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How I built a seven-figure online course business

I started ClickMinded, my online course business, as a side-project while working full-time as an SEO Manager at PayPal and Airbnb. I didn’t have an audience, email list, or even social media followers… all I had was an idea and the motivation to make it work.

Today, ClickMinded has over 30,000 students and has generated (this is so weird to write this) millions of dollars in revenue.

Creating an online course has been one of the best decisions of my life — it has allowed me to:

  • Pay off all my debt in my early 20s
  • Generate 6-figures a year in profit since 2015
  • Travel and live in some of the coolest cities in the world
  • Work on stuff I’m passionate about
  • Help other people grow their own businesses and improve their own lives
  • Hang out with family and friends on my own schedule

In the time it's taken to get here, we’ve used dozens of tools, tried hundreds of tactics, and have made thousands… yes, thousands of mistakes.

I’ve talked about how we built this thing on podcasts like Indie Hackers1, Tropical MBA2, and Niche Pursuits3, but I was never able to really get into the weeds and share everything I wanted to share.

We decided to put everything we learned into one comprehensive framework to start and scale your own online course business as quickly as possible.

This is everything we wish someone had taught us when we were just getting started — and it’s everything you need to get the fastest results possible.

The opportunity of starting your own course business in 2021

The global recession we’re entering will cause a massive explosion in the number of small businesses created.

  • People who lost their jobs will start businesses
  • People who still have their jobs but are afraid of losing them will start businesses
  • Job security is dead
  • (Almost) everything is moving online

With the trajectory we are now on, the world is being dragged into the future, kicking and screaming, whether we like it or not.

The previously held notion that “being an entrepreneur is risky” is being shattered, because it turns out that you might have to become an entrepreneur, again, whether you like it or not.

We're calling this "The Rise of the Litle Guys."

In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans are starting new businesses at the fastest rate in more than a decade4.

More and more people are looking to upgrade or learn new skills that can help them find better jobs or start businesses.

There’s a popular phrase that sums this up nicely: When there's a gold rush, sell picks and shovels.

In this ‘gold rush’, knowledge is the new gold and online courses are the picks and shovels.

Udemy, the world’s largest online course marketplace, has published figures showing a 425% increase in demand for courses5 and new creators are capitalizing on this trend.

The risk of starting your own course business in 2021

The opportunity to start an online course business is there, the circumstances are right, but getting started can be hard.

This leaves the door wide open for the great con artists of the Internet.

A quick youtube search for “make money online scams”, will take you down the weirdest, grossest rabbit hole you’ve ever been down. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Most of these bozos have perfected the art of the shakedown and will make you believe that you can:

  • Quit your job and get rich overnight on the Internet
  • Make money “while you sleep” (aka create a passive income business)

These are the types of people who attract millions of views, clicks, and subscribers.

If you’ve thought about starting an Internet business, you’ll quickly realize that it’s easy to put your trust in the wrong people — people that will take your money, time, and motivation and leave you with little else.

We refuse to play this game

Doing the “get rich quick” thing has never, and will never, be an option for us.

It’s just too gross.

My biggest nightmare is becoming this guy:

With that said, this doesn’t change the fact that we’ve been getting questions about how to start an online course business for years. We do our best to try and help because it’s fun. We’re nerds and we love this stuff.

So we’ve put together a framework on how to start your online course business from scratch in a way that’s the exact opposite of these exciting, get-rich-quick schemes.

It’s a plan that isn’t fast, it isn’t passive and it doesn’t involve overnight success. It’s designed for people that are ready and willing to put in the work to build a real business for the long run.

Is this right for you?

Since we are not planning to hype this the way that the get-rich-quick gang does, not everyone is going to be interested in what we have to offer.

You know what? That’s probably okay. In fact, it might be a good thing.

We are a lot more interested in finding the smart people that are willing to do the hard work and relentlessly avoid the sketchy shortcuts (that aren’t even real to begin with).

These are the same people that are willing to persist when things get difficult, and resist when the easy path gets tempting…

...because it’s worth it. I promise it's worth it.

