Tips for Teaching Online

for entrepreneurs who have never taught before…

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A ton of you want to teach an online course, maybe you started it, you most likely have a TON of content, but you have gotten stuck. Most likely because you have never taught before and are just getting overwhelmed with what to say and how to say it.

As a curriculum developer for online courses for over 3 years now helping dozens of entrepreneurs get their chaos out of their head into a clearly outlined online training, I see the struggles people have. Let’s break down some of those key tips you should learn now about educating people online.

1. Talk to one person.

When you are filming yourself talking, look into the camera, and try to visualize one person that needs this. If you have someone in mind, awesome. If not, create that person in your mind. Imagine them with the needs, the questions, the misconceptions, and the goals of your perfect client. Each member of your audience should feel like you are talking directly to them.

2. Give examples and stories from your own experience.

Don’t be afraid to go off with examples and stories of your own. People love stories and examples. Just try not to turn your entire training into stories with no direct connection to what you are teaching. Make sure that after each story you reiterate how it connects to what you’re teaching.

3. Turn your points into questions you are answering.

Many of you, especially those who are good speakers, can do interviews and answer questions extremely well. You may find yourself stuck when you see a slide that just has an outline. Instead of a regular PowerPoint slide, turn those slides into questions so that you can answer a question like you would in person. There is no one way to do it, so try it out to see if it works better for you.

4. Don’t be afraid to tell them what to do.

They are taking this course to learn what to do and how to do it; therefore, be bold enough to give them assignments and have high expectations for their work. You can give them variations or options, but ask them to produce what you are telling them to. Don’t condescend them, but assume they are self-motivated and are in your class for a reason… that said, they should have no problem with doing what you ask.

5. Don’t be afraid of repeating yourself.

It may be surprising to some of you but too many people have a fear of repeating themselves or they lack the ability to repeat themselves effectively. Repetition is vital to a good education.

One of the ways we repeat ourselves is through key points that must be driven into the audience’s minds. The other way to repeat ourselves is by addressing a point through various lenses. Imagine a course on social media ads. There can be three different video instructions on only Facebook ads: a beginning, intermediate, and advanced lesson. Repeat yourself by “reminding them” of what they should know or should have learned in the previous lessons.

6. Tell them who they are or what they may be thinking.

There are always 3 options that your audience can think about anything you say: they can agree with you, they can disagree with you, or they don’t care or haven’t made a decision. Additionally, they are who you think they are, you are wrong about your judgment of them, or a variation of both.

These statements might sound silly, but they can be important in building a solid connection to your audience. At any given time they will understand, not understand, or not really know yet. Because of this, we can address these three variables. As teachers, we know that some people in our audience will not know or not understand at all; that’s okay. We will also have people in our audience that will already know many of the things we say; that’s okay, too. We will have people in our audience that haven’t really decided yet; that’s also okay.

If you work to understand these three groups and speak to them, you will be surprised at how deep your connection to your audience can become.

7. Most people don’t care enough to learn, they’d rather it be done for them.

Can we just admit it? People are lazy. People, as a whole, don’t want to do anything. Wouldn’t we all rather have the money to be well fed with all the luxurious amenities and never work again?!? That’s why the lottery is a zillion-dollar business. People don’t want to do anything if they don’t have to, but they only do things to get the result they want.

This truth doesn’t mean we need to make it easy for them, cut corners, or treat them badly. It means that we know that they have a limited amount of time, they also have issues with follow-through, and they need a result fast. And if you can offer a DIY piece of your training for them, then do it… knowing they don’t really want to become an expert in the subject.

8. Not everyone will be as successful as you.

That sounds horrible to say as a teacher. Of course, we all know that everyone has unlimited potential. We know that anyone can do anything they want to do. We also know that you were successful even when the odds were against you. BUT the truth is if they will be successful, then they will be no matter what. Our job isn’t to make them as successful as you, although some may become as successful or more, our job is to equip them with skills, mindset, and opportunities to be successful in what THEY want to do.

We may find that what THEY want to do isn’t exactly what we think it will be or that they won’t need EVERYTHING we could give them. We aren’t trying to make mini-USes. We are trying to meet them where they are and provide them opportunities to learn and grow into something they need.

9. People will respect the expert, YOU, so live up to their expectations.

People are looking to you for your expertise, experience, and guidance. They don’t know what it could look like. They don’t really want to do it or learn it. BUT they believe you can help them, so don’t disappoint them by not offering them a way to work with you.

I have online courses teaching people how to write curriculum. I have blogs that teach different aspects of teaching. I have done free videos teaching people step-by-step how to do it, but you know what I’ve found out? People don’t want to learn how to write curriculum. It’s not something they are interested in investing time to learn. They want it done for them and they look to me to help them. They respect my knowledge, expertise, and guidance.

Often, I have people who figuratively dump years’ worth of content on my lap, and they say, “Jess, I trust you. Just turn it into something I can do something with so I can finally finish.” This is a great place to be. They need something, and I have the answer. Same for you. You have something they need. Don’t disappoint them by not offering it to them.

10. These things aren’t necessary for you to tell them but to know and use.

As you can imagine, people don’t like to be called lazy, careless, or any other criticisms I have mentioned. Truthfully, we can all say that about ourselves: “Even though I COULD learn [insert any topic], I’m too lazy to put any effort into it, but I would love to have the results of being good at it.” But knowing these as you walk into a training session or recording your online course can help you be a better teacher.

Teachers are extremely optimistic about our students, but we are also realistic. We know who our students are, where they are coming from, and what they want. Our job is to get them as close to their goal, and our goal, as we can. I want you to be able to teach your audience authentically, effectively, but ultimately I just want you to teach them. I tell my clients, “You’re being selfish if you don’t share this info and give them an opportunity to learn from you.”

Are you that person who has years of content ready to be turned into an online course? Do you need help with piecing it together into a curriculum that connects to your audience and “transforms them from not knowing to knowing or from not doing to doing?”

Connect to me through my website: or email me directly at

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