I’ve always been a teacher… without an audience.
When I was little, I’d always try to share what I was learning with my friends. Whether it was computer programming, writing, or later, working out, I’d get my friends to try it out.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to turn this natural tendency into a cash-generating business. I now teach people around the world from my blog(s), podcast, and YouTube channel(s).
I’ve even written four books that I’ve self-published on Amazon!
If you’ve seen any of my vlogs, you’ll know that I’m a young guy in his 20s. Whenever I attend networking events, I’ll usually get asked the same questions by established professionals.
How I can actually teach online classes about various topics and earn good money while doing it.
Don’t you have to be certified or something?
Why would people around the world want to learn from little old me?
This post is meant to answer these questions. I’ll share with you how I, along with many other people online have figured out that you can teach online and earn money from home!
First, I’ll go into some of the websites that you can use to sell and online course. Then, I’ll take you through the approach towards making an online course.
1. Selling the Online Course
There are a lot of different tools out there that you can use to create and sell an online course. You can get going in a matter of weeks!
To put it simply, you’re either going to be selling the course to a group of students that you have developed a relationship with OR selling it in a larger course marketplace.
Software To Create A Course For Your Students
You can also start off your class with just a few students and teach them LIVE. You don’t necessarily have to pre-record the videos. I’ll get more into this though in the second half of the article
Online Course Marketplaces
On the plus side, online course marketplaces enable you to reach hundreds of students! Unfortunately, I’ve found that these marketplaces also have competitive price wars, meaning that you’re not going to be paid top dollar for your educational material.
2. Why Students Pay for Courses
Likely, if you’re reading this post, you have some idea as to what you should teach online. You might have learned these skills from your job, a university, or in the field.
Before you get started, you MUST understand the difference between academic courses and online courses. It comes down to theory vs. practicality.
When you’re in college, you might be required to take some philosophy course that has absolutely no bearing on your future career. You might be made to take a class on 19th century Chinese literature, even though you don’t want to do anything related to that.
Colleges can get away with making you pay to take courses that have no practical value.
Ironically, a college degree isn’t even worth much anymore. You can’t even be guaranteed a job after college!
Online, people will only pay to take your course if it generates some type of tangible result in their life.
To make an analogy… you’re not selling a drill, you’re selling a hole in a wall. Most people don’t buy a drill because it looks cool. They buy it because they need a hole in a wall.
Maybe, they use that hole in a wall to hold a fancy new plasma TV. Whatever it is, they have that end goal in mind when they spend money on the tools to get there.
This is why coding courses sell so well. People who take this type of online course are acquiring a tangible skill that they can use to make money or build their own applications.
Whatever you decide to teach must deliver a real positive change in the lives of your students. It doesn’t have to be a technical skill, but you must make the value 100% concrete.
For example, if you’re teaching people how to meditate, that’s because with meditation, people can gain a sense of emotional awareness and calm, so that they can have a happy marriage.
In this example, you’re not actually selling meditation. You’re selling a happy marriage and the benefits that come with that.
Take a step back and ask yourself:
- What is the end result of a student who takes your course?
- What will the knowledge or path enable them to do?
- What benefits are they seeking?
Aside from purchasing benefits, the second reason that students purchase courses is because they want to be held accountable to their goals and get there with minimal resistance.
The course isn’t the only thing that you’re selling. You’re also selling YOU as a teacher of that material. We seek out teachers and mentors because they can guide us towards a destination.
By virtue of their personality, they add a “human” element to learning. Looking back on high school and college, some of my favorite classes were only memorable because of the amazing teacher that taught the material.
You must be able to relate to your students. Your job is to hold them accountable and make sure that they get through the course material as effortlessly as possible. You are their guide.
3. What You Should Teach
Usually, it’s going to be easiest to teach what you know. If you have experience in some area of your life, and you’ve produced results, this is going to be a much easier sell.
You don’t necessarily have to though. You could bring in experts that have the key skills, or partner with them. In this case, you’d be more of an organizer or marketer of the course.
In the future, I’m considering putting together an online course on blogging, podcasting, or YouTube. These are all great ways to make passive income online.
The reason I want to talk about this topic is because I make a full-time income from blogging, and I’ve built up websites to over one million visitors a year, a podcast with 80k+ listens, and an online forum that has over 6,000 members.
I don’t say that to brag. I am just stating the results I’ve generated with a proven system that I’ve developed.
You must ask yourself:
- What gives you credibility?
- What results have you personally generated?
- What results have you generated for your students?
You don’t have to be a “master” to be able to start a course. You could get a student from point A to point B. At that point, maybe they must go on to learn from an advanced teacher for more difficult topics.
4. The Technical Stuff
Teaching online is great because you don’t really need fancy equipment to be able to earn money. My very first course was comprised of screen recordings. I went through powerpoint slides, along with screen capture videos. I also had a voice over component as I went through the materials.
Now a days, I’m putting together more high quality videos. I’m adding motion graphics, cool transitions, clips, and more to make the learning experience fun.
Initially, a lot of people feel uncertain about being on camera or having their voice recording worked into a powerpoint presentation. They don’t feel like it will be interesting for their students.
Your first course is a test run! If your students find it difficult to learn from your training videos, you can supplement their learning with live calls or group Q&A sessions.
Great Training Video Equipment:
- ScreenFlow: Capture screen recordings
- KeyNote or Powerpoint: Put together slide decks
- Audio-Technica ATR2100 USB Microphone: Record podcast-quality audio
- Canon EOS 70D Video Creator Kit: The camera set-up I use.
- LimoStudio 700W Photography Softbox Light Lighting Kit: I use these for some videos, depending on the day light quality.
- Wistia: Great to host the videos so you don’t have to use YouTube .
If you really are lazy and don’t want to spend money, you could even get by just using your laptop. I know that Mac comes with Quicktime, which allows you to take rudimentary screen or video recordings. You can then edit them with iMovie.
5. How To Get Students
This is probably the part that is most foreign to many of you. How do you get thousands of people to visit your website, especially when no one has heard of you?
I first want to say that you don’t need thousands of students. 100 students paying $500 for an online course is a very healthy living over the course of a year.
When I first got started online, I was under 21 and had no money. My only option was to put out great content that would attract a crowd of people.
Over time, people realized that I knew what I was talking about and eventually, that’s how I grew the email list for my other blog to over 20,000 people.
To get your initial students, you can either do:
- Paid advertising. You can advertise a webinar or other content that leads into the course.
- Put out free content. You could put out free content via YouTube, blogging, podcasting, writing books, and more.
The #1 sales channel is going to be email marketing, so ultimately, you’re going to have to get people onto your email list. You’re also going to have to develop a relationship with them, which is where the free content comes into play.
Once you have your initial batch of students, it’s very important that you make the course experience great for them. This is the only way that you’re going to get positive testimonials that will make it easier to enroll students in the future.
What do you want to teach?
Let me know by leaving a comment down below! I’d love to hear from you, along with how I can help you become a full-time teacher.