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SIDE HUSTLES: Three things a course creator learned the hard way

Standing oration
SIDE HUSTLES: Three things a course creator learned the hard way
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #25 • View online
Many speakers have side-hustles. That’s part of the game. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. We asked online course creator Johnny Beirne from Ireland what he wished he had known when he started making courses four years ago.

“For the past 4 years I have been creating and launching online courses with varying levels of success. Thankfully, I have learned from my mistakes and do not make them anymore. 
Here’s what I wish I had known four years ago:
  1. Don’t wait for the right time. (Hint: There’s never a right time.) 
  2. Make the necessary investment. (Hint: Don’t be cheap)
  3. Charge enough for the course from the outset. (Hint: Value yourself)
Be awesome. But more importantly, do it now. Photo by Juli Moreira.
Be awesome. But more importantly, do it now. Photo by Juli Moreira.
Lesson 1: Now is good
I waited, and I waited, and I waited for the right time, but it never came. If you want it, the right time is now. There was nothing uniquely different about when I started, to be honest, I just decided. I am glad I did.
I talk to a lot of people who want to create an online course, or at least they want all the benefits that come with having an online course. However, they tell me that they don’t have the time. The thing is that they (often) have time to work ‘long hours’ week after week. The irony here is, in the same sentence, they still say they want to do it, and they see the benefits of it.
I had the same crippling mindset when I was procrastinating about creating my first online course. When I decided to make my freedom my top priority, I ‘found’ the time. 
When you have a passive income from your online course, you can have more income and impact and still have lots of time for yourself and for those people who are important to you. You can spend more time on your health, your community, your hobbies, or passion projects because you will have more freedom. You may fly coach for a while, but if that’s the price, it’s still a no-brainer.
At some point, you will look back at our life. So start now. Even if it takes me a year to complete my course, at least I’ll have it done, and then I can free up some time for myself, my health, the people important to me, my community, and more.
Pony. Photo by Annie Spratt.
Pony. Photo by Annie Spratt.
Lesson number 2: Pony up the money
The second lesson that I learned the hard way was, I avoided spending or investing in equipment. I tried to do it ‘on the cheap.’ 
So, for example, I had a laptop that wasn’t fit for purpose. Now, that’s not to say that you need a costly computer or laptop. When I moved to a more powerful computer that cost less than $1,000, it made everything more efficient, not just in course creation, but everything I used the laptop for happened faster — the time I ‘saved’ more than justifies the investment.
I also tried using ‘cheap and cheerful’ or free software for video production and editing when I should have, again, taken the leap and spent some money on video editing software like Camtasia. Investing in the right software will make a massive difference in terms of efficiency, production, editing, and the quality of the result. 
So that’s lesson number two, do not skimp on investing some money. You do not want to look back and realize you failed because you tried to save $100.
One dollar is not enough. Photo by NeONBRAND
One dollar is not enough. Photo by NeONBRAND
Lesson Number 3: You CAN undercharge
The third lesson I learned the hard way is I did not charge enough for my first few courses. There is a strategy where you can launch a course as a pilot with a pilot price of €195. You can tell people that the public price will be €495 or €995. If you do not charge enough, then you will not attract the ‘right’ people because if people don’t invest enough money in your online course, they won’t spend enough time. They may even blame the course (or you) as opposed to themselves instead of being accountable for their lack of action and not completing the course.
Charging more is not trying to run a ‘get rich quick scheme’ or about exploiting people. It’s about charging for the benefits of doing the course. And charging for your experience and expertise. A fair price to the student and a reasonable price return for you. 
The same goes for speaking on stage. People listen more when they have invested.
Bear in mind that as I mentioned earlier, if they don’t invest enough money, they won’t spend enough time. They won’t take it seriously; they won’t complete the program or course they won’t get the results. Nobody wins. You won’t get testimonials, and you won’t get word referrals. So, charge enough. It can depend on your current positioning and the benefits that your course brings.“
That’s all for now. I wish you tons of success in your business pursuits and remember that you have tons of speaker colleagues.
See you with a new edition in a week. Thank you for reading. Keep speaking.
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Kristian from Speakers Loft

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