Creating online courses and starting to build an income stream that can turn into a sustainable online business.
Many beginners looking for a business they can start from home online will realize that their experience and skills will be appreciated by others.
- What is an online course creator?
- What is an online course?
- Can I make money selling online courses?
- Where can I sell my course online?
- What are the most popular online learning platforms?
- What online courses are in demand?
- How long should an online course be?
- The difference between a free and a paid course?
- How many courses do I need to create to make money?
- Characteristics of a good online course
- Creating online courses – Conclusion
What is an online course creator?
An online course creator is somebody who develops a course according to online training platform standards and then sells it or gives it away for free to those who want to develop their skills.
In my case, I will be looking at you becoming an online course creator as part of developing it into an online business. Online course creation is a very valuable income stream to have as an entrepreneur.
What is an online course?
An online course is a structured layout of information needed to teach or educate someone on a particular subject or topic.
An online course is set up in such a way that people unfamiliar but interested in your topic will benefit and gain knowledge through completing the consumption of your information.
The main purpose of creating an online course is to transfer your experience and knowledge to others who can find benefit through your instruction.
Can I make money selling online courses?
It is possible to make a very good income with online courses when working from home. How much money you will make will depend on the subject, topic or niche you select. It will also depend on the effort you put into developing your online courses.
Creating online courses will help you learn more about course layouts and design to make life easier.
Learners will enjoy a well-structured course fashioned like a step by step tutorial more than a course inflated with technical jargon. These type of courses generate good income as it is not over complicated and can be completed in a short time.
Creating online courses as a primary business will allow you to design, develop and present high-quality courses which will develop a nice portfolio over time with consistent income.
Most successful online course developers will have more than one course available to cover a niche extensively. A well-designed course will encourage a learner to take the next step in their learning experience with the same developer.
Where can I sell my course online?
There are many methods available for selling your online courses.
How you are going to sell it will depend on the following:
- Type of course
- Size of course
- Pricing of online course
Type of course
A skills course is a course that can develop a learner’s physical or psychological skills through absorbing and implementing them into their own lifestyle. A course like this will be easier to sell on a general online teaching platform as the right niche can have several resells in one month.
Skills courses are also easy to develop so you can spend your time better on developing several courses instead of marketing them. Leave the marketing to the online service and pay them their share for saving you time and money.
Some courses you develop will be aimed at professional and advanced levels. Obviously, these courses will require direct marketing to specific places where your potential customers hang out. These courses will be more expensive and therefore more effort must go into selling them.
These courses will also be much more advanced and will contain detailed technical aspects of the niche that will be needed for a learner to know everything possible.
For long courses, a two-prong marketing approach will work best. One side comes from the platform and can be seen as organic traffic while you can do email marketing on your own.
Size of course
How long should my course be? This is a common question beginners will ask when they start planning an online course. The simple answer is that it should be as long as it needs to be so the learner gets the information needed in the most effective way.
Your planning phase would include the outcomes of the course as an end goal. Your modules and instructions will be planned in a way to achieve these outcomes. Also, keep in mind fluff added to make the course a specific length will deteriorate the quality of your course.
Keep it straight to the point and focus on the outcomes while engaging the student. In this way, they get to enjoy learning and will keep coming back for more.
It has been proven that people learning online have a shorter attention span and therefore expect information quicker and to the point.
Pricing of online course
Selling your online course through a learning platform will give you very little option on what you can charge for your course. Most online platforms will have set prices for certain topics or course durations.
Either way if you have to decide on a price then online research is essential. In this way, you can evaluate your course against other similar courses out there. As a beginner, an average price will put you in a safe spot but pricing it too high might put you out of the market completely.
Online courses can go from $12 to $20000 depending on the level of the course, the demand for such a course and the value learners will get out of it. More expensive does not always mean better and consumers know that.
Creating online courses at an affordable price with more than expected value and they will sell.
What are the most popular online learning platforms?
There are platforms that have been around for a very long time and therefore have built authority and trust with online learners. Because of their experience, they have also managed to build a very large portfolio of courses on different topics.
By now they have also developed business models that allow you as the course developer to be compensated fairly for your work.
There is only one platform I would suggest for beginners as it is the only one that will list it for free and take a commission on sales only. All other platforms have 14 day free trials but after that, it can become a bit costly for a beginner trying to sell the first course.
The best platform for beginners I suggest is Udemy. Their extensive free tutorials are brilliant and will help you put your first course online quickly.
Although it is mostly video tutorials it is still simple to set up once you have completed the free tutorials that they offer. It does take time but once uploaded it is an asset you will have forever.
What online courses are in demand?
Creating online courses is a matter of experience, knowledge and what you love to do. There are so many online courses that make it impossible to suggest any specific niche for a beginner.
