Table of contents
Best Online Course Platforms 2022
With the rise of self-publishing and the success of platforms such as YouTube, blogging, and podcasting, there is now a tremendous demand for online courses.
By using online course creation platforms, businesses can create courses to sell or use internally.
These platforms are a great way to promote your brand, business, products, and services to increase revenue.
Get the details on the top online course platforms for creating, hosting, and selling your online course.
We chat longer at the beginning than usual (because Jen drove a Lamborghini). If you're here for course platforms only, start at 17 minutes.
Create your first course to promote your brand, business, products, and services and increase revenue.
- How to build a course
- Top online course platforms
- What tools to look for in a course platform
Words of Wisdom
What will your students learn? You have to think about transformation. Consider where people are going to be at the end because it helps them navigate whether they want to buy from you. — Jen
It's like any digital product. If you are doing it on your own, then you are responsible for selling it on your own, marketing it, getting it out into the world bringing people into it. If you want somebody else to do that for you, then put it up somewhere like Udemy and let them take care of all the marketing. — Shelley
Podcast Transcript: Best Online Course Platforms 2022
Create Your Course Online
[00:00:00] Jen McFarland: The Women Conquer Business show is an educational, how to, women in business podcast that features stories, marketing news and real life experiences from fun and friendly hosts, Jen McFarland and Shelley Carney. Join us as we dive into the details so you can slay marketing overwhelm, streamline processes and amplify your impact.
[00:00:23] You'll learn strategies and tactics, leadership skills, and practical advice from successful women entrepreneurs to help you grow, nurture, and sustain your business.
[00:00:38] Hey. Hey.
[00:00:40] Shelley Carney: Hey, welcome. Welcome. Welcome.
[00:00:43] Jen McFarland: It's Jen McFarland and Shelley Carney. Woohoo. We're here. Woohoo. For our Women Conquer Business. This week's show we're talking about create your course online best online course platforms for 2022. Yay. With the rise. Yay. With the rise of self-publishing and the success on platforms such as YouTube, blogging and podcasting.
[00:01:05] There's now a tremendous demand for online courses. Last week, we talked about eCommerce in general and why eCommerce is so big by using online course creation platforms. Businesses can create courses to sell or use internally. So amazing. These platforms are a great way to promote your brand, business, products, and services to increase revenue and attention and your audience, all kinds of things can happen.
[00:01:33] So this week we'll take a look at the top online course platforms for creating, hosting and selling your online course. And I have a confession to make. I belong to a lot of course platforms. I think it's part of my addiction to apps. The other thing that I want to say is I can't even believe this. It is the 150th episode of the Women Conquer Business podcast.
[00:01:58] Yay. yeah, my friend, it's so funny. My friend, Betsy Carver years ago said you would be great on a podcast. I think you need to have one. And I was kind of like why, what? And now it's been like four years later and still here and crazy, and it was a Third Paddle podcast. Now it's the Women Conquer Business podcast.
[00:02:17] Now we're talking about changing the name again to Marketing How Tos, since that's exactly what we're doing here. It's gone through so many iterations if you were here four years ago and you're still here. Wow. And thank you. That's so awesome. That's right.
[00:02:33] Shelley Carney: Applause for the whole thing.
[00:02:37] Jen McFarland: I know.
[00:02:38] And it's so crazy. We could just play applause the whole time. I can perform to that. I have no issue with that. It's so funny because now this podcast is in the top 2.5% of all podcasts which is another like accomplishment.
[00:02:56] Shelley Carney: Can you tell me why?
[00:02:57] What is it? Because it's been around so long? Because you have so many episodes? Or is there more to it than that?
[00:03:03] Jen McFarland: Listen Notes has their own algorithm for that. If you go to listen notes.com, that's one of the big search engines for shows. I think a lot of it has to do with longevity and number of episodes.
[00:03:14] If you remember, most podcasts go out after seven episodes. So, pod fading is real. If you have the longevity, I think that's part of it. I think reviews, it's all kinds of stuff. They look at all of it. So, it's just a cool thing to look at, or, when we started, I think we were top 5%.
[00:03:33] So just you and I doing this regularly, boosted it back up. I think when I quit before it was at like 3% and now it's at 2.5%. Certainly, the people who are in the 0.5% are like, really big shows. That have a lot of support, corporate support, which we don't. So it's a pretty good little feather to be in the top 2.5% as a little indie podcast that kind of started off as this fun side gig, which is really what it was for me.
[00:04:01] I just like to talk. Yeah.
[00:04:03] Shelley Carney: Yeah. It's kind of neat. It's a good way to.
[00:04:06] Jen McFarland: It's a good thing to do. It's a good way to get your voice heard. And if you're really interested in that, I really encourage people to explore it. Is it right for you? And I know Shelley would agree with me because that's what she helps people with and stuff.
[00:04:19] Shelley Carney: That's right. It's once you've done it, you're like, oh, that was easy. I thought it was going to be hard.
[00:04:22] Jen McFarland: I wish we had that button, that was easy.
[00:04:25] Shelley Carney: oh, I thought it was going to be harder than that. No, pretty easy.
[00:04:31] Jen McFarland: I know it's not so bad. It's really easy. Yeah. Okay. So I am looking here and I see that you are closing a YouTube channel.
[00:04:40] Shelley Carney: What that is correct. Toby and I do a show on Wednesday evenings and we have been on a channel that we've been on since 2017, which started off as A Gypsies Kiss.
[00:04:53] And we talked about the Forrest Fenn treasure. And then in 2020, that treasure was found. So we talked about our own treasure. We wrote a book called A Gypsies Kiss, explained our, the story of where that name came from. And it's a true story from Toby's life. And then we had a treasure hunt along with it.
[00:05:12] Once that treasure was found, then we're floundering. What are we going to do now? And we've been playing with that channel, trying to make a decision about what to do with it. While we finally made a decision, we're going to be doing travel logging, and mostly in New Mexico, Toby's bought a fish skiff boat inflatable that you can stand on, it's got chairs, it's a fishing boat, but it's small.
[00:05:33] And we're going to take that out to different lakes in in New Mexico and check those places out and make videos about it. And that is going to go on a brand-new channel. We are leaving the channel that had 6,300 subscribers because only 10 people were showing up for the shows anyway. So why not start over with just the people who are interested in what you're talking about?
