With years of experience, friends and business partners Gina Brocker and Angie Bonin combined their expertise to create an online photography course. Creating any new business has been a difficult feat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Brocker and Bonin saw it as no better time. Taking the opportunity to understand each other’s strengths, the photography duo went to work creating a 9 module course to help others invest in themselves, and their future. Now, they’re taking the next step and sharing how they built this course so that others may one day be inspired to do it too.
Creating a course from scratch is not easy, and takes a fair amount of time and effort, but if you have the expertise and have years of experience building a business in a specific field, you can absolutely teach other people how to build a successful business in it too. Here are some of the main steps Gina and Angie took to create their online course, Revealing The Narrative for wedding photographers.
When creating your online course be clear on your topics
Determine the most useful information. Gina and Angie spent a lot of time thinking about the most helpful aspects when it comes to photography and also business, and came up with the ultimate list of topics to focus on that will lead students through building their photography business step by step. The information modules are the foundation of a strong course, because if you overlook one piece, people may struggle and not get the results you want for them. Being really thoughtful about what to include was key for this duo, and they also were strategic in determining which one of them was the ideal instructor to prepare the information on each section, based on their personal strengths and who loved talking about that specific topic most.
Once you’ve outlined the topics and information you need to include, you have to actually create the material. Draft what you want to say for each section, and film videos talking through it. You’ll also want to develop downloadable or printable material to go along with certain topics, if not all, that people can use to document or work through the specifics of the information for their own business. It can be helpful to have someone you trust go through the information at this stage, to make sure it all makes sense to an outsider and that you haven’t overlooked anything that is key to understanding the material at any step of the course.
Where to host your online course
Next, you have to find a place to host the course online, and upload all the information to your teaching platform. There are many choices out there and you can use whichever seems to work best for you. You likely also want to create a website to go along with the course, or to build out a page on your existing website to provide information on the course and direct people to sign up!
Don’t forget about creating a plan for marketing the course. You want to make sure to get the course in front of the people who you made it for! If they don’t know about it, they can’t buy it, and they’ll spend years struggling with the thing that your course could help walk them through in weeks. Create a plan that implements email marketing, partnerships, a strong social media presence that offers information and support, and a PR campaign to consistently get your expertise and the course itself out there in front of prospective students so that they are able to learn about it and sign up to take it.
A few other tips to keep in mind:
Have fun with it! Think about the experiences you have learned the most from– usually they are enjoyable and even fun to a certain extent, even if you’re learning about something technical or professional.
Think about what you’d want to get out of this type of course. Approach it as a student, not the expert that you are. It can be easy to overlook seemingly small details or bits of info that may seem obvious to you as the expert, but would actually create a huge block in learning for a student who doesn’t yet have the knowledge.
Start telling people about it before it launches! You don’t want to finish the course and then launch to crickets. Start talking about it before it’s ready and get people excited in advance. Have a way to keep track of email addresses for people who may be interested, and email them as soon as it’s ready.
With these tools and info, you can get started building a business course of your own. Find your passion and share it with the world. Not only can you benefit from starting an online course, but you can inspire so many people in your field. So, take the next step, gather your expertise, and build the online course you wish you had when you were first starting in your career.
Gina Brocker and Angie Bonin are Boston-based wedding photographers and the Co-Founders of Revealing The Narrative, a comprehensive wedding photography course that walks students through creating and building a profitable photography business. They are also the founders of Gina Brocker Photography and Angelina Rose Photography, respectively.