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    How to Launch a Transformational Online Course with April Beach (Episode 298)

    How to Launch a Transformational Online Course



    In this episode, we take a deep dive into why the launch of online courses alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. We explore the startling drop in demand for online courses – a decline of $13.4 billion – and the reasons behind this trend, from course fatigue to inadequate materials and missed outcomes. It’s a frank look at a shifting landscape, providing valuable insights for coaches, consultants, experts, and speakers who want to take their online businesses to the next level.
    We then pivot to the exciting potential of online courses, particularly if you know how to curate your content effectively and focus on delivering real transformation to your participants. This isn’t just about teaching skills – it’s about guiding people to new heights. The key is the powerful technique of Transformational Program Design™, and we will discuss how to create a course that doesn’t just educate, but transforms, setting your online offering apart from the rest.

    Key Takeaways:

    1. Grasp the nuts and bolts of Transformational Program Design™: Learn about this innovative approach that aims not just to impart knowledge, but to transform learners in meaningful ways.
    2. Evaluate your existing course: With new insights from this podcast, you’ll be equipped to take a hard look at your current course and identify areas where changes might be necessary.
    3. Act on your knowledge: By the end of this episode, you’ll have four actionable steps to implement immediately if you’re in the process of building an online course. No vague theory here – it’s about real steps you can take to ensure your course stands out and delivers genuine transformation.
    Resources mentioned: 
    For the bonus mentioned and for more about what we do and how you can work with us:

    April Beach on LinkedIn


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    Full Show Transcript:


    [00:00:00] Hi, you guys. And welcome to the summer series here on the Sweetlife Entrepreneur podcast. I’m April Beach, host of this show. And I’m so excited to bring you back to the surface one of our most powerful episodes that we have played here on the past on the Sweetlife podcast. If you’ve been following us for any period of time, you know that we give you trainings and proven strategies that other coaches will charge you thousands for.

    [00:00:24] And so we went back into our archives and pulled up our most popular profit generating powerful episodes and it brought them to the surface over the summer series here on the Sweetlife Entrepreneur podcast. So if you’re new to the show and you miss these episodes, we want to make sure you don’t miss them.

    [00:00:39] And if you’ve been listening to this show for over five years. Thank you so much. First of all. And secondly, these things are great to hear again. And sometimes when we rehear things that we learned once before, we hear them in a different way because you and your business are at a different level.

    [00:00:57] And so that’s what we were doing here on the show. In [00:01:00] this episode, we are replaying a popular episode about how to build transformational courses. Now we’re going to talk a little bit about the history of online courses, the trends in courses in this episode, if you plan to scale your business with courses, or if you’ve built courses and they are not selling, this is a very important episode for you to listen to.

    [00:01:21] The online coursing courses industry has changed drastically since we first started in 2008. It is completely oversaturated. People are not finishing courses, but yet. Some of our clients are generating millions of dollars selling their courses, and that’s what I want you to hear in this episode. So, with that being said, let’s go ahead and dive in.

    [00:01:45] This is a replay of a past episode. All of the show notes have been updated for you, and they can actually be found by visiting And you can [00:02:00] also go to the links in the old replay episode and they will be updated for you and they will also be there to provide you with more resources again.

    [00:02:07] Thank you so much for tuning into the show, tuning in behind the scenes here from the front porch of the beach house. And I am so appreciative of your listenership and your support of this show. Enjoy.

    [00:02:22] You’re listening to the Sweetlife Entrepreneur Podcast, simplified strategies to grow your service business and launch a life you love faster with business mentor and entrepreneur activator, April Beach.

    [00:02:40] Hi there, and welcome back to the show. I’m April Beach host here at the Suite Life Entrepreneur Podcast and founder of the Sweetlife Company. Thanks for joining me again on another episode where you can take what we deliver to the bank. This show is known for delivering you business trainings and coaching that other businesses and coaches [00:03:00] charge thousands for.

    [00:03:01] So thank you so much for tuning in with us before we get started today. And we’re about to talk all about online courses, which I know is a popular topic for so many of you. I want to make sure that, you know, how you can connect further with us here on the podcast.

