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Planning to *finally* launch your self-paced course in 2022?

Then this interview is for you. Ariel Schiffer, head honcho over at Dream Pro Courses, a course creation agency, sat down with me to discuss:

⚡️ The top things to understand about your ideal learner/student before creating your course

⚡️ Figuring out where your ideal learner is starting from before experiencing your course

⚡️ Ariel’s top tips for collecting valuable & useful market research data

⚡️ Self-paced course vs. Live group program

⚡️ The biggest mistakes Ariel has seen made in course creation & curriculum design

🎧 Listen to this interview on Apple Podcasts: Coaches & Company Radio

DM us @coachesandcompany or leave a comment below with your thoughts, how you enjoyed the interview, & any follow up questions you have! We wanna hear from you!

You can learn more about Ariel below:

@dreamprocourses on Instagram

www.dreamprocourses.com

Watch the full interview below 👇🏽


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Read the transcript below:
Disclaimer: This transcript has been auto-generated – please excuse any typos or grammatical errors. 

0:13

Hello, everyone and welcome back to another episode of 21 days of business. If this is the first time you’re catching this video series, welcome. My name is Yasmine Salem Hamdan. I’m the founder of coaching company comm. We are your go to digital destination for all things legal in your entrepreneurial journey. And throughout the month of November, we are going to be sharing interviews with guest experts each day answering your questions as they relate to your business. And today’s topic is a super relevant juicy, so good. I mean, you name it all the things we are talking about course creation with our special guests, Ariel shipper of dream pro courses Hey, Ariel, i How are you? Good. Are you doing great. So glad to hear it. And I’m so excited to have you here. For those that are not familiar with you are with Dream Pro. Could you share a little bit with us, please? 

1:12

Yeah, my name is Ariel Schiffer. So the founder, CEO, Dream Pro, which is a course creation agency for small businesses, entrepreneurs, who are looking to develop really, I like to say high quality programs. So our mission is to improve the quality of learning in the online business industry. So not just focusing on the marketing of your course. But also, in addition to that, and what’s probably most important is the design behind your course and making sure that your clients really get the transformation. So we provide done for you services with our agency. And then we also have an educational platform too. So that way, you can create your own courses as well. I love it. Yes. So needed because there is I mean, of course, creation is a hot topic right now. Right? And it has it has been for a couple for the past couple of years. But it has, it seems like it’s grown exponentially since the, you know what began in 2020. Right, and everyone went virtual. But I’m really excited for our conversation. Because while I’m all about monetizing your passions, your expertise, your experience, your knowledge, packaging, that in a course, or digital product and selling it, it’s super important to make sure that we’re maintaining the quality of these products, the quality of information that we’re sharing, making sure that we are acting in integrity, that we’re not just like bundling together a bunch of was it I think, is a conversation that you and I are having where it’s like, yeah, we’ll just string together a bunch of live videos they’ve done and then call it a course you know, and it’s so much more than that. Developing your curriculum, making sure that you are weaving in different teaching methods and making sure that you’re setting your students up to succeed. Right. So I’m really excited for our conversation today. And I know that there are three things in particular that you wanted to share with us that we need to be keeping in mind as we are creating our online courses. And so let’s kick things off. What do we need to know Ariel? Yeah. So when it comes to creating courses, like one of the biggest tips I get for people is like making sure that it’s really catered to the people that you’re trying to educate. And so, you know, that’s a very big blanket statement. So here’s what that actually means. And this is something that I really recently actually wrote some stuff on. And I was like, This is so good to share with people. So Oh, my God, telephone things. Yeah. So when it comes to actually like creating an experience that really aligns with the people that you’re trying to target, so if that’s your current audience, maybe maybe it is approaching somebody new, you want to first start with understanding where they are starting. So what that means is not just, you know, looking at the assumptions of, oh, this person drink Starbucks coffee, and they’re 35. And they’re married, or none of that stuff, it’s really looking at, okay, my ideal learner, if you will, like where are they starting from a competency perspective? Right? So how much do they know in this area? Where are they starting from? Like, what is what are their previous experiences look like? And then also looking at it from a confidence perspective to so mentally, like, where are they at? Do they feel really confident? Do they feel excited? Do they feel nervous? Like, what are those feelings? So really meshing, you know, the mind and the spirit, if you will, when it comes to like where people are at, to begin and that’s really going to help you when it comes to a lot of people say, How do I make sure my course goes deep enough for how am I making sure that I’m like hitting the nail on the head when it comes to what people want to learn? One of the key parts of that is understanding like, where they’re starting from, right so that way, you know how deep you need to go or what you need to really explain to really help them through that. The next thing that you want to know is where they want to go and why and so we were just having actually a conversation

