A great way to make passive income is to create online courses and sell them online. Online learning has gained a lot of popularity. Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic created an increase in online learning for students. Many instructors that taught in classrooms traditionally were forced to adapt to teaching online. Before, online courses were rare. Now, entire degrees – even bachelor’s degrees, can be earned through online courses.
Subjects to Teach
What subjects can you teach as a side hustle? Anything! If you are knowledgeable about a subject, you can make an online course about it. From healthcare to cooking to fitness to niche topics such as hobbies – you can make a course about it. The platform you use may even offer insights into popular topics and offer suggestions about what’s trending and likely to have an interested audience.
Types of Passive Income
The benefit of creating an online course is that you invest time upfront to create the course, publish it, and instantly start earning passive income. While some online courses are entirely passive after being published, others such as Udemy may require that you respond to students’ questions. Responding and interacting with students promotes engagement and may increase demand as well as positive feedback for your course(s). This all depends on the platform and educational program you wish to create.
What goes into making an online course? The most engaging method delivery is with pre-recorded video. When I made my first online course on Udemy, I typed out my lessons on Scrivener, a book authoring program that makes it very easy to organize your lessons. Next I recorded my voice using a Samson Q2U – a USB podcast microphone that many people use for podcasting. You can opt to use a simple headset such as the one for your iPhone as well, but the audio quality will not be as good – which can be annoying for your students. After recording my lessons, I edited them using Audacity, a free audio editing software for Windows and Mac. Next, I imported the audio into a video editing software and added images. There are many great free video editing programs out there too, but I have not used them so far. You can even opt to do a screen recording or import pre-made Powerpoint / Google slides as well. It’s really that easy. There are many tutorials on the specific platforms you use to help you get started and become successful.
Do I have to be on screen?
Absolutely not! Khan academy is very well known and he teaches using a recorded blackboard. Many courses are created without instructors showing their faces. The type of course you offer can be Powerpoint slide style, videos with voice-overs, or anything you want besides a talking head. Don’t let this steer you away.
Top Online Learning Platforms
- Has a large user base.
- Free to upload your courses and start earning.
- Intuitive and easy to create your lessons.
- Does not require that you have a website or an existing audience.
- Downside: Udemy controls the platform, and therefore, the pricing of your courses. They often discount your courses for you. Therefore, you have a lower earning potential over the long term. However, Udemy manages the advertising of your courses through various outlets for you so that you can focus on creating courses.
- Requires a monthly fee to get started.
- Very intuitive to create your lessons – Add video, image, text, audio, and PDF files. Easily import content directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.
- Build a beautiful website – you can work with your existing website or create new pages on Teachable, all with our intuitive drag-and-drop builder.
- Offers a lot of customization for the look and feel of your lessons.
- Effortless set-up helps you save time.
- Allows for more advanced developer customization.
- Fully optimized for web and mobile.
- Powerful marketing tools for promotion.
- Increase enrollment and income with your very own affiliate program.
- Engage with student feedback.
- New features added frequently.
- Downsides: monthly cost can be a barrier to some.
Udemy vs. Teachable
Udemy appeals to many because of the low upfront cost to create and upload a course. The downside is that due to the discounting of your courses for you, you will not make a lot of money. Instead, you have to rely on creating additional courses to maximize your exposure, which leads to quantity over quality. While it is still nice to offer a course for free on this platform, you may be better off using Teachable especially if you already have a website, an audience, some followers on social media, or an e-mail list going. Teachable offers more advanced tools and customization and insight into your performance with analytics.
If you are stuck between the two, why not use both?