Can you make money selling online courses? Without a doubt, many entrepreneurs just like you are doing just that every day. According to recent data, global eLearning is on pace to hit $325 billion by 2025. If you want to get a piece of those billions (or are skeptical that it can be done), keep reading. In this article, we’re going to share how much money you can earn from online courses, the benefits of productizing your knowledge, and how you can increase the value of the courses you offer.
Plus, we’ll show you how to calculate your potential earnings!
Online Course Earnings Calculator
The Online Course Earnings Calculator lets you calculate your estimated earnings from your online courses based on the size of your audience, your conversion rate, and the price of your course.
Online Course Revenue Estimator
Monthly Revenue Potential
Yearly Revenue Potential
How to Make Money Selling Online Courses:
Making Money With Online Courses
The business of creating and selling online courses is booming worldwide. People across demographics are interested in education and lifelong learning more than ever before and online courses are a flexible and cost-effective way to expand knowledge without even leaving your home! If you’re not already selling an online course, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to build a passive revenue stream, boost your brand’s reputation, and generate more leads.
Maybe you’ve been hesitating because you think creating an online course takes too much work and can’t possibly give you a good return on your investment. How much money can you really make selling online courses?
How Much Money to Expect From an Online Course
Your skepticism is probably firmly rooted in the fact that the amount people have earned from creating online courses varies widely. Your course could literally earn anywhere from nothing to upwards of $50K a month.
Potential revenue from your online course depends on a number of factors:
How much are you selling your course for? If you’re selling it for $50 you’re going to need a lot more enrollments than if you were to price it at $500.
Audience and Engagement
How is your reach? If you’ve taken the time to build a robust email marketing list, earn tons of engaged social media followers, and cultivate an active YouTube channel, you’re going to find it a lot easier to get enough enrollments to make selling online courses quite lucrative.
If you already have a thriving online business through which you sell products, you already know what to do to sell an online course—you just have to create it and use the skills you already have to market it. That’s not to say you can’t create and sell your online course to great economic gain even if you haven’t sold anything online before, because you can. If you have experience with selling products online, though, you already have an advantage.
How to Calculate Potential Revenue and Profit
There are two important numbers you’re going to want to be able to estimate: revenue and profit. Even if you don’t yet have an audience, you can still create some estimates based on how many people you’ll reach with your course.
Revenue = Size of Audience x Conversion Rate x Price of Your Course
Conversion rates for online courses vary depending on things like the topic, price, and how well you market it, but here are some guidelines:
- Low Conversion Rate: 0.1%–1%
- Mid-range Conversion Rate: 2%–5%
- High Conversion Rate: 6%–10%
To get a pretty good estimate of how much you can earn from your online course, just take your audience size (or estimated audience size), the price of your course, and put them in the above formula using all three conversion rates.
For example, if you’re pricing your course at $100 and you have an audience of 1,000, you’d run the formula with conversion rates of 1%, 5%, and 10% to get an idea of how much revenue you’ll bring in:
- 1,000 x $100 x 1% = $1,000 in revenue
- 1,000 x $100 x 5% = $5,000 in revenue
- 1,000 x $100 x 10% = $10,000 in revenue
But, revenue isn’t profit, right? If you want to find out what your profit is, you’ll need to deduct your expenses from that revenue number. Here’s the formula:
Profit = Revenue – Fixed Production Costs – Marketing Expenses – Other Related Costs
Using this formula, you’ll be able to see if your course will be profitable or if you need to adjust your pricing (or grow your audience).
Are Online Courses Actually Profitable?
Are online courses profitable? Yes. They’re actually one of the best business models you can adopt as a digital business because they’re in demand and more and more people are willing to pay top dollar for them.
Of course, you do still need to put in the work to create the course and fill it with quality content that’s worth it for students to enroll. Creating a new course doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You can create course content by repurposing your existing content:
- Blog posts
- Webinars, speeches, interviews, and more
- eBooks and white papers
By reusing your already existing content, you can reduce your production costs and increase your course’s ROI.
Benefits of Selling Online Courses
Online learning is an enormous industry that just continues to grow. This makes selling online courses an excellent choice for any business owner wanting to share their knowledge and expertise with others. And, just about any topic or niche can be a money-maker for online course creators.
You can also create online courses that are evergreen. This means that you create the course, record and edit your videos, and package it as a product instead of a live course. So, you’re basically putting the effort in to create the course once, but you can sell it over and over for years. Productized courses make your online course business scalable.
