AskPat 384 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 384 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
All right, here's today's question from Steve.
Steve: Hi, Pat. My name is Steve Erickson and I am looking to sell courses online. I'm wondering if you can give some input or recommendations for platforms for selling online courses? Thanks.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Steve. What's up? Thank you so much for the question today. I really appreciate it. There are a few existing content platforms where there are courses that already exist. Where you may want to get in front of depending on the type of course you have, and also how you want to market it. So I'll talk about that first in terms of the different sites that are out there yet that you could potentially sell on, but also I want to talk and cover the second half of the answer to this question.
Creating course platforms for yourself to sell off of your own so I wasn't exactly sure if you meant one or the other so I want to cover both for you. So the first one that comes to mind in terms a marketplace that already exists where you can then create a course, use their platform, get in front of their audience that already exists. That's Udemy.com. Like academy, but Udemy.com.
Now I'm very experienced with Udemy. I haven't created any courses myself, but I have gone through as a demo to create a course and to see what that was like, and it was very smooth and easy to use. I have taken courses on Udemy.com. It's pretty cool as a student, as well. There is interaction. It's a great workflow in terms of getting through the content, especially if there's a lot of video content as well. That's really what this platform is great for, is sharing video content, elearning, teaching in that way where people then purchase your course, and then they go through the parts of it, and at the end, they complete it. And that's cool and people leave a review, and that's one of the powers behind this one, is you get the social proof aspect. Especially, if you start with an audience that is there or your course has been in there for a while. Perhaps you have an audience on your site already who can then help boost the exposure of your course to new people on that particular platform as well.
They do have their own internal marketing platforms as well to help you push your course. You know, sort of like Amazon where there's related courses to different courses so you might be able to get in front of people who you wouldn't have been able to get in front of using a platform like Udemy.com.
Now, of course, using another person's platform comes with some cons as well—the fact that you don't get to control that experience. That is not your customer; it is their customer. They are still learning from you and yes, you can give them calls to actions to do other things from there, but you lose the control that you ultimately have if you were to create your own course on your own site. To really control that experience is a very beneficial thing. Especially, if you have other courses down the road, other things that you want them to do, and also to keep people on your own site. Because if it's a Udemy course, they are going to Udemy, and, of course, they are gonna be pushed other courses as well, which could, not necessarily compete with yours, but yeah, pretty much. Also, take their eyes away from you and other courses that you may have to offer them, because there's a lot of amazing courses on there, on Udemy. I've taken a number of them and I will say that Udemy does a great job of letting their customers know what else is out there for them. Of course, they want that to happen. They want people to buy more courses, but they also want to give more value to their audience as well, but as a content creator, course provider on Udemy. That's something that you have to sort of pay attention to.
Now there is another course platform out there that you may have heard of called Lynda.com. They are actually a sponsor of one of my other podcasts, and it's an amazing website. Again I haven't created content for Lynda.com myself, but I've used a lot of their content, and their content is fantastic. Because a lot of their content is actually people who come into their studios. They film it professionally, and they have all these amazing tools, and resources, and kits that go along with those course to make sure that people get the most out of that experience.
I am not exactly sure what it would take or what the process is like to become a content provider or a course provider for something like Lynda.com, but Lynda is a huge site. Much bigger than any other content-learning platform I know, and I know a lot of people who have done really well with providing content on Lynda.
I don't know what the payment structures are like for either of those to be honest with you, and that's something that you're gonna have to do research on. But obviously, if you do it on your own, you're gonna make more profit, then you lose out on potentially those audience members that you don't have. So you are going to have to weigh the pros and cons of each.
Now I will talk now in the second half here about creating courses on your own site and what platforms you can use for that and there's a number of different WordPress plugins and things you can use to set up your own courses or membership site software, which can essentially be used to create a course, whether you have a recurring payment or not. Maybe it's just a one-time fee or maybe it is a recurring fee and it becomes a membership site on its own with courses embedded in it. However you plan to do that.
But the interesting thing is that if you use your own stuff and you get to control that experience, which is great. You get to control the marketing and the pricing and all that stuff, but then you have to host those video files yourself as well. You don't want to host them on your own website hosting platform or host. You don't want to do that because it's gonna eat up a lot of band width and cost you a lot. So you might potentially end up using something like Wistia.com or Vimeo, or Podbean.com, which I know a lot of people use. I use that for my video podcast hosting.
So that is another element that you'll have to think about that is again, going back to pros and cons. It's a pro to go with some of those existing platforms, because you are uploading directly to their sites and using their servers and you don't have to pay for that or that comes as a part of a commission that they get in terms of selling your courses for you.
But going back to your own stuff. You get to control that experience and there's a lot of difference plugins and tools you can use to help you create those in a relatively easy way. The first one that comes to mind is one that's been around quite a while and that's called WP Wishlist. WP Wishlist is one that was previously owned by Stu McLaren. Great guy. I've used it myself to set up courses and it's fairly easy to use.
Essentially, what it does is allows you to create pages on your site that are password protected and then you can kind of go from there and create parts of your site that are protected and available only for users of your site who have to login or create a user name and password to login. They get granted special access to certain pages. You could have different levels. For example, Bronze, Silver, Gold. They get access to different things and all those sorts of things.
There's also Zippy Courses. Zippy Courses is a tool that I have used to recently set up the course for 1-Day Business Breakthrough. So if you actually go to 1daybb.com/download, you'll see the recordings from a previous event that my buddy Chris Ducker and I put together in April here in San Diego, California. [Editor's note: This download is no longer active, and 1daybb.com currently redirects to https://youpreneur.com/1-day-business-breakthrough.] Ten hours of video content. Great stuff if you want to check it out 1daybb.com/download, but that is something where people have to pay to get access to it and we use Zippy Courses to handle that and that is a really cool tool, because if you end up creating multiple courses down the road, your audience is only gonna need to have that one login to get access to all those other ones. And plus it was very easy to set up. I love the structure of it and the way it's set up.
So if you want to check that out, you can actually go to AskPat.com/zippy. That's it. AskPat.com/zippy, and you can check that out. That's actually created by Derek Halpern, and I know the developer behind that project as well and he is great. So I trust that product. Again that's AskPat.com/zippy.
There's also WPCourseware, which is another one. There's some of these high-level ones. Kajabi and Ontraport and things like that. There's a lot of other ones that you can use, but if you want a simple course platform, WP Wishlist, Zippy Courses are great. I think David Siteman Garland just came out with one of his own as well. So that is what I would recommend. I would check that out.
So again, just the best of luck to you and if you have any clarifying questions coming in, Steve, feel free to ask them on [email protected] Use the #AskPat348 so that other people can come in and listen in and provide value if you like.
So, Steven, thank you so much for the question. I really appreciate it today. Wishing you all the best of luck with your courses and make sure to listen to AskPat or excuse me, Smart Passive Income, episode 136, because that was an interview with David Siteman Garland, who is an expert at helping people create their own online courses as well, and there was a podcast episode that is scheduled for later in the month as well with Ramit Sethi that is about how to sell your online course as well.
So check those out. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your question and we're going to send you an AskPat T-shirt for having your question featured here in the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page.
And to end the day, and the week actually, here's a quote from John Green. He said, “What is the point of being alive, if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?” Hopefully, that gives you kick of motivation into the week and thank you so much. I really appreciate it and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks.