5 Steps To Launch A Scalable E-Learning Business

eLearning business

Starting an eLearning business? Well, that’s a great decision!

The e-learning industry’s revenue has risen to a great extent post 2020. And this has made every aspiring individual come up with the idea of starting an e-learning business. In fact, you’re one of the many individuals who have ended up here, most probably typing the phrase “how to create an online learning platform” or “how to set up an online education business”. Anyways, it really doesn’t matter!

In this read, we’ve covered almost everything you need to start an online course business.

You’ll be coming across sections like,

  • eLearning industry overview – introduction, eLearning business model and more
  • How to start an online course business – the basics, platform functionalities, setup cost insights, etc.
  • Ideas to create a sustainable online course and an e-learning business. 

We’ve also included screenshots from Pinlearn, one of the best eLearning business platforms today for a better understanding!

So now that you know what you’re going to be looking at, why don’t we start off? 

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But before that, like we always do, let’s have a quick tour of the e-learning industry and what makes it so profitable! 

What Does e-Learning Business Mean?

eLearning is nothing but the practice of learning new skills or courses online. With the advanced tech availability and the comfort of learning from anywhere, institutions and schools are now adopting this kind of learning in a fast-paced manner.

Also, the people who learn online are finding this method to be more helpful – helps them avoid commuting and they can learn at their own pace (depends on the course/school enrolled). 

Most common forms of online learning include learning with the help of tutors (live sessions) or pre-recorded courses purchased for a fixed price. And an e-learning platform acts as a bridge in helping connect the student with the tutor/course.

You can either enroll yourself as a tutor in established e-learning business platforms like Udemy (and make very little revenue). Or you can create your own e-learning platform with the help of custom e-learning business solutions.

In a nutshell, that’s what an e-learning business is all about! 

5 Reasons Why You Should Start an eLearning Business Right Away

We could have come up with more than five reasons but we’re going to stick to the most prominent ones. Below mentioned are the reasons why you should build an e-learning website right away!  

1.  eLearning Businesses Are Highly Profitable

A business is all about how much money it can make and what it stands for. eLearning businesses like Udemy and Coursera make huge profits today. In fact, Udemy’s estimated annual revenue is $775 per year. For a company that was started in 2009, this is great revenue!

On the other hand, Coursera is only a decade old and it witnessed a revenue of an estimated 293 billion dollars. That’s how profitable the e-Learning industry is right now!

2. eLearning Industry Has High Prospects In the Future

During the year 2019, the eLearning market was valued at an approximate $144 billion while during the year 2026, it is expected to cross $370 billion. On calculating the growth percentage, it was an astonishing 159%! 

This is one reason why a lot of individuals are looking forward to building an e-learning platform and enter the online learning industry race! 

3. Diverse Course Options to Choose From

There’s always a lot to learn! A person who is skilled at something might not necessarily be skilled at everything else. 

When it comes to teaching online, you get to choose from a diverse range of course options. And you have a wide audience to receive them as well! Here are a couple of online course ideas, 

  • Digital Marketing
  • Copywriting & Content Marketing
  • Programming & Development
  • Robotics
  • Culinary Courses
  • Personality Development
  • Communication Development Courses
  • First Aid & Survival Courses

We could go on all day! But you should have got the idea by now.

4. Students Find Online Courses More Flexible

Enrolling in a skill class where a person should be physically present requires commuting and being present on time. Since most of these classes are conducted in group sessions, the student does not get the opportunity to reach out to the tutor or clarify extensive doubts. 

But that isn’t the case when it comes to self-paced online classes. Students can, 

  • Learn courses at their own pace from their place of comfort
  • Have 1-on-1 private chat with tutors
  • Choose who they want as a tutor and schedule classes with them

The above-mentioned are most likely the reasons why students prefer online schools and e-learning platforms now. Let’s head to the last reason as to why you should start an online course business.

5. Advanced e-Learning Business Platforms Availability

You don’t have to hire developers to build an e-learning website from scratch! These days, you get custom e-learning platform solutions that come with almost every feature you need. You’ve just got to choose the one that suits your needs, requirements and the budget of course!

Those are 5 solid reasons why you should create an e-learning website now! Now that you know this, it’s time we take a dive into the most common e-learning business models!

Different Types of eLearning Business Models

We’ll be discussing the most lucrative types of e-learning business models in this section. 

