I want to talk about why I think you should make an online course, despite how saturated you might feel the industry is. But to do that, we need to talk about Steve Jobs.
In 2005, Steve Jobs stood in front of an audience of new Stanford graduates and told them a story from his brief stint at Reed College. Although he dropped out after only a single semester, the college still permitted him to drop in on certain classes. Most notably, Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy course.
It was in these calligraphy classes that Jobs learned about the archaic beauty of fonts — the difference between serif and sans-serif, how spacing and kerning influence the experience of viewing the design. He was entranced.
To quote him directly:
“None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. […] Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
“So,” you might be wondering, “what does any of this have to do with me creating my first online course?”
In short: Everything.
The obvious star of that story is Jobs, who, in following his interests, passions and intrinsic motivations, went on to lead the design and production of one of the greatest consumer products of all time. But there’s another character there, someone just as influential and very easy to miss:
Robert Palladino. Otherwise known as “the guy who taught the calligraphy course.”
You see, I don’t believe we have to be a “Steve Jobs” to have a profound, lasting impact on the world. I believe deeply in visionaries, in creative thinkers, in bright minds with great ideas who want to make things better for other people. But as the daughter of two public school teachers, I’ve seen firsthand how much of an impact creative thinkers can have — not just through doing, but by teaching what we know.
If you’ve been online long enough, chances are you’ve already noticed that online courses are a great way to learn in public, practice public speaking and establish a new revenue stream.
But the thing that gets talked about less often and I think is twice as important is the impact a thoughtful, engaging online course can have on a person.
I know this as a teacher who goes live once a week to teach my own classes, I know this as a consultant who’s helped knowledge workers across industries map, execute and sell online courses, and I know this as a writer now on a mission to uncomplicate the online course creation process for everyone.
Trust me, I know that the “online course industry” feels saturated. If you’ve clicked one ad, you now likely see them all.
But remember: It doesn’t need to be about having all of the answers or being the next Steve Jobs. Life is about impact, and impact can happen anytime, anywhere—particularly once you choose to start teaching.
If you’re curious about creating an online course and don’t know where to start, my guide Beta For The Data lays out the whole process from mapping your lesson plans to making the first sale. Click here to grab a copy for $33.