5:00

about recent FTC changes when it comes to things like making income claims and all that stuff. And so, you know, topic for another day. I’m very excited. Yeah, I think maybe we should do a live chat and continue our conversation because, yeah, definitely much needed one, right? Oh, yeah. Yeah. And when it comes to that, too, it’s like, you know, a lot of people are so used to selling money, like the money promises, and like, especially if you’re b2b, right, like money is definitely a motivator. But what’s important is, you know, as a course creator, for you to understand, like, what your clients and learners actually want? And why, like, what’s that deeper thing outside of the money? Right, the money is giving them something, they don’t just want it to sit in a bank forever and never use it, right? So like, why did they want that money? Or what’s that underlying thing that they truly want? And when you’re able to identify what they want, it helps you say, Okay, this is where they’re starting, this is where they want to be, how can I make sure that my program actually connects the dots to them. And it’s not just because I think a lot of times too, course creators are like, Oh, this will help you like, we’ll use, you know, basic example. So I’ll help you get to 10k months, if you can’t draw the line between where your curriculum actually helps them achieve that, or how, then they’re going to be lost to, it’s not going to benefit them either. Right. So just making sure too, that you understand fully, like intrinsically extrinsically, what your learners want. And you’re able to connect that I would say with that as well is when you’re thinking through that transformation. Another tip is for you to really, when you understand your audience understand to like, where are they going to get stuck, wherever they previously gotten stuck? What do they tried before? And where they failed? And how can you make sure that you’re doing what you need to make sure that they’re not stuck? Right? So a lot of people say like, oh, I’m stuck here. And they’re, well, what have they been trying what’s on them? Right? Because you also don’t control them, like this is you can only do so much. They’re the ones that are taking action, but how can you remove any barriers that maybe they have had before within your control and do that within the learning experience, and then I’ll give you a bonus number four tip, which is, especially if your course has a live component, where you’re doing coaching or teaching outside of what’s pre recorded, is I always like to say like, be the coach or the teacher that they need you to be right. And so a good coach, a good teacher is bringing up the potential and the people that they see. And the way that they approach one person might be a little bit different than the way that they approach another. So remember to when you’re working with people individually, get to know them, understand what makes them tick, what helps them reach that potential, and really, like, you know, hone in on your coaching and your teaching skills when it comes to that stuff, because that’s really going to help them and aid in the transformation if you’re if your course has has that component. Yes, absolutely. And I think that’s so important to have some level of personalization, right, I know that a lot of people and I think it’s true, in most contexts is that, you know, highly personalized touches may not be always quote unquote, scalable, right? You can’t establish a very deep relationship with each individual person, as you increase the volume of your reach and your students or your clients or whatever it is that you’re doing. But early on, it’s possible right and and I think it you only stand to benefit as you’re learning more about your audience, learning more about your community, and you’re developing these relationships and hearing from them and providing them with space to share their hangups, their desires, their struggles, their wins their goals, or whatever it is that they envision for themselves, and ultimately, what they envision themselves like on the other side of that transformation, on the other side of that experience in working with you, or learning from you are being supported by us. So I love that. I would love to hear from you on

9:05 

identifying your you mentioned like how deep is too deep when it comes to the content of my course. And so what are your recommendations on identifying a course topic?

9:18 

And creating a course and then building an audience for it versus creating a course for an audience you already have created?

