Video Niche Course or Not?  Your Input Needed!

Over the past several months, I have been planning on creating a comprehensive video course on how to build and profit from niche websites.  In fact, many of you have been asking for such a course or have contacted me for personal coaching.  However, I am having second thoughts on creating a course at all and want to know your thoughts.

As of today, I leaning towards NOT creating a course on building niche websites…perhaps ever.  Let me give you some of the reasons why:

Reasons Against Creating a Niche Websites Course:

1. I don’t want to be associated with those slimy sales people that make money telling people how to make money – (i.e. most of the courses on clickbank).  I absolutely HATE the hyped up crap that comes out of the internet marketing community.  This is why I don’t buy internet marketing courses…I just learn on my own.  In fact, these exaggerated “make money online” courses are the norm in this arena – and so I would surely be associated with these snake salesmen at least in some people’s minds.  I don’t want that.

2. The integrity of what I share for free would be called into question.  When I share a technique that makes me money, lots of people would think “Well, maybe he is really just trying to get me to buy his latest course”.

3. Its a lot of effort to create, promote, and support such a course.  Its time that I could spend building other niche websites, creating new software, or doing other projects.

4. I don’t want to train my competition!  If I am having success with a particular technique, I don’t want to always be giving step by step instructions to the very people that could put me out of business.  (Yes, I realize that all of you are potential competitors when it comes to niche websites).

5.  I don’t want to share my domains.  I know that this is what everyone wants to see – a live example of one or more of my websites.  Quite frankly I don’t want to leave myself open to copy cats for my keywords.  Once one of my domains are out there, it just makes it that much easier for people to find all of my domains and potentially copy all of my “money” keywords.  I just prefer to keep it private.

6.  In reality, I probably wouldn’t make enough money for it to be worth it.  For example, Chris Guthrie recently revealed that he has made about $25k in the past 6 months from his latest training course.  I would expect his income from this to be significantly less over the next 6 months as everyone knows these courses have a short life span.  I probably wouldn’t promote my course as much as he did, and quite frankly I’m not interested in $25k for giving up the 5 things I mentioned above.  Its just not worth it to me.

7.  I would probably make much more than $25k over the long run if I focus on building niche websites or other projects that I have in mind.

8. I already did my ebook – Long Tail Handbook that explains everything I do.

Reasons FOR Creating a Niche Websites Course:

1. I could make money.  It would diversify some of my income away from the search engines.

2. I could help other people learn the ropes of building niche websites.  I do enjoy helping other people, so in a way it would be rewarding.  It is also nice to see other people become successful.

3.  I would get to know lots of other people and would be able to network quite a bit more.  The relationships that I could build through my course I’m sure would be very rewarding.

4. I could build my personal brand quite a bit.  So, even if the course doesn’t make a huge amount of money – I would be getting my name out there.  This would probably help build my subscriber and email list much more so that if I have products in the future I would have an audience.

5. Many of you have asked for it.  I have been contacted on several occasions by people who want me to either create a course or to coach them on a personal basis.

6. It would open doors for lots of Joint Ventures or other networking opportunities with fellow internet marketers.  I’m sure that more people would contact me to ask for help in promoting their products, or perhaps relationships that could lead to future business opportunities would arise.

Anyway, this is just kind of me thinking out loud.  To be honest, I have created a couple of hours worth of videos over the past few months that I was planning on using for a course.  So, I was planning on doing one, but I just don’t think I want to anymore – at least that is where I am leaning.

Do You Have an Opinion?

However, you could change my mind!  I’m not sure what your thoughts are on this stuff, but I would be really interested in knowing.  Do you think I should create a video course on building niche websites?  Do you think I should offer one on one coaching (as several people have asked me to)?

If you have an opinion one way or another – I would love to hear your thoughts!

PS – Depending on how this little thought exercise goes today, I may be sharing some of my plans for my future blog…I will be needing your input on the exact direction…so stay tuned!

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51 Responses to “Video Niche Course or Not? Your Input Needed!”

  1. Spencer,

    You should do it. There’s always something to learn from someone that’s successful doing what you want to do.

    Plus, it’s a great idea to diversify your income and always be building your list.

