“What’s The Difference Between A Group Program And An Online Course?” Listener Q&A — Ep. 144

by | Apr 20, 2022 | Podcast

You know you want to add a passive income stream to your business, but you’re not sure what it should be. You’ve heard people talk about online courses and group programs, but don’t know which one is best for your business and the people you want to help. And, really, what’s the difference between the two anyway? While there are some similarities between group programs and online businesses, they’re actually quite different and aren’t always the best option for every business. In this episode, we’ll talk about the difference between the two so you know what’s right for your business. Let’s dive in.

“Online courses teach participants ‘how to’, group programs guide participants through transformations.” – Shawn Mynar

“In the online course, it’s ‘learn how to do something’, whereas, in the group coaching program, it’s a go through this experience, get this transformation, have a coach or a mentor to guide you, be with a group of like-minded people.” – Shawn Mynar

“Most wellness businesses need a program, not a course… because you are providing such an incredibly valuable experience and transformation for your people.” – Shawn Mynar

FREE Masterclass “How To Burnout-Proof Your Business With A Group Program” – shawnmynar.com/burnoutproof

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT BELOW (please allow for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation):

You know, you want to add a passive income stream to your business, but you’re not sure what it should be. You’ve heard people talk about online courses and group programs before, but don’t know which one is best for your business and the people you want to help. And really, what’s the difference between the two anyway? While there are some similarities between group programs and online courses, they’re actually quite different and are always the best option for every business. In this episode, we’ll talk about the difference between the two. So you know what’s right for your business. Let’s dive in.

Hey, hey there, friends. Welcome back to unstuck entrepreneur, as always, so grateful to have you here. So grateful for your support in the show. And just as a quick reminder, if you love this podcast, and you’ll get something valuable out of these episodes, would you be so kind and leave a review for the show you can do so on Apple, you can do so on Spotify. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it really does help the show get into the hands of other people who might need this guidance and support as well. You can think of it kind of as a virtual tip jar. Like if you’re a good tipper when you’re out getting some dinner, then you can also be a good virtual tipper. And simply leave a review for any podcast really, that you enjoy a really any product even it is such a great way to support the things and people and businesses that you love.

Okay, today we’re talking about the difference between online courses and group programs. I got this question it was put into the chatbox of the burnout proof your business masterclass that I have going on right now that you can still be a part of, if you head over to shawnmynar.com/burnoutproof, you can register and watch that free masterclass. But in the chatbox, I received this question and I thought it was such a good one. That I should probably take some time to answer it here on the podcast because I have a feeling that there are more of you that have this question than just this person who asked whose name was cat. And she asked, What’s the difference between a group program and an online course really basic question, but a really good one that actually has some nuance to it and deserves an entire podcast episode. Believe it or not. These are two phrases that are thrown around a lot in the online business space, I think. And a lot of times they’re used interchangeably, which is totally fine. But in my mind, and when I break it down for you today, I think you will really see that there is a big difference between the two. And so we really should be thinking about what is it exactly that I want to include in my business as another income stream or a passive income stream. Which one is right for me which one is best for what I want to do, and then know which direction you’re going in.

So let’s get into it. And just so you know, this is all just kind of like how I have always thought of it. There are no hard or fast rules to any of this. So you can take it or leave it, do what you will with it. But I just still want to talk about it. Alright, so first, an online course. It’s like a class. It’s where you have an instructor that is teaching on a concept. And usually, this will be in the form of like how-to content. So like how to speak Spanish, how to take professional photos with your iPhone, how to start and build an email list, how to hand letter, which is what I am taking right now and getting into. These are the kinds of things you can find on places like Udemy, or what’s the other one Skillshare is a big one. These are online courses, teaching you how to do something, you can start them anytime you can go through them at your own pace. And by the end, there is the promise that you will learn how to do it. A group program on the other hand is more of an experience.

There is a coach, a guide, a mentor, whatever they call themselves, and they’re taking participants through a transformation. Like during this program, you’ll experience To this, you’ll do this, you’ll go through this. And by the end of this program, you’ll feel you’ll have, you’ll be this. So, more so in terms of like, you know, we’ve seen, especially if you’re in the wellness space, then you see programs like heal your gut, balance your hormones, master your mindset to manifest your wildest dreams, these kinds of topics are programmed because there is a transformation involved. So if it were like, learn how to heal your gut, and then this person is just throwing out tips on healing your gut and not doing anything else, the now would be a course. But I think we all know that when it comes to something like healing your gut or balancing your hormones or anything like that, it is a process.

