#153: Course Creation: 5 Reflections to Help Identify Your Course Idea


Welcome back to the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast. This week we shift gears from talking about mindset to focusing on what course creation looks like with a heavy dose of mindset mastery to keep things moving forward.

The truth is that course creation is a big undertaking and I want to spend time on this topic right now because if you are listening at the time of the recording, Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy is launching and thousands of entrepreneurs are going to be digging in deep to the concepts of course design, tech questions, launching, list building, course delivery, student enrollment, and so many other things that go into a course.

I thought today it might be helpful to share 5 ideas to help you get started with your own course and then wrap up with some mindset work to keep you in a place of progress, confidence, and ease.

The First Course I created

The first course I created was a general psychology class at Clemson for two sections of 75 freshmen each. One Hundred and Fifty 18 and 19-year-olds filed into the classroom and expected me to impart my wisdom in 15 weeks.

I had all of the feelings. I was excited because this was my first job after getting my PhD. I was terrified and can still remember the pterodactyls that were flying around in my stomach that whole first semester. I was humbled by all of the information that I didn’t know. And I was intrigued by how I could do better the next semester.

That was over 15 years ago and I still feel all of those things any time I create a new course, whether it is for a college classroom, a group of educators hoping to learn curriculum design techniques, an organizational training program, or a course for my clients.

I learned early on that I was never going to deliver the perfect course. I would always get questions to which I did not know the answer and would have to do some research, and even though the pterodactyls moved out years ago, I still welcome the butterflies that appear on the first day of a course launch. They remind me that my audience is counting on me and I care deeply about the outcome.

5 Reflections to Help You Identify Your Course Idea

Whether you are new to course creation or a veteran course creator, today I want to share 5 reflection questions that will help you identify your next or first course topic with more ease, confidence, and ultimately progress. The goal is to take meaningful action. 

And the meaningful action starts with the end in mind. When I develop my courses I always create things backward. I start with the outcome and then deconstruct that to create an experience that aligns with where my students will end up.

This means that today’s conversation isn’t about modules, lessons, workbooks, or lead magnets. It is about the end goal that your student will experience and how it helps you build a business that you love. 

I do have a caveat here: If you are listening to this episode and are a coach who is working on a coaching program, these reflection opportunities will still apply. In fact, they apply to many aspects of your business so don’t feel like you can only use these for a course topic.

1. Explore what you can do that has people shaking their head in amazement.

This might be something that is a hobby, your career, or just a random skill that you possess. For example, I posted a virtual sticky-note board where I mapped out the revision of a Business Vision course that I’ve created in the past. People were amazed at the organization and were asking questions about how they could go from paper sticky notes to this virtual version. 

2. What would you do all day every day if you could?

You are going to spend a lot of time in the course creation and delivery process. You might as well love what you do. After all, so many course creators are leaving more restrictive positions. Do something that excites you! Now when someone asks me what I would do all day every day if I could, I would probably respond go for walks and read a book. 

I know a health and wellness coach who has a Walking Book Club membership. We talked to Julie Kaminski in Episode 14 back in 2021! Although what she does isn’t a course there are ways that you could turn that same content into a course for your clients with a little creativity.

My point here is that you don’t have to go with something completely traditional. You can think outside the box.

3. Head to Google and see what topics are trending in your area of interest and expertise. 

Explore online forums, social media groups, or industry surveys to understand what topics people are actively seeking to learn about. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do this at first and I quickly realized that it is an important part of building a sustainable business.

You have to keep an open mind as you do this. I love following Ryan Levesque’s method for choosing your market and idea that will resonate. He shares all of the details in his book Choose and I constantly pull that back out when I’m considering a new product, service, or idea. If you have been through his Quiz Funnel Masterclass, you’ll have access to his Choose course and can review the concepts there.

Truthfully, I hit on a lot of ideas and markets that were just not going to be profitable. The more I’ve learned over the years, I can look back and see exactly why this idea or that wasn’t going to work without a lot of time and investment. Some of the ideas I wanted to pursue were leading the pack, but I didn’t have the following or the money to be the trailblazer. I admire those who do, but don’t feel like you have to have a completely new program, course, or idea to be successful. Your course might be the exact same topic as mine, but it will have your own personal spin.

