How To Generate Passive Income With Online Courses

Independent online courses are becoming a driving force for the growth of the online education industry, which is already generating over one hundred billion dollars per year.

Think about it: how many of your favorite bloggers, influencers, or speakers has already published an online course?

There’s a clear driver behind the growth of this industry. No matter what location you may be based in, people all around the world are able to make a solid living through online teaching.

If you find yourself curious in developing a successful online business, teaching an online course may be a great option for you to look into.

5 Reasons To Create An Online Course

Over the past decade, more and more teachers have been drawn to creating online courses. However, although this is a very profitable business plan, this is not the only benefit to online teaching. Here are the top five reasons you should be teaching online to build a passive income.

  1. It can pay more than a blog or YouTube channel: Unlike small side hustles, like a personal blog or a YouTube channel, teaching a course online can pay you more. Plus, it has an even easier setup process.
  2. You have unique talents: Even within your industry, nobody has the same background, knowledge, or career path as you. You have something unique to share with the world. No matter what your industry is, there are people who want to learn more about it.
  3. You can grow your income faster: Creating a business can be hard, especially if you’re new at it. Since creating online courses costs next to nothing and is incredibly easy to set up, you can grow and earn money faster.
  4. You can teach hundreds of students at once: Just one class on your online course can touch the lives of hundreds of students that are interested in what you have to offer.
  5. Build your personal brand in your dedicated market: Plenty of individuals spend years trying to be perceived as industry experts. By developing and teaching an online course, you can be recognized as a professional individual in your industry by showing both skill and knowledge.

Now that you know how courses can be lead you to success in online business, let’s discuss how to get started with a simple seven-step plan.


Creating a Successful Online Course

Step 1: Choose Your Niche

You of all people know your industry. However, your course will need to be about a specific of your industry if you wish to make money from it. We’ve found that, when it comes to online courses, niche topics are easier to monetize than broad subjects.

To find your niche, you need to choose a teaching passion you have, which can be anywhere from history, science, to music, and ask yourself the following questions to narrow down your course topic:

  • Are people interested in learning this skill? Who are they?
  • How big is the addressable market?
  • Under what situation will someone feel the need to pay for an online course on this topic?

By answering these questions, you can build the perfect online course that addresses an important need for a specific group of people.

Step 2: Define Clear Goals

Naturally, everyone wants to sell an online course. However, the desire is not enough to keep your business running.

The question you should be asking yourself is, how much money do you want to be making from your online course? Are you looking for short-term income or funds that you can live off the rest of your career?

No matter what your goals are, it’s important to set a specific financial goal and track your results along the way. Laying out this type of goal will inform how much time, effort, and money you should invest in your online course.

Step 3: Find an Audience

One of the best ways to get people to build an audience for your online business is to give away value for free and use that to capture potential customers’ email addresses.

Luckily for you, most teachers have more than enough knowledge that giving up a small lesson or two for free is no problem.

One of the best ways to do this is to create an eBook, mini course, or create your own private community. These types of marketing materials are called lead magnets and they will help you find your audience and get the general public excited for your online course.

Step 4: Price Your Course

Determining the price of your course can be difficult, especially if this is your first time selling an informational product. Because this is your first course, you may be tempted to charge much less than you should.

Try to avoid making this mistake.

Remember, if you don’t place value on your work, nobody will. Premium pricing shows customers that the information you are sharing is valuable. You should think about pricing as a tool to reflect the value of your work.

Step 5: Choose a Platform

Before your course can be successful, you need a to build it.

There are several options available when it comes to creating and selling online courses:

  • You can go with online-education marketplaces and take advantage of their existing user base to acquire your first customers. However, you will likely need to give up a portion of your revenue in exchange. Additionally, marketplaces tend to impose restrictions on the owners of the content in terms of pricing and access to their students’ information.
  • The other option is choosing to host your own online course. This has been the route preferred by most experts, influencers, and established bloggers, since it allows them to maintain their brand image, and have full control of pricing, student lists, and revenue share.

Online marketplaces tend to be a good place to start, but they are becoming increasingly less friendly when it comes to building a business for the long term.

Whichever option you choose to build your online course, you should always evaluate it in terms of the ease of use for you and your students, its accessibility in both desktop and mobile devices, and the ability you’ll have to expand your business.

Step 6: Create Your Course Content

Now that you have the bare bones of your business, it’s time to actually create the online course that you are going to offer your students. First, we suggest that you create an outline, separating everything into the steps necessary for the student to go from the initial step of needing your online course, to the desired state of knowledge after taking it.

Once that’s done, you’re free to start creating content that will follow the structure you’ve outlined. Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy for anyone today to create high-quality multimedia content for an online course. You can use your phone to record video, free software to edit it, and cheap design tools to create additional resources.

Step 7: Take Your Course Live

Here arrives the best moment in this seven-step process. After several days or weeks of creation and planning, it’s finally time to go live with your online course and share it with the world.

To help you prepare for this final step, we created a seven-day launch plan below to provide a framework for your online course launch.

  1. On the first day of your launch, show glimpses of your online course to your preset email list to create excitement for their next chapter of learning.
  2. Officially announce your course to your target audience.
  3. Open up your course for enrollment using a “special launch price”.
  4. Answer any questions people have about your course and your professional background.
  5. Send out a thank you email to your full email list for deciding to buy and join your course. This will help you build social proof for your course.
  6. Since this is one of the last days of your launch, release a newsletter that’s focused on who is your course NOT for.
  7. This is the last day of sign-ups with launch prices. Reach out to some of the people who have bought your course already and gather their first impressions, use these in the last emails to reinforce your message before closing the launch offer.

Using a special launch price will allow you to keep your course open for enrollment even after the launch while still adding an element of urgency.

You turn

Online courses aren’t only a great money-making opportunity to make passive income but are a great way for you to build a community of people who have similar interests as you, which can lead to even bigger and better business ventures in the future. Even though it may seem intimidating at first, by following the steps on this guide you’ll be able to focus on the things that truly matter and finally get your side-project going and generating income for you.

Written by Eduardo Yi

Eduardo Yi is the lead content marketer at Teachable, a platform that allows everyone, from creative individuals to established organizations, to easily teach online and create profitable businesses.

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