Ways to make money with an online course


Are you looking into developing what you do into an online offering? More and more of my clients are wanting to create an online offer, so I wanted to share some of the advice I give them with you!

An online offer can be the golden ticket, the one to many approach and is fast becoming the go-to way to reach more people and make more sales. However, it does take some know how to set up and get all your ducks in a row.

There are few different options are available to you.

This is your low down on cracking the one to many offering!

So you basically have 3 ways to look at it. You can make an online course, create a membership programme or offer group coaching.

The online course

Creating an online course can be delivered in a number of ways. This is the way to create something once and sell it multiple times.

The off the peg course

First, you create the online course and sell it as an off the peg offer. People can sign up to your online course at any time and start it when they are ready.

The benefits of this method are that if successful you have money coming into your business at all times. It means that you don’t have massive periods of hustle where you are trying to get lots of people to buy all at once.

Plus, if you want to be, you’re likely to be pretty hands-off with this offering, as no one person it at the same point.

However, it does mean that you need to have constant marketing going out, and a watertight sales funnel to keep those sales coming in.

Plus you’re going to have had to create the entire course before you start to sell it, as people will expect it instantly.

It also means the people doing your course won’t get that we’re all in it together feeling of comradery that might get if there are few people starting at the same time as them.

The start date course

The other way you can deliver your online course is with a start and end date. Everyone starts the course at the same time and the idea is that people go through the work together.

The benefit of this is that you’re likely to have more engaged students, as there is generally a Facebook group that goes alongside the course.

The downside or benefit, depending on how you look at it is the because you have specific start dates you’re going to have sales hustle periods. You’ll be working flat out selling the course for a specific time, but once you’ve sold your course, you can rest a bit.

You can also start selling the course before you finished creating the entire thing. You can make pre-sales before the start date, so you know people are interested in your course. And you can also be creating it as people go through it, as you can drip feed the course material out, so your students are all going through it together.

The membership programme

The other alternative is the membership programme. This is where people pay you a monthly fee to belong to your membership programme, think Netflix!

The benefit of this is that you can create the content alongside your community, depending on their needs. So you don’t have had to create an entire course before you start. It’s more a pay as you go type of affair, for both of you!

However you will get people dipping out of your membership rate (called churn), so you’ll need to make sure your members are engaged and getting what they want out of their monthly fee, so they don’t leave.

Now you also have a choice here, you can have an ‘open-door policy’ where you let people join the membership programme at any point (meaning you’re going to have to have a constant sales funnel) or a ‘closed door policy’ where you have massive sales hustle periods.

An open door policy means people can drop in as and when they like, whereas a closed door policy builds on that sense of scarcity and FOMO, so people who are on the fence about joining are more likely to jump in as they won’t want to wait another 6 months.

My Indie Freedom Seekers community is a membership programme and it’s an open door policy, although I have run offers with a lifetime discount in those periods.

Group coaching

You can offer online group coaching (if you’re a coach!), so that you can work with a higher number of people, reduce your hourly rate, so more people get the benefit of working with you, and you get more per hour as you have more bums on seats.

The benefits of this is that actually no-one person has all the answers and having multiple eyes on your business means you get more advice.

You can also offer group coaching alongside your membership programme or online course for added value.

I offer twice-weekly group coaching for my Indie Freedom Seekers community and we’ve had some fabulous results out of the sessions.

Now all of these offers could be one-time payments, or payments plans, or a mixture. You get to decide.

Where to put your content?

Once you’ve thought about the type of online offer you want to create, the next question is where does the course live.

If you have a Squarespace website like me, you can use a platform called memberspace that locks certain website pages, takes payment via stripe and manages the back-end functions.

If you’re using Wordpress there are all sorts of plugins that you can use to host your online materials.

Or you can use a third-party site like teachables or make your course an email course and set up an automated email campaign.

It is also worth considering beta testing your course or offering with a small select group before putting it out there into the world. You’ll get some testimonials, they will hopefully get it at a reduced rate, plus you get to fine-tune your offering!

Phew that is a long post!

Are you thinking about creating an online offer of what you do? I’ve worked with people who run online art courses to property investment programmes and HR clubs. There is quite a bit of work to be done getting it right and out there, but if you can crack the code it’s an excellent way to create a more consistent dependable income for yourself.