Launch Your Online Business in Just 7 Days
Selling your skills and experience in the form of online courses has become a popular and profitable venture for many businesses.
The online learning market is projected to reach $325 billion by 2025.
This makes it a growing market worth exploring.
There are many online course builders out there, so you need to know what to look out for to pick the one best suited to your business needs.
Let’s delve deeper into how you can make money by teaching online.
With an online course platform, you can create and sell online courses using different tools such as webinars, downloadable documents, gradable quizzes, and projects.
Some platforms also provide an online community that allows students to connect.
However, to build a winning course, you need a good platform.
There are many online course builders to choose from, so let’s take a look at the best online course creation software out there.
Systeme.io is an all-in-one platform that allows you to create, as well as market and sell, courses online.
Let’s take a look at what you can do with systeme.io.
Systeme.io is very easy to use and gives you complete freedom when creating your online courses.
With our course builder, you can add as many lectures and modules as you feel necessary, without any restrictions.
If you feel a student needs to master one skill before moving to the next, you can set up drip access.
Drip access allows you to decide when students will get access to the next part of the course.
Systeme.io also gives you all the tools you need to run your course successfully.
What’s more is that you can set the price of your course.
We offer multiple payment methods:
With so many options, the payment process has never been easier!
Now that you’ve created your online course, you need to sell it.
As an all-in-one marketing platform, we give you all the tools you need to successfully market and sell online courses.
With systeme.io, you can:
You’re not limited to just online courses, you can also:
systeme.io’s pricing plans
When it comes to affordability, systeme.io is the best option to sell online courses.
In fact, you can create your first course for free!
The Freemium plan is free forever — no credit card details are required.
With every systeme.io plan, you get access to the following features:
With the Freemium plan, you also get access to:
With these features, you can easily create and sell your first course.
Once you’re ready to create more courses and grow your online business, systeme.io has you covered with 3 paid plans (if you pay annually, you get a 30% discount):
Systeme.io’s most expensive plan provides more value for money than any other tool on offer.
Teachable is a standalone platform aimed at smaller entrepreneurs.
While it does have some marketing features, the platform mainly relies on 3rd party integrations to get the job done.
Let’s take a look at what Teachable offers.
As far as online course platforms go, this one gives you all the features you need to create courses and present online classes.
With Teachable, you get:
Payments are very flexible with Teachable.
You can use subscriptions, one-time payments, or bundles that accept over 130 currencies, making your courses accessible to a very wide audience.
Teachable pricing plans
Teachable offers a Free plan, but you’ll need the Pro or Business plan to get access to all the features and tools you need.
On top of that, you also need several 3rd party integrations, so it can get expensive.
Udemy is possibly the largest online course platform and a popular online learning platform for students.
If you’ve ever looked into creating an online course, odds are, you’ve come across Udemy.
So, let’s take a look at what Udemy offers course creators.
Since Udemy is an online course marketplace, its biggest draw is the fact that you already have an existing student base.
It’s not up to you to find students. You simply need to create engaging courses to ensure that students flock to your content.
To create a course on Udemy, you first need to register and get approved as a premier instructor — this ensures consistent quality, which is great for students.
Returning students is good business!
Udemy provides all the tools you need to create a successful course:
If you’re new to online teaching platforms, Udemy takes you through the course creation process, making them a great online learning platform for beginners.
Creating an online course with Udemy is completely free.
You’ll get a share of 97% of the final revenue of your course if a student finds your course through an instructor coupon or referral.
If the student finds your course with Udemy’s marketing, you’ll get only 37% of the final revenue.
Thinkific is another popular all-in-one online course builder.
While it does have an impressive set of tools, you still need to pay for 3rd party integrations to access some ecommerce functions, like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.
Let’s take a look at what Thinkific offers online course creators.
With Thinkific, you have a lot of flexibility in both how you deliver your online courses, as well as payment methods.
You can present your course live, provide an on-demand course, or create a combination of the two.
You can also deliver your course as a single course, bundles, or through a membership site.
As for payment, you can choose between coupons, subscriptions, or instalment plans.
When it comes to creating your course, Thinkific offers some useful tools:
All in all, Thinkific is not a bad course platform for beginners!
Thinkific pricing plans
When it comes to pricing, Thinkific offers a Free plan.
However, this plan is very limited.
To access any useful features, you’ll need the Basic plan. The Pro plan is probably the best option, but that can get pricey for small businesses with few students.
If you’re wondering which platform is better, Thinkific or Teachable, take a look at our in-depth comparison.
