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9 Ways to Make Money Selling Online Courses


Turn your skill, interest, or talent into online education. As more and more people search for remote outlets, selling online courses is becoming a great way to create a new stream of income. If you’re interested in a little more financial freedom and have the talent to share, here are nine practical and proven ways to make cash selling online courses.

1. Upfront Charges

Students are more comfortable with paying for education before the course starts. It’s the basic model for formal education. This also makes it easier to sell more online courses later. Upfront fees put expectations in place and when students decide to take another course with you, they already have an understanding of how you do business.

2. Charge for Certification

Despite our previous claim above, having consumers take the course before paying can be advantageous too. It builds trust between teachers and students. You’ll also build a contact list for later marketing. Most important, the idea of certification is vindicating and has professional value. People will pay for that.

3. Funnel a Free Online Course Into a Product or Service

This situation is for the entrepreneur looking to use their skill to the max. Many use it. They use their courses — sometimes free, sometimes not — essentially as a promotion for their other business.

Carpenters make DIYs to promote their brand. Therapists write self-help books. The course is a free perk to devotees and potential converts which actually promotes the instructor’s product or service. This could lead to a variety of sidelines, including speeches and training.

4. Go Subscription

Despite our earlier claim about upfront charging, there are many willing to pay recurring fees for ongoing lessons. As long as they get value and fees aren’t exorbitant. Ongoing learning will encourage returns and commitment. Subscriptions are, of course, best for ongoing online courses. Upfronts are best for one-time courses.

5. Tiered Payments

From gym memberships to credit cards, tier services are something the consumer’s quite familiar with. You can have a free service, such as a one-off single class session. You can then create tiers such as “Standard” or “Premium” with unique offerings. Charge initial reduced rates for introductory courses. Freedom of choice will be a strong attraction, and quality service will encourage participation.

6. Presell Your Product

It’s always a good idea to see if your offering would be considered a commodity. Explore the market and see if your plan’s a good fit. Try a pilot test — a free lesson — and use it to see if you have something. This also lets you build a subscriber list. Having information like this will be motivating and help you find ways to improve marketing and planning.

Take an aggressive stance here. If you know where the audience is, go straight to them, poll them, and get data on how the course would be useful. Set up a fundraising campaign. The reactions to your initiatives will remind you you’re on the right course. Or, better yet, what you need to do to get on that course.

7. Sell Licenses

There are companies that want to train and retrain employees. They may outsource the content. They take responsibility for details like marketing and customer service. You’d create the content and sell the license to use your content. You would then be contracted to receive annual licensing fees for as long as third-parties used your material.

Depending on the contract, you may be free to market your course to other parties simultaneously. This will give you a longer, bigger sales cycle.

8. Help People

Spread ideas, words, talents, and skills. It’s an incredible way to earn trust and show others your true intent is to educate. Make sure when you sell online courses you’re creating an experience that helps people become better. Your audience will recognize authenticity.

9. Get Out on The Internet

By selling online courses, you monetize your knowledge. A solid path for getting started is to build your online rep. According to Kajabi, “Start your own blog, create marketing videos, or participate in Facebook Groups.” Use YouTube and other social media to market your niche. Make your presence felt in forums and other outlets where you can show off your expertise. Once your voice is known, you increase the chances people will pay to hear from you.

There are many avenues for testing the online course waters, including giving it away free. To sell online courses, boost social media presence, and more to ensure success.


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