It’s possible to start making money online without ever creating any product. There are a lot of sites promoting exactly this kind of approach. I’ve read and listened to some of them. They want to sell you the idea, that you don’t need to do anything, you don’t need your own website, you don’t need your own product, all you need is their great system to start earning money. In this article, I will show you how you can sell online courses.
I strongly believe, that being just a reseller isn’t as fulfilling as creating your own product. In a digital world, you can sell pretty much anything, but in this article, I want to focus on online courses. I will show you how to create, publish and sell the online course.
I bet you know something.
I bet you know something. You have some skill, maybe even more than just one! All you need to do is to think about what you can do and create a video about it.
When I talk about this, people usually reply, that they have no degree in teaching and they’re not experts in any particular field. Guess what – me neither! The amazing fact is, that you don’t have to be an expert to become a great teacher.
Maybe it’s even better if you are not. Experts are usually quite boring. They live in their own special world and it’s very hard to understand what they are trying to explain. They think a lot of things and concepts are so obvious, they won’t bother explaining them in details. Did you read any scientific study or article lately? You need to prepare yourself in advance before you are able to understand what the authors are trying to explain there.
You don’t need to be an expert to teach.
Did you read any scientific study or article lately? You need to prepare yourself in advance before you are able to understand what the authors are trying to explain there.
No, you don’t need to be an expert to teach. In fact, you need to know just a little bit more about the topic than your students do in order to be a successful teacher.
How to create a video content
In this section, I will tell you everything you need to know in order to create an amazing video content you can confidently post to teaching platforms operating on the Interner.
I will introduce two most successful platforms you should use, but they won’t let you upload just anything. They require you to deliver quality audio and video. That’s why it’s very important to take care of some key aspects of your content.
Let’s take a look at them now.
Before you start recording your video, always prepare a script and make a logic structure of your content.
It’s a good practice to start with some short introduction, where you will introduce yourself, your course and tell your potential students, why they should choose your course, what they will need to successfully finish the course and they will achieve by taking it.
Prepare a script and make rehearsals.
You may also add the short introduction of the content of the course. What parts it is divided into and what you will teach in those specific parts.
Divide your course into small logical units, lectures or lessons. This will help your students with keeping focus. Long tedious lectures are great candidates for dropouts. You need to keep your students engaged and motivate them to finish your course.
A written script will help you look and feel more confident. You will also avoid the most common mistake of many instructors, long disturbing pauses. Pauses are a natural occurrence in situations when you need to think about what to say next, but in courses, they are the sign of bad preparation. With a script, you will always know what to say next and your speech would look polished and professional.
Before you will start recording, make at least one, but ideally two rehearsals. Get comfortable with your script and let it settle in your head. Some teachers even suggest shooting your video twice. The first try is just for getting comfortable with the content and the second one is the production version.
You don’t need Microsoft Powerpoint to be able to produce slides. If you don’t own Microsoft Office, don’t buy it just for slides. Use Google Slides instead. This will give you the basic functionality of Powerpoint with the actual program and save you money because Google Slides are available for free as a part of Google Docs service.
Google recently added some very nice templates, so it’s even easier now to start from scratch. Take a look at the images below:
Google Slides look a lot like Powerpoint, so if you know how to use Powerpoint, you will feel right at home. If you don’t know Powerpoint, it won’t be hard for you to work with Slides as it’s pretty intuitive.
Prepare your presentation, but don’t just copy your script to slides. Pick the most important quotes, add some images and graphs. Make it a pleasant experience. Slides are aimed for visual content. It’s not a substitute for a book. Don’t get your students bored by forcing them to read a lot of lines in your slides. They won’t anyway.
Another way of delivering your content is a screencasting. Screencasting basically means the recording of your screen with special software. It’s like a live show where you present and comment on what you do. Screencasting is a great learning tool because it allows your students to follow you step by step.
Should you use Slides or Screencasting?
It really depends on your content. Slides are better for lectures where you don’t have anything special to present on your screen. For example, if you want to share your knowledge in marketing, you don’t really need screencasting. However, if you want to explain how to set up some software of creating a website, screencasting is the best tool for this kind of content.