Podia is another all-in-one platform that offers a range of course tools and marketing features to help you create and sell courses online.
Compared to other platforms, it’s not too badly priced.
Let’s take a look at what you can do with Podia.
Podia is first and foremost a course builder, and this is reflected in their available tools.
With Podia, you can create online courses and sell other digital products, such as eBooks, audio books, PDFs, and cheat sheets.
Digital products are a nice touch for extra sales and marketing purposes.
You can also create interactive online courses with webinars, for one-on-one coaching or for multiple students, using Zoom.
With Podia, you can create membership sites which allow a community feature for students.
For marketing purposes, you can:
Unlike systeme.io, there’s no Free plan, only a 14-day free trial, which isn’t really long enough to properly test the tool.
Creating a unique look and feel for your brand also becomes difficult with the limited templates available.
Podia pricing plans
The Mover plan isn’t badly priced, but you need the Shaker plan to get access to affiliate marketing, paid membership sites, and certificates for your students.
Considering that it’s a platform focused on online courses, having to pay for a Shaker plan to access certificates seems like a bit of an oversight.
We’ll be honest — this is a powerful all-in-one platform for running an online course business.
However, Kajabi is aimed at information businesses and medium to large enterprises, so it’s priced to match.
Let’s take a look at what you can do with Kajabi.
Kajabi understands the importance of selling the amazing online course you just created. So, alongside solid teaching tools, they also offer marketing options.
On the course creator side, you can:
On the marketing side, Kajabi offers a Pipeline feature — it’s essentially a sales funnel builder — from landing page to checkout.
An effective sales funnel can really boost course sales, so this is a nice feature.
Kajabi also offers more sales functionality than most other platforms:
These are nice features, especially if you’re looking to start an online school.
But you pay for every feature!
Kajabi pricing plans
Unless you have deep pockets, these prices may not be within reach of start-ups or creators working on a budget.
The Basic plan is on the same price tier as most other platforms’ mid to high tiers and more expensive than systeme.io’s top tier!
LearnDash is a WordPress LMS plugin.
While this may be good news for users who love WordPress, if you don’t like WordPress, you’re out of luck.
Let’s take a look at what you can do with LearnDash.
As far as features go, LearnDash is relatively average.
They provide all the features you need to run a course, such as:
You do get flexible payment options, meaning you can use a once-off payment, subscriptions, or membership sites, and you can create course bundles.
LearnDash also provides limited email automation where certain student actions will trigger a sequence of emails.
When it comes to marketing features, LearnDash comes up short — you’ll need a shopping cart, an email service, CRM software, and a proper marketing suite.
This means a lot of extra integrations.
LearnDash does provide a lot of integration options, such as:
All these extra integrations will add up in the end, so this platform can get pricey right quick!
LearnDash pricing plans
You’re billed annually, so you only pay at the beginning of each subscription period.
It’s one of the cheaper solutions, but it can become expensive once you start adding all the additional integrations.
Another well-known online course marketplace is Skillshare.
If your main interest lies in teaching creative skills, this platform is a good option.
Classes on Skillshare cover everything from fine arts and animation, to cooking or game development, so you’ll have a market of amateur creators ready to learn.
Skillshare courses consist of a video, a class project, and a community feature.
For those new to the online course world, the Skillshare teacher’s handbook is a solid guide to creating, producing, and promoting your online course.
Skillshare also provides some resources to help you promote and sell your course to your own online community.
Skillshare is really about the students — that’s great if you’re a student, but it does make things harder for teachers:
Skillshare also offers free courses which helps to draw more students to their platform — this means more students who buy your course!
Unlike Udemy, there’s no application and approval process for teachers, so anyone can create a course.
However, each course is checked by Skillshare staff before it goes live. If a course doesn’t meet requirements, you’ll get a strike against your name.
Get 3 strikes, and your account is deleted permanently.
You can create and launch online courses for free — so less upfront investment from your side.
Instructors receive royalties for every minute a student spends watching their videos.
Teachers also earn referral bonuses when referring students to buy a Premium Membership.
LearnWorlds positions itself as a one-stop solution for creating an online school.
It’s an all-in-one platform, so you can create, market, and sell your online courses in one place.
If you’re looking at starting a school, instead of just creating courses, this isn't a bad option.
One of the really great features this platform offers is that it supports multiple instructors — this is a must-have if you’re thinking of starting a school rather than selling individual courses.
It’s also an all-in-one platform, which means that you have a lot of marketing options available when it comes to selling courses.
