Guess what?? Studies estimate that about 71% of employees in the United States are actively looking for new jobs and more say that they have it on their minds either always or often.
What should this tell you? People who are happy at their jobs don’t look elsewhere for work!
People can feel unfulfilled, unchallenged, and unseen at their place of work and it can cause a sense of dissatisfaction in other areas of your life if it goes unaddressed for too long.
So how do you fix that gnawing feeling?
Don’t worry! That doesn’t mean that you’re stuck in the rat race. There is some creative passion that you have right now and the odds are that you would love to make a business out of it. Starting out as a side hustle can be stressful and time consuming, but it is totally worth it in the long run!
The truth is you probably won’t get rich working for someone else…
Making the change from corporate to creative or from employee to being your own boss can be challenging. There are so many setbacks that can happen along the way, but there are also so many ways for you to succeed and feel fulfilled.
Take the leap of faith to go out on your own, and if you are not financially ready to leave your full-time role then that’s okay. Be honest with yourself and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
You can make the transition a gradual process and begin with a side hustle that turns into something lasting over time.
Imagine finally having the money to take that ultra-luxurious vacation…
Imagine finally being able to get all the credit card balances down to zero…
Imagine having more time in your day to do what you love…
Okay, now you’re sold, right? So let’s working on turning your hobby into a profitable business and feel the rewards of being a creative entrepreneur!
Imagine never having to waste time on staff updates that never result in any action.
Imagine never having to listen to the office gossip or politics ever again.
Imagine never getting passed up again for yet another promotion.
Yep, we’ve all been there! It’s time for you to be your own boss and stop answering to people who don’t have your best interest at heart.
Now that you can visualize what your life could look like by creating a business out of your creative pursuits, you must be eager to hear how it’s done. Of course, there are many ways that one can go into business for themselves, but one in particular is likely to move more quickly than others.
Sell your expertise for profit! There’s something you know more than anyone else and it’s more than acceptable to make money from it. Building an online course to sell your expertise can help you put dollars into your bank account quickly and efficiently.
The beauty of selling an online course is that there is no question about where the money is coming from and how much you should expect. There is no ambiguity in the process, you sell the course and each one purchased will give you a dollar amount that you can easily calculate.
Do your research first and make sure that there is a market for the expertise that you offer. Don’t be afraid of an oversaturated market either, because if you market your course well then you can break through all that noise.
Make sure that you have sufficient understanding of the content of your course. Some of us may think that we know everything, but an online course will require you to have a high level of knowledge rooted in your subject matter. Otherwise, people who take your course won’t feel like they gained much of value.
Take the time to produce the course well. It may sound obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people slap together a course in a haphazard manner without taking into account the visual aesthetics or the clarity of the language but they still expect to make a million dollars! Make the online course dynamic and engaging for your users, otherwise your create business will be very short-lived.
Another tactical error that is very common with online courses is the lack of easily identified and beneficial learning objectives. You need to create an outline that has specific milestones throughout the course in order for those who take your class to know what they are getting out of the learning process.
So let’s go ahead and set a goal now that you will have your profitable course ready in the next two to six months!
Afraid of how this is going to go? Not sure where to get started? Never fear! 70 resources for your first or next online course is here!
We have complied a list of programs that will help you develop content, build workflow, create quizzes and surveys and so much more. All of this is designed to make your online course building experience seamless and effective. Utilize this list to help you develop, distribute and track the progress of your online course and you will maximize profitability.
Now let’s break down each step with some amazing resources…
Pick your amazing course topic that no one could turn down
What's in this post:
- Pick your amazing course topic that no one could turn down
- Question and Answer Sites (do your research)
- Build your course content so that students will take action
- Deliver a seamless online course experience that leave your students singing your praises
- Platforms to easily host, sell and deliver your online course.
- Payment Processing Platforms
- Course satisfaction and improvement
Selecting a topic is the first big hurdle that you need to get past in developing your online course. There is so much subject matter already out there, so it’s your best bet to do some research before you make a final decision.
