Apr 21, 2023

How Christian Wattig built a successful online course and boosted his career

By Wes Kao
Co-founder of Maven
Explore how Christian Wattig turned his expertise into a highly-rated FP&A Bootcamp and how that led to career growth and a six-figure side income.

Christian Wattig makes $100,000/year teaching an online course AND got promoted at his full-time job. Here’s how he did it–and why it’s more doable than you think:
Christian led financial planning at the world’s biggest consumer goods companies, including Unilever and Procter & Gamble. He noticed a pattern: most FP&A training felt like a chore. They were videos with no interaction, no community, and no impact. Because Christian trained hundreds of employees internally, he knew that live, interactive training was the most effective way to learn.
So Christian built a live course. His students got to practice new skills in a low-risk, supportive environment. Today, his FP&A Bootcamp is one of the most popular finance courses on Maven with a 4.4/5 rating.
As a full-time operator, Christian was self-conscious about sharing his insights publicly at first. He was worried it might hurt his prospects of getting a full-time job.
But it had the opposite effect:
  • FP&A professionals loved what Christian had to say & he grew his audience to 36,000 followers
  • Got recruited to be the Head of Training at a top FP&A company
  • Got invited to be the headline speaker at a 200-person finance conference
  • Got featured on finance podcasts, like CFO Weekly
How did Christian get his boss’ buy-in?
By showing how his course would help his company too. For example, Christian incorporated his company’s product into his curriculum. This is helpful for his students because the tool is relevant and useful for their work. And his company gets exposure to new users. In fact, his company promotes Christian’s course to their email list because it’s mutually beneficial.
Key lessons from Christian’s experience:
1. Get your boss’ buy-in by showing how your side project will benefit the company. How will it improve brand awareness for your company? How will it build goodwill and rapport with audiences? Make it win-win.
The company helped me market the course through their newsletter, and in turn, I offered an optional bonus session for my students to learn about their software. It was a win-win situation. That collaboration turned into a job offer, and now I'm the Head of Training.
2. An additional income stream gives you stability and more confidence to do your best work. For example, when Christian took parental leave, the revenue from his course helped support his family.
I have a third leg to stand on, which makes layoffs less scary. It empowers me to choose the projects to work on and take more control of my career.
3. If you like to coach/mentor/train, you have what it takes to teach. Christian loved coaching his direct reports and running in-house training. When building his course, he adapted his content for a broader audience. He also keeps a running list of questions from his LinkedIn audience to inspire fresh content ideas.
The more I shared, the more I realized that people genuinely appreciated my insights and expertise. This encouraged me to keep pushing my boundaries and sharing my knowledge with others.

PS If you work full-time, teaching a course is an additional income stream and helps you level up your career. Christian graduated from the Maven Course Accelerator, a free 3-week program on how to build a successful course.
When you start earning on Maven, you keep 90% of your course revenue minus Stripe fees. On average, instructors earn $20,000 in their first cohort. Plus, you own your IP and content. Our goal is to help you launch and grow a course you’re proud of.
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