Have you heard? Teachable has begun a podcast series! Discussing the ins and outs of various Teachable schools. Their passions, drive, journey, tips and hints are all explored in a 40–60-minute conversation, meaning that any new or existing course creators can learn and take value from a successful course creator whose been through it all before.
This week told the story of Thao Armstrong, a cake designer from Australia, and how she took her skills and passions and turned them into a profitable online course for others to learn from. Thao’s journey began working in an office where they had access to a commercial kitchen. When she started baking, the owner’s of the office offered the kitchen for her use. In 2013, Thao turned her hobby into a career and opened Don’t Tell Charles Coffee and Desserts Cafe.
In 2016, the demand for Thao’s cakes grew so much, the public started demanding workshops to learn how to bake her artistic cakes. Thao decided to close the cafe and use the space to host bigger classes. Again, this didn’t satisfy the public’s growing interest in Thao’s cakes, and she wanted a way for people who are interested in baking, but don’t have the funds for her workshop, to be able to access her tutorials. This is when her Teachable school — ‘Don’t Tell Charles’ was born.
Thao confessed she had no idea how to create an online course — a feeling I’m sure most of us are familiar with. She also had the added pressure of her area of interest being very hands-on, and so more difficult to teach remotely. Her tips? Get advice from people already in the business and look where other people don’t. What does this mean exactly? Well, Thao decided to purchase a few online courses herself, so that she could get an idea of layout, content and pricing, pretty smart!
Thao decided to launch three courses at once, but the major workload of building three courses, added to her 2 other businesses which were still running, resulted in her pushing back her already announced launch date. Now, I know the thought of that might send shivers down your spine, as it did with Thao! However, to her surprise, the delay in her launch was a huge help to her marketing campaign. The cake extraordinaire explained that this delay hyped up her course, even more, creating more excitement and anticipation for the new launch date. Not bad!
Thao had originally decided that Teachable would be her side business, and once she had created her first three courses, she would be back concentrating on her other two businesses. However, the demand for more courses was so strong, Thao decided the best business decision was to stop designing wedding cakes, as she believed she could make more money creating Teachable courses, a great example of how Teachable can replace your 9–5 job!
So, what does Thao put her success down to? Well firstly, she’s a self-confessed perfectionist, so she is constantly updating and refining her current courses to ensure her students are receiving valuable content for their money.
Next, you have to constantly change with the times. Thao saw that the best business decision was to make her online courses the centre of her business as this was gaining her more return for her time. Thao explained that if she had been stubborn and not forward-thinking, she wouldn’t have changed her main focus from the wedding cakes to the Teachable school. She also added that you have to be constantly learning new marketing techniques and keeping up to date with the world of social media algorithms. In this ever-changing world of digital marketing, we think this is pretty good advice!
Thao also warned that in this day and age, people think making money from knowledge is a bad thing, due to the rise in free information and tutorials on the internet. She encouraged course creators to change this way of thinking, students want to learn from a trusted teacher, and most of what is freely available on the internet is conflicting information. This is why students seek out Teachable courses. They don’t mind paying for information which they can trust and is of value. Thao continued that you should never undervalue the time it has taken you to learn a skill well enough to teach it, this is another reason why you should sell your course for what it’s worth. We agree!
We wish Thao all the luck in the world for her Teachable course and any other projects she pursues in the future.
To listen to the Teachable podcast discussed, click here
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