[00:05:56] So last night we went on, we talked about, it's time for us to have a clean break from what we were doing before and start a brand-new channel. To freshen up our algorithm, our audience everything about it's going to be fresh and new. It's called New Mexico day trips. Woo. And we're going to do our own travel vlogging.
[00:06:17] Talk about, boating on a budget. We're going to talk about yeah. Fishing and going places in New Mexico. And then we're going to interview people from other places who are also doing travel vlogging so that's really can grow our audience in that way and grow the interest, you know of, oh, it's not just New Mexico.
[00:06:34] Now. I see people who are in, traveling through other places and what they're doing and what's to do there. So
[00:06:41] Jen McFarland: it's look fun. I saw a picture of. All this boating stuff. Are you going to be doing cool things like unboxings of all that and like talking through like putting all of those pieces together.
[00:06:52] I saw like a post. I can't remember if it was you or Toby about
[00:06:55] Shelley Carney: that. Yeah. Toby's been posting about it. He put out a video this week of all. He showed all the boxes in his garage. What's inside of them and how he's going to be putting this boat project together. And funny thing is we have another channel where a few years ago he put together a boat, a trailer for a different kind of boat, small little boat.
[00:07:16] And that was the number one and did a walk around of the whole thing the trailer and the boat. And that's the number, like the number one video on that channel and that channel's been around for 10 years. And that is like what everybody wanted to see. So we're like, okay, let's do
[00:07:30] Jen McFarland: that. And it, and for those of you who were listening, if you're not familiar with an unboxing, Shelley, do you want to explain?
[00:07:36] what we mean by that?
[00:07:38] Shelley Carney: Basically, it just, you get something in, from Amazon or wherever it comes in a box, you open up the box, you talk about what it is, how you're going to use it. People get excited because they live vicariously through you. And it's they just bought a boat. They get that same feeling.
[00:07:53] So they like to watch that with you.
[00:07:55] Jen McFarland: All of which is to say, you can make videos about anything and people are going to be interested in it. That's true. And there are entire channels that are just devoted to unboxing stuff. I it's interesting to me. I love that stuff.
[00:08:08] Shelley Carney: There are channels for kids where people just open up toys, new toys, and new games for little kids and they play with them and that's it. And kids love that stuff.
[00:08:18] Jen McFarland: I'll be honest. I've thought about having weekly shows on my YouTube channel where I'm just going through talking about software since I test so much of it, I've actually thought about doing that.
[00:08:30] And then I'm like, oh, it just seems like a lot of work.
[00:08:35] Shelley Carney: But when you can just throw it in there here's what I looked at this week and here's what I thought of it. Then it's not so much about,
[00:08:41] Jen McFarland: it's not so much. Yeah. Yeah. So I think this sounds great. I love what you're saying, because I feel like you're excited about it.
[00:08:50] Shelley Carney: Yeah. I, it was time, we keep dragging these people along with us and they don't want to be there.
[00:08:54] We don't want to be there, but they keep showing up. We're like, we're not going to talk about that anymore. That's in the past now we're, we've got to move forward. And now that we've made that decision of what it is we're going to be talking about. And that we're going to be bringing people on who are also doing travel vlogging.
[00:09:09] And we actually have a couple of people in mind. There's a woman called wonder hussy and she's got over a hundred thousand subscribers and she's been doing travel Vlogging for years like close to 10 years maybe. And she's got a huge audience. We have interviewed her in the past and we'll bring, try to bring her on again and yeah.
[00:09:27] And share her insights.
[00:09:30] Jen McFarland: That's awesome. I know a few people that do different things, like one person who talks about different backpacks. For traveling and hiking and all that kind of thing. Yeah, there's just all kinds of, it's like very expansive. I'm feeling like this is very expansive. You have a lot.
[00:09:43] Shelley Carney: We're calling it day trips because we live right in the middle of New Mexico. We can pretty much go anywhere in New Mexico and back in a day. If we go down to Las Cruces, that's a four-hour drive, so we really got to get up early if we wanted to do that, but we could make that happen.
[00:09:59] Pretty much anywhere in New Mexico, we could go there and back in one day, so day trip.
[00:10:05] Jen McFarland: Oh, let me know when you go to Truth or Consequences, I might just show up and sit in a hot tub and talk to y'all.
[00:10:12] Shelley Carney: There are a lot of hot Springs in New Mexico that people just don't realize that if they haven't been here.
[00:10:18] Jen McFarland: I love New Mexico. Love it. Love it. What is it that you wanted me to talk about? Do you want me to talk about that I bought new office supplies? Is that the…
[00:10:27] Shelley Carney: I don't think so. Last week somebody told me they were going to go drive some big, fancy, fast car.
[00:10:33] Jen McFarland: We talked about it, right?
[00:10:35] We talked about it last week. Yeah. So last Thursday I talked about how I was, how my husband got me this gift of driving a Lamborghini and I was going to go do that on Friday and I did it and it was awesome. It was everything that I expected it would be, and more. It was a Lamborghini Hurrican, and we were at Portland International Speedway or Raceway PIR here in Portland, Oregon.
[00:11:01] And I had, so just to be clear, I go in, I register, I bought all of the things. So I have a video, I have pictures. My husband made fun of me, but no, what am I going to do this again? So I went in and like I said,
[00:11:14] Shelley Carney: You can make a whole page in your website about it, and now you've got content to go in it.
[00:11:19] Jen McFarland: I just needed some time to process this experience, to be honest with you.
[00:11:23] So we show up at, on the day and get all registered. And then the first thing is we have to go into this class and the class is like awesome and scary at the same time. It like really grounded me in the fact that I was about to drive a $250,000 car. I can't afford to replace this thing.
[00:11:43] And they're like, if you hit a cone, if you hit, you know how, like on the side of a track that kind of rumble strips, if you hit a rumble strip, if you go into the grass, you're going to damage the car and you're going to have to pay. And I was like, okay, I think my voice cracked, even at the time, and it had like all these rules and stuff.
[00:12:00] And I had bought more insurance because the, what came with the package was like a $6,000 deductible. And I was like, yeah, no, I don't want to pay that much. So, I paid a little more so that it, the deductible went down to 2000, but I really, so it freaked me out. Like I didn't want to pay for damaging this car.
[00:12:17] I realized when I walked up to the car, the reason why anything could damage it is it's like incredibly low to the ground. I drive a Mustang, it's low to the ground. This was like, even, it was so low to the ground. I sit down. Oh. So then we waited in line. I didn't do, which I should have. I just didn't understand everything on the website.