The best way to find the perfect fit is to find your niche and micro down to specific topics not covered well already.
On Udemy you will also find many free and paid courses that will help you develop the skills we discuss and use on Skillscloud.
The 5 most in-demand course topics on Udemy are
- Graphic Design
- Programming languages
- Online marketing
- Digital photography
The courses on offer range from beginners to advanced and although developed by normal people like you and me you shouldn’t be fooled by what you can learn here.
The courses here are straight from the horse’s mouth and written in a simple fashion that will help anyone develop the needed skills.
How long should an online course be?
As I have already mentioned it must be long enough to transfer value-adding knowledge to the learner in a complete manner.
When you start learning how to develop a course then you will see that you start with the outcomes you want to achieve with your course. In other words, what do you want the learner to take away from your course?
This will determine the length of your course as dictated by your course layout. Be to the point to keep learners engaged and don’t stretch it to fulfil your course length. Instead, add more value-adding outcomes to your layout by asking what else would a learner require?
Beginners’ courses would normally consist of at least 6 modules or in the case of videos one to one and a half-hour. Remember the learner is paying for information that adds value and you must deliver. What the learner is willing to pay if at all will depend on your content.
Advanced courses will obviously contain more information and to keep engagement will have more modules. These advanced courses can stretch to any amount of hours in order to deliver complete subject knowledge.
Often course developers will introduce a series of courses to present a complete presentation of information. It also helps to have repeat customers if your material is good.
The length and content of your course will also be related to your pricing so find the right balance to ensure a consistent income from it.
The difference between a free and a paid course?
You can create online courses for multiple reasons and one of them is to establish an authoritative presence in your niche.
Many of the free courses you observe on course platforms were created as intro courses for a full course. Although the content is still good at the beginner level there is still a lot of information that can be taught in a full course.
These free courses will normally contain a broad overview of what the topic or niche entails. It is the perfect way to test the designer’s knowledge and style before paying for the full course.
On the other hand, a paid course should contain all the information a learner will need to achieve the final goals. The content must deliver the promise you gave in the beginning or you will sell no more.
Most platforms have rating systems provided by learners and the better you teach the higher ratings you will get.
For example, a free course may only contain 6 modules at 1.5 hours. The complete paid course can have 26 modules and span up to 6 hours depending on the topic. This is because some content was left out purposely to shorten the introductory course.
Creating online courses according to your long term plan and therefore as a beginner short courses are advisable. The response you get can set you up with the knowledge of how to develop your next full-length course.
How many courses do I need to create to make money?
This will all depend on your topic or niche.
One well-designed course at a reasonable price can make more in a year than 50 well designed but short courses. Some niche courses will be purchased with the intent to learn everything possible about a topic in one go.
For instance, a course on “How to develop your own mobile app” should be a complete course because of the buyer’s intent. Someone purchasing a course like this want to be able to design an app on completion.
Short courses can be narrowed down to specific micro-niches of the main topic. For example, a full course on leadership might be very lengthy and incomplete because of the many variants.
In this case, a short course on “How to handle difficult people” or “Leadership for employee engagement” will be a perfect fit. Once again it focuses on buyer content which indicates they want to learn only that specific topic.
Creating online courses for a sustainable income does take a lot of your time. Rather spend your time on 5 or 6 well constructed and affordable courses than trying to turn out 30 poorly designed courses.
Characteristics of a good online course
Looking at the top sellers on all the platforms we can see that they all have similar characteristics.
Top 5 characteristics of a good online course
- Logical structure
- Value-adding outcomes
- Practical information
- Engaged presentation
- Helpful resources
A learner prefers to learn by visually seeing a logical structure throughout the learning process. This is part of the engagement process so learners can follow where they’ve been and where they are heading.
The most important part of creating online courses is to enable a learner to achieve goals. When purchasing a course the learner will look at the outcomes to see if it will serve their needs.
The information must be applicable to real-life scenarios. Most learners purchasing courses will do it for the purpose of duplicating what they’ve learned in real situations.
A learner finds content more authentic and useful if the creator can engage them with practical examples and proof of successful application. We all know what it is like to sit and listen to lecturers that are boring. Content consumption will drop by 60% even if the content is good.
Most learners will rate courses on the presentation rather than the content.
A good course creator will always make sure learners have access to plenty of free resources outside of the course itself. Automatic membership to exclusive free content for learners who have completed your courses will bring them back for more.
Remember the purpose of creating online courses is to help people achieve dreams or solve problems.
Creating online courses – Conclusion
Creating online courses will help you generate income fairly passive over time. The good thing is that in the process you can help others. Sharing your expertise and knowledge will find any channel more rewarding than through a course.
Building up a good reputation and authority in your niche will guarantee success. Increase your ratings by delivering value-adding content. The skills you learn with this online business opportunity will enable you to pursue other income streams.