Can you make money selling online courses?

Can you make money selling online courses?

Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by Ludiah

Can you make money selling online courses?
Selling Online Courses

If you ever had an ounce of doubt about whether selling online courses is profitable, hear me out. Most people have begun selling online learning opportunities to customers and professionals.

Well, can you make money selling online courses? Yes. You can make money selling online courses. Even if you are not a company operating in the education sector, you could still benefit from selling your knowledge. Information is power, and though you mustn’t disclose your trade secrets, you could offer helpful tutorials and training that could earn you more money while leading to higher sales of your service.

The online learning market is growing fast, with no indicators of slow growth any time soon. If statistics are anything to go by, the 2020 lockdown showed us that being able to do things online is important. The global e-learning market is projected to reach $325 billion within the next three years. That is a great opportunity for any ambitious business person who wishes to gain a foothold in their industry.

Can you make money selling online courses?

Now that you know you can make money selling online courses, does this sound like something you’d be interested in? Then read on to learn how to make money selling online courses.

What are online courses?

Online courses are classes that take place in a virtual classroom. They are offered by universities, colleges, individuals, and institutions all over the world. The modules are usually recorded for students to view or read at home when it is convenient for them. You can use platforms like Systeme to sell your courses.

Online courses can be offered as stand-alone programs or as modules within larger programs. Some online programs include lectures and assignments, while others only include lectures.

Read Also: How to make money selling PLR

So, online courses are the modern version of courses. You may arrange and share instructional materials so that consumers can advance in their understanding of a specific subject. It is made up of a curriculum, or study plan, that is divided into modules. Videos, visuals, writing, and hyperlinks can all be used in online courses. You may easily share them with people by sending them a link or an invitation email.

If you are an individual or a business with an interest in creating an online course, the most important thing to know is:

If you have a concept, skill, hobby, or content that you’d like others to view, then don’t hesitate to create an online course and earn money from it. You only have to provide your audience with an answer or a solution that meets their needs. 

You’ll only be sought if individuals believe that your offering is meaningful and it will revitalize their personal and professional requirements. You must be persuasive enough for them to view your course as an engine for change, a transformational trip that you are inviting them to embark on.

Why sell online courses?

There are numerous reasons why you should be selling online courses. An online course could greatly help you.

  1. Boost your online presence

You may promote yourself as a thought leader and a source of information by teaching your audience online. You can make this possible through a YouTube channel, blog, website, making podcasts, or even offering coaching or consultancy services. For industry professionals wishing to share their knowledge with others and complement related services, providing an online course is a great place to start.

  1. Build a loyal fan base of current clients

The creation, marketing, and promotion of your online course could help you build brand awareness and potentially attract more consumers who are interested in your offerings. 

  1. Train customers on how to use your products

You might be selling products that customers do not know how to use. Training them will help them achieve what they want and make them happy. An online course can serve as an onboarding system alongside many other services that you offer. It will help you enforce greater epoch values and potentially bring more referrals your way.

What are the benefits of selling online courses?

  1. Earn passive income

An online course can be sold over and over without the need to change the content. Selling online courses is one of the lucrative ways of creating a source of passive income. After putting in the initial effort, you can even start earning while on autopilot. Irrespective of the topic, you will attract students who are potentially interested in your course.

  1. Reach a wide audience

Introducing an online course offers you the chance to reach out to learners who would otherwise not reach you. You could also expand your business beyond your physical presence, breaking geographical barriers. All you need to do is develop your idea, create, and introduce your project while sharing it with others.

  1. Geographical independence

Digitization is a great quest. It offers content creators the freedom to choose where in the world they want to work from. Going beyond countries barely impacts your work life. You only need a computer with a good internet connection. That being said, you could build a whole online course territory from anywhere and attract an audience from across the world.

  1. No paperwork, no extra costs

There is minimal to no paperwork needed when offering an online course. That means you’ll be clutter-free, and you’ll also not incur any production or delivery costs. From launching your online course to marketing, everything will take place online.

