How This Engineer Created A TypeScript Online Course With 1,500 Students

Published: October 2nd, 2022
Joe Previte
TypeScript Course
from Scottsdale, AZ, USA
started October 2021
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m Joe Previte, I’m an Open Source TypeScript Engineer and teach a course on TypeScript.

The product currently offered is a free email course with 3 modules teaching you how to ship TypeScript production code faster and safer than any other course out there.

I have over 1,500 subscribers and have taught the content as full-day workshops at conferences like RenderATL and local meetups like Phoenix ReactJS. I have high ambitions and know this course will be a million-dollar course joining the ranks of other successful courses such as Epic React and CSS for JS.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Like many other software engineers, I took an untraditional path to get where I am today. I studied foreign languages in college thinking I wanted to go into foreign language education and teach in academia. One year into a graduate program, I knew I was on the wrong path. I dropped out to pursue programming, using freeCodeCamp to teach myself how to code.

I’m constantly validating our MVPs instead of wasting months building something people don’t want.

I started getting paid to teach other people how to code when I joined egghead as an instructor (on the side). I knew education was my passion and I wanted to help others learn. I had some success with my vim course and decided to go bigger and teach TypeScript. I knew this was the right move based on industry trends.

They used to say, “Always bet on JavaScript.” Now it’s, “Always bet on TypeScript.”

I teamed up with the Badass Team, the same folks behind egghead, to work on this course. I knew if I wanted to have an industry-level impact I couldn’t do this alone.

The way the partnership works is we split revenue 60/40 in my favor. They do everything to allow me to focus on content. For instance, with the email course, I wrote it in Notion then they converted it to HTML and set up the automations in ConvertKit. I love it! I bring my TypeScript expertise to the table and they bring their expertise in creating badass educational content and courses.

As I’ve been working on this, more and more TypeScript courses are popping up which is a good sign. It means I’m not the only one that realizes a TypeScript revolution is upon us. The differentiator between other courses is that I’m making TypeScript approachable and teaching you how to build real-world applications.

I even use open source as a learning tool. I know that it’s a long journey, but I’m prepared to make this course the most comprehensive resource for learning how to build production-grade TypeScript applications.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

The whole process for everything we do with the TypeScript Course looks something like this:

  1. Research
  2. Design
  3. Production
  4. Delivery

This can process can be applied at every stage. From the landing page to the email courses and to the self-paced course. Each iteration provides less risk, fewer assumptions, and more value for the students.

By taking this approach, I’m constantly validating our MVPs instead of wasting months building something people don’t want. I’ve taken this approach to test curriculum ideas by workshopping the content at conferences or simply testing it on Twitter and gauging people’s reactions.

I probably spent 3-4 months building out the email course. We went through a couple of cycles until we landed on something we liked. After it was considered “done” in Notion, the Badass team set up the automation sequences in ConvertKit.

After the first month, we realized we had too many reflection questions in our surveys at the end of each module. We slimmed it down to one question. That seemed to work better for our learners.

My focus now is working on the next phases: articles to drive signups via SEO and soon after paid workshops via Zoom. It’s a lot of work. Articles take a week or so because I do it outside of my full-time job and workshops take a month to put together. I love it though! As I said, we have big goals and we’re only just getting started.

Describe the process of launching the business.

I started writing the content for the course back in October. It wasn’t until December or January when I launched a landing page with email signup. We decided to go for mini launches. We announced the first module of the free email course and then did a mini launch for each of the additional modules (3 total).

We also recently decided to tighten the narrative on Twitter since that is where I’m most active. I changed my cover photo and bio to make everything about TypeScript.


This has helped increase sign-ups and get people to associate my name with TypeScript. We had about 800 people join during this mini-launch. Besides my personal Twitter, we didn’t launch it in too many other places. A couple of private Discords but that’s it.

Find ways to reuse and repackage the content you make.

We’re hoping to use organic search as a growth channel though as we add more content to the site.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

To be quite honest, this is something I’m still figuring out. Big launches do attract people and lead to more signups. But it’s not enough. At the time of writing, I'm averaging around 10 email signups per day. We have low unsubscribe rates but I need to figure out how to attract more people.

One strategy I'm trying is high-quality content. For instance, I'm releasing a podcast season about migrating to TypeScript where I interviewed six developers at small to large companies asking how they did it. We wrapped recording last month and I'm now in post-production. We think this will bring more traffic and increase email signups.

The other strategy I'm going to try is SEO. The Badass Team are pros are creating high-quality educational content. They plan to develop a keyword strategy and have me use that to guide what I write about. We know TypeScript usage is only growing in our industry so I want to capitalize on the search.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We plan to take the 3 modules from the email course and turn those into paid workshops. That will give us some revenue and also help us validate and refine the content. We’ll replace the email course with something valuable but smaller in scope.

After that, I plan to take the paid workshops and record videos so you can take them as a self-paced paid course. That will be the big product and the thing I’ll continue to refine and add to in 2023. For now, though I'm on track and earning some revenue from testing these workshops at conferences. It’s a long journey, but I know how to get there.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

There are two big lessons I’ve learned from starting this course. The first is working with a team is 100x better than working alone. Previously, I launched a small course on vim all on my own. That means I did the landing page, email sequence, course, marketing, etc. With the TypeScript Course, the Badass Team approached me about working on it together. I’d focus on the course content and they’d take care of everything else. It’s been amazing. I highly recommend working with a team if you’re going to pursue a content business.

Lesson 2 is to find ways to reuse and repackage the content you make. Module 1 of the course started out as a 45-min talk at GitHub Universe that I was paid for. Module 2 came out of a project I built live streaming on Twitch. I later repurposed it as a full-day workshop and gave it at a conference. Module 3 was summarized into a 20-min talk for a local meetup. The point is to find ways to reuse what you have in different formats.

Pick a specific topic you know well enough that you could give a 20-min talk with little to no prep. Think of an info product you could sell i.e. guide, ebook, written course, etc. Then give yourself two weeks to build and launch. And you should sell it for $10 or more.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Our tool stack consists of Notion, ConvertKit, Revue and Zapier. We use Notion for project management and collaboration. It’s also where I write all the content for the course. I find that the flexibility in block types and support for Markdown-like syntax is the perfect match for me. We also heavily use the team and collaboration features.

The Badass Team has developed highly effective email automations in ConvertKit so choosing it was a no-brainer. Lastly, I added Revue and Zapier to our tool stack to be able to capture more email signups on Twitter and sync them with ConvertKit.

And I use Next.js for the website, Sanity to structure the content and the website lives inside a monorepo powered by Turborepo… of course, the site is written in TypeScript.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

A lot of how I approach things has been directly inspired by Amy Hoy and Stacking The Bricks. The analogy of laying one brick at a time helps put into perspective the long journey of building a business. Highly recommend checking out their stuff.

I’ve also felt personally inspired by other course instructors in the space like Kent C. Dodds and Wes Bos. The impact they’ve had on the industry is incredible. They approach teaching subjects like JavaScript with such care and deliberate intention that it inspires you to be a better instructor. Their level of impact? That’s the kind of impact I want to have with the TypeScript Course.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I could give you a long list of advice but instead, I’ll give you just one that I encourage you to take action on this week. This is specific for content businesses or products.

Pick a specific topic you know well enough that you could give a 20-min talk with little to no prep. Think of an info product you could sell i.e. guide, ebook, written course, etc. Then give yourself two weeks to build and launch. And you should sell it for $10 or more.

This is what I did for my Vim for VSCode course and it’s completely changed the way I view launching projects. If you want more details, read “How I Launched my First Product.”

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!