1. The Standalone Course Model

This particular online learning business model is popularly known as theNight School Model”. This is where you’d be creating courses on specific topics like Fitness & Nutrition, Crafts, Graphic Designing and more. Platforms like Udemy have cracked this model and have over 150,000+ courses today. 

In this elearning business model, students pay a one-time fee for learning your course (mostly done as an upfront payment). They get lifetime access to your course and can learn at their own pace. 

This online learning business model is best suited for courses where you do not have to monitor and share skills for a long period of time. 

2. The Academy Model

The academy model is where your platform will be having the option to teach skills that cannot be transferred in a couple of hours! 

For example, assume a tutor is a violinist and he/she has planned to come up with an online course (from the basics to the advanced), they might just not be able to do this in a session!

This takes time and this is where the e-learning business model, the Academy Model comes into play. Students generally pay a monthly fee here and your tutor continues to transfer the skills online.

3. The Combined Hybrid Model

This is where it gets interesting! 

The combined online learning business model is where you come up with the feature where your e-learning platform can offer both long-term courses and one-time payment courses. Your students can also purchase particular sections of the course if they find the same to be useful. 

This is undoubtedly a win-win online learning business model

Students who do not wish to enroll for the entire course can purchase selected sections of the course. Tutors on the other side do not have to create self-paced one-time courses separately. Instead, the entire course can be split into sections and sold for a set price.

You must now have a basic understanding of what an e-learning business is and the common elearning business models. 

So, with the basics discussed, we’ll head to the important part of the read – building an e-learning platform. 

How to Build An Online Learning Platform In 5 Simple Steps

Speaking of creating online education businesses, we thought why not start with a motivational fact. 

Udemy before it initially made its breakthrough was rejected by more than 20+ investors!

It’s all about how determined we are, right? Anyways, times have changed and e-learning businesses have become more of a necessity now! 

So, let’s get down to the steps to build an e-learning business!  

1. Business Aspect – Audience & Competitor Research 

The audience research goes mostly for tutors who look forward to starting an online course whereas competitor research is suitable if you’re planning to build an e-learning website (if you’re a tutor looking forward to having an e-learning platform all for yourself, suits you more). 

When planning for your online course, it’s best if you come up with an audience persona. Persona is nothing but the representation of a single individual who’d most likely be your customer. 

In order to do this, you need to ask yourself a few questions like, 

  • What age would they fall between? 
  • What would be their possible profession?
  • What languages would they know? 
  • Where could they be located? 
  • What would they expect out of the online course you’re offering them? 

This not only helps you to identify your target audience but also helps you to come up with a robust online course!

On the other hand, if you’re planning to build a platform that acts as a bridge between the tutor and the student, you should take a look at your competitor’s eLearning platform. Do rigorous research and find out how the signup process works, the walk-in demo and more. 

Going forward, it’s better if you start taking note of unique functionalities they’ve come up with – should be helpful when you create your own e-learning platform. 

We’ll be discussing the essential functionalities your platform should have in the later stages of the read. 

2. Course Aspect – Build a Robust Online Course

You wouldn’t have to worry about this if you’re planning on how to start an online learning platform like Udemy. But if you’re a tutor who is about to create an online course, sit tight! 

This matters the most! If you’re working on a timeline and you’re pushing yourself to come up with a course, we’d strongly recommend against it. Because when your online course lacks quality, there’s not only going to be dwindling registrations but the bad WOM makes things even worse! 

So, make sure your online course is top-notch and crystal clear. Come up with 

  • Infographics as downloadable content for better understanding and quick grasping. 
  • Video content to facilitate a more personalized and easy learning experience. 
  • Courses in the form of lectures so that your student doesn’t have to gobble all information at once. 

Also, make sure you conduct in-depth research to know if your online course idea is a great one before you pin it down. Here, this read can help you know how to validate your online course idea

Now you know who your audience is and how your online course materials should be as well! 

So, to the next step! 

3. Pricing Aspect – Set Appropriate Pricing For Your Courses

Pricing is another important step when it comes to building your e-learning website. This is kind of a double-edged sword – overpricing your course will not help you get registrations and setting the price too low might not help you earn revenue! 

