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 …

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10+ True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses

photo of an orange in between two apples

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…]

Marketing You Can Offload, Marketing You Can’t

Picture of overwhelmed female entrepreneur who wants help to offload marketing

One of the issues readers write to me most often about is marketing, and many want recommendations for companies that will do their marketing for them.

My usual thought when receiving these e-mails is that “if you are in the course business, you are in the marketing business, like it or not.” As I have argued before, you need to spend at least half your time marketing if you are serious about building an audience and – by extension – growing a successful online course business.

Still, I recognize that response is not very helpful to people who simply do not want to do their own marketing. (Or, who want to do significantly less of their own marketing.)

So, it’s worth asking: what parts of marketing can I legitimately offload without risking the success of my business? To answer this question, I find it useful to think in terms of the classic “4 Ps” of marketing: product, placement (distribution), pricing, and promotion. [Read more…]

When to Consider the Udemy Model

Are you a landlord or a tenant?

If you have read much of what I’ve written on online course platforms, you know I am mostly not a fan of the approach offered by platforms like Udemy and its alternatives – what I call the “market maker” business model.

The gist of this model is that one company – basically, a “landlord” – creates a market place in which individual course producers or other companies – basically, “tenants” – can sell their courses, usually in exchange for paying the landlord a share of the revenue.

Now, if you happen to be the landlord – as Udemy is – this model is fantastic. You create a highly-scalable content engine that generates a continuous revenue stream. If you are the tenant, on the other hand, this model usually limits your options in a number of ways, including: [Read more…]