    Plus, won’t you get a bit bored doing the same thing over and over again? Diversified work should be way more stimulating for you.

    Later!

    • I agree with you on the diversifying of income and building my list part. However, I don’t think i will get bored, because I have lots of other ideas besides niche websites that I am interested in pursuing. In some ways I see more potential in diversifying outside of creating a course.

  2. I think a course would be much better than offering coaching. With a course you only have to do the work one time and you can make money from it over and over again. Especially since you’ve already recorded the videos and you know there is a demand for the course.

    • From a business standpoint you are absolutely right. Its much easier to create it once and sell it over and over. i guess that’s why you are the “small business training lady”!

  3. I agree with Chris, i think you should go ahead and build step by step video course on niche marketing.

  4. Christopher Hardin says:

    Spencer. I honestly think you should. You know the niche market fairly decent enough and you have a decent mailing list. What do YOU have to loose Spencer? Personally no offense I would not be a customer as I have too much going on my own self. Yet it is my belief that you could help a lot of new people out tehre while making some money in the process.

    I do recommend that you add some value. Give these newbies something that is worth there time. Do not be like the other 98 percentile of info marketers out there and just offer some info that can EASILY be found online or on any forum.

    Try to make a unique standpoint. Make it easy to follow instructions. Tell people HEY do this this weekend then the next week you do this. One problem I see is that the so called guru’s just like to LOFT all the information out there in there products with no real direction which does leave people feeling kinda down and dumped on. So yeah break everything up and pretty much make it so that they feel like you are holding there hand through there first website. Once they get that website off the ground and there earnings start coming in they will see how simple it is and know the exact process and can do it over and over again.

    GOOD LUCK Spencer I have 100 percent faith in you!

    • Christopher, you make some great points, and its hard to argue with those (not that I’m trying to). I just have to really decide what business strategy I want to follow – do I want to be an info marketer, or do I want to be something else (affiliate marketing, software developer, etc.)

  5. Hi Spencer,

    Since you have already poured out many details in your Long-Tail book, I would consider making that a funnel to bring you serious coaching students.

    Consider taking on only about 10 students at a time and maybe only quarterly at that. This way you are helping people, but not risking putting yourself out of business. Let the students come to you with specific questions instead of trying to build a course to cover everything from a to z.

    Consider doing a 4 week, email coaching. You will have motivated and pre-educated people to work with and thereby cut down on a lot of headaches.

    Just an opinion.

    Your blog is awesome and all of the info you share is much appreciated.

    Thanks for everything.

    Raleigh

    • Raleigh:
      Great point! In fact, this really makes a lot of sense to me. This would allow me to not worry about creating a full course with tons of details, but to focus on problem areas of particular students. I like this option much more than a full course I think (although nothing is decided yet)…thanks!

  6. I’ve learned so much reading your posts.
    I’d really like to learn more from you.
    I vote that you create a course.

  7. Having bought so many IM products and working on them go get a measly result.I do make money but I would love to scale it up from 400 dollars?month to over three thousand to enable me pay rent and still have enough left. I am not buying anymore 27 dollar, 97 dollar or 300 dollar. I would rather pay an arm and a leg for coaching.
    So for me please offer some coaching one on one make it a particular period and be strict and cut me out of I am wasting your time. I guess that way you will feel more appreciated and valued. At least do this for one year and then the next year you can have the course and you are sure it has worked and you got testimonials.
    Thanks, all the best and congratulations.
    Grace

    • Yeah, that’s what I am afraid of. I think most people buy a course and don’t really get much out of it. Coaching could certainly be more useful for most people. It would allow you to learn in your problem areas and not worry about the rest. Thanks for your input Grace.

  8. I think offering 1-1 coaching is an excellent idea. With more time available it will be another income stream. Also you wouldn’t have to sell a course, market it etc because your subscribers would easily join it!

    I have a lot of projects on my plate but would jump in if you did offer it. In terms of a course I wouldn’t be as motivated.

    • Thanks for your input Shane. I think most somewhat seasoned people wouldn’t be very interested in a course but would go along with coaching as you mentioned.

