Today on the podcast, I’m telling you exactly how to turn your service into a course. It’s something I’ve done multiple times in my business and have helped other people do, too. I've got all the tips you need to get started!
How to Turn Your Service into A Course
Want to listen to the podcast episode? I’ve got you covered!
Before we get into the actual how-to portion, I want you to know something.
Turning your service into a course has the potential to go one of three ways:
- Your course could go super well and you could work yourself out of a job (intentionally or unintentionally)
When I did this, I purposefully worked myself out of a job – that was my goal. But it could also happen unintentionally, where everyone buys your course and no one is hiring you.
- Your course could go really well and make people buy the course AND hire you!
Sometimes, it can be hard to find doers – people who are doing the things rather than teaching them. A lot of times, the doers are behind the scenes getting stuff done in businesses, while the “teachers” are more forward-facing. Sometimes, when you step into the spotlight, it will put you in front of the people who want to hire you!
When I was a web designer, I created a course with the intention of working myself out of a job. I did not want to be doing web design anymore. Even after years of being into my business as an infopreneur, I still to this day have people approach me and ask me to 1) design their website or 2) manage their social media.
- Your course could flop.
I want to be completely honest with you here – it is possible that your course will flop. If you do everything you’re supposed to do when you launch a course, like building an audience of your ideal customer, it shouldn’t. But again, it’s possible.
The first course I ever launched was a complete fail. I had gained a small audience, but it was a jumbled up combination of people from the All Up in Your Lady Business podcast, web design clients, and local friends. It was not a tailored list of people who would want to buy a course from me. I had this naive thought that, as soon as I launched the podcast, it would blow up and I would be RICH.
I launched my first course almost in conjunction with launching my podcast – and it completely flopped. As in, sold 0 of that course and it was incredibly disheartening.
When we get discouraged about our dreams because we didn’t do the things we needed to do prior to starting out on our dreams, it can turn us against them. And I do NOT want you to get turned against creating a course just because you don’t have all of the pieces in place right now.
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Here’s my course story.
I was a web designer, and I started my company in late 2010/early 2011. I didn’t quit my job and work at home until the very last day of November, 2010. At the time, it was very graphic design based and then morphed into web design in a few months.
I did web design consistently from 2011 to 2016 – that was my only stream of income. (There was a little stint in there where I was a personal trainer, but we’re going to ignore that!) I had this five year career as a web designer, and I was not happy with doing that anymore.
I knew that my power was in teaching things in a way that people can understand them. That’s one of the comments I get most often from listeners, and it’s my most treasured comment. I know that one of my superpowers is teaching the thing, even when it’s complicated, without overwhelming you.
I really wanted out of the service model and into the course model, but I needed the money I was making from my service. Raise your hand if you feel that way, right? WIthout the money from providing web design services, I couldn’t afford to hire the VA that was going to help me get this course on the web. I couldn’t afford to put groceries on the table without it, at that point in my life.
People often think that, to be successful with a course, you need to do a 180 and immediately switch to receiving all of your income from courses rather than a service. That is not what you need to do at all!
You need to come up with a plan and metrics to help you phase out your service (if you want to phase it out).
You can totally be the person who is doing the service and creating the course – that’s okay! But if you want to take less clients or stop taking them altogether, you’ve got to come up with a plan to do that.
You can think about it in terms of income. Let’s say you charge $1,000 per client and you have five consistent clients every month. You might realize that you need a baseline of $5,000 every month to keep things going, and you’ll want to make a plan that allows you to keep that income.
Maybe you keep those clients, launch a course and then make $1,000 from that course sale. Next time you launch, you only take on four clients as a result, Then, you launch again and make $3,000. Now, you can take less clients and you know the metrics it took to get you from a $1,000 course launch to a $3,000 course launch and you can replicate it!
DO NOT cut the service arm of your business off thinking you’ll instantly get rich with courses. It takes time and work.
Before we get into the how-to of creating a course from your service, I need you to know that the people you are selling to do not have the skill sets that you do.
There’s a reason people are buying your course – they don’t know how to do the thing you’re teaching them. I find SO OFTEN that people don’t break things down well enough in a course. They assume that their common knowledge is common knowledge for everybody else, and it is absolutely not.
You need to keep things easy for your customer to understand and do.
WHen you’re thinking about creating a course, you need to know that what feels like a “duh” to you is completely new information to your customer!
