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Ep. 41: Online Courses and Memberships with Samantha Harrison

“More of the time creating your online course should be in creating the content and making sure it’s really good. Then make one decision at a time and keep moving.” - Samantha Harrison

If you’re thinking of creating an online offering for your students, I’ve got the step-by-step process mapped out for you. I’ve created online courses and a membership plus I’m joined in this conversation by Samantha Harrison who has actually created an online training course!

We talk about the process of creating an online offering that’s best suited for your dream student and for your budget and life as a business owner.

Know Your Niche

If you’re looking to create a course or membership, you need to know your niche and it needs to be specific. Just like it’s tough to get students into a “general” class in person, it’s even harder to do this online. There are literally thousands of yoga teachers teaching online (which is awesome!) but in order to stand out in the crowd, you have to be super specific.

And beyond your niche, what are you helping then with? For an online course you will want to think of this as an “I will help you go from A to B” situation.

Remember the couch to 5K plan that seemingly took over people’s exercise overnight? It’s because it was super clear what the program was all about. Not running at all to then running a 5K in a month. Fantastic course name!!

With an online membership, you don’t necessarily need to have a start and finish (although you can) but you do need to be very clear who the membership is for and what will be included.

Are you ready for an online course or membership?

First, it needs to be something that you’re all-in for! Creating a course or starting a membership is like opening up a studio. You need to be committed and you need to be ready to put in the work. But if you are ready to invest your time and energy into this, and your students are hungry for more teaching from you, then it’s time.

Another reason to think about a course or membership is if you have content that you’ve been creating for your private clients or students in some way and you want to package it up for students to use at their convenience.

Yes, you can have a YouTube channel that serves some students.

Yes, you can share tutorials on Instagram or Facebook.

But a course or membership is something where paying students can log into the site and watch the specific video or listen to the audio or read the text about that specific topic. You can break it down into chunks of information that makes logical sense for your student to work through. These are all reasons that you could be ready or thinking about creating an online offering for your students.

Steps to Creating an Online Yoga Course or Membership

Step 1: Find Guidance

Whether you decide to hire a coach or take a course or learn everything you can for free, is completely up to you. There is lots of information online about this topic so you can go about this how you learn best but you need to find guidance in this if you haven’t created a course or membership before.

“Accountability was huge. Having her be someone who said “okay, you said you would do this by this deadline”. Because when we are working on our own, it could just be so easy to keep putting it on the back burner.” - Samantha Harrison

Want to talk through your plan for an hour? Let's chat! Click here to schedule a 1 hour call just for your business!

Step 2: Decide on the Content

Before you start googling “best system for online courses” you need to think about what your content will be for the course. What will you actually provide to your students online?

  • Do you want to share videos with them?

  • Audio files?

  • Challenges?

  • Do they get all the content at once or is this dripped out to them?

  • Will there be connections to other people who are also in the course or membership?

  • Is there a live component or is it all pre-recorded?

“What is your goal? Because your goal for what the course is going to look like and feel like in that experience for the person can help you make the technology decision.” - Amanda McKinney

It’s really important to take some time to really think about what type of content will serve your audience the best. And what will give them the best experience overall? This will help you what type of format you want for your course or membership and that will help you decide on the tech.

Step 3: Plan Your Marketing & Launch

In order to actually get people into your course or membership, you have to tell them about it. I know this sounds simple but it’s a step that most people don’t think about until they are posting to Facebook about it. But it’s much better to think ahead on a marketing plan so you can plan your launch date and work towards that date.

“Knowing when you will actually open the course or membership helps you meet that goal and you can create excitement around the open date with your marketing.” - Amanda McKinney

Step 4: Decide on the Tech

Once you know what your goal is for the course or membership, then it’s time to look at the tech. While you might be tempted to do this earlier in the process, it’s actually better to do this later since you know more about what your course or membership will be focused on and what content you will be creating.

The best advice for this is to look at the options, test them out for free and see which one you like best. Then commit! Don’t keep looking at other options after you choose one. Just choose and commit to that platform for the course or membership. You can change later if needed but it’s best to commit.

“Make a decision. Don’t hang out in the evaluation and research stage too long.” - Amanda McKinney

Here are some options for course and membership platforms.

“Just make a decision and it will be good. It will be good enough. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just like teaching, we just have to get started knowing that it’s going to evolve.” - Samantha Harrison

Step 5: Create Your Content

Make a plan for creation of all of your content. You want to actually map this out piece by piece before you actually jump into creating the course inside the system you chose.

“What really matters is the content. It has to be good. The design could be really ugly but if the content is good, it will sell.” - Samantha Harrison

Example of mapping out content:

Let’s say you want to share videos of asana practices and audio files of meditations for your students.

  • Schedule time to script out or outline your videos (all at once)

  • Schedule time to script out or outline your meditations (all at once)

  • Schedule time to record all your videos (all at once if you can)

  • Schedule time to record all your meditations (all at once if you can)

  • Schedule time to edit your videos (all at once if you can)

  • Schedule time to edit all your meditations (all at once if you can)

You get the point but the idea is to batch like-tasks. Once you get on a roll with recording videos, you can do a few at a time. Same with writing if you’re creating presentations or PDFs. You want to schedule your time wisely so you aren’t bouncing from one thing to another.

Tools for recording:

  • Soapbox for Chrome - records your screen and you as you talk through a presentation or something you want to show on your screen. You can use this for free unless you want to download the file.

  • Loom - records your screen or you and the screen. You can use this for free unless you want to download the file.

  • QuickTime - you can record videos, audio files and screen recordings on a mac.

Step 6: Create the Course or Membership Inside the Tech

Now that you have all the content created, it’s time to have fun and put it inside the system you decided was the best for your course or membership.

This is where you to get to have fun with the design and get it ready. But beware, this is where many people can stay for too long. Remember that date you decided that you would open the course? It’s time to make it happen.

“Done is better than perfect.” - Amanda McKinney

It’s important to get the content loaded into the system and then move forward so you can welcome students into the course or membership. No matter how great you think everything is, you will learn and evolve over time so you will be making changes regardless. The best thing you can do is to publish and welcome in students!

Step 7: Launch Your Course or Membership

Time to get all the marketing into place and make it happen! Your students can only benefit from your AMAZING course or membership if they know about it. You have to invite your students to the party. This is your time to share the news about all the incredible content you have created.

Get out the marketing plan you made earlier, stay excited about the possibilities and keep going. Above all else, do not give up on this step. You have to market the course or membership to have students. They will not simply find it on the internet, you have to tell them about it. Every day!

Your next step

Remember that you are the unique you in this world and no one can teach a yoga class like you. Your students want you and your teachings! So start with step 1 and map out your online course or membership today!! You can do it!

Until next time, give yourself permission to create and launch your online course or membership and grace along the way! Talk to you soon!

About Samantha Harrison

Samantha Harrison teaches alignment-based vinyasa and gentle yoga in Greenville, North Carolina. She teaches yoga to busy professionals in corporate settings and offers Yoga Teacher Training, private and group yoga classes at YogiVibes Studio. She received her initial 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) training from the Wilmington Yoga Center in 2014 and completed her 500-hour RYT training with yoga teacher Cyndi Lee.

You can get Samantha’s Free Corporate Yoga Guide at

Learn more about the Online Corporate Yoga Training at


Express Yoga Membership Training (plus Bundle option)

If you're looking to create an online course or membership, I have an Express Training option for you but time is limited. We start on April 20th and it's a 2 week training & accountability program. If you see in this in the future and it's not available, you can always book a 1-hour consultation to discuss your next steps.


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