As we’re keen to point out on this site, the internet provides a veritable cornucopia of ways to make money.
We are fortunate enough to exist in a time when it is possible to monetise more activities than ever before, which in turn gives more people a chance to earn their living doing something they love—or at least enjoy. And the good news about this post is that we’re talking about something that allows a wide range of people to do what they love, albeit indirectly.
I personally use Skillshare to learn new skills and even make my own courses. Its surprisingly easy to do and in some cases even FREE.
Teaching others is, in a way, a gateway to doing what you love, since you can be teaching a subject you are passionate about. Online courses make this possible in the most convenient and lucrative way since you produce one course and it continues to educate and generate revenue after you have stopped working on it.
So, with that in mind, we’re going to walk you through the broad strokes of creating your own online course. Let’s get started on how create online courses works!
1. Choosing the Subject Matter
Bear in mind that, whatever you teach, you need to be genuinely knowledgeable in the topic. This is why so many people enjoy making online courses—because it gives them the opportunity to work on something related to something they are already passionate about. But, depending on your level of actual expertise in the subject matter, you may need to do some research if you’re going to produce an online course of sufficient quality.
Of course, you have an area of expertise, you already have an ideal subject matter. And, if that area of expertise happens to also be something you love, all the better!
Of course, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t point out that you should do some market research and make sure that your ideal subject matter is one that people are interested in. Doubtless, there will be a market for just about anything, but an incredibly specific and obscure niche may be too small an audience to be worth the time.
Of course, you can still do it for fun.
Even if you are thoroughly knowledgeable in your chosen subject, it’s worth brushing up on the things you are going to be covering. If you are a professional in the field you are covering, we probably don’t need to tell you this, but for people who are covering something they are passionate about but perhaps not professionally trained, it’s easy to get a little get carried away.
Remember, you are selling an educational product. If that product is flawed, its potential plummets through the floor.
3. Outline Your Course
This is another area where it can be easy for less-experienced course-makers to get carried away with themselves and regret it later. We know it’s tempting, but resist the urge to go freeform when you are putting your course together.
Write a clear outline of what you are going to cover before you start. And we don’t mean a bullet-point list of headlines! Have detailed descriptions for each section, and we’d also recommend trying to assign each section an estimated time. Ideally, you want each section to be roughly the same length.
You also state an objective for each section. That will be important a little later in this post.
4. Create Your Content
You’re well-researched, you have your detailed outline, so now it’s time to get to the good stuff. The best way to approach this part of the process will differ from person to person. Some people will prefer to write a section at a time, editing and polishing each one before moving on to the next. Others might prefer to write the whole thing all of the way through and then go back and polish it.
However you feel comfortable doing it is fine, as long as you make sure that the finished product is free of errors.
Of course, if your content is video-based (as most are), you don’t need to worry about errors in your writing because your writing is only a script. But again, be on the lookout for basic errors, and try to make your video as high-quality as possible. You can get away with a poor-quality video containing good content on YouTube, but paying customers will feel cheated.
Speaking of YouTube, you can find a detailed post on the subject of using YouTube videos in your online course here.
5. Test Your Course
Once your course is completed, it’s time to test. Try to find a few willing victims—sorry, volunteers—who can work their way through your course and give you feedback with fresh eyes. In particular, ask them if they felt each section achieved the objective you set out in the outline. If not, consider reworking it.
Try to remain open-minded during this stage. When you’ve put a lot of time and effort into something, it’s natural to be defensive when someone criticises it. Remember, this is a product you are selling, and your testers are only there to help.
6. Publish Your Course
With all that done, it’s time to pick a course provider and publish your course. If you have enough of an audience already, you could sell your course direct to them. There is no definitively best solution here; it’s just a matter of what works for the individual.
Most of the online course companies that turn up on the first page or two of Google are perfectly fine, so shop around and see which one looks good to you.
Don’t fall into the trap of just putting something online, leaving it to sit there quietly, and then wondering why it’s not making money.
You need to promote your course. If you have an existing audience, that’s great, you can certainly leverage that. But don’t neglect other sources.
You might consider buying advertisements on YouTube or AdWords, or releasing teaser content designed to give viewers a taste of the course.
We won’t lie, creating a good online course is a lot of work. It’s certainly not something you can whip up overnight. But if you have enough passion for a subject matter and you don’t mind putting in the hours, it can be a great way to generate revenue, grow your brand, and increase your audience.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. Learn new skills for FREE with Skillshare
I SUCK reading books to learn, but I LOVE online video courses.
Every month I learn something new. Editing, writing, video skills, how to cook, how to run a business – even how to meditate to calm a busy mind.
I find all of these for FREE with Skillshare – Sign up, pick all the courses you want and cancel anytime you need.
5. Shutterstock helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the Shutterstock website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.