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Stop Wasting Time And Start Digital Mentoring

Digital Mentoring is not about course creation. The aim is not just to sell an online course but also to mentor people and transform their lives. Mentoring forces you to learn to deal with people. It helps organise your thoughts and increase your expertise in the subject as you teach and watch people grow with you. 

The Ed Tech Revolution

Online courses are not new. While they have been around for ages, many viewed them as inferior or ‘not as good’ as physical education. The popular opinion suggested that only those people who couldn’t get into an organisation were the ones who had online degrees. 

The pandemic forced everyone to go online. Schools, universities, businesses, organisations, no one had the liberty of meeting in person. This changed people’s perception of online courses significantly. 

Why Online Courses? 

  • First and foremost, the overheads are negligible in comparison to offline education. There is no need for infrastructure, transportation, real estate, etc. 
  • Industry experts can provide their knowledge at a larger scale. There is no limitation of location, time or even number of people in a class. 
  • Online courses are therefore much more efficient. People can learn, practice and implement much faster and at their own time and pace. 
  • The offline community experience can also be done online. Admittedly it will not be as authentic, but it is still very powerful in connecting with people worldwide. 
  • The best part is that anyone can become a digital mentor through which not only can you earn a side income, but you can also be part of a community. 

Building Your Ideal Student Avatar

When creating an online course, you have to have a clear understanding of who the course is for. Who is your target audience, and what do they comprise of. You need to have 3-5 customer segments to make sure your market is not too narrow. For example, my niche is architecture software, but my target includes students, professionals and entrepreneurs. 

Multiple customer segments also make sure that you have a healthy community where conversations and transactions can occur. For example, some of my students work as freelancers for the entrepreneurs in the community. 

If you can put yourself in the shoes of your students, you will have a deep understanding of their pain points, challenges, dreams and goals. To do this, you can talk to people, run surveys, run polls, etc. This will significantly improve your sales conversions too.

Weeding Out the Wrong Audience in an Online Course

How many times have you started an online course but left it in the middle because you didn’t like the way it was being taught? This means you were the wrong audience for that online course.

When people do not like an online course, they will give you a negative review and will tell their friends not to join the course because they didn’t like it. Some may even go as far as to ask for their money back. As a digital mentor, this can be a harrowing experience. 

Not what if I told you this could be avoided to a large extent? If someone already knows how you will teach, they can decide beforehand whether to invest in you or not. If your views and teaching style does not fit well with them, they will not enrol in the course. This will save your time and theirs as well as reduce negative publicity considerably. 

There are two ways of weeding out the wrong audience in an online course. One very common method is a demo class. Many people offer these free demo classes where students can judge whether they would like to take the online course or not. The other more effective way is to have your own personal brand. 

Personal Branding for Online Courses

People want to learn from people as opposed to brands. Your experience, teaching methodology, diction, etc., all matter. No one buys online courses based on brands; they will always research the teacher to see whether they can learn from them or not. 

A personal brand helps you engage with a broad audience. It gives you a place to showcase yourself, your ideas and build your own tribe or community. This will help you gain an influence in your niche, which in return will build trust and credibility in the courses that you roll out. 

If you have your own personal brand and start a training program, your tribe will definitely want to learn from you since they are already aligned with your goals and identify with your vision. Even if a new person happens upon your personal brand, they can use it to judge whether you would be the correct fit for them or not. 

Read more about Personal Branding here. 

Why are Communities Important for Learning? 

Education always happens in a community. Ever since our school days, we are taught in groups. Surprisingly, this is what makes online training even more powerful. With online training, you can see other students in the community achieve results faster. Seeing this makes you want to achieve similar or better results too. Peer pressure is the best form of motivation!

When you have a community, you can also understand their requirements, their questions, where they are facing issues, etc., which can help you shape your course to tackle all those queries. In fact, you yourself can learn new ways to tackle the same problem from your students. 

The Digital Mentoring Mindset

When I had just started my mentoring journey, I heard a talk by business coach Rajiv Talreja where he said, “don’t be the kid who does not write the correct answer in an exam because he feels someone will copy him.” Ridiculous right? 

While this may sound absurd, this is what many of us do. We are hesitant to share our ideas and knowledge to the fullest because we are afraid someone will copy them. Unfortunately, it is not anyone else but us who lose out in this hesitancy because we cannot express ourselves to our potential. 

In digital mentoring, you have to have a mission and be driven by it. It has to be a program you believe in. If you are passionate about the niche you are teaching in, you will be able to provide ten times the value anyone else would, even if they copy you to the T, because no one can match your passion. 

You have to teach EVERYTHING to your students, but that does not mean you have to teach EVERYONE. For example, I teach architectural software to architects. While structural engineers also use these same software, I only target architects. This is because it is better for marketing to position yourself as a leader in one niche as opposed to trying to position yourself as a mass-market celebrity brand.

Read more about Discovering Your Profitable Niche here.

Knowledge v/s Implementation

Today we live in a knowledge economy where education is an investment. If you can do/create something better than someone else, you are in a higher position than they are, even if your background is the same or lower. 

This happens because digital content has levelled the playing field. Knowledge is no longer just about the volume of content (knowing a lot of things); it is also about implementing all that you know. The simplest example of this is driving. Knowing how a car works and what the traffic rules are, will never be the same as actually driving. 

