How Much Can You Make Selling Online Courses in 2023
Last updated: January 11, 2023
You’ve spent years building your expertise in your industry and now you’re ready to give back. Maybe you’ve toyed with the idea of starting your own online course where you teach everything you need to know about your industry.
You might be wondering if creating online courses is worth it or how much can you make selling online courses or how much work it takes to start an online course business. The good news is that starting an online course is profitable (and we know a great tool that makes it easier and less hassle for you too).
In this article, we’ll share how profitable creating online courses really is.
Quick find links of things we’ll cover:
- Is Making An Online Course Profitable?
- Factors to Calculate The Revenue for Your Online Course
- The Most Profitable Online Courses
- Free Online Course Earnings Calculator
- Where to Sell Your Online Course
Is Making An Online Course Profitable?
Making an online course is profitable for many reasons. The biggest reason why selling online courses is profitable is because it’s a digital product. Digital products typically trade time for money, so the cost is the investment you put into the course. The biggest investment you’ll make in the course is your time. Your marketing costs can include running ads, posting about it on social media, or speaking at a conference to promote your courses. However, your marketing costs and your website host are the only costs you’ll have, so the rest is all profit.
Profitability for an online course will also depend on the topic of interest. Online courses that help people earn money, learn a new skillset, or solve a life problem will be the best topics when you sell online courses. For example, course topics could include Python programming, how to find the one, or how to start a business. You can view our online course ideas to find several other profitable online course topics you can start.
Factors to Calculate The Revenue for Your Online Course
There are numerous factors involved in knowing how to calculate the revenue and profit for your online course. Here are a few factors to consider:
1. Course price
The price tag of an online course can run anywhere from $10 to well over $1,000. If you’re going to sell a course for more than $1,000, the value of the course must be huge. For instance, your online course business might be a multi-week program to learn in-depth content about a skillset that helps people land jobs in their industry. Or if your online course is on the lower side of the spectrum, maybe you’ve created a short one-hour online course that dives into the basic fundamental lessons of your industry. The more value you add to your course the higher you can price it. Giving a certificate upon completion can also help boost the revenue you earn on your own online courses.
2. Your marketing plan
Some course creators have spent years building an audience on social media or via their blog. Selling online courses is easier for these types of people because they’re monetizing their pre-existing audience. However, course creators who don’t have an audience will either need to find someone with one or find their own target market. Fortunately, both of those options are quite simple. On the one hand, you can sell your course on a course marketplace (however, this only works for low-cost courses). On the other hand, you could find your own audience via social media ads. By doing this second strategy, you’ll be able to own your audience via an email list to remarket to them with other courses down the road. Plus, you’ll have more control over the course cost and won’t be subjected to a third-party platform’s promotional events.
3. Your value
Why should someone buy a course from you? Online learning is a great way to learn but people still want to learn from someone who knows more about a topic than them. You need to make it clear in an online course promo video why you’re an expert on this topic. If you have your own website, you can share what makes you an expert in your industry, how much revenue you’ve made in your field, or customer reviews from those who’ve taken and learned from your course. Adding social proof to your website will be a great way to help showcase your value to others.
4. Who’s paying for it?
When thinking about business models for your course, brainstorm who your target audience is. Is your target market someone with only a little bit of money or is it being expensed by the student’s workplace? For instance, if you’re teaching a course about how to code in a specific language, a company might pay for their employee to learn that skill set. This is typically common for higher value courses that cost over $1,000. Or is your course targeting someone looking to earn money by learning your skillset? Their budget might be smaller. So, beyond just demographic details about the type of person to buy your online course, think about whether a company would pay for this education as it could allow you to earn more since businesses have more money than the average person.
5. Market demand
You can make selling online courses profitable by knowing how much market demand there is for your area of expertise. You can do this a number of ways. You can check the industry value of a topic to know if this is something people invest money into. You can view course marketplaces to see how many reviews and students a course on that topic gets. Alternatively, check out Facebook groups for your niche and see what types of questions pop-up, these might help guide you to know the biggest problem areas. Create online courses that help solve a problem in your niche, so you can ensure you’re providing value to others. You might also check out the negative comments on a course to know what type of key information people wish competitor’s courses had.
