Launching my free course – and my idea about ideas

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I’ve finished my freebie, the Business Idea Blitz – woohoo!

I talk about how I tested it, and why I’m releasing it to my email list even though it’s not *quite* finished.

And I’ve also come up with a great (I hope) idea to add on a paid business idea review, so I talk about how I can use my experience to take the ideas of people new to online business and help make them memorable, interesting, and fun to actually do. If you’ve ever thought about starting a standard recipe blog, you’ll probably like my example ideas – let me know!

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Resources mentioned

I mention the following resources in the podcast when I talk about my software choices.

Some of these links are affiliate links, meaning I will receive a commission if you purchase via that link (thanks!) – see my disclosure here.

Business Idea Blitz and Business Idea Review – sign up here to do my free course, and get your idea reviewed.

Heartbeat – awesome community software, with the ability to add courses, live events, and all sorts of great features.

Refuse to Choose – solutions for those with MANY interests! Barbara Sher completely changed the way I see myself, made me see that it’s actually a great thing to have lots of ideas, and showed me how to manage them all in ways that work.

Australian Homeschooling Summit – my previous business! I did two workshops this year (affording to homeschool plus a tech panel) and there are hundreds of other awesome workshops available. A must-have if you’re homeschooling.


Hi, I’m Kelly Kotanidis, and welcome to Online Business From Scratch, where I’m taking you behind the scenes as I build my new online business from scratch to a full-time income while making sure it’s a great fit for my traveling homeschooling life. I’ll be walking you through everything I do so you can follow along and build your own flexible online business quickly and efficiently.

This is the update for day 55 of my new online business, 13 days on from my last update. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been working on my choose Your topic freebie. It’s morphed from the idea of creating a simple workbook into a complete mini-course. I was looking at it, thinking, “Hm, it’s probably too good to be a freebie.” I considered splitting it and making a small freebie leading into the paid mini-course, but then I decided that being generous is usually the best approach.

I could charge for this, probably a reasonable amount, but for a new business, my absolute best way to get loyal customers is to impress them. I still remember getting an email about my very first homeschooling freebie in 2016. It was an email course with about eight emails, I think, and the review said, “Wow, I love this. This is better than stuff I’ve paid for. I can’t believe it’s free.” That person then went on to buy everything I ever produced all the way into 2020 until I sold the business because they knew it would be great quality.

I’m not advocating giving everything away for free, but definitely be generous. Show people what you do and what you know, especially at the start when you don’t have any real followers and no one really knows what you do. If you’re just handing out a generic three-page PDF, you’re not going to be memorable. From the start, aim to impress. Aim to give people something so good for free that they really want to sign up and get on your email list. They’re impressed by how much you’ve helped them, they can see you know what you’re talking about, and they can’t wait to buy your even better-paid products. They love it so much that they share it with everyone they know.

I’m calling my free mini-course the Business Idea Blitz. I’ve turned my messy Google Doc, which I talk about in previous episodes, into a course with a coherent and logical structure, and that felt like no small feat. It’s all written out and it’s in Heartbeat, I just need to finalize a few things and record a couple of videos.

I emailed everyone on the waiting list, which was sitting at 19 people, and I asked if anyone would like to go through it first and provide feedback in exchange for feedback on their ideas. I got seven replies, and four were a perfect fit, so I’m about to give them first access to the course.

From them, I’ll be able to check that it makes sense to people, that it’s easy to follow, and that it gives them the promised results. Hopefully, I’ll get a few testimonials as well. I also had an idea yesterday, and I’m not sure if I’ll do this, but I’ll mention it here because it’s a good example of piggybacking one thing onto another and making the absolute most of what you already have rather than continually creating new standalone products.

I thought I could offer a paid idea review to people who do the freebie. They go through, do the activities, then submit it to me. I look it over and suggest other ideas, possible corrections, maybe a few keywords or product ideas. I spend an hour or two refining it for them and giving them some good starting points based on what I already know about online business. For people with a couple of good ideas that they can’t really choose between, I can tell them the one that I think would be the most profitable and why, or I can outline the type of work they’d have to do for each one so that they could choose the one they would enjoy the most.

