February 4th, 2015 Business

person-thinkingIt has never been easier to sell courses online. We see it every day with people using LearnDash.

It’s also quite visible on sites that cater to that entire industry (such as Udemy).

However, by “easy”, I do not mean that all you have to do is whip together a course and put a price tag on it.

What I am referring to are the tools.

The tools available today make it easy in terms of setting up the entire infrastructure.

Creating a course that sells takes far more effort.

Anyone who has started the process of creating an online course finds out very quickly how much work is involved. It’s at this point that they ultimately wonder if it would be better to sell pre-made courses.

There are organizations out there that specialize in creating courses in popular niches and then grant resale rights. The pricing structure for these can vary. Sometimes they are one-off purchases and other times you buy licenses in bulk. They sometimes come with a sliding scale, meaning that the more you sell the less you owe the parent company per purchase. Then there are options with lengthy contracts and exclusivity agreements.

As you can see, the waters get muddy quite quickly.

Selling courses that were created by someone else is a fundamentally different business model than finding a niche and creating your own. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad business model, but it actually is more difficult than the alternative.

Think about it for a moment: if you have the same courses as (potentially) thousands of others, how are you going to differentiate? If you said “on price”, then you’re out of business before you even begin. If you want exclusive licenses, then expect to pay a hefty fee.

People who pursue this course selling business model want to become the next go-to library for training related to a large variety of topics. I’ll just warn you now that this is an extremely competitive space with industry players who are well established. Making a dent is going to take significant resources (both financially and with regards to your time).

Which brings me back to the main point. Putting in the time to find a niche and create a course (from scratch) isn’t going to be as resource intensive.

Your offering will be unique so you will have more options on how you wish to compete in the market. You could even license out your course for others to sell, but you’ll need to prove that your course is in-demand before you try this method.

No matter the approach you take to creating and selling courses online, the most important thing to remember is to never take short-cuts. If you want to sell a course created by someone else, make sure that it’s for the right reasons and not because it just “seems easier” than creating something from scratch (because the reality is quite the opposite).

Justin Ferriman photo

About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


One response

Leave a Comment

Good thoughts in the post Justin. I’ve been working with a few authors over at skillshare to help improve learning design. There are lots of experts out there that want to share their information (hence the existence of learndash). It will be differentiating to see who takes the time to stay learner-centered in their approach.
Most of the time I see a “watch me” and then “try” type methodology. This works for some, but not all.

On the topic of using pre-made courses – always invest the time to tailor for your audience. if you don’t have time, make it clear that you are starting from a framework and hope to enhance it over time.

Comments are closed.

Your course could already be online!

We offer a 15 day money-back guarantee and have a world class community to help you get your course online today!

See LearnDash in action. Online Demo


👋 Meet LearnDash Webinar

Are you trying to decide if LearnDash is the right learning management system to build your online courses? Join us for our next live walkthrough.

Join Our Next Webinar!

LearnDash webinars are designed to teach you how to build, grow, and scale your course-building business. Join our team in one of our next live webinars.