9:27

So this is a loaded and very interesting question that I’m very excited about. So something that I usually share with like, something that I think we need to realize is our current audience might not be our ideal audience, right. So like, for example,

9:46

you know, I on my platform on my like, you know, social media accounts. I have a lot of people that follow me that are business owners, they’re either you know, have bigger businesses or they might just be starting out so they can be you know,

10:00 

to clients for a number of different offers that we have, if I go to my personal page is literally people from like high school and college family, etc. So, you know, if I sent out a survey for market research on my business page, I would likely get way different answers than I did on my personal page. So it’s, you need to really think about too. Do you want to speak to your current audience? Or do you want to speak to an ideal audience? And are they the same thing? Right? They might be they might not be. So when it comes to developing something, you know, one of the first steps that you need to take is getting some data, right? This is something that other people want aside from you, right? Because you’re not the buyer on course. But that being said, is making sure when you are putting out things, especially a lot of people use polls and surveys and, and all that is fine. It’s a great point of data. It’s not the only point of data you should use. But I always like to say to make sure that the right people are filling that out, like put a disclaimer, like, Please only complete this if X, Y and Z, right. Because getting data from people that are not ideal, it’s going to skew things so much. I remember, recently, I just did a whole new market research thing, because we recently redid all of our offers, and I specified these are the things that I’m looking for, for us to have a conversation and a ton of people reached out. And then I reiterated, do you meet these these requirements, you know, just because I want to make sure if I’m getting on the phone with somebody that it’s worth their time in mind, right, your time is just as valuable as my time. So I found a lot of people were not qualified. So and then some people that when I actually got on the phone, I realized, oh, wait, I should have asked for these things too, because these people still aren’t necessarily ideal. But I had great conversations with them. And it actually helped me

11:46

realize that I had another audience group that I wasn’t even thinking of that was kind of in the middle of the two. So yeah, it was just, you know, like the people that are not really like they don’t have the time for DIY solutions. But they don’t have the capital yet for like our full done free, right. So there’s that like middle section. But I would say you know, identify like who you actually want to create something for making sure that you get data and you get feedback from people who are actually aligned with that. And then you can start to really develop and understand them and really connect the dots. Because truly when it comes to creating great products, the best products, the ones that go the deepest, the ones that are so relatable and so actionable are the ones that are created by the people that know their audience in and out like it’s like, they’re their best friends, right. And so I can tell you all day about the people that work with us in a done for you manner, like I know exactly what they say what they object to you, I know what they value, I know, I know what’s going on. And I just I know them because I’m so used to talking to them and working with them. And the same thing has to go with your courses. So like if you get to know people really well, you’re going to be able to make way more specific content to them, point to examples that they can relate to. And a key part of adult learning is really, adults. Unlike children, children are like sponges, right? We’ve heard we’ve heard that, you know, sort of metaphor. Adults like we come with baggage, right? Like we have trauma, we have experiences, we have all these things that we’ve gone through in life. And so to create effective learning experiences, we want to use that to our advantage, actually, we want to relate the baggage to what we want to learn, we want to take all of our bad habits and and actually use that to our advantage. And so the more you know, people, the more you understand what baggage they’re coming from, what experiences they had, the more you’re going to be able to create learning and content that actually really connects with them and resonates with them, which helps them obviously implement and really think about how they can actually change their life because most courses are designed to create behavior change, right? So it also comes with connection. So I know that was very blue. Okay, I was gonna say so that was there was a lot there. And I feel like I’m going I want to re listen to that response, because there was so much goodness in that. In particular, one thing I want to highlight that you mentioned, Ariel is talk to your people, like get to know those people. Yeah, don’t make assumptions based off of what it is you think they need or what it is that you think they want. Even if you were at one point in their exact place or in their exact position or in experiencing what it is you think they’re experiencing, still having those conversations and you know, ultimately, it’s market research and for sure, market research for the win, like the clarity that comes through when you actually engage with your market and speak with your market and even if you end up on market research calls with people that are not an exact fit, if anything that helps even further clarify who is the right fit? Yeah, and who is really that you’re talking to and you might even like you mentioned Ariel, uncover more

15:00  

market or a segment of your market that you had totally overlooked or was just kind of like, hey, help me and you weren’t serving them at all, and maybe be able to create a more specific course or a more narrow course, or resource that serves them, or maybe helps them have that, like, early transformation needed in order to be ready for your ultimate course, or ultimate service, or whatever it might be. So I love that. Thank you for that. So you run an agency, and you support your clients in creating their courses, developing the curriculum, what does what does that look like that cure, excuse me curriculum development process and refining that.

15:49  

Um, it is a process. So just to give you guys I guess, I’ve actually never really talked about my process for this. So this is a really, I’m glad you asked because I’ve never really spoken about it. So I love it. Dude, when it comes to the overall like, course design experience, I have a framework that I use that’s based on a.