I think that’s a really valuable service. People decide they’ll be a recipe blogger because they love food, but they don’t realize that they’ll actually need to write a lot of content, be really good at photos, probably videos as well, and also be amazing at search engine optimization, or they will need to pay someone who is. So, in reality, even though they love food, it wouldn’t suit them at all because they’d find all that writing to a template mind-numbingly tedious. They’d actually be much more suited to podcasting. They would be much better off sticking with their topic but starting a podcast about the history of particular recipes, interviewing people about their favorite recipes, or talking about a specific food and publishing those recipes.

That could really be niched down to say immigrants or refugees to their country or to a particular food culture if they had a personal connection or special interest. For example, being raised by my grandparents from New Zealand, I could do Kiwi vs. Aussie and talk about who really created the pavlova or Anzac biscuits because there’s a lot of controversy here about stuff like that. My husband could do Greek food from the perspective of rediscovering the food he grew up getting fed by all of his grandparents’ generation and how coming to Australia has shaped the traditional recipes. We were very surprised to find out we could not get a lamb souvlaki in Greece, yet they all had hot chips. These are the sorts of small things that people find fascinating and can easily relate to.

As another idea for the person who had the recipe blog idea, I would suggest focusing on a particular food like bread or cheese. They come to mind because I absolutely love both, but also because both have such a rich and varied history that you could easily dig into either and create huge amounts of interesting content just around that one specific food. From that basic idea, you can see how the feedback could be really useful to you.

Most people will think, “Okay, I like food, I’ll start a recipe blog.” They’re everywhere; they’re familiar; they’re a very visible and obvious template to follow. But if you really niche down to a particular topic and put a twist on it, like adding the podcast explaining the why and how of specific recipes or interviewing people with interesting stories about foods, it suddenly gets a lot more interesting and a lot more sticky for people. You’re not just the Greek-Australian recipe blogger; you’re also doing a podcast with your Yiayia, who has very particular views about mint in tzatziki.

Most people take months or even years of grinding away at the generic recipe blog to start to see that they need to come up with something a little bit more memorable. Then they have a lot of trouble finding that idea because when you’re deep into something, it can be hard to step back and assess it. The idea is I can save people all that time and I can throw them lots of those ideas at the start because I’m always watching online businesses and thinking, “Hm, that’s an interesting thing to do,” and filing it away in my memory. I absolutely love coming up with business ideas. I know it’s strange, but it’s actually been my hobby for a really long time. I have notebooks filled with ideas that I have written down to get out of my head.

I have to give a big shout-out to Barbara Sher’s books, especially “Refuse to Choose,” where I got the idea of keeping an idea notebook. If you also have a very busy mind and lots of ideas and interests, her books are amazing, and I will link them in the show notes. If you identify as multi-passionate, you’ll also find them really great because they show you how to juggle all of those different ideas and interests that you have.

Apart from finishing off my freebie and having ideas about ideas and all that kind of stuff, I have also been writing my Australian Homeschooling Summit Workshop because that is very soon. I’ve organized an interview with someone who is doing a series on how homeschooling parents earn money for the week after that. I’ve got a few promo activities coming up, so I’d better go and finish the Business Idea Blitz and have it ready for them to sign up to before all of that.

Jumping into the future again, I did create my paid idea review consulting-type product, and I embedded it into the Business Idea Blitz. I’ve done a handful of them, and it has been really fun and interesting for me, digging into people’s topics and ideas and coming up with ways to make them work even better. I’ve brainstormed content and product ideas, done a bit of mindset coaching, and reviewed existing sites to talk about how they can better convert visitors. We’ve talked about all sorts of stuff.

If you’re feeling unsure of your online business idea or if you’ve started something and it’s feeling a bit generic and it’s not really taking off, please go and check out the Business Idea Review. It will be linked in the show notes. I do ask that people do the Business Idea Blitz first because otherwise, you’ll just be paying me to go through the steps with you when you can easily do those first steps yourself. Then we can talk about your idea and come up with something that you absolutely love that will be really effective and stand out.

It is very ridiculously cheap right now while I’m working on the best ways to do all of this. You will be getting a huge amount of value for your small cost, but I can’t do it at this price forever. So if you think it would be useful for you, please check it out. It’s in the show notes. I would love to apply my brain to your business idea and help you come up with some unique and memorable approaches that are fun and interesting for you to do as well.

Thank you very much for listening, and I will be back next week with the latest update. I’ll see you then!

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