Can You Make Money With An Online Course?
Can you actually make money selling an online course?
🦄 It seems like this magical unicorn, right? 🦄
Like you can put something online and then it can make sales while you sleep. How is this even possible?
Today we are going to talk about how it's possible.
Okay, so short answer. Can you make money selling an online course?
Yes, you can.
Let's break it down and look at how can you make this happen?
What are the factors that you can bring in to make this happen?
Before we start, though, I want to tell you a little story. So if you've been around, you know that I was a teacher before this, and when I became a teacher, I found that teaching writing was not my favorite thing. And part of the reason how I'm teaching writing was not my favorite thing is because the grading of it was so subjective and you've probably experienced this yourself in high school or college. You turn in a paper and you thought it was really good and it gets a bad grade and you could give it to another teacher and you would have got a totally different grade because it's so subjective.
However, when I taught math, I actually became a math teacher because I loved it so much because one of the things is it's cut and dry. The answer is right or it's not.
This is also the cool thing about course creation and making money with course creation.
It's not this subjective, vague thing of like, oh, we're just going to willy-nilly this way through and hopefully this stuff works.
No, it's like math. There is a formula for success.
There are literally numbers that you can look at and you can project your success.
Let's dive into how to actually do that.
First of all, I want you to know that it is projected that the global Elearning market is going to reach $325,000,000,000 by 2025. And we're not that far off from 2025 now. There's going to be a yearly growth of 5%. That's what they're projecting.
Do you want to be part of that $325,000,000,000 gaining part of that money?
Let's do it.
One thing I want you to realize, too, is when you start looking at creating a course, things that happen or you're like, oh my gosh, there are already people doing this. They're doing it better. All these thoughts come creeping in, right?
But I want you to, number one, realize that if someone is already doing it, that's actually a good sign because that means there's a market in that industry.
Number two, as I said, this is going to grow. So we need more people doing it. It might as well be you that's helping it grow. Right.
Let's talk numbers
First of all, you have your revenue and your profit, right?
Profit = Revenue - Expenses
That's what you get to take home at the end of the day.
Here's the cool thing about an online business. If you were to start a brick-and-mortar business, say you wanted to start a boutique clothing store, first, you would have to find a building to lease. So you have the lease, you have to front the money to create an inventory. Then there are things like insurance and just all the things business expenses, business license, taxes, a lot of things. That's a lot of upfront money. You're in the hole before you even start quite a ways.
To break even or make a profit, you have to make quite a bit of money to get out of that original debt that you've started with.
However, with an online business, that barrier to entry is so low to get started. You could essentially get started for $0.
But you actually do need some tech.
So what do you actually need?
Well, to get started at the bare minimum, you need an email platform. You need a way to capture email lists or email addresses and create your list and be able to automate sequences and send out emails that starts usually around $30.
If you did nothing else but start with that and then sell your course through email and not have a sales page or anything like that, just an email and with a PayPal link or something, your lowest barrier entry is $30.
That's pretty easy to make back, right?
If you sell a course for $100 and make one sale, you've made your money back. Plus you've profited from that.
Most of you are going to not just sell your course through email and send a PayPal link. You're going to house your course on a course platform and those kinds of things.
You can essentially get started for free. Again, some course platforms have free versions, but they're very limited to what you can actually do.
But let's say you're like, you know what, I'm serious about this. I'm not going to do the freebie stuff. I'm going to go all in. The platform that I use and absolutely love is Simplero, and its basic level is $70/month. That's your email, it's everything. It's an all-in-one platform.
Again, you have a course, it's $100, you sell one a month, you are still making a profit.
See, the barrier to entry to get started is so low that it makes it that you can be profitable right away, which is amazing.
Okay, so we know the barrier to entry is low. So how do you actually make money?
Let's look at that.
First of all, there are a few things that affect your sales. This is where I was saying it's not subjective, it's data. If you've been around here at all, you know that I love data because data tells the story of what's happening in your business. It can also project what's going to happen in your business.
So let's take a look at this.
3 Points That Affect Your Revenue
Sales Page Conversion
The average conversion rate is between 1%-3%.
Let’s start with the lowest conversion rate, 1%.
If you have 1000 visitors to your sales page each month, 1% of them will buy. That’s 10 buyers. If your course is $100, you’d make $1000 in revenue per month.
1000 Visitors X 1% = 10 Buyers
10 Buyers X $100 Course = $1000 Revenue/Month
What is your dream? Is it a new car? Is it a house payment? Do you want to quit your nine to five? Build college funds? Do you want to go on vacation?
What is it and how would $1000 affect you being able to make your dream a reality?
If you're not hitting that 1%, then there are things that you look at and you can change to raise your conversion rate. If you're at 1% conversion and you want to build-up to the 2%, you test and tweak different parts of your funnel such as your sales page, offer, etc.
If we change that conversion rate and keep the same thousand people, but instead of 1% buy 2% buy that would be 20 buyers, right?
1000 Visitors X 2%= 20 Buyers
20 Buyers X $100 Course = $2000 Revenue/Month
Increasing your conversion rate by just 1% can make a big difference in your bottom line.
Let's talk about the next issue that can affect your profit.
The more people who see your sales page, the more buyers you're going to have.
If we take the same example from above and increase the number of visitors from 1000 to 3000, that will triple your revenue.
3000 Visitors X 1%=30 Buyers
30 Buyers X $100 Course = $3000 Revenue/Month
Just by being able to bring in more traffic, you can raise your revenue.
Let’s look at the final factor that can affect your profit
Obviously changing the price of your course can help bring in more revenue. So if you were to sell your course instead of for $100, you decided to sell it for $300. And we have that exact same thousand people, a 1% conversion rate. So ten people bought it and this time instead of it being $100, it was $300. Well, then you have $3,000 just by changing the price of the course alone.
