How Much Money Can You Make Selling Online Courses?

As with any successful entrepreneurial story, hard work and perseverance are the foundation to build a sustainable and profitable online teaching business. Online courses are great to leverage your expertise to make a good income. 

Research & Markets has predicted that the online learning industry will grow to a $350 billion industry by 2025. We have seen lucrative figures stating that the online education industry is worth billions of dollars. But do online courses really hold the potential to make big cash? 

Yes, making big money is still possible. But just as it is in any other business, you will have to work hard, create high-quality content, be professional, and above all, differentiate yourself from the crowd to earn it.

A well thought strategy and carefully crafted execution plan are critical for any business to succeed, and selling online courses are no different. Unless you are able to establish a well-engaged community, you cannot run a profitable online course business and make money from online courses

How much revenue can you expect to generate from an online course?

The amount of money you can make from an online course differs considerably. Before getting into how much money can you make selling online courseslet’s understand what counts as serious money. 

Here are some factors you must take into consideration that will affect your potential revenue.

  • The price of the online course

The profit you can make is directly influenced by the course price. So, for example, are you selling a $50 or $500 course? This makes a big difference in how many courses you need to sell to meet your revenue goals. 

  • Your target audience

Who is your target audience? How much are they willing to pay for a course? Do you have access to their networks? The bigger your target audience is, the more customers you can expect to convert with marketing activities. 

  • Customer loyalty

Customer loyalty determines the willingness of your target audience to buy your courses. How loyal are your clients? Will they come back to buy more of your online courses? Do you have an engaged customer base? If you have an engaged customer base who repeatedly buy from you, you can make more money from your online courses. 

  • Value of your course

Is your online course of great value? Depending on the value of your course, you will get more sales which will convert to more money. Learners will only come to you if they find your courses valuable and life-changing for their personal or professional needs. 

  • Landing page visitors per month

Calculate the number of audiences you can bring to your landing page. These visitors can come anywhere from your social media platform, blogs, or email lists. The more data you can have regarding your landing page visitors per month, the more precise your prediction can be for how much money you can make selling online courses.

  • Marketing experience

If you have already been into online education and have sold products, you are at the advantage of being familiar with the right tactics to market your online course. This will help you get a higher conversion rate, leading to more sales. 

Are online courses still profitable?

As stated earlier, online courses can bring in big money. Moreover, the demand for online courses is rising with more people willing to buy online courses, and it still remains as one of the best ways to make money online. 

Creating your first course might seem tough, but it can be surprisingly straightforward if you use the right tools and technology. Reducing the amount spent on creating new online courses by reusing old resources can increase your ROI and, in turn, your income.

Monetization strategies you can implement

If you are thinking about how to make money selling courses, there are a lot of ways to create a stable income. Here are some of the monetization strategies you can implement to make money from your online courses. 

  • Pay-per-course

One of the most straightforward revenue strategies is that your learners pay for your courses upfront. 

  • Subscriptions

One of the most leveraged and effective ways to make money with your online courses is to sell subscriptions. Give your students access to your course content, or maybe several courses, by paying a recurring fee every month or annually. 

  • Affiliate marketing

As a course creator, you can join affiliate marketing programs where you set up links that will redirect your learners to partner sites where you can make money from commissions for every purchase they make. 

  • Corporate bundle

This is another type of subscription model where you allow a group of users from a corporate organization to access unique content. For example, Udemy offers an exclusive corporate service called Udemy business, providing exclusive training content. 

  • Selling additional content

Selling extras is another way to make an additional income from your eLearning website. Support learning materials like online learning tools, course software, PDFs, eBooks, Printable revision materials, etc., can be sold as extras. If you are able to create eLearning resources that offer great value to your students, you can make great sales. 

How to calculate your potential profit?

To determine if your online education business is making a profit from selling courses, you must deduct the expenses. Online courses might not have any additional cost per customer, but they might have production or marketing expenditure.

Profit = Revenue – Production cost – all related costs (Hosting cost, software cost, marketing expenses, and all other expenses).

If you reach a point where you have created several online courses and other resources related to it like blogs, podcasts, eBooks, downloadable content, each of these pieces of content will begin to work for you, creating more income. 

Real examples of successful online courses

Now that you know the tips on how to make money selling courses onlinehere is some data from real-life creators who have converted their expertise into profitable business earning of more than 6 figures. 

The first example is Phil Ebiner, a famous person in the online course industry. Since publishing his course in Udemy in 2012, he has made over $1.5 million from the platform till 2019. He started without much experience, marketing skills, an established audience, or an email list but achieved the goals with the right mindset and the right amount of effort he has put in. 

Lesson to learn- If Phil has been able to earn so much from selling his course on an eLearning marketplace like Udemy, you can make even more by hosting your online courses on your own platform. We will look into this in the upcoming section of this blog. 

