How to Create An Online Course That Sells


Is it profitable to sell online courses? Yes, if you have the right know-how and the right numbers. But, how do you create an online course that sells? Having an established customer base allows you to sell online courses and earn passive income.

You can also use your online course as a marketing tool to connect with your clients. Show them what your brand is all about with your online course. Let them see why they should choose you over the competition. Develop loyal relationships and watch as your course grows in popularity.

The good news is that anyone can create and sell online courses. Whether you believe it or not, you already have expertise that you can teach to someone else using an online course. When you combine your knowledge plus passion for a subject, you’ve already got a great start to building a course that sells.

So, How Do You Create An Online Course That Sells?

1. Make Your Subject Sellable

A recent study found that 42% of entrepreneurs fail because their products do not have a market. For a better understanding of what types of online courses sell well, consider why your customer base would benefit from your online course. They generally fall into one or more of the following categories that will improve their life.

These include: 

  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Relationships

Within those categories, going another layer deep with your topic, these are a few examples:

  • Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Investing
  • Real Estate
  • Health and Fitness
  • Coming of Age
  • Lifestyle or Personal Development
  • Writing
  • A Specific Hobby
  • Finding Love
  • Recovery
  • Decluttering
  • Parenting
  • Preparation for Something Specific
  • Arts and Crafts

These examples can cover a wide range of topics. Within these topics, you should try to pick a niche.

You could create an online course on how to promote an Etsy store using social media in arts and crafts, for example. If you are interested in computers and technology, you can teach a course on coding to beginners.

2. Sell It For The Right Price

Figuring out how to sell courses online is one of the most common questions. It can be tricky to figure out how much to charge so it’s at a price that people will pay for it.

There is a wide range of costs associated with online courses, ranging from $50 to $2,000. The first online course you take might cost somewhere in the range of $50 and $200 as you dip your toes into the e-learning industry. That is something to consider about your ideal customer; are they dipping their toe in as a newbie to digital courses, or are they ready to dive in with a bigger investment to get quicker & better results?

Cost of your course can vary depending on your level of expertise, the topic, your audience, how much access each customer has to you, and how transformational the program is. You should consider the following factors when determining your course’s price:

  • What is the cost of creating, hosting, and marketing the course?
  • Pricing of your competitors
  • Length of time you are spending with them
  • How much access they have to you during that time
  • The impact of their transformation after they’ve completed the course

When you sell online courses, you have three basic ways to structure payments. These include:

  1. Pay in full
  2. Membership fees that are lower and recurring every month
  3. Multi-payments, or a payment plan, in which a one-time cost is spread over multiple payments and usually there is a percentage higher that you charge, such as 15-20% more, because their payments are dispersed

Determine your payment structure by analyzing courses in your target market. What are their financial capabilities? Would a group that doesn’t have to spend so much money upfront be more likely to buy?

3. Pre-Sell It!

So you have an idea for a course, but you’re not sure if there’s demand for it?

Preselling your course is a great way to validate the idea and determine whether or not there’s an audience for it. There isn’t anything worse than spending months – or maybe even years – creating your course before ever selling it to a single person.

Not only will it take you WAY longer to create the course, because there isn’t anything pressing you to get it done, but there is no guarantee that anyone will want to buy it when you do complete it.

In order to presell your course, you will need a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) so you know exactly what it is you’re selling, who it’s for, and what the promised result of the course will be. Minimum Viable Products are a great way for entrepreneurs to test the waters of their idea before diving in headfirst. By creating an MVP, you can get feedback from your potential customers early on and use that information as basis for future product development decisions.

When starting a new business, it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in the early stages. You don’t want to go too long working with not enough cash flow coming in or to spend time and money on something that’s not going to work.

After you have presold your course, you can get to work right away with creating the actual course content that will get your customers results.

Create Your Online Course

Now let’s talk about how to create an online course.

Niche Down: Focus On A Particular Topic

You should decide what specific subject you will teach first when creating your online course.

The following tips can help you choose the right subject:

  • Rather than selecting a broad topic, choose a niche topic. Wide topics tend to have more competition. The narrower you can get your niche, the easier it will be for you to find focused topics. 
  • Possessing expert-level knowledge. It is important to keep in mind that being an expert means you have better-than-average knowledge about that topic. This does not mean, however, that you need to have traditional credentials or be a genius.
  • It is important to know who your audience is, what their problems are, and what you can do to help them solve them.

Equip Yourself With The Right Gear

After deciding on your subject, the next step is to create your online course. You will want to maintain as high of a production level as possible, but that doesn’t mean you need to invest a lot in fancy equipment or software.

Use free or low-cost tools when you can, such as:

  • Loom to screen record tutorial videos
  • Canva to create simple & professional looking graphics and cover images for your videos
  • Your phone to record videos of you teaching
  • Google Docs to create templates or save them as a PDF that your students can download to keep
  • Google Sheets to create charts and tracking systems for your customers
  • Zoom or a Facebook group to stream your content or calls live

Next, let’s talk about where your content will live on the internet after you’ve started creating it.

Select The Location Where You Will Host Your Online Courses And Sell Them

There must be a home for your online course. If you want your course to be accessible, customisable, and professional, you’ll need a hosting system that lets you do all that.‍

You can host and sell your online course in three ways:  

  1. Delivered: For something that is content only in downloadable form, you can deliver it straight to their inbox after they’ve made their purchase.
  1. Self-hosted: You can host and sell online courses from your website if you have the capability to put it behind a password protected log-in screen. I don’t recommend this for beginners if you’re just starting out. The tech set-up and maintenance can be a little tricky if you aren’t ready for that just yet.
  1. Course Platform: Last but not least, you can use a learning platform such as MemberVault which is free to get started, or a paid service such as Kartra or Kajabi. These platforms let you customize your branding and host your courses, and your customers receive their log-in credentials after they purchase.


It’s time for you to get out there and make that moolah now that you know how to successfully sell courses online. The possibilities are endless. Now it’s your turn to make it happen.

Ready to get started? Join The School of Online Business so you can start turning your expertise into a sellable and marketable asset.

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