Some of the features include:
The platform also provides useful analytics to give insights into how to optimize your course material and how to better engage with your audience.
It also provides a useful segmentation feature that allows you to segment your students based on their personal details such as geographic location, team, course, company, etc.
Finally, LearnWorlds can also be used as a LMS for companies looking to provide ongoing training to their employees, customers, and partners.
LearnWorlds pricing plans
While the Starter plan isn’t a bad option, it lacks one vital feature — you can’t create free courses.
If you look at other online learning platforms, like Skillshare, providing free courses is an important marketing feature and attracts more students.
With LearnWorlds, you would need the Pro plan for this.
Academy of Mine logo
Academy of Mine is an LMS platform with a thorough set of marketing and ecommerce tools.
This software is aimed at businesses and companies looking for an LMS for onboarding and employee training.
If you’re looking to start up an online academy focusing on professional training and certifications for big companies, this is a good option to consider.
This platform offers powerful teaching tools for the online classroom as well as ecommerce tools that allow entrepreneurs to brand and sell courses.
The main problem? It’s quite expensive!
When it comes to running your course, you can run live events or on-demand classes.
The toolset includes:
On the course creation side, you have the option to fully customize your site and course — this is an important feature for large companies running employee or customer training!
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to sell your courses, you have access to some great marketing tools:
While these tools are great, this platform is expensive, so it’s aimed at big businesses and entrepreneurs looking to work with big companies.
Academy of Mine pricing plans
If you’re looking to start your own online academy or your focus is professional training and development for companies, this solution is worth looking into.
However, if you’re a casual course creator, there are more affordable options.
OpenSesame is an online marketplace and LMS catering for medium to large business’ in-house training needs.
With OpenSesame, you can also reach customers, but it’s not ideal for smaller, more casual, course creators.
OpenSesame is an LMS that curates and connects courses with prospective students.
If you’re an expert in your field, and you want to target businesses, OpenSesame isn’t a bad option.
Since it’s a marketplace catering to a very specific market, there’s an existing client base of companies looking for courses to ensure continuous training for their employees.
For the most part, this platform is very vague when it comes to information regarding what tools they use or how the creation process and payment actually work.
You’ll need to contact them to find more information.
Creating a course on OpenSesame is free for course creators, and creators earn 60% of their course sales.
There’s a lot of online course creation software available on the market, so how do you know which one is the best fit for your business?
Ideally, you want an online course platform that’s easy to use, has at least some marketing options, and is easy for students to use as well.
It’s simple, if your students are struggling with your site, they’ll go somewhere else!
Let’s take a look at the different types of platforms and how to choose the best one for your online course business.
The 5 main course creation platforms available are:
1. Standalone course platforms
A standalone course platform is aimed mostly at solo entrepreneurs wanting to create online courses and have full creative control.
Standalone platforms usually allow customization, so each platform has a different look and feel, and each platform allows the instructor to develop and present online classes in their own style.
A standalone course platform also gives the course creator full control of the lesson plan, student information, and billing plan.
2. All-in-one course platforms
All-in-one platforms are similar to standalone platforms — creators have full control over the process, student information, the look and feel, and how they want to deliver online courses.
However, all-in-one platforms also provide additional business tools to help you market and sell online courses by building sales funnels and running targeted email campaigns.
Another advantage of an all-in-one platform is that it allows you to sell other products as well, like eBooks or merchandise.
Who doesn’t like a coffee mug that reminds them that they are the world’s best student?
3. Learning Management Systems
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are mostly used by businesses when it comes to in-house training for employees or training for clients on how to use their products.
Of course, you aren’t limited to only these functions, but LMS are set up with those features in mind.
While they do provide graded quizzes, evaluations, and awards like certifications or badges, you might be limited when it comes to custom branding and marketing functions.
4. Marketplace course platforms
Marketplace platforms combine a number of instructors and courses on one platform to make online learning easy for students.
With an online course marketplace, you have limited control over student information, and you have to structure your course according to the guidelines of the particular marketplace you are on.
The nice thing about this is that there are big marketplaces available already, and most marketplaces provide marketing support.
5. Video course platforms
Video course platforms mainly differ in terms of where students get access to your course.
Most online course platforms will allow you to create videos, but the student is still limited to watching the course wherever they get internet access — so mostly PC screens and mobile devices.
With video course platforms, you can use over-the-top (OTT) channels, like Apple TV or FireTV, to deliver your content.
