Creating a Beta Course: A Step-by-step guide to transforming your Ideas into Reality


Imagine unlocking the secret to rapidly transforming your ideas into a profitable online course. Today, I’m thrilled to pull back the curtain on a game-changing approach I’ve been refining: creating a beta course for your program. It’s a strategy that has already propelled my students in Online Courses Academy to astounding success, and I can’t wait to guide you through this process. But here’s the twist: we’re not just talking about any ordinary course creation method. We’re diving into a strategy that redefines the rules, eliminating the stress and uncertainty that usually accompany pre-selling a course.

Today I want to talk about something that I’ve refined and systematized over the last few weeks because it’s been a big topic in Online Courses Academy and my students are making amazing progress and having such great results with it. I’m super excited for them, so I wanted to kind of share how to create a beta course for your program so get everything out of your head and actually out into the world sooner rather than later.

I’ve heard this advice a lot and I kind of cringe when I hear it now that the process for validating your ideas you should create a program and then pre-sell it, so sell it before it’s actually completely ready and I’m like, my heart kind of tightens when that happens because I know from personal experience that this is a really stressful way to go about doing this whole validation and beta process. Three years ago I heard that advice and I was like, you know what, that’s gonna like make me get my course out there, get it finished and yes it did, but I’m surprised I didn’t get an ulcer from it and it was such a time crunch that even though I created the content I felt like it was a little bit subpar.

So this way that I recommend and I’m going to go over now, it’s just a slight shift but it allows you to take away a lot of the negatives that go along with that pre-selling phase because it’s stress-free. 

It’s probably gonna be outside your comfort zone, but it’s not gonna provoke the level of stress that pre-selling your course would. It also is going to provide a ton of value to your customers and it gives you priceless insight into what it is that your customers actually want and allows you to create a much higher end product and therefore make a lot more money in the process.

So the difference between what I’m going to recommend now versus pre-selling your course is that instead of positioning it as the course being completely finished, you’re going to position it as a live coaching program. 

If I were to go back and give myself some advice, in a very loving way when I said, “Oh, I’m going to create this course and pre-sell it and then I’ll finish the modules like one week at a time,” I said, “No Megan, that is a dumb idea. Do not do that.” Instead, invite your audience to join you in a live group coaching program and so what does that mean? That means that once a week you’re going to meet over a Zoom webinar and discuss a topic on your course and then a lot of that, the rest of the meeting time, is going to be live Q&A and that’s where like the magic happens.

So when you’re creating this beta version of your program, the way that I would position it is saying, “Okay guys, I want to invite you to work with me on a deeper level because I’m in the process of creating a program that I really want to be as valuable as it possibly can be and the way that’s going to happen is by co-creating this together where we can go through this process over an eight-week period of time and together over live Zoom meetings, virtual meetings as a group, we’re going to work through planning, creating, and launching your online course. 

So this is a once in a lifetime opportunity because I’m never going to be offering this again and you get to be founding members of this program if you’d like to join. It’s going to be at a discounted rate of whatever the price is.”

That’s an important note there. Doing a beta program, I never recommend doing it for free, like ever ever. I mean, even if you wanted to give it for like $29, although I don’t think you should ever do that either, it needs to be enough money where people are gonna value it because the truth is we don’t value what we don’t pay for. 

And the beta program, it’s really important that you get feedback and collaboration and engagement with the audience. And so I’ve seen people kind of fail at this whole beta process because they offer it for free and they promise the world and then they’re like, “Why is no one showing up to my live office hours or my live Zoom webinar?” and that kind of breaks the whole thing because now you’re just showing up and talking to yourself and that’s not where the value comes in.

And so these are the steps for actually getting this done. 

Number one is you’re still going to outline your course. I always recommend, like I talk about this and preach about this in other videos, on the importance of outlining your course. If you try to create content without having a final outline, it’s like taking a match and throwing it on a pile of money because you’re gonna waste so much time, money, energy, resources, and creating content that you might not ever use and it’s also gonna really postpone and drag out the creation time for your course.

So always, always, always, always outline. 

Now this is going to be a tentative outline like it doesn’t need to be a hundred percent set in stone yet because you’re not going into filming videos and writing scripts and doing everything ahead of time. 

You’re going to co-create this as you go through this program but you still want to have a general idea of what those main modules are going to be for your program because these modules are going to become the focus for that weekly Zoom webinar. Then you’re going to invite your audience to work with you in a group coaching program which I kind of explained already earlier, where whether it’s through email, or it’s through Instagram, or YouTube, or your Facebook group, or affiliate partners, you’re going to invite a small group of people to join this live program. Then you’re going to create a Facebook group. The beauty behind this is you don’t need any tech.

You need Zoom which is free unless you go over 45 minutes and then it’s only $15 a month, I think, so totally very very doable. 

And then a Facebook group. You don’t need a membership site. You don’t need anything. And you can just accept payments through PayPal. You don’t need any tech at all, which is amazing if you have some technophobia which we can cure later on, but right now we’re just trying to validate the idea.

When you create your Facebook group, the important point here is that Facebook’s in a lot of cool upgrades that they roll out and what you want to create your group as. So if you’re in the online course mastermind group, I’m going to use this one as an example. 