Introducing CourseMinded: The fastest way to build your profitable online course business

Before we decided to go down this path, we asked ourselves: is there someone else out there that already does this well?

Our team spent over 100 hours taking the free and paid courses, watching YouTube tutorials, and reading blog posts and ebooks to find out.

The answer is no...

...or at least not to our standards.

So we decided to create the courses we wish we had 8 years ago—including all the nitty-gritty details and resources that all those other YouTube videos, blog posts, ebooks, and courses missed.

The result was 2 courses that will teach you the fastest way to create a world-class online course and the tactics to scale it to 1000+ customers.

The Start & Build course

The fastest way to validate your course idea, attract early customers, and build a world-class online course

There are many products out there that claim to help you start and build your online course.

This is what these mean:

  • Start: finding a course topic and validating your idea — but other courses leave out finding which topic is best for you and how to actually get your first customers
  • Build: plan your content, record it, and upload it to a learning management system (LMS) — but none of the resources we found explain how to turn “ok” content into “world-class” content

These are the most critical (and harder) aspects of these steps. It’s where people can easily get stuck, lose precious time and money, and ultimately give up on their goal of starting their own business.

The Start & Build course solves that.

“Soft” validation is not good enough. You need tactics to get your first 10 customers

When I started my online course business, I didn’t have an audience I could tap into. I had to get scrappy to find my first customers — most people who currently teach this stuff didn’t have this problem (they just leverage their audience of 1M YouTube subscribers or 100k email list).
Other courses
Do some keyword research and figure out what people are saying in forums
Start & Build course
The only real validation is money in your bank. Here’s how you can get your first 10 customers — even if you don’t have an audience

“Brainstorming” your course content is a terrible idea. You need a proven method to build a bulletproof curriculum

If you don’t plan your curriculum correctly, you could end up creating a course that your students hate. Bad reviews and refunds are hard to come back from.
Other courses
Write down your outline and ideas in a Google doc, break your content into chapters
Start & Build course
Here’s how to create a curriculum your students will rave to their friends about

The “right tools” don't make a great course. You need to build a course that students will prefer over Netflix

Most people focus too much on tools (software and equipment) to record your online course content. But if you’ve never taught a class in the past, it can be intimidating to record your first online course.

Because of this, most people just end up looking awkward on camera—but with great lightning and in HD.
Other courses
Buy this software, camera, and lights, your course will look great.
Start & Build course
Here’s the tools you can use, but most importantly, here’s how to create a great learning experience for your students

Doing everything yourself is for rookies. You can get to market 10x faster by outsourcing strategically

It takes a lot of work to create an online course from scratch. Most people teach you how to do everything by yourself. This doesn’t make any sense if you already have a full-time job.

Instead, we believe you can use the money from your first 10 customers (see above) to outsource time consuming tasks and bring your courses to market 10x faster.
Other courses
Here’s a 5-minute tutorial on how to use Premiere Pro — now go and edit 4 hours of raw footage
Start & Build course
Here’s how to leverage the revenue from your first 10 customers to get your courses to market in 1/10th the time

By the end of the Start & Build course, you’ll know exactly how to:

Discover where are the market opportunities for you to create a profitable online course
Attract your first 10 customers before you spend any time or money creating your online course
Create a world-class online course that your students prefer over watching Netflix
Set up your entire stack of tech tools to start selling as quickly as possible

The Grow & Scale course

Build an evergreen system to grow your traffic, sell more courses, and scale your operations

This is arguably the most important aspect of an online course business — it’s the system you’ll use to continuously attract new students and grow your revenue, aka build a real business.

We were surprised to find that the biggest flaw in every resource we’ve found was that most of them don’t go over how to grow your business and scale your operations.

The Grow & Scale course is different.

