I want to take 3 seconds of your time to ask one thing: what defines you?
Is it your career, your family, your hobbies or passions? And if you have an answer that comes to your head immediately, are you sharing it?
This is a question Carrie-Anne Moss would undoubtedly have an answer to.
You may know Carrie-Anne as Jeri from Jessica Jones or Trinity from The Matrix Trilogy, but as a mother of three, wife and woman she felt a burning passion to share what she has learned. She since started a blog - Annapurna Living - and has built not only one, but multiple online courses.
Sitting down in one of the most heartwarming and authentic interviews of my life, Carrie-Anne tells how she shares her passion and knowledge through her online courses and how and why you can too.
Why You Should Share Your Passion
It’s a Teachable motto that we all have a course inside of us. We all have unique experiences, skills and passions that we not only can - but should - share with the world.
For Angela Fehr, a talented artist, she’s brought together a community to learn how to watercolor paint. For Nat Eliason and Justin Mares, it’s their skills with technical marketing that help people advance their careers. For Jon Haws, it’s alleviating the pain of nursing school and making it easy for student to pass their licensing exam.
By launching their course and sharing their knowledge all of these people were, yes, able to make money to support their families BUT ALSO help help a huge number of students in a way that isn’t possible with traditional teaching.
Courses allow you to “scale yourself”, to share your knowledge with more people than ever before. This is inspiring.
“I had this yearning...in my heart that I wanted to create this platform, where I could share some of the things that I was learning around motherhood, around well-being, around consciousness, around meditation, yoga, in the ground. Simple ideas of thinking that I wanted to share,” says Carrie-Anne about why she started to blog and create.
If you're struggling with creativity, check out this post for 10 Steps to Bring Creativity Into Your Life by Carrie-Anne.
Why An Online Course
“Well, I think the trickiest thing for someone like me and there’s a lot of people like me that has something that they're offering. It's like; how do you offer it? I couldn't find the platform. Originally, these courses that I do, I was doing them in 10-day email courses. I enjoyed that, it was great. But I really couldn't figure out like how can I create a container. What container can hold this for me?” Carrie-Anne said.
It’s a problem. When we want to share something, we all want to find the best way to put our voice into the world and be heard, but with an overload of “content” and streams of social media this can be incredibly hard, not to mention, you want a platform that matches your vision.
That’s the beauty behind courses - they’re a content medium that people both value and engage with. The average instructor on Teachable make 5K on their online course.
By contrast, 81% of “bloggers” never make even $100. An author makes only 8-15 cents on every dollar made on their book. The “average” YouTuber with 5K views per month makes just $15/month.
And while money is a big incentivator for some creators, others simply want to share their voice and find a a platform that helps them bring their vision to life.
As Carrie-Anne says, "[Mariah Coz] recommended Teachable and I'm just thrilled. It's exactly what I imagined when I would think about how I wanted to [share my idea]."
Our dev team is delighted :-)
However, one of the best things about an online course is how often you interact with your audience. This isn’t like a blog where you write a post, put it into the world and hope to get a few comments. You’re sharing videos, getting and giving feedback and your audience will start to help each other. It's much more of a two-way interactive street between you and your students.
In our interview, Carrie-Anne talked about how she wanted to create and cultivate a community - but she was having a hard time doing that with an email course. She was able to do it with her Teachable school.
The Joy of Creating
Maybe this makes me a nerd, but the first time I got into the Teachable platform, it was fun. Yes, fun. Like someone handed me a new box of digital crayons with which I could create anything - everything.
I’ve always been a sucker for new projects, exploring and seeing what I could create. Challenging myself to write, design and customize to make new projects more beautiful than the last. I’m pretty sure this is how some people feel when they solve a sudoku, but for a creative, a new creation platform has the same feeling.
Which is why it was thrilling to hear Carrie-Anne say the same, “It's just been so fulfilling for me to actually have a place that I get to bring myself to in a way that isn't controlled by say a movie or a television show, or a PR world. Like it's all me. I found that to be pretty exciting that we live in a time right now, where we can create what we want to share.”
And that’s true. Creating online gives us a creative outlet not always found at our day jobs. Your persona can be anyone and the more personalized the better. You’re teach as an individual to individuals. You’re not a company or a brand and our best course creators are the ones who let their voices shine through.
How do I find my course topic
So when you’re thinking of starting to turn your passion into a course, you’ve got to pinpoint your course topic.
