Make Money Selling Online Courses and Memberships

Selling online courses and a membership site has really helped me create a steady stream of income in my business.

In addition to offer my consulting services as a social media manager, I’ve been able to generate $9,000 per month (with some $10k months) selling courses and a membership.

In this post, I want to show you the different ways you can make money doing this.

But most importantly, I will show you how to do it effectively so that you don’t waste your time or money.

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Should I Sell and Online Course or a Membership?

Both a great ways to earn stable and consistent income when done right.

But you may find that you like one type of digital product over another one.

The difference between and online course and a membership site, is that with a course you make it once and that’s it.

Sometimes there is not support from the teacher….sometimes there is (usually with courses that cost $1,000 and higher).

A course has one single focus for the lessons.

Whereas a membership site can contain a lot of difference courses and also provide ongoing support, mentoring and training for members.

It’s more of a subscription model where members pay each month like a Netflix subscription.

They can log in and take whatever courses they want or download templates that you provide.

Many memberships offer monthly group coaching, live Q&A’s, a discussion forum and ongoing support.

Memberships are a good option if the topic you teaches is constantly changing like technology or even social media (in my case).

I created a membership site to teach women entrepreneurs how to use Social Media and I have to update it all the time because Instagram and Facebook are constantly coming out with new features.

So now that I explained some of the differences between a course and a membership site, I am going to give you some tips on how to start making money creating them.

I actually have a FREE guide that shows you what tools I use to create and sell online courses and memberships. You can download it here.

Tip #1 - It Takes A Lot of Hard Work

Despite what some internet marketing gurus try to tell you, making money from online courses or even a membership site is not easy.

You have to put in the work.

You also have to really enjoy teaching and helping people because that is why people buy courses.

Your course needs to teach someone how to do something and help solve a problem or make someone’s life easier.

If you can do that and be able to convince people that your course will do this, then you can sell it regularly.

One of the things I do to get new students and members in my program is that I host weekly or monthly webinars.

I also do a lot of Facebook live streams on my page where I give a lot of free value.

It’s through giving a lot of free value and advice, that people can make a decision about whether or not they want to enroll in my programs.

This does take some effort and also being able to craft the right message at the right time.

Also, launching an online course can also be pretty stressful.

That’s the main reason why I also have a membership site as well so that I can make recurring revenue each month and not rely only on launching.

Tip #2 - Make Sure You Create a Course That People Will Buy

Don’t make this HUGE mistake that I see a lot of new course creators make:  they spend months creating a course without testing it.

Before you create an online course, you need to first test out your idea to see if there is a market demand for it.

The same thing goes for a membership site, you have to see if people even want to learn what you plan to teach.

A free Facebook group that you create for people in your niche is a great way to get feedback before launching a course.

I will explain more about this in the next tip…..

Tip #3 - Build an Audience First, Then Launch

I know people who spent a long time creating a course and perfecting it, then when they opened the doors, nobody bought it.

Listen to me:  build up an audience first, then launch your course or membership.

Your audience should be an email list of people who are interested in your course topic.

It can also be people who follow you on social media.

And an even more powerful audience is a Facebook group.

I have a Facebook group of over 6,500 people and it contributes directly to helping me sell the course.

Your Facebook group should be a community where you can build know, like and trust with potential buyers.

You can also get a lot of feedback on your course idea by asking questions in the group.

A Facebook group is also like a marketing focus group where you can test out new ideas and get immediate feedback.

It lets you get to know your audience’s pain points and then you can create programs to help them.

Tip #4 - Use an LMS System

For my online courses, I use Teachable which hosts the content of my course and also let’s me sell it.

Teachable was designed to make it easy for online course creators to quickly create and upload their content.

Instead of trying to build my own course website and spend hours and hours using Wordpress plugins, Teachable saves me time so I can focus on making money.

You might hear a lot of people talking about using Wordpress plugins, but honestly why waste all that time trying to customize your website when you can focus on revenue.

You do have to pay a monthly fee, but with Teachable, its like having your own tech support and maintenance team on hand 24 hours a day.

Tip #5 Use Automation Tools for Onboarding Students

One of the things I like about Teachable is that it integrates with other apps that I use like ConverKit for my email list and Leadpages for landing pages. 

When a new student enrolls, I can send them a series of welcome emails to help them make the most of the course.

This onboarding process is possible because I use the right tools for automation.

I actually have a free guide of tools you can use to automate selling your online courses. Download it here.

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Free Guide: Tools to Create Digital Products

Alma Bradford

I help people start profitable online businesses that let them achieve location independence, freedom and happiness!