Online courses are nothing new, but the ease and affordability of creating them is. Ten years ago when I first created WAHS University courses, the tech requirements more expensive and a hassle, that I simply did the course through email. You can still do that today, if you want, however, the resources available for you to create an online course are extensive and easy to use. If you can type in to a word processor, you can create an online course.
Don’t Think You Know Something You Can Teach?
Everyone knows something that someone else will pay to learn about. Even you!
- People go online for many reasons, but a big one is to get information and learn stuff.
- You don’t have to be a professional or an expert to teach something you know. You just need to know more than the people who are looking for information. How to change the oil in their car. How to tune a guitar. How to bake fruit cupcakes (I just did this). How to keep deer from eating the tulips. How to feed a family of four on $20 a week. Joseph Michael of Easy Course Creation started by creating a course on how to use Scrivner, which is a fabulous software for writers, but has a really steep learning curve.
- You don’t have to teach everything about everything. There are courses that teach one aspect of something or how to better use something. For example, if you’re good at Photoshop (or other graphic design tools), you can teach authors how to make cool book covers or bloggers to make great Instagram graphics. In other words, you can teach one aspect of something that people get stuck on a lot.
- You don’t have to be tech savvy. Today, you don’t have to code or deal with scripts or any of that. If you can type and upload, you can create a course. It’s even easy to make graphics, printables, and video.
Why You Should Consider Creating a Course to Make Money at Home
I’ve worked at home for over twenty-years. While I’m not close to retirement age, over the last year I’ve been thinking that I’d like to work less but still earn more. The best way to do that is through passive income, which involved making continued income off one effort. Courses are a great passive income source because:
- Once it’s set up, you can sell it over and over again (passive income)
- Online course creation platforms make setting up and selling your course easy and affordable
- Online courses can be sold at fairly high price point compared to other passive income options such as ebooks.
- You probably have all the tools and equipment you need to create a course
- It can be easily added to an existing home based income such as a blog, service business, or coaching program.
- It can be run anytime, anywhere, making it completely portable.
There are a few downsides to selling an online course for income that you might want to consider as well, such as:
- Courses can take time to create
- You can earn more by having more features to your course such as checklists, video tutorials, and a community (i.e. Facebook group) which can take time and extra tools to create and manage.
- If you run your course through an online course platform, such as Teachable, you don’t “own” the platform, which means you’re subject to their rules, whims, and changes.
- While courses can make a lot of money, your success will depend on the quality of the course, how many people want to buy your course, and your ability to market the course.
- You have to price the course in a way that makes money, but isn’t more than your market is willing to pay.
How to Create and Make Money with an Online Course
➡️Teachable is hosting a FREE 4-part video training called, The Full-time Creator Masterclass, which will show you how to make a full-time income by creating your own online course with a free Creator Checklist that goes with it.
If you’re ready to get paid teaching others what you know, here’s how to get started.
Make a List of Course Ideas
Your first step is to write down ideas of things you can teach. What are you the go-to person for in your family or community? What knowledge do you have from your job that others might want to know about? What skills do you have that you can teach? Write everything down, even if you’re not sure about it. How to braid hair. How to study for the SAT. How to play the drums. How to pay off debt.
When choosing your idea, here are the three things you need to consider:
- What pain or problem does the course fix? People buy courses because they need to learn something for a reason.
- What specific results will your course achieve? Will the SAT course boost scores by 10%? How much debt can be paid through the debt course? People buy solutions, so it’s important to understand how people will specifically benefit from your course.
- Who are the best people to benefit from your course? This is crucial. Not everyone needs to know the SAT or how to pay off debt. Figure out the demographics and wants/needs of the people who are the most likely buyer of your course. You’ll save a lot of time and money in your marketing by being clear on the target market for your course.
Other ways to find course ideas are to check out courses already offered in the topics you’re knowledgeable or skilled in. Visit a course market place like Udemy or Skillshare to see what others are offering. While you don’t want to copy or repeat the same course exactly, you can get a sense of what people are teaching (and what people are buying), and you can find gaps in what is offered that you can fill.
When you’ve answered the above questions, and determined that there are people willing to pay for your course, you’re now ready to get started building your course.
Outline Your Course
The next step is to figure out what you’re going to cover in your course. Most courses have modules (overall sub-topic) and lessons (details about a specific issue in the sub-topic). For example, in WAHS’ How to Get a Work-At-Home Course, Module Two is How to Get a Work-At-Home Job, and the lessons cover things like how to organize a work-at-home job search, using job search databases, how to use keywords to find work-at-home jobs, and more.
Start by making a list of all the information you need to cover in your course (lessons) and organize them into sub-topics (modules).