    [00:03:14] Delivering information is one thing, but then you usually have questions or you want to know maybe how this applies in your business. So if you are on clubhouse every single week on Wednesdays at 12 o’clock, we host a room and this room is all about the podcast topic of the week. And I take your specific questions on what we talked about on this week’s show.

    [00:03:36] So if you’re listening right now to episode number 223, and you want to know all about how to launch a transformational online course, you’re listening to this podcast, and then you want to workshop with me and ask your questions. That is where you can find me totally free. Every single Wednesday on Clubhouse at 12 o’clock Eastern time in order to find that room You just [00:04:00] need to follow me on Clubhouse and I can be found at April Beach super simple so So let’s take this podcast from where we are now over to clubhouse and I’m happy to have a deeper conversation with you and give you support in this area.

    [00:04:15] So who is this episode for this episode is for those of you guys that are in the business launch or scale phase and you’re thinking about doing so with an online course. So here are a couple of important things to note. Launching an online course isn’t enough. All right. In fact, the sale of on demand online courses and free courses actually dropped.

    [00:04:37] The consumption of them has dropped over the last couple of years. And that’s because so many people are weary of buying another course or even of spending their time on a free course. And they understand the material they’re getting really isn’t good or it isn’t transformational. And they aren’t really getting the outcome that they had hoped that they would receive.

    [00:04:58] So, if you are… [00:05:00] Which you are listening to me here and entrepreneur business, and you’re looking to scale online courses are still really powerful way to do that. In fact, we help most of our clients launch online courses, but how you curate your content and deliver a transformation to your students, to your clients will determine whether or not your course is a huge hit or a huge fail. And so that’s what we’re talking about today on the show at the end of this episode. You’re going to understand the basics of transformational course creation and design. You’re going to be able to assess your current courses and whether or not you need to make changes, and you’re going to have 4 steps to take action if you’re building an online course.

    [00:05:41] Right now. So if you’re ready, let’s go ahead and dive into the show and all of the show notes and everything we have here for you can be found by going to sweetlifeco.Com [00:06:00] okay. So let’s first dive in and talk about what is a transformational course. A transformational course is an online course that delivers measurable transformational results where your students, your, your clients actually are able to understand what you have taught them and actually practice and put it into action instead of.

    [00:06:21] So a lot of course creators, actually, most of them just teach you how to kind of outline your content. In benchmarks and basic reverse engineering, you need to do much more of that if you want to scale your business and become an undisputed leader in your space by creating a transformational online course.

    [00:06:37] So that’s why this is so important. The problem is more content is not better. You know, nobody needs more content. Nobody is out there saying, please inundate me with more content. I know I’m not and I’m sure you’re not either your students and your clients and the people that you’re going to go through your course.

    [00:06:57] They just need a transformation and [00:07:00] that transformation could be a micro transformation or it could be a major transformational outcome for them. So in able to do that or being able to do that. As a course creator means that you need to understand how to design your course that includes delivering a transformational measurable result in the end.

    [00:07:21] And according to canto. com content overload is when too many different blog posts and articles and ideas and suggestions cover one specific area. And I know that as entrepreneurs that you’re struggling with that. If you’re talking about something that so many other people are talking about in that same area, it is a huge issue for your business and it has a couple of negative effects.

    [00:07:45] For one, it creates a vast. Quantity of material covering this one topic and it makes it really hard for you to stand out. Another problem is that it turns off a potential audience and they don’t want to shift through [00:08:00] endless content to find the one thing they’re looking to achieve. And you can read that article.

    [00:08:06] We’ll go ahead and put that link to that article in the show notes for you guys on our website. And so, as an entrepreneur, I know you’re struggling with this. I know that you need to understand how to stand out, how to become known, how to become like what I call undisputed leader. And I talk to hundreds of entrepreneurs every single month that are asking, how do I make my course or my program or my service stand out?

    [00:08:30] And it all starts with simplified. Transformational program design. So I want you to write those words down in your memory. If you’re driving your car to say with me transformational course or service or program design. Okay. And that’s what we’re talking about here today. That’s what we teach within the Suite Life company.

