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SPF-020: A Technology Partner to Help Build your Online Course – with Ankur Nagpal of Teachable

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When you’re able to get your non-fiction book or area of knowledge put into an online course you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to organizing that course for online consumption. And when you do, it’s important that you find a platform that serves you as a partner, not just in a business relationship. Today’s episode of The Self Publishing Formula podcast is a conversation James had with Ankur Nagpal, founder of the online course platform Teachable. The two of them chat about the way Teachable came to be, what makes the platform unique from other online course platforms and how their view of partnership with their instructors makes all the difference. You’ll love the insights you’ll hear in this week’s episode.

The Teachable online learning platform came about almost by accident.

Ankur had created his own online courses and was hosting them on Udemy but was having some issues with the way that platform worked. First off, he didn’t like that he had no access at all to the students who took his course. In that way he wasn’t really building an asset he could use into the future, only dealing with one-off interactions. In his desire to find a new platform that would work in a more cooperative way with instructors he wound up creating his own app. That was the beginnings of Teachable and the start of a successful online learning platform.

The first step to a successful online course: Find the audience.

No matter the idea you have for an online course in terms of subject matter, it’s not a good idea to spend a lot of time creating it only to discover that nobody wants to buy it. Instead you need to find out if there is a real audience that wants to learn the subject you want to teach. Given the reach of the internet that’s no longer a difficult thing to do. In this episode you’re going to hear some great advice about ways you can verify the need for a course before you begin creating it.

Why online courses are not yet in need of professional production.

In the overall lifespan of the internet Ankur believes that online courses are still relatively new. The public is yet to develop expectations of online courses that are on par with television or movie studio productions. That’s a great thing for content creators who are low budget, small business owners because all kinds of simple approaches to instruction can still make the grade: screen capture software – slide decks with voice over – standing at a whiteboard drawing doodles – all of these and more are not only acceptable but very popular ways for instructors to create and disseminate the information they have to share. In this episode you’ll get some ideas about how you could use your computer and smartphone to create your first online course.

Creating a course on Teachable is not the last step – the Teachable team continues to help you.

Ankur and the team at Teachable are committed to building the best technology in existence to fuel online learning. As a result, they’ve committed that they will not get into the business of selling information themselves. Instead they want to provide the training, ongoing tips, and useful instruction for free to those who use their platform. They see it as a primary and powerful way they are able to be true partners with those who use their platform – which only serves to make everyone involved more successful. You can get a free trial of the Teachable platform by listening to this episode, so make sure you take the time to listen and get in on this great deal.

Outline of this great episode

  • [0:24] James’ introduction to this episode and the track record of the show thus far.
  • [3:18] The reason for today’s episode emphasis on nonfiction writing.
  • [4:00] Introduction of today’s guest, Ankur Nagpal.
  • [6:30] When Ankur got into online courses and how it happened.
  • [8:30] Ankur’s experience in software engineering and how he hired developers.
  • [11:43] The Self Publishing Formula’s team experience with Teachable.com & what Ankur sees working in the realm of online courses.
  • [14:25] How Teachable helps authors build an audience without worrying about the tech.
  • [18:10] The most common type of teaching videos and other options you can use.
  • [22:30] What limitations might exist when it comes to online learning?
  • [26:00] A free offer from Teachable and how the platform has come to be.
  • [28:07] How Teachable compares to Udemy.
  • [29:00] How anyone should start building an audience.
  • [31:35] How the Teachable team helps its instructors with ongoing training.
  • [34:31] The growth of online courses in the future and the Teachable path ahead.
  • [36:48] Free resources for SPF listeners from Teachable.com.
  • [40:14] The end of the nonfiction mini-series and Mark’s experience with nonfiction.
  • 42:50] Preview of next week’s episode on the topic of publicity.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

www.Teachable.com/SPF

www.Udemy.com

Join the Facebook Community by emailing support(AT)SelfPublishingFormula.com

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SPF-019: How Books Turned to Online Courses can Create an Income – with David Siteman Garland

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This episode of The Self Publishing Formula is part two of a three part series about using non-fiction writing to establish revenue through online courses. Give some time to this episode and you’ll see the common sense and not-so-difficult way you can turn your knowledge and expertise into an online course that generates income for you.