  9. Spencer,
    I wouldn’t create a course if I were you. (Of course, you’re clearly smarter than me…so there’s always that to consider.) I wouldn’t do it because of many of the same reasons you cited above. 1. Too much effort for too little payoff. 2. You’re essentially training people and improving their ability to take your income away from you. Whatever profit you make from this venture couldn’t possibly outweigh the potential damage/risk to you current income could it? I’ve actually often wondered why you share as much as you’ve already shared…for free. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure everyone appreciates your giving spirit, but at some point, you have to protect yourself don’t you think?

    • Mr. McGavin – thanks for gracing us with your presence once again. Whether or not I’m smarter than you is debatable – but I think the rest of your points are valid.
      In fact your comment states what I was trying to say probably better than I said it in my post. I agree 100% with what you said.

  10. Mary Greene says:

    Do a course and then offer coaching to provide a product-services funnel, Spenser! Use your Long-Tail Keywords software as a front-end to coaching as well to attract both beginner and intermediate marketers.

    Cheers,
    Mary

  11. Spencer…

    I would be very interested in your 1-1 coaching, if that is your decision. I am relatively new to the internet world and my problems are mostly tech stuff like the intricacies of building sites using WordPress.

    I think tying yourself down to a large teaching program would be counter productive for you. Your Long-Tail book was a breath of fresh air to me and I applaud you for it. Well done!

    A detailed tale of how to build niche websites would be a landmark project worthy of building a statue in your honor.

    I guess my needs are rather pedestrian to you. For 50 years I have been writing articles, books, speeches, novels, biographies, marketing and PR programs.

    Now I need more detailed info on physically constructing niche websites. I can create an ocean of new content if I can only get through my thick Irish head how to organize it all into websites.

    • Raymond – I’m glad that enjoyed the ebook. Thanks for the kind words. I applaud you for trying to make the switch into internet marketing! Its not easy, but very doable…and sounds like you have a great background for it. If you do some searching on good ol google, you can find lots of free WordPress training. In fact Youtube should become your friend as you can pretty much find anything you need on how to use wordpress there.

  12. I would certainly appreciate coaching to be available. I am making about $500 a month with my adsense/amazon sites, but want to learn more to increase my earnings.

    With so many keywords always being created, with new products that did not exist 6 months ago, I think there are enough keywords to go around for the amount of people you would coach.

    For example, I created a site about 2 months ago, for a blockbuster movie that will come out in May or June this year that I know will get crazy traffic, and it is already at number 4 on google serp. And new movies, songs, tv shows, etc. are always being created. So the competition, in my opinion, should not prevent you from doing it.

    Congrats on being your own boss now.

    • Crystal – I love your example! Its so true that new keywords are created each and every day – too many to keep up with. If you are making $500 a month, you probably don’t need coaching, you just need to invest more time or money into growing your business probably – sounds like you have the know how.

  13. One on one coaching might be great for some people. However
    you would only be helping a select few. You would have to charge
    quite a bit for this and most of us probably couldn’t afford it.
    (I know I can’t)

    You could do a course that totally out classes all the other crap
    out there and really make a name for yourself. You could do it
    in weekly installments or so. Maybe just limit to your subscribers
    for now or limited copies.

    • Bob, thanks for your vote of confidence. I don’t know that I could create a better course – but I could certainly create one that shows exactly what I do.

  14. Hey Spence thanks for sharing your thoughts and wanting our opinion.

    To be quite honest I agree with the cons you stated and to me it does seem you truly are leaning to not doing it. I’m with you Spence.

    I feel many have learned a lot from your first and only ebook as well as your blog and not to mention that you are more than willing to answer questions when you can.

    I say keep it the way it is and keep on sharing the knowledge you want to share with us. No reason to get in the realm of the so cold “Internet Gurus” lol

    Take care and talk soon Spence!

    • Master Will -
      Glad to hear that someone sees my point of view! I think we are outnumbered though… I really don’t know that I want to be lumped into the group of “internet gurus” – that just doesn’t sound very appealing to me.

  15. Spencer…..

    Well…..I’ve read your blog and can honestly say why don’t you just recommend them to the program/course that got you started….this could be a win/win for everyone.

    Coaching is one-thing……a course is another…

    If I were you….I would do the coaching thing because you get instant gratification from someone learning directly from you….much like a teacher/student relationship….How much is your time worth?