How to Increase the Value of Your Online Course
To get the best return from your online course you’ll need to make sure that it provides some serious value to users. This means really taking the time to research your competitors to see what their online course offerings look like so you can beat them at their own game.
Let’s take a look at 14 of the best ways we’ve found to quickly and easily add value to your online courses.
Offer Pre-Course Resources
Students will come to your course from many different backgrounds and skill levels. Take the time to consider the barriers that students need to fight through before they’re able to register for your online course. Are there any resources you can offer before the course begins to handle their objections or mitigate their fears about signing up?
Create a Content Upgrade or Lead Magnet
People love things they can download. Add editable worksheets to your course that students can download when they purchase. The download could be just about anything. There’s just something about that “download now” button that gives a little dopamine hit to the brain that we all crave.
Along the same lines, you can offer more “take-home” content that users can access without internet access. This makes it a lot easier for students to go through your course because they have access to the content no matter where they are.
Downloads and offline content could be:
- …and more
You can include several types of content that students can download, from fillable PDFs to video content.
Host Live Events
There’s no question that pre-recorded content for your online courses is going to get you the best bang for your buck. However, that doesn’t mean you should never go live with your students. When you provide live webinars or Q&A sessions, you’re showing your students that they matter to you and that you’re interested in addressing any questions they have directly. This can go a long way towards increasing participation and engagement in your course.
Copy Hackers does a great job at this. Each week, they offer free “Tutorial Tuesdays” with content that freelance copywriters will benefit from. Once you enroll in their Copy School, you get access to exclusive live events.
Some course creators will offer regular weekly or monthly sessions throughout the duration of each course period where they go live with students to be an additional resource. Spending 30 minutes doing this on a weekly basis could be enough to start charging more for your course, too!
Offer Written Transcripts
Did you know that some people don’t like watching videos? To make sure that your course meets the needs of those students, too, be sure to include written transcripts for each video you have in your course. Transcripts also improve accessibility for people with limited hearing, too.
Schedule Guest Instructors
A very quick way to increase the value of your online course so you can make more money is by inviting guest instructors or experts to present. The goal of your online course is to educate the students and there’s no better person to offer guidance on a topic than an expert (other than yourself).
Some courses can charge a premium because, in addition to awesome content, the instructor offers small group or individual consulting via email or video call. This takes tip #3 to a whole new level since you won’t be speaking to a huge group and taking a handful of questions so much as you’ll be offering individualized attention.
Create A Community
Another way to increase the value of your course is to create a community around it. This doesn’t have to be a group or forum moderated by you. Many successful online course communities have former students moderate the group or even current students. Facebook Groups or Slack are a couple of easy ways to build your online community. You can add even more value by participating in office hours (#9, below) or having a thread each week dedicated to questions.
Here’s an example of a thriving Facebook Group to support students of the Online Yoga School:
Improve The Production Quality Of Your Courses
If you want to justify increasing the price of your online course, you can do that by upgrading the course content. This means creating higher quality videos, visuals, text, and effects that better match your brand and are representative of the value you want to provide.
Provide Office Hours
Any time you can give your students more access to you and other topic experts, the more valuable your course will be. Office hours are a great way to do this. You can arrange weekly one-on-one coaching calls to give your students more personal attention or bring in other influencers or industry experts to do it.
You can even offer coaching as an upsell for your course. For example, your course may be priced at $100, but students can choose a coaching add-on with the course for an additional $150. Just be sure that you don’t make too many add-ons available or you’ll be spending all your time in one-on-one coaching sessions!
Narrow Your Focus
It may seem counterintuitive, but you can actually set a higher price for your course when you’re teaching on a highly specialized topic. For example, you might have a course that’s an introduction to influencer marketing that covers the most basic steps you need to take to become an influencer. Maybe that course is priced at $100.
But, you also have a course that teaches influencers how to set influencer rates to earn more and bring in more clients. That course, since it’s more specialized and intended for influencers further down their career path, might be priced at $250.
Offer A Course Completion Certification
Certificates of completion are another way to boost the value of your online course. People love being recognized and rewarded for work that they’ve done. We recommend awarding personalized, downloadable certificates that students can then display on their business sites or reference in proposals to their clients.
Check out these fun course completion certificates you can create in Teachable:
You Can Make Money Selling Online Courses
Creating and selling online courses can be a powerful driver for passive income if you put in the time to build a high-quality course and market it properly. While it does take time to create all the pieces for your online course, once you have it completed, it can generate revenue for years.