How To Launch A Successful Online Course with Greg Smith



 In this week’s episode of The Law Practice Doctor, Sam Gaylord interviews Greg Smith, who is a lawyer turned tech company CEO. He is a teacher, life-long student, and co-founder of Thinkific, whose mission is to make it easy to teach online courses. During this episode, Sam and Greg discuss how to launch a successful online course.


Main Questions Asked:

  • How do you transition from lawyer to CEO of a tech company?
  • What do people want to offer communities in the way of courses?
  • What advice do you have for someone thinking about leaving law and switching to business?
  • Is there a methodology you incorporate and go through with clients in terms of getting a course started?
  • What are the strategies to creating an online course?
  • What are the common problems people come to you with?
  • How do you work with your clients to make sure they ‘just do it?’


Key Lessons Learned:

Online Courses

  • The mission of Thinkific is to make it easier to teach online courses.
  • There are so many uses for online courses, and a lot of people now use them for lead generation and client relationship building, in addition to generating revenue.
  • Online courses work well as ‘link bait’ for Google and people to find you, build trust, and value-add.
  • During a live event, there isn’t often a lot of follow-up, but that is actually the key and will lead to the client relationship or the sale.
  • The money isn’t necessarily in the email list, but rather in the relationship you have with the email list.
  • Just because you have a solo law firm and practice law every day doesn’t mean you can’t do different things to help generate revenue for yourself and the firm.


Leaving Law

  • You have to plan for the financial side of things and no longer receiving a consistent paycheck.
  • Plan out your budget and double or triple it in terms of when you’ll hit cash flow.
  • Many people launch online courses on the side and get the revenue up to where they are happy before they make the switch from law to business.


Getting Started

  • People spend time thinking about structuring the course, but should look at it as speaking at an event and get the content to an hour or two, and deliver to slides via voiceover or film an event.
  • Treat the course as a minimum viable product and get it out into the hands of your clients in order to collect feedback.
  • Regardless of how much time you put into launching your first course, you will want to make changes.
  • Get your course out there and see results quickly in order to improve your next version.
  • If you aren’t embarrassed by your first online course, then you’ve waited too long to release it.



  • Focus on marketing from the beginning, and think about who you are going to share your course with and how you are going to get it to them.
  • Take the time to develop and do market research on your audience to get an idea of what they are actually thinking rather than what you think they are thinking.
  • Ask people what they want, and do a short survey and quote the time to complete.
  • Surveys should be no longer than 5 questions.
  • Great sample question: “What one thing do you want to learn from me?”


Common Problems


  • People often aren’t aware of how to price their course.
  • Many give the course away for free.
  • In the legal space, you can look at comparables, as there are quite a few continuing professional development courses.
  • The level of trust you’ve built with the audience has an effect on your pricing.
  • If you have a click ad ‘buy my course’ button, then you have a low level of trust as opposed to longer term email subscribers.


  • If you don’t have a distribution list, search for people with one and reach out to them to share with their members.

Self Doubt & Video

  • If you are concerned with the video element, then start with using slides and audio.
  • Use slides with images and simple text, and talk through them.
  • Do practice takes, and once you are comfortable, substitute video.



  • Thinkific is all about your brand, your site, your students, your content, and your revenue. Thinkific provides the technology.

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Links to Resources Mentioned:



Getting Started


Click To Tweet:

What are the strategies to creating an online course? Find out w/ @Thinkific @gaylordpoppllc


Why you should create an online course for your law firm w/ @Thinkific @gaylordpoppllc


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