How to teach online and earn passive income

From our earlier post on how to make money through teaching online, we have specified two paths that anyone interested in teaching online can take. One path is to focus on creating the teaching contents and sell the courses in a popular market place, i.e. be an Online Instructor. The second path is to build your own ecommerce website equipped with learning management system and other functionalities, i.e. be an e-learning Entrepreneur. In this article, we  will be focusing on providing a quick overview with step by step guide for the first path where you focus on creating the teaching materials and selling in marketplaces like Udemy.


Why an Online Instructor path (Path 1) is good?

The key advantages of this path is :

        1. Technology – You do not have to worry about technical issues and stability of your platform. Issues such as where to host your online school, how to build a learning management system, how to enable the payment gateway and what to do when the site is down. What happen if there are software bugs and the students cannot access the courses after they sign up. For this path, you can focus on creating the contents and not worry about such issues.
      1. Time to market  – The second advantage is speed. Once you have uploaded your courses to the online e-learning marketplace, though you might not be at the top of the list, the fact that there are site visitors to the marketplace,  your courses can still be discovered and be purchased.

For a start, you might not rank high in the marketplace and would need to do some digital marketing to promote your courses. Building a blog website to promote your courses would be a good start. Building a blog involves writing articles (blog posts) about the subject of your courses. In this way, when site users Google that topic, they may be taken to your blog post where you can in turn promote your courses. Essentially, you are presenting yourself as the subject matter expert and this allows you to engage your potential buyers and enhance your credibility. Moreover, when you write your blog posts on your expertise, you can also sign up for Affiliate marketing to promote other companies’ products that complement your courses. This become another add-on revenue stream for you.

The key disadvantage of this path is that you do not own the platform and therefore only earn a fraction of the total sales revenue. A big part of the revenue is shared with the marketplace owner and their affiliates in promoting your courses. However, take note that if you set up your own platform, you will still have to incur advertising costs to get site visitors (traffic) to your website and incur capital outlay and recurring cost in setting up and maintaining your platform.



Step 1 – Learn from the Experts

The wisest thing to start is not to jump into the pool but to get a quick crash course to learn from people who have walked this path. Learn from them the mistakes they made, what are the preferred marketplaces and technologies and how to go about getting things done.

For a start, you can start with some free resources first before embarking on the premium courses. Here’s some free courses that are highly rated:

Free Courses:

    1. Udemy Course Creation -Free Training (Unofficial)  – we find this course better than the official Udemy Course Creation course.
    2. How to create a profitable online course in 10 simple steps – this course gives very good tips on how to make your course sellable.

    The above are two good course to get started. You can browse for more courses here. 


Free Book

If you prefer to have a quick read, there is also a free ebook. Click on the book cover below and it will take you to Rakuten Kobo to download the free ebook that you can start reading immediately:

If you do not mind paying for a very good book, you can browse our directory of good books for learning online teaching.



Step 2- Sign Up with the Online MarketPlace

There are many online marketplace for selling courses. You should select the right one base on where your target customers would go to. For that, it depends on what you are teaching. For a quick start, Udemy is a good place to start your online teaching.



Step 3- Create Your Teaching Contents

In creating your contents, you need to do the following:

  1. Decide what you want to teach
  2. Plan your curriculum
  3. Work out your presentation materials
  4. Write your script
  5. Create your video

Step 4- Set Your Price

If you are selling your course in Udemy, before you can set a price, you would be required to complete the premium instructor application first. This is where you write about yourself , upload your profile photo, agree to the terms and configure your Payment settings. The Payment settings is where you indicate if you are collecting the payment via Paypal or Payoneer. All you need to do is to create a business account in either of the above and then in the Udemy Payment setting, click to connect to the payment gateway that you would like to use to receive payment. Once this is done, you can set the price for your course. 

After you have uploaded all your course contents and set your price, you will need to submit to Udemy for Review. At this stage, Udemy will require step you through a verification process where they will need your identification, address and other details.

Step 5- Promote Your Course

After your course is approved by Udemy, it will appear in the Udemy marketplace. This is the stage where you need to promote your course. Although there are already a lot of people visiting these existing marketplace and although they would be promoting their site, you will still have to promote your course because your course would be one in hundreds or thousands in that particular category. Usually the best selling, highest rated will be listed first. So if yours is a new course, you will need to try ways to bring traffic to the marketplace to raise your ranking. Moreover, if a student is brought in by you, from the coupons they entered, Udemy will be able to identify that these are customers brought in by you and will revenue share 97% back to you. However, if a purchase is made by someone brought in by Udemy’s affiliates and other marketing channels, they you will only receive 37% of the selling price. Read Udemy Instructor Revenue share for more information. 

There are many ways to promote, you can promote in social media platforms, create your own website and advertise or through word of mouth.





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