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Thinking about Creating an Ecourse? Here’s Some First-Hand Insight on How to Do It Like a Pro

Publisher Note: I reached out to fellow freelance writer Diana Kelly to ask her about creating an ecourse, ie: what the process is like, the hardest part, the easiest part, would she recommend that other freelance writers do it, etc.

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A Freelance Writer Speaks: What It’s Like to Create & Market an Ecourse

If you’ve ever thought about creating an ecourse to diversify your freelance writing income, Diana shared some great insights. So, let’s get right to her great advice.

1. First, Diana, give us a little history on why you started freelancing so fellow freelancers can know what your experience is like relative to theirs.

I started freelance writing as a way to make extra money on the side while working at magazines, particularly right after college while living in NYC. I was in an administrative sales position at the now-defunct Child magazine (Gruner & Jahr) and wrote for my college alumni magazine by pitching them.

Once I started working full-time at WeightWatchers.com, I was excited to be in an editorial role, but wanted to expand my writing skills and learn how to work with different brands and clients. I sought out gigs on Craiglist and through some writing e-newsletters I received. I also took a few in-person and online Mediabistro.com courses and some Ed2010.com events.

I think I did it for the extra money for vacations and all the friends’ and family weddings I attended during my 20s, but there’s a thrill any freelancer experiences when you secure an assignment for a story you pitched.

I didn’t consider myself a “salesperson,” but selling story ideas and helpful advice in the form of articles was something I could get behind. I also felt like it gave me some security in the tumultuous media industry so I worried less about being laid off from an on-staff magazine job.

2. Why did you decide to create a freelance writing ecourse?Diana Kelly's Freelance Writing Ecourse (Learn How to Find & Pitch Editors -- and More!)

Since graduating from Rutgers University’s journalism program in 2004, my former internship director often sent recent grads my way to discuss my career and sometimes freelancing.

I would also be contacted by other junior assistants at magazines out of the blue about my career sometimes as well and would meet them for coffee.

When friends wanted to quit their jobs they’d ask about freelancing and I’d spend time and energy sharing websites, suggested reading, advice with them, etc. Then, they’d realize how much work it was and usually just change jobs. (Ha!)

I was approached to create a course for Skillshare.com in the spring of 2017.  I was flattered and working part-time at Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine two days a week while holding down a full freelance schedule.

The people I talked to there said, “Skillshare classes are only 10-60 minutes of recorded video, and most teachers take about 10-15 hours over the course of a month to make their class.”

They would only pay me $100 for all of that time and then I’d still have to market the course as well in order to make any money.

I thought that rate was laughable for my time but it sparked the idea in me and made me realize that I could share the advice I was already dispensing on a larger scale and get paid for my time and knowledge.

Why not combine the know-how I had from being an assigning editor on staff in NYC and what I’ve learned being a freelancer into one course that I could control the materials, content, and rate?

I read your (Yuwanda’s) freelance writing book, The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook, earlier that year and saw that you offered a course on how to create an online course.

I gave notice at my part-time gig, signed up for your course in May, read through it, and started researching what I would need to do in order to create my freelance writing e-course.

I wrote the materials in the summer and launched my course “Get Paid to Write” on Teachable August 2017.

3. What was the hardest part of creating an ecourse?

A few things…

Focus and brevity. Your course taught me, “Don’t put everything you know in the world about this topic in your course.”Learn Why HostGator Is THE BEST Web Hosting Company for Freelancers

I would write the lessons and then try to edit them so the student wouldn’t be overwhelmed with every bit of knowledge I learned in my years of experience as a staff editor at magazines and a freelancer writer.

I tried to give them the most important information in order to take action and start their own freelance writing businesses.

Marketing the course. This is why some people use platforms like Udemy and Skillshare — because they help out more with the marketing and having a big network.

I emailed hundreds of contacts individually and told them about my course. I also started a weekly blog on freelance writing to help with SEO and Google and share some of my freelance writing tips for free to obtain interest and show readers that I knew a lot about the subject.

I enjoy writing the blog but found it was tough to “write for free” for myself.

4. What was the easiest part?

Once I sat down to write the lessons, I truly enjoyed that experience. It solidified what I suspected—that it makes me feel good to share this information with others.

I truly do think anyone can do freelance writing (at least as a side hustle) and have success with it if they are going to dedicate the time to it and be patient with the process. I want to help others have that same joy that I feel when they get paid for writing and see their work in print or online.

5. Would you recommend it to freelance writers as another income stream? Why? Why not?

Yes, but make sure you have something someone else isn’t offering.

I couldn’t find an online course on Teachable (or Skillshare or Udemy) that was taught by someone who worked on staff at magazines and understood the process for how an idea that a freelancer pitched got approved.

I believe my experience on both sides of the table at print publications and websites (and knowing how to juggle freelance writing while holding down a full-time job) makes my course different than others offered on any platform.

It’s a lot of marketing work in the beginning to share the course and “sell” it. I wanted to start this as a “passive income stream” and I have faith that it will get there eventually, but right now it takes more marketing and promotional work to get that “passive income” than I may have initially thought.

6. Any other insights you’d like to provide about creating an ecourse (good or bad) for anyone who may be thinking about it?

Once I started writing this, I had ideas for other courses I’d like to create.

My course is geared towards beginner freelance writers and wannabe writers who have never been published before. I have a few ideas on other courses that would benefit different audiences in my industry. I just need to find the time to write those course materials.

Doing something like this taught me new skills about teaching, coaching, and learning new digital platforms, as well as honing my marketing skills. I probably wouldn’t have stretched myself in these ways if I didn’t create the course.

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Final Thoughts: Publisher

A big thank you to Diana for sharing her experience in creating an ecourse. I couldn’t agree more with what she said, especially about how much time it takes to market a course. But, oh the rewards!

Online learning (aka self-paced learning, digital learning) is growing. And if you have this skill set, it’s experience you can sell to clients as highlighted by “ecourse creation,” one of the niches discussed in this post on high-paying digital freelance writing jobs.

One final thing … remember when a book deal landed in my lap? I didn’t do anything to land that contract. It came my way because I already had experience (self) publishing books (and in/on the subject matter they wanted, ie, freelancing).

My point? When a prospect is looking to have someone create an ecourse for them, they’re likely to hire more than any freelance writer. Once who has actually created a course stands head and shoulders above the competition simply because they know what’s involved in the process.

Freelance Writer Spotlight: Diana Kelly Talks Ecourse CreationMy  mission here at Inkwell Editorial is to keep you constantly aware of just how many ways there are to make a living writing… and when you take the initiative to do things like self-publish books and create ecourses, that’s experience you can parlay into landing freelance writing jobs – high-paying freelance writing jobs.

Thanks again Diana, and happy writing everybody! 🙂

About the Contributor: Diana Kelly is a freelance writer, editor and digital strategist. Her expertise includes health, fitness, weight loss, travel, sleep, relationships, lifestyle features, career, freelance writing topics, and business profiles. She can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Learn How to Successfully Find & Pitch Editors — And So Much More!

Freelance Writer Diana Kelly Talks Ecourse Creation (Check Out Her Course on Freelance Writing)

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