Cookie-cutter advice doesn’t help you. You need detailed walkthroughs of proven tactics

“Doing SEO” or “publish on YouTube” is not a marketing strategy! If we recommend a strategy or tactic, we’ll do step-by-step walkthroughs on how to implement them.
Other courses
Here are some best practices for social media
Grow & Scale course
Here are 10+ course marketing blueprints and step-by-step walkthroughs to implement them

You can’t rely on launches forever. You need a business that generates consistent revenue every month

Most people focus too much on doing course launches, but what happens after the launch? We’ve developed a sales funnel framework that’s specifically designed for online courses.
Other courses
Launch, launch, launch, launch, launch, launch, launch, launch, launch...
Grow & Scale course
Here’s how you can build your entire course sales funnel that attracts new students consistently every month

If you want to grow your course beyond being just a side hustle, you need processes that will help you scale

This is a great problem to have — once your business has grown enough, you’ll need to worry about scale. You need systems to delegate tasks, support students, or even hire more teachers.
Other courses
** crickets **
(we couldn’t find a single course that touched on this)
Grow & Scale course
Here’s how to scale your business with SOPs, freelancers, partnerships, and revenue shares

By the end of the Grow & Scale course, you’ll know exactly how to:

Quickly build out a sales funnel that consistently attracts new customers for your business every month
Deploy powerful tactics that help you get more traffic, capture more leads, and sell more courses
Go from a single-person business to a full-blown business operation

Here's what our students have to say

If you're considering CourseMinded, I think you should just go for it to be honest. It’s more than worth it.

There is even a whole section about how to build the perfect MVP to test your course idea to ensure it'll actually work as a business.

They've literally thought of everything. It's going to be our bible when we roll out our own courses later this year.
Matt Ziranek
CEO, Rocket Expansion Digital Agency
You are making incredible contributions by training the next generation of online course creators to play the long game.

There are already so many things I like about the course, from the way it's structured, the examples, the messaging, the quotes with links to the source, your stories, down to what makes you angry.
Natalie Wong
Owner, Pep Soap Co.
You're giving a course that efficiently delivers big key ideas. In each section I've watched so far, I've found at least one great insight that I hadn't heard or considered before.
Joel Rosenberg
I greatly appreciate the streamlined approach to keep me moving forward.

I've taken other course development courses and they lagged or got off course with theory or ridiculous unnecessary projects and I lost interest and faded out — this course is actionable and provides the tools to succeed and move forward.
O'Neal Scott

Start and grow your online course business with CourseMinded

Start & Build course

Validate your idea, attract early customers, and build a world-class online course
$1,000
Included in the bundle special
Finding your ideal customers
Discovering market opportunities
Finding your unfair advantage
Getting your first 10 customers
Starting your online course business
Creating your course curriculum
Recording and editing video content
Setting up your marketing site
Setting up your learning management system
Setting up your email service provider
Course certifications and updates
Pricing your course

Grow & Scale course

Build an evergreen system to grow your traffic and revenue and scale your operations
$1,000
Included in the bundle special
How to build a powerful sales funnel
Target persona blueprint
Google SEO blueprint
YouTube SEO blueprint
Lead magnet blueprint
Mini-course blueprint
Warm-up sequence blueprint
Pitch sequence blueprint
Evergreen newsletter blueprint
Sales page blueprint
Webinar blueprint
Special promotion blueprint
Partnership blueprint
Refund policy blueprint
Scaling your business

Bundle Special

Get both courses and start your profitable online course business as quickly as possible
$997
Normally $2,000, save $1,003
Enroll Now
Everything in the Start & Build course
Everything in the Grow & Scale course
Lifetime access
Unlimited updates for life
Worksheets, templates, and SOPs
Downloadable slides
Risk-free 14-day money-back guarantee

Who are these bozos?

Tommy Griffith

Tommy is the founder of ClickMinded, an online course business with over 30,000 students that has generated over $2m in revenue. He previously managed SEO at PayPal and Airbnb. He feels weird writing about himself in the third person but admits that it sounds slightly more epic.

Eduardo Yi

Eduardo is the co-founder of ClickMinded. He previously worked in the growth team at Teachable, the world’s most popular learning management system. There, he had exclusive insider access to learn how 100,000+ creators, who’ve sold over $500 million in course revenue, run and grow their businesses.
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