A simple way to create online courses

courses monetization Jan 23, 2024

If you’ve been following my blogs or my podcasts for any length of time, there are probably a few things you already know about me and what I do. In addition to the work I do in print and online, I’m also the pastor of a church and a university professor. One major commonality exists between my various tasks. All my primary roles require me to teach. Teaching is something I very much enjoy, and I’m grateful for every opportunity I’m given to do it.

But in this world of online entrepreneurship, there’s a teaching opportunity available to all of us that’s worth taking a look at if you enjoy teaching and you’d like to earn recurring income from the content you teach. The opportunity that I’m speaking of is online courses.

In recent years, online course creation and availability have exploded. People are purchasing them more than ever, and there are courses being created on all kinds of subjects. For example, I recently came across a course on building a vending machine business. I also came across a course on starting and maintaining a self-service car wash. Basically, you don’t have to look far to discover that helpful courses exist on nearly every subject at this point, and those who take the time to create them are often earning a healthy amount of income.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you had a profitable course idea floating around somewhere in your head or your idea bank. There’s something you know that someone else would pay to be taught.

But creating online courses has a logistical curve that some people struggle to get past, and because they aren’t sure how to go about creating, delivering, and marketing their courses, great course ideas remain in the idea phase instead of being available in the marketplace.

Have you ever considered creating online courses? If you’ve thought about it, but haven’t carried it out just yet, what’s keeping you from doing so? My guess is that you’re being held up by the logistics, so let’s take a few moments to walk through those things. In fact, what I’m going to do is give you a very simple logistical outline that I use when I’m creating a course.

Here's what I do…

1. Keep listening for a problem you’re uniquely qualified to solve. The people you regularly interact with will be a good source of ideas. I’m sure they ask you for help with certain tasks or help figuring out certain kinds of information. Solve a problem they regularly ask you to solve.

2. Give your course a name that’s upbeat, hopeful, and obvious.

3. Outline your course like this…

  1. *Welcome / What you will learn
  2. *What is (your subject)
  3. *Who is this for and how will it help?
  4. *5-7 modules that teach the course content in a logical order.
  5. *Wrap up discussion, summary, or assessment.

4. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good microphone. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on one, but if you’re going to regularly create online courses, it helps to have a microphone with very good audio. My current favorites are the Shure MV-7 or the ATR-2100.

5. Create your lesson slides and cover art with Canva or a similar slide creation tool.

6. Record with Zoom, Loom, Canva, or QuickTime. Many of my courses have been recorded with Zoom.

7. Make simple edits with iMovie, QuickTime, or other editing software. I don’t stress about making this perfect. Usually, I just clip the start and the end so there isn’t dead space on either end of the recording.

8. Find a place to host the video that can also handle payment processing. My favorite option is Kajabi, but that’s not something I would use if I were just getting started. If you want something that’s more basic and free, you could use a platform like Payhip which only charges you if you make a sale.

9. Pricing can be anything you want, but the highest-priced courses are typically courses that give the purchaser a financial return. For mini-courses, I usually charge around $50. For larger courses, I usually charge between $200 - $300.

You can market your course to your email list, podcast audience, or to the audience of another influencer or entrepreneur. You can also offer affiliate commissions to those who help you make sales by promoting your courses on their platforms.

Creating online courses doesn’t need to be complicated, but it definitely helps to have a plan. This is the basic plan I’ve been using, and in the coming months, I’m going to be releasing additional course content on at least two of my online platforms. I’m really looking forward to making it available.

What do you think? Do you have a course idea that you might be able to bring to light by using this same approach?

© John Stange, 2024

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