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13 Easy Steps To Create And Sell An Online Course (Complete Guide)

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Looking to create and sell an online course?

Creating and selling online courses is a great way to to become an edupreneur or online instructor. With the right monetization strategies, you can create an additional income or even a passive income with your expertise. And today, you can even create your own branded online courses without any coding knowledge.

With more than 5 billions users surfing the web every day, you’d do yourself (and the public) a disservice by not offering an online education opportunity.


How To Create An Online Course To Sell As A New Course Creator

Creating and selling an online course or class will open up your expertise to a worldwide audience. As a course creator it gives you the freedom to work remotely at the comfort of your home, or anywhere else you choose.

Even as a new course creator you can easily create your own course, by following all the best practices, and avoid all the mistakes that other course creators make.

To be successful, you’ll want to ensure you choose the right topic and setup your online course on the right platform with a good LMS and you have half the battle won.

The process of creating a course includes choosing the right online course platform provider, devising a curriculum, laying out each lesson and promoting your classes, amid many others.

1. Deciding on Subject/Topic

The first step in creating an online class is to decide what you’re going to teach. This should draw on topics and subjects you know and something over which you have mastery. For instance, you’re not going to teach people how to make DIY skincare products if you’ve never made them before.

Therefore, you want to think about your talents, life experience and other special skills under your belt.

Whatever topic you select, make sure you love it and have passion toward the knowledge. It will be painfully obvious to your students if you lack a heartfelt demeanor. The subjects and topic are almost endless, in fact, I’ve created a complete list of +200 online course topic ideas you can choose from, some popular ones include:

  • Exercise/Movement: Pilates, Yoga, Belly Dance, Flamenco, Hip Hop, Ballet, General Exercise
  • Art: Painting, Sculpting, Music, Drawing, Multimedia, Photography, Henna Tattoos
  • Science: Chemistry, Biology, Botany, Physics, Geology, Astronomy, Zoology
  • Math: Statistics, Probabilities, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry
  • Writing: Novels, Journalism, Basic Essays, Short Stories, Poetry, Blogs
  • Languages: English, Spanish, Gaelic, French, Italian, German, Polish, Swedish and etc
  • History: World, United States, European, Ancient Cultures, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Art
  • Metaphysical: Tarot Cards, Astrology, Numerology, Animal Spirit Guides, Crystals
  • DIY: Skincare, Home Repair, Vehicle Maintenance, Carpentry, Interior Design, Cooking, Gardening

2. Fielding Demand

Once you devise a general idea of the subject you want to teach, then you have to see how much demand there is for it. This means getting onto all the social media sites you can along with making and all-points bulletin video about the course. Gauge how the public reacts to the potential for it.

Also, talk to friends, family, neighbors and other people you know about the course you want to teach. Observe for their reaction to it and if it’s something they take interest in. If at any point you notice you’re not drumming up the attention you’d like to see, you should reconfigure the topic’s premise.

However, it’s also important to note that, even though people may say they want to join your course, what they do can be an entirely different thing. So, prepare yourself for any eventualities in this regard.

3. Selecting a Platform

There is a plethora of platforms to establish your goals for online education. You want to ensure they make payment processing easy for you and students while also providing a means to promote your course and online classes. Keep in mind, though, that these sites will deduct a certain fee from you for using their service.

While you could setup shop on your own blog with a video-hosted social media site, you will be responsible for collecting all the moneys from each student. This means finding leads and developing an audience based on your own efforts, which can get expensive and time-consuming. The list below is some of the more popular platforms that help remove burdensome guesswork:

  • LearnWorlds: Another excellent and easy platform, LearnWorlds provides a dashboard for you to monitor, track and review your course performance as well as sales. It allows for video uploads and it helps you devise modules for student advancement.
  • ThinkiFic: This is a user-friendly and easy to navigate platform that provides everything you need to get started with online course creation. It takes only a few minutes to set up and they give you step-by-step instructions along with live support.
  • Passion.io: As an all-in-one App platform, Passion.io provides a way to create an online learning experience on a mobile App, an experience you won’t be able to develop anywhere else. It allows for video uploads or real-time live classes beset with chat options.

If you are unsure which is the best online course platform for you, check out my handpicked list of best online course platform you can explore.

4. Create an Outline

Creating an outline is essential. But, it’s one you should do only after discovering its demand. There’s no reason to waste your time and energy in creating an outline when no one wants to take it. You may want to do this prior to selecting a platform so you can see what works best for your purposes.

Think about things in a methodical and systematic way. Then, organize these from the most basic and general concepts to the more detailed and complex. Consider what’s the most important things to learn and what’s essential in being able to execute your topic well.

For instance, this may mean determining what kind of supplies students will need, creating a list of terms/definitions and basic techniques every beginner should know. If your students are more advanced in the subject, then you want to devise an outline that will take them further in what they already know.

5. Develop Curriculum

From the outline, you then want to develop the curriculum, staring with what’s most essential. Don’t create individual models and courses just yet. You want to layout the order of learning first to get a visual of the material. This way, you’ll be able to rearrange and reorganize the components as needed.