“But I’m not an expert.”

David Siteman Garland can’t count the number of times people have told him that when he tries to encourage them to create an online course. But he challenges them to rethink what is meant by the word in the first place. He often says it in this way: “What have you done that has been successful? What have you gotten great results from? What do people always ask you about?” The answer to any one of those questions could be the source of a nonfiction book on the subject which, coupled with an online course, could begin to generate income for you over time. If you don’t know where to begin, that’s exactly why we have David on the show. He’s going to give you the broad overview of how anyone can put together an online course and get it generating income.

Nonfiction book + Online Course = Cash Cow.

Even if you fancy yourself as only a fiction writer, give this scenario some thought: You identify an area where you’ve had great success – maybe in character development, world building, CreateSpace publishing, or something entirely unrelated to writing. You put the knowledge you have on that subject into a nonfiction book designed to instruct others in how to accomplish what you’ve already done. Then, for those who want a deeper dive into the subject, you offer an online video course that holds their hand through the process step by step. It’s a one-two punch for leveraging your experience and knowledge into a resource that can help people accomplish the things they have been dying to accomplish, and it generates an income for you at the same time.

How do you know if your idea for an online course is a good idea?

Like anything that is developed for a consumer market, your online course needs to be on a subject that people are eager to learn about. It’s the demand side of the “supply and demand” equation. It’s really pretty simple: If nobody really wants to buy what you’re thinking of selling, you shouldn’t take the time and invest the energy to create the product in the first place. That principle holds true for online courses as much as anything else. In this episode of The Self Publishing Formula, David walks us through the steps to discover if your idea for an online course is a good one. He highlights the ways you can research the topic to discover demand and how you can begin building an email list of interested buyers before you even create the product. Interested? Listen to to this fun conversation to get the details.

Outline of this great episode

  • [0:21] Introduction of this episode, part 2 of a 3 part series.
  • [0:38] Who this episode is for.
  • [2:22] Introduction of today’s guest: David Siteman Gartman.
  • [4:49] The approach you can take to generate revenue from a book.
  • [5:57] Two different ways your online course could go.
  • [12:42] How to determine if there’s a demand for your course idea.
  • [16:18] Finding your unique approach to the subject.
  • [20:18] Why your course could be for you a few years ago.
  • [21:50] Tips for building an email list.
  • [26:38] How to get traffic to your list building page.
  • [30:51] The way to track conversions on your course: create your own data.
  • [33:14] How to price your course (go for a premium price).
  • [35:21] Ongoing engagement with customers.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

www.CreateAwesomeOnlineCourses.com

www.TheRiseToTheTop.com

www.Wufoo.com

www.SurveyMonkey.com

www.LeadPages.net

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SPF-018: Using a Non-Fiction Book to Create Income From Online Courses – with Nick Stephenson

Much of the Self Publishing Formula audience is engaged in writing fiction. But there are distinct advantages to learning how to write and distribute non-fiction works. To investigate and expose these opportunities we’re starting off today with the first of a 3-part series that focuses on how to write and leverage non-fiction for the purpose of creating income streams beyond book sales. In part two, next week, you will hear David Siteman Garland tell us that EVERYONE has an online course in them, even if you think you’re only a fiction writer at the moment. We start however with our good friend Nick Stephenson. Nick has a proven track record in this area and happily provides a wealth of insight on the subject with tips on how you could follow his lead.

The advantages of non-fiction when it comes to producing income.

