A lot of you have done some teaching.

Whether it’s in-person, a hybrid class or completely online, you probably have content you’ve used to interacted with folks in real world – you’re now thinking what to do next.

Earlier we touched on this as being your minimum viable course – the first draft version of your course.

Almost always, the next best thing you can do is whatever you can to get your course to $500 in value.

Hearing this the first time you might think, “Conrad, you’re crazy I’d never pay for $500 for a course!”

Really? Well, I’d bet you paid many times more that amount every semester in college. What’s funny is those courses didn’t promise any type of outcome other than fill a checkbox for your diploma (I’d actually make the case that you can get your course well into in the $1,000+ price range, but let’s take this one step at a time, shall we?)

Think outcome-based pricing

The best way to price your course will be guided by a careful understanding of the specific audience and the painful problem you’re solving for them.

A lot of teacher entrepreneurs I see just starting out price their courses by comparing with other courses in the market. They’ll start with a scan for courses that seem similar to theirs, and pick a price that’s the average or even on the lower end of the price range to attract more students.

This is exactly the wrong way to do it. And I know, because that’s what I did when I started. Instead, base your pricing on the outcome you create. You want something like an outcome machine.


Course pricing


If my $500 course was designed to get you as an amateur photographer to reach a life-long dream of turning professional - a position that paid you to travel the world and get recognized for doing what you love, you bet you’d pay $500.

Your course in this case is solving the painful problem of helping you find a job as well as the more aspirational pain of doing what you love.

A pricing thought experiment

Many students are willing to pay much more for your course than you think. Let’s take our hypothetical that you’re a photography expert with these two groups of potential students, hobbyist photographers and amateur photographers:




Can you guess which group is going to be willing to pay more for your course? The pattern that repeats itself over and over is that the amateur will pay significantly more for your course.

And they should. To our budding photographer, every detail you explain of managing aperture, ISO and shutter speed will create significantly more value to their long-term career.

They’ll care about any added value you can offer such as webinar or a small class size. Given the amount they’ve paid, this group will be much more likely to engage with your lesson plans and contribute to the class. You’ve found your audience.

What’s even more crazy, is if you gave that same detailed course to the casual photographer, they might actually not want those additional pieces of content you’re including in your course. To them the course is probably more valuable as a quick course.

More reasons to get to $500 in value

Now you hear where I’m coming from, what are some other reasons you should sprint to develop your $500 course you ask?

If you can break $500, you’re onto something epic

You know the student who pays that kind of money didn’t make an impulse buy — they thought long and hard about giving you $500.

Your first students may even try to vet you to make sure you’re the real deal. They’ll reach out to you and want a detailed description of what value you’re offering. All hugely valuable feedback to refine what exactly you’re building. There’s a universe of information on every topic, and you can focus on including just the information to solve their problem.

Just because you’re charging $500 doesn’t mean you have to create all the content. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend creating it all — at first. Consider pre-selling at $500 (or $499) and deliver amazing service to make everyone extremely happy. You’ll learn a lot in the process.  

Your first students will be engaged

If someone pays you $500, you can also be sure that your student will be eager to explore the topic and have valuable insight and questions. Your students will be hungry for knowledge. Most of your students will want to take advantage of whatever lessons you can teach or coach them through and keep asking for more.

This makes it all the more likely to actually get them to a valuable result and grab great testimonials and case studies. Bonus, you won’t have to be a motivational speaker and whip students into shape.

You’re immediately in business

When you’re just getting into creating a course, it can sometimes seem there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s run the math. With a $500 course and 10 sales a month, you’re already at a comfortable $5,000 a month working part time. It’d take you 100 sales to get there at $50 and 1,000 if you’d charged $5.

Don’t get me wrong — you’d get valuable experience regardless of the sales, but it’s harder to do and justify personally providing the right service with each person at a higher quantity. At this higher price point, it’s a lot easier to justify investing time into it — you have a real business.

You have all you need to build other offerings

Once you have a $500 course, you have all the content you need to help you develop other course offerings.

Do you plan to create a $49 course to make some of your content more affordable? Take a small piece of your course and put it out next to your $500 course for $49. Want to create a free course or workshop to get people into your funnel? You’re already there.

Even more is at this point you have a complete “funnel” of courses that fit neatly together. Someone in your low-priced course, after realizing the value is well positioned to be a fit with your high-priced course.

You find your real audience faster

Lower price points may provide a lot of value, but starting off with one of these products may distract you from where you real market it. To use the earlier example, you might now be focusing on optimizing for the casual photographer market, instead of the amateur.

Having a high-price product will cause you to optimize your time around creating a lot of value for someone who needs it most.

You create a more compelling offer to partners

When you’re growing out your course, a significant way to promote it will be through other valuable partners or affiliates who can help sell your course for you. These folks might have a blog of their own and have the same audience for you. Charging more makes your course more valuable for this type of deal.

How to create $500 in value with your course

Now, big caveat here. The first time you’re doing a $500 course, you might not have all the kinks ironed out in your content. That’s completely fine. Either charge a little less the first launch if you’re not totally sure or actually aim to provide $1,000+ value for it.

That said, don’t charge much less — or you lose out on really understanding if someone would pay $500.

What are you ways to add immediate value to your course to get it to $500 in value? Here’s a list:

  • Internal discussion board or community
  • Worksheets, templates or other assets
  • List of outside resources
  • Software deals (only if related to your course)
  • Improve your production value
  • Limited or curated class
  • Expert interviews (with mp3 downloadable)
  • Case studies
  • Office hours
  • Webinars or workshops
  • 1-on-1 Skype coaching
  • 1 hour of consulting services

Gone are the days to create a syllabus a student can “ace.” Focus on taking your student to a place they’ve never been. Make it worth $500 and everyone wins.

If you can’t think of how you can possibly get to $500 in value, either try to get close or rethink what you’re teaching or who you’re teaching it for.

Now onto YOU. How can you get your course to $500 in value?

Check out more content like this

Back to Blog
Conrad Wadowski

Written by Conrad Wadowski

Conrad Wadowski is the Co-Founder at Teachable (Create & Sell Online Courses) focused on growth, product and conducting mad science experiments in online education. Previously, I ran a growth hacking school with over 10,000 students.