Ready to finally launch your online course?

12.08.21 07:22 PM By The Stella Way

It is no easy task to go from course idea to course launch, regardless if you are a novice or an expert.

Feeling lost in the beginning stages of online course creation is common. 

You can easily divide course creation into three phases:

  1. Design 

  2. Create

  3. Launch

However, tasks in each phase should not be executed independently of each other.

Furthermore, these phases should not be considered as silos nor milestones of your course creation project. 

Why you should NOT have a linear (or waterfall approach) to your online course creation project

Did you read that correctly? This is what NOT to do.

A waterfall approach to a project is to complete an entire phase before moving to the next. The results from previous phases dictate what occurs in the next phase. 

Two examples of waterfall projects are bridges and rocket launches. Now, I am not an expert in either, but I am sure you would agree with me that they will follow a basic pattern such as: 

  1. Plan
  2. Acquire resources
  3. Build
  4. Test
  5. Launch

Now, this approach is perfect for these projects, as each phase depends on the results of its predecessor. 

However, in online course launches, the risks of going through these processes with the same scrutiny can result in you never launching your online course. Furthermore, failing to complete one task perfectly before another does not have any death toll associated with it! 

So, if we go back to the three categories of course creation (design, create, launch), how do we do this while NOT implementing the waterfall approach.

We use a more agile and iterative approach.

This means we complete all tasks at the same time in smaller chunks. We design, as we create, as we launch.

Yes, you do need to plan (to a point), before you create content so that you can launch a course with lessons. 

This is what many new course creators think. I understand how easy it is to tell yourself: 
  • First I will create a course plan
  • Then I will create the course content
  • Then I will launch my course

However, what if I asked you: 
  1. What will you do if you get to the launching phase and no one is interested?
  2. How will you ensure you do not create a course that is full of all your knowledge and not focused on what your students want?
  3. How will you ensure your course content solves a problem for your clients?
  4. If your course launch is not successful, after investing so much time, how will you feel?

I don’t want to aggravate any fears you may already have about creating online courses. That is not the point of the above questions, rather, quite the opposite. 

The above questions should encourage you to start thinking outside the box of course creation.

These questions should get you out of the vicious cycle of course creation - plan to launch or launch to plan?! This is a whole other matter of course design, launching before you have planned. I covered my concerns on this topic in a live in my FB group, watch it here

Regardless, a successful launch does depend on the success of your course plan.

However, if you were to sit in your office to plan out your entire course without running trials nor collecting student feedback, you run the risk of a failed launch.

See what I mean by this vicious cycle of ‘plan first then launch’ or ‘launch first then plan’?

How to effectively launch an online course

As covered above, to effectively launch your first online course you need to run iterations of the course creation journey.

In fact, you should run iterations for each new course idea you have. 

But what do iterations mean?

An iteration is a smaller chunk of your project. Specifically, in this example of your online course creation project, it means to execute small chunks which encompass tasks from each phase of course creation. Remember, those phases are design, create and launch. 

Let’s look at the below example

I have a course idea to help people implement realistic regimes of healthy eating and daily exercise.

Milestones for this course creation project with iterations can look something like this:

  1. Release a free short course to pilot the course idea, for example: 

    • A free live exercise class

    • A series of short videos on healthy recipes

  2. Run a low-cost beta course

    • This will be either a section of your full course, or

    • Your full course dripped over a defined period of time (e.g. weekly) 

    1. Release the first iteration of the full online course at discounted price

    2. Release version two of the full online course at full price

    What is included in each milestone?

    Regardless if it is a free live exercise class, a series of short videos on healthy recipes or a 12-week exercise regime course, each milestone should go through the below processes.


    1. Speak to your existing clients and validate if people want to attend a free session

      • What is the purpose of the session/course?

      • What is the problem it is solving?

      • What are the steps/journey you will take people through to solve the problem?

      • What do your students need to learn to be able to do?

    1. Plan a course outline/structure including:

      • 1 clear course goal

      • 3 - 5 learning outcomes

      • The competencies your students will need to learn to do to achieve the outcomes

    1. Write a list of content ideas and map them to the course outline

      • Does the content idea support the student in reaching the learning outcomes?


    1. Create a storyboard of what you will take them through in a live session. 

      • What will your students see through demonstrations, live sessions, etc (think the multimedia displayed on a screen)?

      • What examples will you provide to further explain a topic?

      • What instructions will you provide?

    1. Record videos, podcasts and other content material

    1. Create workbooks, activities, and other resources


    1. Create a basic landing page 

      • Highlight the problem being solved and what they will be able to learn to do (see, we did this in the planning stage, which supports us in the launching phase)

    1. Connect payment gateways

    1. Create marketing material and copy

    1. Reach out to prospects you spoke to in the design phase

    During the delivery of your course, ensure you collect feedback from your students - throughout the course, not just at the end. 


    You have finished Milestone 1!

    Let's Wrap It Up

    Now: Iterate!

    Take the content, experiences and feedback from your first iteration and learn from it.

    Continue to enhance your course in your future interactions.

    • What more do you feel you need to know from your audience?
    • How can you better support your students?
    • What is their feedback telling you?

    Find what works for you, your business, your courses and your students. From here, continue to implement iterations.

    Ready to create your online course?

    I guide my clients through designing, creating and launching their online courses to help them reduce the stress of course creation overwhelm!

    Book Free Consultation

    The Stella Way