This is going to cost you more, but it does work well for topics that require a more practical touch, like art classes, health and fitness, or cooking classes.
Now that you know what types of online course platforms there are and which are the best, how do you go about choosing the best platform for your business?
Here are some criteria you should keep in mind when deciding on an online learning platform:
You might be wondering — why not simply put my knowledge behind a paywall on a membership site. It’s the same thing, right? Well, not exactly.
A membership site requires a lot more work than an online course, so you need to be sure you have time to invest in it.
With a membership site, your members pay a monthly fee to access the content behind the paywall.
This means that you need to constantly update content, add new content, and ensure that your members are getting value.
If your members feel they’re not getting enough value, they’ll stop paying their membership and take their business elsewhere.
An online course, on the other hand, is a digital product you only need to create once.
Students pay to get access to the course and work through it with a specific goal in mind. When they finish, they’ve learned a specific skill or they get a completion certificate.
You can, of course, create a follow-up course or membership site for your students to engage with you and each other.
Pro-tip: Keep this space up-to-date with industry news if you have the time.
So, you need to ask yourself — do you have the time to update content and provide new content constantly, or do you want to make a once-off product that you can keep selling for years to come?
Here’s the golden question — why not use YouTube?
Do a quick search on YouTube, and you’ll find a video tutorial on practically anything.
Want to make toast?
There’s a tutorial. Want to paint a picture or develop a game — ditto.
However, there’s a very big difference between a YouTube tutorial and an online course.
There are several major problems with creating a course on YouTube:
1. It’s distracting
On the sidebar, there is a list of other videos that might lure your student away, not to mention the ads.
If your student is using YouTube for free, you have no control where the ads pop up meaning your course can be disrupted at a critical moment.
2. YouTube doesn’t provide the tools you need to create an in-depth course
There are no options for graded quizzes, class projects, or other assessments, and there’s no option for certification.
3. The comment section doesn’t really provide a proper discussion platform for students
Anyone can comment, so discussions can go sideways quickly.
4. As a creator, you have no control over student information and no way to charge a fee for your course
However, that doesn’t mean Youtube can’t be a useful tool for promoting your course.
A short tutorial or introduction to your course is a great way to attract prospective students.
Pop a link in the description box guiding students to your site, and watch your student base grow.
The most important thing to remember when creating an online course is that you don’t need to be an expert.
As long as you know more than your audience, you can add value to their lives.
There are many distractions for a student sitting in front of a computer, so you need to make your content as engaging as possible.
In short, there are 3 things to consider when creating an online course:
1. Find a topic
2. Outline your course
A course on starting your own business might look something like this:
3. Use the right equipment
Once you have your course planned and ready to go, you can create your first course with systeme.io in 4 easy steps:
systeme.io home page
systeme.io’s course creator dashboard
2. Open your Dashboard, and go to “Products/Sales” and click on “Courses”.
Add a module to your course
3. Create your course by adding modules and lectures using our drag-and-drop course builder to customize the templates.
Add content to your course
4. Using the template, add your own course material — you can upload webinars, audio, and text files.
And there you go — you have your first course. Take a look at this 8-step guide on how to create a course easily with systeme.io!
Once you’ve created your online courses, it’s time to sell them.
With systeme.io, this is super easy to do.
Firstly, create a sales funnel for your course.
A sales funnel will guide your prospective students from awareness to sales.
In short, you want your sales funnel to do 3 things:
1. You want to generate traffic so that people become aware of your course.
2. You want prospective students to sign up to your email list so that you can build a relationship and make them aware of your course and what you offer.
3. You want to show them that your course is the answer to their problem so that they’ll go to the sales page and sign up for the course.
This may sound tricky, but once you’ve generated some traffic, you can build a sales funnel with systeme.io quickly and easily that’ll provide:
But how do you generate traffic?
There are two options:
Once you’ve generated traffic and built your sales funnel, link your funnel to your online course, and you’re done!
Selling your skills is really an easy way to make money online.
Selling digital products is a great way to make a passive income — you create your course once, and you can keep selling it as long as there’s interest.
With so many online course platforms to choose from, it’s worth taking the time to research what exactly you need and then decide which platform will work best for your business.
With an all-in-one platform like systeme.io, you can easily create and sell online courses — we provide all the marketing tools you will need!
Join the systeme.io family, and start building your first course today, absolutely free!
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Systeme.io is an simple, affordable, and intuitive all-in-one marketing platform for anyone looking to grow their online business.
© systeme.io. All rights reserved.