The Logical Secret Behind $100K Online Courses

By Jeff Cobb.  Last Updated on July 11, 2024

One of the online course platform vendors (Thinkific) has released a report on how to make your first $100K from online courses.

It got me thinking.

You see, if you have been paying much attention to the whole online course boom, you probably realize that six figure courses are kind of a “thing.”

Basically, you haven’t “made it” as a course creator unless you have generated six figures in income from course sales.

This whole idea is, of course, hogwash (to use a more polite version of the term that comes to mind).

There are many reasons for creating online courses and generating six figures in income may or may not factor into yours.

What’s more, I know from e-mails I receive that many Learning Revolution readers aren’t convinced they are in a market where six figures from course sales is a reasonable goal. The truth is, they may be right.

And yet …

… even with all of that said, I think it is incredibly important to adopt a six figure (or, heck, even seven figure) mindset for your course business.


Because mindset is more than half the battle in any type of business.

I’ve learned this lesson well through my own experience in building a successful consulting business.

My main mentor for consulting, from day one, has been Alan Weiss, a guy who is best know for having written the book Million Dollar Consulting. As a result of his efforts, making a million is a “thing” in consulting.

But Alan would be the first to tell you that actually making a million isn’t really the point.

The point is to adopt the mindset and the successful practices that will empower you to create whatever level of business works best for your goals and lifestyle.

Personally, I’ve never cared specifically about hitting seven figures with consulting, but adopting the seven figure mindset and practices has been the single most important factor in my success.

And that, really, is what this Thinkific guide is about.

The Logical Steps to Six Figures

One thing I really like about the guide is that the folks at Thinkific definitely put the time into finding out what actual successful course producers have actually done to build successful business. They surveyed their most successful course creators, some of whom have generated millions of dollars in course sales, to find out what the secret sauce is.

Spoiler: there really is no “secret sauce.”

The guide concisely walks through the fundamental, logical steps that really anyone can take to build a highly successful course business (or, for that matter, any business). It covers, to be honest, a lot of what is covered in Leading the Learning Revolution, but compacted down into fewer than 50 highly readable pages with lots of examples and illustrations.

Some of what the guide covers includes:

  • The math behind a 6-figure online course business
    If you work backwards from the goal of $100K and take the time to figure out how many course sales you would need on a monthly basis, the goal suddenly seems much less daunting. This exercise also makes it clear why you may want to consider charging significantly more for your courses.  (You may even want to triple your price – or more.)
  • Find your blue ocean
    I cover the concept of blue ocean strategy in Leading the Learning Revolution and I’ve written extensively about how education businesses can find blue ocean. Heck, I’ve even been trained in blue ocean strategy. Basically, I’m a believer that it is powerful stuff. In case you aren’t familiar with it, blue ocean strategy is based on the idea most company’s in a market compete in a red ocean, one that is bloody from all the fierce competition. The companies that are really successful break away into blue ocean with strategy that sets them far apart from the competitors. All of this comes from the mega-bestselling book Blue Ocean Strategy, and to be honest, it’s not easy stuff (or everyone would be doing it!) Still, if you can get even a little bit of blue ocean into how you position your course business, your path to six figure will be much smoother and more rapid.
  • Building your brand
    It’s pretty hard to overemphasize how important brand is for standing out in the market for online courses. Even if you are able to find your blue ocean, have a strong brand – personally, for your company, or best of all, both – is a real advantage. And, if you really have to go head to head with competition, a strong brand may be the only advantage you really have. That is why it is critical to invest consistently in becoming known as an expert. The Thinkific guide offers some very good advice in this area.
  • Validate demand for your course
    Another big one. Obviously, you aren’t likely to make it to six figures – or even half of that – if there is really no demand for your course. Don’t build and expect them to come – find out first whether they are likely to come. The guide offers some good tips for how to do this, even if you don’t already have an audience. As a supplement, I encourage to also check out 15 Ways to Validate Your Online Course Idea.
  • Build a sales and marketing engine to scale your business
    Finally, a part that many online entrepreneurs never really get right – and it’s definitely an area it took me far too long to figure out. If you want to grow, you really have to but a strong process in place for building an audience and automating, as much as possible, the ways in which you provide value to that audience. The Thinkific guide has a lot of good advice in this area – much of it from people who, I’ll freely admit, can run circles around me in this area.

So, that’s just a taste of what the guide provides. There’s plenty more where that came from.

And, of course, it’s free.

So, there you have it. Even if you are not fully convinced that you can generate $100,000 through online course sales, I’d argue that it is well worth grabbing the Thinkific guide and embracing the mindset that you can.

Looking for More?

Foundr CEO Nathan Chan - a 100K course pioneer

Thinkific is by far the only voice out there when it comes to making $100K+ with online courses. Another great source is Foundr CEO Nathan Chan.

Nathan has built Foundr into the go-to digital resource for entrepreneurs mainly by mastering the ability to rapidly create online courses that are capable of generating $100K or more. If you want to get the details on how he did it, I highly recommend his free masterclass on how to create a 7-figure course from scratch. (Yes, seven figures!)

Get Started

While I definitely encourage you to check out the Thinkific post and Nathan’s free masterclass, don’t stop there. Too often we subconsciously convince ourselves we have accomplished something simply by reading or taking part in some training. But it’s only the first step. Perhaps the biggest “secret” to a $100K course is get started and keep going. You won’t after all, make any money with online courses if you don’t actually create a course and get it out into the market. So, use these resources and get started started to day – and, let me know in the comments or through e-mail how you progress on your journey.

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