What type of business should you run? I'm certain you have thousands of ideas floating around your mind, but the hard part is figuring out which of those ideas are winners. You could start blogging, selling a brilliant content idea online or even creating a digital product to charge recurring payments to subscribers.
Have you ever thought about running a business by only selling online courses? Heck, in the video course world, people are making up to $17 million per year. Not bad, right?
It takes work, and often times it requires at least mid-range quality video or screen capture tools, but making courses is a fun and rewarding way to bring in a revenue stream. Think about it. You get to select a particular field you're knowledgeable in and share that knowledge with a large amount of people online. In return, you create a population of folks who are educated in that field, thereby bringing you more connections and people to talk with.
Keep in mind that an online course isn't only about video content. In fact, some online courses may not offer any video at all. But the most effective online courses incorporate various components to encourage classes and push them to learn more. For example, your online course may include the following:
- Media, like audio clips and videos
- Tests and certifications
- Chapters and episodes
- Progress tracking
- Online and offline viewing
- PDFs and audio clips
How do you go about taking the first steps to a successful business that sells online courses?
Let's take a step by step look into the process.
Step 1: Sign Up for Uscreen
The first step to online course bliss is navigating to the Uscreen website. This is a full-fledged service for building your own Lynda.com style website, and I would hesitate to recommend anything else besides this in terms of making your own self-hosted platform. Sure, you can check out spots like Udemy, but this is more focused on your company branding, as opposed to how Udemy is basically you using their platform with limited personal branding options.
The Uscreen service starts at $99 per month, and this gets you up to 100 users for your courses. Tack on an additional $1 per user per month if you go over the 100 user count.
Click on the Start Free Trial button, which provides a 14-day trial for your own testing needs. Fill out your personal information and submit it to receive the free trial. The form is simply to contact the Uscreen company, so you won't get immediate access until someone from Uscreen sends you an email or calls you on the phone.
Step 2: Find a Niche and Figure Out if There's Demand
This is where heavy research comes into play. Consider checking out YouTube, Udemy, Google, Linda.com and other places to find courses to see if anyone is already making courses in your niche. If so, how can you make your courses better to the point where people may want to pay for them? What additional tools or course offerings can you create to make your courses more valuable?
Scour forums and places like Reddit to understand the questions people are asking in the industry, and make a list to determine whether or not the niche has enough market potential for making a decent profit.
Step 3: Determine the Purpose of Your Course
Just because you have a niche doesn't mean you know the purpose of why you're creating a course in that niche. In the realm of ecommerce, you may actually be wanting to educate your current paying customers on your products. Maybe you are interested in bringing in a new income stream or you want to build your email list to send out future promotions to your online store.
Regardless, discovering the purpose of your course is an essential part of the beginning phases.
Step 4: Outline Your Course Structure
A well-organized course is the key to convincing people to join and share with other people. Start by labeling all of your units consistently so that the course has a solid flow when people sign up.
Include activities, assignments, course materials and tests that can strengthen the way people feel about their knowledge as they progress through your courses. After all, a course with a bunch of tutorial videos is great, but how can your subscribers evaluate whether or not they have learned anything?
Step 5: Produce Your Course Content
Although Uscreen is a wonderful platform for selling and distributing your online courses, it's not a place to create your content. Since most online courses revolve around videos, you must look into the software options and other tools needed for making high-quality content. Consider trying out iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to edit your content, and either hire a professional to shoot the content or create it yourself if you have the skills.
Often times you only need to capture your computer screen to make your videos, so pair a quality microphone with the Snagit software to accomplish this.
What are some other pieces of content you may need to create?
- Course tracking sheets
- Certification documents
- Audio clips
Step 6: Upload Your New Content to Uscreen
Uscreen provides a simple content uploader to place videos, and other items, on your Uscreen website without having to worry about the security of the content. This works in every browser, and the content gets optimized for consumption on mobile devices.
After uploading your content, you can create video menus similar to something you might find on a DVD menu, with links to your video chapters, links to other resources and time-stamps.
Step 7: Start Accepting Membership Payments
You have three options for accepting membership payments for your online courses: Integrate with Shopify, integrate with WordPress or create your own unique Uscreen storefront.
Set up your site to collect monthly or yearly fees, or even consider charging per course or video.
Step 8: Market Your Content to Bring in Members
From social media to Google Ads, no one is going to stumble upon your online courses unless you distribute the message. Focus on setting a budget for how much you want to spend and ensure that you have some social sharing and email list building tools for remarketing in the future.
Not too long ago you needed an experienced developer and super expensive video production tools to create an online course and start selling it online. Luckily, now all you need is a few handy production tools, Uscreen and your own marketing skills to start generating revenue from videos, course materials and lessons. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about how to create a business selling online courses.