Are you looking for a beginner-friendly side hustle? Anyone can make passive income selling courses online, on platforms like Skillshare, Udemy and Teachable.
If you already have a blog or YouTube channel, you can re-purpose your content and make mini-courses from it to make extra cash.
For beginners looking to start their first online business, course creation is simple and gets results.
You may be thinking you don’t have any knowledge to sell? But, as more and more people look to learn online, educational platforms are booming with courses in many niches.
To give you an idea that anything sells…. really. A few of the most unusual classes I’ve seen on Udemy are;
- Dance floor confidence, how to dance at a club – for men
- Selfie masterclass: how to click perfect selfies
- Learn the secrets of zombie apocalypse preparedness
- How to build a rocket?
- Learn to communicate with animals + nature
And these classes racked up thousands of students!
So, back to you as a beginner. There is definitely something you could teach to the masses.
What Do You Need for Online Course Creation?
The great thing about course creation is that online course websites do all the marketing for you. Platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, Teachable and many others spend a lot of money on their marketing and get tons of organic traffic from Google.
Once you create and upload your course, you can tap into their ready-built audience. And you can share your course on multiple e-learning platforms to get even more views. Other tools you need are minimal and include;
- Laptop and fast WIFI connection. A decent laptop and fast WIFI is essential, allowing you to record, edit and upload your videos without disturbance
- A quality microphone. While you can use your computer mic, it’s worth investing in a quality microphone that will make your videos way more professional. Some online course websites will disallow videos with bad sound quality. Many YouTubers, podcasters and online gamers swear by the Blue Yeti USB microphone which you can get on Amazon
- Screen recording and editing software. Recommended screen recorders are ScreenCastOmatic and Camtasia for PC and ScreenFlow for Mac. A low-cost editing software I’ve used and like is Filmora at only $39.99 a year
How to Make Passive Income Selling Courses – Step by Step Guide
Have a think about what you could teach to the world. If you have skills like writing, graphic design, basket weaving or anything else, you can turn these skills into a video tutorial.
If you can’t think of anything to teach, go and learn something, practice it and teach what you learn.
You can sign up for 2 free weeks of Skillshare here, enroll in a few courses and take notes of what was in the course.
Next, re-write what you learned into your own video script.
You really don’t need to be an expert on a subject, with years of experience.
Step #1: Brainstorm Your Course Outline
Once you’ve decided on what you’ll teach, break down what you’ve learned into small steps. Each of these will become a video lecture.
The total time for your complete video tutorial is up to you. I’ve seen courses on Skillshare from 20 minutes’ total right up to an hour. It really does depend on what you’re teaching and how much content you have.
If you aim for 5 minutes of video in each step. 6 steps will be 30 minutes total or 12 steps 1 hour. This is achievable for anyone.
Step #2: Edit Your Course Videos
The goal here is to make your video content flow. You may find in the beginning you’ll be pausing frequently and saying ummmm a lot!
Don’t worry, this is part of the learning curve.
What helped me was having my text written down in short blurbs. You can edit out too many ummms and ahs in your editing software.
The final cut, needs to flow and be easy to understand.
Also, make sure you smile and have a great background which will enhance the look of your videos.
Step #3: Create a Thumbnail Image
The thumbnail is the image people will see when your video pops up on an online course website. It needs to stand out with bright colours and scroll-stopping text.
The size of the image should be 1280 x 720 but this may vary between platforms.
You can use Canva to create your image for free. It’s extremely easy to use and has a ton of free stock photos, images, Gifs and texts available.
Step #4: Upload Your Tutorial to Online Course Websites
To make passive income selling courses, you can upload it to multiple course websites at a time. This gives you large exposure and a huge audience helping to increase your earnings.
Different platforms have different rules, so read their guidelines to ensure you get approved. But, the most you’ll have to do is record a new intro and ending, edit the description or change up the imagery for each one.
Some of the most popular online course websites are;
How Else Can You Profit from Online Course Websites?
Creating and uploading your own courses is a surefire way to make passive income. Beginner or expert, your course will get watched thanks to the massive marketing efforts from online course websites. If you’re looking for other ways to make money, here’s some ideas;
Become an Affiliate
All the popular online education platforms will have their own affiliate program. This is part of the reason they’ve grown so big, with others recommending them to their audience.
If you have a blog or active social media accounts, sign up to become an affiliate for the platforms you love.
Write Course Reviews
Once you’ve taken courses, you can write a review to help others know what the course is like. This works well on your own blog, or you can write for free on platforms like Medium or LinkedIn articles.
Be honest in your review, talking about the good and the bad. This helps to build trust with your audience.
Add affiliate links in your article to take people to the buyer’s page if they wish.
Set up Your Own Education Platform
Education is a $350-billion-dollar industry – what if you could own an Udemy style platform yourself?
This is completely possible with AcademyZPresso, which basically gives you a ready-made education platform, waiting for you to upload content to.
You don’t even have to create videos, you just find teachers who want to upload their videos and you take a cut of the sale. Once you get teachers and students, you can offer them affiliate commissions to promote your platform which brings more traffic and passive income.
How To Make Passive Income Selling Courses — FAQS
Can I make passive income selling courses even with no experience?
Yes! Anyone regardless of their experience can create and sell an online course. What’s important is that you have something of value to teach others. Have a think about what skills or hobbies you have. Could you package this information into a course and sell to others? Even simple daily things you do with ease, others may struggle with.
Do I need professional recording and editing equipment to create an online course?
No! It’s entirely possible to film your courses on a smartphone and your laptop. Skillshare recommends filming facial shots on your phone not your laptop as it’s a bit better quality. But any screen recording and editing can be done on your laptop. I use Wondershare Filmora which is extremely cheap for editing or you can use free software like Lightworks or iMovie.
How much can you make from selling courses?
Skillshare pays instructors $0.05 – $0.10 per minute for video watched. That means if you get 1,000 students watching your class, you’ll earn $500 – $1,000 a month. Each educational platform will pay slightly differently. But the good thing is, you can create your own channel and upload multiple courses to increase your monthly earnings.
What online courses sell best?
Profitable niches for online courses are; computers and technology, business and entrepreneurship, arts and crafts, writing and content creation, health, personal development and career. But don’t panic if you don’t have mainstream skills, some weird classes I’ve seen selling online include; how to click the perfect selfie and how to train your dog to walk on a treadmill!
Can you sell online courses on Amazon?
Yes, but not directly. You can’t offer digital courses as a third party seller but can turn your course into a video, an eBook or an audiobook to sell on Amazon.
Do you have to show your face on online courses?
You do not have to show your face in your online courses. But, courses that have a face to face connection do tend to sell better according to Udemy. If you don’t want to show your face, you can just create slides and use screen recordings to teach your class.
Conclusion – How to Make Passive Income Selling Courses
As you can see, you can make passive income selling courses relatively easy. You have to do the planning and work up-front, but once your video is recorded and edited, it could make you money for years.
The main points that are really attractive include;
- No selling is required
- No need to drive traffic or have a large social following
- Don’t need to be an expert
- Don’t need tons of qualifications
- You can post the same course on multiple platforms
It really is a beginner-friendly passive income opportunity with huge potential.
Just make sure you take action and spend the time to make quality videos. If you do, you will see results and be able to scale your profits.
Have you had any experience with online course websites?
Did you make money or have any tips to add?
I’d love to know in the comments.
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.