Jan 6, 2020
Having the right tools for creating online courses can be the difference between a 6 month launch and a 2 month launch.
Your productivity, efficiency, and overall results can be heavily impacted by the tools that run your business.
So after 3 years of running my own thriving online business, which sells online courses...
...I've listed out everything I've used, and believe will help you create a thriving online course business from scratch.
And at the core of it all, your business breaks down into 3 critical categories:
Therefore, the tools in this list area specifically tailored towards managing and thriving in each category.
Let's get started:
I highly recommend (if you haven't already) that you join my Free Training where I show you EXACTLY how to create a profitable online course business — so you can see how these tools should be used and work cohesively together.
Kajabi is an all-in-one business platform designed to help you grow your audience, process payments, and deliver a fantastic product experience for your customer.
They describe it as:
“Kajabi has all the tools you need to build a successful online business — it is an all-in-one platform that makes it easy to create online courses, launch marketing campaigns, build landing pages, and design the perfect website.”
Kajabi runs directly inside your browser and allows you to:
Here's a quick breakdown video of their tool:
Kajabi just has everything you need to run an online business.
And I just love that they put such an emphasis on the marketing aspect of their tool — because let's face it, sales matter and pay the bills.
And the best part:
It's so easy to use, it's all inclusive, and it really isn't an expensive investment per month to start and run a business.
Pricing for email marketing depends on how many email subscribers you have. These pricing plans start at having 500 subscribers.
Active Campaign is an email marketing software tool that can be accessed from your browser.
It allows you to build email lists of prospects, leads, customers, and anyone who interacts with your business.
In addition to this, it includes a ton of features that allow you to fully automate your business:
The truth is that you need somewhere to store your customers information.
At the center of your business is... your email list!
Put it this way:
If I was asked "what is the one thing you'd keep if you had to leave your business?" the answer would be "my email list!".
Your email list is the #1 way you can get in contact with everyone who has shown interest in what you do, as you own it and are not subject to algorithms showing your content.
Because when you have your email list, you can always get in front of them, offer them products, or offer them free helpful content.
If you’re selling online courses, you need to grow your list!
If you don’t know how to do this, then join my free training where I show you how.
At the start of 2020 I switched over to Active Campaign from Convertkit.
ConvertKit was a brilliant tool to collect email addresses, and send out automated email sequence campaigns.
But that's were it stopped...
...there were some essential features missing which included:
Active Campaign provides all of these features, so I made the switch and haven't looked back.
Optin Monster is a simple tool that helps you build high converting opt-in forms.
While this isn't a must-have tool as your native email marketing service will have forms you can embed on to your website…
…it's nice to be able to customize your forms and have more advanced settings.
The short answer is No.
While Optin Monster is a great tool, it's not 100% required as if you decide to use Active Campaign (or Kajabi) you'll be able to use their native forms to collect names, email addresses, and other information you may need.
However, if you want to get fancy with your form designs, and how they display on your site...
...then Optin Monster is a great tool for the belt.
Deadline Funnels is a wonderful, and ethical, scarcity tool.
It allows you to create REAL AUTHENTIC deadlines for your customers.
For example, you could sell your course with a bonus that expires on June 1st at 11pm EST. Once this time has been reached, your deadline is up!
When it comes to selling online courses you need to have a reason as to why someone should buy now, instead of in 6 months from now.
This comes from your copywriting, making your prospect think about what would happen if they didn't fix this problem right now, what they would be missing out on, and what life could be like.
And then there's also tools that create unique deadline dates for every customer who enters your funnel.
Funnelytics helps you visually understand your business by mapping out every step of your funnel.
They also have paid options that let you track each step of your funnel, how people are flowing through it, the conversion rates of each step, and lot's more.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember how all the pieces of your business fit together.
And it's even harder knowing what is and isn't working sometimes.
So with having everything right in front of you, mapped out visually, with real time data...
...it's a perfect way to feel confident about your business so you can get results and focus on fixing what isn't working, and doing more of what is working.
Webflow is a powerful website builder that is responsive, quick, and flexible.
It let's you fully control the design and layout of your website, without coding anything.
You get full control over the design, how you want things to be positioned, and so much more without the typical restrictions other website builders give you.
For example, while you can still purchase Webflow themes, you can edit everything inside that theme.
Here's a great video that explains their tool:
Yes you totally can, and that's whats great about being in control of your business.
The reason I'm using Webflow +/s lolKajabi is that I use Webflow to host my blog and other important pages, such as my About, Contact, Coaching, and so forth.
Then with Kajabi I use it to host my courses and create marketing funnels.
Webflow is BY FAR MY MOST FAVORITE TOOL.
Webflow gives you control and allows you to build any, any I mean any, website from scratch.
You control everything and are not limited to the annoyances many landing page or website builders include (or even worse being stuck to a theme).
I highly recommend that if you want to control the look of your website, that you use Webflow.
It will take time to get use to, but they have an incredible free library of video training resources to get you started.
Share This is a free tool you can embed onto your website to add social share buttons.
It's a must-have if you a running a blog and publishing content that is impactful and will be valuable to get into peoples hands.
This gives your website visitors a way to easily share your content with friends, or for other businesses to share your content with their audience.
Share this is super simple and easy to install.
You simply customize the buttons inside of your account on their website, and then embed the code snippet on any page you would like to have the social share buttons appear.
Disqus is a free tool that lets you place comments on any of your website pages.
Commonly this is used as an alternative commenting system for your blog posts, and it works great if you decide to use Webflow as your main website/blogging platform.
Another great use for Disqus is on a free video training series where you release 1 video every day. You can place a Disqus comments section below to allow feedback and questions.
