Creating an online course about managing public money

For several years I have been thinking about doing less consulting work and making a living from selling products instead. The beauty of selling products is that it is unconstrained. When I work as a consultant, or as a teacher, I can generally only be paid for the time spent on the project. I have tried, and sometimes I succeed, in selling my service at a fixed fee, which gives me an incentive to work faster rather than slower, but many of my clients seem to see this approach as too risky. Essentially, that puts a limit on what I can earn because I can only sell my time once. Selling products, on the other hand, does not have that limit: the limit is the demand for the product at the price being charged.

As I said, I’ve had that on my mind for a few years and this year I decided to do something about it. The products I want to sell are online courses, books, e-books and coaching that are focused on various aspects of managing public money. Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about my online school and the free mini-course I created (Five Questions To Ask About Your Budget).

This week I made a start on creating my first paid-for course. It is a course aimed at anyone working in the public sector who wants to know more about the big picture of financial management. It is concerned with explaining the differences in financial management between the public and private sector, how public bodies are funded, and the governance arrangements that tend to apply to public workers. It also explains the concept of value for money, something which is vitally important to organisations that do not sell their products and services in a free market.

I thought it might be interesting to write a series of blog posts over the next few weeks that show how the course was created. Step 1 has been sketching out the content in the form of a mind map.

Principles of managing public money course mindmap.jpg

I created the mind map in an application called Mindnode. One of its nice features is the ability to switch from a map view to an outline view. Another feature is the ability to export the mind map into OPML format, which can then be opened by an outliner app or in rich text format (RTF) to be opened in a word processor like Word or Pages. 

The next stage of the process is to expand the headings and notes in the mind map into a set of steps. Each of the main branches in the mind map will be a topic within the course. Each topic will be broken into a set of lessons that will take less than 10 minutes each to complete. The plan also has to set out how each lesson will be taught (whether the lesson will be text, video, slide presentation, etc) and what downloadable material is needed to support it.

If you are interested in the course then sign up to my list so that you don’t miss its launch.