Decide the Best Way to Deliver Your Information
The original WAHS University courses were delivered as text in an email, with a couple of tutorial videos. Today, course platforms and plugins make hosting your course online easier and more professional looking (although email is still a viable way to deliver a course).
When deciding how the lesson should be delivered, consider how the information can best be learned. If you were teaching a course on how to cut a mango, you could use text to explain it, but some people might have trouble with that. You could add pictures to your mango cutting lesson, or do a video.
Note, that graphics and video isn’t as hard as you might think. Canva makes it really easy to create professional, cool looking graphics, printables and more and it’s free.
As far as video, you can use your phone or webcam to do live video with you. Or use a screen capture tool, many of which are free or very low cost. You can use Loom or check out the list of other options at Tech Radar. If you’re doing a video interview of someone else, you can use Zoom for free. You can even make a video out of slides using Powerpoint or Google Slides.
Create Your Lessons
This will be the most time consuming part of your course creation, second to uploading it. But if you’ve outlined your course and figured out the best way to deliver it, this part is simply about putting the information together.
There are a few ways you can save a little time. One is to re-use and repurpose any content you already have. While you don’t want charge for content you give away for free, by expanding on existing content, it’s enhanced and can be a part of your overall course.
One is to use some private label right content. You don’t want to overdo this because people are buying a course from you specifically because you have the knowledge and expertise. However, PLR content can give you a foundation of text, audio or video content that you can then edit to make your own.
Decide Where You’ll Host Your Course
Technology has made creating and selling your course online easier than ever. In the past, you had to buy and install special scripts, that took tech know-how to do. Today, there are a variety of online platforms where you can host and sell your course. A few you can check out include:
Teachable – Teachable has several level of service, including a free one! Features include having downloadable content (i.e. checklists), video (you can upload your video to host there), and affiliate program you can offer your students. There one big think Teachable could do to really help course creators is make the affiliate program feature easier. It doesn’t offer automatic signups.
ClickFunnels – Clickfunnels offers a few more bells and whistles than Teachable including a landing page to offer a freebie to pre-sell your course, membership or course creation, email management, affiliate programs, and more. It will host downloadable documents, but it doesn’t offer video hosting, so you’d need to use Youtube’s private feature or Vimeo to host your video, the then embed in your ClickFunnel course. Clickfunnels costs more (especially if you want the affiliate program feature) and takes a bit longer to learn, but for the serious course creator, especially if you want to offer several courses, it’s a great option.
Both of the above platforms offer you your own course site. Below, you’ll find course platforms that are part of a marketplace. The advantage to this is that your course is listed as part of the marketplace of courses. The disadvantage is that you’re competing with other courses on the same topic.
Finally, you can offer your course through your own website. For example, you can build a WordPress site and use plugins to offer your course. Some options for that include:
Accessally – I’m taking a serious look at this plugin for WAHS University. It offers course and membership platforms that includes the ability to offer an affiliate program (which is an awesome way to get other people to sell your course for you). The license is for one site, but allows for unlimited courses.
LearnDash – This is another more widely known WP learning system plugin. It has a yearly fee as opposed to a monthly fee, which makes it a little less expensive. If offers lots of great features, although I don’t see the option to offer your course in an affiliate program.
Upload Your Course
Now it’s time to get your course online and ready to sell. This step can take a little time as well. For text lessons, you can simply copy and paste into the lesson. Formatting may not stay, so you may need to add that. Most offer the ability to upload documents that you might want to offer as downloads, such as checklists. Some will allow you to upload video content, while others will need you to upload them to a different host (i.e YouTube or Vimeo), and embed or add the link in the course.
Don’t forget to customize your course if possible using your own logo, color scheme, and other features that make up your brand.
When your course is uploaded, be sure to look at it on the front end (most have a preview or view as a customer option) and test to make sure everything is working.
Market Your Course
It doesn’t matter how great your course is, you won’t make money if people don’t know about it. Now is the time to start promoting your course. In fact, you can and should start promoting even before it’s done. There are many ways to do this including:
- Build an email list
- Write articles about the topic for other blogs and websites
- Pitch to be on podcasts
- Do a webinar
- Do a course tour or offer a free lesson through YouTube
- Social media
- Offer an affiliate course and get a team of people marketing for you
Keep Course Information Up-to-Date
The nice thing about courses is that once they’re done, your work is simply to promote it. However, it is important to make sure your course information is kept up-to-date. Every six months or so, check that any links you send students to are still good. Review your content to make sure it’s still relevant and accurate. Depending on your topic, information and resources may change.
Do It Again
While courses are time consuming to create, once they’re up and running, you should have more time to dedicate to other things. So why not create a second course? The second time around should go a little faster because now you know what you’re doing. If you create a course related to the first one, you can piggy back and get sales from your existing students.
Have you created an online course? Let me know in the comments below.
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