People feel like their course needs to be extra long and extra in-depth if they want to charge a substantial amount for it. That is so far from the truth! Your course needs to take people from A to Z. It needs to take from people where they are right now in their struggles to fixing that struggle with your solution.
Why would somebody want to drive their car down a bunch of squiggly side roads to get where they’re going when they could just drive straight there? Think of your course the same way. It’s worth their money to buy your course because they don’t have to watch hours and hours of videos and tangents they don’t need.
How to Turn Your Service into a Course, Step-by-Step
First: Figure out where your people are right now and where they want to be.
Because you’re already doing this thing as a service, you probably already know these points! You can see how people feel when they come to hire you for your service and what they usually ask for your help achieving. What’s point A and what’s point Z?
This will take some mapping out. You need to figure out exactly how your course will get people from point A to point Z in a logical way.
Second: Take a deep-dive into your service and define the whole process, step-by-step.
Remember that you want to get them from A to Z. If your process is really complex, you might only want to teach a piece of it in your course. In fact, if you want to keep offering your services, teaching only one piece is great! You could create a course focused on the first part of what you do that would mean they don’t need to hire you for as much time, but you could upsell the course to get them to work with you to complete the other parts.
In my case, teaching someone brand new to web design how to design a whole custom website was WAY too much to fit into a course. So, I took a condensed version of my service and taught that.
Give people the detailed breakdown they need to actually do the service.
Remember to explain which tools they need to use to do it! Do they need some kind of paid software, graphics, or something else? Provide recommendations.
Third: You need to teach people the ground floor information they need to know that you might take for granted.
Think. about what the ground floor of information they need to complete this course looks like. I think this is what service providers often miss putting in their course. You think the ground floor is obvious, but it’s only obvious to you!
My first course (that I ever actually sold) was DIY Your Website. I was still a web designer when it launched, so I’ll use that as an example.
When you hire a web designer, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that you don’t see. Even if you’ve already purchased your domain, the web designer has to go in and set up the domain so the web design can be installed. They’re creating brand boards, looks, and mockups and figuring out what the website needs. Once they design it, they’re buying a theme and customizing it to what you want.
All you see as a customer of a web designer is the bare bones of it. You send them your login information for the domain, you send them the things you liked, they send you a mockup and now they’re going to design it.
As a web designer, it was second nature for me to know that I needed the login for their domain. I knew they needed hosting services and other things that felt obvious. But it isn’t obvious! So many people are creating web design courses and leaving out these parts. In my DIY Your Website course, I needed to make sure people not only knew they needed a domain and hosting, but to explain what that was and how you get it.
Let’s say you’re a copywriter and you do market research. That’s something you may take for granted that someone who takes your course will do, but they may not know about it at all! Include those ground floor pieces of information.
Fourth: Think about how your process may look different than theirs. How can you simplify your process in a way that will help your customer?
After you list every single step that happens in your process, look back at it! Maybe you analyze your process after you’ve written it down and realize that they don’t need to do the steps as intricately as you do.
To use my DIY Your Website example, I custom-designed all of my websites with the Genesis WordPress theme. But that is SUPER techy, it’s something that took me years to learn, and it’s something that breaks easily. Instead of teaching them in that way, I taught them how to build their website with Divvy, a drag-and-drop builder, on WordPress.
Their process looked super different than mine, but it helps them achieve their end result much more quickly than my process would!
Remember – I made my course for business owners who wanted to design their own site. If my course was meant to teach people how to be web designers, I would teach a COMPLETELY different process. Your audience is key!
Fifth: What do they need for you to hand them so it’s easy? What do they need for you to spoon-feed them so it’s simple?
You might want to teach X, Y, and Z in this course. But would it be easier if you gave them X and then taught them just Y and Z? Think about what you need to give to your customer to make sure they get where they want to go.
Alright, here’s a wrap-up:
- Figure out who your people are and what they’re trying to achieve
- Set the steps from A-Z of how they’re going to do that
- Keep it easy – people don’t know all of the tech-related jargon you know (and they probably don’t want to)
- Provide ground floor information and the tools they need to get the thing done
- Think about how their process might look different than yours and teach accordingly
- Make sure you hand your customer as many things as you can hand them to make it easy
There’s a lot more that goes into making a course, like creating it and selling it and all the things, but that would be a whole course in itself!