Want to create a course from your book?  Thinkific makes it simple.   

Miranda Lievers of Thinkific discusses the best way to get started, using expertise you already have.

Miranda Lievers is a Vancouver-based entrepreneur devoted to the intersection of small business and technology. As co-founder and COO of Thinkific, she’s helped 36,000 business owners earn 100 million dollars with online courses over the last year, while educating millions of students around the globe.

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Thinkific is an online course creation platform.

We enable people to create, market, and sell their own courses online under their own brands, feeling confident they’ve got the easiest technology and the best support in the industry.

HOW DO AUTHORS USE THINKIFIC?

We’re excited to see authors using our platform. And our team is putting together a lot of content specifically designed for authors right now, as the features WRITERS look for can be different than other entrepreneurs. I’ll tell you about 3 ways we see authors using Thinkific to benefit their businesses:

  1. Authors are creating FREE courses to start to build their Email Lists.
    By developing a Mini Course, you can easily get readers (and potential readers) to share their email address with you—in exchange for your knowledge and content.  
  2. Authors are creating COMMUNITY and two-way conversations.
    Your readers may follow you and read all your stuff, but you’re not hearing a lot back from them. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re just speaking to a dark room. We see authors using online courses to start a dialogue with existing or future readers. Online courses can help you create community and encourage the two-way conversation that ultimately makes us all better writers.
  3. Authors are creating new REVENUE streams with online courses.
    By developing “next-level” content that comes with a bit of a price, you can monetize an additional income stream for your writing business. We often see authors using courses to build Membership Sites as they get more well-known and start to build a bigger audience.

HOW CAN I BEST “GET STARTED” WITH ONLINE COURSES?  

I’ll tell you most authors I speak with immediately think they have to develop their big, giant, epic Signature Course. We don’t recommend that.

It’s actually the LAST thing we should be thinking about. I liken that approach to the cook who wants to begin entertaining. You don’t generally START with a huge dinner party for 80 guests. It’s better to ease into it, get your feet wet, and maybe start with tapas and a movie.

For authors, we recommend starting with a FREE MINI-COURSE as a “lead magnet.”  It’s a short course that offers material you are going to exchange for your reader’s coveted email address, which we all want to capture. By getting their address up front, you’ll have a way to contact them as you’re writing your book, as you’re publishing your next piece of work, and as you’re looking to market your writings.

CREATING A MINI-COURSE IS REALLY QUITE SIMPLE.

Thinkific is a great way to begin offering simple online courses and to then build on your success. It’s a natural fit with someone who is writing (or aiming to write) for a living, because it creates a way to deliver content on an ongoing basis. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Use our FREE PLAN to build your Mini Course. At the very beginning, there’s not even a cash outlay required. Thinkific’s plan scales based on the features you add. Begin with a free account on Thinkific and literally just click and use the Mini Course template to get started.
  2. Solve a very simple problem for your readers. It’s really just about figuring out the few tidbits of information that you can provide to solve a problem for your readers. Be sure to make the problem/solution compelling enough that someone will want to trade their email address for it.
  3. Promote your class in your online content. If you are publishing regularly, and especially if you are publishing online, we suggest linking people directly to your Mini Course from your blogs, ads, or emails. It’s effective to come up with a “signature line” that wraps up your article and calls them to act, like “Want more tips like this?  Check out my free course online!”  

I sometimes refer to Mini Courses as the “Rip off the Band-Aid” course. It’s your opportunity to get your knowledge online, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and determine what you enjoy about content creation. You’ll quickly see how the whole thing strings together; and then you can easily go and grow from there. To keep it easy on yourself, leverage information you already have, perhaps from a blog entry or a podcast or interview to get started. And remember, the biggest mistake that new course creators make is to think they need to provide a behemoth course. For now, think SMALL and focus on providing readers simple information that helps them solve a real problem. That way, they won’t hesitate to give YOU what you want: their email address. 

For MORE about interacting with readers via Thinkific:  
Check out our other Women in Publishing blog post: How Authors Can Make Money with Courses; an interview with Miranda Lievers

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