5 simple Guidelines for creating and selling online course


However, there are additional benefits to creating online courses beyond making money. And, depending on what your reasons are, there are different ways to go about creating it.


I get why you're here, three reasons, I can guess that brought you here;

1. You're looking for a way to increase your income

2. You have passion for teaching people and you're looking for an ordinary way to teach extraordinary.

3. You want to learn.

If you're like most of us, reason number 1 is definitely the go! But if you're like me, reason number 3 will resonate more with you. But mind you, no reason is greater, it depends on your approach and the fire that is burning inside which led you here.

I've always had difficulty trying to create an online course for sell as a way of making extra income. But I barely had success. I created an ebook on how to grow a business online (add link to book and shop here), but I couldn't because of poor marketing skills then, I was unable to make anything off it.

So trust that I have gone through some challenging times here, that's why I decided to help people like us, who finds it difficult to create and sell and online course.

By the end of this post, you will get the following:

  1. Knowledge of how to get profitable course ideas
  2. Simple tools to help you create outstanding courses
  3. How to promote and sell your courses
  4. Assisting those who've bought your course to live and work it.


At the height of the 2016 recession in Nigeria, Olawale Hammed, a Nigeria student in Accra, Ghana found himself almost stopping his university degree because of no money coming from Nigeria again, he was broke and living on debt. It was not a great time for him to be jobless and without any professional job skills.

But Hammed was driven. He wanted to become successful so he spent all day on online learning how to sell products (skin care products) online through Facebook alone, watching so many videos on creating incredible adverts to sell more, although he faced many ad blocks, and accounts being disabled, he persisted. In time he got so good that friends asked him on how sell on Facebook.

Instead of helping them one at a time, he held an online group training and, when they wanted more, he asked them to pay in advance for an online course. The next day he woke up to GHc500 (about 45K in Naira then) in his account.

Online learning was valued at $165 billion in 2015, according to market research firm GM Insights. By 2023 it could exceed $240 billion. So, one thing is clear: Online courses are here. And they're here to stay. But one thing to note is that, you may not start making money immediately, but don't lose hope or focus, with persistence and good marketing you will begin to see profits.


let’s have a look at why we should even bother to create an online course. The most obvious reason is to generate revenue, and indeed there are people who earn their livelihoods purely through their course sales.

However, there are additional benefits to creating online courses beyond making money. And, depending on what your reasons are, there are different ways to go about creating it.

Online courses as an income source Generating revenue and an income is the number one reason people create online courses. This is the simplest use case - you create an online course once, and people buy it over and over again.

Another reason could be that you love humanity and have decided to educate people on areas you are an expert in, not for profit literally, but to get the satisfaction that comes from teaching.

Whatever your reasons could be, make sure you create something you will be proud enough to attach a picture of you to it.


When it comes to creating an online course, the simplest way one can go about it is to make use of tools that are friendly and easy to use, even for someone without the any technical idea of them.

Below are some of not-just the best tools, but the really simple ones with reasons that make them unique.

  1. Thinkific (link to website): this is mostly great for the newbies, those with 'zero course creation skills' as it will guide you from scratch.
  2. Teachable: this is great, not just for creating online courses, but its marketing provision.
  3. Learnworld: from this online course creation tool, you create a virtual school also.
  4. Podia.
  5. Digitalchalk:

From knowing what you creating an online course is, the benefits of creating one, we moved to tools that can assist you in creating an online course like a professional. Next, we will look at how to generate idea for what kind of course you should be creating to become profitable.


From deciding that you will create your online course to creating one, you are closer than you think in achieving something great.

The next thing is to commit yourself that you will finish through, no matter the struggle. And please – once and for all – stop worrying about “being an expert" before creating a great course online.

Look, As a course creator, you have TWO options:

Option #1: Be the Expert

Yes, if you already have a special skill or expertise, you can “be the expert” and share that knowledge.

Let’s say you’re a certified digital marketer. Or you have an MBA in some professional course like Accounting. Or you’re the "football betting world champion."

In this case, sure – teach what you already know and be proud of it.

But there’s another option…

Option #2: Be the Curious Novice

If you are like most of us, you can also be a “curious novice” and teach as you LEARN yourself. Here’s what I mean…

Choose a topic you’re interested in. Spend a weekend or two and read the 3 top-selling books on that topic. And BOOM. You are now enough of an expert. Meaning, you’ll know more than 99% of people who are going to buy your course.

Let’s get specific:

A way of generating idea for your course is by creating one for something you already know. Or simply from something you are learning.

But how do you choose a specific idea? And how do you make sure your idea is PROFITABLE? You

don’t want to spend time creating a course and then find out later no one wants to buy it...

In fact, this is a very big mistake that you should avoid making.

I have 3 strategies to help you to come up with profitable course ideas:

  1. Take inventory, (such as performing a survey online, going to a Q&A forum like Quora, or simply asking about 30 people) of the things that people ALREADY come to you with, ask you questions about, or want your advice on.
  2. If you're a freelancer or are already running a service business: Take inventory of the things your clients struggle with the most and ask you questions about all the time.
  3. Find The Pain — And Eliminate It. This means going out into the real world and RESEARCHING problems that people have. Then, you can create an online course that solves those problems.

Some popular industry that you can consider in creating your online course from are;

  1. Financial industry (especially the "how-tos": how to make money, how to save money, how to manage money, etc)
  2. Beauty and cosmetics industry (Nobody likes to be referred to as "OLD", so if you can create courses on how to stay 'Evergreen', you will profit.)
  3. Relationship and Dating Industry:

Just to mention but a few.