If you want to teach newcomers to gardening or botany, for example, make sure they can first identify the basic parts of plants, flowers, trees, grasses, bushes and shrubs. Then, get into the scientific names for each of these. Start with the easiest and most common to the more difficult and/or obscure.

Then, you want to get into leaf and stem shapes followed by their reproductive processes. From seed to maturity, detail how each plant grows and how long it takes for it to reach adulthood. Then devise the procurement and harvesting of the plant along with the best ways to use it.

6. Parse Curriculum into Modules/Courses

Next, you’ll want to take this curriculum and put it into modules and/or courses to fit the desired length of time for each class. For instance, you may want to have 10 lessons or classes within five to 10 modules or courses that will be an hour each. Also, devise fun and interesting titles that will make people want to join.

To give you a better picture of this concept, the following is a sample outline with a loose curriculum for beginner Egyptian-style belly dancing:

  • Module 1: Bare Bones Basics
    • Lesson 1: Posture
    • Lesson 2: Simple Stretching and Warm Up
    • Lesson 3: Movement Overview (shimmies, hips, arms, hands, shoulders, chest, traveling, transitions)
    • Lesson 4: Dancer’s Counting ; Time Signatures
    • Lesson 5: Understanding Egyptian Music
  • Module 2: The Art of the Shimmy
  • Module 3: It’s All in the Hips Baby!
  • Module 4: Arms ; Hands
  • Module 5: Shoulders ; Chest
  • Module 6: Traveling ; Transitions
  • Module 7: Putting It Together
  • Module 8: Egyptian Choreography

7. Begin Creating Content

Once you have a handle on your coursework layout, then start creating content for half of the first module. Because you don’t have any students yet, it’s not advisable to make videos and lesson plans for anything beyond that. Create more when you see success and classes grow. Focus your time in crafting a compelling course description as it is the main section that helps increase your conversion rate for your course.

Videos and Audio

The best way to convey your message and expertise is through video. This mitigates confusion or miscommunication by your students. They’ll be able to see you and your persona. So, get a good camera and microphone to do this right. Plus, you’ll want to invest in quality video editing software.

If you aren’t familiar or comfortable with talking into a camera, create a script for yourself and do a few practice runs. Only keep and release footage with which you’re happy because poor presentation, image or audio quality will deter students from returning. The videos must be eye catching and easy to understand.

Caption and Text

Additionally, a write out of the video lesson is an excellent way to keep the material fresh. However, your subject matter may be better in text format for things like writing or history. This means you won’t necessarily need a video, although it might be ideal for display or illustration. 

Exams, Quizzes and Tests

Another component to consider is if you want to people to take some sort of examination after each lesson and/or module. This is ideal to ensure you know they grasp the material and so they can move onto more advanced levels.

While this could be in written form, you could also request a video. Going back the belly dance example, you could have students submit a short video clip via email of the final choreography. However, only do this if you plan to offer a degree or certification.

8. Configure Pricing and Payment Systems

Now, think about how much to charge for the course. You want to factor in your talents and skills along with the time it takes to create the lessons and subsequent content. However, it’s imperative you keep your prices competitive and affordable. So, configuring the price will be something of a balancing act.

It’s also a good idea to think about if you want to only charge per person per class or if you want to offer a membership fee. This will largely depend on whether you’re going to have instant access to the materials based on the student’s own schedule or if you’re going to have a live scheduled class.

9. Marketing and Advertising

In the event you go with an established learning platform like Teachable, LearnWorlds or Podia, then advertising and marketing will be much easier. However, if you’re doing this from your own website or social media page, then you’ll have to understand the ins and outs of marketing.

Either way, advertising will be essential. When starting out, there’s no need to fork over boatloads money. There is a host of free advertising sites and platforms. Only pay for ads and promotions when your courses grow.

There are many ways to market your online courses and increase sales, but the following are just some of the more popular ways to promote your course:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Email Campaigns
  • Networking Online ; In-Person
  • Community Calendars on Local Newspapers ; News Stations
  • Create a Sharable Promo Video
  • Partner with a Company or Organization in the Industry
  • Create an Online Flyer for Social Media, Blogs and Emails

10. Make Yourself Easily Accessible

One of the most important things you can do to commence online teaching and classes is to make yourself as easy to access as possible. This means making your phone number and email address widely available and quick to locate. Plaster these on your promo video, flyers and platform profile page.

11. Obtain Reviews and Gain Feedback

After each class, offer students a discount or some other perk for their next purchase by getting them to leave a review and feedback of their experience. They can do this on your website, the teaching platform or social media, for example.

12. Forge a Cult Following

Once your classes begin, grow your student base by forging a cult following. While this is easier to say than do, it’s the best way to create an elite society. Make this something desirable for your audience and create a demand by emphasizing exclusivity.

This means managing private groups on social media sites as well as chat rooms and forums outside the online learning platform. Give preferential treatment to longtime students and provide attainable goals for new students.

13. Establish Free Sample Classes or Courses

One of the best ways to attract new students to your classes is by offering a couple of free sample classes. But, you don’t have to do this right away.

Release a free class after you have established a cult following with a solid student base. This is the same when selling any online courses.

Podia is a great platform to start creating your first course, because it offers you to easily create an account for free, you can simply explore the platform before you are ready to start selling your course.

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