That means checking to see how much of a market there is for your brand or topic, but also checking to see what kinds of keywords your potential competitors are using. You may even want to check out one or two courses on similar subjects, just to see how you can set yourself apart from what they are offering.
You will also need to come up with titles for each course that are engaging and likely to attract new students. That means that you might need a tool for generating creative and fun titles that are still relevant to the subject matter. Check it out!
Google Trends: This is a great online tool to tell you how much the subject that you are addressing in your course is being searched and it can compare it to how much traffic is present on your own website and keywords.
Answer the Public: This tool will provide keyword suggestions when you type something into a Google search. It can help you understand how marketable your online course will be.
Keywords Everywhere: For understanding the search volume for your course or brand’s subject matter, this tool will help you see how relevant keywords are searched monthly.
Wordtracker Scout: When you know the keywords attached to your online course, this is the tool that will help you compare them to those of your competitors.
Title Generator: This is exactly what it sounds like and will give you some great titles for your courses that will increase traffic and improve engagement.
Tweak Your Biz: This title generator is advertised as being for articles and blog posts, but a title is a title! As long as it is applicable and catchy, this generator will help you.
SEMRush: If you are looking for a title generator that is built for search engine optimization, try this one. SEMRush is an authority on search engine marketing, so you know this will work!
SEOPressor’s Title Generator: The blog title generator on this site can also be a WordPress plugin, so if you think that you need constant generation then give it a go.
Portent.com’s Content Idea Generator: Somewhat the same as the others, but this one will give you content as well as potential titles. It is designed to help when you have writers block, so it can help you generate content as well as catchy titles!
Question and Answer Sites (do your research)
Doing your research on a potential subject for your online course might require getting some information from the public as well. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a focus group, take a look at this list of question and answer sites!
They are free and robust, and they gather information from so many people in different walks of life that the information is guaranteed to be valuable in some way. Of course, there is a ton of junk out there on the internet that you will probably need to wade through before you get to the information that you are looking for.
Regardless, if you are willing to dig and you are looking at various sites to get the most accurate information possible, then you are going to be able to utilize that information well in the production of your online course. Trust us!
Quora: Quora is a Q&A platform that began based in science and engineering, but it has since expanded to provide information on a whole host of subjects! It is a very robust platform with a ton of information and a decently enforced moderating policy to avoid spam.
Yahoo! Answers: One of the original Q&A sites, and this one has loose rules on moderating the site itself. You may need to wade through some irrelevant information, but you are almost guaranteed to find what you need!
Answers.com: This is also one of the oldest platforms for Q&A, and incorporates WikiAnswers into its platform, which gives you a great range of answers on any given subject. This site tends to have a lot of excess information that you need to get through in order to find what you need, but it’s there!
Blurtit: This platform is based in the UK and looks more like a social media site, so jump in and don’t be afraid to interact with people to get your questions answered. It allows for more real-time interaction, which can be useful when you are building your course in a hurry!
Fluther: Fluther is a site that is focused on getting answers from real people rather than bots or internet sources, so you are likely to get connected with someone who is a genuine expert in their field.
Ask.fm: If you are looking for a site that allows anonymous questions, this is the one for you. The answers can also come in text or video format, so you may find it more engaging.
My Reply Is: If your online course overlaps with any academic area, you will want to check this one out. My Reply Is has normal Q&A categories, but it also includes some great academic specialties.
Reddit: This is probably the best site right now because of its effectively enforced moderating policies. There is a thread for any type of question or conversation, but moderators are quick to shut down any policy violations.
Snippets: This is a Google feature that will also be referred to as an “answer box” sometimes. This is another robust tool that pulls information from so many sources that you will almost certainly find what you need.
Build your course content so that students will take action
In today’s digital age, people are not likely to get much out of your online course if it lacks interaction or an engaging workflow. There are so many tools both online and elsewhere that will allow you to build more dynamic content, create tasks for your students or build spreadsheets to analyze the data in your courses.
This list will give you some creative ideas on how you can build out a more robust program that will keep students focused and interested in the subject matter that you are sharing. Being an expert in your field is only half of the battle, you have to communicate that expertise through your online course in a way that your students will pay attention to.
