How to Make Money with Online Courses: The Ultimate Guide

The internet has opened up a new world of opportunity for people who have something to offer or teach. There are many different ways to make money with online courses, and each one has its own benefits, so let’s explore them in detail.

online courses

How to teach online classes and earn money

  1. Find a niche you’re passionate about
  2. Research your competition and make sure there’s room for you to succeed
  3. Create an online course that will teach people how to do something they want to learn more about, like cooking or photography
  4. Write the content of the course in a way that is engaging and easy-to-follow
  5. Promote it on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., as well as through email marketing campaigns and paid ads on platforms such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads
  6. Get feedback from your customers so you can improve your product over time

Online Education

Are you looking for a way to make money online? Do you have something valuable to share with the world? Well, now there’s never been an easier time.

With technology advancing so quickly and people becoming more and more connected, it becomes easier every day. You can make money by teaching things on YouTube or Udemy that are related to your profession.

Or teach about topics like lifestyle design or personal development.

No matter what the topic is, there’s always someone out there who would love to learn from you! And if not them then their friends will benefit too! Teaching others is one of the best ways to grow yourself because it teaches us how we can better interact with others while also sharing our knowledge on a topic we’re passionate about.

I love having conversations with people, especially those who are willing to share their experiences and what they are working on. It helps me learn more about myself as well as gain insight from another person. And the best part is that I can help them at the same time. Everybody wins!

How to Make Money With Online Courses

make money with online courses

Creating and Selling

Classes/Courses. This is the traditional way of monetizing an online course. Options are to either have a direct membership site, or use a free service such as Udemy or Skillshare . Each has its own pros and cons, so you will need to consider which one suits your needs best. The differences between the three are not that vast, but they are important.

Direct Membership Website: With this option you get all the profits from your courses, and you can share any useful tidbits with students via forums within your site. This will require more work on your part, as you need to maintain multiple sites (your own domain + the platform) and you need to handle students’ questions, etc.

Pros: You don’t need to rely on a third party service. This was how most courses used to be sold for the longest time. Having your own site means that you have full control of how it looks like. How it works. How people add their payment details. How students can submit assignments. The way they receive information (in forums, through email, etc). The amount you charge for enrolling in the course. Basically everything.

Cons: Maintenance would be your biggest challenge here; it’s a lot of work. Also if people have questions about how to do something, or can’t access the site, how do you help them? You need to have a lot of patience for this.


Udemy is a San Francisco based company that has been around since 2009. For those who don’t know about Udemy, allow me to explain how this platform works: You discover interesting courses on Udemy’s website, you pay for it, watch the course (usually in video format) and then pass a final exam.

Easy enough right? Of course it is not that easy, but with a bit of luck and the right amount of hard work, you can create a quite successful online course. They will promote your course by getting people to view it (this is called driving traffic).

Pros: You don’t need to worry about how the site looks like, how it works or how students submit their coursework (if that’s how you wish to grade their submissions), how they receive information – Udemy does all this for you!

Cons: You need to work hard, VERY HARD in order to create a successful course. While it’s free to create and host courses on Udemy, premium instructors receive anywhere between 37% to 97% of the sale revenue depending on how or where the sale occurred.

7 Types of Online Courses

types of online courses

Asynchronous Online Courses

Most often, these courses are self-paced. You can start them at any time and take as long as you need to complete the course, without worrying about deadlines.

Online asynchronous courses give you the freedom to study how, when and where you want. Best of all, it may be available for free!

Synchronous Online Courses

Synchronous online courses are designed to be taken at the same time as other students.

Online learning lets you meet with your class every week and work through the material with them in real-time. You can ask questions live and discuss topics together.

This is not for everyone, but it does have its advantages! It’s how most classes are taught in the real world, and interacting with your teacher and classmates can help you learn how to work together with others.

Blended Courses

Blended courses are a mix of online and classroom learning.

