how-to-create-an-online-course-victoria-hockadayHey fellow infopreneur! Welcome to the 4 part series #onlinecoursebizseries. I know that many of you are dying to get started with online courses but you might already be feeling overwhelmed. In this series I’m going to be sharing with you a step-by-step plan on how to create an online course, and launch it, so your online course generates sales like gangbusters. This series has been boiling up inside of me for a while and I’m sooo excited to share it with you. Ready to rock?

How to create an online course:the step-by-step guide

Before we dive in, let me tell you how online courses can revolutionise your business.

1) Make sales on auto-pilot

Once you’ve created an online course that gives your students awesome results. Voila! You can use systems and start making sales on auto-pilot. Meaning, you can create predictable income streams in your business, so you can build a business that gives you more ease and freedom. Isn’t that the reason why you started your business in the first place? I thought so!

2) Make a bigger impact

Compared to 1:1 services, an online course has no cap on the amount of people you can serve. With 1:1 services, you’re giving as much as you can to your clients and pouring your guts out for little value in return. With an online course you can create something once and share it with hundreds, even thousands of people. Which means that you can impact more people with less effort. Sounds good right?

3) Create an engaged audience

Unlike an ebook or workbook, an online course offers richer and more immersive content over a period of days, weeks or months. This gives your students the chance to get to know you and feel comfortable with you. By demonstrating your expertise, you prove your value and show your students that you’re the go-to source on your topic. Ultimately, you build an engaged audience of people who trust you. 

4) Generate leads that you can upsell and cross sell to

A free or paid an online course showcases your mission, personality and teaching style. These are all deciding factors for people to determine whether they want to buy from you or buy another course from you. So, when you’ve delivered value to help your students achieve a specific outcome, it becomes a no-brainer to buy from you. Can you see how that works?


I think we’ve established how online courses can benefit your business. So, let’s dive into how to create an online course. Woohoo!

Step one –  pick a target market

First things first, you need to figure out who you’re going to help. However, many business owners fall short at this step and they fail to communicate who their course is for. In fact, I would go as far to say that many business owners have a fear of choosing a target market. Instead, they throw a wide net to try and appeal to everyone and people don’t know whether they’re talking to them. I’ve been guilty of this too!

Rule of thumb, people are searching for solutions to their problems until they find something that has the “Omg, yesss, that’s me” bell ringing off in their head. 

So, think about a group of people that you connect with and pick a target market. A target market is the group of people that you’re going to attract and serve. Here’s an example of different target markets. 

  • Coaches and consultants 
  • Bloggers 
  • Students 
  • Influencers

Can you see how these have different demographics? Great!

Bottom line, pick a target market and be clear in your messaging who your course is for. This will help you create a course that appeals to a certain group of people.

Now, if you want to create a course that sells like gangbusters, I strongly recommend that you do the groundwork to understand your audience. Because, you need to understand your audience better than anyone else so that you can create something people actually want. 

Download my workbook to learn the steps to understand your audience. 

I get it – it’s the least sexiest part of marketing but it will save you tons of money and time in the long run. 

Step two – narrow down your topic 

Now that you’ve found your tribe, it’s time for you to figure out what you’re going to help them with. So, if you did your market research properly, you’ll know the biggest problem that they’re struggling with. 

By the way, I’m not expecting you to know what their biggest struggle is. I don’t even want you to assume, I want you to ask!

So, survey or interview your target market and find out from them what their biggest problem is. This is an essential part in how to create an online course.

Why vic? Well…the best marketers do the market research to find out what people need and then they create something that fulfils that need. 

So, when you survey your ideal audience the key is to ask them what their biggest challenge is when it comes to (your niche). For example, if you’re a blogger and you want to help people grow their blog traffic with Pinterest, you might ask ‘what is your biggest struggle with growing your blog traffic?”. 

After asking this, you’ll be able to spot a theme and a pattern of similar responses. Basically, this question will help you to uncover their Achilles heel. 

This my friend is the problem that you’re going to help them with. Does that make sense? Let me break it down so it’s really clear for you. 

