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- Who: Arneca Franklin
- Website: ppmcacademy.com
- Course Topic: Medical Billing and Coding Exam Prep
- Interesting Stats: First launch generated $2,200
Who are you and what digital training company have you created?
I am an Instructor and CEO of PPMC Academy. We offer affordable medical billing and coding exam preparation courses to students interested in becoming certified medical coders. Students have the option of attending a live class or may purchase a self-paced digital course.
What market does your digital training serve?
Our digital training serves individuals like me who prefer to study on their own time and at their own pace. Many of our students work in a non-medical capacity such as banking and have full-time jobs. For these individuals, a live class is not feasible. Creating a digital product allows them to maintain their current job and take the course at their own leisure.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your online courses?
The biggest benefit of taking my online courses is the students receive quality training at an affordable price.
How did you get into the market?
I taught live classes at several vocational schools prior to starting my own consulting company. I love teaching but running my company did not allow me to continue to teach live classes on a part-time basis. So I had to think of a way to continue offering a course that would not interrupt my full-time consulting business. From there, I decided to create online courses to fulfill that need.
Why did you decide to create a digital training company?
I created a digital training company because of my love of teaching and I had several individuals request a digital self-paced course. Also, it compliments my consulting business. I work with healthcare providers by providing practice management consulting. Staff training is a major component of my services. I figured if I am providing digital training products to my clients why not share them publicly.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you launched your training company?
I did not struggle with the first free mini-course I produced because it was relatively short, and I received specific guidance on how to create and distribute it. Now with my first paid course, it took me several drafts to complete. After seeing a few drafts, I wondered if it was good enough.
If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?
I decided to view other courses with similar topics and compared them to mine. After reviewing these courses, I realized that my course does not have to be perfect, but it must add some value to my students.
What are your online courses like?
My online courses include screencasts of my PowerPoint presentations with lots of pictures and Canva videos for my medical coding scenarios. I also include numerous practice exercises, end of chapter quizzes, case studies, electronic health records (EHR) training, and a final exam.
How long does it take you or your team to create a new course?
I produce all the courses and this last course took me a little over a month to produce. Like I mentioned previously, I also have a consulting business so producing a course in a few weeks is considered a success for me.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your first course and getting your first enrollment(s).My first course was a free, digital mini-course on Udemy. This course was easy to create because it was designed to gauge interest in my topic, and I received guidance on how to create it. - Arneca Franklin Click To Tweet
As a result of releasing this course, I was able to convert several students from this platform to my own online, paid course. I was super excited at the time because my marketing plan worked.
Do you have a lead magnet?
My lead magnet is free live webinars on topics related to my course. I have seen a high conversion rate because it gives the students a chance to connect with me and then determine if my teaching style works for them.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
My two best traffic strategies so far have been Udemy and Craigslist. Udemy has been great because of their market reach.I also advertise my Free Webinars under the Craigslist Classes section. The Craigslist advertisement has led to high conversions. - Arneca Franklin Click To Tweet
What online course platform are you using?
I use Teachable for my online learning platform. I love Teachable because of the support they provide in creating courses. Teachable U, which is an online set of courses for creators, guided me through creating my first mini-course.
Are there any features you wish it had?
The ability to create timed quizzes. Especially since my topic is on exam preparation.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
I found Teachable on Google and decided to take a look. Then I attended several of their free webinars and liked what I saw. The videos are clear and I love how the lectures that only include resources for my students are presented as well.
What other tools do you use to run your digital training business?
I use Online Exam Builder to create my timed quizzes and exams and Canva for my pictures and videos. For my screencasting, I use Screencast O Matic and Zoom for my live webinars.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
I recently purchased a course on Udemy by Cha~zay Sandhriel entitled “Digital Marketing Tips for Online Course Creators”. She provided specific examples of how she marketed her courses along with the revenue she received. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for specific ways to market their online course. Especially for course creators like me who do not have a marketing background.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
My biggest mistake was not immediately creating a digital course after the great feedback I received on Udemy. Instead, I was content with the conversions I created into my live class but neglected my digital audience.
Please share some idea of revenue for your digital training company.
My first launched sales generated around $2,200. My original courses were a hybrid of live, instructor-led classes with a digital copy available for those who could not attend the live sessions.
I just launched a stand-alone self-paced course on June 22, 2020, and have thus far made $159. The course is on sale for $19.99 each. These purchases were made by current students. This course is currently under review and soon to be released on Udemy. My other advertisements are about to launch in the next few days.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from running your digital training company has done for you.
At this point, my digital training company has added extra spending money for me. Now that I have more time to work on my courses, I hope to see a bigger return.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
When I launched my first course, I did not have an email list. I attended several webinars on how to build an audience but none of the suggestions were specific enough for me. After I began offering the free live webinars on Craigslist, my email list went from non-existing to over 100 subscribers. My most recent digital sales came through email marketing.
What has creating your digital training business done for you personally?
Digital training has allowed me to continue to do what I love which is to teach and train. My goal now is to continue to release more courses on a consistent basis.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
The key to a successful online course is knowing how to market the course. If no one knows that you exist, then you are not going to sell many courses. I only wish that I had found Cha~zay’s course at the beginning of my journey because she provided so many valuable tools in a motivational manner.
Additionally, I strongly urge new course creators to check out Udemy’s Marketing Insights Tool within the instructor platform. This tool provides details on the demand of a topic along with other statistics. All course creators should make sure that a topic has enough interest before they get started.