, what, what structure could that course become based on what my people want?

Gina: There’s just so many options these days, but it starts with that transformation and that audience, that niche audience.

Allison: That’s awesome. And I already have like the wheels turning, and you said something so eye-opening.

Allison:  I think when people hear the word “course,” or I need to create a course that’s very overwhelming because they immediately think it needs to be this deep.

Allison: intricate module after module after module. So many lessons you must, yes, tick every single box. And from what I’m hearing from you, that doesn’t need to be the case. You just need to provide the transformation. And a lot of times these courses really lead into the bigger thing, and that’s probably working with you one-on-one through your coaching.

What an online course really looks like

Gina: A hundred percent. That’s what I’m saying. So. We get stuck in the signature madness. In other words, I’ve got to create my masterpiece. I’ve got to create mm-hmm. the ultimate course, right? Yes. Because a lot of your listeners, I’m sure, have been teaching something and maybe they just say, oh, I’m just going to put it all out there.

Gina: Mm-hmm. . But I’m an advocate of starting small and doing a starter course. Now, this might be right for you, Alison might not be right. So we can, , brainstorm this a little bit, but starting small, a 97, 1 97, doing it live. Testing the waters not putting out that signature course. Then maybe you upsell to that signature course with coaching, or you do some kind of higher price point, or you do group coaching.

Gina: But starting small really enables us to try things on without all that pressure, right? Without spending all that money, resources.

Allison: Excellent advice. I love how you said testing it, doing it live. So what are, I’m sure a lot of listeners are kind of have their pen and paper, but they’re not sure what to write down.

Allison: So what are the steps when it comes to putting together a successful online course?

Steps to an online course

Gina: Yeah. So first and foremost, think through what do you want to teach, right? What’s that system for results and, and then think about breaking it down a little bit. Like think in terms of steps. Like I have this posted exercise where you can break down what people get lost in terms of outlining their cores is they just throw everything against the wall, right?

Gina: But really think through like, what are the five steps? It takes four, three steps to get to the outcome that somebody is after. Like I’ve got somebody in my six week accelerator right now and she helps with, , fertility issues and she deals with mindset around fertility. And I was like, okay, well tell me what are those three, four or five steps.

Gina: That get to the outcome. So I want you to start there thinking through what’s my system are for results. And if you don’t know what that is, just start journaling and writing things down. Or if you’re coaching, the patterns are going to come up again and again of what you’re teaching, of what you’re saying. And as you get great at your content, you’re going to say the same things over and over, like that’s human nature and because it’s good.

Gina: So think about that system for results. Think about that audience that you want to. Right. And I like to think in terms of do, are they willing to spend the money? Okay, are they, who do you want to serve? Is it a big enough group, yet it’s niche? Do they have money to spend and are they willing to spend it?

Gina: Because that’s so difficult these days. As you know Allison, some people just want things for free. . Mm-hmm. , what are they going to actually pay for? Yeah. So thinking through that, and then once you figure out your system and your audience, the third thing I want you to do is validate and talk to your people.

Gina: What do they really want? Because don’t put out the course you want to put out, put out the course your people want, and they’re going to pay for, because I’ve had people come to me and say, well, I, I put out this course, but nobody bought Uh huh . What did you ask them? If they were going to put their credit cards down?

Gina: I had somebody on, on my podcast. , she’s, , the ingredient guru, and she put out a, they said you should put out a preparation course like when hurricanes happen and natural disasters happen, how to stack your pantry. And I thought, well, that’s nice. And they’re like, whoa, totally buy it. But they didn’t buy it, right?

Gina: So I was like, they think they want that, but they don’t. So what are the, what is the course that you, that people are really going to pay for?

Learn to ask your audience

Allison: and I give the same advice when it comes to creating content because a lot of people overthink it and they’re like, well, this I should do this and I should do that, but maybe mm-hmm.

Allison: they’re not getting engagement or they’re not, you know, converting their content. And I always say all the time, well, you need to ask your audience. And it’s such a simple process to do, use your Instagram stories and just pull them. But you can’t do it one time. You have

Gina: to do it several times. You have to do it absolutely right in

Allison: your emails.

Allison: Mm-hmm. , if you have a Facebook. Hold them there. Yeah, the podcast. I could ask a question on the podcast and say, Hey, you know, I can create a such an easel, create a, a free Google form.