16:11

So in the instructional design world, there are a few different methodologies that are tried and true. And they’re very useful for large organizations where you’re working with multiple groups of Smedes, or subject matter experts and all the things but it’s it’s very much so rooted in sometimes like old school mentality, corporate politics and ways of working. And so I really had a look at what I was doing for large organizations and connect it with the industry that we’re in, because it’s so unique in a lot of ways. And so I came up with our own process that is kind of like a spin on traditional instructional design, but more practical for like what we do with our clients. And so the overall process is four steps. But we always start with the the curriculum, right like looking at like the blueprint of the program, if you will. So we usually kick off with market research. So for our done for your clients, what we do is we provide you the prompts, that you need the information that you need to relay so that way you can get some data. And then we do a competitor analysis. So we look at what’s currently going on in the industry. And we create this really great like analysis recap for you, which is great for you to give to copywriters for you to use in your messaging, I mean, you just get a lot of information. Yeah, and a lot of aha moments. And like you said earlier, and like I said, like you cannot make assumptions when it comes to the people that you’re serving, because you will always be surprised. And to your point to like a lot of times our ICA really is somebody who was us, you know, a few months ago, years ago, whatever it might be. But since then the world has changed drastically. And the way that people work and live has changed. So there’s always gonna be some nuances. And also people just aren’t you right, there’s always going to be some nuances that you’re able to pick up. So we start with market research. We provide recommendations to the business owners outside of that, too, because I always tell people like we can do as much as we can, but it always serves you, especially if you have a small business to like truly, like be in the trenches and connect with people. And also to with that, like it doesn’t always necessarily need to be new people that are potential ideal clients, like talk to your current clients. I talked to them all the time. I’m always like, Hey, you want to test something out? Can we can we try something with you? Can you be your guinea pig. And let me tell you, people love being guinea pigs, because usually they’re getting stuff for discounted or free, and they’re getting way more attention. And we’re just getting some feedback. So I always like to test with my clients, they love it. And it just gives me insight. So we do market research. And then we go into we have a few questionnaires. I give a few different prompts for really helping people think through because a lot of people hire us because they’re like, I don’t know how to articulate the way that I work with people one on one or the services that we provide, like me, doing it myself and me educating other people to different things, right. And it really is it’s it’s there’s a difference between educating and doing so I give some prompts to really get in their head in terms of like, what they typically do what their thought process is, what’s needed. What’s a gap. If they have any signature frameworks, or if they have any processes that maybe they haven’t articulated in the best way I try to capture that. I usually tell them send me everything that you have that’s related to this course topic. And they’re like, Are you sure? And I’m like I’m sure. I’ve literally seen it already thing. Yeah, I’ve literally I’ve gotten pictures of people’s offices like filled with post its and they’re like, it’s in no particular order. And I’m like,

19:36  

But you know what, like, I think just good instructional designers. We are master organizers. It is very interesting. So I’ll take what I can get anything is better than nothing. And we have a questionnaire we have that. And then we usually kick off with a client. I go through their questionnaire, I go through their content, and I usually just ask a bunch of questions. I’m digging into all the little pieces of it trying to uncover

20:00

The things that maybe they didn’t think about, or the things that maybe they couldn’t, you know, think of when they were writing things out, which happens because a lot of people to work with us, it’s their first course or like, I don’t know what the fuck, I’m just, you know, writing some stuff out. So we asked a bunch of questions. And then basically, our kickoff is sort of like a VIP day in a way. So I spend the entire rest of the day like going through their stuff looking at, if it’s a revamp, I look at any client feedback they have, I do my own research, I look at the market research, I look at everything, and then come up with a plan for course, objective. So this is really outlining, okay, what are the goals of the program? What’s the program promise? And then based on that, what do people actually need to do? And in what order so once I have those course objectives, they really become the Guiding Light of the rest of the program, and I’m able to fit in the pieces, which makes it easier. Course Objectives are honestly difficult, very difficult. It’s it took me years to like, really understand how to fully create them, and then how to actually map things to them. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. But you know, it’s just what I’m used to. So creating all those objectives. And then from there, I look at okay, what are the modules? What are the lessons? What are the resources? What are the overall frameworks, what are the sub frameworks,