  1. Time adaptability

The biggest perk enjoyed by online content creators is the ability to manage their schedules at their convenience. Similarly, the online course-selling business does not limit itself to the common 9-5 routine. You get to choose when to work and when not to.

How do you create an online course?

Whether your online course is intended to teach a certain language, couch individuals, or provide professional training, some general steps are there that make it easier. Below is a step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Choose the topic

Coming up with a topic for your essay should not be challenging. If you’re unsure of where to begin, asking yourself these questions could help:

  • Have your friends, colleagues, or clients ever asked you to help with something that you’re an expert at?
  • Have you ever solved an issue that others seem to be struggling with?
  • Are you proficient in certain software which other people seem to be struggling with?

Step 2:  Ensure the course has high market demand

Who wants to spend weeks of their lives creating an online course that no one will buy? Absolutely no one.

After picking your online course topic, you should conduct market research to test whether or not it has market demand. Most course creators tend to erroneously think that if there is a lot of competition in an area, a course idea will fail. But it is actually the opposite. There are higher chances of strong market demand for such a course idea, so you should investigate it more.

Some of the things to look out for are:

  • Whether people are searching for it or not, what questions are they asking?
  • Whether there is a gap in what the competition is offering
  • Whether people can pay money to solve the problem that your course will solve is unknown.

If your answer to the three questions above is “yes,” then your course idea has a great chance of being a best-seller.

Step 3:  Research your course subject

Research your topic both online and offline. Begin with your own resources, including academic and professional content, by looking at your competition and also readily available information online. You should brainstorm all of the categories and subtopics that you want to include in your course, then conduct extensive research on each of them.

Step 4: Create an outline for your online course

The categories that you came up with need to be subdivided into themes. Pick a reasonable order that fits your course best. It might be chronological, complex, or contextual order that brings the student from one knowledge point to the next. Unstructured and self-directed learning themes, on the other hand, do not have to be arranged in any particular order. To assist learners to browse through the content, all you’ll need is an introductory part and different themes or categories.

Step 5: Set your goals and learning outcomes

Draft the learning goals and objectives. Goals are statements defining what the course entails and what learners will obtain. Objectives are the measurable outcomes of what students will learn after completing the course.

You should set learning outcomes to not only keep you focused but also assist you to design attractive sales pitches for the online course. That is because it provides individuals with the course outline, aiding in their decision on if to capitalize on it or not

Learning outcomes could also help you with:

  • Organizing the course content
  • Aligning objectives with evaluation methods
  • Setting expectations for the students

Step 6: Creating the content

Now comes the most important step of creating the actual content. Your online course will need various media productions, in line with the course plan and activities. While experienced instructors can develop a course from scratch effortlessly, your best option would be to launch your online cause by repurposing old materials.

Assess some of your ready-made digital content, from educational brochures to Word documents containing valuable info. For example, you might have ever written a blog or recorded a webinar. Reusing such old content could be a great starting point.

But you could also build content from scratch. Making learning videos might be time-consuming, but it’s the most hunted form of online learning today.

How do you market your online courses?

Share your digital course on social media

Use any social media channel that you prefer to make your online course known. As a reminder, when trying to grow your social media following, you shouldn’t post only about your business and online course. Rather, you should provide useful content on the channel that will raise the audience’s interest in your online course.

Consistent posting tends to train your followers to engage with you every day. So when the time comes to market the online course, your user base will already be actively engaged.

Tip: Creating a private Facebook group for your students is ideal. It’s a free method of building a community on a platform that many people are on.

Hype your online course using podcasts

Podcasts are a great way of showing your knowledge concerning a certain subject. In preparation to produce your online course, you could introduce a podcast to self-promote yourself.

A podcast can serve as an optimal way of marketing and selling courses online. However, as you plan the content of your podcast, keep in mind what information to give away for free and what to include in the paid course. Your students would be angry if the paid online course turns out to be just a rework of info in your free podcast.

