Can You Really Make Money with an Online Course?

Jenna Kutcher 

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September 14, 2023



If you’re in the digital marketing world (or even if you’re not), you may have had one or more of these questions about digital courses pop up in your mind: Online courses are incredible… could I really have one of my own? Or maybe, who I am *I* to teach?

Before a dozen other questions start to pop up, let’s get you course-creation clarity. I’ll guide you through a series of solution-oriented questions that can help you get to real answers and give you a clear vision about whether creating an online course is the right next step for you! Work through these with patience and see where the answers take you!

01. Have you wondered if it’s possible for you to sell a digital course with *your* expertise?

While it might feel like a simple question, I find it’s not one people really know how to fully ask themselves. You may have thought about this for a friend or colleague, but what about yourself?

Digital courses have amazingly high profit margins, which means you can get over that initial investment hump and easily recoup your start-up costs as you begin to make a profit with very low long-term costs to you. Unlike physical products, online courses can have minimal production and distribution costs. And in many ways, you are in control of how much you want to invest into it. You can easily share your genius with the world without having the world get a big say in what it’s going to cost you. As a course creator, you’re in charge of how big you can go!

02. Is there a specific topic that others consistently ask you about?

Don’t hesitate to go beyond the obvious, like what your full-time career is (although you can include that, too). Imagine what kind of situations others might say your name in when someone asks who they should talk to or hire for a specific need. Is it because of your skills or your life experiences? Maybe it’s the way you give advice, the way you approach certain life situations, or how you communicate.

A digital course is an amazing way to showcase your unique expertise and knowledge, even if it’s about something you would have never expected to be a course topic! Your personal approach is what makes you a valuable digital course creator. There are online courses for at-home hobby crafters, people coping with insomnia, budget grocery shopping, window sill gardening, learning how to ask for a promotion, and conflict resolution with your pre-teen!

Can you see how the odds are SO in your favor that you already have amazing insight to offer the world?

03. Have you gotten results for yourself or someone else?

It’s really this simple. It’s not about being the world’s greatest expert, it’s being someone who has had experience and gotten results. When have your skills, knowledge, advice (or special recipe, so to speak) gotten real results for you and for the people you’ve shared them with?

It’s easy for us to question if we can teach and a lot of times we are prone to wait until we have the perfect end product before we show up — which leads us to procrastinating on letting people in to the process. You don’t need to be ten steps ahead of someone, you just need to be further in the journey than they are. In fact, I’d argue that it’s more appealing and relateable to share with others while you are still learning.  Think about the processes or methods you go back to time and time again because they never fail you! 

04. Do you have the feeling there is BIG potential in yourself and you just need some help sharing it with the world?

If you’ve ever had this feeling, then you know how exciting and frustrating it can be trying to figure out WHAT the thing is that will help you sort it all out and give you a clear vision. I get it. It’s the questions that started to tug at my mind when I was a burned out photographer, looking for ways to expand what I do without spreading myself so thin all the time.

I started to see that while I loved getting results for my clients, but I also loved teaching new photographers how to build a successful business. But teaching them 1-on-1 required way too much of my time, and I was already weekend-less. So, I wondered if I had the expertise to teach new photographers my business strategy with a digital course. The potential felt pretty big, but I had never created a course and also never really visualized myself as an educator. Good thing those two doubts didn’t hold me back, right?

My advice to you is to try and listen to for the voice that is speaking to you about your potential. Are you burned out? Are you looking for ways to expand what you without committing more of your time and energy? For now, trust that instinct and let the questions keep guiding you because you’ll need that reminder for the days that you might forget you know you have that potential to dig out!

05. What are 3 things your people would say are your biggest strengths?

You might not automatically know the answer to this. And that makes sense, especially if you’re never asked your people this kind of question! So, I challenge you to send a text to a few trusted people asking them what they see as your biggest strengths. You might be surprised about what they write back! What my sister would say about me would be quite different than what my mom would say, and I know that my mentor-turned-business-BFF, Amy Porterfield, would probably hit on strengths that neither my mom or sister would think of.