Michelle Schroeder, an MBA graduate who launched her first course in 2016, has made over $1 million from online courses within two and half years. She stresses a lot on networking with other online course creators, which helped her create a successful blog and reach $1 million in income. She has also successfully narrowed down the niche by choosing affiliate marketing as her expertise area.

Lessons to learn: Make sure you focus on networking where you create professional relationships with other course creators. You can end up enjoying the opportunity to share their audience. The next point is to create a course on a very specific topic. 

So what are the tips you can infer from the success stories of course creators mentioned here? Online course creators can make a huge profit if they can find the right target learners and provide content with tremendous value. 

Tips to increase the value of your online course

If you are brainstorming about how much can you make selling online coursesyou must try improving the value of your courses. 

  • Build an audience that values what you do

Invest heavily in building an audience that values your work and believes in you. This needs you to do more than collecting the email addresses of your target clients. You have to constantly interact with your followers and keep incorporating their preferences and feedback into your offerings. 

  • Build your brand

The reputation of your online education brand can directly affect the sales of your online course. Make sure your brand is visible, approachable, and memorable to your target audience. 

What do you need to consider when creating online courses?

  • Choose a course topic worth paying for

There is absolutely no point in creating an online course that you feel is “good”. Only if there is a real demand for the online course will people be willing to buy it. Nowadays, you can find courses for almost everything under the sun. 

So be it fitness, cooking, dancing, photography, writing, marketing, there is a course for each of them. So the thumb rule is to create something people can’t easily get for free. 

  • Host on your own tutoring website

Once you are ready with your online course, you have two choices to host your courses.

  • eLearning marketplaces like Udemy

Hosting your online courses on popular eLearning marketplaces like Udemy is beneficial as it has existing customers and traffic. Additionally, marketplaces like Udemy don’t charge any hosting costs from instructors. 

However, the cons of hosting your courses on platforms like Udemy are several. In the long run, hosting your courses can be less profitable as the platform takes almost half of the amount you earn unless you bring in the sale on your own. 

Another disadvantage is that you won’t have any direct access to your customers; it is all owned by the eLearning marketplace. Plus, you will have limited control over the platform-this includes the appearance of your course, course page design, and more. 

  • Create your own website

If you want to sell online courses full time and have full control over the process, content, monetization, and all other aspects, it is recommended to host your courses on your own website. It is a more sustainable option that is more profitable than the eLearning marketplace. 

Here are some of the advantages of hosting your online courses on your own eLearning website.

Full ownership

You control everything when you host your online courses on your own website, from course page design to course sales. You don’t have to rely on any third-party algorithm to grow your online education business. This is the best option for educators who want to use online courses as a major source of income. 

Full control over monetization

As you are hosting your online courses on your website, you can price it the way you want. Additionally, you can keep the entire money earned from sales as your own. 

While it comes with many benefits, creating your eLearning website from scratch takes a lot longer to build up your website. 

So what’s a better alternative? First, you can choose an online tutoring marketplace software that is simple to use and doesn’t require much technical expertise. This white-label software is a ready-made script that features a complete suite of functionalities to help both educators and students enjoy the best training experience. 

  • Select the right pricing

If you are trying to increase online course income, choosing the right pricing strategy is important. One important thing to remember is never to charge too little, even if it’s the first course. If you have chosen your topic right and included great quality content, you will be creating an online course of high value, and your target audience will be willing to spend good money on your course. 

Here are some tips to follow to get the pricing strategy right.

  • Offer high value at a lower price

Have a look at other premium courses in your same niche, and offer the same quality or even better quality content at a lower price. This is just relative to most expensive courses. For example, if the premium course you choose is $4000, you can consider selling it for $1000-$2000.

  • Increase your course price gradually

If you start with relatively low prices, you should increase the price as time passes. In that case, you must also update the content of the course. It means you must update or add relevant content to your course to improve its perceived value.

  • Create inexpensive introductory courses

You don’t have to charge a couple of thousands of dollars for your online courses to make a 6 figure income. Many educators achieve big money by selling courses for a hundred dollars sometimes. Creating inexpensive or even free courses which upsell a more advanced and pricey course is a pricing strategy that actually works. 

  • Provide membership

Another approach that gives better results is charging your students a recurring monthly subscription fee rather than a one-time sale. 


The demand for online courses is still valid now, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there are plenty of courses on different types, there is still space for great content. 

To make a good amount of money from your online courses, you don’t have to do a big launch, create lots of courses, have a huge audience, or sell your course at a high price. 

By creating a couple of high-value courses, having a small but engaging audience, you can find your way towards success. You must also need an eLearning website of your own to host your online courses and run a profitable online education business. If you need any assistance on setting up your tutoring platform, get in touch with us. Our experts are here to help you with your unique needs.