Stop Struggling: How to Select a Powerful Course Topic
“To teach is to learn twice,” said by Joseph Joubert. When you teach, you are further exploring your knowledge and understanding of a topic and how to organize and pass on the information to others.
Seems simple on paper, but the truth is that the idea of teaching makes most of us shake in our boots. I’ve been making courses for more than 12 years, and I STILL get nervous when creating a new one! In fact, I remember creating my very first course like it was yesterday…
I remember the time I created my first training course. There were so many thoughts and emotions that went through me.
I was right out of college, and it was my first job for a big company. I was the newest, and youngest employee to our team. My task was to create a digital course that would be widely distributed nationally to government sales people I never met. The product would be an important tool used as part of their sales strategy. Their success, depended on my product.
The content was new to me, and I was FAR an expert on it. My product required the use new tools and resources, many that I had never used before.
Everyone was watching me to see how I’d do. After all, I came to the company with a big referral from a well-known friend in the industry.
The stakes, couldn’t have been higher.
Inside, I didn’t trust myself and what I was doing. I didn’t feel confident that I had the authority to lead others through the information and processes. What if they didn’t like it? What if I did or said something wrong? What if they thought I was painfully boring? What if, it didn’t achieve the expend end goal results?
But the fact is, through the creation of my product, I learned more about myself, as well as expanded my understanding of the topic. I gained confidence and trust in myself and my knowledge. Teaching involves imparting knowledge whereas learning involves acquiring knowledge (Pedia.com). When you teach, you are doing more than just regurgitating information. Teaching, requires a consolidated distribution of information, but also experience, stories, perspective, behaviors, and values as well.
Teaching others increases your cognitive ability as you move past just having knowledge recall and application but move into creating your original work around the information.
When I created my first course, I had to learn how to take the knowledge and information that I knew and transfer it to other people. This included determining how to structure, plan and organize it as well as delivering it. It took my knowledge to a new level of understanding.
When you distribute your knowledge or skills, you are in a constant process of learning, exploring and evaluating; whether it be from organizing your lessons to answer questions from your students that further deepens your understanding of a topic.
When do you decide what to teach? What knowledge and information to share with others, and how to share it?
Holding back from sharing what you know, your knowledge and skills is a disservice to the world. As an individual, you have your perspective on what you know and how you know it. There isn’t anyone else like you.
Why should you create a digital product?
Digital product sales are a 1 trillion dollar market… The compound annual growth rate from 2016-2020 is expected to be around 11% (SelfStartr.com). Creating digital information and knowledge-based courses are one of the most profitable ways of doing business on the Internet today.
In 2016, Forbes estimated the info product industry was worth $107 Billion, and growing each year. Tapping less than .001% of that market is incredible income for a small business. Digital products allow you expand your customer base outside of your physical geographic area and allow you to develop your relationships and create long-term customers continually.
It seems like everyone is creating some “course” and selling it for a decent buck. Many of these entrepreneurs are claiming six-figure or greater success.
So you can you figure out how to get in on this phenomenon? Can you create a digital course?
Often when we see everyone else around us doing something, it feels like it won’t work for us. Since we are not the first or the originator, the idea was already used, and we have to come up with something new.
We feel like if we create another version of what’s already out in the course market, that we will be an imposter, a fraud!
But this simply isn’t the case!
Each one of us is unique; we have our own make up of life experience, knowledge and skills. The way we experience life, determines how we share, present and explain things to others. What attracts one person to us is different than what attracts someone to a different teacher. Our styles and methods, based on our past experience, are what make us who we are as teachers.
And everyone learns differently--which means that for every teacher, there is a student that is perfectly matched!
Your perspective is valuable and needed! As entrepreneurs and small business owners, it’s our purpose to share our knowledge and skills with the world and specifically, our audiences.
As a certified Behavior Analyst and Learning & Performance Consultant I understand the importance of understanding my own, as well as others’ unique make-ups and preferences. When we leverage our preferences, we can create our flow and ease in our activities.
According to Gallup, people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. Engaged individuals experience outperform low engaged individuals by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity.
Engaged individuals experience outperform low engaged individuals by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity (Gallup 2012).
A better understanding of yourself, or having that sense of internal balance within us that enables us to keep our composure, make good decisions, communicate successfully, and maintain effective leadership even when under stress (Association for Talent Development).
How does leveraging our strengths have anything to do with creating a course, or determine what the product should contain?
Knowing what you are good at and sharing it helps you grow, have a sense of purpose and generate even more new ideas. People with a sense of purpose have a 15 percent lower risk of death, compared with those who said they were more or less aimless (NPR).
You can use various personal assessments to help you identify and understand your strengths and where you can help others. You can also walk through some of the questions below on how to develop a course topic.
How to Select a Powerful Course Topic
If you are considering creating a course, but aren’t sure exactly what idea to use or where to start, the following questions will help you brainstorm what information or knowledge you can share in your first course.
1. Brainstorm a list of 25 things that you consider to be your strengths, or that you have knowledge or experience in, or that you just know a lot about.
For example, some of my list includes: developing courses, personal development/growth, professional behavioral analysis, yoga, drawing zentangles, meditation and planning/organization.
2. From this list, select three that are your favorite… That you feel very excited about, but also very comfortable in your knowledge!
My top three are developing a course, professional behavioral analysis, and meditation.
3. For each idea, answer the question: why are they your favorite?
Courses: I love organizing thoughts into systems of doable steps, as well as technology and playing with different ways you can use it.
Personal development/growth: I enjoy learning about myself and other people through behavior analysis; how people act and why they act that way, what motivates them. Through my own self-assessment and working with a mentor, I was able to create even more awareness and understanding around my own drivers for intellectual opportunities and my drive to pursue a specific purpose along with how I can better communicate and work with others to achieve my goals.
Meditation: Meditation has helped me change my life from a very negative life space to a very positive and excited for life place.
4. What would it be like to share these ideas/strengths/knowledge/experience with others, and how would it make you feel?
Sharing any of these ideas with others would help me feel like I am helping others (good inside) and also more confident in myself. It’s one thing to know something for yourself; it’s another to teach it!
5. Make a selection!
Select one of your topics to further research and develop.
Have you thought about creating a course for your business? What's been stopping you? Please share with me in the comments below!