There are two best tools for screencasting on the market. Camtasia and ScreenFlow. They allow you not only to record the screen, but they have a plenty of features for the post-production.
If you want to get a quick overview of some nice features of ScreenFlow, take this class.
Talking head is a term referring to that small video with the instructor, which is usually located in the bottom corner of the screen. It’s a proven fact, that talking head videos are more popular than headless videos.
To see an example of a proper talking head, take a look at the images below.
There are a lot of great microphones, but I want to recommend the one I am using. It’s Audio Technica AT2020 USB. All you need to run it on Mac computer is to plug it into your USB port, the operating system will automatically recognize it and it will be available in sound settings.
I use this microphone with a pop filter. I believe this investment will pay itself shortly. If you compare the quality of AT2020 with built-in microphone in MacBook, you will immediately see, why I think that good microphone is a must.
If you want to publish your content on Udemy, don’t waste your time with a built-in microphone. They will refuse your recordings because the quality of your audio will be probably very poor to meet their requirements.
Don’t use built-in notebook camera. It’s usually poor quality and resolution. Buy something like Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 instead. It’s a full HD camera so it can be your only camera for all sorts of shooting.
This section is especially important for non-native English speakers. It is crucial to be understood. Even though your English might be good, it’s always better to be sure, that your text or speech is perfect.
Take a look at the image below. This is the screenshot of this very article. As you can see, I am writing this article inside WordPress and I have a great tool installed right into the text editor. This tool constantly checks my grammar and indicates errors.
Meet Grammarly. Grammarly will help you with your English grammar. Not only it will fix your errors, it will teach you how to write better and correctly.
Grammarly is available for free, but if you want to get the most out of it, you should subscribe to premium plan which is available for $11.66 per month if you choose the annual plan.
This is an advanced technique and I think you don’t need to use it at the very beginning of your career, but sooner or later you will realize, that nothing beats the video, where you address your audience by talking to it straight face to face and look it in the eye.
A teleprompter is a great tool for this, because it allows you to read the script projected right in from of the camera lenses, so it looks like you are talking to your audience, rather than reading the text.
Before I will explain the technical stuff, take a look at those two examples.
In the first one, I am apparently reading the text from the display positioned next to the camera.
In the second one, I am using a teleprompter.
As you can see, the difference is quite obvious.
How to sell your work
Now that you have your content ready, you have to find the way to make the profit out of it. There are many ways how you can sell your content, but at the beginning, you want to follow the easiest one. In this section, I will show you two great learning platforms where you can publish your content. They have a different business model and I suggest you sign up with both of them.
Skillshare’s business model is based on subscription. Students subscribe to Skillshare to get the access to everything and they pay monthly payments of $12 or they get 30% discount if they decide to pay by yearly basis.
If you are a teacher, you don’t know, how much you will earn, but based on Skillshare’s calculations and my own experience, you will get $1-2 for every new premium enrollment in your class.
In order to get paid, you need two things:
- Become a partner of Skillshare
- Create premium class
How to become a partner of Skillshare
Becoming a partner is quite easy. All you need to do is to upload one class and get at least 25 students to this class. It doesn’t matter if these students are regular users or premium users. Once you have 25 students in your first class, you will automatically become Skillshare’s partner, you will be able to connect your PayPal account to Skillshare and you will get paid.
How to create a premium class
When you create a new class, you have the option to make it free or premium. Free classes are available for everyone. Premium classes are accessible only by premium members who pay monthly fees.
In order to get your first 25 students, it’s a good idea to make your class free initially and once you have your 25 students, you can set it to premium class.
To learn more about Skillshare, check this article, where I will tell you how to succeed on Skillshare.
Udemy works differently. You can set your own price for your course. It must be between $20 and $300. Udemy is constantly changing price tiers, so maybe when you read this article, those figures might be already outdated, but the basic principle is the same.
You set your price. If people buy your course via your own marketing channels, you will get 90% of the price and Udemy will keep the rest. If people buy your course via Udemy’s channels or affiliate partners, you will get only 50% of the price.
Udemy relies heavily on discount campaigns. It’s quite common that the course is worth $300, but you can get it for 75% off.
Business vector designed by Freepik
Disclosure of Material ConnectionSome of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.