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How to make money creating online courses

Pot of gold or fools errand?

online courses

With the Covid-19 pandemic having no foreseeable end the need for remote working is rising. Due to the current situation, people are spending most of their time on the internet. Either to work, get entertained or to earn some side money to keep them going. The greater financial ramifications of the pandemic are still to play out but it has led to explosive growth in the area of online courses.

Previously, society had not fully embraced online working/learning. Now, younger generations are totally at ease with the digital world and many use social media platforms to make money. This article will highlight how you can potentially make money creating online courses, why you should do so, and how to do it. It’ll also explain how to promote it.

Why should you create an online course?


Bricks and mortar education is expensive for both the provider and student and many students are unable to afford it.

Online courses are becoming more popular than ever. Building an online course lets you share your unique skills with many people, more than you could as a physical tutor one-on-one or in a classroom setting. It can also be an advantage for you as you will hopefully build up a passive income each time you create new content. Over time you may be able to build up a base of students that look for your new content if you produce courses that people believe add value and gives them an understanding of the topic in question. As you create a wider range of online courses hopefully the feedback from earlier courses will lead people into taking up your new course.

What should your course be about?

Choosing the right course is the key to succeed in making money through an online course. The choice you make should revolve around the existing experience and skills you have. Think about the things that interest you, offer what you are passionate about. Consider talking to your colleagues or peers to guide you on the topic you can do best.

Even if you don’t think you know a topic well enough to create a course you can always research a topic and then produce a course. Try to choose a popular topic, one that attracts the interests of the audience quickly. Your course won’t sell if it’s boring or unpopular. It is often surprising the courses that people will pay to use eg there are paid courses on how to use Canva which to be honest is a pretty simple piece of software but not everyone has the same level of skill in a given subject.

How to create an online course


Decide what the student should expect from the course

The audience should have an idea of what the course is about. This way they will know if your platform is the right place and what the journey will look like before getting started. If your student is unaware of how your course will help them, they are unlikely to enrol in it. Having clear learning outcomes will ensure that only suitable students join your class. This way, they’ll be lower refund requests and maximum satisfaction rates.

It’ll also help the student prepare in advance for the course. Possibly acquire the necessary tools to learn the skills you are about to share with them or maybe brushing up on their maths or english skills prior to your course to get the most out of it.

It should be clear what the end result of the course will be whether that is the ability to create a dropshipping store selling products from aliexpress or being able to produce a number of tasty Italian themed meals.

Gather content for the course

Having decided on the outcome of the course you then need to gather materials to help you achieve that aim. It will be frustrating for students if, after being told that the course will teach them how to build a dropshipping store using shopify and then ends up showing them how to design a wordpress website!

Look at what courses in the niche offer and try to offer more or in a different fashion.

Plan how you’ll structure the content into lessons

Try to put together a plan of lessons that take the student logically through the learning process. Start with the basics and build up to more complicated topics.

Group the lessons logically into modules if possible. Avoid making lessons too long if you can as attention spans can tend to wander.

Determine the delivery method

This is the moment to decide on the most effective way to deliver your content. Be aware of all the possible styles of presenting online courses, try to make yours as engaging as possible.

Will you use video, text or audio to pass on your knowledge? Make sure you have a balance of visual, audio and interactive mechanisms. Your aim is to provide everyone with an optimum learning experience.

Video is the most convenient method. You might decide to use a green screen background to make your video. This option gives you the ability to display images, animations or video in the background behind you.

If you are doing a software training course then screen recording is probably the best method. This is where you record your computer screen and if you like you include a video of you on top of it talking through your script. Some free tools are available eg. OBS Studio and OpenShot video editor.

Where to host your course

The place you set up your online course may play a significant role in the success and profitability of your course. Udemy is ideal for beginners, skillshare and teachable are popular options. Kajabi is perfect if you are looking for an advanced host. It provides everything you need for the hosting process, including marketing tools. However, it’s not cheap!

How to promote

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This is somewhat determined by the platform you decided to host on. Udemy is a site that people visit to search for courses that they want to do whereas hosting your site at Kajabi means the onus will be on you to promote your course. Do you have an existing online audience that you could market to? Are there any influencers in your niche that would allow you to advertise your course – maybe give the first lesson for free as a taster? Is paid advertising the best method?

You could even combine affiliate marketing with course creation by offering a short free course of lessons on a piece of software if someone signs up for the software using your affiliate link. You could then offer a more advanced paid course to them at a later date.

Online Courses: The Bottom Line


Online courses can be a great source of income. Assuming the content is evergreen then a well produced online course could go on earning money for years to come without having to update it! Try to come up with something you are passionate about and knowledgeable in and your enthusiasm should shine through and keep your students coming back for more.


Related: Online Tutoring

Other: POD (Print on Demand)