Online Courses, Getting Started

Create Awesome Online Courses with David Siteman Garland

Episode 005: Show Notes

Selling online courses has been pivotal for our business growth and success. We often get asked how to start an online course, but we always refer to the experts. One of these experts is our friend David Siteman Garland, of Create Awesome Online Courses. His programs were some of the first we ever purchased and they’ve played a huge role in how quickly we were able to shift from 1:1 client work to our 1:many model that has grown into a multi 6-figure business.

Whether you’ve been thinking of offering a course for your audience, have questions about how to launch your course to your audience or simply what your course should be about, than this episode is for you.

Sponsorships Do Not Allow You To Control Your Destiny

When he got started, David’s main source of revenue was sponsorships. The issue with that is that you’ve got a lot of eggs in someone else’s basket. When it comes to advertising, you simply cannot control your own destiny. If a sponsor wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, you have the potential to lose a huge chunk of your revenue, overnight! David always knew that he wanted to explore a business that gave him greater control. This is what really got him excited about online courses, rather than any of the many other options out there.

Generate Revenue in Your Pajamas

Online courses are one of the best ways to not only generate consistent revenue from home, but also to help others. There are a million different ways to teach and transfer the knowledge you have to help solve the problems that others are facing. David is a major advocate of trial and error, experimenting, and trying to figure out how his next idea is going to work. It took a lot of time and a lot of money, making mistake after mistake, for David to figure out exactly how he was going to be successful.

Developing a System, Down to the Science

David’s first course was called Create Awesome Interviews, teaching others exactly how to carry out and conduct interviews. He made $19,800 on the first launch (whoa!) and it continued to grow over time. It then turned into more and more courses as he continued to develop and master his skills. That is ultimately how his tried and true system was developed. It came from figuring it out, over time, and really perfecting it down to a system dictating exactly how to create, promote, and profit from an online course.

Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Out

First and foremost, you have to understand the concept of sales funnels. For those starting out, creating a sales funnel starts with giving away free, amazing content, which then logically leads into the sale of your course. When you offer a free webinar, cheat sheet, or other piece of content first, that leads people down a very logical path towards your course and makes it a lot easier for them to reach the purchase decision on their own. However, people are less likely to buy if there is no deadline or expiration on the offer. Adding a deadline is the number one game changer when it comes to this kind of business, and not including any deadlines can be a huge mistake — something you definitely want to avoid when starting out as a course builder.

Course Creation For the Total Newbie

The best place to start when creating courses is with your own knowledge and expertise. Think about what results you have achieved, and what you can  share with others to help them get the same outcome. This can be super challenging for any newcomer to the course creation world, but keep in mind that you only need to know more than those who you are selling to. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have coached 50 people to do it. It simply means that you start with your experience, and share what you’ve done with others.

Setting Up A Specific Pricing Strategy

To start, always strategically place yourself at the premium end of your industry. When people receive things for free, they are much more likely to shove it aside and forget about it for the rest of their lives. But when they invest in something at a premium, they will try to get the MOST out of it, not matter what it takes. When people are at the higher end of the market, they attract far more serious action takers. This is so important, because, at the end of the day, your course is designed to help people achieve a specific result, which is much easier to achieve when they are giving it their all.

David’s Favorite Selling Strategies

The best way to start is through a VIP launch, which is a private launch to your own following (no matter how big or how small). The aim is to get the first few people in the door, and then build on that. First and foremost, you have to take incredible care in dealing with your customers. You have to care about people’s results, and when you get results, you better go bananas with those results. Sharing people’s stories and successes helps attract future sales. Next, promote, promote, promote. Do another webinar, do another promotion, and tap into the potential of your already established course.  


You have to care about people’s results, and when you get results, you better go bananas with those results.
Tweet This via @davidsitemangarland

Tactics for Drawing In “New People”

Webinars are not only great tools for selling courses and building relationships, they’re also exceptional list builders. The equity of your online business is all in your email list, and in the relationships you’ve created with the people on that list. The best, no-brainer way to draw in new people with webinars is through joint venture webinars. This allows you to access the other party’s email list as well, and gives your course exposure to a new segment of the market. Another way to draw in new eyes is through Facebook and Instagram ads. Your tactics do not have to be vast. The key is doubling down and really focusing on a few main tactics and making sure that they actually work.

Laying A Solid Foundation

Although the major groundwork can be done through non-stop content creation when you are first starting out, everyone has to choose the strategy that best works for them. There are a ton of strategies to choose from, but the key is to pick one or two and really become the best at them that you can be. You are much more likely to build a successful business by focusing your energy and becoming excellent at one or two strategies, rather than by trying to do them all and becoming the master of none. Find what works for you, give it all you’ve got, and hone in your skills as you get better with each passing launch.  


  • Find out exactly how David got started and how his main source of revenue was sponsorships. [0:03:39.5]

  • Learn how to generate revenue in your pajamas, and why David is a major advocate of trial and error. [0:04:58.5]

  • Get insights into David’s system and how it dictates exactly what to do to create, promote, and profit from an online course. [0:05:33.8]

  • David shares his top mistakes to avoid when first starting out. [0:07:38.2]

  • Are you a total newbie? Learn the best tricks to creating your first online course. [0:10:22.7]

  • Find out the best strategies for setting pricing and positioning yourself at a premium in your industry. [0:17:28.4]

  • Understand what it takes to successfully sell, and how focusing on one or two strategies will create better results. [0:22:17.8]

  • Learn how to draw in new people and new customers for your courses without having to start from scratch. [0:29:58.3]

  • Find out what it means to lay a foundation for your platform, and how finding what works for you is the best strategy. [0:32:26.2]

  • Get David’s insights into what types of people are not well suited for building courses. [0:37:35.4]


  • Send a 1-question survey to flesh out your topic. Get your audience involved, ask them.
  • Outline your course. Brainstorm where your people are before they take your course and what their life would be like after. This outline begins to fill in your modules and lessons. 


David Siteman Garland

Rise to the Top

Website | Instagram | Twitter

David Siteman Garland is the creator of The Rise To The Top and Create Awesome Online Courses. David helps experts create and sell online courses, with thousands of students around the world who have created successful courses using his methods. On his show, he has featured hundreds of successful business and marketing experts to share their knowledge on creating successful businesses. David is also the author of the book Smarter, Faster, Cheaper, wherein he teaches readers how to use online communities and online content to improve marketing and promotion efforts.


  • Exactly what you need to start creating your first course.

  • The mistakes David made when launching his first programs.

  • The #1 thing that will get people to buy your course.

  • The best type of launch to start promoting and selling your course.

  • Different strategies to grow your list (even while you’re making your course).

  • The type of person David doesn’t recommend courses for.




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