This is how many traditional classes are taught, and how teachers can break out of the limits of the classroom; by using different methods to reach each student in their own way.

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

MOOCs are how universities around the world are reaching out to us and each other.

In recent years, MOOCs have been the source of much controversy. Some people believe they should replace traditional university curriculum altogether! Others think they shouldn’t even exist, because how can online courses ever be better than how we learn today?

What is clear, though, is how MOOCs are sparking excitement and interest!

Peer Instruction

Peer instruction is a teaching method that draws on how people learn from each other. The teacher presents an idea, then the students discuss how to build and refine it into something better.

Rather than just giving all the answers for your students, you guide them through the process of learning how to answer their own questions. It’s built upon years of psychological research on how people learn best, how to get students talking and how to encourage them to master new skills.

The Flipped course

In a flipped course, the teacher delivers content through video or audio recordings that can be accessed online by students on their own schedule. Usually the class time is reserved for activities like problem solving and discussions generated from the recorded material. Students are expected to watch the videos outside of class at their convenience before coming to class with questions.

Face to Face Course

Face to face courses follow a similar model to the classroom and online courses. The major difference is that teachers are paid either hourly or by how many students they teach. Face to face courses use a variety of teaching strategies and more often than not, focus on how to motivate students as well as how to keep them interested in the subject matter.

What You Need to Know Before Building Your Own Online Course

There are some things you need to think about before you decide to create an online course. It is not as simple as it sounds, and there are quite a few mistakes that people make. You will want to consider how much time and money you have available. Also how advanced your teaching skills are. Let’s look at what else you need to think about before creating your first online course.

building an online course

What is Your Goal for Creating an Online Course?

You will want to think about how much time and energy you are willing to devote to creating an online course. It will take considerable time and effort. You also need to decide how long it will be before you see any money from people taking the course.

Is Your Topic in High Demand and Low Supply?

If you want to make money selling online courses, you’d want to go for a course topic that is in high demand but with a low supply. When you have a low supply of something, it is easier to market and sell.

However, how do you know what topics are in high demand?

Use Google Trends because they show conversations on various search engines such as Yahoo, Bing and even social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Get an idea of how easy/hard it will be to teach this material in video form

Consider how often you’ll have to teach these concepts, how many examples or how much time it will take to explain things. For example: If one lesson is 10 minutes long how many hours of video lessons do I have here?

Figure out How Much Can be Made from the Course

Instead of how much to charge, course creators first must determine how much money can be made from their course.

It is essential that they know how much they want to make from this endeavor since it will guide the rest of their strategy of how to create a successful online course. It also helps them get started with their online course creation and figure out their target audience.

Where You Will Host Your Course Online

You have a great topic idea and you’ve figured how to create your first course. Before you start creating a course, you need to decide where you will sell your course.

Creating and selling online courses can be easy or difficulty depending on your approach. Some platforms to check out include:

  • Skillshare
  • Coursera
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • Teachable
  • Alison

What’s in Your Online Course?

Nail down what’s in. What’s out for the content of the course. How long it should be. How many lessons it should have. How quickly you’ll respond to student questions about problems they’ve encountered while studying.

The Pros And Cons Of Teaming Up With Other People For An Online Course

the pros and cons of teaming up to build an online course

We’ve all heard the saying that there’s strength in numbers.

This is most certainly true in the online course industry, where a new partnership relationship with other people can potentially increase your chances of success.

But how exactly does this work?

Well, how many times have you heard about someone monetizing their skills and making money by teaching others how to do something they’re good at? It’s easier said than done, right?

With how competitive the industry is with teachers and course creators out there, you may have a difficult time breaking through if you are trying to make money by setting up an online course on your own.

Why not team up with other people who already have skills in the area you wish to monetize?

For example, let’s say that I loved how cars work and how they are made. But more than anything else, I love how to fix them and customize them!

