Creating Online Courses and Where to Sell Them
Create a passive income by sharing your knowledge with others.
This is a follow-up post to my 5 Sites Where You Can Teach Others Online. Maybe you do want to make some income teaching, but for many different reasons, don't want to give face-to-face lessons.
Creating courses is a perfect alternative for many reasons - you are not teaching directly to a live audience, you do not need to schedule time to teach every week (except during the initial creation time), and there's very little after-market promotion needed.
You can teach just about any topic out there - from braiding hair and cooking classes to full inclusive courses on Illustration, Photography, to teaching how to use popular software.
Getting Started with Your Online Course
All the hard work in creating an online course is at the beginning – the planning, videoing, voice-overs, and editing. After you upload your course online there’s very little work to do afterward. Your course sells itself over and over again and you just collect the profits. You could even sell it on multiple platforms for more steady streams of income.
First, how to get started in creating a course? You could read about it or take a free course like "How To Create a Profitable Online Course in 10 Simple Steps".
Where to Sell Your Online Course?
There are so many course platforms out there that it’s time-consuming to check them all out. Don’t worry, I’ve saved you the time and listed some of the various course platforms and their options.
Note: I do not receive monies or support from any of these platforms.
It’s free to become an instructor and post your courses on Udemy. They’ll even show you step by step how to get started and create courses for them.
Udemy does have requirements for you to check before submitting your course. There are many sections covered, but they include:
- How different your course is from others already listed
- Clear learning goals stated
- Have practice activities and learning resources
- One concept taught per chapter
- Many more that's explained on their site.
How much you can earn with your course depends on a variety of factors:
- List vs. base price - There's one base price for instructors who don't opt-in Udemy's Deal program and another price for those who do participate
- Instructor Promotions – When students sign up with an instructor’s coupon
- Organic - When no coupons or promotions were used
- Affiliates – When students sign up through an affiliate.
How much you can earn depends on how popular your course is of course, but according to Udemy, the average course creator can make $15-30 per month per course, but those at the top are earning $2000 a month per course.
Skillshare takes a different route when it comes to selling courses. Instead of purchasing a single course at a time, students purchase a “subscription” that allows them to take as many courses during a time period.
Skillshare has its own requirements and standards that need to be met before accepting your course. These can be read in their teacher’s handbook.
You earn on Skillshare in two ways:
- Referrals - Earn $10 for each student that signs up with your referral code
- Royalties – Earn money for the number of minutes students watch your course and how many subscribers are signed up during that earning period.
Skillshare states that new teachers earn an average of $200 in their first month and top teachers earn upwards of $3000 a month.
Teachable comes up #2 in Google Search for "where to post my online course".
- Basic: $29/mo. (billed annually). Includes 5% transaction fees and 2 admin. users only
- Pro: $99/mo. (billed annually). Includes no transaction fees and 5 admin. users
- Business: $249/mo. (billed annually). Includes no transaction fees and 20 admin. users
You can check out what's included in each plan on this webpage.
Teachable claims that their "top course creators" over the course of 15 months:
- About 30% made over $75,000
- About 15% made $50,000 to $75,000
- About 40% made $25,000 to $50,000
- About 18% made under $25,000
Teachable has a refund policy for their students, so course creators cannot cash out right away on their platform. You get paid on the first of the month for sales made 2 months prior. For example, on May 1st you get paid for earnings made in March.
Thinkific appears in the first spot in Google's search with reviews stating they have the best inclusive designs and ease of use over other platforms.
They do have a pricing plan, but they offer a free tier as well, their plans are:
- Free: $0/mo. Limited courses, unlimited students
- Basic: $39/mo. Unlimited courses, unlimited students
- Pro: $79/mo. Unlimited courses, unlimited students, 2 admins, 5 course creators
- Premier: $399/mo. Unlimited courses, unlimited students, 5 admins, 15 course creators
You can read more on the various pricing tiers and what's included in each plan on their webpage.
So, you can price your courses whatever you like, offer a “free trial”, add an “upsell” to other similar courses you offer, and a lot more features. You can start out with a free membership to test the waters with your course and upgrade when you get busier and want more features.
How much can you make selling on Thinkific? One user claims to have earned nearly $270,000 in 18 months from 3 courses and paid live events.
More Course Platform Sites
There are many more online course platform sites out there to list. So, here's a quick list for you to check out
Host Your Courses on Your Own Website
Lastly, you can create your own website and host your courses there. You can also create a blog, sell other products, and so much more, you get complete autonomy on your own website.
Many website hosts offer their own online store option as well as plug-ins to add to match your courses and business goals.
This will require more work and a bit more technical knowledge, but in the end, you get the final say in what you want out of your website.
Selling courses online is a great passive income where you can also“fix it and forget it”. But just so you know, you get back what you put into it. If you put out a quality, detailed course and take time to market it yourself, your earnings will be higher than if you left it alone.
If you’re passionate about sharing what you love, it will show and it will be a fun job!
Note: Profit examples stated above actually depend on many factors such as course price, number of courses, course popularity, and marketing.