How to Launch an Online Course With Just $100 or Less
As you might already know, e-learning has already become one of the biggest growing industries in the world in 2021. In fact, today even more people prefer to spend time watching videos, hold group meetings, take online courses, etc., on their phones (or other mobile devices). People utilize digital technologies not just for fun but also for professional purposes and for upgrading/learning skills with e-learning courses. So, pretty much we can say that this is a new age of “infopreneurs” we live in.
Yes, people take online courses and there are plenty of success stories about those who create courses online. So, if you’re currently on a tight budget and things are going rather slow career-wise because of the COVID-19, try to create an online course! Don’t let the lack of money hold you back. Sure enough, you’ll find an awesome idea for your online course even if you’ve got 100 bucks in your bank account.
In this blog post, we’ll give some tips and hints on how to launch an online course with little or no money. Give it a read if you’ve been thinking about creating an online training course but have only $100 or less to spare.
Brainstorm ideas about what problem-solving solution you can come up with for your online course
The trick is to find out what people are currently most interested in and looking forward to learning. Even what kind of information they are desperate for. Based on the results of your research, find a niche where your knowledge will be most useful to online learners.
In other words, create the course concept. When you have defined the learning goal and your target audience, think about the type of course. Almost all courses can be divided into three groups:
- informative courses
- skill courses
- motivational courses
Based on the learning goal, choose the best approach for fulfilling the learner’s needs.
So, look around, do some Internet browsing, read related forums to see what kind of major questions/problems people discuss. Check other people’s online courses to find out what kind of topics are most popular.
Remember, your online course needs to resolve people’s problems or motivate them to actually start doing things! Then actually decide whether online teaching is something you’ll like to do. If yes, the e-learning industry can become your true problem-solving solution.
Be tech-savvy by learning how to make cool videos
If the phrase “video shooting” makes you feel like running to the store to buy all this expensive professional gear, don’t be in a hurry. Yes, it takes some knowledge along with experience to make video lessons that would look and sound cool. But there is no need to purchase a whole bunch of stuff that you can’t afford at the moment. If you don’t have enough money to spare, don’t buy an expensive camera right away.
If you’ve got an iPhone – that’s awesome! Use your smartphone for shooting vids. A bunch of people make great quality video content with just an iPhone camera on hand and make decent money, by the way. Actually, anything that can at least shoot 720p is fine. Get your shots and edit them on a free editor like Avid Media Composer First.
Learn the pros/cons of video editing
After you got all your video footage ready, it’s time to do the editing. Again, there are many free video and audio software out there in the digital space that will let you get everything done. For example, you can start off by downloading Windows Essentials. This software was created by Microsoft and is available for users for free.
Once you download it, look for the program which is called Movie Maker. Or install this program directly from the Microsoft site. Then go ahead and open this program to see what the interface looks like.
Select different tabs and navigate through options to see what good they can do for you. For example, the tab called “Home” will let you work with videos/images/ audio, select premade themes for your movie, etc. Also, it provides an option of uploading projects to any social media platform (Facebook, Vimeo, or YouTube).
Here is a quick list of other tabs you’ll find useful:
- Visual effects – allow changing the color/tone of images (turn it black and white, turn the color saturation way up, etc.).
- Animations – adds transitions between clips.
- View – zooms in and out on the timeline, modifies sizes of thumbnails, and shows the waveforms for your video’s audio.
- Project – updates the whole project with overall changes (changes the aspect ratio of the video and adjusts the audio mix).
- Options – available after music files are added allowing to split the file, set start/end times for the music, fade it in and out, etc.
- Edit – available after the first video clip is added letting you trim the clip, set a new start point or endpoint, stabilize the video, and more.
Also, try Adobe Premiere Pro which lots of users love. It does require a monthly fee but it is all worth it. Another option would be FCP which has amazing rendering speed (especially, if coupled with a Mac).
Take video editing courses on eLearning platforms like Grinfer from professional photographers and moviemakers. You’ll learn many professional tips and tricks that you won’t find anywhere else and won’t have any other choice but make great videos!