6. Your content quality
The last factor for helping you calculate the revenue when selling online courses is your content quality. Content quality isn’t just about the information within the course, though that’s obviously very important too. It’s also the delivery of course creators, were you entertaining or boring? Did you keep the attention of students throughout the course or did it drag on? Did you record a screen the entire time or did you use a high quality camera? How often did you stay on a slide (which can cause boredom). Were your course lessons too long that it dragged on? Or did you have many short lessons that provide a lot of value?
The Most Profitable Online Courses
You can browse through online course platforms to see which courses they promote the most, have the most students, and reviews. Here are a few of the most profitable online courses you can sell this year.
On Udemy, you can find online courses in development for over $100. Many of the popular courses have over 1,000 students some netting over 40,000 students even. However, marketplaces typically undercharge for online courses due to competition. Brainstation, a popular online course business, charges as much as nearly $4,000 for a development course. The course is be taken on a once-a-week schedule with a live instructor. Having a live vs an ongoing course could also change the profitability of your course.
From accounting to marketing, you could earn money selling online courses in various business topics. Many people turn to online learning for learning how to build a business, manage it, and grow it. So starting an online business selling courses in this niche is viable. Udemy courses on marketing tend to cost just over $100 for students and popular courses generate over 1,000 students. Brainstation charges $3,250 for a flat rate of their digital marketing online course. Classes are capped but they still generate a decent online course revenue.
Teaching online courses about office products and software is also viable. You could sell courses on Microsoft Office products like Excel spreadsheets or how to use Google products or SAP, SQL, or Python. The more popular or challenging the product, the more likely you’ll be able to sell a course about it. Your online business can charge around $35 or so for an Excel course and you can generate tens of thousands of students or you can create an online course on your own website and charge more. Plus, upsell your course with pre-built spreadsheets that you also sell on your website.
Free Online Course Earnings Calculator
You can make money selling online courses, but how much money you earn will depend on various factors. You can try our free online course earnings calculator below to help you see the potential income you can earn, depending on various factors.
Landing Page Visitors/Month:
Which online course is best for earning?
Online courses about popular topics or that solve a huge pain point are best for earning. Topics could include web development, business, or office software, such as Excel or Python.
Which online course is best for getting a job?
Online courses that relate to a growing field are best for getting a job. Online courses about cybersecurity, web development, business, marketing, or other popular and growing industries are good choices. But there are many more to choose from than just this simple list.
How can you sell online courses profitably?
You can sell online courses profitably by hosting them on Payhip, which has a Free Forever plan. You can promote your course on your own website, on social media, or via paid ads. The best part is that you get to own your audience, unlike course marketplaces, so you can remarket to your customers anytime you launch a new product or course.
Final Thoughts – Where to Sell Your Online Course
As we hinted in an earlier section, hosting an online course on your website allows you to control how much you earn, own your audience, and remarket to them with other products too.
The most profitable platform to build your online course on is Payhip. Why?
- It has a Free Forever plan, with only a 5% transaction fee, making it the cheapest platform to sell courses on. As your course sales grow, you can remove your transaction fee by changing your plan.
- Payhip specializes in helping course creators sell digital products like online courses. You can modify lessons with ease. You’ll be able to add lessons like videos, text, quizzes, assignments, surveys, embeds, and other downloadables like ebooks.
- You can create drip course content, in case you want to people to complete it over several weeks rather than all at once.
- Most experts want to sell more than just courses. So, you can also use Payhip to sell your coaching services, monthly subscriptions, digital downloads, or even physical products on the same website. And creating a landing page for your course and services is pretty easy too.
- You can choose from the best business models for your course to. Since you can set your own prices on Payhip, you can choose from one-time fees, subscriptions, or payment plans to charge your students.
- You can choose to create your website on Payhip or embed Payhip’s course creator on your website. But if you’d rather go site-less, you can promote your course on social media instead using your Payhip course listing.
If you’re keen to learn more about selling online courses, we highly recommend reading our ultimate guide on how to sell online courses which provides comprehensive step-by-step guide that you can easily follow.
When you’re ready to launch your online course, Payhip is ready to make your journey an amazingly effortless one. Sign up for a free account on Payhip today.