So, you’ve got to make sure you price your courses accordingly. Always have these things in mind when you set the price for your course, 

  • Consider the course quality and the materials provided
  • The course duration and the assessment activities that come along 
  • Competitor course details and pricing 

This should help you come up with a price for your course! 

On the other hand, if you’re building an e-learning platform only as a destination for other tutors, come up with a nominal commission percentage or fixed price slabs. 

4. Technical Aspect – Pick the Right Platform for Your e-Learning Business

On a scale of 1 to 10 (built for importance), we’d rate this particular section 10 (which is why this is going to be fairly long)! 

Starting an e-learning business requires you to make the right decision in every aspect. Calculated risks are a luxury you cannot afford because there’s no looking back when you’ve thrown in the hefty dollar package (not all e-learning business platforms cost you a fortune). 

At this point, we’re pretty much sure that you’d be looking for a basic solution that’ll allow you to upload single courses but we strongly recommend you opt for sophisticated solutions. Because down the lane, you’ll be finding it very useful! 

Since we’re talking about choosing a platform, we thought why not come up with features the platform you choose should have!

So, here you go – the 10 features your eLearning platform should have!

  1. You Control What Happens 

When you are looking to create how to start an online learning platform, you’re the owner of your e-learning business and you get to make full decisions on your platform – without any third-party interference. Right from creating a new course to accepting a new tutor on the platform, it’s all on you! Putting it in a phrase, the ball is in your court 😉!

  1. Standalone Platform With Direct Audience Interaction 

It’s going to be yourself and your audience (students here). Make sure that your platform allows you to interact with the audience so that you can create a more personalized online learning experience. 

The interaction part would be great if you can conduct group video class sessions and 1-on-1 private sessions. Also, students should be able to chat with tutors during video sessions or once when it is over. This helps students clarify their doubts and gives them a classroom environment at their home.

The below is a screenshot of the tutor’s dashboard from Pinlearn.

Tutors can easily create group classes and 1-1 classes with their students upon request. Also, the in-built calendar feature lets them know their upcoming classes and bookings. 

  1. Analytics & Insights 

The e-learning business platform you choose should allow you to connect with common analytics platforms like Google Analytics. Also, you should be able to get in-depth insights on the performances of your courses. 

With Pinlearn, you get to know details like total students registered, number of tutors onboard, total revenue, etc. from your dashboard.

  1. Tutor Profile Setup 

A good profile is always known to attract eyeballs. And it’s nothing different here. When a tutor profile is handcrafted and has in-depth details along with his/her expertise and certifications, students will more likely choose the tutor for their learning process. 

Luckily with Pinlearn, you can handcraft your profile and make sure you get maximum eyeballs and revenue. 

You can also invite your friends, select subjects you teach, display a profile picture and do more. 

  1. Course & Tutor Filter Options

Choosing can be quite a difficult task especially when your e-learning platform has a huge number of courses and tutors in it. This is where “extensive filtering” plays an important role. You should allow your students to find courses and tutors based on factors like price, categories, date of creation and more. 

As for filtering tutors, options to filter based on subjects, categories and availability would be great!

You can also filter tutors using their country and zip code. The more filtering options your platform has, the better it is for people who search on your platform. 

  1. Multiple Payment Gateway Options 

Not all of your audience is going to be a part of the one payment gateway you have. Which is why your e-learning platform should have multiple payment gateway options like PayPal and Stripe.

  1. Option to Add Multiple Languages 

This is another important feature your chosen e-learning business platform should have. If you’re planning to start your business in a country that primarily speaks languages other than English, you need to have the option to add multiple languages. Here’s how you can do it with Pinlean – in a click. 

  1. Multiple Currency Availability

When you go for the language, this comes next! Your online business platform should support multiple currency options so that you don’t get stranded with what’s available on the platform.

  1. Easy Site Configuration Settings

The primary reason you’re looking for an e-learning solution is because you’re not tech-savvy (in most cases). And if the platform you choose makes things difficult for you, then there’s really no point going for it!

But with Pinlearn, things are usually a piece of cake!

Right from SEO details to adding social links/banners, you can get it done with ease – no design or development skills required! 

Digging through competitor platforms might help you find more unique features but the above-mentioned are a must-have when you build an e-learning platform.

  1. Clean UI/UX

It’s okay even if you overlook some of the most prominent features above but if you fail to do a good job on the user interface, you might as well put aside your e-learning business aspirations.

