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5 Ways to Make Money Selling Online Courses


The online education market is burgeoning. But, with all the competition, carving your own way towards making a profit off an online course could be daunting. In fact, many budding educators even wonder if it’s possible. Well, we believe it is. To get you started, here are 5 proven ways to make money selling courses online.

1. Charge upfront.

Charging a one-time fee at the beginning of a course is the easiest way for learners to understand as well as to implement. This one also goes better with the standard model most of us have seen for our education. We are used to paying a one-time fee for courses up-front. It’s not just easier to justify but is also less intimidating than an idea of a recurring payment that never ends.

Up-front fees also make it easier to sell more courses later on. When your learners are already paying a monthly subscription, they may hesitate to pay more because they feel they’ve already paid their dues. An up-front fee makes it easier to set expectations about what users are paying for.

2. Offer the course for free, then charge for certification.

This model is being widely used successfully by marketplaces like Udemy & Coursera. It seems counterintuitive as you’re giving the “teaching” part of the course totally free. But, this can work to your advantage for a multitude of reasons:

  1. It builds trust & credibility. Learners are free to sign up for your course without being misled.
  2. Quickly build an email list of the interested people whom you can market to.
  3. Certification has professional value for which people will pay for.

3. Charge a subscription.

Most of us are totally okay to pay recurring fees for ongoing lessons like music lessons, private tutoring, etc.

Hence, this applies to online learning as well. Learners might hesitate to sign up for a subscription service if they feel their course as a one time program. If you are creating an ongoing learning program that will keep your learners invested for a prolonged period of time, this model will work for you!

4. Use a tiered payment system.

There is no hard & fast rule to charge the same fees for every service. If you are operating on a subscription model, have some levels be free, then only charge for “premium” functions. Charge a small fee for the basic course and high rates for advanced courses. 

5. Sell your online course for free—then funnel it into a product or service.

This is another way to make money off of “free”. Use your course to educate your audience as a part of a sales funnel. If you have a side business selling a line of products, this might work wonders for you. Create a course on how to use the product.  As an instance, you sell online tools, teach related topics & its application for free. Use the best online course selling platform to build a scalable online education business. 

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