Ready to create and sell online courses, but not quite sure which platform is for you? Keep reading my dear–this post is for you!
Online Platforms for Solopreneurs to Sell Online Courses
It’s no longer a secret that selling online courses is a fantastic way to monetize a blog or really any business. Just a few years back, creating an online course would have been a costly production that involved purchasing expensive software–that only a technical expert could work–and possibly even hiring a videographer.
Barriers like these kept many bloggers and online business owners from pursuing course creation as a realistic monetization strategy. We simply didn’t have the time, money, or expertise to pursue it!
However, times change and so does the technology we have access to. There has never been a better time to create your first online course. Finally, there are affordable and accessible tools that allow virtually anyone to get an online course up and running in just a few hours if you really wanted to!
There are so many options in fact, that it can get overwhelming trying to decide which one is best for you. But no worries…I’ve got you covered!
This post will explore several of the popular online course platforms that creative entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and mompreneurs should explore if you are interested in creating and publishing your first online course.
These platforms were created with the small business owner in mind, so you will find that many of them have free trials or free options available, making the tools affordable for even a shoestring budget. The premium plans of these platforms offer access to extra perks like live training, the ability to integrate with other website tools, ability to run your own affiliate program, and much more!
Have you read up to this point and really just want me to tell you which one of these platforms I recommend?
I totally get the fact that this can be pretty overwhelming, so here’s my top choice: Thinkific. This is the platform I’m using for my business-related courses and it’s super easy to get started. This is my platform of choice for so many reasons including affordability, an amazing customer team, the ability to track which web pages your students are coming from, and more. You can publish your course on this platform for $0 in startup fees. It’s a great platform, and I know you will love it!
Click Funnels offers all-inclusive packages that allows you to publish an online course, create sales funnels, create a membership site, create opt-in boxes, sell other digital products and much more. I personally know at least two solopreneurs using Click Funnels for their membership sites and they love it. Pricing plans start at $99 per month. Click Funnels offers a free 14-day trial.
Coach is an online platform that allows you to create online courses, sell digital products, create landing pages, send emails, and drip content for one all-inclusive price. This platform originally catered more to coaches–business coaches, life coaches, health coaches, etc.–but they have expanded capabilities that now apply to any online entrepreneur. All-inclusive plans start at just $29 per month. They offer a “try before you buy” option that is free for one product plus up to 100 subscribers.
This platform allows you to easily build an online course using WordPress. It’s considered a no-hassle “customizable course website in a box.” You can create as many courses as you want, creating landing pages and sales pages, and you get customer support throughout the process. They do not charge any transaction fees, however, this option does require an upfront cost with pricing starting at $497 annually. Course Cats offers a free 14-day trial.
Gumroad is a platform that once was considered more for selling digital copies of artwork and books, but has evolved to be so much more over the years. They offer course creators the option to publish and sell online video, audio, and/or text courses to their audiences. Even cooler, your courses can be rented or purchased by a paying customer. You choose your own pricing either way. Pricing plans for Gumroad starts at $10 per month, and a 3.5% + $.30 per sale transaction fee is applied. They offer a free 14-day trial.
Kajabi is another sort of all-inclusive platform that allows you to create more than just courses. You can also create a membership site, open an online store, develop a training portal, sell other kinds of digital products, send marketing emails and more. You can choose one of several templates to start building the look and feel of your site. Pricing plans start at $129 per month, and a 14-day free trial is available.
This platform is pretty straight forward, offering course creators the option to host unlimited students and unlimited courses across all plan levels. I’ve personally taken a few courses on Ruzuku and found it easy to navigate as a student, however, I’ve never taught my own course from the platform. One notable difference is that some of their plans include the ability to host webinars–so that’s kind of cool. Ruzuku has plans starting at $99 per month, and they offer a free 14-day trial.
Teachable is a platform that allows you to publish multiple courses and enroll unlimited students. They offer a FREE plan that allows you to publish a course for no upfront costs. The free plan does charge $1 + 10% transaction fee on any course you sell (this transaction fee is waived for your free courses). From experience, as a student of courses hosted on Teachable and as a course creator who has used Teachable, I can say that this platform is worth checking out. Their premium plans start at just $39 per month.
Thinkific focuses on empowering modern course creators as their mission. With their excellent customer service and free training offered to course creators, this platform is an easy-to-use option, especially for new course creators. From personal experience, I can vouch for the ease of use of this platform and the simplistic yet powerful interface it provides for students. Thinkific’s $0 starter plan requires no upfront costs, but rather takes a 10% transaction fee from each course you sell. Their premium plans begin at just $49 per month.
For the options mentioned above, it’s important to note that you have full control over your pricing. This means you get to set how much you want to charge. Whether it’s $20 or $2,000–you are in full control of your pricing. In many cases, you can even offer a monthly payment plan as an option to your audience.
However, when it comes to course marketplaces–like the ones listed below– they typically have a different set of rules when it comes to pricing your courses. Normally, there is a predetermined pricing range set-up by the marketplace itself, and you will have to price your course according to their guidelines.
While these pricing restrictions may not be ideal for some course creators, there is an obvious perk of publishing your course on a marketplace–built-in exposure. Course marketplaces showcase your course based on its category, and it’s possible that the marketplace will even promote your course on their homepage and to their email list. This can be a huge boost to your course visibility and enrollments.
The previously mentioned options require you to take full control of your marketing and promotion process.
Here are a few course marketplaces to check out for yourself. Remember, none of these marketplaces require exclusive rights to your course. This means you can–and in most cases should–publish to multiple course marketplaces so you can enjoy the exposure of multiple audiences.
Brit + Co
Brit.co is one of my new favorite course marketplaces! They cater to female creatives and solopreneurs. Classes are normally priced from $9 to $49 (or slightly more if the class comes with a kit or as a bundle). To teach on this platform, you must first apply to become a teacher via their online application. If chosen, they fly you to San Francisco and film your entire class from start to finish!
With over 2 million students, Skillshare is one of the more well-known course marketplaces. Students pay a $10 monthly membership fee for access to unlimited premium courses. As of January 1, 2017, Skillshare teachers are paid based on the number of minutes watched across all their courses. A threshold of 30 minutes (across all courses offered) must first be watched before a teacher is eligible for payment in a given month. It’s completely free to publish your course on Skillshare. They offer a 30-day Teach Challenge for new course creators.
Udemy is a course platform with over 15 million students worldwide. Course creators can publish their courses for no up-front costs. Udemy does a revenue share with course creators, keeping 50% of the course sale if made from a Udemy promotion or 3% of a sale made directly by the instructor. Instructors are allowed to set the price of their courses within a range of $20 to $200.
Two other marketplaces to check out include:
Amazing.com, which has over 16 thousand students and 150 instructors. This platform is particularly good if you teach anything related to being a seller on Amazon.
CreativeLive.com, which has over 10 million students and 650 instructors across multiple disciplines. The courses listed here appear to be priced higher than many of the marketplaces, and it likely equates to better income for the instructors–a nice perk, right?
It is unclear, however, what the process is for becoming an instructor on these two platforms. It may be by invitation only or it’s possible that they accept proposals from would-be instructors via email.
There you have it ladies–a quick overview of some of the most popular course platforms available right now. There are certainly more options out there to choose from. If you would like to share your own personal experience with any of the platforms mentioned above or others that you know of, please share in the comments below!
My plan is to continue to update this post with more places to sell online courses, so check back soon! If you enjoyed this blog post, you should also check out these…
If you need help understanding how to create your first online course, sign-up for my free tutorials in Epic Instructor Lab. Here, I walk you step-by-step through a simple course creation process.