Gina: Love and put a link to it in the podcast and, and then great idea. People do it, you know? Yeah. And I’m, I’m an advocate of getting on the phone with people too, and like you, so you offer a free strategy session and, and then you can sell them into your wait list for your course.

Gina: Well, that’s great. It sounds like you are a candidate for my course. I’d love for you to join the wait list. I’m going to release it in the next 60 days. Does that sound good to you? Yeah. And then, and then you can build up your wait list that way. .

Allison: All right, so we’ve identified the steps, the transformation, our audience.

Allison: I want to ask, like how do we decide the, I mean, a course is a broad term. Yeah. There’s so many ways to create it, how to deliver it. So you talk about picking your own unique structure. Yes. How do I know what kind of program to build?

What kind of online course to build

Gina: Yes. Such a great question. And this comes down to your, whatever you’re asking, your Google forums, your polls, whatever.

Gina: Once you have an idea of that pain point that they, that they really want solved and that they’re going to pay for, then you need to figure out the delivery. So that should be part. So if you’re getting on the horn with somebody, or you’re doing a group session or whatever it looks like, you ask them. What would, how would you like that delivered?

Gina: Do you want that in live workshops? Twice a week? Maybe the day, the first day we do a training and then the second day is a q and a. Would you rather it self-pace? Would you rather five minutes a day for 30 days? What? What does it look like? And throw out like three or four formats that you think your folks would like, and then have them vote on that or throw out, you know, throw out their own idea.

Gina: But after you nail down that pain point and you know what that system is, then it’s about the delivery and what they really want from you.

Allison: That’s, that’s really cool. I love that you’re constantly keeping your audience in communication with what you’re going to be creating. Yeah, and I love to do that In my emails, I’ll always tease them of like, what’s coming?

Allison: Yeah, just to kind of know like, this is what I plan on creating for you. So I’m always looking for a little feedback, like maybe someone will respond, oh, that’s really cool. You know, I never would’ve thought that thought of that. I’m looking forward to it. Like stuff like that. So here’s like another question that I’m sure my audience, because a lot of them have a lot of ideas,

Allison: Oh yeah. So what if we have too many ideas for an online course? , do we create several courses? Do we do the one, do we create like a mini course that upsells to a bigger course? Like what do we do when there’s like too much in our brains?

Gina: Yeah. And this happens all the time if you’re listening, of course.

Gina: Like if you’re, and if you’re listening to your podcast, Alison, like they’re obviously have a lot of ton of great ideas, right? That they want to implement. And I get it. But I want, this is me daily, and I, I, I know, and I talk to my students all the time. Like, they’ll be in the middle of my accelerator.

Gina: Like I had, uh, a woman who wanted to put out like how to train for a hotel, uh, staff job. Like it’s more nuance than that. But then she’s like, but then I have this other great idea. Then I have this other great idea, and I’m like, okay, these are all great ideas, but let’s, let’s stay the course here. Yes, the pun intended.

Gina: So think about your priority course, your PC in terms of where’s the demand. What are people knocking down your door for? What are people asking you for? Like they saw that transformation happen, like, or they saw you did something and they’re like, Hey, can you do that for me? That means there’s a demand there.

Gina: Or if you have a Facebook group, Alison, you mentioned Facebook groups and people. I’ve had students who have Facebook groups and like, when are you going to sell me something? Right. That’s the course you should be putting out. The one that you see, the demand that people are knocking down your door and asking for it.

Gina: And then again, I like that starter course idea. So not starting big, so what’s the one? And then also, Low hanging fruit. Where do you, where do you have existing content? Where do you have existing content that you’ve been posting that you can spin into a course? Maybe you’ve been teaching, like I got students who teaches, who teach, , at universities or local schools, or give local talks.

Gina: Can you spin that into a course? You add some value. So take all these so on demand. Where’s the demand? Not on demand. Where’s the demand? , where’s a low hanging fruit in terms of content you can spin up and then where’s that starter course that you can do right now? That’s what I would say in terms of if you have a lot of ideas swarming in your head.

Allison: Now I have a follow up question to this because this is something that I am seeing. Yeah. online. Yes. From other experts. It’s something that I’ve dabbled in, and I’ve seen some success. How do you feel about pre-selling a course that you haven’t even created yet?

Preselling an online course

Gina: Uh, love this idea. Love this idea. So I mentioned wait list earlier.

