How to make money with online courses

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Step by step instructions for how to make money with online courses

Wondering how to make money with online courses? To begin, simply choose a course idea, validate your course idea, create a course outline, record your course, publish your course, and promote your course!


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Today’s guest post comes from Kari from Mompreneur Money! Kari writes all about making money from home – from mastering affiliate marketing to publishing on Amazon to even preventing work burnout.

Make sure you follow Kari here for the best tips for starting up your side hustle!


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When I first decided to start an online business, one of the very first things I did was to enroll in an online course.

I’m more of a visual learner, so taking a video course (rather than just reading text) ended up being a great fit for my learning style.

After taking several courses and enjoying what I learned, I started to wonder if there was potential for me to earn money by creating a course of my own.

Did I need to be a guru to create a course?

Did I need to have a massive email list?

Did I need to have a huge social media following?

The answer to all three of these questions was NO!

A lot of creatives shy away from making money with online courses because they think they don’t have enough expertise to teach someone else.

One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned in online business is that you only need to be a step or two ahead of someone to be able to help them.

Keeping this thought in mind, let’s walk through the steps of how to make money with online courses.


Step 1: Choose a Course Idea

For your first online course, choose a topic that you know well and that you enjoy talking about!

For instance, if you are skillful at graphic design, you could create an online course focused on how to master a particular task in your favorite graphic design program.

If you’re a pro at time management, you could create a course teaching other busy women how to better organize their time and be more productive.

In my opinion, the best courses are those that you create based on your skills and your interests. It will make your course creation process much easier if you enjoy the topic you are teaching.

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Step 2: Validate Your Course Idea

Before you move full steam ahead into building out your course idea, you want to make sure you validate it. The point of validating your idea is to make sure that there is enough interest and enough of a demand for someone to purchase your course.

Validating your course idea can happen in several ways. If you happen to have access to your own audience (via an email list or social media) you can simply ask for feedback on your course idea.

If you don’t have an audience, no worries! A quick way to see if there is a demand for your course is to see if there are other courses already created on the topic! Check online course marketplaces like Udemy and Skillshare to see if similar topics exist. 

Basically, if someone is already teaching on the topic and appears to be having some success, it’s likely that there’s a good market for your idea too.


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Step 3: Create a Course Outline

Once you’ve validated your idea, you can (and should) create an outline for your course.

First decide what the desired results are for any student taking your course.

Next, write out the high-level steps necessary to accomplish the desired results.

Then, under each high-level step, you can fill in more details.

This content is what will make up the different lessons for your course. I use this exact process to outline my course ideas every time.

Important Note: You do not have to create a super long course to be successful! My business model is to make money with online courses that are short but value-packed! 


Step 4: Record Your Course

After you have outlined your course, it’s time to start recording!

You must decide the format of your online course. Will it be a video course? Audio course? Text-based course? Combination?

My online courses tend to be in video format using a screencasting tool. This means that my students hear my voice and watch as I share information with them from my screen. I use very affordable course tools which make the process much easier.

If you are creating audio or video lessons, try to keep each one short at 3-5 minutes each. A bundle of shorter videos is easier for a student to consume.

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(For more inspiration, check out how you can make over $100,000 with online courses with these awesome tips.)


Step 5: Publish Your Course

After you’ve created your course content, it’s time to get your lessons uploaded to an online course platform.

There are many online course platforms to choose from. This can make deciding which platform to use more difficult.

For those just getting started, publishing a course on Skillshare is a great option. You have access to a built-in audience of students which can be helpful for bringing in initial sales.

Pro Tip: I publish the same course on multiple platforms. Most course platforms do not require your content to be exclusive to just one site. This creates multiple streams of income from work you did just once!


Step 6: Promote Your Course

After you’ve worked your way through all the steps of course creation, make sure you let others know your course exists!

Share it to your social media pages, link to it in your emails, and create blog posts filled with content that easily allows you to pitch your online course.

You can also reach out to other websites and bloggers to share your knowledge in a guest post and potentially link to your online course from there too. 

You want to market your course as much as you possibly can. The more eyes you get on your course, the higher your potential income will be.


Wrapping Up

I hope the information above has encouraged you to consider online courses as an income stream for your business.

Remember, you only need to be one step ahead of someone to be helpful. Sharing what you know in the form of online courses can be lucrative and is definitely worth exploring.

Please leave comments sharing how you make money from online courses!

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Step by step instructions for how to make money with online courses

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hi Ginny! Thanks so much for allowing me to chime in about online courses. The content you share on Modern WAHM is so super helpful for us work at home moms just trying to keep it all together! I’m grateful to have connected with you!

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