Making Money Online

Launch an Online Course from Scratch and Make Passive Income

Earning passive income from an online course is an increasingly popular way to make money online. With the right strategy, you can launch a successful online course even if you’re starting completely from scratch.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through every step of creating, marketing, and selling an online course that generates passive income.

Crafting the Online Course Idea

Coming up with a compelling course topic is the first step to creating a profitable online course. Here are some tips for finding a winning idea:

Analyze the Competition

Research existing online courses in your field. Look for topics with proven demand but low competition. Aim for a niche that has an engaged audience but lacks comprehensive courses.

Leverage Your Skills and Experience

Teach something you have expertise in. Tap into your unique background to provide value others don’t.

Survey Your Audience

Ask your email list or social media followers what challenges they face. Tailor your course to solve their needs.

Choose Evergreen Topics

Pick universal skills and timeless concepts. Avoid fads or overly-specific material.

Brainstorm Side Hustle Course Ideas

Profitable launches include freelancing, social media marketing, blogging for money, and more.

With a compelling course topic, you can create content that attracts your ideal students.

Defining the Course Framework and Components

The framework of your online course will depend on your topic, teaching style, and audience. Here are the main components to consider:

Course Objective

Clarify what students will learn and why it matters to them. A succinct objective focuses the course.

Target Audience

Understand the background, skill level, goals and pain points of your students. Customize course content accordingly.

Course Outline and Modules

Organize material into logical modules or chapters. Arrange topics from foundational to advanced.

Type of Content

Courses can include video lessons, slide decks, worksheets, quizzes, live workshops, Q&As, and more. Mix formats.

Course Length

Courses typically range from 2 hours for a class to 40+ hours for a comprehensive program. Find your sweet spot.

Pricing Tiers

Offer tiered pricing for premium add-ons like workbooks, coaching calls, or certification exams.

With the framework mapped out, it’s time to start creating content.

Producing Online Course Content

Developing excellent course content is vital for satisfying students. Here’s how to produce online course materials:

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Write a Course Synopsis

Summarize the course in a paragraph. Include an overview of topics covered, skills gained, and problems solved.

Create Lesson Outlines

Make an in-depth outline for each lesson. List key points, supporting information, examples, and session flow.

Write Lesson Scripts

Flesh out each outline into a script or transcript. This provides talking points for recordings.

Record Lesson Videos

For video lessons, use screencasting software like Camtasia or Loom to record your screen. Practice until clear and smooth.

Design Slides and Worksheets

Create supporting visual aids like PowerPoint slides. Make fillable PDF worksheets for exercises.

Curate Bonus Materials

Include cheat sheets, checklists, templates, and curated resources for added value.

Check Content Quality

Proofread transcripts, slides, and materials for errors. Refine content and flow.

With high-quality content produced, it’s time to package your course.

Choosing the Best Online Course Platform

Your online course platform or learning management system (LMS) hosts your course content for students. Here are top options to consider:


Offers excellent course creation tools, marketing automation, and secure payment processing. Higher pricing but very user-friendly.


One of the most popular LMS platforms. Simple to use with good course marketing features.


Highly rated LMS with gorgeous course designs and strong analytics. Works for all course formats.


Great for info products like online courses, memberships, and downloads. Cost effective and straightforward.


Focus on community building with built-in forums, social learning, and messaging.

Once you choose a platform, it’s time to set up your online course for success.

Optimizing and Promoting Your Online Course

With your course content ready and LMS set up, take these final steps to polish and market your program:

Set Up Automated Emails

Create emails to onboard students, deliver lessons, share resources, and remind about upcoming sessions.

Establish a Drip Content Schedule

Release new modules on a structured timeline to maintain student engagement.

Foster Student Community

Build in ways for students to interact like forums and private Facebook groups.

Promote the Course Launch

Get the word out by sharing it on social media, your mailing list, paid ads, affiliates, joint ventures and more.

Collect Student Testimonials

Gather video testimonials and written reviews to build social proof.

Continuously Improve Content

Use student feedback to refine and expand your course offerings.

By continually nurturing your course community and content, you can scale your business.

Making Your Online Course Passive Income

The key to earning true passive income from your online course is to systematize and automate processes. Here are some ways how:

Record Evergreen Pre-Recorded Lessons

One-time video creation yields returns for years. Outsource admin tasks if needed.

Offer Self-Paced Online Courses

Automated LMS course delivery enables hands-off income.

Schedule Repeating Cohorts

Set up a new course session on autopilot annually or quarterly.

Create Membership Sites

Recurring membership fees provide predictable revenue. Deliver new content monthly.

Bundle Courses into Programs

Sell packaged programs with multiple course upsells for passive backend income.

Expand into Certifications

Certify students through exams. Charge renewal fees.

License Your Course

Sell licenses to organizations to use your course content.

Building these systems makes earning passive income through your expertise possible!

Frequently Asked Questions About Launching Online Courses

Still have questions about creating a profitable online course from scratch? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

How long does it take to create an online course?

Expect 60-200 hours to create a quality online course, including outlining, content creation, technical setup, and marketing assets. Workthrough the course development systematically over 2-3 months for best results.

How much should I charge for my online course?

Pricing varies greatly by niche, course length, production quality, and perceived value. As a benchmark, aim for around $100-$200 for a shorter 1-5 hour course or $500-$2000+ for a comprehensive 15+ hour program.

Should I make the course self-paced or cohort-based?

Self-paced courses allow ongoing passive income, while cohorts provide community and engagement. Many creators offer both delivery options. Start with pre-recorded self-paced content and add live cohorts later.

How do I get my first students?

Leverage your existing audience and platform by sharing the course launch via email lists, social media, collaborations with influencers, affiliates, and joint ventures. Consider running a limited-time launch discount or scholarship contest to incentivize early signups.

How do I handle course tech issues and student questions?

Create an FAQ section in the course with common tech troubleshooting tips. Also establish protocols for responding to student inquiries within 24 hours during the workweek via email or a help desk system. Consider hiring a VA to handle customer support at scale.

Ready to start earning passive income from your own online course? Follow the strategies outlined in this guide, and you’ll be on the path to launching a successful and profitable course from scratch. With commitment and consistency, you can build a course business that creates long-term passive income.

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George James

George was born on March 15, 1995 in Chicago, Illinois. From a young age, George was fascinated by international finance and the foreign exchange (forex) market. He studied Economics and Finance at the University of Chicago, graduating in 2017. After college, George worked at a hedge fund as a junior analyst, gaining first-hand experience analyzing currency markets. He eventually realized his true passion was educating novice traders on how to profit in forex. In 2020, George started his blog "Forex Trading for the Beginners" to share forex trading tips, strategies, and insights with beginner traders. His engaging writing style and ability to explain complex forex concepts in simple terms quickly gained him a large readership. Over the next decade, George's blog grew into one of the most popular resources for new forex traders worldwide. He expanded his content into training courses and video tutorials. John also became an influential figure on social media, with over 5000 Twitter followers and 3000 YouTube subscribers. George's trading advice emphasizes risk management, developing a trading plan, and avoiding common beginner mistakes. He also frequently collaborates with other successful forex traders to provide readers with a variety of perspectives and strategies. Now based in New York City, George continues to operate "Forex Trading for the Beginners" as a full-time endeavor. George takes pride in helping newcomers avoid losses and achieve forex trading success.

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