SBM 088: Growing an Online Course Out of Your Personal Brand with Elise Darma

Today’s Guest

In this episode you will learn about creating and marketing an online course that is based on a personal brand.

Elise Darma is an expert in growing your business on Instagram.

This is the 88th session of Smart Brand Marketing.


Choose up to 5 themes to represent your personal brand on Instagram.

[sc name=”SBM Lead Magnet 1″]

Building a Brand Through Online Courses

Do you know what the biggest sector in the online market is right now? Well, next only to entertainment that would be Education. As of 2016, the e-learning sector in fact has earned as much as $255 billion and that amount is expected to double before 2025 at best.

It’s no surprise, then, why many would try to venture into the market by creating their own set of online courses. So how do you do this yourself? For starters, you need to cover the basics.

Why Should You Create Your Own Online Course?

Why exactly should you bother with a new venture when you already have your hands full with your existing business setup? The reasons why people create their own online course can range from a deep desire to teach people new things or just wanting to monetize their ideas.

As for you, the reasons you might have for considering online courses are your own but deciding to do so does open oneself up to several benefits. Here are some of them:

  • 1. Impact through AuthorityWhen it comes to online businesses, the challenge is always in finding ways to drive traffic to your pages. With that in mind, there is not a lot of things out there that can drive traffic to your site more than offering to teach something that people don’t know about.

    An online course does exactly this for you by establishing you as an authority of sorts regarding certain subject matters. What you need to understand that people tend to look for solutions right now online for very specific problems they are facing. If your courses a very unique one, in fact, you might just find out that people will be flocking to your page on a regular basis to wait for your next module.

  • 2. Scaling and Automating Your BusinessOnline courses help you sell your businesses by putting all that you know in an easy to digest package. For instance, your business might offer insurance consultancies which, in some cases can make for a hard sell. However, if you use your knowledge about insurance coverages and make an online course detailing how to deal with certain insurance issues, then you are offering your services to potential clients in a format that is not too intimidating for them.

    Online course creation also allows you to consolidate your efforts online. Whereas you have to go through different sites just to meet new people, promote your products/services, and retarget past customers, you can now do it all in one platform.

    The best thing about e-learning is also in its sheer scalability. This simply means that your offers get better as time passes provided, of course, that you constantly update and improve on your courses to cover new topics or go deeper in recently developing ones.

  • 3. Stable Recurring IncomeAnother great thing about e-learning is how much you can monetize your ideas in it to the point that you don’t have to worry about getting new customers every month. Depending on how you segment and schedule your courses, you can have a person pay for lessons every month until the program ends. For instance, if monthly subscriptions are at $10.00 per person and you have roughly 40 people in your course, you can expect at least $400.00 every month in your program.

    Of course, the membership model you use will matter as you also don’t want to turn your potential audience off with steep fees. If you can find that sweet spot between what is affordable for them and what is profitable for you and you shouldn’t have any problem here.

  • 4. More Flexibility, Less StressNow, having a business is as independent as you can get but you can take that a bit further with your online courses. Here’s how it works: in an online course, you are bound to get paid for every session no matter when it is held, how long it is, and what subjects you cover. This means that your ability to earn is no longer tied to the number of hours you will have to work.

    Don’t get the wrong idea, though. Creating a single course is going to require a lot of hard work and keeping it update will require more. However, once you have set up your own platform of online courses, you can now focus on making your courses all the more available to students while the money rolls in.

  • 5. Creating a CommunityIt’s often said that businesses are more sustainable if there is a community out there that supports it and that remains true for online learning. It’s actually a byproduct of online learning that people will come by your platform and form their own support network. This means that you have a readily-made group of people that are willing to consume whatever you offer without further convincing.

    This is why it will be important for you to provide your students with a learning platform of sorts where they not only learn new stuff but have fun interacting with other members and, of course, you. The best thing about this is that the community will only grow provided that the courses you make resonate with them a lot.

The Basics of E-Learning

So, you are quite knowledgeable/passionate about a project and have a vague idea for an online course. Does this mean that you are qualified to become an online course creator? The answer is neither yes nor no. Instead, it’s “not yet”.

You see, teaching is an art and a discipline. There’s a reason why teachers have to get licensed before they can teach, after all. It takes a certain set of skills to become fully qualified to teach people stuff.

One of these qualities is having a strong understanding to the most basic of tenets. When it comes to online learning, there are four “pillars” that you have to be aware of.