[00:12:37] They had a lead car package where you could ride with somebody and learn the track. But I was confused about what time and like how all that worked. So I didn't do that. I'd never been to this Raceway before. I'd never driven a car like this before. So I get in, there's an instructor sitting next to me, but to be clear, this is not driver's ed.
[00:12:54] They do not have brake pedals or steering wheel over there. I'm driving the car, I'm working the pedals, and, on the racetrack, they had cones, and they were basically. If it's this color cone you need to brake. If it's this color cone, you need to not brake, so it's not accelerating. And then if it's a green cone, you get to go, and then there were all these hand signals that the instructor was giving me and there's a lot going on. The whole experience was like 10 minutes. But it was crazy, and it was awesome. I'll admit that the first lap I'm driving like a grandma. I'm like I could hit, I could go off the road.
[00:13:34] And there's like on the video, which I bought, there's even one part where he's like the ice cream is melting. The cops are on your tail. And I can tell he is just come on. And you only get three laps. So the first lap was really kind of like learning the track.
[00:13:46] The second time around. I'm going a little bit faster. We hit the straightaway. And he is come on sister. I hit the gas pedal as hard as I can like to the floor. And I got it up to 161 miles an hour. And I can tell you that in watching the video, and I remember screaming when I got up around 120 miles an hour, I just went woo.
[00:14:08] I had this look on my face of just yeah, like we're doing this, and I like and then it went and it, because the car is like incredibly smooth. It's amazing. What $250,000 in one car can do because the force of going that fast, I'd never gone obviously a hundred. I hadn't gone 120 before I've gone over a hundred before in Idaho.
[00:14:31] Shh. Don't tell mom. So on like country roads and stuff. But you know the car, like when I did it before the car was shaking, like everything felt like it was going to fall apart just before I had my Mustang and. But when you go 160 miles an hour in a car, that's going to go 202, which is how fast the Lamborghini can go.
[00:14:50] The car was not shaking, but my body was because the force of going that fast. And I can say that as he's saying, get off, there's a part in the video he's like saying, get off the gas that like, at that moment, like my eyes are shaking and like the track, everything is moving back and forth, very intense moment.
[00:15:09] And also very joyful for me. Like it was both, so it was awesome. Went like 120 at one point 160 at one point and 110, 115 or something at another point. So it was pretty exciting, pretty invigorating afterwards. And John was there the whole time. He was just like RAH! it was very cool.
[00:15:29] And then afterwards, we went to this place. It's so cool. It's called the island cafe. And it, so it was almost like a whole vacation, because the island cafe is near the Raceway just in a, it's just a part of town we don't get to very often. So we went to the island cafe sat along the river.
[00:15:44] John had a beer, I had a pina colada we just pretended like we were on vacation. We were like right on the river where all these floating homes are and people driving by in boats and stuff, it was just really pleasant day. It was really amazing. If you like to drive fast, go out and do it, they travel all over the country and they also do things on the road.
[00:16:07] The regular road where you're not going that fast. So it's a really cool experience. I've told some people and I can tell they're like clutching the pearls. I'm like really nervous. So it's definitely something if it's your thing, like to do it, but otherwise you could probably skip it.
[00:16:22] Shelley Carney: yeah. Wow.
[00:16:24] Fun. Really exciting. Super fun, especially just having recovered from a concussion and yeah, let's really put it to the test. So we have somebody who wants to know, are we talking about online course platform? Yes.
[00:16:39] Jen McFarland: Sorry. Yes, we got, I know, sorry. We got a little sidetracked. We are going talk that we had to talk about.
[00:16:44] That was so cool. Such a cool story. So let's slide into breaking news. It's really quick today. All right. Our friends over at near media are reporting that Yelp their new business stream is selling your business data. So if you've invested a lot of time, money and effort into Yelp, just know that they're also benefiting from that for years, I've told people don't, put your posts on, put, have a business profile on Yelp, but don't buy their ads.
[00:17:14] They've been largely seen as a scam. Now. We know that they're selling your business information. So if you're going to get a rise in spam emails and calls and things like that, it could be coming from Yelp.
[00:17:28] Shelley Carney: Wow. I've never I've never liked them.
[00:17:32] Jen McFarland: never liked them either. Okay. So that's it for breaking news.
[00:17:35] Do you have anything Shelley? No.
[00:17:37] Shelley Carney: Okay. Let's move into
[00:17:38] Jen McFarland: training. Let's move into training. So there you go. We are in fact going to talk about online course platforms. That's right. And here we are. Boom, boom. Let me see if I can present
[00:17:52] Shelley Carney: Presenting Jen's slides.
[00:17:53] Jen McFarland: Presenting my slides. Okay. So before we talk about the specific platforms, just really briefly, we have Three winning strategies heading into this.
[00:18:02] So the first one is, oh, it's actually not, but there's a few compelling reasons for creating digital products. We're not going to spend too much time on this because we did talk about e-commerce a little bit last week, but one of the reasons why people talk about doing courses so much is it takes you from a one-to-one client relationship into one to many.
[00:18:22] That means you can be talking to a lot of people all at the same time. And it's like leveraging your time a lot better. One of the other reasons is it's a passive income stream. People can buy your courses and you're not in front of them. You could be sleeping and earning money while you sleep. The third reason is it also creates a curated experience for your audience.
[00:18:42] So based on what they need, what they want, that's one of the reasons why you create courses. It's really important to do that. One of the other things to really consider as you're like going into this, it's like kind of the small online business dilemma. I also have like small business marketing dilemmas.
[00:18:58] But when you're going to be creating a lot of online content, you have to realize, you have to think about how this balances out with maybe the rest of your business or with what it is that you like to create. Do you have the time, passion and patience for content creation? Because sometimes it takes a while , it's not necessarily free.
[00:19:16] Do you have the resources for things like a course platform, video and audio editing and then of course marketing and then the value. So do online courses and products add value to your business. And how soon do you need it? Sometimes people don't give themselves enough of an on ramp before needing the financing, the money from a course platform.
[00:19:37] And just understand that it can take a little bit of time before you start to generate a lot of serious money from it, depending on how big your audience is, how big your email list is and how aggressive you are about getting people into it.