If you look at an encyclopedia, it has all your answers, but you have to know how and where to look. On the other hand, Google just requires you to type in your query, and it finds, collates, and gives you the most relevant answers to your question. Google’s efficiency is the reason we now say ‘Google it’ instead of ‘search for it’. 

The Essence of Digital Mentoring

Let’s look at an example. If you have to go from Destination A to B, what would you rely on; A printed map or Google maps? 

Obviously, Google Maps.

While both can guide you, Google maps makes it much easier to understand the direction you are going in, how long it will take, why you are taking a particular route, etc. On the other hand, printed maps just tell you about the different routes and leave the rest to you. 

Digital Mentoring is like Google Maps
Digital Mentoring is like Google Maps

This is the essence of digital mentoring. So don’t behave like a printed map and just spout information, be their Google maps, and explain why and how to take the correct path along with all the other available ways. Instead, show them how to implement what you are teaching them. A practical course will always win over a theory course because people want results. 

Some books recommended for creators are, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kelly, and Things are What You Make Them by Adam J. Kurtz.

Recommended Books for Creators
Recommended Books for Creators

Selling Your First Online Course

Your goal is to take your students from point A to point B ( Just like Google Maps). So graphics, design, the quantity of slides, etc., does not matter when you are starting out. Have a clear outline and schedule and do multiple live sales webinars where 10% is your introduction, 60% to 70% is value addition, and 10% to 20% is your sales pitch. 

Read more about Lead Generation Campaigns here.

For people who do not buy during the webinar, ask them to book a call with you. Talk to them personally and convince them to buy the course and if not, understand why you could not persuade them. Then, apply what you have learnt in each webinar in the next one, and within a few weeks, you will have sold your first course! 

The recommended pricing for your first live online course is Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000. You only need 20 students at Rs. 5,000 to make Rs. 1,00,000. This will help validate the fact that there is a market for your online course. If you make your training actionable, your students will be able to achieve results, and it will keep them more engaged throughout.

Once your first online course is complete, use all that you have learned and all the errors you faced to create a new and improved version. This way, your online course will evolve, and your students will always be happy they invested in your online course.

Pro Tips on Digital Mentoring

  • Your tribe comes first. If, instead of starting with a product, you solve the needs of your tribe, you will be able to scale much more and much faster.
  • You cannot be a full-time mentor. It would be best if you implemented the things you teach to stay relevant and up-to-date.
  • Caring for your students is the ultimate competitive advantage. If you respect them, they will respect you; trust them, and they will trust you. Capital cannot beat this. It is our human nature to treat people the way they treat you.
  • Please don’t do it for the money. You do it because you love sharing ideas and lifting people up. If you show your sincerity, you will be rewarded for it.
  • If you can impact a student’s life so that they feel more confident, make more money, become more productive, etc., they will follow you wherever you lead them. Nothing beats the loyalty of a student whose life you have helped improve.

In the end I would just like to say that no matter what your niche, digital mentoring is about giving it your all and making sure your students grow with you in your community.

FAQ’s

Why should I have online courses?

Online courses are efficient and overheads are negligible as compared to offline courses. There is no limitation of location, infrastructure or scale and so anyone can become a digital mentor. This will enable you to have a side income.

How do I understand what my students want to learn?

Imagine you were your student. Now think of all the problems you would face. Run surveys and polls to engage with possible students.

How do I attract the correct audience for my online course?

There are three methods. 1. Develop a personal brand to build authority and credibility in your niche. 2. Hold free demo classes to give people an understanding of how you teach. 3. Use lead generation campaigns for sales webinars.

Why do I need personal branding for my online courses?

A personal brand helps you engage with a broad audience. It gives you a place to showcase yourself, your ideas and build your own tribe or community. This will help you gain an influence in your niche, which in return will build trust and credibility in the courses that you roll out.

Why are communities important for learning? 

Peer pressure is the best form of motivation! When you see others doing well, you also want to. Also, a community helps you understand student requirements, questions, issues, etc., which can help you shape your course to tackle all those queries.

What is the digital mentoring mindset?

Being passionate, sincere and don’t hold back. Teach your students everything you know and help them get from their current state to their desired state. Remember to add as much value as possible and treat their growth like your own.

How do I sell my online course?

Hold multiple free sales webinars where you provide value. Follow up with students who did not convert to either persuade them or understand why they didn’t register. Use your personal brand and tribe to gain traction. Start small then after every course evolve it by learning from past mistakes.

What are some recommended books for creators?

Some books recommended for creators are, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kelly, and Things are What You Make Them by Adam J. Kurtz.

What is the essence of digital mentoring

To not just create a course and impart knowledge but also to help people understand and implement that knowledge in a way that they transform their lives for the better.

How do I get a competitive advantage for my online course?

Caring for your students is the ultimate competitive advantage. If you respect them, they will respect you; trust them, and they will trust you. Capital cannot beat this. It is our human nature to treat people the way they treat you. Nothing beats the loyalty of a student whose life you have helped improve.

Best of luck to you in your journey.

Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Check out my personal brand @abstractbyaashna 

You can read more blogs here 

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