  • 1. CreationOf course, everything has a beginning and your online course begins merely as an idea. The trick here is to turn that idea into something tangible and sellable. Online course creation will require you to do three things which are:
    • Identifying a Need – Great, you know a few things that others don’t. The question here is can that provide a solution for a certain need. When creating your course, you must first establish what kind of solution do you want to offer by identifying your target market as well as determining which problems or concerns they want to address.For example, you might know a lot of photography so your online course can be about taking pictures, the target market are new photographers, and the issue is on taking that perfect shot. As such, your course can be titled as Photography 101 for Dummies or something to that effect. This will tell your potential students what they can expect from the course and to whom it was catered to.
    • Drawing a Map – Once you have identified a need, you then need to lay out the steps in solving that problem. To do this, ask yourself this question “how am I going to take my students from problem to solution?” What would be the steps necessary to solve that problem? How you answer this will determine how the online course is going to be framed.So, let’s say that your solution involves 7 steps. Then you have 7 major lessons to tackle with each of their own subtopics to cover. Soon enough, you would have what looks like an online course.
    • Segmenting/Modulating – What you have to understand is that the brain is the most effective if it takes information at bite-size bits. You can’t expect to teach your students in 1 session only because a.) That leads to an overload of information and b.) You prevent yourself from earning more money from the course.Instead, divide your course into several modules with each of their own schedules. This way, your students can also mark their progress at the course and you yourself won’t get lost trying to figure out what topics to cover next.
  • 2. TeachingSo, how do you go about teaching your lessons to students? Each teacher has their own style so it’s best that you find yours as quickly as possible. Only keep in mind that e-learning is not as strict compared to actual teaching which means your style is not going to be scrutinized here as in the real world.

    To understand how you should teach, take note of how you convey you communicate with other people. Is there a way that you can improve on it? Regardless of your teaching style, it is important that you convey messages in a direct and concise manner.

    Aside from this, you should also have the skill to interact with other people with different personalities. An effective teacher knows how to handle each student of theirs, deal with unexpected circumstances, and make sure that every topic for the module is covered for the assigned time period.

    If you can do any of these, then it’s certain that you can complete a session decently at the very least.

    Aside from your teaching skills, you should also take a look at the tools you will employ. Where is your online course to be hosted, what format and medium will you use to teach your students? Remember that

  • 3. SupportYour work at the online course does not start and end with the course itself. You also have to offer support to students and potential audiences by making your courses even more visible and available in whatever platform you operate in.

    For starters, you should have a community board feature in your course where students can interact with you and each other out of sessions while also accessing important documents and other media for your course. Being available 24/7 to attend student concerns is not exactly recommended (since you have other things to attend to) but there’s no harm in hiring other people to manage a live chat support system for your course.

  • 4. AdministrationThis aspect does not really come into play until your online course has grown to the point that it’s a fully functioning online school of sorts with different programs, teachers, and students. It’s important that you put a lot of effort in managing each and every aspect of your platform at this phase as even the smallest of mistakes can be costly on your part.

    Things like setting up policies, guidelines, and procedures can go a long way in ensuring that each student has a rather favorable experience in your courses. This also includes ensuring that students and teachers have an open line of communication and that every problem they might have gets addressed as best as possible.

    The goal here is to minimize every possible barrier for your students in completing the course and you as well as your teachers managing each module. This is perhaps the more demanding and complicated pillar of e-learning to manage but doing it properly will ensure that the online learning course will ensure that it becomes this scalable and fully automated source of income for you.

To Wrap Things Up

As with anything else, making a name for yourself through providing online learning courses will take a lot of time and effort. Of course, much of the challenges can be addressed with proper planning and preparation.

There are a number of tools out there that can help you equip yourself for the course creation and teaching process. Polishing on your communication skills can even help you convey your messages to students as clearly and simply as possible. The point here is that, if you really want to establish your business in the world of online learning, you must never come to this market unprepared.

What other strategies have you used in creating courses? Are there other platforms that you have used to introduce your courses to other sectors in the market? Let us know in the comments section below.



  • Webinar Conversions Live vs Replay
  • Instagram Strategy
  • Funnel
  • Masterclass
  • Ad strategy
  • The Pillars of an Online Course
  • Marketing
  • Facebook Ads
  • Engagement Sweet Spot on Instagram
  • How to Monetize





To get more SBM content sent directly to your device as they become available, you can subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher!

Also, reviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! I read each and every one of them, and feel free to share your URL there so I can contact you later on and say thanks!

[sc name=”SBM Lead Magnet 3″]

Whenever you’re ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
  1. If you’re still looking for traction in your online course, I’d recommend starting with an affordable guide:

The Course Engine: Transform your course into a money-making machine with The Course Engine. This quick and actionable guide will teach you the system I use to transform average courses into ones that can grow past 7 figures in revenue with my in-person clients.  Join 279+ students here.

  1. Want an expert to take over or help you with your marketing?

Check out what we do, our case studies and book a free


Join others just like you. Learn more about Tom Libelt and Smart Brand Marketing