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An Exotic Mix of Digital Marketing

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How I Started Creating Online Courses (+ Free Course Giveaway)

 This post is part of The 30.000 Word Challenge. See all the articles in the series! 


Whether it’s for fun, brand awareness or another source of income, creating courses online is a fantastic idea. Follow along and you’ll know exactly what you need to create your own!

1. How And Why I Got Started With Online Courses

I moved in with my girlfriend in the winter of 2013. I remember because most people told me I was crazy for renting an apartment in December. Everything would be more expensive, it was really cold and I didn’t even check to see if the heating was working.

Nonetheless, our 2 paychecks helped us pay the first and last month plus the real estate broker’s commission. That is, it helped pay this initial sum of money. Then there were food costs, heating bills, electricity…I didn’t really think this through so I pretty much panicked – there was no way we would be able to pay next month’s bills.

Going from bad to worse, my girlfriend lost her job about 2 weeks later. So not only was it hard to keep up with the bills on both paychecks, now we would have to do it on only one. That’s when I really panicked.

I realized then something that really stuck with me:

[bctt tweet=”You can’t make more money if you’re paid by the hour. There had to be another way!”]

I tried a few money making schemes online, but that’s pretty much what they were: schemes. Click a banner, send some emails or write a few dishonest reviews. It was work, sure, but only worth a few dollars. That wasn’t going to save me.

I kept going back to my original idea: how could I make more money – and not worry about the actual hours I would put in? Then I discovered something called “passive income”. You don’t need to work for that, you create something of value that you can sell an infinite number of times. Say you write a digital book or record a song. Since there are no physical representations needed, you can ship those files to as many people as you want. And if you automate it, you don’t even need to handle it yourself.

2. My Digital Savior: Udemy

After trying about a dozen different types of businesses, I found this online platform called Udemy. It allows anyone to become an instructor, create a course and profit from it. I was nervous at first – I don’t even think I had a PayPal account at that time, so it was all pretty new to me.

But I got really fond of the idea. I used an old smartphone headset to record my voice as I was talking over slides I created in PowerPoint. I recorded the screen using Expression Encoder. I edited the audio in Audacity. The best thing about all of this? It didn’t cost me anything. I already had Microsoft Office installed (later I transitioned to Google Slides), Audacity is free and Microsoft Expression Encoder was free for recording videos up to 10 minutes. So I just kept my course segments at around 9 minutes.

I didn’t know it then, but not only was I using free software available to me, but I was also offering a great experience for the user. Segmenting courses into bite-sized pieces makes them easier to digest. It’s also more enticing to pick up a course, knowing you can just watch 20-30 minutes each day. Instead of having to remember where you left off that 5 hour-long course.

I had done a bit of keyword research into what people might be looking for in a course. I mainly used the keywords for help with my title. The content of the course was composed of tricks I had figured out, using Facebook Ads for about a year. Since no one was really focusing on this “advanced” angle, I got a great response. $4 in the first month, but over $70 in the second. I was thrilled.

The months that followed meant a few more courses (I’m now at 4), more challenges and a lot of sleepless nights, recording audio, creating slides and rendering videos.

3. The 5 Reasons Why You Should Start Creating Courses Today

  1. Passive source of income
    Once you create a course, there only a few things you need to take care of – replying to comments, fixing inaccuracies and keeping it up to date. If it’s a good course, if you have good SEO, the rest will take care of itself and it will sell on its own.
  2. New collaborations
    Imagine being able to team up with great marketers and awesome video creators. Udemy allows you to have a course created by multiple people. Put those brains together, combine those communities and you’ve got an amazing base to create awesome work.
  3. Unknown opportunities
    I wasn’t really sure if I had another book in me. I had written one about social-media in 2011, but I felt drained. I soon discovered that people were turning their courses into ebooks and selling them on Amazon. A lightbulb went on in my head and I’m now working on course repurposing.
  4. Self-development
    They say that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. I didn’t think it was true until I created my own course about naming your product. I had so much fun learning, that I came up with my own strategy for coming up with lots of names in a short amount of time. Creating courses does apply a pressure to provide immense value, so you will find yourself improving at all levels, to provide great content for your students.
  5. A sense of freedom
    There isn’t a way I could properly describe how amazing it feels to wake up on a Saturday morning, check your phone and see a notification saying you have new money in your PayPal account. That being said, there are people kicking much more ass than I do. People that have transformed online courses into their livelihood and if they can do it, why can’t you?

4. Benefits I Got From Online Courses

  • Confidence
    I was pretty shy about recording my voice and talking about my experience. I was experiencing Impostor Syndrome – feeling like everyone knew more than me and that I wasn’t really trained to do this. So I didn’t feel I deserved all the attention, students and money I received. Thankfully, as I created more courses, I started feeling less like a fraud and more like a teacher, talking about my experience and genuinely trying to provide as much value as I could.
  • Real-life courses
    Since I was no longer afraid of what others would think of me or my knowledge, I decided to branch out and go further. I emailed 3 different real-life course providers. One didn’t reply, one turned me down and the last one said: “Sure, let’s talk”. I managed to turn that reply into a fruitful collaboration, creating a full 2-day course and getting a ton of feedback along the way. An additional source of income wasn’t bad either.
  • Travel
    When I saw how fun doing real-life courses was, I wanted more. We decided to take them on the road and I managed to visit other cities and meet other eager students, interested in digital marketing. It was an amazing experience, as I traveled to places I wouldn’t have thought I would ever go.

5. Free Course Giveaway

Because you’ve been so kind to read so far, I want to help you create your own course! I’m working on a “How To Get Started With Online Courses” course and I’m about 80% done. Just sign up below and I’ll send you a link to the FREE course once it goes live (probably October or November of this year):

[ninja_forms id=26]


Also – let me know what you think! Are you currently an Udemy instructor? Do you want to see more articles on this topic? Leave a comment below!

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How I Started Creating Online Courses (+ Free Course Giveaway)

by Sorin Amzu time to read: 5 min