Start your own online business today!
You are about to learn the exact business model I use to generate income online from my own, small, one-man-army business.
The business model is relatively simple. In short, you create and sell digital information products in a form of online video courses. The word video shouldn't scare you because you don't have to film yourself to create high-quality video lectures.
Each online course you create is an asset that's going to be bringing you revenue months and years to come. The most successful companies in the world sell more than one product, so, you will do the same. You will create and sell several online courses.
The more courses you create, the more experienced you will become and then, you can create your signature, high-end program that will be exclusive to your own business school (I give details below).
By using the steps you are about to read below I managed to sell online courses from $7 to $497, enroll over 50000 students (sorry I cannot give an exact number because every month I'm adding from 1000 to 2000 students to my student base) and generated tens of thousands of dollars running my own online business part time, from home.
My Results On Skillshare
My Results On Udemy
My Results On Teachable (High-End Sales)
The best part is that you can start on a very tight budget and grow from there.
To get started, you don't need to:
- have a website, domain, and hosting
- pay for advertising.
- be a technical savvy to create video lectures.
- worry about video hosting.
- have a higher academic degree.
To make this model work, you need to:
- have/be willing to obtain specific knowledge and experience.
- love and believe in education.
- allocate time for the project (I do 10-20 hours a week).
- be genuinely interested in helping people.
- invest in a USB Mic.
Sounds good? Let's get started.
What Are You Going To Teach?
Marketing 101 - Choosing A Niche
A niche is another word for specific market. If you want to get a bit more philosophical, niches are needs (Eben Pagan). It is not a secret that we, people, have needs that we are eager to satisfy.
A market consists of niches. For example, “weight loss” is a market. But a sub-niche of the weight-loss market would be “weight loss only for men” or “weight loss only for women”. We could even go one step further. “weight loss for women after pregnancy” or “weight loss for men after 45”.
These are niches but you should know that online instructors use the words a niche and market interchangeably. So, “weight loss” is a big niche that consists of many small niches or sub-niches.
Let’s get even more specific here.
A niche is a specific group of people who have common characteristics such as needs, problems, desires, and fears.
A general rule when creating a digital product and in our case, an online course for your online teaching business is to be specific. We talk marketing here. And in marketing specificity is hold in reverence.
The reason for that is because when you are specific who your target audience is, you are better able to communicate and appeal precisely to the right people. I often say marketing is communication.
So, my advice is to be specific when picking a topic to teach. Don't create an online course with a name "Weight Loss" or "Marketing" or "Yoga" you need to get more specific, you need to narrow your niche down and I know that sounds counterintuitive because if you choose a bigger niche you’d reach more people and make more money but this is not the case. In fact, this is one of the biggest problems marketers face.
“How narrow should my niche be?”
Just for a second, I want you to imagine a woman after pregnancy. She is browsing online courses on Udemy and sees two courses.
The first one is saying: “Weight Loss”
And the second one is saying: “10 Tips For Losing 30 Pounds After Pregnancy In 3 Weeks, Guaranteed!”
My question is which course do you think, she is most likely to enroll in?
You've guessed it right, the second course.
Great, good job – we are already making progress! And I’m not being sarcastic here. A huge percent of the online instructors don’t know about the concept of specificity and I believe it’s costing them money.
Let’s move on.
TIP: Teach topics you are knowledgeable about or have a burning desire to learn.
Why is this important?
Well, your interest and your passion about the topic will show through your content and your students will notice that. You will be talking enthusiastically, students love that, it engages them.
There is nothing worse than a sluggish instructor who is not interested and passionate about the topic they are teaching.
It is not a secret that emotions are contagious. So if you want to get your students excited – be excited yourself and I’m not talking about being fake or overly excited, just talk with passion.
Top 4 Mega Niches
My students always ask me for example for niches and mega niches, so I'd like to suggest the top 4 mega niches that you can choose from to start your own online business.
- Marketing and Business
- Personal Development
- Web Development & Design
- Fitness & Health
These can be broken down into hundreds of sub-niches. For example my course Instagram Domination: Add Up To 100 Followers A Day With These 3 Easy Strategies.