This is what will set your business apart and determine whether you are a one-hit-wonder or if you are able to make a long-term career out of your side hustle!
Airtable: This is a cloud collaboration tool that allows you to develop spreadsheets and also organize the information like a database. Great for keeping track of student progress and for comparing data from various courses when you are looking to improve!
Trello: Trello is a list-making platform that helps you organize to-do lists for your students in your online course. This is a handy tool for building checklists for your online course requirements! Make sure that your students know exactly what is expected of them by utilizing this tool.
Zapier: Zapier is a very robust workflow program that can be effectively utilized for bridging gaps between various programs to make your online courses flow with more ease. If you are building a complex program for your students, this will make it work faster and more effectively.
Fiverr: When you need any graphics built or content developed for your course and are unable to do it yourself, Fiverr is a great tool to find freelancers who can help you create it. You can generally hire people for cheap on the site, so it is great for any course developer on a tight budget.
Camtasia: Camtasia is a great video creation and editing tool. It works particularly well for building tutorials and online presentations, which will make your online course more dynamic! If your course would benefit from online webinars or if you need to demonstrate anything to your students for a more hands-on experience, this is the tool that you need.
Vimeo: This online video hosting tool helps provide you with embed codes to incorporate your videos into your online courses with ease. Video incorporation for your online course will improve the engagement of your students and help them learn more effectively.
YouTube: The biggest video hosting tool known today, and it is very effective for helping you build content for your online course. It will also provide embed codes similar to Vimeo, but the nice thing is that any content on Youtube that you make public has the ability to help you generate more revenue if you get enough subscribers.
Zoom: Online courses can be more impactful if you and your students were able to record and study how the classes went. Zoom allows you to record each session, which will help you and those interested in your course make improvements.
Canva: This online digital platform allows you to use drag and drop templates to build engaging and professional looking graphics with ease! It will make your online course look more engaging and keep your students more interested.
Google Drive: This is a free tool that allows you to store documents that can be used for your online course. If you need to share a PDF or offer a free download for completion, this is a great tool to incorporate into your program.
Deliver a seamless online course experience that leave your students singing your praises
The flow of your course can determine how effective it is, and that includes the flow of how students get face time with instructors or technical support, depending on the type of subject matter you are focused on.
These tools will allow for more seamless scheduling, email outreach and more to ensure that you are keeping your students informed of their progress and of any changes that you may need to make to the online course.
This list will help you create a flow to your courses that will keep students engaged through to completion and that allows for them to learn more effectively. The more that they can absorb information and internalize it, the better, so using these tools is worth the effort!
Flodesk: Create beautiful email campaigns to grow your online course business.
ConvertKit: This platform provides email marketing tools and email automation which allows for you to stay in contact with those who take your online course or those who simply inquire about it.
ActiveCampaign: Although this program is similar to ConvertKit, this email program provides more options for tracking the data for each of your campaigns.
Calendly: Whether you are promoting your course or coaching those who take it, this program will help you maintain a complex schedule and allow users to book appointments with you without flooding your voicemail or inbox.
SimplyBook: Another online scheduling system that will allow for seamless appointment setting. It has some free features and it also allows for you to send out reminders. It’s a great addition for any online course, especially for the promotional plan!
FOMO: This is a fantastic tool to show how popular your online course is! It will display orders on your website in real-time so that people know it is legitimate and they will feel more inclined to try it
Thrive Architect: This is a webpage and landing page builder that will allow you to create dynamic online courses and promotional materials to market your course well.
Wix: As far as website pages and landing pages go, this is an extremely easy tool to use. There are a lot of free features with this program, so it can be really helpful in getting you started.
Pardot: No online course will be successful without marketing, and this tool will help you produce a great automated marketing strategy. If you do it right, then this tool can help your course grow exponentially!
Hubspot Marketing: This is probably the most robust marketing tool on the list for your course, so it is highly recommended. It allows you to track how the marketing strategy is working for both new lead generation and existing customers, and to compare which campaigns are the most effective.
Fiverr: Again, nothing beats Fiverr in finding low-cost options for developing any kind of media project, including your online course!
