Course Creators Weekly #52 🗓 June 21st, 2021 - What the hell is a niche?
In this article, Rob Hardy argues that we lack a common definition and understanding for what a "niche" is, that we're overcomplicating it, and that leads some people to question the entire premise of it.
There are two most important takeaways—what a niche is, and what it isn't:
- It's a focused market—a group of people with a shared problem, desire or identity
- It's NOT a topic, a brand, a type of content, a differentiating factor, or a unique voice
A few actionable takeaways:
- Find a group of people you love to serve and start creating—don't overcomplicate it
- Talk about whatever topics that interest your people, in whatever format you want
- Let your brand, your unique voice, personality and positioning evolve over time
A few example niches:
- Blues guitarists
- Front end developers
- Parents of kids with special needs
- People who enjoy Lovecraftian horror stories
- Newsletter writers
Definitely check out Rob's article for more details and a better understanding of what a niche really is!
P.S. Here's another, related article from Rob that you might enjoy: A process for finding your niche (I'll probably include it in a future of edition of CCW)
Here are my key takeaways:
- Cheap or free educational content is abundant today—people don't pay for content
- Few people find the willpower + motivation to get results from such abundant content
- Community-driven, active learning in real time beats passive content consumption
- Online learning communities are scarce—in today's world, that's what people pay for
On the shortfalls of MOOCs
- The async, self-paced nature of MOOCs results in low completion rates + poor results
- MOOCs lack quality filters due to their low/no-cost, degrading their brand + reputation
- MOOCs convey knowledge, but lack enough feedback loop for learning high-level skills
The case for cohort-based courses (CBCs)
- CBCs focus on active, hands-on learning—less theory, more practice + feedback
- Live, bi-directional learning keeps everyone accountable, including the instructors
- The shared experience within the community challenges students + improves learning
- CBCs allow creators to make a healthy living, even with a relatively small audience
- Creators can free up their time and energy by building a reusable, productised offering
Check out the article for more details, examples of CBCs, helpful infographics, and references to other relevant information!
P.S. I have one little gripe with the article… CBCs have, without doubt, far higher revenue potential than most other forms of monetisation available to creators. But, the size of the creator's audience—and their ability to grow it—still plays a major role in the success of an online course, CBC or not.
Nate Kadlac "accidentally" launched a design workshop by following his curiosity and asking questions. Here's his accidental process:
- Find something you're above average at
- Add serendipity to your life
- Adopt a beginner mindset by creating a human
- Offer your above-average knowledge for $$$
- Start writing and find your community
- Build your curriculum
- Host a beta workshop
- Validate if you're having fun or not
- Launch a less imperfect workshop
Check out Nate's article for more context, so you can apply his ideas to your own life. And, to find out about his 2-day Approachable Design workshop, coming up this weekend!
I have a confession to make… I cheated with this one, stealing Nate's own summary. I pulled an all-nighter to bring you today's edition, and I was really tired. Besides, Nate's summary was perfect. It even came with emojis! 😁