The fact that you can create online courses is a gift for smart, savvy, and enterprising infopreneurs who want to build their own products or stay in control of their own destiny.
There are more benefits to Online Courses that you’d think. If you have the skills, the experience, and the passion to teach, you owe to yourself (and the world) to teach online.
Instead of trading time for dollars, dealing with clients from hell, and instead of having to wonder where that next paycheck comes from, it’s a lot more bearable to put in the effort to create an online course on a subject you are passionate about and turn that into a business.
But don’t get thinking that you could just create some random course online and hope to make a living off of it. Selling online courses is just as hard as anything you’d ever do.
Just like any other business, there’s a lot you’ll put into it before you ask anything of it or you expect revenue from your online course business.
As it is for every business, here are a few fundamentals you’ll have to work on before you run your online course business work:
Online Courses: The platform
A lot will matter as to how exactly you’ll approach building a home for your online course business. When it comes to the platform, you have options:
Option # 1: Some people swear by the WordPress approach to building your online academy or university.
There’s no right or wrong; there’s just “should you or should you not?”
Use WordPress LMS: You’ll start with good web hosting and a WordPress presence along with tools like Learndash, LifterLMS, and several others.
- The start is relatively easy. Get a domain, choose your WordPress hosting (pick WPEngine, Flywheel, or Kinsta), and pick a ready-made WordPress theme built for your online course business.
- You get to work with the familiar WordPress environment.
- Several tools, payment gateways, membership plugins, and other marketing or technology tools play nice with WordPress.
- As it’s true for anything based on WordPress, choosing the wrong hosting (or go cheap with your hosting), and your entire business will go belly up.
- It’s incredibly complex to keep all disparate software together and run your business with peace of mind.
- It’s incredibly expensive (after you count up everything you need) just to keep your online business live and active.
Option#2: The non-WordPress, non-technical approach to building your online business is a better option (according to me).
Pick standalone, third-party platforms such as Thinkific, Podia, or Teachable and launch your course online. All of those platforms allow you to use a custom domain using which you can link your course site to your regular WordPress site or HTML/CSS site.
You’ll use your course site to host and manage your courses. You’ll use your actual website for all good things you’d need to do for Inbound marketing along with paid advertising.
- There’s no need to hunt for hosting. Thinkific, Podia, and Payhip take care of hosting your course site for you.
- The framework for your courses is already built for you. Just upload your course content, and you are good to go.
- No need to fuss with setting up payment gateways, course enrollments, and other nitty-gritty.
- Your expenses are now predictable. Your maintenance is less.
- You don’t own these platforms. They are third-party businesses.
- Depending on the specific plan you are on and depending on the platform you’ll pick, you’ll end up losing a percentage of your online course revenue to that platform. Please note that Thinkific, Payhip, and Podia don’t cut commissions. Everything you make stays with you).
Online Course Creation
Text and images, modules, and chapters, you’ll be able to create easily. There’s no doubt about that.
There’s a lot of hesitation for many enterprising entrepreneurs, bloggers, and others who want to start their courses about creating the actual content for online courses.
Out of all the content you’ll create for your online course, it’s making videos that seem to freeze the best of the best. Even otherwise experienced and confident folks hesitate when it comes to videos.
Well, making videos can be intimidating (and I’ll admit that). But then, you’d have to convince yourself that it’s ok to feel that way.
After you admit it, do it anyway. Pick that Android smartphone or iPhone up and start shooting. Or shoot videos with your webcam. To help, there are several tools available to help you make videos.
I only have one advice for you as far as online course creation is concerned: Just do it. Be sure to add videos to the mix.
Online Course Marketing
The first step you’d need to take before you even think of marketing your course is to be sure to price your course right.
Don’t do the mistake of pricing your course too low (like I, among several other course creators, do). Pick up valuable lessons from this guide on how to price your digital products (includes memberships, digital downloads, and online courses).
Be sure to have a course website that can easily help you generate leads. Thinkific makes this part easy by giving you a site builder. Use the site builder to build the main course site for your entire business and landing pages (as many as you like for each course you’ll create).
In a nutshell, there are things you just have to do:
- Blog regularly with a frequency of publishing.
- Grow your presence on social media.
- Focus on growing your email list.
If and when you choose to invest in paid advertising (On Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Quora Ads, and others) to give a kickstart to your online course business, be sure to use complete sales funnels for your online course business.
After you pick your platform, create your course content, launch your online course business, and start doing what you need to do for digital marketing for your online course.
Tell me how your online course business is doing. How did you launch? What was your approach?