March 19, 2015

Why Online Courses Are A Powerful Business Tool

I just read an article in Forbes saying that online courses are going to be a $107 Billion industry in 2015. I could’ve told you that. Last year, I earned 70% of my company revenue from online courses and products. If you’re a business and you’re not currently delivering some kind of online learning experience, I’ve got a story to tell.

Online Courses Help The Community You Serve.

If you run even a pet grooming business, a quick online course on “How to Extend Your Glorious Grooming Results Between Visits” would be a great product. If someone spends $100-200 getting their dog groomed, you can imagine they’ll spend $100-200 to learn how to space out visits. “Oh, but that will take away some business!” I hear you complaining already. True, maybe. But it also earns you business you didn’t have to be there to do in person. You could make that $100-200 per person while you sleep, thus freeing up some more time for the work you want to do.

Online Courses Free Up Your Time.

If you find yourself teaching people the same details over and over without many variables, this is ripe for building a course. For years, people have asked me about content marketing including blogging and email marketing. The questions were so similar that I built two courses. Those courses (and the others that followed) are what make up that 70% of my revenue I mentioned above. That means that while people are taking these online courses, and working through the foundational work, I can help more people with their custom needs.

Online Courses Aren’t Just for Online Businesses.

There are many companies who can sell an online course for an offline experience. You can teach lots of things online that are offline experiences: cooking, sewing, how to install heating ducts, teleconferencing installation design, whatever. Don’t allow yourself to think that online courses are just “how to get rich” schemes. They’re how people are choosing to learn.

Do You Have the Right Idea for an Online Course?

Here’s the simplest criteria I can think up:

  • Do you know someone who has an identified need that you know how to solve?
  • Do you know how to teach someone to do it?
  • Would someone actually PAY to learn this?

That’s it. That’s how I’ve sold what I sell. I’ve identified some needs from the people I’m able to serve.
I know how to teach them the actions to take to improve their standing.
People pay me to take my courses. Done.

What about you?


Chris Brogan is CEO of Owner Media Group. His latest project, Online Course Maker, gives you the framework to take you from a rough idea into a fully created and published online course. Learn more here!


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