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A teacher’s guide to becoming an online course creator

Teachers make great course creators. Their experience places them one step ahead of other professionals who become online instructors. Educators already possess the necessary skills to create and deliver effective courses.

Therefore, it’s only natural for them to leverage their abilities outside of the school environment to earn extra money. One of the best and most convenient ways is through online courses, which can be quite a lucrative side job as the global e-learning market is expected to reach 325 billion dollars by 2025.

Learn more about how you can successfully create and sell online courses as a teacher. We'll walk you through all the steps, from choosing your course format to learning platforms and marketing channels.

Getting started

If you want to make extra income from online courses, there are several aspects to consider.

First, you have to decide what type of educational content you want to create. Then, you need to choose the tool that enables you to do it. Finally, start promoting your courses to the right audience and start earning. Let’s see what you should do in each one of these stages.

Find a niche that suits you

If you’re a middle school Geography teacher, you don’t necessarily have to use this expertise in your online courses. Being a successful online knowledge entrepreneur means focusing on a niche you’re passionate about. This doesn’t have to be related to your degree or full-time job.

From cooking to creative writing, hand-made skincare products, or yoga, there are countless exciting subjects you could teach online. Obviously, you can also focus on what you already teach at school. From private online lessons to digital courses people can watch, read or download, there are many course types you could provide.

Read more: 10 Tips on finding your niche in the knowledge commerce industry

Learn from other course creators

In the beginning, it might be hard to come up with original ideas. However, there are many knowledge entrepreneurs out there who can inspire you. This doesn’t mean creating copycat courses. It means getting good ideas you can leverage with a personal twist.

For example, if you want to sell online Spanish courses, you might find that most teachers offer general language courses. To stand out from the crowd, cater to specific professionals. Spanish for nurses, doctors, construction workers, or social workers can be more lucrative ideas.

Choose the type of content you will create

After you’ve chosen a niche and done some market research, it’s time for the next step — choosing the course format. This is probably the hardest decision as your project's entire feasibility and success depend on it.

Here are some online course ideas for teachers:

  • 1:1 Online sessions: if you’re already teaching at school, this is the thing you know best. Leverage your know-how by offering private courses online. English tutors, for example, can make significant extra money this way;
  • Online courses as a passive income: selling online courses can be a great passive income strategy. The recipe is simple: create a course, upload it on a platform, and sell it. If your first clients leave positive reviews, the wheel will keep on spinning – more people will purchase and enjoy your courses, and you don’t need to be there at all times to manage your courses;
  • Teacher resources: creating and selling teacher resources such as lesson plans is not a bad idea either. If you’ve been teaching for years, you probably have plenty of plans already. Why not help other teachers by putting them up for sale?
  • Class management courses: many young teachers struggle with class management when they’re just starting out. As an experienced teacher, you can share your knowledge on this topic. Create class management courses or offer online coaching sessions for teachers who want to improve in this area.

Find a suitable platform for your online courses

Once you know what type of courses you’ll offer, the next step is deciding how you’re going to do it. Nowadays, there are many popular platforms where knowledge entrepreneurs sell courses. Moreover, learning platforms allow you to create, sell courses, and interact with learners via various communication tools such as groups or chat, all in the same place.

Online course marketplace

Probably the first option that comes to mind is Udemy. This is a great place to get started, but competition is harsh. You probably won’t be the first person who sells courses in your niche on Udemy. You’ll compete against other trainers and teachers who already have an audience, some of which have been selling courses for years.

If you choose a course marketplace, you can achieve great results, but arm yourself with patience. Gathering the reviews you need to make a good first impression on any potential client will take time.

Learning platform

The second option is to create online courses on a learning platform. These platforms offer the tools you need to craft engaging courses with minimum technical skills. You can add multimedia content such as video modules and structure your courses easily.

You can also use gamification and quizzes to spice things up and rely on automation features to assess each learner and offer them a course completion certificate. Furthermore, learning platforms can also help you market and track course sales, thanks to their built-in e-commerce features.

Promote your online courses and start earning

Creating high-quality, one-of-a-kind online courses is great, but it's not enough to bring you the revenue you probably aspire to. To make the most of your effort and skills, you need to promote your courses efficiently.

1. Use built-in learning platform marketing tools

If you provide online courses via a learning platform, it will probably already incorporate different marketing features. For example, it can help you get ratings and reviews with minimal effort since learners automatically get feedback requests at the end of each course, so they can leave reviews that draw other customers to your courses.

Also, rely on the learning platform analytics and reporting features to boost your marketing strategy by understanding how well your course is doing and what returns it brings.

Read more: 6 Marketing automation tools for your small e-learning business

2. Start a blog

You might think that a blog requires too much time. Also, with so many bloggers out there, who’s going to want to read yours? Put all these negative thoughts aside. A blog is still one of the best ways to promote your online courses.

A blog can help you create an audience and keep it connected to your work. It educates people and boosts brand awareness. As a solopreneur, you shouldn’t cast aside these blogging benefits.

The golden rule of successful blogging is to post regularly. This is the only way to keep readers hooked and convert them into paying customers. Setting up a newsletter to announce new blog posts will also consolidate your marketing strategy.

3. Rely on social media

There is no easier way to find the right audience than social media. There are different social channels that help promote online courses.

Use them to research your competitors first. Then, join relevant groups, and once your courses are available, start promoting them. Post regularly about your work and include a link to your platform each time.

If you launch a new course, post about it. A new blog article? Post about it. Always keep your audience in the loop. People who follow you need to see you’re active, so you’ll be the first person to come to their minds when looking for an expert in your field.

Bottom line

Offering online courses as a teacher can be an exciting experience that can turn into a profitable full-time project. If you’re an experienced teacher, you already have the necessary skills to create relevant and engaging courses people will love. With the help of e-learning, it’s easier than ever to create, promote, and successfully sell online courses.