5 Long-Term Challenges of the Edupreneur

Photo of open road in desert

I’m in the midst of re-thinking major aspects of my own business, and this naturally got me focusing on the major challenges we all face as we seek to grow our edubusinesses. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts in this post with the hope that they will helpful to you.

In the early days of launching an edubusiness, things are challenging, but I’d argue they are pretty clear. You need to build an audience, come up with a valid product idea, pick a platform, launch – all things that I have written extensively about on learning revolution.net and many others have written about as well.

There are many people who will never do these things, who will just never get started at all, and some who will start, but then not follow through. But it’s hard to argue that we don’t know what the steps are, even if the decisions within each step aren’t always easy.

But then what? You are out there day after day and you somehow have to keep it all going and make it work. The five areas I keep coming back to in my own business are: [Read more…]

15 Ways to Validate Your Online Course Idea

Have you got what you think is a great online course idea, but are wondering if there is really a market for it? It’s a question every course creator faces: is this a product that will sell?

Fortunately, it’s also one that technology makes easier—and more affordable—to solve than ever before. There are now many free and low cost ways for online course creators to assess and validate the potential market for their courses. In this this article, we’ll take a look 15 of them.

“Validating” your market simply means taking steps to be as confident as you can that the market is there and that there are people likely to pay for a course on whatever topic you have in mind.

To make this process and the list of tools easier to digest, I’ve grouped the different approaches you can use for market validation into four types of activity: searchinglisteningasking, and testing. You don’t have to use all of the tools I suggest, but I encourage you to use at least one tool in each activity area. This is the best way to vet your idea from the ground up and ensure that you get high-quality results. [Read more…]

Can you still make big money with online courses?

Photo of computer mouse on top of paper U.S. money

It’s a question I find myself pondering more and more lately.

We may have differing perspectives about what counts as “big money,” but for me, a course has to be capable of generating six figures annually before I will count it as big money. Even if your number is somewhat lower (and especially if it is higher), it’s worth considering that …

[Read more…]

10+ True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses

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Don’t mix apples and oranges when looking for an alternative to Udemy

[Updated July 2018] I run across a lot of blog posts that aim to highlight an alternative to Udemy, the major online marketplace for publishing and selling online courses and a very popular option for subject matter entrepreneurs.

In most cases, though, these posts highlight platforms like Teachable or Thinkific as alternatives. While, technically speaking, these are good alternatives (and I am a fan of both), I suspect that a lot of people searching on “alternative to Udemy” or “sites like Udemy” are really looking for a substitute for Udemy.

Why does it matter?!

Simply put, an alternative represents a different way of achieving the same goal – in this case, selling online courses.

A substitute, on the other hand, is a replacement – in this case, a platform that offers nearly all of the same features as Udemy.

While that may sound like just a bunch of academic hair-splitting, it’s actually a critical difference. One of the main functions of Udemy, after all, is to offer a marketplace, a ready-made destination for people who are shopping for online courses. This is one of the main reasons that edupreneurs flock to Udemy in the first place.

So, sites like Udemy – ones that are really like Udemy – need to offer a marketplace.

While both Teachable and Thinkific – both often touted as Udemy alternatives – offer significant advantages over Udemy in many ways, they do not offer a marketplace – and, as far as I know, have no plans to. (For other options like Teachable and Thinkific, see 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses.)

So, what other platforms do offer a marketplace for your courses? That is, which sites like Udemy may truly be a substitute for Udemy rather than (or in addition to) an alternative to Udemy? Take a look at the following: [Read more…]

The Best Learning Management Systems for Small Businesses to Sell Online Courses

[Updated June 14, 2018] The “learning management systems for small businesses” category has improved dramatically in the past few years for businesses interested in selling online courses. It used to be that if you wanted to sell courses, you either had to develop custom software or bolt e-commerce onto platforms that were built for corporate training or delivering college classes. Needless to say, this usually came with plenty of headaches and and a less than ideal experience for customers and channel parters.

Learning Management System for Small Business - Photo of Learning Management System return key on keyboard

These days, many small businesses may be able to take advantage of the new breed of platforms geared toward solopreneurs and very small entrepreneurial businesses that I cover in 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses. This is particularly true, for example, of Teachable, which has begun expanding its efforts to support enterprise customers, or Thinkific, which has implemented very strong features for selling to custom groups.

However, based on my own experiences and feedback from many small business owners, some of these platforms may not meet the more sophisticated demands of established businesses, particularly those that already have a significant base of face-to-face education customers. That’s why I decided to create a separate “learning management system for small business” page.  The following is my short list of platforms to consider. [Read more…]