[00:19:53] Shelley Carney: That's right. It's like any digital product. If you are doing it on your own, then you are responsible for selling it on your own, marketing it, getting it out into the world bringing people into it.
[00:20:03] If you want somebody else to do that for you, then put it up on somewhere like Udemy and let them take care of all the marketing. And you just create course after course, you can do that too. Of course, they're going to give you a portion of the income from that because a lot of your money or a lot of the money that goes into places like Udemy or Skillshare or one of those that has courses online, a course online platform, they do the marketing for you.
[00:20:31] They do. And you pay for that. every time they sell your course, they get most of the money you'll get some of the money and that pays for your marketing.
[00:20:41] Jen McFarland: Absolutely. Absolutely. Another one is Maven that's getting a lot of talk around town, and they do the same thing. Okay.
[00:20:48] So they take a lot of the money and, but they're helping to advertise it. So that's the cool thing about Maven is they're actually teaching you about their platform as well. Which is neat okay. So the first strategy is to begin with the end in mind. And what I mean by that is how does it fit into your customer journey?
[00:21:06] Where at what touch points are they going to come in and maybe have let fork in the road, right? Like you can either work with me one on one, or you can take this course, or maybe you work with people. And there's some things that you don't want to work with people on one to one anymore, and they can go and investigate it deeper.
[00:21:28] And then come to you with questions as part of your consulting. There's so many different ways that you can take eCommerce courses, whatever online content you want to sell. And you can like bridge that to what you're doing now. Or you can be like us. And we're trying to like work into maybe making this more of a centerpiece of our business.
[00:21:50] The other point is what will your students learn? A lot of times people get into trouble because they are like I just want to do something. So people are going to hire me. And that's not really the right attitude. to go into this with you have to think about transformation. You have to consider where people are going to be at the end, because it helps them navigate whether or not they want to buy from you, whether they want to do it.
[00:22:14] If, is, are they going to get out of this? What they expect and what they want. It can't just be like a big sales pitch. A lot of people do that. I think it's a mistake. And then the third part is, how are you going to get the word out? One of the things with epiphany courses. Is we realized we didn't want to do huge marketing campaign after huge marketing campaign.
[00:22:34] We would rather just go all in with one fee and you get all of the courses rather than here's a course for $75. Here's a course for $450. And then having a huge ramp up for marketing, we'd rather be more rapid in what we create sell it at a slightly lower price and get the word out once about everything that we have.
[00:22:55] So you really have to think about your marketing after you make it. But you have to do it at the beginning, because it'll really help you be more successful. And I'm sure that's what you are doing with your stuff Shelley.
[00:23:06] Shelley Carney: The number one thing you want to focus on for me is that what are, what's that transformation?
[00:23:11] What, and that is on your sales page. Here's what you're going to have, or know, or learn, or be able to do. Here's where you're going to be after you finish this course. And then you list those things out, for me, it was like, you'll be able to put out a live stream every week, like clockwork, you'll be able to put out a book, maybe two books every year, you'll be able, all of these things that.
[00:23:34] That are where they want to be and that they will get to when they finish your course, all of the information is super important to know before you even begin building the course and to put on your sales page to say, here is the transformation that you can expect.
[00:23:52] Jen McFarland: And part of it. So like getting back to Ruth Anne's question about are you going to discuss online course platforms? Before we even talk about platforms we have to talk through a couple of things first, because the more you plan ahead of time, the better equipped you are to choose the right platform. So that's why, even though we've started talking about courses and platforms, we haven't gotten there yet because it's expensive. It takes a lot of time, and you have to consider a lot of things before you do it.
[00:24:17] Yes. And I know Shelley agrees with me.
[00:24:19] Shelley Carney: You're going to get sick to death of this course, by the time you finally get it up and running .
[00:24:28] Jen McFarland: So the second strategy is to be sure that you're answering customer questions. And you do this for a lot of different reasons, your course, and content are like hidden in plain sight.
[00:24:39] It means that a lot of the best courses and the most successful things that you can do are the questions that you're getting over and over again, there's so much that you can sell because other people don't know how to do it. So that's the first thing. If you don't know what you're going to talk about, or if you're kind like I want to talk about this, but I'm not sure that's one of the places to look.
[00:24:58] Those are the rock. right on earlier episodes. We've also talked about making things, SEO, friendly understand, test it out, look up on Google. Some of your course topics. See if it's phrased the way that you're phrasing it. See if people are asking those questions, who else has already answered those questions and are those answers good enough?
[00:25:19] How can you make your answer different? Those are all things that are important, because I'll help you get traction in the long run through some SEO. The next part is to be sure that you ask your audience, ask the people in front of you. I see that Ruth Anne smiled. So I know that she's still out there.
[00:25:37] Thank you so much. The third point is to ask your audience what it is that they need, ask your customers. You might not know what they need but you know how to answer their questions. So that's another strategy to really think of ahead of time. All of these strategies will help you get more sales out of the gate, and that's really what we want to help you with.
[00:25:58] That's what we're trying to enable you to do.
[00:26:00] Shelley Carney: That's right. And a lot of times you're going to, if you've already worked with clients and you, or you've just been in a place where people continue to come to you for a particular kind of help, then you know exactly what to put into your course. It's those things that people have the most trouble with the things that they're getting stuck.
[00:26:21] Jen McFarland: So the third strategy, I know people are usually like, Ugh, why does Jen always talk about planning? It is so important. it is
[00:26:29] Shelley Carney: It's so important. It's going to save your life.
[00:26:33] Jen McFarland: I know Shelley agrees with me on this. But like online product development takes time. And it's so funny when I have taught this locally here in Portland and been on eCommerce panels.
[00:26:45] And I talk about the digital this SI part of it creating digital products. And I had my colleague off to the side who makes physical products. My friend Celeste, who runs Thunderpants, USA out of Portland, she read all of this and she read about all the strategies and she's oh my God, this is just like making a physical product.
[00:27:06] So you have to realize that what you're creating is just the products that you're buying in some ways it has to be useful. Like you have to plan it out and it takes a lot of time. So that means when we talk about it on the course side, we're talking about like your titles and topics, they have to be really well developed.
[00:27:22] You have to really be thinking about it. You have to create videos. You maybe you have handouts or a workbook. You also need some sort of sales page some sort of funnel to bring people in and let them know exactly what it is that they're going to get out of it. You have to set up pricing, you have to build your decks.