And there is a transformation that happens. And it takes a little more guidance than just like, watch this thing. And you’ll be good, you know, so it’s not really something you can how to your way through it in a course format. Right? That is the biggest difference in how you can decipher the two and really what you want to do for your clients in your business. So remember, where online courses teach participants how to group programs guide participants through transformations.

And obviously, then this means that group programs, they’re more detailed, they’re usually deeper, there’s potentially more hands-on activities, going through a group program versus just watching How to content in an online course. So group programs typically also have that coaching component to them, and usually a community component, also for this reason, so that there’s this level of support available as they go through the transformation. And also this sense of camaraderie kind of, of going through this process in a group of people that are doing the same thing, you know, like-minded people who have the same problem and want the same solution, and everyone is going through it together. So that’s where the community component comes in. That is typically really important for group programs. Now, as for that coaching component that could look like weekly live q&a calls, it could like look like bi-weekly, or monthly q&a coaching calls. But it could also just look like everyone getting together, live on a zoom chat and just talking, just talking things out having more of like, a happy hour type situation or just like a get-together type thing, Coffee Talk, where it’s just the group coming together and talking about their experiences. And you are simply the host as the guide, or the coach of that program.

So there are lots of different ways that you can do this, depending on your, obviously your topic for your program, and the needs of your participants to and then online courses are usually going to be a DIY type thing. They may potentially have like a Facebook group, where people can go in and ask questions. But that live coaching component is not going to be there because it’s more so just go through the trainings, go through the lessons, learn how to do this, and do this and you’ll be there you will know how to do the thing, which was the entire promise of this course. Now, most group programs are also cohort-based, which means there is a group that comes together, they go through their transformation all at one time together. They don’t have to be that way, you can definitely have more of an evergreen or open enrollment type program where people just kind of keep filtering into the group as they’re ready and the group is kind of always going so this could work well in a case where you always hold one monthly live coaching call. So once a month there is a call for everyone who has ever been through that program not just for one specific group but for anyone and so then someone who has been in going through the transformation that you offer for three months could join that coaching call and ask them questions and get feedback and guidance and support and everything they need, while also someone who just started three days ago could also join in on that live call and get what they need out of it too. So there is an option to make your group coaching program, Evergreen or open enrollment, but most of them are going to be cohort-based. And that means that you’re potentially hosting our group every other month, or once a quarter, or once every six months, that kind of thing.

And the cool thing about this style of group coaching program is that you can schedule your groups making sure that you have downtime in between, which is amazing. So for example, if your program runs for eight weeks, and you do one group every quarter, then that means you have an entire month off in between your groups. So you have downtime, you can Yes, prepare for the next group, but also take some time off, which is really nice in-between groups. And most importantly, as you can probably see, by now, online courses and group programs have different price points, which makes a ton of sense because the promise is so much bigger. With a program. It’s a, you know, an online course it’s a learn how to do something. Whereas in the group coaching program, it’s a go through this experience, get this transformation, have a coach or a mentor, to guide you be with a group of like-minded people, that is way, way, different and way, way more valuable to your clients. So typically, online courses are priced below $500, like probably well below $500. Whereas group programs will definitely be above $500. And probably well, well above $500. So all this to say, if you’re trying to decide between the two between, do I want to work on a group program for my business? Or do I want to build an online course for my business?

The thing to ask yourself is, Am I an instructor teaching someone how to do something, or am I a coach or a mentor, guiding someone through a process or transformation. That is how you know whether you should have an online course, or a group program. And now I want to talk to all the wellness professionals out there because I really, really think that most wellness businesses need a program, not a course. Because what you’re doing with your clients isn’t really a hands-off. This is how you do this kind of thing. I mean, if you have a course you could do a course on like how to meal prep healthy meals for your entire family, or how to get started with meditation or something like that, where it is a hands-off how to kind of thing and you can just pre-record all of the content, all the steps they need to go through and just let people go through it. That could definitely be a possibility.

