So you launched your course, and got…crickets. OR want to create a course, but fear the unknown. How are you going to market your course if you decide to release it?

Profiting from an online course can be an asset that scales your reach and earns you passive income.

On the flip side, you could have spent a ton of time developing content, only for your course to flop. So what’s the difference between a profitable idea and one that’s not so profitable?

Whether you’ve launched or are planning to launch, here are a few steps to tweak to get to a most profitable idea.

There are three general areas the most profitable courses have covered:

  1. You
  2. Your audience
  3. Your course offer

In this first of three posts we’ll some more depth on each starting today on you (inspired by the free for now course Profitable Course Idea).


I’ll be direct, having a great idea that’s based on what what the market wants is important. But before that even starts, what about YOU?

First focus on figuring out your unique profitable idea

One of the challenges I’ve seen is someone choosing a topic that they’re not personally passionate about, but think there’s a market for it.

Are you teaching on a topic you’re genuinely passionate about?

Being passionate is a shortcut to success. You start more knowledgeable, know where your audience hangs out so it gives you the heads up in creating a great offer. It’ll also be easier for you to figure out what’s important for your audience and getting them to an outcome (which we’ll talk about next).

What I’ve found is every profitable teacher we’ve gotten to know actually cared about their topic–whether it was water coloring painting or coding.

Another thing I’ve heard is:

“I have a ton of things that I’m passionate about, but I just don’t feel like I have any that are good enough for me to sell.”

Ok. But, what is an expert really?

Webster defines it as “ having or showing special skill or knowledge because of what you have been taught or what you have experienced.”

An expert is someone just one step ahead of you.

If you’ve created a pivot table in Excel, well, you’re now qualified to teach it.

If you were to look at the top course creators, they didn’t start out as supposed “experts.” Eliot and John, who made over $1M in revenue teaching iphone programming launched a new successful iWatch course, before the iWatch was released.

Sure this was an advanced move given they had taught profitably before, but this is still the mindset of a profitable teacher.

Now, it’s only a matter of building your experience. And if you don’t have it? Ask, interview, and do the work it takes to find the right information for you audience.

And if you’re hesitating because you think you’re not an expert, or want everything to be perfect just admit you’re not the greatest expert to your audience. Some of the best teachers found success showing the process of learning and simply showing off their experiments.

Does one of the below four people stand out to you a little more?


Tim Ferriss doesn’t have a PHD, yet he’s published three best-selling books based on what he’s learned creating a business, dieting and getting in shape some of the most difficult topics:


With these books and Tim’s blog, he’s grown his readership to 1M monthly readers, and over 300,000 who’ve entered their email into this hideous looking box to await his every email:




So teach, and once you do you’ll move faster about synthesizing what you know so it’s valuable.

The main ingredient to a great online course is a healthy dose of action

Not too long ago, someone wanting to create their first course told me something that went like this:

“I keep talking myself out of creating a course, and letting my vision of obstacles debilitate my willpower get started.”

Creating a course right right way can be a challenge, but the first of those is managing your own personal psychology. In this case, we’re good at something, so we want it to be perfect. So we’ll spend our time researching all the tactics and strategies, to protect ourselves from failing.

I know about this challenge, because this was the first one I ran into. The first course I created, to this day, sits on the digital shelves of my mac.

Although I learned from the experience, what if I’d simply put something out there that was small? I wonder how much more successful I would have been if that were the case.

Taking action, doesn’t mean going and creating a massive course. It does mean researching and doing SOMETHING small to move forward.

To limit your scope, set a limit to the time you can assign to doing something this week.

Some ideas you can get done this week?:

  1. Try creating setting the first of 3 coaching webinar sessions that you’ll record. Use a free software like or Google Hangouts, set a general topic and email anyone you know and tell them you’ll be doing a coaching session on the topic. Ask them questions in advance of the meeting and on the call you’ll tackling them. Then just answer the questions, and BOOM you have your first videos. To add to that, you can include a worksheet and set a small or even a free price tag at first.
  2. Create some content and see if you get get it published somewhere. Before you get it out, others for feedback on just that small piece of content. Do they agree with your ideas? Did you make an impact on them?

It doesn’t matter what platform I chose, just pick one that won’t cost you anything, and give it a shot. You’re not launching this on a large scale, so you have plenty of time to figure things out later.

The other great thing is once you have a date on the calendar you have an accountability partner who will force you to get it done :)

I’d bet that when you launch this first session your audience will love it, after all, you’re giving them free advice although if you’re feeling brave, charge for it.

This is the first of three posts on the topic. If you want to go more in depth, join the new (free for now) course Profitable Course Idea.

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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.