Online Courses – The internet is a place that provides a variety of services for entertainment, socializing, and for accessing a wide range of information.
There are a variety of useful things that you can learn from internet sources, which include academic courses and many other skills.
YouTube is a popular platform, where you can learn a lot of things from different teachers.
This demand for information and instructions has created a platform for those who want to earn through teaching.
If you have proper knowledge of a particular subject or have mastered a skill, then you can always write books or create blogs or videos and teach other people online. This has proved to be a great source of income for many.
According to a study carried out by the Global Industry Analysts, online learning is expected to cross a $240 million mark by the year 2021.
The topic can be about anything, like art, photography, cooking, gardening, technology, science, music, language, marketing, and much more.
If you are thinking of venturing into the field of online education for generating income, then you should know that there is a lot of competition that you will have to face.
There are hundreds and thousands of instructors who have content online. On a single topic, one can find at least a hundred different courses. Hence, you have to know a lot of things to be successful in this field.
One-Time Purchase online courses
Learners find it easy to understand as well as implement when the courses are available on a single payment at the beginning. The learners pay to get the entire course and then they can have unlimited access to it. This is a smart way to earn money by creating a one-time purchase online course.
This approach fits the education model we are used to, where we pay for the education that we get. Hence, people find it easy to understand and are not intimidated by the thought of recurring payments for the entire duration of the course.
Such an up-front course fee widens your scope to sell more courses to the learners. With a monthly subscription, the learners will be hesitant to pay for another course.
Here are the possible benefits of a one-time course pricing system :
- Easy to understand
The one-time transaction is the basic system of commerce. The customer pays and in return gets the content of the course. It is like purchasing any other item when you pay once and get the item.
If you are selling your course in exchange for some money, the buyers will understand the system easily and there is no need to explain the transaction system.
Courses that come at a subscription fee can be difficult to sell. You will have to convince the customer that the monthly payments are worth it.
- Quick building of customer database
The one-time purchase model tends to attract more customers. They are likely to recommend your course to their network of people. This way in a short time you are likely to have a wide customer base.
This creates an opportunity for you to sell more courses. Selling products is always easier when you have existing customers than finding new ones.
However, to hold on to the existing customers you have to keep them interested in your products.
Provide them with discounts, extra tips, or webinars and maintain a good relationship with them, so that they can rely on you for new and useful materials.
You might not have a predictable income as in the case of a monthly subscription, but the scope of growth in income is much higher in this system.
- Supporting is easier
With the monthly subscription system for selling online courses, you will have to provide 24/7 customer support. Phone support, online chat, forums, and help desk are required to support your customers who pay on a monthly basis for your course.
With one-time purchase courses, you can limit your customer support services to email alone. Additional avenues can be included as the business grows.
Charge for Certification
This approach is taken by content creators on popular platforms like Coursera, which earned $1 million within a year of starting. You give out the course content for free but charge for certification. The learners can also access some assignments and tests on payment.
This model of online education is found to be counterintuitive as the learner is giving away the most valuable part of the course for free. Naturally, the number of learners will be more.
This will help you to build a list of people who might be interested in your courses. The learners will not be hesitant to sign up for the course as it is free.
Also, the people who are genuinely interested to learn will definitely pay for the certification as it adds value to their professional profile.
However, this model will not generate income at the very beginning. You will have to find the right platform for the course you have made and learners should be convinced that certification in this course will prove valuable to them.
Hence, it is important to know the audience and the demand for the course before you opt for this model of online education.
Charge a subscription fee
Charging a subscription fee is the most common way of selling courses online. Such a model is useful when it is a long-term course and the learners can gain value from the lessons over time.
It has been found that people are willing to pay recurring fees for music lessons, sports, or private tutoring that can be useful when done over a long period of time.
Courses that are considered to be once-and-done programs cannot be sold using the subscription method. People will be hesitant to pay a recurring fee for such short-term courses.
Creating online courses for this model requires a lot of work and commitment from the creator as well as the learners.
Subscriptions can be of different types. The ones popular in online learning are as follows:
- Traditional subscriptions
In this model, the content is available to the learners over a period of time in exchange for a subscription fee.