When it comes to fiction vs non-fiction, it’s often issues of preference, life experience, or writing skill that determines what we end up writing. But Nick points out some very compelling reasons to consider adding non-fiction to your writing skills toolbox. Besides his own success at making the switch, Nick’s also come to realize that the profit potential for non-fiction writers is much greater, simply because the topics non-fiction writers write about are more narrow, more specialized. That means there’s a demand for the information you’re putting out there that is unique. It’s that demand that can drive the need for additional resources to help readers apply what they are learning. Nick shares his journey into non-fiction writing and the amazing income that’s come from it. Be sure to listen so you can learn how to apply his techniques to your writing career.

The frustration that led Nick to build his first online course.

Nick had become a very successful fiction writer, selling at a level higher than most authors ever reach. He wrote a very popular blog that chronicled his journey, including the steps he’d taken to make his writing accessible and produce sales. He began receiving requests to turn his blog into a book, which he did. It sold well but he continued to get the questions that he’d already answered in his book, even from people who had read the book! He wanted people to apply what he’d taught so he decided to build an online course for those who really wanted the knowledge he had to share. His income from that course has grown in leaps and bounds ever since. Hear how Nick did it, and how you can move in the same direction, in this episode.

Why a course gets results that a non-fiction book doesn’t.

As Nick began to sell the online course version of his non-fiction books, he saw that the participants in the course were more engaged in the learning and more likely to apply it than those who purchased the book. What he discovered was that making a greater monetary investment proved to be a greater motivation for his students. They were invested in their own success at a level that those who had made a book purchase simply weren’t. He suggests that all non-fiction writers consider creating a course to go more deeply into the subjects they’ve written about, to increase personal income but also to increase the likelihood of students actually applying what you’re teaching. Hear more of Nick’s journey in this episode of The Self Publishing Formula podcast.

Could you make the transition into writing non-fiction?

Nick believes you can achieve this. It’s his conviction that everyone has something in their history or background that they could leverage into a non-fiction book. It may be a skill, a way of dealing with a situation, or a philosophy or spiritual perspective. Whatever it is, every person views the areas of life from a unique perspective that might help others. And Nick not only believes you could write a non-fiction book, he also believes that from that book you could create a course to teach students on a deeper level about the concepts you’ve already covered. And one of the amazing benefits will be that your income opportunities increase exponentially. In this episode you can hear how Nick suggests you get started.Much of the Self Publishing Formula audience is engaged in writing fiction. But there are distinct advantages to learning how to write and distribute nonfiction that fiction does not lend itself to. To investigate and expose those opportunities we’re starting off today with a 3 episode series about how to write and leverage nonfiction for the purpose of creating streams of income that go beyond book sales. For this first part of the trilogy we’ve invited our good friend Nick Stephenson to join us. Nick has proven to be very successful at doing exactly what we’re after and on this episode he shares a wealth of insight into how he got started and how you can do the same.

Outline of this great episode

  • [0:24] Welcome, and your invitation to the free webinar on writing copy for books.
  • [3:30] Why courses are a powerful means of income and an introduction of today’s guest: Nick Stephenson.
  • [6:57] Nick’s bio and introduction.
  • [7:52] How Mark was influenced by Nick’s work and career.
  • [9:12] Nick’s transition from fiction to nonfiction writing and his first courses.
  • [12:01] Why a course gets results that a book does not.
  • [13:54] The right and wrong way to use a “free” resource or book.
  • [16:03] How Nick follows up with the people on his mailing list.
  • [20:00] The lifestyle Nick and Mark get to enjoy because of their courses.
  • [23:37] Why writers need to understand that writing is a business venture.
  • [25:29] The tone of Nick’s emails to his list.
  • [31:25] What kind of frequency does Nick publish his email to his list?
  • [35:40] Nick’s preferences and goals in writing.
  • [37:04] How Nick builds his mailing list from the beginning.
  • [38:59] The power of testing your course topic and idea.
  • [46:13] Leveraging competitiveness to make your business work.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

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