In 2021, I created my first course. The thought was sparked around May of 2021, but I didn’t hit publish on my course, Real Estate Photography 101 until mid-September. I spent several months brainstorming what should be my first course, outlining what I know, and researching how to best get it out there to the world. This video is NOT about marketing your course or how to become RICH off of your course.
Today, I want to go through everything I did, learned, and wish I would have done differently when creating a course. So by the end of this video, you’ll have the knowledge you need to get your course out there!
Before we really dive in, I think it’s important to address the persistent doubts that most of us face when we go to take on big ventures like this. Like imposter syndrome or fears that no one will be interested in your course. These feelings are all so normal! I felt like after 6 years of real estate photography and making hundreds of thousands of dollars that I still didn’t have the experience needed to have a basic course. The reality is I knew and am constantly learning ALOT that can help a ton of beginners. So with the help of one of my online mentors, Vanessa Lau, I was reminded that I should focus on the basics. I don’t have to pretend to be an expert, but knowing the basics of anything is definitely worth money and can help people.
Right now, I’m sitting at around 170 students across three different platforms, Skillshare, Udemy & Podia. I’ve made around $800 bucks between the three platforms. So definitely not worth the time I’ve put into it, BUT I’m seeing lots of positives. Which I’ll discuss towards the end.
And let me just say this. I would not be getting into course making solely to make money. It’s a saturated market that will take time to really make money especially if you don’t already have an audience. Do it because it’s a part of your overall plan for your entrepreneurial journey.
Making a course is a huge time commitment so to me, it’s super important to make sure your heart is in the right place.
What do you want to create? Why? Is there demand? Or can you create demand? Are you ready to commit however long it takes to make this course turn into a reality? It may be a long ride especially if you’re focusing on it part-time.
Your why and your macro plan can keep you focused and driven during the times when things may be boring or tedious. For me, I feel like one of the things I’m supposed to do as an artist and entrepreneur is teach people what I learn as I go, and once I reach success, show them how they can too. I have much larger ideas than real estate photography, but it was a natural first step since I’ve seen monetary success with it for over half a decade. Sometimes it bothers me that if you look at what I’m creating it can seem so niched on real estate photography when in my world, I see myself mostly as a musician and creator. But I tell myself and you can tell yourself too that this is just the beginning!! You’ve got to start somewhere!!
Okay enough of that, now that your mentality is there, let’s dive into some actual steps to creating your course.
Outline & Script Out Course
I was so incredibly overwhelmed when I set out to create my course. I wasn’t sure where to start until I just threw up on the paper.
I really thought about what it takes to begin real estate photography. Where do you have to start? What’s the next step? What does a beginner need to know after the photos are done?
This landed me with 4 modules. or chapters. or sections. Whatever you’d like to call it.
- What You Need To Get Started
- HDR Real Estate Photography basics
- HDR Real Estate Photography Editing
- How To Grow Your Real Estate Photography Business
After creating my modules, I was able to make quick notes under each that I knew would make up a section. I would make sure to have a minimum of three sections inside every module, Here’s a look at how I broke one of my modules down. You can also check out the full course here.
When you’re brainstorming each section and module, I found it helpful to really think of the little things. The notes that you probably have so down that they come second nature to you. But remember to a beginner, these notes could be gold!
Downloadables & Resources
Whenever you’re outlining your course, make sure to include any helpful resources, tools and/or downloadableS for your students. You can create your own like for me, I created my own real estate photography presets for students to use on their photos. And I created a guide for prepping homes for real estate photos that they can custom edit for their own business.
Another option is to compile a bunch of information & resources into an easy-to-digest video/section for things you may not want to dive into. For example, I did this with my Passing The Drone Exam section in Module 1. I linked all the information I studied and videos I watched to pass my exam!
Action Steps for Students / Projects
Now, I didn’t really do this well in my course, but I’ve seen people (especially on Skillshare) have some sort of class “project” to test out their abilities which allows the teacher to give productive feedback.
I ended up adding a project section for the Skillshare version of my course, and just the other day someone uploaded to it. It made me so happy to see tangible results!!
I recommend outlining your course with an INTRODUCTION, 4 Modules minimum, and an OUTRO of sorts. Let’s take a quick look at my intro and outro in case it sparks some ideas:
For the introduction, I think it’s important to have all of the three things I’ve listed above. The Welcome and Instructions allow you to introduce yourself and your expertise while giving them direct instructions on what to do next. The Onboarding Questionnaire allows you to learn more about your students and find ways to connect with them in the future. The Recommended Course Schedule is to set them up for course success by steering them in the right direction with how and when you would go through your course.
