Right from the start, there is a who’s-who of recommendations of Danny and his book by other gurus who know him. There is also a toolkit of resources.
This makes the book more than just an information source and elevates it to a “practice what you preach” resource for learning by doing. This provides significant extra value that goes beyond just being an excellent book.
I like that there are references to Danny’s previous Leveraged Learning book, which is also a must-read, that delves into how education is changing and must change to address the revolutionary challenges we are all experiencing in our world. If anything, I would have liked even more references to show how the two books are related and complement each other. This was probably restrained by Danny’s desire to keep the book concise and not assume that the audience has read his previous book. Sometimes books are accused of being too promotional but Danny has avoided this potential pitfall. Let me say though, that you should read Leveraged Learning too, especially since Danny has oh so generously made it available for free.
Danny’s startup story of getting into debt developing a course without adequate market research provides a context of his experience which has shaped his approach. It also explains his empathy for the struggles of course entrepreneurs because he has truly been there and done that.
The book structure in 5 parts is very logical and enjoyable in that each part is necessary and quickly leads to the next question an audience of course builders would have.
1. History of Online Courses
This recap was a very pertinent highlight of events of how this field has evolved. Even for practitioners, the significance and timing of events surface important points of reference for the journey the industry has been on. To learn how to make progress we need to know what has been done, and what has changed.
2. Courses and Your Business
This is a very sobering telling of the truth to counter hype that developing courses is a road to riches without any ongoing effort (passive income dream). It also touches upon the essentials of economics and basics of as another reality check.
3. Idea to Winning Course Through Piloting
This chapter covers what could be a critical success factor in your business to experiment with and validate new ideas for courses through piloting. Piloting is a very powerful business skill since the piloting methodology can be used with other services as well, such as coaching, consulting, group calls, or even live events. This approach to developing minimally viable products has broader applications to not only developing the right product but also to create the marketing that will make it a sales success.
4. Attracting Paying Customers
Relationship marketing is what it is all about and thank god it isn’t recommended that you cold call strangers. Instead, there is just simple solid advice to make progress and get results that will allow you to make the necessary decisions. The most interesting part for me describes a scalable approach for finding leads. This is where Danny showcases one of his greatest skills which is explaining a reasonable approach, identifying the success factors, and breaking it down into actionable steps.
5. Creating a World-class Course
Hint: It isn’t about taking existing practices for in-person classrooms and recreating them online. Online education is an opportunity to re-imagine education.
For course builders, I think Teach Your Gift will inspire and challenge more educators to re-imagine, experiment, and deliver transformative results for their students. That is the way it should be.