Andrea Olson of Go Diaper Free is an online course creator who found herself in an unusual niche she never expected to be in after her son was born. Andrea has taught 1,000's of parents her methods for potty training.
Not only that, but she made over $15,000 on her first launch, proving you don't need to be teaching technical skills to be successful. What's more? She's able to see this success working just three hours a day - color me impressed!
Here's what she has to say...
Tell us what you do in 2 sentences:
I teach new parents how to potty train their babies from as early as birth (called elimination communication), and I also train coaches so they can support parents in this practice in their local communities. I also have a company that makes and sells Tiny Undies and Tiny Trainers to support people in going Diaper Free and the two companies cross-refer.
When did you decide to create an online business?
When my son was 5 months old and we really needed the income.
What did you do next?
I studied up and wrote an ebook while collecting email addresses to eventually launch to. It took me 7 months, and when my son was a year old I launched it to 70 people. Now I’ve trained about 200 coaches worldwide and have over 10,000 people on my email list and over 15k facebook fans. I also now run the nonprofit for the industry, ensuring every parent has access to this diapering option. Now, I’m moving more into video courses and Teachable is the most awesome tool I subscribe to, and it really makes it easy for me and my students to connect!
We interview a lot of people who teach others technical skills or how to make money online, you’re on an entire other end of the spectrum - what advice do you have for other people selling courses on unique topics?
If there is even a smallish niche that you are passionate about (mine only had 8,000 searches for the term per month), and you want it badly enough, you can be the best in it and provide something so unique that people will thank you weekly for bringing them what they were searching for!
Offering a real solution to a problem that you’ve had *totally* qualifies for a great course idea.
Oftentimes people will want to be shown how to do so. I would advise being where they hang out (forums and groups online) and helping others, and when your product is ready, launching to those people you’ve already networked with.
A two-in-one effort: build the list of emails WHILE you build your product. :) And in the meanwhile you’ll find out what they want by interacting in forums and blogs and groups about your specific niche.
What has been the best part of running your own business?
I get to stay at home with my 3 (soon to be 4) beautiful children! And I get full control over my creative process, along with the benefit of helping to change the world for the better. Win-win-win.
What made you decide to create an online course?
My coach program had already gone through two seasons and I was finding the tech super-clunky and pieced together. When I found teachable, I knew that this would be my big break. I’ve since created a second course that is 100% video. My students LOVE the format because they can pause and come back and work at their own pace (they are mostly moms).
What did your course creation process look like?
The first program I’d already made in audio while I taught the live classes over 16 weeks last year, so I then had to pop all the audio into video (with a stagnant image) so the autocomplete/autoplay would work in teachable. Then, I updated all my downloads and organized everything with the Curriculum builder in teachable.
The second course I created based on a script I wrote. I asked my audience what their biggest problem was and 40% said “X” so I created an overall outline - what is the problem, what is the solution, what change they’d see in this course, and then outlined and walked them through the whole thing.
I wrote the script over 3 hours, non-stop, 13,000 words, and then I recorded it on my iMac. I already had most of the handouts created. I also added in some short quizzes and invited my students to do “Challenges” in each section of the course. I ask them to engage in the comments on most pages. It was super fun to make. The script then became the transcript at the end.
If you could go back to creating your first course, is there anything you’d do different now that you’ve had the experience and trial and error?
I would have just gone for video from the start, but I’ve always felt more comfortable with audio! I love podcasting, so I did that with my coach program - all audio - and I loved it. Now that I have the Parrot Teleprompter, I am set up to be able to do all the rest of my course ideas (all 8 of them) on pure video, with a transcript and audio-only option for those with the inability to watch video.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are looking to go full-time in their online business?
I would say that I had the impetus of a baby and needing money - I had limited time and had to hustle to make it happen. Had I not had my baby, I wouldn’t have created a darn thing.
So, create yourself a deadline and GO FOR IT! Build the community while you create your product. Interact with people. Genuinely care for them. And they will feel your passion and want you to help them when the time comes. Also, know that it does take some time to build...but if your heart is behind it and your idea is based in your own passion for something real, it will happen.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m going to have this baby and put out my next book: The Unassisted Birth Manual - with a video course, of course!
I am going to further automate all my upcoming courses to have a full school of 10 programs and make all my funnels evergreen so I can continue to only work 3 hours per day...and maybe even take a vacation this year!
I plan to travel and possibly dip into documentary filmmaking (in my niches) as a next adventure in life and family...because who doesn’t want another challenge?