How do you choose your first course topic? Before 2020, pundits had already known that online learning was on the rise in a big way. Since the pandemic, however, the demand has skyrocketed beyond earlier expectations, and it’s presenting a lucrative opportunity. In my opinion, teachers are still largely missing from the industry. This is one reason why we’ve taken on the responsibility of helping to ensure that they’re represented in far greater numbers before long.
Creating and selling online courses allows educators to share their expertise, reach a global audience, and generate passive income. However, the first step on this entrepreneurial journey is choosing the right online course topic. In this blog post, we will delve into the process of selecting your first online course topic, exploring key considerations, brainstorming techniques, and market research strategies.
Reflect on Your Expertise and Passion
What’s the highest importance in choosing your first course topic for an online side hustle? It’s essential to identify the areas in which you are truly passionate and knowledgeable. Your passion will drive your motivation and commitment throughout the course creation process, while your expertise will instill credibility and trust among your potential learners.
Take the time to reflect on your teaching experience, subject expertise, and the topics that excite you the most. Consider your strengths, unique perspectives, and skills that set you apart as an educator. By identifying your passion and expertise, you can narrow down potential course topics that align with your interests and capabilities.
Sometimes expertise is not obvious. Successful course creators often relate that in the beginning, they took their own expertise for granted. You can avoid this trap. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What difficulty or challenge have I overcome in the last couple of years that was a serious problem for me before?
- What do my friends, colleagues, or family always tell me I’m really good at, even though I don’t consider it a big deal?
Identify the First Course Topic’s Market Demand
While it’s essential to teach something you love, it’s equally important to ensure there is a market demand for your chosen topic. Conducting market research will help you understand if there’s a viable audience interested in your course. Here are some ways to gauge market demand:
a. Keyword Research: Use tools like Google Trends, SEMrush, or Ubersuggest to analyze keyword popularity and search volume related to your potential course topic. High search volumes indicate a higher demand for information in that area.
b. Competition Analysis: Explore existing online courses and educational platforms to determine if there are similar courses available. Competition is a positive sign as it indicates a demand for the subject. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll have to ensure your course differentiates itself through unique value propositions.
c. Target Audience Surveys: Reach out to your network, and potential students, or join relevant online communities to gather insights about their learning needs and interests. This direct feedback is actually the very best information you can access to guide your decision-making process.
Keep Your Target Audience In Mind
Understanding your target audience for your first course topic is crucial for designing a course that meets their specific needs. Define your target audience’s characteristics, including age group, educational background, skill level, and learning preferences. Carefully consider and write down the following factors:
a. Pain Points and Goals: Identify the pain points your audience faces and the goals they want to achieve. Your course should provide practical solutions to their problems and help them achieve their desired outcomes.
b. Learning Style: Determine if your target audience prefers visual content, interactive activities, or hands-on demonstrations. Align your course format and delivery methods to accommodate their learning preferences.
c. Level of Expertise: Assess the expertise level of your target audience. Is your course intended for beginners, intermediate learners, or advanced professionals? Tailor the course content and curriculum accordingly.
Validate Your First Course topic
Validating your course idea before investing substantial time and effort will help ensure its success. Here are some validation techniques:
a. Pre-Sell Your Course: Create a landing page or promotional materials to gauge interest and secure early registrations. If you receive a substantial number of pre-sales, it’s a positive indication that your topic resonates with your audience.
b. Offer a Pilot Course: Conduct a pilot course with a small group of students to gather feedback and refine your content. This will also help you identify areas that may need improvement before launching the full course.
c. Build an Email List: Start building an email list or social media following around your chosen topic. Engage with your audience, share valuable content, and gather feedback to fine-tune your course.
Choosing the right first course topic is a pivotal step in starting your online teaching business. By aligning your passion and expertise with market demand and the needs of your potential learners, you can create a course that stands out and attracts an engaged audience. Remember to conduct thorough market research, actively engage with your target audience, and validate your course idea before diving into the course creation process. With careful consideration and planning, you’ll be well on your way to a successful online teaching journey.