How to Create an Online Course to Sell & Earn Passive Income

I'm going to be walking you through step by step on how to create an online course to sell. I'll be discussing how to pick and validate your course idea. I’ll also talk to you about creating an outline, how to film, and edit your course, and finally, how to pick the perfect hosting platform for your course.

How to create an online course

1. Decide on a topic

First, you need to decide what your course will be about.

If you’re struggling, think about what you're good at. If you’re hesitating because you’re not an expert or have no certifications, you don't need to be an expert or have a Ph.D. in a certain field to share valuable information with the world.

Just think of things that you know better than the average person. Think of something you're passionate about and would talk about nonstop for free. Do some brainstorming and write down three to five course ideas.

Using Google Trends

2. Validate your idea 

The next thing you want to do is to validate your idea. While you might be passionate about a specific topic, you want to make sure there's enough demand in the market, because you want to create a course that will sell.

You can validate your course idea by going on to Google Trends and searching for the topic of your course. See if that's something people have been actively searching for lately. That will give you an idea if it's something people are interested in. 

Once you see the results of your search, you’ll have a better idea of what people have been interested in recently. If you have access to online marketplaces like Udemy and Skillshare, you can also go there, search the topic, and see if that's something that people have been actively enrolling in.

Photography course ideas

3. Niche down

When it comes to the topic, I recommend niching down to stay competitive in the market. For example, if you want to make a course about photography, don't make your course too general.

There's enough content out there to teach people photography basics. Pick a specific niche within photography. You can make a course about food photography, sports photography, or nature photography.

Creating an outline for your online course

4. Outline

Once you figure out what you want to make a course about, it's time to start outlining. Your course outlines will help you figure out how to structure the information in a way that makes sense to your audience.

Outlines automatically break your course down into multiple sections or modules or lectures. This will enable you to create bite-size videos or shorter lectures. 

I recommend keeping your lessons under ten minutes and making your course as interactive as possible. Implement things like quizzes, worksheets, and projects, if that's applicable. This will help your students to be able to retain and apply what they're learning.

Filming videos for your online course

5. Filming

Once you're done with your course outline, it's time to start filming. When it comes to equipment, you don't need anything fancy. You can use the webcam on your laptop or your phone. There are affordable options for light, but you can also just use natural light. 

The only piece of equipment that I would recommend investing in is a decent microphone. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, but it’s good to have something. Mine was $30 and it works great. Audio is important when you're filming educational content. 

How to create an online course for free

There are different options on how you can structure your video. You can do a direct to camera format or a slideshow. You can do a voiceover with slides, or use talking head format. It depends on how you want to structure your lectures.

Editing videos for your course

6. Editing 

The next step is editing. There's a lot of information on the internet on how to edit your videos so I'm not going into too much detail on that, but it doesn't have to be complicated. I use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit my course, but you can also use tools like iMovie and other beginner-friendly tools.

Choosing a host platform,such as Graphy

7. Choosing your host platform

Once you finish your course it's time to figure out where you want to host it. Having a great hosting platform is important. There are so many options for platforms.

Check out platforms like Teachable, Kajabi, or Graphy. Look for a platform that gives you control over your price and your audience. I’d also recommend a platform with a user-friendly UI. 

Make sure to use a platform with which you are able to collect your students’ emails. Building an email list is important in case of issues on social media platforms.

You need an email list to be able to sell your services and send automatic updates. This way you don't have to use any third-party platforms, which can get pretty pricey. 

How to create an online course to sell

Platforms like Graphy give you the option of building your own landing page and website or choosing from readymade design templates.

Graphy also has quiz builders and other tools that make your course more interactive. If you already created your own worksheets and quizzes, you could also upload them to each lecture as PDF files.

You can schedule live sessions and use tools like virtual polls to keep your audience more engaged. Many of these hosting platforms also offer a blog section. Blogs can help with your SEO. Blog posts will help you to appear higher in searches when somebody is searching for something that is similar to the topic of your course. 

Let's talk about the financial side of it. Make sure the platform you use gives you full control over your course prices. Some platforms run a lot of sales and sometimes sell your course at a fraction of the original price. Having control over pricing makes a huge difference. 

How to create an online course to sell

What are you planning on making a course about? Let me know in the comments down below. I would love to learn more. If you have any questions, reach out to me in the comments down below as well. Good luck, and have a great day!

Join the conversation
  • Wendy Wendy on Feb 03, 2023

    Would love to impart all the practical knowledge I have learned through 40 years of working with mental health clients. Much of which doctors do not tell you, like what signs to look for in your child, when should I worry about my safety and how to or how not to confront a person who is actively psychotic. Those are ideas for loved ones worrying about their affected relatives. For those suffering themselves, how to advocate for changes, what to and what not to say when going to emergency dept. for physical health concerns so you'll be taken seriously. Why diagnosis is not important. Why you need to focus on your functional abilities with your doctor. Ya da ya da ya da! Unfortunately I am technologically illiterate. Im thinking maybe a book with a ghost writer?

    • See 1 previous
    • Don Don on Mar 29, 2023

      If you ever offer an online class, I would LOVE to know about it! Currently I’m a caregiver for a terminally ill person who might be heading towards dementia. And that scares the heck out of me. Plus, I have a very dear friend who is schizophrenic and being able to adjust to their unpredictable changes in behavior would make my life a lot less stressful. Please keep me posted of any upcoming classes

  • Dru63445645 Dru63445645 on Mar 29, 2023

    Hi Wendy

    I’ve been thinking for some time about going solo - starting my own business. You see I tutor for a company based in America but all the students are from China. This company prepares students for the IELTS exam and my job involves assigning the students chapters to read from selected novels (like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games etc.) through the week. Then I meet with them online (WeChat) once a week for one hour to discuss the reading. I will have questions prepared to check for things like comprehension, critical thinking and so forth. My student load has dropped off to almost nothing since U. S. / China relations started going down hill. With my own business I would not be limited to Chinese students. What do you think about this? Is one hour to long? Currently students read about 60 pages a week or 10 per day. Do you think that is to much? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Sincerely, Dan