• Peter Stout

Creating an Online Course That Rocks (Part 1)

I have one week off after Sacred Road before I have to get back to work with Jed. I'm going to use that week to create a course that teaches people how to edit gaming content on YouTube

The Idea

A third of the way through this year, I decided that I wanted to leave behind video editing and switch to full time film work. At the time, I was editing gaming content for several YouTube channels. It was going great! I remember one weekend in February we were getting over 1.8 million views per day. At the same time, I felt like film was what I really wanted to do. So I handed the reins to my brother and set off on a journey. I don't regret it at all.

Lately, while talking with Jed about marketing and going through the book Sell it Like Serhant I've begun to realize how much potential and influence a good salesperson has. If you have a proven track record of successfully selling a product (whatever that product is) you will never run out out of work. Your potential is limitless. People will always need to sell things as long as we're floating around on this blue-green rock.

With that realization, I began to search for something that I could do to make income on the side while still working with Jed. I came up with a bunch of different ideas:

  • A YouTube production company similar to Render.GG but more efficient and streamlined. (Render has serious production pipeline issues). I talked to Jeremy from Gaming Curios about it. We concluded that most clients couldn't pay enough to sustain a company like that. You'd have to make enough to pay the editors fairly AND make a profit. To make that work, we'd have to go after the top 1% of Twitch. It's possible and there is room for it, but it's hard and would require a lot of outside investment.

  • Do some editing for clients on the side. I was on the fence about this idea. On one hand, it would provide guaranteed income. On the other hand, the amount of money I make is directly tied to how many hours I put into it. I needed to make some sort of product or service, something that can make money over and over again.

  • Create a course that teaches people how to make money editing gaming videos faster and better than everyone else. In the video editing work, time is money. Especially on YouTube where most YouTubers can't pay huge amounts of cash to an editor. Also teach basic social / business skills that will be helpful to the students no matter what field they decide to go into. I ended up going with this idea for a couple reasons. 1) Once I have the course produced and running, it requires a minimal amount of effort to maintain. If it gets to a point where it needs a lot of regular maintenance, I will be able to hire someone to help me out with that. 2) I put a lot of work into the course at the beginning and after that, it can theoretically sell until the market is exhausted. The work to return ratio is not linear. 3) I feel like I could teach people a very useful skill while also encouraging them to go for more.

Making the Idea Happen

Next I had to figure out how I was actually going to make this happen. There were several main issues that needed to be sorted out:

  • Where am I going to host the course? Am I going to hire someone to create a website? Or am I going to use an already established LMS? (Learning Management System).

  • What specifically am I going to teach?

  • What is my marketing strategy?

Luckily I had a few things going for me. I have some experience with marketing and creating educational content. I can also produce high-quality content in a relatively short amount of time.

My goal is to have at least half of the content shot, edited and rendered by the end of the week (8/11/2019). I'm doing whatever I can to make that happen.

First I set out to find a good place to host my content. I looked at Wix but didn't think it would work well. I looked into hiring someone to create a website.

I foolishly thought it would cost somewhere around a couple thousand dollars. Instead I got slapped with a $16,500 quote.

Yikes. Next I looked into Thinkific and Teachable. After a lot of back and forth, I decided to go with Teachable.

Next I wrote out a document detailing what I was going to teach. The document kept getting bigger and bigger. At first it was only a couple pages long but I started to realize that there was so much I needed to teach if I wanted to accomplish my mission statement.

Teach people how to edit gaming content on YouTube. Teach them how to do it better and faster than everyone else. Equip them with good social and business skills in the process.

A couple pages of the lesson planning document

I also came up with a unique selling point for my course.

I'm going to provide students with clips that I have used in videos that have been viewed millions of times and let them edit those clips in their own unique way.

This way I give the students real world experience and give them something they couldn't get anywhere else. I had one of those "AHA" moments at my desk.

Next, I had to figure out my basic marketing strategy. I started digging deep into what has worked and what hasn't. I watched this video of Russel Branson's 10x Growth Convention and had my mind blown. I studied the website Fulltime Filmmaker. They have earned over $6,000,000 since launch. Clearly they're doing something right.

After a lot of research I settled on an approach similar to Click Funnels. The idea is that you offer a free piece of content to people who visit your website in return for something of value (usually their email). You use this piece of content to teach them something useful but also convince them that your product is the only way to go. Once they are convinced, you upsell them the actual course. It's ridiculously simple but also ridiculously effective. Even Fulltime Filmmaker is using a similar approach.

With that taken care of, I had to figure out who my target audience was. I created and shared a survey to a bunch of editors. Here are the metrics:

Pretty cool! I can also safely assume that the 42.9% of people who are employed in video production are not employed full time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the vast majority of people aged 16-19 don't work full time jobs. Even then, most won't start a full time job until they are 25. This means two things:

  • I need to provide value to both complete beginners and people who have some experience in the field

  • I need to market to teenagers who are employed. My guess is that a majority of the teenagers who answered 'employed' do contract work from time to time.

I still needed one important thing before I could begin producing the course. I needed a name. Right out of the gate I knew I needed a name that was practical and simple so that when my ad shows up anywhere, someone instantly knows what the course is. Just take a look at the top courses on Udemy:

The names are all super straightforward

And here's an ad run by Full Time Filmmaker:

You can instantly tell what Full Time Filmmaker is and why it's helpful.

I started playing around with some names and catchphrases:

I decided to go with Gaming Editor. As for the other three phrases, I will be using those (or something similar) in advertisements. I'm also going to design all of my templates and projects in such a way that if I decide to change the name of the course I can do so without having to re-make everything.

This was the hardest part of the project for me thus far. So far I had concrete goals and I knew exactly what I needed to do. But when you're creating a logo, you kind of just wait for something good to pop into your head and look around for inspiration in the meantime. I sat around for a good hour and a half messing around with things, getting ever more frustrated. Finally I came up with this:

Then I registered the domain name.

Now I was about ready to begin production. I set up a couple OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) scenes so that OBS would record both of my monitors. Next I ran to Best Buy to get some lights to hopefully make my room look a little less ugly on camera.

It definitely isn't perfect. I could really use at least one more light, but there's no way I'm going to be able to fit another light in my room. But it made the shot much more cinematic and interesting. It definitely helped give the shot a more professional feel. I was almost ready to begin shooting. I quickly created a transition in After Effects for use with the course. While I'm recording, whenever I switch between Premiere or After Effects, this transition will record to the file automatically. That way I don't have to add transitions in post.

Now I'm pretty much ready to go. It's 3:27 AM on Wednesday. I planned to starting shooting by the end of Tuesday, but that's alright. Projects like this always take more time than you estimate. Now it's time to get some sleep!

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