Many instructional designers today are interested in potentially selling their elearning courses in order to generate some income on the side, or potentially transition to another profession.
But should you do it?
The short answer is “yes”, but it really does depend on a variety of factors. First, you need to establish some direction for your courses. It doesn’t make sense to create multiple courses on a variety of subjects. You will waste your time.
What you need to do is determine the area of specialization for your courses.
Once you have narrowed down the topic, do the research on the market to ensure that there are people indeed out there looking to buy a course. I often hear people say, “Wow! No one is selling this course, it will make a killing!” – and this may be true, but it may also be an indicator that there is zero market out there. This is why market research is essential.
Assuming you have a viable market, you need to determine who is going to be purchasing your courses. Will it be companies? Schools? Individuals? The answer to this question will go a long way in both how you create the course and how you market it.
Based on your target audience, you will also be able to determine the best way to deliver the course. Are your customers going to have their own learning management system, or are you going to host it yourself? If you host it yourself, then you need to have a reliable and scale-able hosting solution.
The one thing that you cannot do is take shortcuts. It’s easy to get excited about the prospect of making money on something you create, and often this can become distracting. Before you jump into selling courses online, look at your market, define your customer, and make the necessary decisions accordingly.
Most of all, don’t become discouraged. If you have a great idea for a course but you’re not confident it is a good market, then continue researching. If necessary, find strategic partners (individuals or organizations) to gain more exposure. Connect with people on social media (LinkedIn) so that others can be aware about what you’re doing.
With the right amount of planning, you will position yourself for success.