One of the best ways to learn is to understand other people’s mistakes, and then avoid them, so I want to save you a whole lot of pain by sharing the single most fatal error people make when creating an e-course. We’ve done it once (never to be repeated) and I have seen it time and time again with other people. I can spot this mistake a mile off, and you probably can too.

So what is the biggest mistake that will prevent your course from being a success, in every sense of the word? It’s to focus on the money.

This can be the difference between a course which flies and a course which flops, because people can sense your intention. I have seen a lot of courses come and go, and it is glaringly obvious which ones have made this serious mistake.

E-courses can be incredibly lucrative—some of our courses have generated more than £1 million in revenue and the biggest players in the industry generate hundreds of millions every year. The industry itself is worth an estimated $100 billion annually—but if you focus on the money you will drop the ball on the most important part of your course… to deliver something amazing.

Your content, and more specifically what I call your ‘Promise of Change’, should be your focus every step of the way.

Great marketing might mean you launch your course with a ton of sign-ups first time round, but if the course doesn’t work, those people won’t come back for more and they certainly won’t tell their friends to sign up.

The thing you need to know about online education is it grows through word-of-mouth (or word-of-social-media). Since the beginning we have hardly spent anything on traditional marketing, like paid advertising or sponsorship—nothing more than a few ads here and there, and often those have been trades. But because we always provide high quality original content that helps people grow, they come back for more and tell others about it.

When I created my first ever e-course, Do What You Love (which is still going many years later), I had no idea whether anyone would buy it, or how much it would make. To be honest, I didn’t really care. I just had this fire in my belly to create a course that would inspire people to have more adventure in their daily lives, to live more, worry less, and do more of what they love.


Inspired by the Greek islands as I wrote my first course back in 2010

I wrote the majority of the course in Greece during a 3-week island-hopping holiday. I knew what change I wanted to help people make, and what stories, experiences and lessons I wanted to share, so I just sat in the sun and emptied my brain into a notebook. Many pages later I had the bones of my course, which I then organised into themes, and turned into the curriculum which remains similar today, many years later.

These days, after creating and producing many more courses, I am much more efficient in the beginning, looking at the curriculum much earlier in the process, and thinking a lot more about the audience right from the start. In our upcoming E-course Creation Masterclass I will share the processes I have developed to do that, to save you a ton of time.

But the point here is, it has never been about the money, and even as our portfolio of courses has grown, with some wild financial successes, without exception they have only really fly when impact comes first and money comes second.

By all means, use the need to generate money as a tool to help you focus and turn your course around in record time. But please, don’t make it your sole measure of success, if you are looking to the long-term.

Our new course, ‘Reach. Teach. Profit. The E-course Creation Masterclass’, which starts on Monday, will guide you through that process, motivate you when you are procrastinating, reassure you when you are scared, and keep you on track to make your class happen. By the time you have finished it, not only will you be crystal clear about every single section of your course, you will have a marketing plan, confidence in your choice of technology and huge belief in your course (which, by the way, I know is going to rock!)

Everything in the Masterclass comes from first-hand experience, as someone who has created, written, sold and taught courses myself, but also someone who has produced them for other people, guiding them through the process step-by-step and celebrating with them when it all comes together. I will share my mistakes so you don’t have to make them, let you in on tried and tested strategies, and be your best cheerleader. You just need to make time to do the work, to sit down and go through this masterclass and give it the time and attention your course deserves.

So get ready to learn the easy way—instead of learning the hard way by making the mistakes yourself—and get ready to reach, teach and profit, starting when the E-Course Creation Masterclass launches on Monday!

What will YOU teach online?