The Truth about Starting an Online Course Business

There is a lot of hype around creating and selling online courses today, and with good reason.

Unlike any other time in history has it been so easy to set-up a business sharing your knowledge. All you need is a computer and a platform to sell, and you are ready to take orders.

The problem is that being “ready” to take orders is not the same as actually getting orders.

This is the less attractive side to selling courses that I think isn’t addressed. There are people and companies that would have you believe that all you need to do is get your ideas into course format and you will strike it rich. The sales jargon is tempting. The lifestyle that they are selling is also alluring.

This online course era sort of reminds me of when eBay was taking off in popularity. Everyone thought that all they had to do was list their products and they would be sold. Perhaps this was true in the very early days, but that quickly changed. Simply creating an eBay listing isn’t enough. Just the same, simply creating a course to sell isn’t enough.

Online Courses = Online Business

I think it is important to clarify something: creating an online courses means you are creating an online business.

It is a small distinction, but important. It is not uncommon for people to immediately think of scams when they hear the term “online business”. Since the dawn of the internet there have been some pretty slick salesman promising an easy “digital lifestyle” in exchange for your hard earned money.

Some of these same people are now selling the idea of creating online courses as a way to riches. They dropped the online business jargon and have replaced it with online courses. It seems more accessible and it doesn’t conjure up the same negative emotions. But make no mistake, this is exactly the same as creating an online business – and businesses take a lot of work & time.

That said, not every training program for creating & selling online courses is a scam. My friend Troy Dean’s Rockstar Empires course is legit. So too is Bradley & Andy’s Great eCourse Adventure program.

The point is that creating your online course takes more than making it available for purchase. If you are starting from scratch then you have to build a brand, market that brand, and network or you won’t make a single dollar.

Can you make money from selling online courses? Absolutely. Just remember that it takes time and due diligence just like any real business.

Author

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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