This post is for wellness-preneurs, small one-person businesses that want to grow, people who want to create an offering to share something they are passionate about, and find new ways to work in this ever-changing world.
Over the last few years, I have been both creating and immersing myself in communities that support personal growth. This is how I ended up in the evolutionary online Yoga Healer community. My goal is to create the same mindset and potential in the groups that I lead, that I experienced in the Yoga Healer universe.
I had some really set pre-conceptions about how to run my first online course, and I wasn’t always right.
My program is a year-long, online transformational journey, guided by 10 key Ayurvedic habits that offer the most bang for your buck.
Here is what I have learned about community by running The Year of YOU: Ayurveda Habits program:
- Create the structure
As the teacher, I thought my main role was to share knowledge and curate content for my course. What is so eye-opening, is that my role is to create the structure and safe, reliable space for new ideas to be explored. Each person brings wisdom and knowledge to this community, it is my job to help create and sustain a supportive set of circumstances so that access to innate wisdom is available. My job is not to dump my knowledge into heads. My job is to help each person find the key to unlocking the knowledge within.
As people in the community share their brilliant ah-ha’s with each other, light bulbs continue to come on. The intertwining fabric of the community weaves everyone together, and we all grow. I create the space for this to happen.
- It is all about the content and it is not about the content
My course is about building new healthy habits, slowly integrating them until they are automated. Making seasonal adjustments and honouring what this chapter of your life is asking of you. Some course members are diligent about their habit evolution, others not so much, then we dive into beliefs.
When resistance prevents the small changes that new habits require, we identify and name the underlying patterns. The result is a beautiful awakening, sometimes for the first time, of how ingrained perceptions hold us back. There is a whole world we don’t see because of what we do see. Once we can see why we have resistance, that awareness brings barriers down and the experimentation is more welcome.
I have learned that mastering the content is one level of success, and the awareness of the patterns is another level of success. Awareness provides a shift that opens up whole new possibilities and is as powerful as mastering the content of the course. The habits are a conduit of this bigger change.
- Change takes time.
The value of time became quickly apparent for my course. We need time to nurture deep change. I offered people a 3 months pass when I first began, I found that those that stay engaged for a full year see significantly deeper change. A short program is like dipping a toe in, and staying a year allows you to learn to swim. I want to teach people to swim. I want to support people, by offering a way to remain embedded in a supportive community. This is different from a workshop. So be clear about your goals as a course creator
- Create a personal connection
The personal connection is what my course members like the best. Weekly lessons are online, emails are delivered, we have a private Facebook group, and yet it is our live call each week that people most connect to. All my survey replies commented that it was the connection, and the community building of the live calls, that kept them invested and on track.
We assume that people come for content. And while our education system models that belief, it is no longer true. It used to be that the teacher was the keeper of information, that disseminating this knowledge was the purpose of a course. Learning facts was the job of the student.
In today’s world, there is nothing that can not be Googled. There is no piece of information that is unattainable. Today, the connection becomes the goal. While my content is well researched, always expanding, and a strong resource, the true essence of the course is the connections it fosters – to self, to community, to nature, and to daily routines.
- You are enough
I discovered that people registered for this course because “I” was their teacher. The more I can share with my members, the better. Some have a natural affinity to dive into Ayurveda resources beyond what I have created, others get so much from me that they are completely satisfied.
This was a surprise to me. We all have a little niggly voice that says “who are you to think you can teach this” or “why would anyone want to learn from you when they can learn from some amazing expert?”. I know that experts in the field of Ayurveda know so much more than me. My knowledge is ever-growing, and I am passionate about sharing it. For many, I am enough.
It is a big blocking belief for us some days, but see if you can say it: “I am enough”.
If you are considering moving to an online platform, creating your own course, showcasing your passions and skills, then do it. Start with a pilot, beta test in your community. Kaizen, create ongoing small continuous improvements. What will create your community, find your people, and you have the tools to help them thrive.
These 5 key things are my biggest takeaways from teaching online. While the tech is my ongoing learning curve, the real ah-ha’s come from what people are looking for. Right now, we need community, support, and a way to draw out that higher version of ourselves.
As our in-person business model is changing, know that online communities are flourishing and filling the void in a practical, sustainable way.
What idea is brewing in you that might be offered online? What is stopping you?
Always Juicy Stuff.
Jill Novak Yoga offers 1-1 coaching in building your signature online program. I may only be a few steps ahead of you, but my last 3 years of designing, executing, and coaching my course have taught me a lot. I can help you navigate the stuff that tripped me up and the stuff that may come in to block our progress. My experience is that so often we stop, not because we don’t have enough to offer, but because we don’t think we are enough. DAMN those limiting beliefs. It is time that your voice is heard.
Reach out to chat if you have an idea brewing and need some backup bravery to help you execute.