[00:27:40] Maybe you have to do some sort of like product build and you might think it is not really one for a course, but. Sometimes you have to package things in certain ways to get interest. So you have to really think about, what this whole product is that you're presenting to somebody how are you going to sell it?
[00:27:57] And then after that it's like the marketing strategy and execution, and then the sales beyond that, are you going to have affiliates? Are you going to have other people selling it on your behalf? What does that look like? How are you going to get the word out? So this is all before before you pick a platform.
[00:28:14] And the reason for that is different platforms do different things well , and so depending on what it is that you want it to do and if Ruthanne is still watching, she may have some questions as we start going through stuff. And if you are watching or if you're listening at home be sure to email us at hello women, conquer biz.com.
[00:28:34] We can answer some questions. Were you just waving? What are you doing? No,
[00:28:39] Shelley Carney: I have a question I wanted you to explain what is a deck? Is that your slides? What is a deck?
[00:28:45] Jen McFarland: Yeah, slide deck. Okay. Yeah. Slides. Your PowerPoint.
[00:28:49] Shelley Carney: Because actually personally I start with the title and topic, but that's the second thing I do is the slides.
[00:28:57] Jen McFarland: yeah. It's not necessarily in any sort of order.
[00:29:00] Shelley Carney: That's why it confused me. I'm like, wait a minute. Where, what is that? Am I building a deck on the house? What's what is a deck?
[00:29:05] Jen McFarland: Yeah, no, it's a, yeah. It could be, I don't, I don't know. If that's your course. Sure. But and this is just a laundry list, so you have a lot to think about and if you already have a platform, certainly the platform, whatever you make next time, it just goes, it just feeds into all of that.
[00:29:19] Okay. So let's start, I think this next one is where you're going to talk about yeah. Your favorite course platform. Shelley. So let's start there.
[00:29:27] Shelley Carney: Let me first address what I look for in a platform. Number one, it needs to be easy to organize. I have to be able to understand it and work with it in a user friendly manner.
[00:29:40] It has to make sense. And you don't have, I can't keep going back and forth and into other pages and other places and you, oh, I've tried some things that make you do that and it makes you crazy. So it's got to be easy to organize. It's got to accept video, audio, text, and images for your course so that you have all those options.
[00:30:01] Maybe you want to give people a video. They can watch, they can sit down at their desk and watch, but you also want to give them a downloadable audio. So if they want to go listen to it while they're walking around and doing things or in their car, you can give them a downloadable audio. So they can have that as another option.
[00:30:17] You want to have learning management tools that give you that back and forth with your students so that if they get stuck, they have questions. They don't. They don't understand or they're in some way, unsure or maybe afraid of doing something. For instance, in my course, we recommend specific equipment to have in your home for live streaming.
[00:30:41] This is a sticking point for some people, because they're afraid to buy equipment and then have it be the wrong thing. So at that point we want to have a lot of conversation and maybe even a call with them, a video call so that we can assure them that they're getting the right thing. So have that learning management tool to know where people are getting stuck and to be able to insert that help at that point, you want to payment integration so that when people are ready to buy your course, they can ease easy.
[00:31:08] Boom, I bought it and then let's get started. So you got to have that payment integration for them. And then you want a landing and sales page integration so that you can have that funnel where you bring them to that landing page, that sales page, and then they get started and then they buy and then they move into those things.
[00:31:23] So those are the things that I want into see in a platform. And if I don't see them, that means I'm going to have to cobble things together and I'm not good at that. I don't have time for that. And it. It slows everything down when you have to cobble stuff together. So I'm not a fan of that.
[00:31:41] Jen McFarland: The only thing that I would add to this is, so it has to be easy to organize.
[00:31:44] It has to be easy for you to use the best platform. And I think Shelley and I have talked about this before is the one that you use. That's true. So even if we're going to give you options, like you have to test them out. The other thing I would say is be sure to do things as a student.
[00:32:01] So I'm not, I don't want to spend a lot of time, like hating on products, but like some people just say like Kartra, for example, is a really good all in one platform, but have you ever taken a class as a student in Kartra? I have bought classes on Kartra. I hate the experience as a student.
[00:32:17] It's awful. It's not easy to use. I get confused about what I am supposed to do. So that's an example of easy for you, not easy for your students.
[00:32:28] Shelley Carney: And Ruth has a question. Yes. Is the landing sales page hosted to the web or is it specific to the platform?
[00:32:37] Jen McFarland: It depends. I would say so if you are using I, if you're using and you can speak to Vonza, because I know that's what you're using, but if you're using Teachable or Podia or Thinkific, or Kajabi, certainly they all have landing pages or sales pages included in it.
[00:32:57] And Teachable. A lot of them also include all of the emails on the back end. So if you want to send out like drip emails, as people go through a course it will do that. Not all platforms do it. So you could also work your landing and sales pages through if you're already using something like a, click funnels or lead pages or something else, you could do it that way for ease of use when you're getting started.
[00:33:23] It's nice to have it as part of the platform that you're using. It's all kind of personal preference at that point.
[00:33:31] Shelley Carney: Very good. My favorite course platform and I have gone through several I've tried Udemy. I've tried Teachable. I've tried Member Vault. I've tried ProductDyno. I know I've tried.
[00:33:44] Oh gosh. Now I'm forgetting the name of it. It was the coaching one. Oh yeah. Up coach. Up coach. Yeah. And then I settled on Vonza. The reason I like Vonza is it has all the integration of all the different things. You can create a website, you can create a landing page, you can create a funnel.
[00:34:00] You can bring in the email list and email from there. You can put your course in there. You can have a membership if you want. You can have a CRM. There are so many different things integrated into it. But one of the things that I like the most is you can purchase it. Never paying a monthly fee like you do with some of these, like Teachable.
[00:34:20] I prefer that as well, if it's at all possible to purchase the online course platform product and then,
[00:34:31] Jen McFarland: and you mean outright, you have it don't have to make payments, right? Yeah. For example, you bought Vonza on App Sumo. Exactly. I have a Member Vault account because I was one of their founding 100 members.
[00:34:40] I never have to pay for it again. If you have an opportunity for a really good platform, That you find, and you can buy it outright. It is good because you don't have to, you don't have that ongoing cost of the platform, plus the fees that people take off of the top of any payments plus, it can be really expensive and that's what we mean about the ongoing costs.
[00:35:01] Yeah. And all of that. Do you have a is your Vonza at a place where we can look at it or not yet?