Target market: Bloggers

Biggest struggle: growing blog

Topic: Growing traffic

Ok, Vic. But what if I don’t have an audience yet? Good question! If you don’t have a list of people to interview or survey, then they’re other ways to understand your audience. Here’s a few ideas: 

1. Facebook groups

Think about where your audience might spend online and pay attention to the questions that they’re asking. What are their biggest challenges? What is making them lose their mind? Go above and beyond and answer their questions and show them that you know you’re stuff.

2. Online forums 

Alternatively, if you can’t find a Facebook group on your topic, you can search online forums such as Quora and Reddit. Often people ask questions on a particular topic and several people jump in and provider their answers. The ones with the best answer receive upvotes and this is seen as the most valuable answer. 

3. YouTube 

Likewise, people who want to find tutorials or ‘how to’s on a topic go to YouTube. Search in key terms related to your topic and scroll through the comments to gauge what people are getting stumped at. This is another fab way of understanding what people are struggling with that you can answer. 

Step three – decide content format

Now let’s tune into your muse! Now that you know who you’re helping and your topic, it’s time to explore what type of content you’re going to create. When you’re creating a course it’s important that you’re in alignment. If you do something that you enjoy, you’re going to be more likely to finish it. 

Here’s some questions to help you decide your content format:

  • Which format do you enjoy? 
  • What different types of content have you done before? Think writing, webinars, videos and audios). 
  • Highlight the ones that you enjoy doing the most and made you feel like you were in flow. Don’t sweat if you haven’t done any, these are things that you can explore and tune into. 

Now, think about your audience and what would serve them. For example, if you’re helping busy entrepreneurs lower their anxiety then audios will be better compared to an ebook. This serves them better because they can listen to your audio whilst they’re going about their day.

Not sure about this? Don’t fret pet, you can ask your audience to find out what would be the most helpful for them.

Next, think about how you’ll price your course. This will depend on the demographics of your audience. For example, if they’re bloggers earning £1,000 or less a month then they’ll probably not want to invest in a course more than £500. On the other hand, if they’re 6 figure entrepreneurs and they want high-growth strategies to scale their business then they might invest in a course for £3,000. Does that make sense?

Usually, if you’re creating content that is in written form, such as worksheets, ebooks and email courses then they’re going to be sold at a lower price. On the other hand, Products that are multi-media such as audios, video courses and webinars tend to be higher in price. 

Here’s some questions to consider:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What are their goals?
  • Do they need specific skills or knowledge to reach their goals?
  • What income bracket do they fit in?
  • How much will they be willing to invest in?

To dig deeper into this step, download my powerful workbook to learn how create a an online course.

Step four – plan your content

Now onto the fun bit – planning your content! Once you’ve got an idea of your content format, it’s time to plan out your content. The key here is to get clear on where your audience is before they find your online course (POINT A) and where they are after they’ve done your course (POINT B). 

Next, you want to brain dump all the steps they’d need to take to move from point a to point b. If you haven’t grab a pen and download my workbook below to braindump the steps people need to move from point a to point b. 

After you’ve written down the steps, condense them down to 4 or 5 steps. Usually, your an online course will include 4 to 5 phases for your students to follow. These are shown as the 4 or 5 modules in your online course. 

So there you have it, my friend, you’ve created an online course. Pretty sweet, huh?

Once you’ve got a solid framework for your online course, all you have to do is start creating the content. So, carve out the time you need and drafting up points you want to teach in your course in Google docs. 

Step five – create a list and start growing one audience

Before you start thinking too much about how to create an online course, you want to grow a targeted audience of people who are already looking for the solution that you’re offering. If you’re just getting started, focus on growing ONE audience of people. To do this, create a list in Mailerlite related to your target audience and start nurturing this audience with value and content. 

This needs to be your biggest priority before you launch your an online course. There’s no point in creating a course and sending it to the same group of people on your email list. You need to be consistently growing your audience so that you have an engaged group of people who trust you and who are ready to hear about your an online course. Catch my drift? 

Related: How to nurture an email list before you launch an online course 

Step six – create a lead magnet 

Now that you’ve created an email list, you want to create a high-value lead magnet to attract your target market. Typically, a lead magnet is a freebie such as a PDF, cheat sheet or audio that you offer your audience in exchange for their name and email address. This is so that you can keep in contact with them and build a relationship with them before you pitch your an online course. 

