Online courses are booming. When people want to learn a new language, take a history course, learn to play the guitar or do virtually anything else, there are courses that can help them succeed.

People can enroll in courses online and learn new skills at their own pace. And course creators are making a solid chunk of money in the process. Yes, course marketplace platforms like Coursera are a big deal, and many leading colleges and universities are getting in the e-learning game and allowing audits and even degree programs online.But the course economy is largely driven by individuals who seek to monetize their influence or to find new revenue streams when sharing their expertise.

If you want to create and sell your online courses to the world, today it’s easier than ever for you to do so. Teaching in the physical world has its limitations in terms of classroom capacity and your time availability. But teaching your own course online allows you to give over your knowhow at scale, so if you play your cards right, you may be teaching people in the US, UK, Africa – anywhere.

As with all business initiatives, getting started is the hardest part, but with time and effort, you can create a lucrative course of your own.

Start with a Topic, and Do Some Research

Do you have a skill that you can teach the world? If so, you can create a course that revolves around a specific topic. One course creator on Udemy has over 108,000 students, with the majority of them enrolled in his front-end development course.

And you can emulate this success by doing your due diligence.

First, come up with your course outline, taking into account:

  • What topics will you teach, from what perspective, and in how much depth?
  • How will you breakdown the material into lessons and supporting materials?
  • How can you make yourself stand out from the competition?

Next, research the market viability of your course. Sure, there might be quite a bit of demand for expert-level knowledge on your topic. But if you position your information product so that it’ll be useful to people at the very beginning of their journeys, your content will be most likely to resonate with a larger audience.

Let’ssay, for example, that you want to teach people how to play the Dizi, a Chinese flute.You’ll need to cover the basics of buying a flute, what to look for in a flute and how to properly maintain the flute. There should be information on every aspect of owning and caring for the flute.

But you’ll also need to see if it’s a viable option.There are a lot of online selling platforms, and the right one will have a lot of music enthusiasts – or at least to put you in position to reach your niche on your own. Search around for where others are selling their musical courses before starting.

A lot of platforms will be geared towards computer and tech skills, so these may not be the best avenue for you to sell a course, simply because there is no audience for it.So looking again at our Dizi course example, you’ll want to find a platform that has many music enthusiasts, many Chinese culture aficionados, or that allows you to build your own audience from the ground up.

Choosing Your Platform

The platform that you choose will play a major role in the success of your course. A marketplace platform’s audience that does not have any interest in your topic may not be a good fit. You may find that it’s better to use your own site to host and sell courses in this case.

When looking at potential platforms, look for:

  • Similar courses in your niche
  • Number of students worldwide
  • Revenue share and other fees

Marketplace platforms all have some form of revenue sharing. The platform needs to make money to stay solvent. Platforms that allow you to do it all on your own, on the other hand, generally bill monthly subscription fees to sellers, and no more. Some charge transaction fees on course sales as well, so look into your options before committing.

Pinpoint the platform that you want to leverage, and move on to the creation process.

Creating the Course

By now, you have a skill that you’ve researched and have chosen the right platform for your audience. The next step is the most difficult: create your course.

At this stage, you’ll want to take your outline from earlier and break it down into modules.These modules will have a central theme, such as care, maintenance, basics, playing a song and so on.

Materials that will need to be created are:

  • Text and PDFs to follow
  • Videos to follow
  • Tests or quizzes (if applicable)
  • Images for text

You need to have a professional-looking production. You may need toedit your videos, but this is a skill that you can learn on your own.

Make sure that your course content is both educational and entertaining.Showing a lot of personality and interest in what you’re teaching is a must. You have a story to tell, and you’ll use this story to keep students hooked while taking the course.

Once you’ve created your course, go through it and edit or add any content that you think needs to be changed. You want your final product to be as smooth and error-free as possible. The next step is uploading all of the content to your desired platform.

Launch It and Start Promoting

Finally, you’ll need to promote your course to the world. If you choose to take a revenue cut, you can use a platform that will promote your course for you. When you use your own platform, you’ll want to decide how you’ll promote your course: content marketing, paid advertising or other avenues.

With the right strategy in place, you’ll be selling course subscriptions to growing numbers of engaged students in no time.

Christian Reynolds


Christian is the chief reporter, editor, and webmaster at Cleveland Leader. An aspiring news anchor, his hobbies outside of investigative reporting are golf, martinis, and adventure travel. If you have a scoop on any developing story, please contact him on this page.


About Author

Christian Reynolds

Christian is the chief reporter, editor, and webmaster at Cleveland Leader. An aspiring news anchor, his hobbies outside of investigative reporting are golf, martinis, and adventure travel. If you have a scoop on any developing story, please contact him on this page.

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