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There is a lot of information about creating and selling online courses, but it can be tough to sort through the noise. If you’re here because you want to find the strategies that can show you how to make money teaching online, keep reading.

The education market has changed a lot in the last 10 years. So have student expectations. This opens the door to alternative methods of learning and new ways to earn a consistent income with teaching.

How to Make Money Teaching Online with 4 Simple Strategies

1. Choose the right course
2. Learn the business of running an online teaching business
3. Market your class
4. Pay attention to your data

It is tempting to learn how to make money teaching online with an established school or institution. While that is one option, it’s mostly like any standard job. Many teaching positions are part-time and the amount of money you’re able to earn is often limited by your location, grade level or other factors. 

Education has changed a lot and learning how to make money teaching online will show you the most important things to plan as you get started

Because teaching is a big part of the passion economy, there’s also a lot of competition for these positions. A more lucrative option is to create and teach courses online on your own.

You can earn money by teaching online

People are always looking for a new option for their future or a new way to make themselves and their lives better.

You may not think that you’re qualified to be a teacher, but we all have valuable skills that we can teach. It’s not always about being an expert, it’s about being a source of knowledge and experience for the many people who are starting out.

For example, say you’ve been playing fantasy football for five years and you’ve won twice in competitive leagues. So, you could teach your process to anyone new to fantasy football.

Fantasy football is a hobby for some, but if you're an expert you can learn how to make money teaching online with Selz ecommerce

Another example, say you’ve worked with Excel for years. Many workers today jump between Excel and online apps like Google Sheets to maintain spreadsheets. Those professionals might not know all of the formulas, pivot tables and other advanced tools that can save them time and hassle at work, but you do.

If you take your skills and put them into an easy-to-understand structure, you can share your time and experience. This makes it easy for anyone to learn and puts you in a place where you’re making money teaching online.

1. How to teach online classes and earn money? Choose the right course.

A lot of advice tells you to teach a class that you care about. But teaching a subject you have passion for isn’t enough. Your online teaching business should offer prospective students something that they need. In other words, your knowledge and passion have to be in demand.

Think about it. Is there a topic that friends and family frequently come to you for help with? Is there a topic that you frequently contribute to in your Reddit or other online forums? Many of the most successful entrepreneurs started their business with an idea someone else asked them to produce, often before they even knew they wanted to!

While there is a lot of free instruction online, especially with the popularity of how-to videos on YouTube, it’s time-consuming to find great instruction that goes in-depth. You have the power to make it easy for students to find you and to teach them what they really need to know. For many students that is more than worth the price tag! 

YouTube is a popular platform for free teaching but if you want to earn money by teaching online you need to do more

For instance, there are a ton of workout classes online. That said, it’s tough to find workout plans for a specific age group or fitness level. It’s also hard finding modifications that work for specific body types. The more specific you get with your online course, the easier it will be to connect with customers who really want to learn from you. 

Read more: Sell Online Courses from Your Own Website: How to Succeed

Teach something specific

You can make more income teaching a class that requires specialized knowledge.

It’s much easier to set your course at a higher price point if you have years of authority and expertise in your subject matter. Let’s go back to the Excel class idea. Why did you learn Excel in the first place? Was it for basic organization or to track budgets and overhead at your job? Do you use Excel for your personal finances or are you using it to track spending for a long-term project? 

Those details affect what you can teach and why people will trust you to teach it well. Excel for accounting may not seem like it’s so different from Excel for grant writing. But the experience of the user, their expectations and what they need to get out of the tool could be very different. 

Find ways to prove your specific knowledge and experience on your website too. Be sure to include:

  • Schools and conferences you’ve attended
  • Certifications or courses you completed
  • Awards and accolades

If you post this information in a clear and easy-to-understand way, it will help you make your case without pressuring or overwhelming your site visitors.

Your learning style and your teaching style

Another thing that can impact your ability to make money teaching online courses is the way that you teach and learn. One of the most difficult things about starting an online teaching business is remembering to step outside of yourself. 

You need to see your topic from the perspective of someone who is just starting out. After all, a lesson might be easy for you but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. 

Learning style should also influence the way you create your course materials. Visual learners respond well to visual classes like video, and you may want to create a step-by-step video walkthrough instead of written instructions. 

Another thing to consider for visual learners, fill-in-the-blank quizzes and worksheets could feel boring or limiting. It’s better to ask them to be creative and ask for free-form responses instead.

2. Learn the business of running an online teaching business

Now that you’ve honed in on what you want to teach and you’ve started building your course, it’s time to start thinking about online teaching as a business. 