Related: Questions to ask before buying a course

Run weekly webinars to connect with potential students

Running a weekly webinar is no different from a podcast, but it offers one great benefit:

  • You do not have to constantly come up with new content.

Since webinars are structured in nature and ideally take 45–60, you may write your webinar script once only. From then you can make changes to it as time goes, by or even release pre-recorded sessions weekly. That’s if you’re covering the same topic frequently.

Asking how you can endorse an online course through a webinar? It’s easy.

Make a 50-minute presentation about an extensive subject covered in your online course. Make references to the key themes and convey them to your audience with a well-stated call to action. Run ads for the webinar and soon you’ll see how easy it will be to sell online courses through webinars.

Paid advertisements to promote your online course

It is true, as philosophers say, that it takes money to make money. And promoting an online course is no exception. Let’s be honest here. Running paid advertisements is one of the smartest ways of making your online course known. It without doubt depends on what your budget is, but even a mere $15 Facebook post boost might go a long way.

Paid ads are beneficial in that they are:

  • Quick to produce results
  • Easy to track with regard to success
  • Specifically tailored to your buyer persona

Tip: Put your target audience into consideration when searching for the best channels for marketing.

How do you make money selling online courses?

  1. Upfront payment

A one-time charge at the start of a course is often the most straightforward method that learners understand and is the easiest to enforce. It also corresponds with the educational payment system that we are all accustomed to.

Upfront payment is justifiable and less daunting compared to the concept of a never-ending recurrent payment. Upfront payment also makes it easier to introduce more courses later. When students are on a monthly subscription, they might hesitate to part with more cash because they feel like they’ve already cleared their dues. So, setting expectations of what they are paying for is easier when there’s an upfront price.

  1. Free course, charge for certification

This technique has been effectively applied by Coursera such that it generated over $1 million during its first year. You might feel confused because you’re giving away the “useful” portion of the course for free. However, this can work in your favor for several reasons.

  • It fosters a sense of trust. Learners can enroll in your course without fretting over messing up.
  • You can easily establish an email database of people who are intrigued by what you’re selling.
  • Certification offers professional value that individuals are ready to pay for.

With these advantages, charging simply for certification may be the most straightforward method to market your course online.

  1. Subscription fee

Can you make money selling online courses? Yes. As previously stated, we are accustomed to paying for schooling in advance, such as through a tuition fee. But this isn’t totally accurate. Almost everyone is ready to pay overhead costs for continuous classes such as music lessons, private tutoring, and sports—if they feel they’ll continue to benefit from them in the long term.

The same is true for online courses. If consumers consider their course to be a one-time program, they are hesitant to sign up for a subscription service. So, develop a continuous learning course that keeps your learners returning constantly.

  1. Use a tiered payment system.

You don’t need to set the same prices for each service. If your business is based on a subscription system, you could make basic levels free while charging for “premium” features. Alternatively, you can also provide free or discounted initial classes and then charge more if your students are ready to go on to more advanced courses.

Additional tips to help you succeed with online courses

  • Keep it simple: Don’t develop a complex online portal. Particularly if this is your first time designing an online course, keeping everything simple would be your best bet.
  • Don’t start from scratch: it is time-consuming and unnecessary. With a topic at hand and relevant content on your blog, all you need to do is repurpose it.
  • Add visuals: Ordinary text with a sprinkle of a few pictures does it for blog posts, but it’ll hardly be effective for online courses. Your online course must be attractive, and since you expect someone to pay for it, then you must be offering more than an archetypal blog. So go extra on visuals and interactive content such as quizzes, slideshows, or templates to make your online course lively.


Can you make money selling online courses? Yes. Overall, creating and selling online courses is a lucrative way of monetizing your knowledge. It offers you flexibility, an opportunity to create real value in the world, and the chance to build a business that you’re passionate about.

But just like any other business, online courses are not get-rich-quick schemes. Succeeding in this business calls for your time and effort to attract an audience and create valuable content.