Write those themes down, sit with them for a minute (even if it makes you a little uncomfortable) and look for a central theme amongst them. Then consider how that theme could become your perfect course topic! And if you can’t string them together or see a central theme, it’s possible that you have three distinct strengths (heck yeah you do!), and they could all become very clear and powerful digital course topics for you! 

06. Do you have things that make you SO excited to do that you wish could be turned into passive income?

Think about your weekends, your extra time, your hobbies, and those 2am ideas that pop into your head. (I am personally guilty of having the best ideas in the middle of the night.) The passive income potential of being a digital course creator is incredibly exciting and understandably alluring! There have been so many moments in the last few years that I’ve been able to step away from my business long-term (e.g. two long maternity leaves!) and still make money every single day I was away.

Courses allow you to shut the laptop, be adventurous, take a long holiday, stop stressing when the unexpected life stuff comes up, and make money in your sleep. Automated and evergreen digital courses are a major time and energy saver while they also expand the number of people you’re able to impact! It’s a win-win.

07. If you already had the money in the bank, can you think of things you’d want to build, invest in, support, and give to the world?

When I was doing one-on-one mentorships and masterminds, I could only be with a super limited group of people each time. In order to reach more people, I’d have to spend less time with the people who deserved my attention, but then I was also limiting my reach. It always drained my battery, and for all the work put into it, it still wasn’t bringing in an income that could help me move the needle. I truly wanted to be present with each of my clients individually.

One of the core reasons I love creating courses is because it not only allows me to affect lives through the courses themselves as they’re all so scalable (i.e. I’ll never “run out of stock” or seats for my courses – the amount of students that can sign up is limitless!), but also because I am able to make more money and impact the world the way I’ve always dreamed. Plus, a digital course means a student can learn from you without the noise of a big group, while also being able to afford that connection since digital courses can be way more affordable than 1-on-1 mentorship or masterminds!

08. If you had to start next week with your big idea, can you think of what your first step would be?

This kind of question can pull in that big, lofty, ‘someday’ kind of idea and help you make it super real. And it’s not a wild idea at all to think that next week really could be your starting point. And perhaps even more than that… My business bestie and course creation mentor, Amy Porterfield, is the best in the world when it comes to helping people take that massive leap from curiosity to creating a digital course and launching it confidently into the world!

She’s opening up her LIVE Course Creation Masterclass, Your Low-Stress, Start-To-Finish Digital Course Launch In 5 Streamlined Steps, and because you’re reading this, I think you’re a great fit to join! It’s just ONE hour, and you’ll learn what is actually necessary to create, market, and sell your digital course! Tech-wise, task-wise. and money-wise.

If you’re ready to turn your questions into not just answers, but ACTION, Amy is the one ready to guide you step by step all the way through. You’ll learn LIVE (yep, directly from her!) how to build and launch a profitable digital course without a big team, big budget, or the constant overwhelm of “what do I do next?”. You’ll walk away from just ONE hour learning from Amy with a clear roadmap for creating your own digital course!

Learn all this in just an hour with Amy: 

01. – The key to stop thinking about creating a course and start DOING it.
02. – The 10% edge mindset shift that all successful digital course creators need to adopt.
03. – How to launch a course if you already feel like you’re BUSY.
04. – How to attract new people to YOU, even if you have a small audience now!
05. – How to use and master the tech-side of course creation with ease and confidence.
06. – How to strategically launch a course, even when it’s brand spankin’ new!

(And if you show up for the LIVE class, you’ll also get this for free! Your Course-Ready Audience Tool Kit: Plug & Play Templates for creating a beautifully engaging and value-packing freebie for your own course students!)

The only part of this you have to do alone is decide on that next step. Are you ready to expand your reach, your time, your impact, your profit, and share your genius with the world? My final question to you is — why wait? Your future students are waiting!

Create and Launch Your Own Online Course

Learn from my course creation mentor LIVE in Amy’s FREE Digital Course Masterclass!

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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