Before we dive into this, let’s define “on a budget”. It means you have some money to spend but not a whole heap. For what I will tell you now you’ll probably need around $300. Some would argue that this is not “on a budget” while others can sniff a cheapskate scam here, right?
I leave it up to you.
Let’s get to it.
Here is how you create an awesome e-course while watching the pennies:
- Create a mastermind group with one or two of your closest entrepreneurial minded buddies and develop your initial idea into a fully blown e-course concept. I’m talking content here, not the technical details. Offer your mastermind buddies a spot in the e-course by interviewing them in an expert call. Or offer your e-course customers a free strategy call with your mastermind buddies as a bonus (which is very likely going to bring business back to your helpful friend). Always give and take, right?
- Let’s spin this exchange thing even further. Are you a business or life coach? Or have something else highly valuable to offer? Find out if you can work with your chosen contractors (like copywriters, virtual assistants, graphic designers etc) on an exchange basis. This means no money will change hands. You will trade your hours for the hours they put in. This happens more than you think and again, it is mutually beneficial if done right and fairly.
- If you can’t get all the work done through exchange arrangements, look on Elance for contractors. There are amazingly talented people living in the countries of Eastern Europe for example who charge a quarter or less of what a US contractor with the same experience charges. Yes, you have to consider time zone differences and language barriers. But if you take the time to select your Elance contractor carefully, you will soon see the financial benefits of working with someone talented from Romania rather than California. (Hint: Always pay attention to the Elance ratings. If there are a lot of completed jobs unrated, this is a glowing red warning sign. Stay away from those!)
- To build your e-course learning environment, use free WordPress themes and free plugins like s2Member (a membership plugin that integrates seamlessly with PayPal).
- There is no need for a shopping cart unless you’re planning to offer an affiliate program straight away. If this is the case, Wahmcart is the best option for anyone who wants a fully fledged shopping cart for less than $40 per month.
- Host all your audio and video files as well as documents on Amazon S3. It’s free for the first 12 months and you can rest in knowing that your files are secure. Your audios and videos can be embedded in your learning environment easily by installing free plugins (check out WP Audio Player and Flowplayer).
- And last but not least: Do you want your e-course customers to interact with each other in discussion forums? Consider Buddypress. A free WordPress plugin, it comes with great features straight out of the box and is dead easy to install (just add it like any other plugin). Who needs Ning when this powerful little helper takes you from zero to social network in less than 10 minutes — for free?
Can you see how easy it is to create an awesome e-course on a budget? There are plenty of free resources out there. There are talented people in countries where your dollar will buy you more time or service (thanks to dollar-friendly exchange rates). Plus, never forget to tap into the skill set and knowledge of your friends and biz buddies.
So, do YOU have a tool or tip up your sleeve that we can add to the list? Share it in the comments below. I’m curious!