[UPDATED: APR 2021]
Over the past decade, the internet has changed how human beings can share knowledge with one another. It is now simple to create video, audio, image, or text files that can instantly be shared with people on the other side of the planet. This innovation has made it possible to combine different pieces of knowledge to create sophisticated online courses, which can be sold commercially or made available for free. Several platforms have been developed to make the process of course creation easy, including Udemy, LearnDash for WordPress, Thinkific, and Teachable.
I’ll explain how you can turn your passion into profit by creating your own online course (and get started for free).
BUT FIRST, What is Teachable?
Teachable is an all-in-one platform for creating and selling courses online. It handles all of the technical aspects of the online course creation process, including page creation, web hosting, and payment processing. All you need to do is create the course content and add it to the platform in order to publish it. Sure, there are plenty of others but in this tutorial, I will focus on Teachable.
Why create an online course?
Here are just a few reasons why creating a course with Teachable is a great idea:
- The perfect way to share information with students
If you are a teacher or tutor, you can use Teachable to create course content for your current students. They can then refer to this material at home or in-class.
- It’s a fantastic way to make money
The online education industry is expected to be worth about USD $325 billion by 2025. You can capture some of this revenue by creating several high-quality courses that can be sold online through Teachable.
- You can establish yourself as an authority
Many authors, businesses, and academics create online courses to enhance their reputation and establish themselves as an expert in their chosen industry.
HOW TO CreatE YOUR OWN online course?
Creating an online course is surprisingly easy when using a platform like Teachable. If you have worked with me before, you know how much I love to plan things out and the same goes for online courses. Therefore, I urge you to take the course creation process one step at a time:
Step 1: Choose a topic for your course
The first step is deciding which topic your online course should focus on. If you are a teacher or tutor who is helping students learn a particular topic, this decision will already be made for you.
However, if you are interested in selling an online course and have a diverse skill set, you may have several topics to choose from. If you are creating a course for profit, you may have to perform some research to determine which kinds of courses people are currently interested in.
Sometimes it is useful to define a problem, then create a course that solves it. So, If you have discovered that many business owners want to take advantage of social media, but don’t know how – create a course to help them. Harness resources like online surveys, content analytic tools, and web search analytics to determine which kinds of topics people are interested in learning about.
If you are interested in selling the course, it is also important to ensure that no one else has already done it in a more thorough way. However, it’s ok if the topic has been addressed previously if your version will be better (presented better, more thorough, or more interesting). For ideas, check out the trends in eLearning for 2020, go over the content you have already created on your website for inspiration, or join the Course Creator Challenge get help with choosing your course topic.
On another note, it would be very easy to choose a topic if you already have certain subjects that you are passionate about. If you spend hours woodworking each week, creating a fantastic woodworking course will be easy for you to create.
Step 2: BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE
But before moving on to course creation, you have to think of your audience in order to make the learning journey as clear and easy as possible for your potential students. Surely, you can create a “one serves all solution” but believe me it won’t sell like hotcakes that is why you need to narrow down your target audience and ideal students to really make a difference with your online course.
Start your exploration by digging deeper with the following questions:
- Who do you want to serve with your online course (go into details like age, demographics, etc.)?
- What pain points and goals could your ideal student have?
- What group of people would be interested in your course topic?
- Where can you find your target audience?
Once you have answered the questions above, you can start doing some research where you can find your ideal clients and how you can attract them to sign up for your online course. But be warned, chances are high that most people coming across your course wont just buy. You have to show them that you are an expert in your niche.
I would highly recommend you start building your audience before launching, even creating your course, with what is known as a freebie (checklist, downloadable pdf, mini-course, etc.) that directly relates to the course topic you plan on teaching in your course. This will not only validate your course idea (more subscribers on your mailing list = more interest in your course topic) but also help you grow a pool of potential buyers once your course is ready to be launched.
In addition to a free offer, you can create a waiting list where people can sign up to become a tester for your course or get early bird access to your offer. If you require further help with how to create your own online course you can always reach out to me for some 1-on1 assistance.
Step 3: Plan your course
Next, make some decisions about the structure of your course. How many modules will it have? How in-depth will each module be? Is this course going to be aimed at beginners or more advanced students? Will it be a long and expensive course or a short and affordable introductory course?