What better way (other than completely going into the car business) to monetize my own skills and how much I know about cars by joining forces with people who are also interested in how to fix and customize cars.

The possibilities here are endless, depending on how expert level you are at your given subject matter!

The Pros And Cons Of Creating and Selling Online Courses as a Team

Doing a team up can be great for how to make money with online courses and for a number of reasons.

Let’s talk about the pros:

1) Success Equals More Income – If you are good at a particular skill and, your partner(s) are good at a skill that compliments yours, you’ll be able to make more income than if you were how to make online courses by yourself.

2) Better Products – teaming up can result in better online courses that are easier to sell.

3) More Skills For The Price – Let’s say that you know nothing about design. You can partner up with someone who has the know and build an online course that easily scales.

4) Leverage Your Current Skills.

5) More Exposure – because it’s much easier for people to remember names when they are associated with other names!

6) Less Competition – the competition is lessened if you are working with another person.

Let’s take a look at the cons:

1) Compromise your creativity – your creativity may be compromised as you want to fit into what the others want.

2) Time spent working with others may reduce the amount of income you make.

3) Split of the profits may be unfair

The Best Way to Promote Your Online Courses

In order to promote your online courses, all you need to do is publish your courses in different marketplaces such as Skillshare and LinkedIn Learning.

With that, you’ll be able to reach a lot of people all over the world. You can then use affiliate programs to drive more traffic to your site. That way, you won’t have to invest any money into advertising yourself (unless you want to).

promoting your online course

How to promote your online courses

If you’re a beginner, it will be best if you create an online course in Skillshare. There are about 2 million students on this site and most are looking to learn something new. If you publish your course here, they’ll be able to find it and enroll.

How To Make Money Selling Online Courses FAQs

How much can you make selling online courses?

How much you can make selling online courses is primarily dependent on two things:

How many people buy your course. How much they are willing to pay for it.

The amount of money you can make with online courses depends completely on which kind of sales approach you take. Selling an online course traditionally – joining affiliate programs, running ads and collecting commissions – can bring you very limited results. It is possible to earn a lot of money with this approach, but it will take effort and time.

In comparison, using the new sales model that comes with creating your own affiliate program or CPA network brings much faster results and more profit for you as the creator.

What kind of courses do people buy?

People buy online courses for various reasons.

Here are some of the reasons why people buy online courses:

  • Want to do something new
  • Get better at current skill
  • Be able to advance in career
  • Other Reasons: Career advancement, Complimentary to job, Need a specific skill.

How long does it take to make money with an online course?

That’s a common question from people who are looking to start an online course. And it’s the wrong question to ask!

Even if you’re just starting out with no audience and no resources, it can be possible to make quite a bit of money by creating a small amount of highly valuable content on online course platforms.

But it’s not about how long it takes to make money with an online course, or how much you earn per hour. You don’t build a business and then dive into passive income right away – you might never get there. Instead, you focus on how much value you can deliver to people.

And if your course has a lot of value, then the money will very likely follow with time.

An Online Course is an Investment in People

The truth is that sales pages for online courses usually don’t tell the whole story. They can’t because most people who write them aren’t being completely honest about what they’re selling.

The real purpose behind an online course is to create a ton of value for people, and then sell the idea that this amazing value can be theirs if they sign up for your course. It’s not wrong or misleading at all – it’s just reality.

How much time do you need to spend marketing online courses?

That is a question that is frequently asked, because many people want to market their courses using the same strategies that have worked for other online course creators.

Unfortunately, this can be a huge mistake.

The first issue with following in someone else’s footsteps is all of those footprints were made years ago and often times before things like social media and different types of marketing were even invented.

Therefore, they might not be accurate for today’s environment.

The second issue with this idea is you still don’t have a strategy tailored to your unique situation! When creating your own online course business you see the greatest success when you do things according to your own plan .

Can you really make money selling how-to information, or is it a scam?

Learning how to make money selling how-to information can be hard. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

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