Now you can see that this isn't some vague put it out, there, hope and pray that it works kind of thing. If you look at the data to see what’s happening, you’ll know which of the factors you need to work on to bring in more revenue. It’s no longer a guessing game.
Those are the three simple things that you can look at and decide what is happening and what needs to be changed.
Teachable actually did a study from the top 100,000 schools on their site and I highly suggest looking at this article, one of the coolest things it talks about how much do top schools earn?
Here’s a graph of how much the top 100,000 schools earn:
Yi, Eduardo. “How Much Do Top Schools Earn?” Teachable, https://teachable.com/blog/how-to-teach-online
The article also talks about the price of their courses, which I want to talk about is because I teach that you want to start with a 101 course. It's the easiest course to launch compared to the premium $1,000+ courses. There's a lot more that has to go into the launch. I think the easiest way to start is with a 101-course which you can sell through email. Email and a sales page. You don't have to do webinars. You can, but you don't have to. If you look at the graph below, you can see that most of the top-performing schools sell their courses in the 101-course price range, $100-$500.
Yi, Eduardo. “How Do top Schools Price Their Courses?” Teachable, https://teachable.com/blog/how-to-teach-online
As you can see, the most popular price range is between $101- $200.
Essentially you don't need a premium-priced course to make money.
Finally, I want to talk about, one thing that I see a lot of people, including a lot of my clients struggle and that is email. One of the quotes in this article was from Joanna Weibe from Copy Hackers, who is incredible and they have an amazing copy school.
We couldn’t launch a course or run evergreen programs without email. We could run good launches without webinars and even without long-form sales pages – but we couldn’t without email. I realized this a few years back, right around the time I got my first complaint from a subscriber: I was sending “too many” emails for him, but for others I was clearly sending just enough, as they were snapping up my course thanks to all those emails. I had to make a choice: send fewer or no emails and avoid complaints, or send better-targeted emails and grow my business. Naturally, I chose the latter, and the effort has paid off endlessly.” -Joanna Weibe, CopyHackers
If you want to make money selling a course, you have to have an email list and you have to nurture that list. You have to be emailing them frequently. I would actually challenge you to be emailing your list more than once a week. The more you email, the chance of them seeing one of your emails is much higher. And the chance of them clicking and engaging on your emails is much higher as well. So I challenge you if you want to be successful with your online course, you've got to be building your email list and nurturing your email list.
The people on your email list are the people who chose to be there. They have chosen to let you into their inbox. They're highly interested in what you have.
It doesn't matter what size your list is. I don't care if it's just you and your mom on your list, send that email because it's going to give you the practice. When your email list is 1000, 2000, 3000, 10,000 people, you're already going to know exactly how to email and what your style is and everything because you practiced when it was just you and your mom.
Here's one thing that I found as I started to email my list four to five times a week over the last several months, it's actually helped clarify my thoughts and ideas and my frameworks and what I'm all about by these simple daily emails.
When you write that much about your offer or your position in your field, you start to gain clarity in that because you're writing so much that the more you do it, the more you're like, oh, this is this and this is what I like and this is my framework and it just all comes together.
I truly challenge you to start emailing your list right now. As I said, I don't care if it's just you. I don't care if it's just you and your mom or you and your spouse.
Just start emailing.
Because whether no one's on there or not, it's going to help you create clarity on what your business and your offer and what you stand for, what it's all about.
Yes, being profitable with an online course is 100% possible.
I want you to know, this was actually from the article, too, that all the people in this top school said the hardest sales are your first five sales. You learn so much from those first 5 sales. As I said, data tells a story. With those first five, you can start to see that data and you can see your messaging and your offer and everything that starts to become more clear of what needs to be changed and what's working.
The very hardest sale you'll ever make is your first one. Then every other sale, it gets easier from that. Easier and easier and easier. So I've said before, if you can make one sale, you can make ten. And if you can make ten, you can make 100. And if you can make 100, you can make 1000. I know for a fact that to be true.
I want you to again think about what is your why? What amount of money coming in each month would make that difference for you? Then work from those data points, traffic, sales page conversion, and price. If you play around with that and figure it out, then you can see exactly what you need to do. You can make a plan for your business to hit those numbers that you need to make that dream possible.
I promise you, it is possible. I've done it for myself. I've seen my clients be profitable. I've seen my students be profitable. It is 100% possible. One thing that you have to know, though, is that you have to when things don't work out, you have to keep going. You don't give up. You have to keep going because it's not always going to work out perfectly every single time. Those data points might not hit where you were hoping that they would hit. So you look at that data, you make changes. You test it. Try it. You are a data detective. You look at the data, you look at the clues. You go try to figure out what it is. Then you test. You're like a scientist, too, because you test, test, test. That's all this is. Once you get your course created, it becomes marketing and testing to see how you can make your conversion rates go up, bring in more traffic and make more sales.
The last thing I want to leave you with is, what do you want by the end of this year? If you're reading when it's launched, this is February, and you still have almost an entire year to make that dream a reality. So think about when it comes to December 31 and you're like, wow, it's New Year's Eve.
What did I accomplish this year?
Are you going to get your course created and hit those goals?
I guarantee that you can. If you lack faith just know that I'm holding that space for you. I'm cheering you on. I have full faith in the fact that you can do this and I would love for you to join us and Construct Your Course. This is a full course that gets you from idea to launched with 90 days inside of my membership where I am there with you, I do funnel audits and I do reviews of your sales page and all those things to help you look at the data, know what to test, know what to tweak so I'd love to have you join us inside of Construct Your Course. I would love to help you make that dream a reality so that when that end of the year comes you can look back and go I did it, I did it! That dream that I was dreaming of at the beginning of this year it's now a reality.