An online course is an awesome way to create passive income and to have multiple income streams in your business. In this blog post, I walk about how to create an online course for your business. Let’s get started.

READ ALSO (opens in new tab): > 3 Platforms To Sell Online Courses from Your Own Website

How to create an online course

Let’s start this whole process backward, and start with selling the course first!

Yep, read it right, let’s sell the course before creating a single lesson! This posts covers Selling the course & Creating the Course and you only move to the second part if you have sales.

If not, then back to the drawing board, market research and another round of selling.

Why sell first?

Well, because you do not want to end up in a situation where you have with 10+ hours of content and then find out that course topic is not what people want to pay for. So you wasted tens of hours (or even hundreds of hours?) of work creating something that market does not want.

This part shocks most and when I say it I often hear – you can’t sell something you have not created yet!

Yes, you can and you should.

Think of this process like Kickstarter or Indiegogo where people pitch their ideas, wait for the market to respond and fund. If funding happens only then the product is created. If not, then you most likely learned what did not work and can come up with a new way to present your idea.

Sell First

I’ve made the mistake of creating a course I though people want, but was wrong and wasted a lot of time and made NO MONEY!

Just like with any business activity, market research is an important part of the process. So that starts the process even before selling but is directly linked to selling your course idea.

Where to get ideas?

Facebook groups! Find groups where your ideal clients or target market hangs out. Instead of spamming the group with a market research questionnaire, read what people ask help with regarding your topic. Answer those questions and start the conversation.

You can learn so much from Facebook groups and what people really want to learn.

Create an Outline

Once you know what people need help with you can start drafting an outline for your online course. Already at this point, it is good to ask if people are interested to participate in market research so you can dig deeper into what problems they face.

Try to figure out what is the solution these people would be willing to pay for.

Also, think the course type  – is it an email course, video course or mix of all.

Once you have an outline, it is time to start selling. Although your outline most likely changes along the ride it’s good to have a broad outline at this stage.

Sales Page

The next step is to create a sales page for your online course. I personally use Clickfunnels for sales pages – and one that I recommend (get a free trial with my affiliate link). No matter what tool you use to create your sales page, hire a copywriter to write your sales text and graphic designer to design any graphics.

Once your page is up, selling starts!

It is recommended to build a small funnel that leads to a sales page.

You could provide a PDF, mini-course or something small in exchange for an email address and then provide tons of value before pitching the course.

Many Facebook groups have specific promo threads where you can post a link to your freebie and even direct to sales page.

Try to find JV opportunities and webinars, consider affiliate program and make sure your social media is full of valuable content leading into your freebie.

On the sales page, you do not need to disclose that course has not been created yet! Whether you do or don’t it is up to you.

You could mention that first students will be founding members of this online course and will get an extra help throughout the course. And you could offer a lower price point for founding members.

Yes, first round of students will take more of your time but you learn a lot from this to ensure highquality course going forward. And then you can automate the whole sales process.

So when do I create the course?

When selling a course prior to creating it, it is good to host a timed course starting on a certain date. Let’s say you are working on the outline/market research in month 1, start selling on month 2 but the actual course starts only on month 3. This gives you time to create the course once you have sales. You can either create the whole course during month 2 after you’ve reached enough sales or drip the course and only create lessons as needed as time goes by.

READ ALSO (opens in new tab): > 3 Platforms To Sell Online Courses from Your Own Website

Once you have sales it is time to pick a platform that hosts your course. Good thing is that you have many, many options for your host. You could choose Thinkific, Teachable, Podia, Udemy, Skillshare and many more. But which one to choose?

I recommend testing out 2 options to get a feeling of how user-interface works both for you and your student.

About the author 

Nina Kolari

Nina loves creating how-to videos to help online entrepreneurs to streamline their businesses with high effective systems, tools and automations. She is completely location independent and travels frequently.

  • Dainis Graveris says:

    Hey Nina! Definitely agree with the idea to sell first..!

    That’s the best approach, which I would be happy if I knew earlier.

    As you go for online course platforms and which to pick..I would love to say big disclaimer – NEVER GO WITH ANY ONLINE MARKETPLACE.. like Udemy, Skillshare.

    You don’t own students data, you dont control the price – it’s a BAD long term strategy.

    Thinkific and Teachable are really two best viable options.

    • Udemy and Skillshare can be fantastic traffic generators.

      I’d upload a preview of the course on those platforms and then sell the full course on my own site 🙂

      I would not either recommend having full course on either platform.

    • I learn new things from you, Nina. I am thinking about online course selling .Thank you .

  • Farita Toney says:

    Thank you this was helpful!

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