With websites like Teachable and Kajabi, along with online marketers advertising their online courses, it’s no secret that creating an online course is all the rage among entrepreneurs today.

It makes sense. It gets your brand awareness on a larger scale, passive revenue, a way to build your email list. I could go on and on.

3 Mistakes When Creating an Online Course

And it all seems so easy, right?  You have an idea, then you can turn it into an online course. But there are a few critical mistakes many entrepreneurs don’t take into consideration as they step into the creation process. Those mistakes can cost entrepreneurs thousands of dollars.

So, how do you avoid these mistakes?  Focus on your audience. Here are three ways to do that.

1. Be clear about the transformation.

Humans are goal-oriented creatures. We want the end result – whether it’s to lose 10 pounds, to have a great relationship, or to land the dream job.

Ask yourself this question: “What problem am I solving?”

When it comes to creating an online course, it’s so important to base the content around the problem your students are experiencing. After all, you’re leading them toward their goal! 

This is especially important when you’re marketing your online course. When your prospects see you as the gateway to what they want, they won’t hesitate to work with you!

2. Provide opportunities for your students to implement.

When entrepreneurs create a course, it’s tempting to want to throw in as much information as possible. It’s understandable! You’re excited to teach, and you come from a place of wanting to help. 

Here’s the thing: it’s so easy to access information today—with Google and Wikipedia, the world is at our fingertips!


What makes an online course a profit making machine is when you push students to take action. How are you encouraging students to apply and implement what they’re learning?

When your students take action, they’ll be closer to reaching their goal and they’ll see you as the key to reaching their goals and want to keep working with you!

3. Align your content to your students’ needs.

There’s something called “the expert curse.” Since you’re an expert, you’re so proficient that it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a newbie or someone that really isn’t that familiar with your industry. This can make it challenging when you’re figuring out the content.

First, ask yourself: “Are my students at the beginner, intermediate, or expert level?” This is a simple question, but it’s oh so important. It determines what type of terminology you use, how in-depth you need to go on a topic, what application activities they need to do, etc. 

You see, when your content directly aligns with your students and their needs, they are less likely to experience buyer’s remorse and ask for a refund.

So, how do you create an online course that delivers you revenue year after year? Focus on your audience as you design the content.


This is a guest post from Jessica Terzakis. Jessica is a curriculum and instructional design consultant with more than 7 years of experience.  She joined Terzakis & Associates, a small business advising firm in Bedford, New Hampshire and acts as a consultant to private clients. 

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, she worked as a teacher in public education and worked with the New England Association for Schools and Colleges in evaluating participating school’s curriculum and assessments. Jessica graduated from The University of New Hampshire with both a Bachelor’s Degree in English Teaching and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education.