Look at the market for AI courses right now. Ever since January of 2023 those AI courses have exploded. Every time I turn around I’m hearing about a new course on AI and I don’t even use AI very often. Each of those courses has a unique spin or approach. Your course, even if it is the same topic as someone else’s will have a unique quality. This can be a great time to explore the method you take to the course content.

4. What is your business vision? 

Taking time to answer the question of what is your business vision will give you the opportunity to explore course ideas that will allow your vision to become a reality. We’ve all heard the horror stories of people who built these massive businesses around a product and they ended up hating it because they compromised their vision.

Getting clear on your vision from the start will help guide you to choose a course idea that moves you closer to your vision rather than away from your vision.If you haven’t worked on your vision before or in awhile, check out Episodes 19, 45-48, 66, and 122. I’ll make it easy and link them in the show notes so that you can check them out.

To briefly get your ideas flowing, consider your personal and business values, explore your dreams for your business, the clients you’d like to serve, the overall design of your business, the support, professional development, and self-care that you’ll need, and the financial goals that you’d like to achieve.

For example, my primary revenue stream is 1:1 coaching. This works for my schedule, I enjoy working closely with my clients, and it supports my business vision right now. In the future as my vision grows and evolves, I may shift from 1:1 coaching to a group coaching approach and add in more courses. The key here is that right now, my 1:1 coaching supports my vision. It goes against the mainstream concepts of scaling, scaling, scaling, but it fits my needs and vision.

So while you are deciding on a course topic you want to be sure that you are also testing it against your vision to decide if it will help you move forward.

5. What are you passionate about?

As you think about your course topic, consider what you are most passionate about. That passion will keep you fueled when the modules need to get finished, the workbooks need to be designed, and you have to market your course to people you’ve never met before. Passion for your course content makes all of this just a smidge easier.

The three key ingredients to a successful business are taking meaningful action, messaging alignment, and mastering your mindset. Taking meaningful action is so much easier when you are passionate about your topic. You are less likely to find procrastinating tasks to take up your time, and you are more likely to find joy in the research and implementation of the course.

Master Your Mindset

These five reflection questions are all well and good to move you toward a course topic and even a coaching program focus, but they are only as good as your mindset.

As a course creator, coach, or entrepreneur in general you have to be open to the process of exploration, research, learning that you might be wrong, and trying things that ultimately don’t work.

The key is to always be checking in with your mindset. Is that latest idea that didn’t pan out creating negativity about your business? How can you reframe the challenge to focus on what you’ve learned, what doors you’ve closed off so that you can explore new doors, or even how the experience has helped you gain clarity on next steps.

You don’t have to skip the wallowing with some ice cream or your favorite Netflix series, but it does mean that you commit yourself to taking meaningful action and work on making progress.

Action Item

Now onto the action item for this week. I’d like for you to explore at least one of these reflection questions as you consider a new workshop, course, Zoom meeting topic, or even coaching program content. See what pops to the top for you. 

I find it helpful to go for a walk, find a quiet place to sit with a cup of tea, watch the water on the beach, or simply hop in the shower to let those thoughts start to flow. The key is to not try to control the thoughts or censor them. Simply let them come and jot them down as you are able.

I’ve had plenty of moments where the thoughts pop into my head while I’m driving and I turn on a voice recorder and just capture the essence of these thoughts so that I can come back to them later.

Be sure to let me know what you discover in this reflection.


Let’s wrap up for today with a few final thoughts. Coming up with your course idea can feel huge, but when you take time to reflect using the prompts I’ve shared today you might find that you have more ideas than you can pursue.

Just focus on one thing right now and put the other ideas in a parking lot to come back to in the future if you choose. 

Next week I’ll be digging in deeper to the imposter syndrome and self-doubt that inevitably pop up as you start exploring course ideas and the actual building of your course or coaching program.

I’ll see you back here next week for another episode of the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast, where we focus on mentoring, community and implementation. It’s all about taking action so that we can remove the overwhelm of building a successful and profitable business and add in a little dose of momentum.

Until next time, have a healthy, safe, and happy week.

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