- Marketing & Business (Mega-niche)
- Social Media Marketing (Sub-niche)
- Instagram Marketing (sub-sub-niche)
After you've chosen your mega niche and sub-niche to create the first online course for your own business, then it is imperative you validate your idea.
Don't Reinvent The Wheel.
Join A Supporting Community
All of the problems and questions that will show up while you are establishing your own online business have been already solved by experienced online instructors. There are proven models and frameworks that can be executed into any online teaching business that will increase the marketing and course creation effectiveness.
I've spent hundreds of hours to develop these frameworks as they serve as a great productivity booster. Let's take for example writing scripts for your videos.
Well, writing a piece of text might sound easy but writing a script for a video lecture that will motivate and excite people, that will urge them to take action, to change their behavior is another story.
Your content has to possess specific qualities to move students. That's why I've created the APE Model. Apply it when writing scripts and you will be always creating high-quality videos that students love. That means more positive reviews (social proof) and more sales respectively.
I've created a community of online instructors where I share the best of what I know and what's currently working on the marketplaces.
The focus of the community is to help my students (would-be online instructors like you) turn their passion, knowledge, and experience into online courses that generate income on a monthly basis. In other words, to start your own online business.
Program Currently Closed 🙁
The members of the community have access to my best-selling, online business growth programs:
- Marketing Psychology: How To Become A Master Of Influence
- Copywriting Masterclass
- Web Traffic Solutions
- Success Habits: Top 10 Habits Of Extremely Successful People
- Productivity Masterclass: 7 Principles To Get Things Done
The biggest advantage, however, is the priority access to myself and our secret Facebook group. As a way to say thank you for reading my blog, I'd like to make a special offer to the newcomers. To find out more about the Self-Made Infopreneur, click the button below to read the whole description.
Create The Products For Your Own Online Business
I wrote a solid, detailed post on how to create online courses that I recommend you read but for now I want to share one of my biggest discoveries as an online instructor. And this really changed the way I was looking at online teaching businesses and if you are starting out, this is the perfect time to learn my discovery.
One of the biggest problems would-be entrepreneurs face is that they associate online teaching with traditional schools or university teaching and this is a huge mistake because these two have very little in common. I can be talking about the differences for hours but I will focus on the important parts.
This might shock you but this is the reality.
You don’t have to be an expert in order to teach online and generate residual income.
In fact, in many cases, it would be even better not to be an expert because of the curse of knowledge. Imagine for example you go to a billionaire and you ask him how to make a $1000 – believe me he would have a hard time answering that question.
Here Is Why You Don't Have To Be An Expert
You know that you need to teach a topic that is specific and not general. That gives us a huge advantage.
Let me give you an example.
You create an online course and the main benefit of your course is that it teaches people how to grow their Twitter account. You’ve got a working strategy, you tested it and it works great. Your students are happy because they are getting results as well. You receive tons of positive reviews, great!
And here is the important part – nobody will come and ask if you are a Marketing & Business expert. Nobody cares about that. Your students care about the specific strategy you teach.
Because come to think of it, you teach social media marketing, which is a sub-niche of marketing and business mega-niche. And even more specifically, you don't just teach social media marketing, but you teach Twitter social media marketing, not Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram.
Please, remember this, you need to be ONE, only one step ahead of me and teach me how to solve my problem or get the result I want, then YOU are the expert for me. I don't care if you don't have Ph.D. or even Master's or Bachelor's Degree. This is the reality.
By narrowing down your niche to the point where you can comfortably teach one or a few simple techniques that work, you will be able to create a profitable online course.
I hope this example gave you a new way to look at the level of expertise you need to have in order to feel comfortable and confident to teach online and start your own online business.
Optimize Your Online Courses To Drive More Sales
In the business model I teach, you will launch your online course on platforms for education which are marketplaces such as Udemy, Skillshare, Curious, and Amazing.
