Posted by Holly Carberry

Creating and selling online courses is a great way to set up an additional income stream. Whether you’d like to develop a way to make passive income alongside your job, or you’re looking at making the shift to selling online courses full-time, it’s fairly simple to get set up and start monetising your expertise.

There’s a lot of information out there on creating and selling online courses, and it can be difficult to know where to start. I’ve been putting together courses and training for over 23 years, and I’ve spent the last three years developing an online academy building on my in-person courses, so I’ve seen first-hand the pitfalls and challenges that can go along with a project like this. 

I’ve put together a simple checklist for anyone looking to get started selling a course: if you’re not sure where to start, start here.

  1. Choose your topic: find something you’re knowledgable in. The perfect topic is something that people are searching for, but that’s not saturated, so do your research and make sure there’s a demand for your area of expertise, even if it’s very focused.
  2. Research your topic. Once you’ve decided on your topic, start researching. Look at other courses out there – what sells well? What gets good reviews? Which ones aren’t so good? Find out what makes a good course in your niche good (or not so good) and use that to model your courses.
  3. Learn the basic skills. You don’t need lots of equipment or experience to start filming online courses, but you should make your setup the best you can afford. You’ll need a camera, a microphone, somewhere to film and somewhere to host your courses.
  4. Start marketing: start building an email list, set up social media accounts, research your niche and start posting to drive interest in your courses.
  5. Outline your course content and structure. How are you going to organise your content? Breaking it up into chapters or segments can help make your online course more digestible.
  6. Choose a hosting provider. There are a few options here: you could build your own website and host your courses yourself, or use an existing platform like Thinkific. Setting up your own website gives you more control, but using an existing platform is quicker and easier, so decide which one works for you to begin with.
  7. Set up your filming area. Pick a quiet area where you won’t be disturbed, either with good natural light or lights set up around you. Think about your backdrop: what does it say about you? What would you like it to say? Make it interesting but not distracting.
  8. Record your first course and start getting feedback. Give colleagues, family and friends early access and ask them for constructive feedback. This step is really important, because they’ll be coming to your course with fresh eyes and might spot important details you’ve missed.