When you create an account you'll be able to customize how your Disqus comments section looks, how comments are approved, and any words you want blocked.
Then you copy and paste the code snippet onto any page and area that you want your comments to be shown.
Google Analytics is the first tool you need to be using once you've set up your websites, start gaining traffic, or just built a funnel that you need to to track the performance of.
The best part:
Google Analytics is 100% free.
You can track lot's of things, such as your traffic,their age, their location, and also how many people convert into leads or sales by creating goals.
Google Analytics is a pretty big beast and requires some time to get comfortable with.
I would recommend Googling any questions you have, as Google typically has help articles on frequently asked questions.
Otherwise, you can join Startup Courses where I deep dive into Google Analytics and tracking your businesses KPI's and metrics.
Quickbooks allows you to keep track of your expenses and income while setting up rules to reduce the amount of manual work of entering transactions.
It simply works and is the #1 go-to for many businesses.
Plus if you’re like me and use an accountant to do your taxes, they appreciate being able to jump in and quickly see everything that happened for the year.
The reality is that tax season will happen, and if you have no idea how much you made, or where you spent your money it's going to be a huge pain in the ass and cause unnecessary stress.
Therefore, bite the cost and thank yourself later when it comes time to writing in that tax form.
Yes there totally are. While I only have experience with Quickbooks I have heard great things about Freshbooks.
In fact, I believe Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome uses Freshbooks for his income and expense tracking (don't quote me on this though).
You can find Freshbooks here (their pricing is very similar)
Iubenda helps you create a cookie consent banner (for EU visitors to your website) and also one for the California Online Privacy Act (for your Californian folks).
Yes I know.... it's almost as boring as watching paint dry but it needs to be done.
Iubenda will scan your website, ask some questions, and allow you to manually enter data.
Once you've done this, it creates an "attorney-level solution" to make your website and apps compliant with the law across multiple countries and legislation's.
All you need to then do is add the code to your website, and copy and paste or embed the documents wherever you want to show them.
No one wants to get in trouble, especially with laws that are confusing and honestly make you want to throw your laptop out the window.
Epidemic Sound is a huge library of music and sound effects that you can use in various types of projects, such as a YouTube video or Promo video for your online course.
The tracks are high quality, can be downloaded in different versions (instrumental only, vocals, and even specific instruments).
When you create online courses, and lot’s of video content you’ll need some banging tracks to go with them.
Epidemic Sound is a huge library of copyright free music that you can use across all your projects. This way you don’t need to worry if you’ll be flagged or have Kanye West chasing you down with Copyright notices.
Unsplash is a great resource for free images that are copyright free for your commercial projects.
I've used them for various projects, or when I need a quick texture or background image for a hero section on my website.
Canva is an online tool that allows you to create and design different documents for your businesses needs...
...such as a Flyer, Banner, Instagram Post or Story, and so on.
It's 100% free to use and there a plenty of templates to help you quickly get started.
Personally, I use Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe Suite
OBS stands for Open Broadcast Software.
It's used typically by people who are live streaming...
...however it also includes a fantastic video recording option which is extremely helpful for when you record your screen.
You can also add multiple elements to your recording, such as your webcam, and presentation slides window.
Yes there are lots.
I know others use Screenflow, or Screen-o-Matic...
...but I recommend OBS as it's free, frequently updated, and has so much customization.
The best tool is *in my best Tai Lopez impression* KNOWLEDGE.
It ain’t Lamborghini's in your garage, it’s those books on yo’ shelf.
Here’s my favorite ones so far:
You know what books are, no need for me to define them.
Just pick it up, read it, write notes, and take in the information and apply it.
By Eckhart Tolle. “The book is intended to be a guide for day-to-day living and stresses the importance of living in the present moment and transcending thoughts of the past or future.”
By Larry Kendal. “In Ninja Selling, author Larry Kendall transforms the way readers think about selling. He points out the problems with traditional selling methods and instead offers a science-based selling system that gives predictable results regardless of personality type. Ninja Selling teaches readers how to shift their approach from chasing clients to attracting clients. Readers will learn how to stop selling and start solving by asking the right questions and listening to their clients.”
By Napoleon Hill. “Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a timeless classic that has helped individuals from all walks of life to succeed and flourish financially, spiritually, personally and intellectually. Although the first copy of Think and Grow Rich was originally published in 1937, this life-changing information that you are about to read has evolved into one of the best-selling books of all time.”
By Gay Hendricks. “In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks, the New York Times bestselling author of Five Wishes, demonstrates how to eliminate the barriers to success by overcoming false fears and beliefs. Fans of Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and The Secret will find useful, effective tips for breaking down the walls to a better life in The Big Leap.”
By MJ Demarco. “There's a Fastlane to millions, a short-cut paved by mathematics, where you can LIVE RICH NOW instead of DYING RICH LATER. Instead, you've been brainwashed by an army of financial gurus who pitch a dream-killing dogma known as "Get Rich Slow". Their suffocating plan promises elderly riches by recklessly gambling your financial future on the stock market, the housing market, and the job market. Reject hope-n-pray as a financial plan; switch lanes, go Fastlane, and awaken your dreams to probability.”
Put yo earbuds in and listen to the sweet sound of ideas and business strategies.
By James Wedmore. “All entrepreneurs want to know the secret to success. James Wedmore, a seven-figure online entrepreneur, believes success is created by mindset over strategy.”
By Pat Flynn. “Insightful conversations with online business pros, industry experts, and more Our podcasts take you inside the minds and behind the scenes of successful entrepreneurs and their businesses.”
I hope you found this list of tools for creating online courses helpful!
Now it's your turn:
Let me know in the comments what tools you are using to create online courses and run your business!