This, you want to have the group type set to social learning. So when you’re in your group, you’re going to click here to more and then go to edit group settings. That will take you to this page and here, choose social group, social learning. These are the other options like general, buy and sell, and the reason why you want it to be social learning is that depending on which setting that you choose, Facebook adds different features to your group or yeah. So now when we go back over to the discussion, you’ll also see this come up here where we have units and this allows you to create essentially, it’s very similar to what an online course would be, like a membership site where you have different pages for the modules.

But say that I was going, I’m going to use Online Courses Academy as an example. So if I was creating this for Online Courses Academy as a beta, the first, the first is validating your offer. Someone but one and then second is outlining the results in our training formula. So adding, outlining, and structuring your course, so to outline, and then I’m only gonna put three just so you guys aren’t like wasting time watching me type, uh creating your content, and then fourth would be membership site, fifth would be building a rockstar affiliate program, and then seven would be planning your launch strategy. And then what you can do here is you can add different posts to each of these units. So you can put a video in one of these posts, so say I’m gonna go back to this, if I added a video right now or I added a photo, we’ll put this one, just that’s the first one that popped up, and then this could become a post.

Well, I would recommend posting a video or like some short training and then you can add this to one of those units. So now we can hit this little dropdown and then add it to like let’s say this went to ma outline or module three content creation. Now it is going to show up under that unit. 

So if we go to right now we’re on unit 5, that other one’s created but this name is content creation, any of the posts are going to show up here. And so that’s really simple and it allows you to have like a really organized platform where people can post their questions, they can collaborate back and forth, you can put in resources and everything stays really clean and concise. 

So that’s as far as the tech stuff goes, but now I want to talk about like how it is that you’re going to deliver this and like how are you going to provide a lot of value. So during these calls, I think like the biggest value behind this is that you’re going to find out so much that you don’t know that you don’t know about your customers.

When you’re like interacting live, it flows organically. I know this is true for me, you get in your flow, like you get in your zone of genius and sometimes I listen back to videos when I’m just going off the cuff or on a tangent and then I’ll listen back to it and I’m like, “Oh my god, I’m so smart.” 

I don’t even know where that came from,” but it’s just because I know this content so well. And I’m sure you know your expertise so, so well that you’re going to be a lot better teacher. Things are going to come out, questions are going to come from them that then provoke a train of thought for you, and it’s just like magic happens during this process.

So after you do your video, you want to then immediately like document, document, document. Document like what questions were being asked, document like anything that went wrong, anything that went really good.

Always ask for your users’ wins and then also any obstacles they’re facing, like what’s preventing you from moving forward next.

And so we actually just got off of Online Course Academy office hours, and everyone in the group I asked, I was like, “So are you stuck anywhere? Is there anything in particular that you feel is preventing you from taking that next action, moving forward?”

Because if there is, I want to know what it is because when we can solve it, knock down that obstacle, then you can keep trucking along and getting closer to the end goal.

So definitely end with those questions, document afterwards, and then get this transcribed.

So say the video was an hour long, you now have this video file, and you can send it to Temi, T-E-M-I, and get it transcribed for 10 cents a minute. So if it was, it would be like six dollars, totally worth it. You now use that script, that transcript that you get, and this becomes your working draft for your final version of your program.

I recommend after doing this beta program, like you then move on to making it a more finalized and really high-value course. And so then that would require scripting your video lessons and filming videos, and then putting it into a membership platform. This is like your minimal viable product.

It’s a way to bring in revenue immediately without like, you could honestly, you could do this today.

If you have a platform, even if you had just a couple hundred people there, but they’re engaged, or had an email list of a couple hundred people, you can send out an email saying, “Hey guys, I just watched this Facebook Live by this girl named Megan, and she said I should offer this beta program. 

And so I’m gonna do that because I want to provide value to you and I want to co-create this, and I think it’s a great opportunity for me to be able to work with you on a deeper level.” And yeah, see what response that you get. If you don’t get any response, well, at least you took action, and then maybe now you know you need to start working on building more of an engaged audience, because that’s always going to be a part of it. Like, you do need some platform to be able to promote this to. You could borrow a platform by having affiliates or having other partners promote for you, and then you give them a revenue split. That’s definitely an option. I don’t really recommend doing like Facebook ads for something like this because the people that are going to join this, it’s someone that probably has already known, like they’re already in your vortex, already know of you, they already know, like, and trust you. I think converting cold ads is probably less likely for this. I’ll be more later on down the road, like when you have an ad strategy for actually your full program.

And then yeah, it’s just a review, read, it’s a review, it’s an action, review, refine process that really is never-ending like.

I’m still doing that every single week with Online Courses Academy, like I’m asking those questions, and I’m getting feedback, and I’m making the course better and better and better to where I truly believe it is the best version. I use the best course on how to create a course, hands down. I have no problem saying that, I can say it with all honesty because it really is. Like, I do this day in and day out for clients in every single industry that you could imagine, and I’m teaching the exact same processes that I’ve worked on for like six years in our business to get really, really streamlined because the profitability and success of my company depends on it. So if you have any questions, post any comments here, and I will answer them afterward, but I really want to stress the fact that taking action is so, so, so important.