[00:35:06] Shelley Carney: Not really. Not yet. I haven't published because I don't have the videos done yet. Okay. I've got everything, but the videos done I'm saving those for the last, because I'm still, I was still tweaking the curriculum.
[00:35:18] Every time I would do another show, or I would work on something else, I would go, oh, I need to add that to my curriculum. So I wanted to make sure my curriculum was at a point where it was set in stone before I started doing the videos and actually setting it into stone.
[00:35:34] Jen McFarland: absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:35:36] Okay, that makes sense. Yeah. Do you have any other favorite platforms you wanted to talk about?
[00:35:41] Shelley Carney: And one of the things that Vonza does as well is it will accept a video. If I make a video, a course video, a training video, it will accept up to one gigabyte video. And I've found that if I am recording at 720p on Streamyard I can do up to 30, 40 minutes and still not get to that one gig limit so I can embed, or I can upload my videos, my original video into the course platform where a lot of these, they require you to have it hosted somewhere like on YouTube or Vimeo or somewhere.
[00:36:14] And then embed the code. And so they are out there. So somebody could actually stumble across the course video in that way. Vonza also offers you the opportunity to do that. If you want to do it that way if you'd already had your videos up on YouTube and you wanted to create a course with them, they give you that ability, but you can also just upload them directly into the platform.
[00:36:37] So I kind of like that about it.
[00:36:39] Jen McFarland: I think it's really cool. And I'm so glad that you found something that that works and it's at Vonza.com Vonza.com. It is an all-in-one platform. I think that, it, whenever you do an all in one platform, that's when you really have to do your due diligence, like you did Up coach, and it wasn't an all in one platform that worked for you.
[00:37:00] You did your due diligence on Vonza, and it really works for you. My recommendation for everybody out there is if you're looking at a Kartra, Kajabi, or Vonza there's a whole, even Podia to an extent is an all in one, always know that you have to give up something like it's never good at all of the things.
[00:37:18] So the upside is it's all in one place. It's super easy for you, the entrepreneur to navigate it, you can learn it like the back of your hand, and it'll will be seamless for you. It'll be great. The downside is someday you might want to do something a little different and it might not be able to do it.
[00:37:36] It's just a risk, but there's risk in everything. Nothing is going to be absolutely perfect. So as long as we just have awareness of that, then we just go and do it. For example, when I talk about what I am doing for Epiphany Courses, it's not anything that I'm recommending today because we have such a different thing that we are doing over there that makes it different.
[00:37:58] So yeah. Are there any other platforms you wanted to share before you take a drink?
[00:38:05] Shelley Carney: Jen and I both really like Heartbeat, but I like it for the interaction of the students and peer to peer. And then of course, appearing there in there as the instructor, but also as a friend who can talk people through things and keep them from getting stuck.
[00:38:23] And you can also use Heartbeat in as entry level free place. And then you can talk to them about taking the course and adding that on. And then in Heartbeat you can add on a member group just for those people who are in the course and you can give them that special treatment in there.
[00:38:40] Jen McFarland: Yeah. And we're using Heartbeat for something a little different. But yeah, I think it's great. I love how you're going to use it. I think it's perfect. And Heartbeat, I love because it's super well supported. And no matter what platform you choose, make sure this is, these are like, some of this is like basic software buying here, right?
[00:38:58] Go in, test out the product, test out customer service. If they're not going to answer your questions when you're on a free trial, imagine what it's going to be like when you’re paying for it. Like it can be worse. So make sure you go in, try it, see what customer service is going to be like, read reviews, not just the ones that are like, Hey, this super awesome like that are affiliate links.
[00:39:22] Get in the weeds, read the ones that are negative too. It helps you make these decisions. So my course platforms are a little bit different. Part of it's because I have an app addiction that we've talked about many times. So if you are a non-technical entrepreneur and you want to have a website, but you don't need like a super heavy duty learning management system.
[00:39:43] And by that, something that tracks how far into each lesson people are going. All of the things that Shelley just talked about, about the back and forth. Squarespace has now become a, like a great place where you can have premium content. You can have membership, you can sell and pay, have paid newsletters, have paid courses, digital downloads. It's great for podcasting. And then they also have bought acuity. So you can do all of rescheduling through there. You can do all of that for two to $300 a year. So if you're low budget, not a lot of techy skills and you don't need again, the heavy lifting of a full learning management system.
[00:40:22] This is a good option for you. This is also a good, like I'm going to do everything. I'm going to try out courses. I need a website anyway, and then if my courses get too technical or too hard, or I need more out of them, you can always spin off to a course platform like Teachable, Vonza, Thinkific, something like that.
[00:40:45] So this is a good starter option. And they're really beautiful. Other starter platforms that you could use forever. These are like, because I'm a big believer of starter course platforms that can be your forever home. If you have no budget, Gumroad is a good option. It's free forever, but they charge transaction fees based on sales.
[00:41:14] So Gumroad, you can sell anything. It's great for creators. But you may have to charge a little more so that your take home is better. And then the more you sell the lower their fees are. So you have to think about it, right? Like you may not pay $150 a month for something like a Gumroad. But if your course is like $6,000 and they're taking 9% off of that, you're actually paying more for a platform like Gumroad or Udemy or Maven, whatever it is.
[00:41:47] But Gumroad is a good place to start. It's yeah. And they do courses, they do all kinds of things. It's just more robust than like a Patreon or something like that. The next level. And I have used this platform. I enjoyed it. I found it a little limiting but it's podium and it is, if you are one person, you're not going to have a lot of different teachers.
[00:42:09] And you're not very technical podium is a great option, $33 a month to start. And then it goes up from there. There are no transaction fees. It includes email marketing email for your courses. Not a CRM, so it's not, it's different than Vonza’s. Good for coaches. Podia is good for coaches slash content creator type it's just a little bit different.
[00:42:36] The websites are nice. It does a website, but like Kajabi. You don't really want your whole website on there, because it doesn't, it's not as flexible for a website, not as great of SEO. But they do have, it is a nice user interface. As a student. It's great to use. It can be very clean. I have clients on Podia.
[00:42:55] They love it. Probably the best full featured LM, learning management system that you can grow into is think if it's way more flexible than teachable. You can integrate a lot more things with it. It is in general of the big behemoth learning management systems. It's really good, but it also gets really expensive, really fast.