You’re a foodie, but a course on food is too broad - you’ve got to hone in on the specifics. The best way to find your course idea is
- Think about what you’re good at or passionate about
- Think about what you’re interested in
- Thing about what jobs and skills you’ve done or hobbies that people could pay you for
But then we’ve got to take it one step farther. Even if we’re passionate about dance and have taught it before, what aspect of dance are people struggling with that they would PAY to learn about?
Rather than just guessing, you can look online and research your potential topics to help you find your idea and make sure people are interested in it.
We’ve actually created a small workbook just for this process. Download our Profitable Course Idea Worksheets to
- Pinpoint your passions and decide how you can turn them into a profitable course.
- Understand your audience: who they are, what they struggle with, and where they hang out.
- Decide on a transformation for your audience. We will decide which of your audience's painpoints are you going to solve with your online course.
Carrie-Anne knew exactly what she wanted to teach - she had a passion and has bravely shared it.
“I want to share that with women...a simple three-minute meditation, that has the power to transform their entire lives. Because when you get out of the thinking mind and the manic craziness of your mind, you make good choices.
You know what to do. You know what relationships to have. What jobs to take, what to eat....you become more prosperous, because you understand what's important in your life. As you can tell I'm pretty passionate about what I'm doing.”
What I loved about speaking with Carrie-Anne is that she was confident that she stumbled on something could change people's lives and felt passionate and a sense of obligation to share it.
And she has. Through both her courses and blog posts, like this one which is a simple and sincere meditation practice.
I’ve personally spoken with hundreds of people who have a course idea they're passionate about, they spend hundreds of hours a week learning more about the topic and yet, when I suggest they make a course they say 3 things: 1. I’m not an expert. 2. I don’t know how to create a course 3. I don't have the time.
I understand these fears, but you won't get sympathy from me for hiding your light from the world. As we said at the start of this post, we all have something we’re able to teach and if our knowledge can help people’s lives we have an obligation to share it.
Hearing Carrie-Anne speak about her idea she said, “But it's really giving women the tools to uplift and inspire their lives without having to buy anything. Without buying into this cultural advertising of that, you need to buy XYZ in order to be beautiful, valuable. All of these things. It's like women have been so distracted from their true grace and their true beauty by cosmetic companies, by dieting, by tabloids, by reality television.
All of those things have distorted what it means to be a woman in such a major way. For me I'm at this place where I'm like enough is enough. I'm not buying into any of that. I don't want my daughter to have to buy into it. I don't want anyone to have to buy into it. We are enough. We are so creative and so beautiful and graceful and amazing. When we stand in our center and we aren't looking outside of ourselves to give ourselves value.”
There’s passion in those words and a desire to change something, which is exactly what you can do teaching online.
Overcome the "Obstacles"
Myth 1: I’m not an expert
So the first thing we hear when someone wants to teach online and the biggest mental hurdle is the Expert Myth - or the idea that you have to be an “expert” to teach online.
“I want to empower other women. Listen, I need it to. It's not like I'm super confident all the time. I'm teaching what I need. It's like in Kundalini Yoga, it's like if you want to master something. Teach it. I'm only teaching what I need. I'm not an expert. I don't know it all. We have these circles where I talk, where we have this conversation, people ride in,” says Carrie-Anne.
And that’s exactly it.
The dictionary definition of an expert is:
A person just one step ahead of you. In fact, at Teachable, we think the best instructors are sometimes the people who have just learned a topic - not the masters.
Think about it, when you needed help in Calculus 123 in college, who was better to learn from? Your friend who got in A in it last semester or the professor. More often than not experts forget the issues beginners struggle with and alienate them with theory and advanced concepts.
This is often reflected in how people price their course where they constantly undervalue and underprice it. Don't do that!
Carrie-Anne talked about this, "There’s energy in money, there is an energy. I think it's very important to have that exchange happen and I think you're totally right.
You have to know your value and put it out there in a way that you're content with, and that feels good to you. So yeah, I totally agree and I have a generous inclination. I really would love to give it away to everybody, but I know that's not the right thing. Whenever I've given it away, people don't do it."
You don’t have to know everything on your topic to teach it.
“I'm not answering questions. I'm having a conversation. I don't have the answers, but you have the answers for you. I have the answers for me,” Carrie-Anne says.
Myth 2: I don't know how to create a course
There’s also a technical obstacle to sharing your passion online and that’s the fear that you don’t know what you’re doing or how to do it.