Gina: I think as soon as, you know. You have an idea of your title, you got some benefit bullets, and you know you’re going to put this up, like I want you to put out a wait list and you could pre-sell it. Also, like you have choices here. You could either take names, you could do an exclusive bonus where you say if you sign up and you’re a founding member, when you enroll, you get this bonus, you could take a deposit.

Gina: Or like you were saying, Alison, you could pre-sell and if, if that makes you. Just say like, Hey, we’re going to do a live call first, and then the rest of the course will follow. You do not have to have your entire course mapped out. Like, I’ve, trust me, I’ve, I’ve ridden the plane while I’ve building it, whatever that expression is, plenty of times, and so of my students.

Gina: So I love the idea of pre-selling. Don’t feel like you must have it all built out. Don’t feel like you must have it all figured out either. It might change as you go, especially if you’re teaching it.

Allison: and for me, the reason I’m doing my current presale on something that is barely done, yeah, I’m in the mix of doing it, but I’m pre-selling it at a discount.

Allison: I’m giving them the discount in exchange for written testimonials. For when it goes live.

Gina: Brilliant. Yeah.

Allison: Love that strategy because a lot of times when you create something that’s so brand new and you know there’s a demand for it, but no one’s interacted with it yet. It’s very hard to get those testimonials unless you’re going to send it to a few people for free and do like a beta test type deal.

Gina: I’m not a fan of that.

Allison: I’m not, but I love this because this is working like the pre-sales are coming in. Yeah. Good. And I know I’m going to be getting written testimonials for when it launches later in February. Okay.

Gina: I love this idea. So a few things. You’re exactly right Allison. So I love your pricing strategy.

Gina: Always give them a discount for the founding member. Say, you will never charge this price again. Make it almost bananas, right? So it’s bananas. It is. I’m sure it’s a bananas price, right? So I like to talk about Paige Shelty, who I helped build her course real estate agent, and she built a course for other real estate agents.

Gina: She didn’t have an audience, she didn’t have a list of people of real estate agents. She had a list of people in Washington. So she offered her course at 2 97 to start, it might have been 2/47 this was a couple years ago. After she got a couple of launches under her belt, now she’s charging 7 97 for that course three years later and $150,000 later.

Gina: Right. Wow. So, uh, but for that founding members, , she gave them a total of bananas price and it worked. And then she’d slowly build up, then she went to 300, then she went to 3 97, et cetera. So I like that pricing strategy. That’s

Allison: awesome. Now, before we end this conversation on course creation and picking your right program and you have all the steps, what is your best advice for someone who’s like, okay, I got the idea.

Allison: How are they going to start this?

How to start

Gina: Yeah. , it’s with you really, it’s the content. So, and figuring out that pain point and the solution content, I think is so important, especially when you’re trying to figure it out. Because I do get some students who say, I’m passionate about this. I’m not quite sure what my system is yet.

Gina: Mm-hmm. , right? I know I want to work with this type of person. Uh, I’m not sure what I’m about yet. So I think putting out that content and seeing what people resonate with that you were saying earlier, Alison is an outstanding way to figure out, okay, this is the course that I should put out. And then maybe you start with a workshop, by the way, like you start with an hour long workshop.

Gina: A live workshop. That’s it. And you just test the waters. Okay. Do people like and want that? Do they want more of me with that? If not, okay, I’m going to try something else. So I’m okay with you starting out trying out different like 60 minute workshops. What I don’t want is you trying out different signature courses.

Gina: Yeah. Right. So, but it starts with me with the content and seeing what the pain points are resonating with your audience.

Allison: I love that. That’s such great advice. So Gina, I know that the audience is definitely going to want to get in touch with you, see your work, check out the course creation boutique. So where can they find you?

Connect with Gina

Gina: Yes, absolutely. I would love if you would check out my podcast. I’m really passionate podcaster as well. So, uh, course creation Check that out, Alison. You’re going to have to come by if that’s,

Allison: Yeah, I would love to. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to put Gina’s links in the show notes. You guys grab it.

Allison: And Gina, this was not only like, it was a quick conversation, but it was juicy. Like I’m sure everyone was scrambling writing notes. You’re going to have to go back and listen to it again. So thank you so much for just, just being like, Just not fluff content, you know what I’m saying? Oh, I, I wish you, I can’t stand it.

Gina: Totally. There is no fluff on my podcast. Yes, I’d love your vibe. Thank you Allison. I just love get right to it, .

Allison: Awesome. Well thank you so much and I am sure when I have you back on the show.

Gina: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.


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