Remember, this needs to be hyper-relevant to your audience. Here’s the gold principles of lead magnets that work. Lead magnets that work are:

  • Easy to digest
  • Highly actionable
  • Relevant to your audience
  • Giving quick wins
  • Specific and solve ONE problem

If you create a lead magnet that attempts to solve a range of problems, it’s not going to speak to your audience and it’s going to overwhelm people. 

Here’s some questions to consider to create a lead magnet that works: 

  • What does my ideal client need to believe or want in order to sign up to my list? 
  • What one problem will my lead magnet solve for my ideal audience?
  • Which one quick win will my audience get? 

Bottom line, create a lead magnet that solves one problem for one audience. 

This is essential if you want to grow a list of the right people who are ready to buy from you. Otherwise, if you cast your net wide and you create a lead magnet that solves a hundred problems, 1) it won’t be relevant to one audience and 2) it will overwhelm people and guess what? They’ll give up and go elsewhere to find a solution. Does that make sense?


I think I’ve stressed enough how important it is to create a hyper-relevant lead magnet. Finally, you’ll need to create a landing page.

Step seven – create a landing page

It’s no good going through all the effort of creating a freebie, only to put it somewhere that isn’t visible, or even worse… completely forget about it! 

You want to think about the placement of your lead magnet and think about how regularly you’re going to promote it so that you can maximise your list growth.

In fact, I recommend that you promote your lead magnet on your website header, sidebar, social media profiles AND embed it into relevant blog posts. Wooah, so many places you didn’t even think about!

That’s right, you want to go above and beyond and make it super easy for your readers to see your opt-in form. The more people see your opt-in form, the more sign ups you’re going to get to your email list. It’s a numbers game my friend!

So, you’ll need to create a landing page that invites people to download your freebie. There’s a few ways you can do this. You can use the Elementor Pro WordPress plugin to build your landing pages, or you can create landing pages with Leadpages. 

And that’s it for today!

After you’ve created your online course you’ll want to think about how you’re going to launch it.

Let’s work together:

When you’re ready to create your first sold-out course… Here are 4 ways I can help…

Free Community

Join the FREE community where I talk about all-things online course creation for beginners. 

How to Craft Your First Online Course

Are you brand spanking new to course creation and you don’t know where the heck to start?

If this sounds like you, you’ll love this mini-course: How to Craft Your First Online Course

By the end of the course you will have:

  • Nailed your course topic (instead of thinking about it for another year)
  • Chosen the perfect price point based on your goals, skills and experience.
  • Crafted the perfect course name that makes people click, read and buy.
  • Expertly outlined your course that is designed to get your students stellar results.

online courses victoria hockaday

Launch Strategy

Work with me 1:1 and let’s create and launch your purposeful and profitable online course. Check it out here.

Sold-Out Course Academy

Or, you can work alongside other course creators in my new and exclusive group container…Sold Out Course Academy.

Sold-Out Course Academy is a powerful group container that will take you through my 4 step Profitable Course Framework, so you can show up as the go-to leader in your niche and create and launch a profitable online course. 

From the very minute my clients sign up with me they are able to overcome fear and self-doubt and show up as a leader in their field. Within weeks of working with me my clients:

  • Are able to get over their fear of niching down, start listening to what their audience needs and become the go-to expert in their field. 
  • Toss out the belief that they’re not ready, skilled or tech savvy enough to create a course.
  • Become fearlessly visible and finally believe in their abilities to teach others.
  • Make the ultimate transition from being ONLY a learner (i.e. an online course junkie) to up-levelling their business and showing up as a leader in their niche.
  • Fill up their webinars with thousands of registrants with my Webinar Fill-Up Method.
  • Get paid BEFORE they create their course using my unrivalled Monetise Before You Make It method.
  • Get their course into the hands of hundreds of students using my Highly Profitable Webinar Framework.
  • Rev up their business by working less after implementing my 6 Business Processes.
  • And most importantly, they create a profitable signature  course that allows them to scale their business to true profitability.

Sounds good, right? Yep, you’ll get all this and more in the Sold Out Course Academy. 

Interested? Get the details here