21:20 

and I like to look at programs holistically. So how do all the pieces work together? How does it accomplish the program promise? How does it relate to maybe the additional program features like coaching or community right? Like how is each piece actually intentional in creating an overall learning experience? How does the pricing align with, you know, the market research align with what expectations align with the person’s product suite, so there’s so many like individual pieces, then it’s, it’s almost like a puzzle, putting it all together in a way that makes sense for the business owner that makes sense for the learner. And just overall creates something that is unique, but also really

22:02

enhancing in terms of them getting to the outcome. So I don’t know if that’s the best, easiest way to toss Oh, good curriculum. But there are a lot of pieces. It’s definitely, it’s an art and a science and a lot of ways. But it is, it’s fun. It’s a total creative, like sort of experience for me. And it’s one of the most fun things that I do, honestly. And that’s actually the core part of what I do in the agency is just the kickoff, and then the team basically executes from there. So yeah, I love it. Thank you for that inside. Look, I actually want to hear you talk more about that outside of this interview. Because I think that that’s so helpful in providing context, and just visualizing all of and when you said puzzle pieces, that’s exactly what I was picturing in my mind was all of these different pieces coming together. And just receiving support in the execution of okay, I have all of these. I know, I have a wealth of information and experience and training and everything to pull from, but how do I bring them together in a way that allows for me to effectively communicate all of those things that allows for me to package it and sell that as a product. And then of course, and ultimately, the most important allows for my students or my learners that are coming into that course, to effectively learn and in process and implement everything that they’re learning? Yeah, of course. So. And that’s one Well, I think get stuck is like they’re so used to people telling them, especially people that don’t have an instructional design experience. And they’re like, just create an outline like that is so debilitating, if I just started to try to like bullet point out, you know, the content, it would not come out the way that they do now, because it’s like, it’s so much more than an outline. And once you take the time in upfront to put all these pieces together, the rest of it just flows so much easier. And things just make sense. And, you know, I think that’s all honestly what causes people to go into this spin of like, overwhelm and feeling like there’s so much and feeling like they have the plan, but the plans not actually working out the way they intended. It’s because you’re starting at an outline, which is like step six.

24:15

There’s like five more steps before that. Yes, absolutely. So good. Thank you for that. So in our last, I feel like we could talk about this for ages. Yes. And this will be the first of many Carla, this is definitely not our first conversation on the topic. But first interview first first aired or shared chat. But to wrap things up. I would love to hear from you as far as what your big message is for our community. So those that are interested in expanding their products or their services into creating a course and sharing their expertise and their knowledge and their experience with their community. What’s your big message

25:00

Um, so I would say for people that are just starting out in terms of really creating educational content or you know, digital products, things like that, is don’t rush it, right? Like I understand people want things yesterday, I do too. When it comes to things like courses or digital products, you know, the things that are going to create the most revenue for you the things that are going to create the best reputation for you the things that are going to create true client transformation come from intention and time, you don’t I mean, you can’t rush good things. And I think there’s a difference between testing things out piloting things, and really putting out a product that you’re proud of. And so my biggest advice is, you know, sometimes I think people get a little bit overwhelmed when they hear me talk about our process, because I, I’ve been in this world for like, 10 years, and some people are just now starting to, you know, really

25:59  

flex their educator, their inner educator. And so, I want to say, like, Don’t get overwhelmed, like, you’re not supposed to know everything that I know, anybody can be an educator, I think it just takes time and intention, right. And like, you know, do your best try to try to always do better try to always update your stuff, get feedback, get real data, and research. And, you know, if you’re just creating from your own, like, sort of like laser focus mindset, and you’re not bringing in, you know, people to look at stuff or give you feedback, it’s going to be way harder, right? So kind of going back to the beginning, like, don’t make assumptions, try to like test things along the way, and it’ll make you feel even more confident, but you need to start right so just start, start

26:45  

and take your time and, and try to enjoy the process to you. I think when you approach things with the mindset of oh, this is going to be a lot of work, or it’s going to take so long, then of course it well, right but um, you know, enjoy, enjoy the process too, and try to have fun with it. I love it. Do it with joy. Do it joyfully. I’m here for that. Thank you so much, Ariel for joining us. And if you are interested in learning more about Ariel’s work about dream pro courses, all of those links and all those goodies will be in the description

27:15  

of wherever you’re watching or listening to this video. So thanks again. Ariel, talk to you. Appreciate it.

*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.

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