5 Early Decisions of a Course Business

Joel Hooks
Joel Hooks ยท 30 December, 2023

Developing and marketing educational products is fundamentally a business endeavor.

A well-researched plan is helpful for any business, whether you're a solo entrepreneur or part of a team.

Consistently setting and revising expectations is important.

  • Vision: Define the mission and the overarching summary. What's the mood board like? The general ambiance?

  • Scope: What's the magnitude of this project? Its boundaries? Who's responsible for what?

  • Topic: What's the specific subject matter? Who's the intended audience?

  • Venue: Where will this course be hosted? Which platform or domain will be used?

  • Timeframe: When does it start and when is the launch planned? How will updates be managed? Is there an end date?



The vision serves as the bedrock, the central idea. The vibes that fuel all that follows.

A moodboard can be a useful too for drawing the initial map for what this product wants to accomplish.



Consider the course product's overall scope as dictated by the vision. Is it a single course, a series, or a collection?

  • Is it a single course, a series, or a collection?
  • What is the size of the marketplace initially, and how can that grow?
  • Is this a solo creator project, or are there multiple instructors involved?



Topic choice is about understanding the audience's needs and interests. It should be clear and precise.

Who's this for? What skill level? Their current knowledge? Why would this matter to them?

A broad, all-encompassing offer can lead to disconnection with the audience, affecting sales negatively.

Focus on concrete solutions to real problems, avoiding hypothetical scenarios.

This requires research. We like Amy Hoy's sales safari in this house. Also see The Mom Test and Deploy Empathy.



Scope and Topic usually dictate the venue choice. Where's the construction site? What's the domain?

Selecting a domain name is crucial but don't let it hinder progress. It's better to choose one and proceed, keeping in mind that changes are possible but can be cumbersome.


Short and as topical as possible is the optimum. Something easy to remember and type.

Come to a consensus, try a few on, and pick the one that matches the vision, scope, and topic so this decision is in the rear-view mirror.



Set the kickoff date, milestones, launch date, and future launch plans.

Expectations evolve over time and each of these provides an opportunity to reflect and revisit.

The vision and scope massively influence the timeframe.

Viewing courses as one-time projects can often produce an initial sales spike, followed by an inevitable gradual decline.

A long-game approach with sustained growth and regular updates can be an alternative.

Neither is "better" - but it's important to understand where on the one-off to long-game gradient the scope and vision of this product lies.

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