A course does NOT need to be fancy. It doesn't need professional videographers, microphones, a script writer or designer.
“I'm literally creating this content at my kitchen's table, on my bedroom floor making videos. I don't have a production office. I don't have staff... it's a labor of love, it's a lot of work and I love it. But I wasn't ready until I got to Teachable,” Carrie- Anne says.
If you're feeling ready, but want a bit of a hand-hold (and I love to hold hands), join me on Tuesday for our live workshops where I'll personally show you the 7 steps to create your own online course. Sign up for free here.
The biggest thing to remember is that done is better than perfect. Between the Teachable blog, our community of creators in The Teachable Tribe and our live workshops - all the resources you need are free at at your fingertips.
Myth 3: I'll do it tomorrow...
When I'm working with our potential course creators, they are saying, “I just can't that first step. I have been pushing that off. I like signed up and here I am many days later and haven't done it.” So I asked Carrie-Anne, what would you tell those people who are passionate about something, but haven't taken that first step?
There is a way through every block. There is another saying that says, “Start and the pressure will come off of you.” When you feel the pressure start and it will come off. I think a lot of us get stuck in that feeling of like it's too much, it's too much. But yet if you just do that first step, you end up feeling like this release of the pressure. It's in the resistance that all the pressure comes.
So I say start, have a very manageable kind of steps that you can actually take to make what you want happen. Because sitting around and talking about it is valuable, because you're cultivating the idea. You're finding it. But you have to do it. You have to put it into action. It has to be important to you. If there is fear that's getting in the way, this is the thing I'm kind of exploring right now in my courses. Because I created my courses every month, has a different theme. It's like that fear that gets us.
I talked about this fear in a blog post I created here Beat the 4 Irrational Fears When Creating an Online Course.
One of the best ways to take the first step is to set deadlines. Maybe it’s 1 module per week. Maybe is an outline one week and all the video content in two weekends. Whatever it is, don’t let fear hold you back.
“...ultimately the biggest fear lies within us. You've got to confront that. Just got to come, move through it. You got to do it. You just have to do it. If what you're doing is truly something that it's been so true to you, you got to express it. You have to do it. It's like your gift and not doing it is actually just not okay. It's so simple,” Carrie-Anne said.
If Carrie can do it, you can do it
While we are all afraid to put ourselves out there, or as Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income says,“ A lot of people have ideas, but they don't want to execute because they're not sure whether or not that thing that they are going to be working on is actually worth that time and effort.
And those what-ifs, which are initially 'What if this works', 'What if this is the one', those end up turning into 'What if I fail', 'What if I let my family down' and 'What if it was all for nothing.' And they don't do anything - they are much more comfortable being complacent with where they are than potentially failing.”
Everyone feels like they’re putting their reputation on the line (something that Ramit Sethi talks about here), but for an actress like Carrie-Anne the stakes are undoubtedly higher, but that didn’t for a second stop her.
“I'm an actress. People see me in a certain way. I'm very private. It was like, literally, that moment when you publish your website or whatever...I was like, “I don't think I can do it. I can't do it. I'm too afraid.” [My friend] was like, “Well, what are you afraid of?” I said, “What people will think of me. People will judge me and think, ‘Who does she think she is?’ All of the voices.”
She said to me, “Where are you right now?” I said, “I'm in my kitchen.” She goes, “Imagine the people you imagine would make fun of you sitting at your kitchen table. See them.” I said, “Okay. I saw a couple of people that I thought making fun of me.” And she goes, “Do you really care what they think of you?” I was like, “No.” Who cares? Who cares?
People are rooting for you, people are rooting after you. And that's what you have to believe.”
And it’s true. When I interviewed Jon Haws of NRSNG he described this same fear - a fear so lingering that he compiled a list of compliments from students so when the “bad ones came” he’d have something to lean on, but the complaints never came and Jon has continue to build his course into a school into a business.
“I didn't know that I would eventually be making videos with my laptop, no lighting, no hair and makeup, no editing, just like display, just me,” Carrie-Anne said. “I would have never in a million years would have imagined that it would go down like that. That I could feel that comfortable creating what I'm creating. But at first, the blog felt a little arm's length. I think the information was still the writing was all there and all of that. But slowly it became, “Okay. Am I really willing to put myself out there and to share authentically and from a truth?”
What do you think? Are you inspired? I know I was. What kind words do you have for future course creators?