But the vast majority of wellness-related things need to be a program because you are providing such an incredibly valuable experience and transformation for your people. And doing so in a way that they actually get more value than even working with you one on one in a lot of cases, because they’re also part of a group and not just any group but people that are going through the exact same thing that are having the exact same struggles that are feeling the exact same way have the same questions or maybe even questions they didn’t know they had. And so doing all of this in a group experience is so highly valuable for your clients even more so than working with you one on one because then they don’t know they have those questions or maybe they feel kind of alone, and they don’t want to bug you every single day with, you know, their complaints or just wanting to vent or anything like that. So they feel a little alone on this journey. Whereas when it is in a group program, they have the whole group to talk to and share their experiences with and just kind of commiserate a little bit and it is beyond it is absolutely invaluable to these people. So that’s where wellness businesses and a group programs become the perfect combination for whatever you’re doing in your business or with your people.

Now, here’s the cool thing. And one reason where online courses and group programs actually are similar. And that is the process of building, whether it be a course, or a program, the whole process of putting it together is actually really, really similar. They do both consist of recorded teachings and trainings and lessons, maybe there’s some audio, maybe there’s some video lessons, maybe there’s a workbook, some PDF guides, and things to help them with their experience. And that process is the same regardless of what you’re doing. And what’s different about it is, of course, the type of material that’s going into that content, and the other components of that course or program. So for a course, those recorded video lessons or audio trainings, that’s probably it, you’re just recording those in advance, putting them into your online portal, telling people to go get it, putting a low price tag on it, and and making it available. But with a group program, you have to consider those other components that you want to include in your program. So you’re gonna have the coaching calls, they’ll be done live, so nothing that you’d need to do ahead of time really, except figure out the schedule of those calls, put them on your calendar, and make sure you include that there are coaching calls that are live in your marketing material, because that will become incredibly valuable to the people that are coming into your program. And then the same thing for the community. That’s another component that’s typically included in group programs, whether that’s a Facebook group, or a Slack channel, or whatever, there’s tons of ways you can create communities these days.

And again, nothing really that you have to do prior to releasing your program, except take, you know, five minutes to create a Facebook group or a Slack group. And then also be sure to include that in your marketing material. So people know that’s included in their investment as well, which again, like I said, like in valuable to your program participants. So as you can see pretty similar the process of creating a course versus creating a program, the amount of time it takes to do one or the other pretty much the same. The difference will be obviously in the type of content that you’re putting into that program, or course and the extra components that you decide to include or not include. So that means once you know the process of how to create a program, you also know the process of how to create a course. So you can use this process over and over and over again in your business for multiple programs for a combination of a program and a course for multiple programs. Like there are so many ways that you can continue adding more passive income streams to your business. So you have that many more opportunities to increase your income to help more people and to add more flexibility to your business and your schedule on your time.

So if you would like to learn this process of how to build out a group program, first of all, we do that together step by step I will hold your hand through the entire process in signature program lab, but right now I will also break it down for you for free. Inside the group program masterclass that I have going on right now. It’s called burnout proof your business with your own group program. It is free, it is a one-hour training. In that training, you will learn my simplified foolproof process to bring your program to life in as little as eight weeks. You’ll also learn why creating your own group program is the best way to burn out proof your business by helping more people at one time on capping your income potential and creating more free time for yourself which are the three ingredients needed to burnout proof your business, you will also learn how to simultaneously grow an engaged audience full of Perfect Match clients while building out your program. So that you have a group of people that can’t wait to enroll in your program, once you have it ready. And that works even if you’re starting from zero right now. And we’ll look at if a group program is the right model for your business and how to make it come to life with the signature program bundles. So that is going on. Right now. Just head to shawnmynar.com/burnoutproof and you can get started really thinking and brainstorming on this program of yours and start getting it built.

There’s really no reason not to get started on this and work I’m building up this more passive income stream for your business no matter if you have been in business 10 years, 20 years, or 10 minutes, it doesn’t matter. Either way, it is a great way for you to build a business that works for you and helps the people that you want to help. So once again, shawnmynar.com/burnoutproof there are plenty of times available for you to check it out. Or you can watch it on demand whenever you have a free hour that you want to spend working on your dream business, which is actually really really fun. I think of it as me-time. So grab some Meantime, grab your favorite beverage grab your snacks, get comfy and join me shawnmynar.com/burnoutproof. Alright friends, I hope that helped clear up what the difference is between an online course and our group program and which one is right for your business and your clients. Until next time, take care

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Hey there, I'm Shawn!

I’m obsessed with nitro cold brew, 90% dark chocolate, and helping coaches and practitioners build a business they love. With nothing but a passion for helping others and the desire to never have a boss again, I quit the corporate world and built my own million dollar coaching business over the past decade. Now, I help others do the same.