Clean user interface is the key to increase customer retention rates and creates a positive impact on audiences the very first time they visit your e-learning website. 

So, make sure you aesthetically design your website to appeal both the existing and first-time web visitors.

We believe you now should have got an idea as to what features your eLearning platform should be having. Once you’ve chosen your platform, you’re all set to go live. 

Since most of the e-learning platforms today come with everything pre-built, the set up process is going to be quite easy! 

You don’t have to worry much – it’s just plug and play! 

5. Marketing Aspect – Marketing Ways for Your eLearning Business

You’re all set and live. Now, it’s time to bring your eLearning business to the limelight. 

Frankly put out, there are a huge number of e-learning platforms today striving to create a difference. A few have been recognized, thanks to all possible kinds of marketing activities that made it possible for those brands! 

So, here are a few marketing activities that can help you draw more attention and leads to your e-learning business platform (We’ve just come up with the gist here. You’ll know more about how to market your e-learning business in a separate read)!

  1. Social Media Handles

Starting off by creating social media handles is always a good idea! Because it’s free and you’ve got like a billion users on popular social platforms. Social handles not only help you to establish your presence but can also drive traffic to your landing pages.

Coming up with regular posts that contain useful information can help you grow your follower base substantially. Make sure you be witty at times, use proper hashtags and tag someone if necessary! 

  1. YouTube 

YouTube is a more powerful way for advertising your business. If you’ve got a marketing budget, you should sure try advertising on YouTube – immense views and highly possible chances of conversions.

Going the organic route helps! Platforms like Udemy and Coursera have their own YouTube channels which help them drive sign ups for their courses. 

Fun Fact: Udemy joined YouTube during the year 2010 and already has 180k+ subscribers which is pretty great for an e-learning business channel.

  1. Lead Capturing Forms

Lead capturing forms can always come in handy when you’re looking forward to growing your email list. You can create surveys to capture the email addresses of your audience and later send them newsletters with coupons or discounts. 

Here’s something that’ll be helpful when it comes to capturing leads – promise them rewards. Offer them a $5 Amazon gift card and you’ll be surprised by the conversion rate!

  1. Email Marketing

The most effective and affordable way to drive revenue for your e-learning business is to send out emails. Surprising them with seasonal offers or discount coupons can help you do the trick! 

Here’s an example of how Udemy does email marketing, 

Udemy is extremely active when it comes to emails – they send a couple of emails per week. Similarly, come up with a schedule and email marketing ideas for your business.

Remember, email marketing works only when you have a sizable number of subscribers.

  1. Reviews & Testimonials

Flaunt your testimonials in all possible scenarios. If you’re a tutor (and you run the platform), leverage the positive reviews you get from your students. If you’re running the platform alone, make tutors talk about how they feel when they are using it! 

Here’s an example of how Coursera has used its testimonials, 

They’ve come up with testimonials right on their homepage – captures more attention and paves the path to conversions. 

That sounded easy, right? Trust us, it’s easier than said. Make sure you include your reviews on your newsletters, homepage banners, social handles and more! 

The above mentioned are some of the ways to market your e-learning business. You can also consider engaging with people on community forums or running Google Ad campaigns. 

With that said, we’re done with the question “how to build an online course business”. 

Quick Summary

If you’ve made it to this part of the read, it’s quite sure how determined you are to start an e-learning business. And we hope you now do have a clear idea about how to start an online course business. 

So, here’s a quick overview of what you just covered, 

  • What is an e-learning business
  • Reasons as to why you should start an online course business right away
  • Types of e-learning platform elearning business models
  • How to set up an online education business (along with the marketing ideas)
  • And finally, the features your e-learning platform should be having. 

That’s pretty much what you need to start off with right now! Also, if you’re looking for an e-learning platform solution, why don’t you start with Pinlearn? 

The platform is 100% open source, no forced white label branding, ready to use and most importantly, we cost you 10x times less than most of the platforms out there (experts say that it takes more than 1000 hours and costs you a fortune to build an e-learning platform solution today)! 

You can check out our features page or download the complete features list to know more about how Pinlearn can be an ideal e-learning platform solution for your startup! 

Or even better, you can book a free live demo so that one of our experts can take you through! 

Weekly Demo

Join our live demo and see how Pinlearn can help your business.


Yes, we’re done! Cheers to your e-learning business and its success!