[00:43:18] So it, to get all of the full features, it's $150 a month, but unlike Kajabi, which starts at $150 a month, you can grow into it to an enterprise grade level and you top out at that $150 a month for the best business tools that they have to offer. Okay.
[00:43:41] Anything you got?
[00:43:43] Shelley Carney: Yeah, I just, I don't, if you can avoid a monthly payment, that's my favorite.
[00:43:46] Jen McFarland: Yeah. I think it just depends on, yeah, it just depends on what it is that you want, and then if we go into more advanced, I feel like we have to answer all of the questions that I anticipate people having.
[00:43:58] Advanced platforms. So Member Vault, when I joined member vault, I got it. I'm a founding 100 member. I have, I can show you my member vault right here. And this is the, if you go to courses dot women, conquer biz.com, it's. This is what it looks like. I have a little promo to the podcast. I have a lot of they're really big on.
[00:44:21] Celebrations and like getting people in with gamifications. So it means as people finish things, you get engagement points, those engagement points, you can then say, when somebody goes through so many lessons, they get a free course or they get. Whatever it is that you decide that they get that's the basis of it.
[00:44:39] They've now made it much more robust than when I first joined as a founding member. But if you go in here, like there's an automation station there's a button here where if you want to schedule a consult with me, you can, and then I only have three courses up here. It's really pretty basic. Because I do work with people who are on member vault and so full disclosure, I'm one of their consultants.
[00:44:59] So that's really what the thrust of what this is here for member vault used to have a really robust, free plan. And in the last few months they made some business changes. And so now they are all in one plan at $99 a month. Now I think that's great for them. I love what they have, what they are doing with their business.
[00:45:20] They have a lot of support. The downside of that is not everybody can do an entry point at nine $99 a month. So they're making a business decision about who it is that they want to help. It's a wonderful company, very supportive and really great, but it's expensive for many people at that price. If you want to have a learning management, if you want to, if you have a WordPress website and you want to have a full meal deal on your WordPress website, there are a couple things about that one.
[00:45:50] It is phenomenally flexible. You could probably upload a chicken into WordPress and sell it if you wanted to. I don't know. We'll have to talk to my friend Bridget Willard about that. She's the one working on the chicken farm, not me, but I will say, and it's great for SEO, but it's very technical.
[00:46:06] Sometimes when you add things like learn dash or some of these other learning management systems to WordPress, you have to really, again, think about the user experience. Are you sending somebody to the back end of a WordPress website so that then they figure out which course they're going to take. So you don't really want to do that.
[00:46:24] WordPress is a turnoff to a lot of people. If they're not very technical and I've taken courses from people and somehow I end up like in this weird am I an admin of this website? kind of place. And I don't like being in there. But you can spend the money for an access ally and it is fully featured wonderful membership platform, but it's, you're paying for it.
[00:46:49] I mean it's 82 to $208 a month for access ally plus the cost of your WordPress website. Super technical to set up. If you don't know WordPress you're probably going to have to have a developer to help and then access ally from what. Read and heard from colleagues is really good for, with helping you on that end too, but you probably need some help with them.
[00:47:12] And then the last of the courses I want to talk about today is Kajabi. Everybody asks me about Kajabi as an entry point course platform. I don't really like it for that. Like I know people who got into Kajabi like years and years ago when it was super affordable and less featured. It's great for coaches.
[00:47:33] I know Brendan Burchard talks about it all the time. He's part owner. So bear that in mind, if you do it, he's getting affiliate and he also owns it. Bear that in mind, it's not a website replacement. I work with people who put, went all in on Kajabi, terrible for SEO, not the best, like all-in-one website platform, because you're giving up a lot.
[00:47:57] I don't necessarily like it if you're getting in and it's not just the $150 a month part it's that there are a lot of limitations at $150 for Kajabi that don't exist on other platforms. Podia, think if it Vonza what I'm doing on ghost, like all these things, I can't make as much stuff as I want and sell it.
[00:48:18] I can test it out and see what people respond to on Kajabi. That's not really the case. You have a limited number of products at all levels. I believe. Maybe if you go to 3 99 a month, you can make as many courses as you want. You have a limited number of people which most people aren't going to bump up against the limited number of emails you can send out all these limitations make it really hard to test things out. If you have an established audience, if you have courses that you've been running for a long time, you can, it's a great platform when it's established, you can take your audience with you there. Kajabi is great if you have something settled and you have people to support you and help you with Kajabi it is somewhat easy, but it's not the easiest course platform to work with.
[00:49:10] Shelley Carney: Yeah. And I think it's got that whole big name, coach thing going for it. Like you said, Brendan Burchard, James Wedmore. These are people who own stock in it and they promote it. So it sounds really good because it's coming from somebody you like to hear from one of these influencers, but when, like you said, it's very expensive and it does limit you in ways that other platforms don't.
[00:49:38] Jen McFarland: Yeah. It, and. And it's fine. You just have to know, I just know a lot of people who've made the leap and then been like, oh, this part isn't as easy, like I had a client move off of Squarespace, move to Kajabi. Get off of convert kit and then go back on convert kit, because the email wasn't going to do enough.
[00:49:56] So you know it's hard. You have to really think about your business goals, how much you're willing to give up of how, of the way you do things. So to speak. like how much you willing to give up in order to be on this platform. Because again, with all in ones, there's some give and take you just have to decide what it is that you're willing to do.
[00:50:16] I have full disclosure. I have a Teachable website as well. We have a funnel right now going through app Sumo. We have a product on App Sumo. They hit Teachable. Teachable was great because we could bulk upload coupons and send people through there. But this is how I learned that I don't really like teachable we're going to let that subscription go.
[00:50:37] When we decided to let go of App Sumo the App Sumo offer that we have is for this ultimate podcast planning checklist. It's been a great feeder for building our email list. So we're not quite ready to give it up. What we are ultimately using on Epiphany Courses is a little bit different. So I create a lot of content.
[00:50:56] I've had this show for four years. I teach digital marketing all over the region. and I have audio lessons that are on another platform that I make passive income from. We talked about that a couple weeks ago. So I have a ghost website where I can put all of my long form blog posts and one hour sprint courses, because that's most of what Epiphany Courses is or like short courses that can send people on their way.
[00:51:23] So this is an example of what it looks like. If you have something really basic, you don't need a full learning management platform. This is an example of just saying, okay, I have a video, I have some lessons. This is what it can look like for somebody else. Yes, I do. so you can have a lot of fun with it, right?