That means, there are students there. That's why I told you that there is no need to have a marketing budget. These platforms will handle the traffic but you need to optimize your courses so that you convert the highest % of these students into customers.
How are we going to optimize?
You will be using proven copywriting techniques and models to structure your headlines and descriptions. This is what will allow you to convert more visitors to students and sell more courses as a result.
Read how to improve your copywriting skills to sell more courses.
If you ask me how I managed to sell over 30000 online courses, I'd answer through copywriting. My course Copywriting: The Psychology Of Your Irresistible Offer is still a best-seller on Udemy (at least last time I checked). You will get access to it if you decide to join the Self-Made Infopreneur community.
Launch Your Online Courses
Don't feel overwhelmed by the word "launch". This is not a Jeff Walker style complex launch sequence. You haven't established your credibility and authority yet. Social proof is what you need. More specifically. the number of students and positive reviews.
The easiest way to get these to is to launch your online course for free for two weeks on Udemy. A lot of organic students will enroll and a small number of them will leave reviews. But hey, it's a start. Don't think you are losing sales because these free students wouldn't enroll in your course if it was paid. Free students will help you get paid students.
For example my best-selling course Marketing Psychology: How To Become A Master Of Influence
You can see the number of students but you don't know how many of them are free and how many paid.
In fact, you don't know if there are free students at all.
Once you get some traction, say 20-30 positive reviews (the more the better) you switch your course to paid. When you price your course, keep in mind that over 90% of all sales on Udemy occur with coupon codes applied.
Establish Your Own Online School
After you have published several courses on Udemy, Skillshare and other platforms for education, besides income you will also receive a lot of social proof.
I've already touched on the topic but I want this to be clear - it's extremely hard, in some cases impossible to sell online if your products have not received any reviews, ratings, testimonials or feedback.
In addition, with every online course that you create and launch, you gain valuable experience and market knowledge. You are getting better are presenting information. You know what your market specifically wants because you've done a research and you've received feedback. You will implement that knowledge into your future courses or projects and as a result the quality will increase.
You've already started your own online business but you've come to a point where you can extend it.
The next step is to create your own online school. There are many companies (Teachable, Zenler, Thinkflic and more) out there that will provide you with the technology aspect and you will have to take care of the marketing because these companies are not marketplaces (no organic students).
I use Teachable to host my premium programs such as Step-By-Step To Your First 1000 Students and Self-Made Infopreneur.
I still see people arguing which platform is better Udemy or Teachable. But there is not point and these are not mutually exclusive. I don't make you choose one or the other, instead, I implement both in this business plan.
Because it is easier to start on Udemy and you will see results quickly such as a number of students, reviews, and income. The reason is that Udemy is a marketplace with millions of organic students browsing through the categories and typing keywords in the search box to find skills they are interested in learning.
On the other hand, Teachable is not a marketplace which means there are no organic students. They cover the technology aspects such as building your course landing page, video hosting, payments, affiliate marketing and so on. That means if you upload your course on Teachable and don't do marketing, you will have zero sales.
That being said, selling on Teachable requires more skills than on Udemy. If you can go away with learning copywriting to sell Udemy courses for Teachable or any other platform of that sort, this is not enough.
You will need a complete marketing system to start selling. I will discuss the most important elements of such a system and give you a bird's eye view.
The good thing is you can create your own online school for free. If you use Teachable they offer a free plan but they will get 10% of each sale. Depending on the plan you upgrade this percentage will lower or it won't apply.
Start A Blog To Establish Authority And Expertise
From the previous step, you found out that you'd have to build your own audience first and having a blog plus a content marketing strategy is the best way to go.
Having and supporting a blog is a long-term strategy because you have to be consistent and patient but this is not a problem because, in the background, your courses are earning revenue.
Blogging has always been the hardest part for me because I know that if I put the effort of writing a blog post that's 3000+ words into a script for a lecture and produce a video, I will see results (cash) almost immediately.
I already have an audience, as you will, and for each new course I produce and launch there are students waiting.
