Why Fashion Experts Are Creating Their Own Online Courses

planning Mar 21, 2018

Since launching The Fashion Student Hub and it's sister site We Teach Fashion a couple of years ago my team and I have had almost unilateral support from fashion professionals and students for both platforms and the purposes they serve. Without exception, we've been told these are just what the fashion industry needs.

There is one question though that crops up time and time again which is "Why do people choose to create their own online courses?" People are curious to understand the drivers that are propelling fashion subject experts, whether from education or industry, to want to create and sell their own online courses.

If that's a question you've ever asked or are thinking then this post will explain the common motivators. It answers that question "Why?"

The Importance of Your "WHY"

Creating an online course isn't exactly child's play, although it's not rocket science either. There will be times when any course creator whether just starting out or one who is seasoned with many successful launches under their belt, will struggle and feel frustrated with the various pieces that need to come together to deliver an effective student experience.

So understanding your own "WHY" is the answer to those frustrating times when it gets to you and you end up asking yourself "What's the point?" In other words "why am I doing this?" It's then that you'll be glad you have the answer to cheer you up and remind you why it will be all worth it.

It is your WHY that will keep you going when you feel like giving up. It will be your WHY that gets you up early in the morning to do two hours of course creation work before you go to do your full-time job. And it will be your WHY that gives you the buzz when it all comes together, you start seeing sales coming in and you know you're changing aspects of people's lives with your expertise.

OK so let's consider some of the possible WHYs. You may have just one overriding WHY or several that come together alongside each other.

1. Increased Personal Income

This is a pretty universal WHY since nearly everyone would like some extra income. The question is to what extent does this play a role in your drive to create an online fashion course.

For some people creating an online course that sells is a really smart way to add some additional income alongside their main income streams. So typically this is people that have a full time or part time job and they want to have an additional income stream coming in to support their family and their lifestyle. 

For others, they are looking to build courses to replace their main income and to build a new way of life without the restrictions that come from working in a traditional full-time role for employers.

Others may use their courses to generate additional leads for their main services such as coaching. Their online courses become ways to attract new clients and prove their expertise and the benefits they can bring to their clients as these clients test out the coach by following an online program.

Is additional income your main WHY? And if it is, what's the level of income you are aiming for? I've seen all manner of goals from people saying they just want a few thousand pounds or dollars a year, through to people that want to earn a few hundred thousand and work at course creation full time. All are valid, all are achievable.

2. To Meet The Needs of Others

Next on the list of possible WHYs is the motivation that some people have to serve others. They see how online courses can reach hundreds and potentially thousands of people by removing the limits they have on their time. There are simply only so many people you can serve in a day when you deal with them face to face. But once you create a digital product that limit disappears. So could serving others more widely be one of your WHYs?

For example, Italian fashion designer and lecturer Sabrina Fichi sees an opportunity to offer online courses to Italian students on the subject of draping, her area of expertise. She already lectures at universities in Florence and Pisa so shifting more of her classes online opens up a far wider opportunity for her to serve students far further afield. Students she'd never be able to reach otherwise.

3. More Time

By generating more income and being able to serve others in a different way we can free up more of our time to do more of what we love, or spend time with those we love. So for some generating more time is the key driver.

For example, I know of people that have generated as much money selling their own courses as they did working a 9 - 5 job without having to work on their courses with anywhere near the same amount of weekly investment in time. This frees them up to do other things they enjoy doing such as time with their children, family, hobbies etc. 

4. Freedom of Location

This is a driver for many people and one that is particularly relevant for me. I don't want to have to work where the work is. I want to travel and work wherever I happen to visit.

So if I fancy a few months abroad I know that I can continue my course creation process and course promotion activities wherever I am. I just need my laptop, camera, and an internet connection. I'm becoming a 'digital nomad'.

Perhaps that's what your WHY is, to become a digital nomad and have the freedom to work wherever you want in the world?

OK, so you now know why your WHY is so important. And you also know what the four classic WHYs are that typically motivate course creators. Now I'd like you to dream a little.

I want you to imagine that you have created your online course. In fact, go further than that, imagine you have a series of successful courses generating whatever level of income you desire.

Now imagine how this new found success will affect your working life and your personal/social and domestic life. Try and connect with the dream because it is possible if you put your mind to it and do what it takes to succeed.

I'll give you a few questions to help you bring that dream into your mind more clearly.

  • How do you see your working life now?
  • How does it differ from now?
  • Could you stop travelling?
  • Work different hours?
  • Could you change where you work or live?
  • Would you be working with different clients?
  • Could you add coaching services?
  • What negative aspects of your current work arrangements would you be able to say goodbye to?
  • What would your daily routine be like compared to now?
  • How much would more time you have?
  • How much more time could you have for family or hobbies and other interests?
  • What difference would additional income make to your life?

Use these questions to stimulate your imagination so that you can build a picture of what your WHY is going to deliver to you.

Your Personal WHY Statement

OK, so by the time you have imagined this new life, this new way of working you should be in a position to develop your personal WHY statement. This is a bit like creating your own personal vision statement but directed toward course creation.

I've added a template that you can download here which will help you create this statement. But essentially you are going to write down your WHY or WHYs. Then print off the document and place it somewhere close to where you work as a permanent reminder of why you are creating your courses.

This will help you focus as you work through the course creation process and it will support you when things get sticky and you need a little encouragement. You can read your WHY statement to remind yourself of the end goal and why it's worth the effort.

Things to do now:

  1. Download the Personal WHY Statement template.
  2. Spend time thinking about your life as a successful course creator.
  3. Complete your template, print it off and post it up.

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