    [00:08:53] If you’re looking for a resource beyond this podcast in this area. And so here are some steps I want to give you that you can walk away with though [00:09:00] immediately so that you can take a look at your course. Step number one is if you already have a course, take a look at your curriculum, take a look at it.

    [00:09:11] And if you’re in the process of building your online course, take a look at what you’re proposing to build. And you need to be able to articulate the end results so that people can expect, know what to expect fully. in the end with the transformation they’re going to get from your course. Not just what is the end, but what is the detailed transformation that they can expect.

    [00:09:35] You don’t want to just say, oh, they’ll feel better as a parent if you’re launching a parent coaching course. Or they’ll know how to land speaking gigs if you’re a speaking coach. Or they’ll know how to run or moderate a clubhouse room. Those are all too general. I recommend that you are able to specifically articulate and identify the transformation [00:10:00] like this.

    [00:10:00] So instead of, they’ll feel better as a parent, you should be able to say something about your course like, they will have crafted their parenting plan with confidence. So it’s really specific and you’re talking about how they’re getting the transformation. Or instead of, They’ll know how to land a speaking gig.

    [00:10:18] It’s something to the effect of they will have completed the pitch process to land their dream stages. See, it’s much more specific and it also alludes to how you’re teaching them how to do that. And instead of launching a course that just says, Hey, you know, they’re going to know how to run a great clubhouse room.

    [00:10:36] Instead, we want you to identify the transformation you’re delivering. An example could be they understand the guidelines of moderating inclusive clubhouse rooms. You see the difference in that? So step number one is really taking a good look at your curriculum. Number one, do you actually understand the transformation that you’re giving people?

    [00:10:56] Is that really, really clear to you? And if you [00:11:00] don’t, It’s okay. I don’t want you to feel like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I don’t know the transformation because I literally speak with entrepreneurs all the time that are like, wow, April, I’ve created this course. I bought all these other course creation programs and I put all this content in there and laid it out.

    [00:11:17] I still can’t articulate the transformation I’m giving people. So if that’s you, just first of all, know that you’re not alone. There’s a lot of people out there talking about how to teach course creation that might not even understand instructional curriculum design. And so that’s not a reflection of you, and it’s certainly not a reflection of your content.

    [00:11:36] So the very first thing to do is to look at the curriculum and be able to clearly Identify the transformation in a detailed description. Number two, create transformational benchmarks. And so let’s talk about what I mean by this. I was just hosting a clubhouse room on this topic last week, and I was asked this question, and a woman said she’s had a course [00:12:00] forever, and they were, I was so excited for her because they were going back through her course and actually understanding the importance.

    [00:12:07] Of transformational course design. They’re going back and they were updating or redoing their course. It’s been this killer course. It’s made a ton of money for years. And she asked me, should I measure the transformation in the whole entire course or also should I do it in each one of the benchmarks, each one of the modules?

    [00:12:26] And here is the answer to that. Yes. As an expert, you need to understand to be able to articulate the sub transformations within each benchmark of your course or of your service. Or really, this applies to any single business model. We teach transformational program development and design that applies to mastermind creation, membership creation.

    [00:12:50] This can apply to a one hour coaching call with somebody. This can apply to any way that you deliver your content. Right now, in this podcast, we’re just talking specifically about [00:13:00] course creation. So, step number two is create transformations within each one of your benchmarks. And take a look and make sure that you understand and that you can articulate in a detailed way the sub transformations within each one of your modules or benchmarks as well.

    [00:13:17] And number three is to curate content the way people learn. Okay, this is really, really important. Understanding that more content does not equal a better course or a program. We talked about that in the beginning, right? So your responsibility is to actually remove the content that does not directly apply to the end result that you are giving.

    [00:13:39] That is step number one, take a look at your course, or if you’re in the process of building the course, take a look at it and say, okay, what doesn’t actually have to be in here to deliver the transformation that I’m guaranteeing people? There’s even more than that. As an entrepreneur, I understand that you’re not an instructional design expert or a [00:14:00] scientific learning expert, but if you’re offering a course, you have to curate curriculum with transformational program or service or coaching design.

