A Student’s Guide To Selling Online Courses

4 minutes read

Even though everything you learn in college is supposed to be applicable knowledge, this won’t always be the case. Sometimes, your favorite cross or one you got the highest mark on, may be not as applicable in your line of work as you would like. Fortunately, there is no such thing as a useless knowledge. Even though this may sound a bit cliché, we don’t mean this in a metaphorical or even ethical sense, seeing how there is a way for you to actually profit from this knowledge.

There is always that one skill, subject or field that you have mastered, so why not simply record a brief course of your own and sell it online? Here are few things you need to think of before you make a decision of should you sell online courses.

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1.     Identify your audience

The absolute basis of any successful online course lies in the quality of its content. For this, however, you must start by identifying your audience and finding out what do they want. Luckily, here, you will have a lot easier job, seeing how the greatest majority of your audience will probably be of the same profile.

One of the best ways to do this is to visit social network groups and forums such as Reddit and Quora and look for the keywords regarding the subject of your course. This will help you develop a voice that your target demographics find the most appealing and the most engaging. In other words, identifying your target audience properly, helps you develop a great pitch, which can sometimes be a selling point.

2.     Write it down

The next thing you need to do is start writing the content you are about to process into learning material later on. For instance, you need to start with the goals of your course and list all the major objectives. The way this works is quite simple, for instance, you can start with a common phrase: “By the end of this course, you will be able to…”, and then go on and list all the most important skills they will acquire. Aside from this, you need to make sure your content is as interactive as possible, which means that you should include as many tasks and worksheets as possible.

3.     Make your offer different

Here, however, comes the twist. You see, it is highly unlikely you will be the first one who remembered to try and sell this course, which means that you might already have a tough competition. Seeing how these people were there first, they will already have reviews, ratings and testimonials to back them up. In order to breach this difference, you need to find a way to demonstrate some value to your potential learners and show them what makes your course different from all the rest. You can give them a teaser of your course’s content on YouTube, offer a special hook or even display a detailed learning path in front of them.

4.     Think about the format

Another thing you need to think about is the format. Sure, sometimes all you need is a webcam and some basic editing skills, but you could achieve so much more if you find someone skillful enough to help you out. You can inquire if someone amongst your fellow students has a proficient video (or audio) editing skills and team up with them.

In fact, you can even add another person to the mix and add someone who can present this topic much better. Even though this means splitting profits into three parts, you will gain some basic organizational skills and greatly improve the potential growth of your content’s popularity.

5.     Actually selling the course

Finally, perhaps the hardest part lies in actually selling the course. When it comes to the choice of platform, you will have so many options and you can even sell video courses online with Shopify. However, keep in mind that selling a product means that you are generating profit and that you are therefore obliged to pay taxes for it. In order to avoid any IRS related difficulties, you might want to take a closer look at the legal aspects of ecommerce regarding the region you live in.


As you can see, selling an online course requires you to be more than just an expert in the field. It requires you to become a real entrepreneur, as well. The demand is already there, you just need to learn how to create a supply of high enough quality and present it in the best way possible. As for the benefits of selling courses online, aside from earning some side money (which is always a welcome plus for a student), you also get to test your knowledge in a real life situation and help others while doing so. A genuine win-win-win scenario if there ever was one.

James D Burbank imageAbout the author: James D. Burbank has always been interested in the ways technology is changing our world, especially when it comes to education and business. If you have the time, check out his blog, BizzMarkBlog.


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