Creating a business plan is a healpful step as you how to teach online classes and earn money with Selz, the best ecommerce platform for digital products

Running your own business is a great way to make money, but it’s not always a quick way to make money. Operating a business takes time, attention to detail and a lot of maintenance. It can sometimes take years before your courses are making a solid income. So, before you start your online course, you may want to take an online business class. You can also read through some articles that can help you nail down the basics.

Read more:

The Complete Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Small Business Growth
How to Start Selling Online in 6 Simple Steps
Online Business 101

Create a realistic budget

You will see better returns if you make a competitive investment in your online course. 

That is, invest as much as your competitors do, at minimum. Some course options, like video classes, feel more expensive and valuable to students than an eBook, but they also require a little more specialized equipment and technical understanding. This article will show you the tools you need to create great video courses on a budget.

You’ll also want to invest your time. It could take months to research and create your course and build a strong foundation for promotion. If you know you want to get started but you’re not sure how long it will take, start building up your community on social media or start blogging on WordPress now. If you already have a strong following in your niche it will be easier to start earning money teaching online once your course is ready.

At this point, you also want to set the right price for your online courses. Think about combining live sessions with digital courses. You can request a higher rate for a live individual class session, but those classes will take up more of your time. So, balance your live instruction with videos, eBooks and other digital course materials for maximum earning potential.

Keep your digital set up simple and streamlined

There are many educational platforms to sell your courses online. Some of these tools can offer value, but they can also be expensive and complicated. Choose an ecommerce platform, like Selz, that specializes in selling digital products. This will give you the tools for security and digital delivery that you need, and help you start selling quickly.

Get to know the Internet of Things

New applications and digital tools are popping up every day to help businesses streamline their processes. These tools can help you run things more effectively and efficiently. One idea is adding a chatbot to answer common questions.  This can save you a ton of the time you usually spend writing personalized email responses. It also helps your students get the answers they need at the moment they need them. It’s a win-win!

Read more:

The Future of IoT and 6 Trends to Watch
How IoT is Changing the Ecommerce Landscape

3. How to make money teaching online? Market your class.

Marketing is essential for any small business. If you’re just starting out the complexity of digital marketing can be intimidating. These are the most common channels in digital marketing.

Your best bet is to choose one or two channels that fit with your skills and that you can work on regularly. Once your online course is complete and ready for sale you’ll be spending at least 50% of your time on marketing. So, it’s a good idea to choose a channel that you’re comfortable with and excited about.

Quora is just one of many great places to connect with communities online for your online teaching business

Think about your habits and personality. No matter what you prefer, there’s a digital channel that’s right for your story.

For example, do you feel like you’re better at answering direct questions than coming up with post ideas for social media? In that case, online communities like Quora and Reddit or guest hosting on niche podcasts is a smart way to promote your course. 

If you’re more of an introvert, blog writing is a great way to develop SEO for your website and promote your online class.

Read more: 10 Proven Marketing Ideas for Course Creators

Create a mailing list

With a good mailing list, you can share insider knowledge and tease new courses to your audience. This helps you build a deeper connection with people who already know and appreciate the quality of your classes. Your emails can help you build an audience and a community for the concepts you teach.

To create an email list of your customers with Selz, all you need to do is check the marketing option to start collecting email addresses.

Selz option for advanced marketing is just one helpful feature to promote your online courses

You can also use an email marketing integration like MailChimp or ConvertKit to create lead forms. Then, add these forms to your blog or to a lead magnet on your site. A great lead magnet, if you’re teaching online for money, is a free sample or shortened version of one of your classes.

A newsletter can promote new courses while also offering helpful content for anyone who wants to know how to make money teaching online

4. Pay attention to your data

After a few months of selling your online course, you will have enough data to make some educated guesses about your best students. 

Ask yourself:

  • Do they download some of your course materials more than others?
  • When you look at your video watch rates, is there a common drop off point in any of your videos?
  • Do your reviews or customer emails mention one part of your course more than the others?

Use these signals to update your online teaching and make it better. You can also use this information to create new online classes so you’re teaching and making money while also meeting the needs of your biggest fans.

Return customers are the key to lasting income and word-of-mouth referrals. The happier you make your customers the more successful your online course will be.

Launch your online teaching business

Teaching online is a great way to make passive income if you’re ready to put in the work and the time. These strategies will help you ramp up your efforts for success. If you’re ready to start selling your course online today, try a free 14-day trial with Selz, the best ecommerce platform for selling online courses.

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.