Don't forget that People buy courses because they’ve got a problem – and they want to solve it.

Maybe they’re looking to learn how to use a complicated piece of software. Maybe they don’t fit into their favorite cloth and want to lose weight. Maybe they’re stressed out and overwhelmed and want to take control of their calendar.

Whatever the case: people buy online courses because they have a problem in their life and they

want to solve it.

With your new idea for your online course, you want to make sure that what you will create will be profitable. There are two ways of doing this.

  1. Creating a Free Mini Course: this is a great strategy that will help you build a consumer base for your main course.

Simply doing this will help you to collect information (email address) of those who will be interested in the main course so you only have to target them directly as opposed to targeting everyone.

  1. Pre-selling: here, you ask people to apply for your course that will be coming out Ian a very short time.

This strategy will be mostly appropriate for those who are already into this business and have a loyal consumer base already.

Nobody will like to entrust their money to a stranger that is why this might be difficult for those newly starting.


Once you’ve been able to validated the potential of your topic (either through pre-sale or giving out for free) and you know that there’s demand, it’s time to create the actual course!

In most cases, the online course that you will create will likely be a sequence of videos. I will most recommend that you add to it Worksheets, Images, and even audio files to make it more interesting.

Remember that the core of your course will be those videos where you’ll explain the topic you’re teaching in a step-by-step manner.

You can either record yourself in front of a camera, or you can record a screencast, where you’re sharing what’s on your computer screen, and talking over your actions.

Pick the type of video based on what you’re teaching. If you teach people how to exercise, you’ll need to record yourself in front of a camera. But if you teach

people how to use create website, you’ll need to share your screen.


I believe you don't want to start creating your course, and along the way you get confused and frustrated on how you're progressing.

The best way to avoid this is by creating a course outline, more like a table of contents with chapters and lessons. This will guide you on what to say and also steer you in the right direction.

Arrange your course outline in ways of Milestones which will be major accomplishments and Steps which will be the small wins required to get to each major accomplishment.

Determine the major accomplishments your student will achieve when completing the course. You can treat these

Milestones as the Chapters of your online course.

Next, start sorting your Steps under your Milestones. Remember to treat your Steps like Lessons of each chapter (Milestone).

As you progress in creating a great online course, asking yourself questions things like:

  • • Is this Step crucial to getting to this Milestone?
  • • Is my student actually learning anything here?
  • • Can these Steps be combined?
  • • Would my audience already know this going into the course?
  • • Is this Chapter too long? Too short? Can I combine it with another?
  • • Would I have taken this course when I was getting started?

Will aid you at the end, to create a solid

structure for your course and something of high value for your consumers.

Finally, make sure to create an engaging online course for your consumers so that they will not only finish it, but will be eagerly waiting for the next.

To ensure this, make sure each video you create, has an element of one or all of these -

  1. Highly useful or educational so that students learn something.
  2. Entertaining so that students don’t get distracted.
  3. Inspires action so that students convert theory into results.

You can make use of quizzes, tests, worksheets, cheatbooks, or something that you feel can keep your consumers engage to achieve your goals for them.


At this stage, let's assume you have created your online course using either Teachable, Thinkific, or any other course creation platform. The next thing to do now is "Selling it" or "Giving it out for free", that's up to you.

But here, at this stage, you will learn how to promote your newly created online course to make sales.

For the most basic part, the following are simples ways you co promote and sell your online course;

1. By creating a Facebook or Instagram advert to reach a wider audience who you fell your course may help.

2. Through the email addresses you must have collected when you first gave out "mini courses" for free.

3. By simple posting on various Facebook groups and community you feel your audience might be in (I don't advise this)

4. By making use of a Sales funnel.

A more sophisticated method to use, and one that will guarantee a higher return is "Number 4".

Creating a highly convertible sales funnel (add Kingsley link here) and driving traffic to that sales funnel is a great way to promote and sell your new course.

I will advice to contact a good sales funnel expert (add Kingsley link here) to do that for you.


You've had great sales from your new online course, and perhaps added value to the life of your consumers. But a greater way to give your consumers a much bigger experience is to help them succeed and take action in what they've just bought.

As an online course creator, your role doesn’t end when you make a sale. It is your responsibility to ensure that your students actually learn what you teach and succeed.

Besides, happy successful students are more likely to refer friends, return to take future courses, provide helpful feedback, leave positive reviews and testimonials, and are less likely to request a refund in the case of paid courses.

In short, when your students are successful, so are you.

Measuring Student Success

The key to measuring success is to define a clear objective or result that happens from taking your online course and putting it into action. So, for an Excel course, instead of saying ‘getting better at Excel’, define success as being able to create a Pivot Table or something.

To properly measure success the steps are relatively simple:

Before they take the course, or at the very start:

• Ask students for their #1 goal or objective in taking this course

• Ask them how far towards this goal they think they currently are (1-100%)

After they take the course:

Reiterate the goal they provide you with at the start of the course and ask how far towards this goal they think they currently are (1-100%). Do it this ways;

Measure the change in percentage from question 2 before the course to question 3 after the course.

There are lots of other iterations you can make on these questions, but if you only ask these questions you’ll have an excellent basis for measuring success. Thinkific has built-in features to survey students like this.


Right now, let's go back to what you've learnt;

1. Tools to use in creating an online course

2. How to get your course ideas

3. The important of outlining your course contents

4. Creating an engaging course so your consumers can get the most out of it

5. Promoting and selling your course.

6. Finally, how to help your students succeed.

There you have it. Go ahead and start creating your online course to touch the lives of people.