    [00:14:10] This is how you lead people to amazing results, and this is how you become an undisputed leader in your, in your space. So I want you to understand this. Most people believe that repeated exposure to material, right? So going over the things that you teach them in each module, and rereading it, and practicing it, and memorizing it.

    [00:14:30] Is like the best way to get people results, but according to the McGraw Center for Teaching Learning at Princeton University, this is super time consuming and is actually less effective. Instead, they recommend making learning difficult in strategic and desirable ways to enhance retention, retrieval, and transfer of knowledge.

    [00:14:56] Let me say that all again. You’re probably going like, whoa, whoa, whoa, you’re talking about Princeton [00:15:00] University, April. I’m a nutritionist or I’m a marketing coach or you know, whatever it is. This totally doesn’t apply to me, but yet it does. As course creators, it is important that we understand instructional design, especially if you are building your company and scaling your business with creating a product that gives people results and they have to go through a process of learning.

    [00:15:23] So let me say that again. A lot of course creators, entrepreneurial course creators out there, put a bunch of content in a course, lay it out in a timeline, and then give people homework for each benchmark. That is truly not the way to get people results in your program. And what we find is just going over their notes or rereading the things that you’ve done.

    [00:15:48] Isn’t necessarily the way to do it. In fact, according to this study by Princeton University, they actually recommend understanding and absorbing [00:16:00] some of your content in your program and intentionally making it difficult, but doing so in desirable ways. creating challenges within your course that people want to overcome, they want to do, and it’s not super easy.

    [00:16:18] But let’s go ahead and dive a little bit more into this because you might just be like totally tuning me out at this point, which I really hope you’re not. Because again, as a course creator, Or somebody that wants to offer a course, it’s important that you understand this in the process of building your curriculum.

    [00:16:36] So desirable difficulties. Let’s kind of dive into that. What does that actually mean? Desirable difficulties is a term that Dr. Robert Bjork from UCLA came up with over 20 years ago and refers to conditions of learning that create challenges for the learners. And even slow down some of the rate of learning, but in the end, they [00:17:00] actually enhance the long term retention of the knowledge and the skills that you’re giving them.

    [00:17:06] So what does this tell us? Okay, this is, this is very advanced instructional design and scientific learning. And I totally get it. You’re like, okay, April, I’m not offering an MBA. I’m like just teaching somebody how to get more YouTube fans or whatever it may be. I totally, totally get it, but you are a course creator and bringing your clients, also known as your students, from one place to another in knowledge or skill is what you’re promising them, right?

    [00:17:33] And therefore, you should include some measure of desirable difficulties. And again, what is that? So let’s take a look at your course. Either you’ve created a course or you’re thinking about creating a course. A desirable difficulty is placing the challenges, certain number of challenges, and everybody’s program is different within your course [00:18:00] that they’re ready module, but really great challenges that your clients are ready.

    [00:18:06] To face in by doing so they get excited about doing it. They want to do it. They want to take what you’ve been teaching them and delivering to them over the past couple of weeks or months or however long your program is and they want to put it into action. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard, but it’s the best kind of heart because they know that doing it is for sure what’s going to raise them from where they are to the next level of where they want to be with you.

    [00:18:35] Here’s an example of this. At my company, at the Suite Life company, we have a program that’s called Your Leading Offer. And we teach small 13 years.

    [00:18:52] As a matter of fact, way back when in 2008, we launched an online course on how to create online courses, like [00:19:00] before the whole entire online world was talking about it. And here is why the process of curating your curriculum and building courses in a way that embraces what you are capable of as an expert, as far as scientific learning, but it also levels up your customers outcome. Your clients, not only retention in your program, but the results in your program. That’s how we build leading entrepreneurs and businesses. And we teach a process in my program called your leading offer that actually takes your thoughts out of your mind and your expertise and puts them into a process that creates what we call transformational program design.

