Helping other people is something Ray has always been interested in. With Spanish as his first language, he credits his B.A. in Journalism with helping him become a strong writer and communicator.
He started out as a graphic designer, then moved into web development, and eventually teaching in a classroom environment. This is where he discovered that if he recorded his courses in advance for his students, he could use it as a teaching tool to refer back to.
As his library of videos grew, he reached out to Lynda, LinkedIn’s online learning platform where he started his online courses. However, it didn’t happen with his first submission, in fact, he had to submit a proposal three times before he was accepted.
“You can’t assume that failure comes from your inability to do something.”
Choosing Your Topic:
Ray focuses on pinpointing what the market wants, in order to inform the topic he teaches on.
He says you can’t just pick something that you want to teach, but instead, you need to sit down and think about a new interesting angle that is missing from the market. This is also an important mindset to have when you’re submitting to a conference or a platform.
“That’s really your target audience. It’s not so much the people who are going to be listening to it, it’s that group of people who are professionals and understand what the industry needs and what they are looking for.”
Creating Your Course:
First, you need to build an awareness of the industry and what others are teaching. Ray does this by observing what the buzz is at conferences, utilizing Meetup.com, and subscribing to industry newsletters.
From there, you need to understand what your own voice is, and your style of teaching. For Ray, teaching something practical is where he saw he had real strength. While he occasionally does create conceptual stuff with advice, he primarily sticks to super practical, hands-on courses that are stand-alone pieces.
Engaging to Boost Completion:
- Keep things short as short as they can be, within reason.
- Have a purpose: there should be a clear end goal.
- Emphasize the why.
“Every lesson is a promise that you’re fulfilling, that’s giving them something tangible that they’re going to know after they finish it.”