For example, when I launched Marketing Psychology: How To Become A Master Of Influence, I wrote a promotional announcement at Udemy and I made $516.83 from it. That's the power of building a student base on these platforms for education.
There are many blogging platforms or CMS to choose from but I recommend you run your blog with WordPress and there are plugins specifically created for marketers like us that will make life easier.
I use Thrive Themes and I love it. I can easy build landing pages, blog posts, complete marketing funnels without having to code! So I highly recommend their products, you can read more about them here.
Their lead-capturing tools will help you with step 8.
The more consistent with your blog you are and the more high-quality posts you create, the more people will follow you. Now your job is to convert these visitors into leads.
Convert Casual Visitors Into Happy Customers
You'd be able to convert visitors into leads when you give them a chance to join your emails list. You need to give them a compelling reason to exchange their email address for something that you offer for free. We call that a lead magnet or ethical bribe.
Lead Magnet – noun – an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information. The goal of the Lead Magnet is to maximize the number of targeted leads you are getting for an offer. It's the first step in my Customer Value Optimization process.
Any lead magnet won't do. You need to create a free offer that is specific and highly desirable. It has to be easy to consume. It has to deliver results fast!
Once you've converted some of the visitors into leads, now you will have to build your credibility even further. You will do that when you implement an email sequence, marketers call that the back-end of your funnel. You will have to choose an email service provider.
I personally use ActiveCampaign as their automation features go above and beyond for the price they ask for - click here to check out AC.
Let me show you an example of an email sequence straight from my account:
Only when I provide a few more pieces of content I do a paid offer. At that point, my leads know who I am, my expertise and skills and most importantly they trust me. And this is how I'm able to sell $497 online courses. This is what you will do as well. You will set up an automated email sequence strategically.
For most online instructors or marketers, that's their end goal - closing the sale.
My opinion is that you need to be genuinely interested in helping your customers get the results you've promised.
The perfect online course doesn't exist and your students will have questions or need feedback. Be there for them and help them out, this is how you will increase the chance of converting this student from a buyer to a repeated buyer.
Align Your Marketing Or Make No Sales
In marketing, alignment is vitally important. If you follow this business model, you will have to consider alignment on a few levels.
First, the online courses you create and launch and your blog.
If you are going to use your blog as a marketing tool to drive course sales, the topics must match precisely. If there is a disconnect, you won't make sales regardless of how high the quality of your course and blog is.
For example, if you teach a course on copywriting and you blog about weight loss, your posts are attracting visitors from one niche or market - fitness and health and you want to sell them a product they haven't expressed interest in - your copywriting course. There is no way this will work.
The other level of alignment is a lead magnet and main offer. Visitors have downloaded your lead magnet because they are interested in this topic, so when you implement an email sequence, your main offer must be on the same topic as the lead magnet.
For example, if a visitor downloads my 257 power words, I know they are interested in copywriting. They write headlines or descriptions or blog posts and they understand the importance of good writing. With that in mind, I can offer them my course on copywriting.
Chances are you will create your main offer first (your online course). Ask yourself what is a piece of content that you can take from the main offer that's highly desirable, easy to consume and brings results fast. That's your aligned lead magnet.
This is just one way to start your own online business that I highly recommend for a few reasons:
- You will be selling your own products.
- You will acquire priceless skills such as copywriting, argumentation, video content creation, etc.
- The entry barrier is so really low but the earning potential is great (most important of all is your USB Mic).
- You will experience fulfillment because you're helping other people achieve their goals.
- Flexibility. You can do the business part-time even though a lot of online instructors go full time because of the leverage online courses provides.
If that sounds something that you like, consider becoming a self-made infopreneur and join our community. We'll help you cut your learning curve in half and get your course out there, ready to enroll students.
To make this and any other business model work, you will have to do two things. The first one is to decide you will start and the second is to take action.
I'd like to close with a quote from Pablo Picasso.
Action is the foundational key to all success.
I'd like to thank you for reading my posts.
Write in the comments what is the niche/topic you'd like to start your own online business around.
And don't forget - stay purposeful!