Decide how would you want to make your online course more engaging
Think about things and activities that you’d want to use in your online course to make it more engaging. Yes, there are a number of factors that go into the making of an eLearning course. For example, the total number of hours, the technology used, animations involved, etc. But realize the importance of interactivity between you and your potential online learners for successful online teaching. Building an engaging online course is worth the effort (just like everything else) and will provide you with much better end results.
Here is a quick list of activities that can be set up at almost no cost and boost the level of interactivity during online learning sessions:
- Personal whiteboards. Have online students write answers and show them at the same time.
- Write questions/comments on chat. These could be responses to student sharing.
- Try learning games. There are several that could be adapted to what you are learning.
- If you teach a science course, let students carry out science experiments with you. Find fun science experiments that won’t require lots of expensive stuff involved. It’s much better if your learners will be able to use ingredients for experiments that they have at home.
- Take turns to share out loud. Let students share personal writings, personal opinions about literature, personalized stories, etc.
- Integrate video clips/slide shows. Provide your students with a variety of useful learning resources.
- Start engaging traditions. This can be jokes or riddles of the day or the tricky math problems that they can work on.
- Ask engaging questions. These questions don’t have to have a right or wrong answer. They should be mind-captivating and make learners feel like they want to discuss it with a group to find an answer.
- Use up-to-date examples. Always make sure that students will be able to connect to what they are learning with no problems.
Promote your knowledge and your online course through eLearning platforms
Online course platforms can be broadly divided into two categories:
- Course marketplaces (like Udemy, Grinfer, Coursera)
- Course creation software (like Thinkific)
Choosing which type of platform really depends on your business model and goals. So, think and decide what is right for you – a course marketplace or a course creation platform. If as a consultant, you are interested in keeping your business “as is” and just want to supplement your income with a digital product, then a course marketplace could be a good path to consider.
eLearning platforms offer the following key attributes that will drive your new business to success:
- Flexible pricing options (free, one time payments, recurring payments, payment plans);
- Full ownership of students (contact details, ability to communicate with them, etc.);
- Full pricing control (Charge any price, offer any discount you choose with coupons);
- Instant access to funds (Strip/Paypal).
Top 9 great eLearning platforms:
- Podia – good for professional content creators;
- Thinkific – provides all tools to businesses and individuals to generate online content;
- Grinfer – provides free tools for influencers, experts, and entrepreneurs for successful building, selling, and promoting online courses (also provides all resources for 1-1 online consultations);
- Teachable – appropriately suited for content creators and online entrepreneurs;
- LearnWorlds – a powerful and easy-to-use training solution;
- LearnDash – turn your WordPress site into a learning management system;
- SkillShare – for interactive learning through videos;
- EasyWebinar – to schedule live conferences as well as pre-recorded presentations automatically;
- Click4Course – for comprehensive engagement of an audience “under one roof”.
More tips to sell your online course successfully
- Build a sales funnel
- Create an attractive conversion-driven sales page
- Build a social media presence
- Give a special offer to social media followers
- Make use of social media ads
- Create stories and posts related to your course
- Market on forums and niche communities
- Keep conducting live webinars to reach potential students
If you have knowledge, experience, or something useful to share with others, sure thing, you have enough for building a great online course. You can spend years writing a book or you can set up a nice eLearning course that everybody will benefit from in a matter of weeks. Just stay focused on the goal and don’t forget to research stuff.
Also, if you create so-called CLOs (course learning outcomes), you’ll have a unique selling point for your course. Try your best to be unique and specific. An outcome is good when it’s about doing something difficult with the knowledge in the course. For instance, “Learn to Speak Japanese” is too generic and just about learning. Nope, not a learning outcome. “Speak Fluent Japanese With Native Speakers in 6 Months” is far more specific and speaks to doing something really useful with the knowledge you teach.
Don’t be shy to share your course as a demo with people whom you trust. Ask them to give an honest opinion. Collect their feedback and make changes as per their suggestions. This part shouldn’t take long. So, don’t linger on it. And most importantly, start promoting the course. Make it available on online platforms! Even if you aren’t selling the course, and it’s not for business at all, you will be in much better control of your promotions. Good luck and contact Grinfer for easy online course building once you have all your course content ready!