If you want to create and sell online courses to make money, I’ve created a list of companies that will give you the platform and tools to do so.
Creating and selling digital products such as online courses is one of my favorite ways to make money. No matter if you’re an online entrepreneur, a full-time blogger, or someone just looking for a side hustle, I encourage you to turn your knowledge into dollars by creating an online course.
Related: 25 Side Hustles to Start Now
As more and more people look for online courses as a convenient way to learn something new, companies have provided a way for people to deliver their content in a professional and appealing manner.
In addition to hosting your courses, many of these companies take the hassle of accepting payments, delivering content to students, and (unfortunately) giving refunds to dissatisfied customers. This gives you more time to focus your attention on delivering stellar content to your students instead.
What Can You Teach
You can literally teach anything online. Sure there are certain topics that do better online, such as you teaching a language or showing someone how to build a website online, but unless you’re trying to show someone how to drive, you have a wide range of content options.
One way to determine what to teach in an online course is to ask yourself what is the one thing everyone seems to come to you about.
For instance, if your friends come to you to show them how to create Excel sheets, then you know that this could possibly be a topic you could cover in a course.
There are thousands upon thousands of course ideas out there, so just teach what you know. If you love WordPress, show someone how to start a WordPress blog. If you’re a photographer, show people how to take professional looking photos with a simple digital camera.
Online courses, just like all digital products, are a great way to make money over and over again with just the time and effort it took to produce it on the front end.
The Benefits of Teaching Your Online Course
To be honest with you, it takes some effort and time in the beginning to create your product. The great news is that once you’re done – you’re done. You can create one product and sell it over and over again, just like an ebook.
Unlike an ebook however, you can usually command more money for a course ($27 for an ebook versus $299+ for a course).
Each could have the same amount of material, but having a course that actually shows someone how to use a tool or make their life easier in some way, trumps the ebook any day.
To give you some ideas of the type of online courses people are creating and selling, here are just a few:
- Blogging – Abby created an ebook and now a course on how to start and build a profitable blog
- Affiliate Marketing – Michelle has built an online course showing bloggers how to increase their income as affiliates
- Affordable Travel – Martin teaches an online course on how to see the world on a budget.
- Personal Finance – Star shows people how to maximize their dollars and to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
If you know what you want to teach, the next question should be how you’re going to deliver your course’s content.
Places to Create and Sell Online Courses
In this day and age, there are platforms out there that help you to teach people online and earn money from it.
The platforms I cover in this post have a lot of similarities such as being able to have unlimited students and upload unlimited content. Transaction fees vary, but they all depend on which plan you choose.
Teachable is the platform I use primarily to sell my courses online. I like the fact that it has a user-friendly course builder and can be made to match the look of my brand.
You can build a course for free on Teachable, though you can upgrade to premium packages. Transaction fees are waived if you upgrade to a higher plan, but are around 5% for the free plan. Depending on which plan you are on, you may have to wait up to 30 or more days to receive payment.
Teachable has a 30-Day money back guarantee, so they want to make sure refunds are taken care of first.
I like how you can integrate with Stripe or PayPal. I don’t particularly like how depending on which plan you are on, you may have to wait up to 30 or more days to receive payment. Teachable has a 30-Day money back guarantee, so they want to make sure refunds are taken care of first.
Thinkific offers a few features that are not offered in other platforms such as course upsells and instant access to funds. To start, Thinkific has a forever free plan and packages range from $39 to $279 a month (paid monthly or annually).
Transaction fees are waived depending on the plan you select and Thinkific will host your unlimited courses and content on their platform.
If you’re looking for a platform that already has a marketplace of students waiting to purchase your course, Udemy is a great option for you. Udemy boasts over 15 million students, so selling a sought after course should be easy.
The courses you create must be approved by Udemy before they are posted, but anyone can sign up as an instructor. You get to keep 97% of the revenue when you promote your course outside of Udemy.
In the case that Udemy promotes your course, you’ll earn 50% which is a pretty good deal considering the number of eyeballs who could potentially see it.
Skillshare is offered as a subscription option for students, so you’re paid differently than if you created your course on another platform.
You are instead paid for each student that registers as a premium student and receive royalty payments based on the number of minutes of video watched in your classes.
The $10 dollar per student may be a little off-putting, but when you consider they offer a marketplace of ready and willing students, it makes it a nice platform to earn additional income from.
Lynda is different from the other platforms on this list in the fact that you have to apply to become an instructor. If you’re a good fit, someone will contact you with more information. Some of the courses offered are mostly business or computer related and include graphic design and marketing, just to name a few.
Pay varies because you are paid according to your experience and education. It seems as you would be paid based on a revenue sharing model, though some people may receive an advance. You don’t necessarily own your content, but it is a great option if your expertise fits their course catalog.
Lynda offers a membership option for students, which means there’s a marketplace already available to you.
Teachery boasts features such as unlimited courses and integrates with Mailchimp and Convertkit.
There are no transaction fees and Teachery is free to try for 14 days. They offer three plans for unlimited courses: $49 for the monthly plan; $470 for the yearly plan; and $900 for a forever plan.
Teachery doesn’t host your video or audio files, so keep that in mind when creating content. They do allow you to embed them into your course from services such as Wistia, YouTube, and Soundcloud, however. Considering how most platforms offer unlimited uploads, determine if this is worth the price.
Click4Course is not free, but it has a 30-day free trial. Plans start at $79 a month ($65/month if paid annually) and there’s a 10% charge on courses sold.
I like how one of Click4Course has features such as the option of prerequisite courses and includes tests and surveys. Click4Course may be a better option for those who are rewarded certificates upon successful completion.
A Few Things to Consider…
If you decide to teach a course online, the platform you choose will depend on the amount of control you want. Some of the platforms will not market your course but will provide the tools to create and sell your courses.
Be mindful that only a couple of them actually help you to market your course. Otherwise, it’s on you to bring the students to your course. The easiest topics to teach are always the ones you know like the back of your hand.
The success of your course will depend on your niche and how you market it. So, spend some time in the planning and launching phases to make sure there’s a good audience for your course.