And so this beta also gives you the opportunity to build testimonials, build case studies, and increases your following because people are going to be referring their friends, family, co-workers, network to you as well.

And finally, fear is something that we all have to deal with. Like this is going to be outside of your comfort zone. It’s so funny, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at, you still deal with this. Like clients that have been making millions and millions of dollars in their business, when it comes to creating a course, there’s still that a little bit of an imposter syndrome.

If it’s really good enough or am I going to be providing enough value, is this what they need? Like it doesn’t matter where you are, and instead of that being frightening or nerve-wracking, I think that is calming. Like it’s soothing to know that no matter where you are, it’s never going to go away, like fear is always going to be there, some of that imposter syndrome is still going to be there. So once you know that, then like what are you going to wait forever for it to go away, or for you to feel ready? Because if you are, then it’s never going to happen, and the only antidote to fear, or at least for the time being because it will come back, is action. Like that is the only thing that you can do. As soon as you take action, the fear goes away. It’s like even before I press Facebook Live, like I get nervous and go, “Crap, like what if I forget what I’m talking about?” Which happens all the time. Like that, I didn’t die, nothing happened bad, or I don’t know, the tech doesn’t work, like who cares, you just keep going, and you’re going to be so much better off for it. I have to finish with this, is that if you don’t take action, like you have no one else to blame other than yourself, and that’s just the raw, hard to hear, honest truth. Like your level of success is completely dependent upon you and your ability to implement and actually be okay with failing and give up caring so much about how you look to other people or like what people think of you. And if you’re really going to ask yourself, like if this is something that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time and you really, you really want to do it, like how long are you going to continue looking at other people live the life that you want to live because you’re too worried about how you look, you’re too worried about failing in front of them, for people that you don’t even know. If you’re willing to not try and not even take action because you care more about what other people think, then you aren’t going to be successful, it’s just the truth. You’re going to fail multiple times, but you’re going to also be okay. And then everyone that you admire, everyone at any stage, they all started somewhere, and it’s consistency and it’s that repetitive process of action, review, refine that got them to where they are, like whoever it is. So, I’m begging you, please take action, because otherwise, you’re just letting so much potential just go down the drain, and it’s not fair to you, it’s not fair to your family, it’s not fair to your potential customers, your kids, your friends, anyone that looks up to you.

You have this in your heart for a reason. If you have the desire, then you were meant to actually do it, and people need your genius and your expertise that you have to share with them. But I would love to hear what questions you guys have, and if you take action, then definitely let me know. Like if you implement this strategy, please let me know how it goes. I would love to hear about it. Until then, bye guys!

Step 1: Embrace the Concept of a Beta Course

Moving away from the stressful practice of pre-selling an unfinished course, we’ll focus on developing a live coaching program. This approach provides immense value to your customers and offers you deep insights into their needs, leading to a more refined final product.

Step 2: Outline Your Course

Start by drafting a tentative outline of your course. This step is crucial as it saves time, money, and resources. Your outline doesn’t need to be set in stone but should give a clear direction of the main modules you plan to cover.

Step 3: Invite Your Audience

Reach out to your audience through various channels like email, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook groups. The goal is to invite them to participate in a group coaching program, turning them from passive viewers into active collaborators in your course creation process.

Step 4: Set Up a Facebook Group

Create a Facebook group with a ‘Social Learning’ group type. This setup will allow you to organize your content effectively, similar to a membership site but without the need for complex technology. This group will serve as a central hub for interaction and resource sharing.

Step 5: Structure Your Program

In your Facebook group, structure your course using the ‘Units’ feature. For example, if your course has seven modules, create seven units. Each unit can include videos, posts, and resources related to that particular module.

Step 6: Conduct Live Weekly Sessions

Hold weekly live sessions via Zoom, focusing on a specific topic each week. The live Q&A sessions are where you’ll gain invaluable feedback and insights, helping you tailor your course content to your audience’s needs.

Step 7: Document Everything

After each session, document the questions asked, feedback received, and any other notable points. This documentation will be crucial for refining your course content and understanding your audience better.

Step 8: Transcribe and Refine

Get your video sessions transcribed (services like Temi can be used) and use these transcripts as a draft for your final course content. This step ensures that your course is based on real interactions and feedback, making it more relevant and impactful.

Step 9: Develop the Final Course

Using the insights and content from your beta course, start scripting your video lessons and filming them. This content will form the basis of your high-value final course, which you can host on a dedicated membership platform.

Step 10: Review, Refine, and Launch

Finally, engage in an ongoing process of action, review, and refinement. Use the feedback from your beta course to continually improve and update your course, ensuring it remains relevant and valuable to your audience.

Launching a beta course is not just about creating content; it’s about building a community, fostering engagement, and co-creating a course that truly resonates with your audience. Remember, taking action is key. Overcome the fear of starting, and embark on this exciting journey of transforming your knowledge into a thriving online course.

I’m eager to hear your experiences and successes as you implement this strategy. Please share your questions and progress – let’s celebrate each step of this incredible journey together!