Right now, we are living during a time where the internet has provided people all over the world unprecedented access to learning new skills. Creators from all disciplines have found that building an online course is a great way to make money off of their knowledge.
When you think of online courses, you might have an antiquated idea of how they are taught. Spoiler: they aren’t just prerecorded videos anymore! In fact, in the wake of modern online course platforms, there are a plethora of angles creators can take to make money creating online courses.
Ahead, we’re exploring how to create an online course and the steps you need to take to build a course that sells.
How to create an online course
Online courses are a great way for creators to build a following of dedicated supporters, create and reuse content, and make a recurring source of income. The process of building an online course doesn’t have to be hard either, as long as you take the appropriate steps to plan how you’ll do it.
First and foremost, if you’d like to learn how to make money selling online courses then you’ve got to be willing to experiment, make mistakes, and change course when needed. At the heart of any great online course is the creator’s ability to take their students on a journey to master something interesting, together.
What does that mean in practice? It means online courses that make money will effortlessly combine a concept with actions and results (this could be your topic or homework assignments) and offer all of it to a community of students.
To get starting building an online course that makes money, consider these three things:
- Choose a compelling topic. Your first step toward building an online course that makes money is choosing a topic that people are actually interested in learning about. Great online course topics are ones that are specific about their ideas and their goals.
- Identify your ideal member. Your ideal member is the person who most needs your online course topic taught by you. When you’ve chosen a compelling topic, your ideal member will be incredibly motivated by the idea of achieving the results and transformation they couldn’t on their own.
- Explain why you’re the right person to create the online course. At the end of the day, people want to know why you’re the one teaching them their new skills. The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert. All you need is an interesting perspective, well-designed content, and the ability to deliver the results you promised your members.
Once you have these three major components figured out, you can start sketching out how to create an online course that makes money. And ahead, we’re diving into some practical steps you can take to do just that.
Tips for how to make money selling online courses
Making money creating online courses is not a simple endeavor. But when you have taken the right steps planning your approach, it can be a lucrative business that gets easier with time.
1. Choose the right online course platform
The most important step you can take when learning how to make money selling online courses is to choose an awesome online course platform. If you’re wondering what an online course platform is, it’s a software platform with prebuilt tools and features that creators can utilize to build online courses.
The best online course platforms will give creators a plethora of tools to customize their course website and design awesome content. You might be wondering, why would I use an online course platform instead of building my own course on a website I built? By all means, you can do that, but designing quality tools and features to deliver an online course takes months of trial and error, and a lot of money.
When you choose an online course platform, you can focus on your content and on providing your members the best experience possible. If you’re curious what some of the features are that you can utilize on a great course platform, here are a few we love:
- Discussion boards.
- Member profiles, direct messaging, and small groups.
- Live and recorded video capabilities.
- A native mobile app.
- Surveys, Q&As, and polls.
- The ability to monetize your online course within the platform.
These kinds of features will allow you to think of new ways to make money creating online courses. An online course platform that provides you with a diversity of tools to work with on your course increases your member interactivity and sets you apart from the competition.
2. Create a free mini-course
A great way to get people interested in what you’re building is to let them have a taste of it first. You might think this goes against the whole point of making money creating online courses, but that’s not true.
Creating a short mini-course is a good way to showcase your skills to a potential audience that might be unfamiliar with what online courses are all about. You don’t need to develop a whole new set of materials and lessons to pull this off either.
Take a few lessons from your main online course and compose them into a bite-sized snapshot of the overall course. Then, once someone has completed the short course, you can invite them to purchase the whole thing.
When you’re starting out for the first time, it can be hard to gain trust from potential customers. Offering some free content is a great way to gain exposure for your work.
3. Create a paid online community space
Another avenue to explore when figuring out how to make money selling online courses is how you can foster a sense of community between your students.
Outside of the knowledge gleaned from taking a class, what was the thing that stuck with you the most? It probably isn’t a stretch to say it was the people, right? In fact, if we’re being real you probably remember them more than the material. Classrooms thrive when there is a sense of community and camaraderie between students. Just because you’ll be teaching online doesn’t mean you can’t recreate that either.
The best online course platforms will also allow you to create a paid online community space that can be utilized by your students (or you can even make it open to anyone who’d like to pay to join). This is another great way to make money creating online courses because it provides a low-stakes, informal space for your students to interact with one another whether it’s about the course materials or just the course topic.
When you have an online community space for your online course you’re opening up the possibility to create a network effect for your business. That’s basically a fancy way of saying that each new member that joins your community brings additional value to you, your members, and your brand.
4. Consider bundling content
If you’re trying to make money creating online courses, then giving your potential members options on how they pay for your course is something to consider. Experimenting with bundled content is a great way to entice new people to try your online course.
For example, you could offer your online course at a base price of $50. At the base level, this gives students access to your course materials for them to work toward their goals.
Then, you can offer a packaged deal for $100 that gives students access to the online course and an online community space (normally priced at $60). This gives students more benefits for a slightly higher price while still giving people options for how they interact with your content. Additionally, if you have multiple courses you could offer a bundle of both courses for a slightly reduced price.
5. Experiment to find out what works
At the end of the day, not every business choice you make will be a lucrative one and that’s okay. Every successful creator learns that sometimes you have to throw a bunch of darts at the board and see which ones stick.
As you continue to improve your online courses, you’ll learn what aspects of your courses your members really enjoy. And an important philosophy to live by is that asking your students for feedback on your content is the quickest way to make money creating online courses. Why? Because it hastens the amount of time you’ll spend figuring out what they like, and spend that time instead, creating what you know they’ll enjoy.
Create your online course on Mighty Networks
We’ve talked about a lot of strategies for how to make money selling online courses and the best place to do that is on a Mighty Network.
Mighty Networks is a website builder and white label community platform that lets you bring your community, online courses, and content together in one place, under your own brand and domain name, instantly available on web, iOS and Android.
A Mighty Network lets you create a variety of content to help launch an online course (including everything we talked about today). Plus, it also has world-class community features so you can continue building your brand as your audience grows.
Basically, when you choose to host your online courses on Mighty Networks, you’re getting a platform that will grow with you, your brand, and your students.
Ready to get started?
We’ve covered a wide range of ideas for how to make money selling online courses. The biggest take away though is having a wide range of tools at your disposal and a clear plan from the start will make your journey a lot smoother.
All that’s left to do is put these concepts into practice, let’s get started.