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  • Writer's pictureBen LeFort

How I Wrote My First Book By accident

A digital product like an ebook or an online course is a great way for bloggers and digital entrepreneurs to make money from their craft. The question many people have is which option is better, writing an ebook or creating an online course?

If you are considering writing an ebook or creating a course on the same subject, why not do both?

Here are four ways that creating both an ebook and online course on the same subject can help grow your business.

  1. Since the subject matter overlaps, it isn’t difficult to adapt your ebook to a course outline or vise-versa.

  2. An ebook and a course will have different audiences and different price points, making each product a perfect compliment for the other.

  3. You can sell an ebook for a low price and then upsell the customer to the online course, which will be more hands-on and help the student gain a deeper knowledge of the subject.

  4. You’ll find out which product, an ebook, or an online course, you enjoy creating more. This can help guide the future of your business.

In this article, I will explain how I accidentally wrote a book while creating my online course and how you can replicate that same process.

How I accidentally wrote a book

Late last year, I decided to expand my business beyond the written word and create my first online course.

My process of creating the online course can be summarized into four steps.

  1. Clearly defining the student transformation.

  2. Plot out the milestones along the way.

  3. Creating a lesson around each milestone.

  4. Writing a script for each lesson.

The funny thing was when I stepped back and looked at my script; I realized I had also finished the first draft of my first book.

Step 1: Start with the student transformation

Whether you are writing a book or creating an online course, it’s critical to start with your customer’s value proposition. Ask yourself, how my customer will be better off from buying my product?

The first thing I did when creating my course was defining the transformation my students will undergo when taking my course.

My course is a personal finance course that teaches students how to manage money. Put simply, the transformation I deliver is for students to “Stop living paycheck to paycheck, clear their debt, build wealth & live the life they deserve.

Step 2: The milestones along the way to that transformation

I realize that the transformation I promise my students is ambitious. Their needs to be clearly defined milestones along the way.

  • Challenge students to come up with their “why.” Why is it important for them to turn their finances around?

  • Have them Clearly define their financial goals.

  • Help them take stock of the current state of their finances.

  • Have them track their spending so they can better realize where their money is currently going.

  • Help students understand the different strategies to pay off debt and provide them a step by step plan to become debt-free.

  • Have students set an age they would like to retire, and walk them through a step by step plan to achieve that goal.

  • Create a budget that locks in their goals and reflects the things they value in life.

Step 3: Creating lessons

Each of the milestones above would become a section of my course.

The details of how they would reach that milestone would make up the lessons in the course.

For example, let’s take the milestone “Have them track their spending so they can better realize where their money is currently going.” Here are the titles of each lesson that I provided to help them reach that milestone.

  • The true cost of everything

  • Categorizing your spending

  • Where to find your expenses

  • Calculating your hourly take-home pay

  • Tracking your spending

  • Reviewing your results

Each milestone had its list of lessons that would help students achieve that milestone.

Step 4: Writing lesson scripts

I am much more comfortable behind a keyboard typing than I am in front of a camera talking.

I did not want to be stammering and pausing too much because I wasn’t sure what I was going to say. I tried to deliver the exact amount of information in the shortest time possible.

So, I wrote a script detailing every word I would say in each lesson.

While reviewing my scripts for the course, I noticed something interesting. I had nearly 200 pages of written material. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Then I noticed something even more interesting. The Milestones my students would be reaching are almost like sections of a personal finance book. For example, there’s an entire section on debt and a different one on budgeting.

As I was scanning through the titles of the individual lesson plans, it occurred to me that each of these lessons could be a chapter in a book on the same subject.

Finally, it all clicked for me. As I read the scripts for each lesson, I realized that with a bit of editing, they could be reworked as chapters in a book.

Putting it all together, I realized I had written a 200-page book while creating an online course.

The takeaway

I have never written a book or created an online course, but I accidentally discovered the two are very similar.

By having a clear vision of the transformation, I wanted my students to experience and detailing every word along that journey; I had written the first draft of a book while creating my online course.

My advice to any digital entrepreneurs who are thinking about creating either a book or a course is to focus on one thing above all else; the value your product will bring to your customers.

Don’t just think about the value your product will provide, make that value proposition the guiding principle along every step of the creation and marketing of your course or book.

Start by outlining the transformation you want your reader or student to experience.

Then add in the milestones the reader will cross along that journey.

Once you have those milestones, it’s simply a matter of filling in the details of reaching each milestone through your book’s chapters or the lessons in your course.

You instantly have the outline of your book or course.

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