- Team subscriptions
This is similar to the traditional subscription system. The only difference is the number of learners who access the content. Instead of a single learner, a team or bulk of learners is paying for the course to access it for a period of time. Training courses are usually in this form.
- Tiered subscriptions
In this system, the amount will vary based on the service. You can have certain basic levels of your course for free, and charge for the advanced level, popularly known as “premium subscription”.
The services you provide on payment should be better than the free version. You can also divide the course based on the depth of training and exclusivity.
The levels may be bronze, silver, and gold, where each has its own subscription fee. The learner can choose what level he/she desires.
- Event subscriptions
You can organize for some real-time online classes or webinars where you train the learners. Some hands-on and other activities can also be included. The learners pay and sign-up for a series of such events.
You can create a website focused on the course you are teaching. The content of the course will be available only to the members who have subscribed.
For this system to work you have to target the topics which are in demand and learners will pay to get the content.
- Blended subscriptions
The name suggests that it is a mix of online learning along with some physical material or classroom coaching.
The materials will be shipped to the learners who have paid for the course. Multiple coaching centers have adopted this method for their distant learners.
Learners buy a mix of courses that they wish to learn side by side. The collection can be decided by then or they can choose from packages designed by the course creator.
So, you can create such collections or release multiple courses and earn by selling them.
Selling course licenses
This is another great way to earn money by selling your courses online. Your job is to create content and sell the license of the content to some company.
Such companies are only interested in selling the courses and do not prefer making them. So, it gives you an opportunity to create content and sell it to a company.
The marketing, technical details, and customer service management are all handled by the company. On a yearly basis, you can collect the license fee for the content that you shared with them.
If you are able to generate course content regularly then this can be a constant source of income for you.
However, your duty will also include marketing of the license for the course. You have to get the businesses or institutions to be interested in the course you have created so that they buy the license for the same.
The sale cycle might be a long one in this case. But it is worth the time, as you can charge a high amount for the license and you will also be free of many management tasks. You can completely focus on creating better content for your learners.
Best selling online courses
Now that we know how and where to sell the courses, it is also important to know which courses will increase the profit margins. Here are some profitable niches you can explore:
- Technology and computers
The technology-driven era has made it necessary to learn how to use a different form of technology.
You can create courses on machine learning or artificial intelligence, building a website, software programming, cybersecurity, and many more.
- Business and entrepreneurship
Next in demand are the courses on business and entrepreneurship. People are looking for ways to earn money through freelancing. You can create courses on dropshipping, blogging, digital marketing, and similar topics.
Courses on health which include diet and nutrition, meditation, yoga, lifestyle, food, herbalism, etc are currently in trend.
People have become health conscious and are continuously on the lookout for courses which can guide them to become fit. You can take courses with proper instructions related to weight loss, self-defense, muscle building, martial arts, and sports.
Courses on education are easy to sell, provided your content is better than what already exists in the market. Coaching business, presentation skills, media training, instructional design, Camtasia and screen flow, child psychology are some topics you can choose from.
- Personal development
This topic has become quite popular among online courses. The learners can range from kids to adults. You can create courses on stress management, anxiety issues, confidence development, emotional intelligence, time management, organization skills, etc.
Young ones who have completed their studies are often looking for good career options to choose from. Courses on career development will be helpful for young individuals to find the right direction in life.
Resume writing, getting internships, personal networking, life coaching choosing the right college, career options, personal finance are some great topics, to begin with.
The field of entertainment on the digital platform is a source of income for many people. Every beginner is in the need for a guide to know how to begin.
Some topics can be video production and editing, marketing of videos, personal branding, live streaming, and YouTube audience growth.
The students in the science stream will find it useful if you take courses on topics of physics, chemistry, biology, genetics, thermodynamics, solar power, nutrition, microbiology, climate dynamics, environmental science. These topics are in demand and can help you earn quite a lot.
This subject is no longer considered boring. It has found application in many other subjects.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are two trending topics in technology that require maths. Calculus, linear algebra, differentiation, and probability are some topics that can be useful for many learners.