    [00:19:41] It is really hard work, but by the time we actually teach that in my Your Leading Offer program, people are ready for that. And so they’ve gone through the places in the benchmarks where they’re like, okay, bring it on. I am so amped up for [00:20:00] this. I’m totally aggro. I’m ready to grow. It’s going to be great work.

    [00:20:03] This is good, important work because they’re ready for it. If we created huge challenges for them throughout the whole entire program, they would never do it. If we created no challenges for them throughout the program, they would learn nothing and they’d have no transformation. So I always love kind of showing you guys behind the scenes on our company and how we do things.

    [00:20:23] So let’s take that example and let’s look at your course or your program that you’re creating or that you have already launched. Do you have desirable levels of difficulty that are strategically placed that cause challenges that enhance the outcome and the transformation people are getting within your course?

    [00:20:45] If you don’t, then it’s time to take a look at that. And if you feel like you’re totally having a panic attack right now, and you’re like, Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to start. Then cruise over to and you can join one [00:21:00] of my next whiteboarding sessions. I do these whiteboarding sessions for free all the time.

    [00:21:04] And we’ll whiteboard out your course together. Or like I said, join me on clubhouse. At noon on Wednesday, the week this show drops, and we’ll, we’ll be diving into this together. And here are some things I want for you to consider as we’re wrapping up this really important episode here on the show. Number one, understand that action is part of your client’s learning process.

    [00:21:29] But how are you going to implement that action? What is the difference between them taking action and you just giving them work to say you gave them work? Or frankly, you giving them no work because you just wanted your course easy to get through. Where is the measure there based on the transformation that you are promising they’ll receive from your course?

    [00:21:49] Number two, create challenges at the right points within your program. Not just to create these challenges, but understand when and where people are ready [00:22:00] to be challenged. And of course, number three, which is how we started out this show, cut the content and focus on the transformation and the output of the process that you are teaching.

    [00:22:12] More content is not better. And if you take anything away from this episode, because I know we talked about a lot. Number one is to simplify the content within your course. Don’t overload people with more and more and more content. Instead, look at the content within your course or your program and ask yourself, how am I going to make this transformational at every single touch point within what I’m delivering to my clients?

    [00:22:41] If you want to take your course, you want your course to take the lead in your space. You’re going to need to design it like a leader designs courses. And this applies to many courses, leading courses, and frankly, any program that requires learning and implementation based on the [00:23:00] information that you teach.

    [00:23:02] Ooh. So we talked about a lot of things today, today in episode number 222, here on this Suite Life Entrepreneur Business Podcast, we are talking about how to launch a transformational online course. This again is for those of you guys who are just starting to scale your business with online courses.

    [00:23:20] Whether you have had a course for years, like the woman I was speaking to in Clubhouse, or you’re just now trying to tap into the power of scaling your business through online courses. Understand that launching a course alone is not enough. Also understand that the completion of online courses has fallen so much that you have to understand how to engineer your curriculum in order to get people transformational, measurable, predictable results.

    [00:23:47] And the resources we have for you again are join me in clubhouse. Let’s have a conversation about this. I’m happy to dive in, roll up my sleeves and link arms with you in our regular weekly clubhouse room on Wednesdays at noon. Again, [00:24:00] follow me at April beach and we’ll dive in with this together. Or I want you to also check out

    [00:24:09] if you’re to the place where you’re ready to take the lead in your industry and you want to make sure that the courses that you’re developing are transformational industry leading courses, that is where you get the steps to do it. Again, that’s And all of the show notes from this episode here can be found by visiting

    [00:24:32] And I kind of geeked out on the research for this one, so in those show notes, there’s a couple of really important resources. We have actually put the Princeton resource in there for you as well, as well as I’m putting a link to how to create strategic levels of difficulty from Dr. Robert Bjork here in the show notes as well.

    [00:24:55] So if you want to dive in deeper to that, I’ve made sure all these resources are here for you. All right, you [00:25:00] guys, thanks so much for tuning into the show. I can’t wait to talk to you again next week on another podcast that delivers a business coaching. You can take to the bank. You guys have an awesome week. Bye bye for now.