    A course….well I could easily spat off 5-6 different adsense courses; xfactor, xfactor 2.0, fatcat with bertil, adsense blueprint, josh spauldings’ $5day sites, adsense crusher…..and many, many more….Send people to affiliate sites and earn money that way.

    Good luck in your decision.

    • Bill – I would recommend the program/course that got me started…BUT THERE WASNT ONE!!! I never bought any sort of course that taught me how to build niche websites…I did it ALL on my own. And honestly I think that is why I have been successful because I haven’t been turning to someone else for the answers. I think about things, I figure things out on my own. Google is my friend – I use it to find information believe it or not…for free! I guess this is why I have always leaned away from doing a course…I have never purchased one and I didn’t need one to get started.

  16. I honestly think that you should NOT do a course. Regardless of what people say, you will have people reverse engineering all of your sites. I always cringe whenever someone like Pat (who is awesome) showing people his sites. That is just asking for trouble.

    Everyone wants to know the ‘secret’ to making money online; well here it is…..

    content, links, and time

    If you are not making the kind of money you want, create more content, get more links, and let your sites age a bit.

    You could, of course, simply keep sharing your knowledge here :)

    • Dustin – I TOTALLY agree with your “secret”! THERE IS NO SECRET! You just have to work hard, spend time figuring things out, and then doing it.

      I think I will continue to blog about my online adventures though – which should be enough information for those dedicated to figure things out.

  17. Spencer, while all of the ideas would be great, I am thinking of more a hybrid idea of the bunch that would not only save your time, but eliminate the need for creating a course and make you some good money along the way.

    One on one coaching is great, however, time consuming when trying to answer all of those emails on a daily basis. So instead, why not setup a quick forum here on this domain, charge a small monthly fee from whom ever wishes to join and allow them to ask their questions within the private forum.

    This would allow other members to benefit from other people’s questions while still getting the attention that they need from your coaching. It also eliminates hundreds of daily emails as you could just login and answer people’s questions a couple times a day.

    Eventually, this forum would turn into a full blown course/guide on its own and if at a later date, you wanted to make a course offering to teach people how to do this, you already have the material written that answers many of the common questions that people may have in this field. You could simply “transcribe” the forum threads and create a full training course.

    I am one of the few that already makes a full time income with adsense and I would still be interested in joining a coaching forum like this, simply because its nice to have an outlet to bounce ideas around from time to time.

    If you chose to bring in a couple of other people that already know the ins and outs of adsense, you could utilize them as forum moderators to help build solid answers from a variety of different perspectives, in addition to further eliminating some of the workload for yourself. It would be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

    Also, no need to release details on your own websites, use your current list and let word of mouth bring in other people to the forum. Maybe setup a couple “dummy” blogs that members could use as a reference for setting up their own projects, the rest of the questions would be geared towards their websites, not yours.

    Patric

    • First of all, thanks for the great comment…excellent idea! I suppose that this is a possibility that would allow me to not spend a huge amount of time, but would also provide some of the benefits ($ , networking, etc) that I am looking for. If I do eventually go this way, I would certainly be interested in having someone like you get involved. In the meantime, feel free to hit me up anytime to discuss business…

  18. I appreciate all the information you’ve already shared and I for one would be completely interested in a coaching course or anything that you provided that would enable me to get to a point where I too could be a quitter!

    In reading the other comments, a thought came to my mind. You mentioned that you didn’t want to share your sites, so that people would be able to track back through the sites, all your other areas and keywords. What about the idea of setting up a new host, new domains, new everything and building a few sites to use for examples on how you do things. This way you could share all the nitty gritty details, without giving away your other information.

    I’m one of those out there that would love to see what it is you are creating that works so well. I do so much better to have visual examples in front of me to use as guides. But I can completely understand your desire to protect your existing infrastructure.

    As for the question of doing a course or a coaching program, I like the hybrid idea mentioned above as one possibility. I also agree with another commenter that to have a 1-on-1 coaching program it would likely be more than I could afford at this stage of the game.

    I’m not sure what your end decision would be, but your story inspires me and I want to be like you when I grow up. I want to get to the position where I too can quit my job and then have to deal with the same question. When I do get to that point, at this stage of the game, I think I would do coaching. Taking a few people under my wings and helping them get the ball rolling.