My main advice for an outro is to give some sort of actionable step for your student. Ideally, a step that can keep you all connected. It could be leaving a review, posting a project, or subscribing to your channel to keep up to date. Don’t lose out on a potential fan for life by forgetting to tell them what to do!
Script Your Course
I completely scripted (aka wrote out) my course word for word BEFORE filming. I talk a little about my batching, scripting, and creative workflow here. Just like before filming my YouTube videos, I felt like writing out exactly what I wanted to say helped the content be extra valuable with no fluff.
Of course, there is always room for improv when reading scripts. It’s not hard to go off script, but for most people, it is hard to improv teachings that make complete sense to the student. This is not a webinar or a coaching speech. A course is meant to step by step teach someone something.
My productivity platform of choice is Notion.
I outlined and scripted everything inside of Notion. It’s super intuitive and powerful so it made bringing the course to life super easy.
I wanted to make this a main point for this post because I think it’s so important. It’s super time consuming, but when you are forced to sit down and write out your thoughts in a way that makes sense, it can make the difference between a decent and a must-have course.
Filming & Editing Your Course Videos
When you go into filming your course, take a second to remember who you are speaking to, it’s not a camera. It’s not the same as a YouTube video or conversation with your buddy. You’re talking to a student looking to learn. It’s important to speak slowly, clearly, and authentically.
I know many of you will be creating courses in different ways. Some may be hiring videographers. Some may be doing it themselves. Some may have expensive budgets or equipment while others have the bare minimum. Because this isn’t about videography, I won’t get too deep, but the main things to think about while filming are making sure your face is lit well and making sure your audio is crisp. It also helps to have a well-designed set / studio to film in just so it looks professional.
I’ve got a brief video on a DIY space for filming here. And here are a couple thoughts on the minimum of equipment:
1080p Webcam, Sony A6000 Series or Any Sony A Series Camera
I used the Shure SM7B, but most any decent microphone would work included on you can sit on your camera like the Rode Video Mic Pro+.
Minimum of cheap ring light and/or I really like this Falcon Eyes kit.
Editing Your Course
I split each module up into separate videos while editing. I cut out the dead space and/or mess-ups, and I did not include music or sound effects. I wanted it to be super clear with no distractions, but that was just my vision.
Editing the course wasn’t super complicated — it may be the easiest part. But it’s very important to keep all of your videos organized so they don’t get mixed up. One thing I had to learn the hard way was creating TWO different versions of each edit. One that is branded and one that is unbranded. On Skillshare, for example, they don’t allow you to refer to your course as a specific brand or with your logo. You can’t constantly be directing them to your site etc.. You can only mention where they can find you etc in the intro and outro.
So if you plan to out your course on both Skillshare and another platform, keep that in mind.
I think simplistic designs for the cover of your course are best, but as long as it’s not too busy, it’s good to go. I used Canva to put both my cover and module images together, and I talk about some design tips for Canva here.
I don’t think it’s important to stress about this part, especially with tools like Canva. Worst case scenario you can always hire someone on Fiver etc. to design something if you don’t feel comfortable designing yourself.
Uploading & Marketing Your Course
I’ve personally found the most success on skillshare with no advertising budget — just by using their users and search algorithm. It’s been awesome! Having so many students and building a little community is inspiring and encouraging to keep creating courses. I highly recommend uploading here, especially if you don’t have a current audience for your course / have a little budget.
I have uploaded my course here as well and have made 12 sales. There seems to be more potential in the first few months with Skillshare, but I could see Udemy taking off if it was the right course.
Self Hosted — I Chose Podia
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to where to self-host your course. I narrowed it down to Teachable and Podia. I believe I chose Podia for their pricing and different options for creators. I wish I had a bunch of reasons, but I ultimately just felt like Podia was the better fit for my brand.
If you don’t have much of an audience, I feel like it may not make much of a difference in which one you choose. I tried my best to look into the future and see which platform would fill most of my needs. Podia did that.
Notes on Marketing Your Course
Once I release my next course or two, I plan on putting together a full article and video on my marketing strategies, but for now, I don’t want to dive into marketing too much. Mostly because I haven’t done much marketing strategy.
Of course, you can always go the Facebook/Google Ads route, but if you don’t have a large budget to push through all of the days it takes to find the right audience, it may feel like you are burning through funds.
So for now, I’m just focusing on content creation and inbound content marketing, which for me is creating content that brings potential students, fans, etc to me.
If you’ve been wanting to create a course, I say go for it. Take the leap. As long as your why is genuine and authentic to your goals, you can’t go wrong. The entire process will help you see if courses are for you or not. Good luck out there. Hope this helps.
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