A tried-and-tested course outline is:
- What this course is going to teach you (Introduction)
- Why you need to learn it
- What happens if you don’t learn it
- How to do it (several modules on different techniques)
- Where next (is there another course to go to or resources available?)
It’s common for instructors to segment complex or specialized topics into multiple parts. Website in Week with WordPress online course, for example, uses separate sections for dealing with web design (general topic) and for creating pages with WordPress (more specialized topic). As you outline your course, you may find that you have ideas for several sections including some specialized or optional lectures.
Step 4: LAUNCH your school
Teachable allows you to create your own virtual school, which is home to all of your online courses. It is your “brand” on the platform and can be used to convey a sense of authority and trustworthiness to students.
Start by signing up for a free account with Teachable. When you create your account, you will need to enter the name of your school. Once you have entered a name, you will be taken to the Teachable dashboard. From here, you can perform several tasks including:
- Adding users to your account
- Creating your school’s page
- Setting up your custom domain name
- Creating a course
In the customized look and feel section, you can change your school’s logo, fonts, backgrounds and much more. This gives you the ability to create a unique and attractive school page. The intuitive editing system makes it simple to add more pages, text, images, and navigation items to your school page.
The domain section lets you use a Teachable subdomain or your own custom domain name. The add author section allows you to add a roster of teachers to your school. This helpful video explains all of the features in the school administration section.
Step 5: Create your course
It is surprisingly simple to set up a course in Teachable. Start by clicking the New Course button on the top right of the administration section.
Add basic course details by giving your course a title, author, subtitle, and description. You can add multiple authors and even set up payment arrangements with any authors who help you create new courses. Click on Create Course.
A create course wizard will appear at the bottom of the screen. You can use the wizard to go through the course creation steps or use the menu on the left-hand side. Click on the Information button on the left-hand menu to edit additional course details.
At the top of this section, you will see preview buttons for your Sales Page (which promotes the course) and the Curriculum (which shows signed-up students the course curriculum).
You can use the information section to add a course category, page title, meta description (for SEO) and an SEO friendly URL. There is also a branding section, which you can use to add or alter the school’s branding.
Add a curriculum by going into the curriculum section to add curriculum sections. You can set various options for each part of your curriculum including discussion options, descriptions, and file attachments. You can then add lectures to your curriculum, which include PDF files, text files, videos, quizzes, audio files, exercises and so on. It’s surprisingly easy to add a course curriculum.
Once you have set up your course, you will need to add course pricing. You can make your course:
- Use a one-time price
- Use a subscription service (where they pay monthly or annually)
- Use a payment plan
Lastly, change other settings such as curriculum dripping (where lectures are released gradually over time), comment moderation, course coupons, student management, content bundles, and so on.
Step 6: DESIGN your sales page
Finally, you will create a sales page, checkout page, and thank you page for your course. The sales page is the most important and is usually the most time consuming to make.
Fortunately, Teachable makes the process of creating a sales page simple. It guides you through the process of adding a header, banners, author bios, text sections, course bundles, FAQs, enroll buttons, testimonials, etc. This video has a great walkthrough of the features that can be added to a sales page. Once you have finished, hit the Publish button and you are ready to promote & sell your course online. Congrats, you have officially created your first own online course with Teachable.
Course Creation in a nutshell
You may have thought that creating an online course is pretty simple, right? Well, the answer is YES and NO. If you want to create a course that is mediocre at best, just right in and get started putting all you know on a page. But, if you taking this venture as a way to turn your passion into profit, I can’t stress it enough for you to follow all the steps outlined above to create something people WANT to pay for and you will be proud to showcase on the world wide web.
After all, spending hours creating and NOT making money is going to bring you lots of frustration and wasted time without a thing to show for. So, take your time, do your research and take advantage of hours of research I have already done on course creation and how to best go from passion to profit with an online course.
While this tutorial focused mainly on creating your online course with Teachable, the principles behind course creation can be adapted to any platform. Make sure you check out my tech review of the most popular course platforms. But most importantly, make the course creation journey fun for you and your future students!