How to set up your first online course?

Sometimes the most valuable thing you can sell to people is knowledge and information. If you’re an expert at something, have you considered starting a business based on the sharing of information you’ve accumulated over the years? If you’ve got a skill or a strong understanding of a topic, there are people who would pay to have that same level of understanding. So why not give it to them? Why not start a business based on online courses? It’s actually not as difficult as it sounds.

Step 1: Identifying your expertise

If you want to run a business that provides online courses, you need to be enough of an expert in your field that you could teach somebody else. While you might think to yourself: “Sure, it would be nice to run an online course, but I don’t know anything about anything, so I’d never been able to do that!” – you might be more talented than you realise. Here are a few skills that you could create an online course for:


  • Content writing: There’s an ever-growing demand for high-quality web content. People will absolutely pay for a course on copywriting. Cover aspects such as motivation, planning, generating ideas, correct use of grammar, and so on.


  • Computer skills: If you are of the generation that grew up alongside the advent of computers and the internet, then you’ll know a lot more about such things than those who came before. A subject you might consider ‘general knowledge’ could actually be quite specialised. Even something like browsing the web or using the Internet safely could be the subject of an online course.


  • Music: Can you play any musical instruments? If so, you could teach others to do the same. Including things like the best way to practice, finger exercises, easy tunes to try in the early days, and so on.


  • Work skills: If you’ve already got a full-time job, then there’s a high chance that you’re using a full set of professional skills every day. What can you do that other person can’t? Teach them how to do your job!

When you think about it like that, most people have one or many skills that others would like to learn.

Step 2: Finding a platform

If you want to start selling an online course, you’re going to need a platform through which to offer that online course. Thankfully, there are several options available to you:


  • Udemy

    Udemy is a platform specifically made for teaching. If you want to learn something, you can go to Udemy to find a course. Likewise, if you want to teach something, you can also use it.


  • Shopify

    This is for those who wish to take a somewhat different approach. If you’d rather have your very own website on which to share your course, Shopify might be worth considering. It’s primarily used for online shops but has a variety of applications in that field, including online courses.


Believe it or not, lots of people use YouTube as a platform for teaching others. For example, if you wanted to learn how to play an instrument, you’ll find that plenty of YouTubers have provided a series of step-by-step videos that explain how to do so.


For different sorts of courses, there are going to be different ideal platforms. There are other platforms besides these too, but these are some of the most popular. If you can’t really figure out what’s best for you, Udemy might be the easiest choice.

Step 3: Putting it all together

Once you’ve decided on a platform, you need to actually start putting it all together. This might sound difficult, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Here are a few pieces of advice for breaking down your wealth of knowledge into easily digestible chunks for the people who will be using your service:


  • First of all, remember how it felt when you learned the subject initially. Try to remember each step and then recreate that for the people you hope to teach.


  • Think about how you’re breaking it up and how, if at all, you’ll be charging people to use it. Divide up your educational materials accordingly.


  • Make sure all the writing is easy to read and highly accessible. If need be, give all the information to a copywriter and have them write it.


  • Use images to ensure that the information can be conveyed visually.


  • Do your research. You may think you know everything there is to know, but you might be wrong. The field may also have expanded since you learned.


  • Take a look at other people offering courses on the same subject. How could you do better than them?


Keep these points in mind and you should be able to create a high-quality course. You’ve got to ask yourself why people would turn to your online course, rather than using any other means to learn about the subject matter. If you can provide a simple and convenient way of teaching, while ensuring that it remains comprehensive, you’ll be on the right track. It’s worth keeping up with the top influencers in the e-learning world too.


People like to think that they can use the internet to learn just about anything. This is almost true. There are always people who want to learn, so why not get on the action yourself? Do it right and you might find that you’ve got a nice little earner on your hands. What subject would you like to teach as an online course?



Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.

I work with e-commerce businesses and marketing teams to create content and targeted SEO strategies. In many ways, my role is a lot like teaching. I have to explain why certain approaches work and why certain approaches don’t. It all comes down to articulating and conveying ideas.


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