In the last post, I wrote about how I started to seriously think about turning my online workshops into a membership site.
Yes, I thought, I could turn each of the workshops into a series of online courses.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. The live interaction with people in the same room tends to steer workshop delivery in a way that’s hard to do when it is a virtual class someone is consuming on their own.
But I digress.
Back to the difference between a series of online courses, and a membership site, and why I’m leaning towards the latter.
I’d like to say it’s because the Netflix and Amazon Kindle Unlimited buffet-style business models are wildly successful.
That’s a good reason, but not the main reason for me.
What I wanted to achieve with this membership site is the sweet spot between a community and a learning environment — at the same time.
Let me explain.
On Udemy, when someone has a question or wants to initiate a discussion, they are limited to doing so on a specific course.
In other words, they can ask a question or discuss best colours to use on my Create Covers In Powerpoint course, but they can’t, for example, ask a question about exporting from Keynote to PDF, for example.
True, it is a related subject, but it is not relevant to creating covers in Powerpoint, the main subject of the course.
So my student is left to his own devices, back to Googling for answers.
This is what I want to change.
What if my student had access to a series of courses, all interrelated and solving specific problems in a specific area, but they could also get access to a community and to me to ask questions not necessarily related to any one course?
Of course, if the community is about building an online platform, I wouldn’t entertain a totally off-topic question like how to fix the kitchen sink, or how to trade stocks.
So that’s the difference between just having a collection of courses, and having a cohesive resource for members that includes courses as part of the resource.
Communities like Fizzle have been doing this quite successfully for sometime, and I thought it’s high time I get into the fray.
First order of business? To decide on the topic(s) and target audience.
As an extension of my in-person workshops, I would help people with tech issues — as long as they were not related to hardware.
As soon as I thought that thought, I stopped myself.
“I don’t really want to run a glorified help desk,” I thought to myself!
I pondered the topic, figuring out better positioning.
I wanted to provide people with the tech tools and strategies to create value in whatever their area of expertise is.
I didn’t want to fix or maintain. I wanted to create.
I wanted to be the tech ace in the sleeve for individuals who were not born at a time when computers were a de-facto standard on every desk, and part of most transactions.
I wanted to help the Baby Boomer and Gen X groups — well, I’m one of them, for starters.
Also, I know that just about now they are either retiring, or considering second careers, or simply thinking about getting out of corporate.
But, unlike Millenials, they’re probably not that interested in moving to Bali and living out of a suitcase and a laptop, “failing as fast as they can” so they can build wildly successful startups. Sounds a little too exhausting for me.
I’m guessing my target groups are fairly content where they are, close to kids and potentially grandkids, but wanting to do something more with their professional experience, skills and more they’ve picked up in the last 20 odd years in the workforce.
Except they probably feel ill equipped to join the digital economy, when they can’t figure out how to print an Excel sheet in landscape mode, or fix their Facebook notifications.
This group is the group I want to help.
Great — I’ve got my audience defined! I thought.
I was so wrong.
I was nowhere near having defined an audience.
All I had done really was nailed down a demographic.
And we all know that a general demographic does not a target audience make.
But that was not what was running through my mind. I was excitedly thinking up names for my new membership site.
Following my own advice on picking a good domain name, I knew it needed to be catchy, easy to remember, and instantly be able to convey the topic — which I finally concluded would be personal technology coaching.
It came to me in a flash, literally in the middle of the night.
One minute I was fast asleep, and then next, I was quietly grabbing my iPad, trying to keep the screen away from shining in my husband’s sleeping face at 4 am, while I registered techcoachery.com.
In the next post, I’ll tell you how I foolishly started building a website for TechCoachery, oblivious to the fact that I had no targeted audience and too broad a topic, and how a Facebook group saved me.