[00:51:43] So you don't need to have a full, we run our landing pages through ghost. We do all kinds of stuff. We don't have a full learning management system for these one hour sprint courses, then we're using heartbeat as our online community. And if you go to the end of any lesson, it says, do you want to talk about this lesson more?
[00:52:04] Here's our, join the community conversation. If you click on that, it sends you to Heartbeat. In Heartbeat, we have threads where people can communicate, you can hop on a call with somebody else. We have our social hour, we have our kind of governing documents.
[00:52:27] Progress logs around stories and goals and things like that. So we're using heartbeat a little bit differently. And then as I said before, I have a lot of courses up on a, on another platform that are audio only. So we are also using a mobile app called sound wise that people can use and get courses they can get.
[00:52:48] They can get all audio only courses. They can download handouts from there. And then they can engage in conversation also from the sound wise app. So that's how we've sliced and diced. It I'm, as you can tell, I have multiple platforms, but I'm very comfortable doing that. And everybody is a little bit different.
[00:53:08] Shelley Carney: Yes. And it took you a long time to get to this place.
[00:53:11] Jen McFarland: It did. I've got a couple other platforms, so yeah. That's how I do it. Do you have anything else to add? Does anybody have any questions out there? I know that people are watching.
[00:53:24] Shelley Carney: I don't have anything else to add to course creation other than it's a good feeder for bringing people into a membership group like Heartbeat. Absolutely. I look for I actually put courses in the middle. You bring people into the free community, show them the courses and then put them into a premium part of the community if they're in the course.
[00:53:46] So that's how I kind of structure. Absolutely.
[00:53:50] Jen McFarland: And for me like for me, like the podcast is top of the funnel. And then I have different stops along the way. And epiphany is really creative for people who can't afford ongoing one one-to-one services with me, cuz they're not. Yeah, absolutely. It's not even a bridge back to working with me as an individual.
[00:54:06] It's a it's its own container. What do you have? What you got? Oh,
[00:54:12] Shelley Carney: I would like to talk about my group. It's new. It just opened. It's free. It's for content creators, video makers, live streamers, podcasters, speakers, bloggers, writers, coaches, trainers, artists, performers, anybody who's putting content out into the world should join and it's free.
[00:54:29] We are specifically geared towards people over age 50 people who need a little bit more help with technology, part of it because we didn't grow up with cell phones and computers. So we understand that because we ourselves are over actually. I'm getting close to 60 now and Toby's 73. So we're older people and we understand the needs of older people and that's who we want in there.
[00:54:53] Also lifelong learners, people who want to learn things and are ready to do the work to make that happen. If you're interested in joining that free group, it's at group.AGK media.studio, and we'd love to have you in there. Or if somebody, maybe you're a parent or an uncle or somebody in your life who is older and is into content creation or wants to be send them our way.
[00:55:18] And we're, we'd be really happy to have you.
[00:55:21] Jen McFarland: And I'll probably be there even though I have to say I don't qualify. That's okay. I'm not 50 yet, so that's okay.
[00:55:27] Shelley Carney: We don't hold it against anybody. Yeah. We don't hold it against anybody. We expect that you are going to be patient with those people who are over of course, that age.
[00:55:34] Jen McFarland: So if you like this lesson, once we got past the driving of a fast car, which is still my favorite part of this episode, I think. Yeah. I have a marketing self-assessment if you go to send fox.com/wcb you can you add that to the chat? I've
[00:55:55] Shelley Carney: got two many right now.
[00:55:57] Jen McFarland: I got it. Oh, okay.
[00:56:01] If you go to cent.com/wcb, you can get a free marketing. Self-assessment, it's a checklist where you can go through and look at your marketing, what you have up there. Now it's also a good guide. If you're just getting started to figure out the different pieces that you need, it will subscribe you to my marketing newsletter and it would be super awesome if you were on there.
[00:56:22] So that's all that I have. Should we let's skip ahead. Let's skip ahead. PLA is going to take too long. I have this app that I love called Placid, but I knew today it would take a long time. So let's, we're going to skip do that was a premature music thing. We'll skip tweaks of the week and now we're going to do
[00:56:43] Shelley Carney: one more time.
[00:56:47] Inspirational moment. Today's conservative ideas were once controversial cutting edge and innovative. This is why we can't be afraid to experiment with new ideas. We need to know when to let go of what is no longer working like our old news and views channel, and find a new way to reach our goals like through our new channel of in New Mexico day trips.
[00:57:15] So you can't be afraid to let go. I have, we've got 6,000 subscribers on that channel, but they, we no longer put relevant content out for the people who, we're with us back then. So it was time to let that go and start something new. And when you start something new there's a new energy.
[00:57:34] There is there's an excitement, so don't be afraid to let go of what's not working and start something new. Yeah, I,
[00:57:43] Jen McFarland: that resonates so much with me. I'm going through a lot of changes in my own life, in my own business. And it, with every new thing, there's something that you're typically letting go of, or your ship is too full, which is also happening to me right now.
[00:58:00] But there is usually when you go through a major shift, there's also a death that happens, yes. Whether it's, you got to close one
[00:58:07] Shelley Carney: door to open a new one.
[00:58:09] Jen McFarland: exactly. And I think that for me I've, I will admit I've been grieving a lot of the changes and what's happening, whether it's shifts in my business.
[00:58:17] As many of I lost my dad. We're not even two years ago, so I've been going through a lot of that type of grief as well. So it is hard to blaze those new trails. And I want to just encourage everybody to
[00:58:30] Shelley Carney: keep going. Yeah. Don't be afraid to make it happen because it brings its own special energy when you start something new.
[00:58:39] Yeah. All thank
[00:58:42] Jen McFarland: you. Have a great week, everybody.
[00:58:48] Shelley Carney: Thank you for joining the women conquer business podcast, hosted by Shelley Carney and Jen McFarland. Please subscribe and leave a comment or question regarding your most challenging content creation or business problem. Then share this podcast with family and friends so they can find the support they need to expand their brand and share their message with the world.
[00:59:09] Check the show notes for links to valuable resources and come back again next week.
Today’s conservative ideas were once controversial, cutting-edge, and innovative. This is why we can’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas.
- What new path can I blaze today?
- We need to know when to let go of what is no longer working for us and find a new way to reach our goals.
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