    I’ve told my friends from the beginning, that my ultimate goal with getting this going is to eventually teach my 2 daughters how to do the same thing. Teach them how to work for themselves so that they can get a start on life early and enjoy it.

    Good luck with the decision. I hope what ever you decide to do is satisfying for you and beneficial. I look forward to learning more and hanging around for the ride. Take Care!

    • Thanks for the in depth comment! I can also understand why you would want to see my sites that are doing well. I get it. However, I still want to be cautious. Your idea of setting up new hosting and new domains is certainly a potential for training purposes only – however that does involve a great deal of time. Doesn’t mean I’ll never do it, just means its pretty involved and would take a while.

      Also, best of luck being able to become a quitter! I think the idea of being able to teach your 2 daughters is exceptional…in fact I should be teaching my kids how to do this stuff right now!

  19. Coaching is the one I would go for Spencer. As someone said above, limit it to a small group and teach all of them at the same time using a webinar or similar. Get all members to sign an agreement that includes the following:

    1. They will share the url they end up with with the whole group
    2. The cost will be spread for the duration of the course (value your time hourly and figure out how much you want for the hour, then divide it by the number of people in the group – this assumes 1 hour webinar a week). This does not take into account support, but all you need is a closed group forum so people can help each other and you only need to intervene if someone gets it badly wrong).
    3. Agree a full refund if at the end of xx days of the course they are failing to make any money.

    I would sign up to this.

  20. Selling course is selling your expertise and experience. Showing what works and what does not. This information has a price tag. Of course there will always be people that will find your information useful and some that will say you sell rehashed junk of information that can be found for free.

    On the other hand, you will establish yourself among known internet marketers, but will be different from many because you practice what you preach. You will diversify your income, build your list and find more business people to work with. You will find more opportunities.

    But question is, what your new course will have that your previous one does not? If it will be different – go for it. If it will be rehashed information – 1) don’t do it and save your reputation 2) do it and trade your reputation for money.

    • Boris, great points. I think its a sad state of affairs when its out of the norm for someone who creates an IM product to actually “practice what they preach”. Sad indeed. Also, I would have to really consider if I bring anything new to the table – sure niche websites work for me, but am I presenting any new information…great points.

  21. Hello Spencer

    I think everyone here forgot about your little treasure…
    “The long tail keyword software”

    Why not create another software????

    For exemple, backlinks…Everybody needs backlinks to rank,forever we will need backlinks for new or old websites….

    Did you already think in build a software that create tons of good quality backlinks???
    It could make you a milionare on Warrior Forum…Think Xrumer, scrapebox, bookmarkingdemon etc…
    People always gonna need that.
    Coaching is too expansive especially for newbies, they need to take action and spend money on backlinks,themes,articles….

    This way your business would always be protected.

    Just my 0.2

    • Federico -
      Ah yes, the hidden treasure! I think you are very business saavy in the way that you have analyzed my situation! In fact, creating new tools or software and the potential that these could bring is playing a HUGE role in determining what I do with my time.

      On one hand, many people have asked for coaching or a course from me. On the other hand, I think people would also love a valuable tool or software – and the potential for making money is actually greater with the right product. Creating a link building tool is certainly interesting to think about!

  22. I’ve bought courses and I have bought coaching. I can tell you that the coaching approach is my preference. Why? Interaction with the coach. Answers to my questions. Guided step-by-step.

    Bottom line is … what value do you really want to produce? Coaching with some guidance (as in do this, do that) is by far the most value to the coachee. And … if you can really offer value then do the coach thing. If you are fake … be like the other gurus and offer a coarse (no offense intended).

    • No offense taken Kevin…I think you are spot on! You hit the nail on the head when you said “if you are fake…be like the other gurus and offer a course”! I don’t want to be associated with the “fakes” out there…which is a HUGE reason why I am leaning away from doing a course at all.

  23. Having a large number of sites automatically diversifies your income. Yes, you could lump them all in the same category of Adsense earners getting Google traffic, but what are the chances ALL, or even more than one or two selective sites getting killed, as long as you have decent content and backlink quality? The more attention you place attention on those two things, the better foundation your AdSense business has, as you probably know.

