Which courses to record?

I keep not knowing what courses should I record that people would actually buy. I have plenty of slides I prepared for my class-room course. I used them several times, so I know the material fairly well. It will still take a lot of effort to record them, but it seems natural I could record them and then sell them either via my Leanpub account or via my Teachable school or even on my own Code Maven site.

The first one I recorded and published was the Python programming bootcamp. It is a huge course that I teach several times a year. Originally I recorded it so I can use it instead of a zoom-only training course. I think it is very valuable to many people, but I don't really know how to reach that audience. It is for people who have very little or no programming background. It would be especially interesting for students of various Sciences. e.g. Biologists, Chemists, Life Sciences, etc.

Then in December 2020 I recorded the Perl Dancer course which is about Web development in Perl. I did not think much strategically if it is a good idea to invest time and energy in recording such course. I just like Perl and Dancer and when I understood that I can easily upload courses to Leanpub and I don't need to deal with all the money-charging part I though it could a nice challenge to try to record one part every day during the 2020 Advent period.

Both of the courses were purchased by a few people - I think altogether about 60 people paid for either one of the courses and several more received free access because they are my top supporters on Patreon.

Python

Having a Perl course is nice, but I know the market for Perl books and courses has almost disappeared. I was also a bit disappointed by the Leanpub platform for courses. It is not as good as their book-selling platform and it is quite far from other course selling platforms.

I started to play with Teachable as platform to sell my courses. Unrelated to that I also started to think about a bunch of Python courses I can record.

After all I have been teaching Python for quite a few years now and Python has a much bigger market share than Perl.

Finally at the end of December I started to record a course called Functional Programming in Python and on 31 December, a few hours before midnight I opened my Teachable school.

I did not want to wait till January 1st and have it as a New Year's resolution as those tend to fail. I figured I can break that cycle by going ahead and opening the course in 2020 already. I even had my first sale in 2020.

However soon I had to realize that most of my online "audience" are Perl programmers. I run the Perl Weekly and when I joined the Perl Programmers Facebook group people were quite enthusiastic. I have a "name" in the Perl community or at least in certain parts of it, but almost no-one knows me in the Python community. (Maybe except some of the local Python developers in Israel.)

So while I keep recording Python course I will have to start building my audience that is interested in Python courses. I already had the Python Maven page on LinkedIn with a few hundred followers, but I was not very active there. I started to post there about 3-5 times a week. I also created a Python Maven page on Facebook where I started to post snippets of code. I assume I need at least a couple of hundred, maybe a couple of thousand followers to start to see some of them becoming customers.

I also said to myself, I might need to create a short course that I can give away free of charge that will make more people familiar with my new school. So I recorded a course called Python testing quick intro and shared it with a coupon to access it free of charge. Still not a lot of registrations despite it being free of charge. I guess I'll need more work there too.

Go

I was not really planning to record my Go course any time soon, but someone contacted me that they are interested watching my Go material on the Code Maven site, but they don't have PayPal.

I though I could upload the 4 already existing videos about Go to a Teachable course and sell it to this person and then keep recording. I created the course, uploaded the 4 videos. Then recorded 10 more videos and uploaded them too. It is still far from being the whole material, but I am glad I made some progress. In the meantime the potential customer got his credit card rejected. So for now I put the whole Go course on hold again.

In any case, I think at one point it will be a good idea to continue recording it in the hope that some of my Perl-loving audience will be interested to learn a totally different language.

Back to Perl

OK, so for now it seems that it would be hard for me to sell intermediate or advanced Python courses because I don't have a lot of Python programmers following me. I cannot sell beginner Python courses because I have no idea how to reach the people who are interested in such courses. Ditto with Go.

While I build up a following of Python developers who might, at one point, be ready to pay for my courses, I should focus and serve the needs of the audience I already have. That is, Perl developers. Primarily Perl developers who already have a few years of experience.

I am running a poll on the Perl Maven LinkedIn page to try to figure out which topics might be interesting to my audience.

As I was working on a similar Python material for one of my clients, I though I could record a course about Parallel programming in Perl

I have a number of ideas for additional Perl courses. I don't expect thousands of sales, but I hope they will start generating some traffic around my courses.

Which courses to record

The question remains open.

Should I record Perl-related course where the audience is very limited, but where I have a "voice" or shall I record course that could be interesting to a much larger audience, but that don't me at all?

Should I record Perl courses, or courses that can be good for Perl programmers, but are not about Perl? (e.g. Docker, Git, CI/CD, front-end web development)

Published on 2021-01-11 by Gabor Szabo