Platforms to easily host, sell and deliver your online course.
There are many ways to build and distribute an online course, but this list is the premier resource for doing so. Some people are developer wizards and able to build out the entire course themselves, but that is a rare find.
Typically, those who are able to build the course still struggle to market and distribute it. This list has a ton of information about platforms that allow you to host your course, build your course, distribute your course and market it all in one centralized location!
That gives you the best possible chance at success, so read closely and compare all of the options to make sure that you are putting your dollars into the best possible investment for your online course.
Teachable: If you are in need of sales and marketing tools in the platform that you choose to deliver your online course, this is exactly what you need. Teachable has a lot of features that will provide you with the ability to market your course effectively.
Thinkific: As far as online course platforms that have a lot of customization options go, Thinkific is your go-to! It has some great design tools that allow you to build more dynamic courses.
Membervault: This is a great tool for online courses that allows you to track members that are in the online community you are building. It will help your students build better relationships with your brand!
Udemy: Although this tool takes a higher percentage for hosting your online course, it is the most robust hosting platform that you could choose from. It is highly effective and can help you achieve more revenue than most others.
WizIQ: WizIQ is another fantastic host for your online course and is a bit cheaper than some of the more robust programs. It also has an Android app that allows you to maintain your courses on the go!
Coach (now Podia): The beauty of this platform is that it doesn’t stop at hosting your online courses. You can also sell digital downloads and run memberships, so it allows you to leverage your course for additional revenue streams.
ZippyCourses: The greatest thing about this platform is that it is also a WordPress plugin. You can incorporate your online courses directly into your website with this one, so it can help streamline things.
LearnDash: Similar to ZippyCourses, LearnDash also enables you to incorporate your online course into WordPress. The difference is that this platform has eLearning professionals available to help you build the course itself, so it’s a great option for those with less experience in the practice.
MemberPress: This WordPress plugin allows you to charge users of your online course more easily and you will also be able to charge for any course materials like eBooks or others.
Wishlist Member: This membership software is extremely user-friendly and also can be a WordPress plugin. This program will allow you to provide exclusive content to purchasers of your online course.
PaidMembershipsPro: The features of this membership software are vast and are well-designed for premium online course programs. It will allow for you to process membership payments as well as provide exclusive content.
RestrictContentPro: This is also a membership software, but it is less about the membership aspect and more content-focused. If you are looking for a tool that will restrict access to content effectively, this is a easily usable tool.
Payment Processing Platforms
You can’t make money off of your online courses without being able to process payments. Although some of the course hosting websites listed above will allow for payment processing, not all of them do.
This list gives you everything you need to know about how to process payments with ease and what will be compatible with your website and marketing program. There are a lot of options and the best one for you will depend on the platforms that you intend to use and how you expect to receive payments.
You will also need to know your target demographic and should factor in whether or not you expect to receive international orders to take your online course. This list will tell you exactly what program will protect the data of your customers while maximizing your profits!
Thrive Cart: This full-service sales cart system is highly effective in supporting all of the products on your website. If you have courses or course materials like eBooks to sell, this is great. It is also great for any physical products that you may want to sell like a t-shirt or other promotional material.
PayPal: This is a very popular financial service that allows you to process payments with ease and transfer money to your bank account. The great thing about PayPal is that it is widely accepted as a form of direct payment as well, so you don’t actually have to transfer it if you would rather not.
Infusionsoft: You can create and send invoices as well as process payments with this tool, so it will support several aspects of your side hustle. It also has features for email follow-up so you can reach out to those taking your online course right there in the program!
GoEmerchant: This is a tool that will allow you to process all online payments whether they be debit or credit cards. It also allows you to process in-person payments or charges through mobile devices. It will allow for payments from EMV or ApplePay as well, which means more opportunities for revenue!
CyberSource: In the age of increasing cybersecurity challenges, this online payment processing tool is great for protecting the data of your students. The program allows you to process any online fraud problems with more ease and efficiency.