    So do you really need more diversification than just building more sites and improving your existing sites? Getting distracted from your core business is an opportunity cost, and a time drain.

    If you want to diversify, use your income to finance the startup of a new venture outside of IM. That’s what I do. Although I’ve always seen selling courses/info products as a rather thankless endeavor without enough upside. Is it worth having 95 students that want to play 20 questions for every handful that do something with the information? Not for me. Especially when it takes time away from an existing core business.

  24. I have to come down on the dont do it side of things, I spent a couple years working in the coaching area, there are so many people who will buy the coarse and the coaching and then just sit on the information, its how the gurus make all the money one coarse after another knowing full well only 5% of the people will ever put the informations to use.

    The problem is you risk your integrity when they all whine about how they didnt make any money, you could get caught up in endless coaching sessions with these kind of people and they are a huge part of the market place.

    hate so sound so negative but unless you have some checks in place to weed through the disatified get rich quick people you could end up with a whole boat load of them and end up doing everything for them.

    I just dont think 25k is worth the stress and headaches, the gurus sheild themselves well so they dont have to deal with any of the customers and that takes some capitol as well, anyway enough of my nay saying you layed out the pro,s and cons quite well

    I often see a course and think, “if it really worked why would you share it with the world”.

    • That’s why I said share the URL’s in the closed group, so you can show them where they are going wrong and they cannot whine (it’s simple to see/prove if they have even bothered creating backlinks).

      And anyway, it will be a small group of VERY interested people. The price will not by definition be cheap, because you are guaranteeing a result. That’s the point of it. A legitimate business will demand at least 5 x annual profit to buy. So if someone says ‘do this and earn $100k in profit, the price should be $500k plus. This shows the reality of all those hyped up courses.

      So, what price credibility? It’s a tough call Spencer.

    • Chris -
      Very well put. I think that is certainly a huge negative point of doing coaching or a course – very few people will actually implement what I teach. And of course there will always be complaints, as its impossible to please everyone.

  25. Hi Spencer,

    This is a very tough decision.

    On the one hand a course would be more affordable to the end user but lack any kind of support and motivation for the user to make a go of it.

    On the other one-to-one coaching would provide support and motivation to complete the given tasks along the way. However this would probably be priced out of reach of many, including myself.

    What about an inbetween idea whereby you provide group coaching for around 30, 50, even 100 students. This could take the form of webinars or even a forum, where you explain the steps and we follow. A bit like Ed Dale’s 30 Day Challenge (or whatever it is called now).

    Having more students may not be as first thought, as they can help each other out via the forum, with you stepping in to clarify and put people on the right track.

    I have been on webinar coaching which was quite good, but you will never satisfy everyone with regards to timings, especially if you get signup’s from around the world.

    An alternative is to use a forum and to post short videos on a daily / weekly basis, that overcomes the time differences. With a forum people can ask questions about the videos anyway. With webinars people can only ask questions if they attend live. Yes they can watch recordings, but unless they attend live they can’t ask questions.

    Steve.

    • Steve:
      Thanks for the suggestion. I agree that having a limited number of seats such as 30 or so, would make it more affordable to many, yet still compensate me for my time. Thanks for the idea.

  26. Christoffer says:

    Hi Spencer

    I can only say that I am total agree what Kevin says about courses and coaching :-)

    I am ALL in for one on one coaching.

    Thanks
    Christoffer

  27. Spencer, I think you also need to take into consideration YOUR TIME. Coaching programs are very demanding in that you will probably feel responsible to return emails and walking newcomers thru basic steps (like you have for me). You may feel like you are attached to your email address because you don’t want to let anyone down. The more coaching classes you give, the more questions you will receive, the more people who are still contacting you from your class 6 months ago, etc. I know you have more time on your hands now with your job ending so maybe it will work out for you. You have always been very generous with your responses to people following your blog so I don’t imagine you will have trouble with this. But you’re right, there is a lot to weigh in this decision. Good luck,

    Kevin

    • Kevin – yes the time that it takes out of my day is a HUGE factor in my decision process. Does the benefits I receive from helping others succeed outweigh the time and effort that would be required on my part? I guess that’s what I have to decide. Stay tuned!