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The last couple of years has seen a lot of talk and interest in creating online courses. Check out the pattern in Google Trends:
And there’s good reason too - the online course industry is booming. Forbes reported that it was worth more than $100 billion in 2015.
Creating an online course is one of the most profitable ways you can earn money online.
You create a course once and can then sell it many times over. There are very few costs involved, with typical profit margins of 80% or more.
Not only that, but it's a great way of building authority and helping people who are keen to learn more about your knowledge or skills.
It's a common misconception that you need to be teaching business or online marketing to have success with online courses.
There are thousands of people out there teaching a whole range of skills like yoga, sewing, graphic design, watercolour painting, baking, how to use excel, how to get work as a freelancer, how to speak english..... and loads more, as you'll see below!
The interesting thing is, the sorts of people creating online courses is really varied.
Sure, there are some big-name internet marketing gurus like Derek Halpern and Pat Flynn with successful online courses, but there's way more ordinary everyday people making their courses and seeing some great results.
The majority of people creating online courses:
With the best online course platforms, the technology for making a course is really easy to use these days, so the field is wide open for anyone with a good idea to make a side or even full-time income teaching online.
Below is a list of 10 everyday people who have found success; earning money and sharing their passions through online courses.
The list includes bloggers and entrepreneurs, musicians and seamstresses; proving that the ability to create an online course is there for anyone with a passion and knowledge in their field.
Mimi G is a seamstress who started her blog as a hobby. Her first online video showed users how to sew a skirt; before she knew it, the video went viral, and jumpstarted a popular YouTube channel. The success of these tutorials and online courses has led to the creation of the Sew It Academy, teaching men and women around the world how to sew fashionable items for a monthly subscription fee.
The Wanderlust Dietician is a blog run by Maegan and Michael White that combines their love of travel with their love of health and wellness. They offer an online course called Wellness U consisting of 12 modules to practice over the course of 12 weeks. In addition to the modules, the course offers bonus resources and tests to build your health and nutrition goals. The success of the course and their blog is allowing Meagan and Michael to move from full-time jobs to life as “digital nomads.”
Dave Fox is a global storyteller who has visited over 50 countries on five continents. He's written multiple books that tell stories of his exciting adventures, but also hilarious encounters and mishaps abroad. Fox shares his ability to travel, write, and tell funny stories through his popular online courses. With more than 4000 students having taken his courses he's found the perfect way to share his talents and fund adventures doing what he loves.
The Random Passion Project is the brainchild of Ieva Laicane, a freelance graphic designer who has been living as a digital nomad for over three years. She offers a course called Ready….Set...Start Freelancing! that helps other aspiring freelancers hone their skills and start getting clients from their computers. Ieva’s approach is transparent, inspiring, and very useful for freelancers who are just beginning to make an income. Ieva’s website, which has thousands of followers across multiple social media platforms, is full of useful information which builds an audience of people wanting to learn more in-depth with her courses.
Henrique De Almeida is an expert drummer who has created a library of online courses for new and professional drummers. He teaches the full range of drumming techniques - from basics to more specialist courses like how to play different polyrhythms, and advanced hand techniques. He's a highly respected drummer and in demand, so his online courses enable him to teach more students than he could work with one on one.
Melyssa Griffin is an accomplished blogger and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping others make an income off of their passions. Blogging started as a hobby for Griffin in 2013 when she was living as an expat in Japan. In under four years, the blog exploded and she has since expanded her brand to offer online courses. Courses include specific strategies for building a following through quality content and social media strategies, including “Pinfinite Growth” and “List Surge.” She is making six figures from her blog, and over 100,000 aspiring entrepreneurs and bloggers have taken her courses.
Lee Wasilenko is a game developer and virtual reality enthusiast. As VR is becoming hotter and hotter, Wasilenko is sharing more knowledge and developments with his students through his VR DEV School courses. He started by offering a few simple free courses to build an audience and demonstrate his expertise and when it came to launching his first paid course he earnt more than $35,ooo in the space of a couple of weeks!
Angela Fehr teaches a whole range of watercolour painting techniques from beginner to advanced in her online courses. She initially built a big following with her free YouTube videos and then created a range of paid courses for students that wanted to go a step further in their learning. During the launch of a new course in 2015 she earnt $8000 in one month!
Helen runs Nurture Mamas, a blog and online course business helping women feel healthy and engaged with their pregnancy and birth. Drawing on her knowledge and experience from teaching more than 1000 woman through her in-person courses in Ireland, Helen has created a handful of courses to support women through yoga, breathing expercises and birth preparation.
Aside from this blog, I also run a mushroom growing business called GroCycle with my colleague Eric. Since 2015 we've been making a sizeable portion of our income from teaching people how to grow mushrooms via online courses. Our starter course teaching how to grow mushrooms on waste coffee grounds has more than 700 students from 42 countries around the world, and we have recently launched a more in-depth follow up course for those that want to build a small scale mushroom farm. Read more here about our journey creating an online course
As you can see, creating an online course can be a fantastic opportunity for bloggers, business owners, and hobbyists to showcase and share their knowledge with their audience.
Each of the teachers listed above started their businesses with a passion and and a wish to share that passion with others.
By sharing this knowledge online, they have been able to showcase themselves as experts in their fields, build supportive communities and make some good income.
From painting to virtual reality game developers, online courses can turn a hobby into a career, and turn a small business into one that can generate six figure incomes.
Learn more about creating a successful online course by downloading my free guide below: