📚 Let's talk online courses
I’d like to welcome all our new subscribers, there are 37 of you as of this writing
. Letting me into your inbox is a big commitment, so thank you!
I have a couple of housekeeping updates. You’ll notice I’m playing around with the format. Marek and Samuel, two subscribers, have reached out with valuable feedback and it has nudged me to start thinking about where I want to take Ideas to Makers next.
I want to focus more on the process of generating and validating ideas. I realize that the ideas I publish here might not be the right fit for you, but if I can share with you my process for generating and validating ideas, I can equip you with the tools to go and work on your own business ideas.
With this in mind, I have a few questions I'd appreciate your answers to. They will help me build a better newsletter for you. As a bonus, if you answer them I'll send you one more idea.Submit your answers
That’s enough with the updates, let’s talk courses!
Helping people find the right courses for them with a curated list of attendee reviewed online courses.
|🐣 Idea genesis
- I've come across many courses both in my professional life (product manager) and my indie maker life.
- I have mixed results - some were great, some did not deliver, some just were not the right fit (either not advanced enough, or too advanced).
- I've checked with other people around and got a similar response - they want to take courses as they want to grow, but it's hard picking the right one and they are often disappointed.
- This gives me enough information to define a problem hypothesis.
- What are the best courses an aspiring indie maker/videographer/copywriter/insert your niche should take? The answer to this question is not straightforward.
- Courses are expensive. Prices can go into the thousands.
- A lot of courses deliver little value or are outright scams.
- However, many are insanely valuable and have changed people’s careers for the better.
- Problem: How do you make sure you are paying for a solid course that's the right fit?
- There are independent review platforms for e-commerce sites (TrustPilot), software (Capterra, G2) restaurants (Yelp).
- I thought about applying the same model but soon realized all these sites are fighting a giant enemy: FAKE REVIEWS. How do design a solution that doesn't suffer from this?
- I realized that niching down could provide the answer. By focusing on a specific area you up your chances of maintaining quality content.
- Your courses are in an area you personally understand.
- Reviewers can be asked to provide proof of taking the course and you have the bandwidth to check (at least initially)
- Solution: A curated list of online courses with attendee reviews.
|💵 Possible Monetization Streams?
- course creators can buy ad placement in the catalog (similar to ad results in Google, clearly labeled as sponsored)
- Referral commissions/Revenue share model
- get a share of the revenue you generate by sending people via a referral link
- Course pre-sale launches
- offer a course launch package that lets creators validate course idea
|👍 What are the benefits?
- Saves time: don't spend time looking for courses, don't fear you are missing out on the best course
- Saves $$$: don't spend money on courses that are of low quality or not the right fit
- Course creators:
- Lead generation & qualification (they'll get better fitting attendees)
- High-quality/low-exposure courses will get a chance to attract new eyeballs.
- Advertisement opportunity to a highly targeted audience
- Course validation: with course pre-sale launches they can validate interest.
|🤑 Are people currently spending money on this?
- Yes, course creators are spending money to advertise their courses.
|✅ What do I need to validate?
- Hypothesis #1: Can I find people that took a course and can I motivate them to leave reviews + provide proof of taking a course? What benefit do I offer them?
- Hypothesis #2: Are course creators interested in my monetization streams?
- Hypothesis #3: Does my design solve the fake reviews issue?
|🧰 How I'd validate?
- Niche it down: pick one area (eg. Online Marketing)
- Start by reaching out to people that have tweeted or posted in forums about taking a marketing course. Ask them for a review of the course and if you could post it online. This will validate hypothesis #1.
- Create a listing page with all the marketing courses you can find. For the MVP I'd use Sheet2Site or similar. Publish the reviews you've collected and add a "Have you taken this course? Leave a review." button.
- Reach out to course creators for which you've collected reviews to get on their radar. Offer them an ad placement for their course to validate part of the business model (hypothesis #2).
- Validating hypothesis #3 (fake reviews) will take time, in theory since you are the gatekeeper you should be able to manage this.
|🤔 How will I get the first 10 customers?
- Focus on growing the audience first. You can achieve this by manually collecting reviews from people on Twitter, forums, and other communities.
- Social: Generate traffic by posting reviews on social (Reddit, communities, Twitter…). Posting it into discussions about a specific course could be effective.
- Content: Create value posts on how to pick the right course for you, what to look for when deciding. Repost on social.
- Once you have enough traffic reach out to course creators with promotion offers, referrals, pre-sale launches…
|📈 Will it be sustainable?
- This is a marketplace play. You need to make both sides of the play work - visitors have to see attractive content, course creators have to see enough traffic. If you can figure out the chicken-egg problem you might be onto something.
|👉 Am I the person to build this business?
- You might be well-positioned to take up this opportunity if you are at home in a niche if you have taken courses in it. Having a network is a benefit.
- You don't need to be a developer, this idea can be built with no-code tools. The challenge is kick-starting both sides of the marketplace (visitors/course creators).
Help me out!
Don't forget to answer 3 simple questions that will help me build a better newsletter. I'll send you one additional idea as a thank you!