MerchantPlus: This program doesn’t stop at payment processing! This one provides marketing tools as well that allow you to promote your online course in a straightforward method. The rates and fees are also flat so it makes it easier to follow where your money is going before it’s transferred.
Authorize.Net: This is a payment processing program that allows a unique feature for merchant accounts. This is the bank account that allows you to transfer funds from your payment processing program. Authorize.net allows you to have more different merchant accounts attached to the program.
JVZoo: If you have teachers or other team members who need to get commission from your online course orders, this is a great program to utilize. This platform does not only allow for processing of payments, but also for the distribution of commissions with ease.
ClickBank: For those online course producers who anticipate international orders, ClickBank is the one for you! Although other platforms will allow you to process them, this is the program that has a reputation for the least amount of bugs in the process. You’ll get orders from anywhere in the globe without any problems.
Course satisfaction and improvement
You won’t know how effective your course is without checking in with your students every now and then. In fact, many people produce mini-courses initially in order to test their chops and get feedback before investing in a full course.
There is no way for you to get that feedback from people who have taken your course without some type of outreach. Rather than sending out blanket emails and trying to process information that was extracted from lengthy emails that your students sent you, try a survey!
You can ask specific questions that gather targeted data points so that you can improve your online course with more intention. If you build a mini-course as a test, this is the best way to see what you did well and what can be improved before you jump into the next stage of profiting from your side hustle!
After you build your full course and launch it, surveys will help you stay on top of any dissatisfaction or concern that may be voiced by your students moving forward. There are so many different types of survey tools and they all offer something unique, so pay close attention to the details and don’t be afraid to try more than one!
Survey Monkey: This free online survey tool will help you take the pulse of those who are taking your online course whenever you need!
Typeform: If you need a survey tool that allowed you to build quizzes and contests to motivate your students, look no further than Typeform.
Google Forms: This is another free tool that can be incorporated into your Google Drive, email marketing program or any other aspect of your online course that you may need.
Zoho Surveys: Zoho is an office suite software and has many tools to improve your business. Their survey program is just one of those tools, but if you need an all-inclusive program then look to Zoho!
Survey Gizmo: The great feature of Survey Gizmo is the amount of customization that you can do here. It allows for you to make more engaging and dynamic surveys.
SoGo Survey: This program is heavily focused on data management, which can be extremely helpful for your program. Track the results of your surveys more accurately!
QuestionPro: If you are not sure about what type of survey you want to create, this program’s wizard feature may help you shape the final version of your quizzes.
Qualtrics Research Core: This is a program that helps create, distribute and analyze your surveys all in one place!
Survey Planet: If you expect to have a lot of webinars incorporated into your online courses, then this may be the best option for you. You can manage RSVPs along with the surveys that you produce.
Client Heartbeat: As far as tools that allow you to hear feedback on your courses, this could be the best option for you. Check in with your students with this great program!
GetFeedback: This program allows you to get real-time feedback from your students whenever you need, so it will allow you to improve the course or develop new ones based on how they feel.
Hopefully, you are feeling more confident now than ever before to get started on your online course. The beauty of a list like this is that it gives you more than one possibility for how to be successful in this new endeavor.
Keep it with you and go through which resonate the most with you, because not every tool works for every person’s goal or strategy. It will take time for you to know what will work for you and also what will be best for your students.
Don’t go into this next chapter by limiting yourself and restricting your vision. You need to step into this brave new world of profiting from your creative passion with an open mind and a willingness to be flexible in order to reach your full potential.
Once you find that sweet spot, you will look back on the journey and realize just how worth it the entire process was and you will learn so much that will carry your forward.
Ready to dive in? Eager to get started? Go ahead and pick up your free checklist to sell your expertise for profit with an online course. In it you’ll get the play by play on how to achieve each goal listed here and what you need to be prepared for as you move forward.
Think of it as your own cheat sheet that you can pin to your wall while you work so that you always have a point of reference. Trust us when we tell you that you will thank your lucky stars for all of the information that it will provide you!
Good luck in your new endeavor and don’t forget to HAVE FUN!
Affiliate links may have been used in this post which helps me support my business and not ask you for money all the time 🙂