Picture it: you’ve been hustling your heart out on your business and it’s finally paying off. You have a steady stream of income and you’re enjoying your success.
Except, you feel like it’s time you hit your next goal. You might be looking for a new revenue stream or wondering how you can increase your income without working 24 hours a day.
In other words, you are wondering if it’s time to scale your business. Scaling simply means expanding in a proportional way. It’s different than growing a business, which is, of course, important too! When you grow, you’re increasing revenue and you’re increasing costs at the same rate, whether those costs are employees, advertising, time, etc. But when you’re scaling, you’re increasing revenue at a faster rate than you’re increasing costs.
For example, let’s say Edgar is a graphic designer (he’s quite artistic, you know 😉) who is just starting his freelance graphic design business. As Edgar takes on more projects, he will need to invest more resources to manage those projects, for instance, he may need to spend more of his time on these projects or spend money on faster software or an assistant to handle administrative tasks so he can take on more projects. That’s Edgar growing his business.
Now let’s say after a few years, Edgar’s business is booming. He has consistent clients, fantastic software and an assistant for admin tasks. But the problem is Edgar has hit a revenue ceiling. He has already raised his rates several times and knows he is on the higher end of his industry. He doesn’t want to manage any more employees so he doesn’t want to hire any other graphic designers to take on more projects and if he were to take on more projects, he’d be working more hours than he wants to.
So how can Edgar make more revenue in his business? Now Edgar needs to scale.
It’s important to recognize that you can’t scale if you haven’t seen growth. Before you consider scaling your business, you should make sure you have great market fit, a loyal audience, and consistent growth.
The key to scaling is finding the parts of your business model that can be easily replicated cost-effectively. This will differ for every industry but for many entrepreneurs, online courses are a smart strategy for scaling your business.
Courses are a smart choice for scaling because they are reusable. You can create one course and sell it 100 times. It’s also cashing in on something you already have, your expertise. If you are an expert in your field or have already established success in your field then you already have knowledge that you can share with others in a course.
Many entrepreneurs think “I can’t offer a course because I’m not a teacher!” You certainly don’t have to be a teacher or even in a service-based industry to be able to scale your business with a course. You just need to have expertise and established success in an industry. You don’t even have to be the “best of the best” because there are many people who are not as experienced as you are in your field. Remember, there will always be people with more and less experience than you! Focus on how you can serve those who don’t have as much experience as you.
Here are a few different industries and examples of entrepreneurs in those industries who have created courses.
If you have a service-based business, you can create a course around your service. It doesn’t matter if you’re a graphic designer, a digital marketing consultant, a copywriter, a bookkeeper or an organizer, if you perform a service, you can teach others those skills you use.
Amanda Bond had a successful Facebook ads agency that she decided to scale into courses. Now, instead of implementing Facebook ads, she teaches other entrepreneurs how to create, manage and succeed with Facebook ads through her courses.
Any type of coach or consultant can package up their expertise into a course. Life coaches, health coaches, mindset coaches, and business coaches are just a few different types of coaches who have turned their expertise into courses.
Stacy Tuschl is a successful business coach who offers 1 on 1 and group coaching but also offers 30-day self-study course at a lower price point.
You can also teach how you achieved something, like perhaps, creating an incredibly profitable podcast like John Lee Dumas!
John Lee Dumas, host of the podcast, Entrepreneur on Fire started out as a successful podcaster. After he built his podcast audience and was generating revenue from his podcast, he began creating courses about how to create a podcast and later, how to generate revenue from podcasts and course sales.
John found success in one area and created more success by teaching others how to do the same.
Similarly, bloggers can do the same. If you have built a successful blog, you can teach others how to do the same. Or if you have a blog in a specific niche, you can create courses around that niche.
Take travel blogger, Jessie on a Journey, for example. Since starting her travel blog, she has since branched out into creating courses around both blogging and travel.
Authors can also monetize their experience and expertise in publishing by sharing those lessons with others through courses. Jerry Jenkins is a New York Times bestselling author with decades of experience as an author and hundreds of published books.
He shares his experience in the publishing industry and his expertise as an author in his courses on creative writing, novel writing, and editing.
Sunny Lenarduzzi is a popular YouTuber and influencer. After she built her wildly successful YouTube channel, she took that knowledge and experience and created a course for others who are also looking for YouTube fame!
And these are just a few examples! But the ingredients are the same. You need experience, expertise, and an interested audience. Your specific course can be about whatever you love just don’t dive into it if you haven’t established those three things!
Is the idea of creating an online course to scale your business stuck in your head now? Great! But before you start writing out lesson plans, you should do a little preparation before you go all in.
The first thing you need to do is test the market viability of your course. The last thing you want is to spend your precious and limited time and energy in a course that your audience isn’t really interested in! There are a couple of ways you can do this.
Talk to your audience
If you’ve worked your tail off to build your business, then you already have a trustworthy audience of people who might be interested in your course! So, test the waters with them. Ask them if a course would be interesting to them and if so, what they’d like to see in a course.
Create a mini-course to test your idea or pre-launch a few of your modules
If your audience responds well to the idea of a course, you can use them as beta-testers or get feedback on your course as you’re creating it by offering a free mini-course or by pre-launching with your first module. This way, you’ll avoid creating something that doesn’t offer value or that your audience doesn’t love. As a seasoned business owner, you’re in an excellent space to get feedback from your ideal audience as you create your online course.
Once you’ve established that an online course is definitely the way to go, you should still take a few steps to prepare for its launch.
Grow your email list
Your email list is going to be one of the most important pieces of your course marketing. (Did we ever mention we were able to grow MeetEdgar so quickly because we had already built an existing email list of interested buyers?) Email lists are powerful sales tools for course creators and it’s never too early to start building your list. You can use your mini-course as a lead magnet or simply set up a landing page and offer exclusive access or discounts to those who sign up to your list before you launch.
Host webinars or create videos to market your course
One important thing to recognize is that even if you already have a successful business, many of your customers and prospects might not know how you are as an instructor or presenter. Hosting webinars or creating videos for your course marketing will give your audience an idea of how you present materials and what to expect from your course.
Test Facebook ads
Facebook ads are a fantastic marketing choice, no matter what, but their biggest power is in their retargeting and lookalike audience abilities. Since you already have an established audience, you can use Facebook ads to retarget to those audiences (whether it’s your website visitors, email list or Facebook and Instagram followers) with ads for your course. You can also create Lookalike audiences who are similar to your existing website visitors, email subscribers or followers with the idea that if an audience is similar to yours, they’ll also be interested in your course.
Before MeetEdgar, our founder Laura Roeder was a course creator herself so we’re big fans of using courses to scale your business. In fact, we even have some features in Edgar that are just perfect for selling your course like our variations feature and continuous scheduling. If you are creating a course or considering it, let Edgar help you get the word out and try us for free for 30 days with the code FIRSTMONTHFREE.