Do you have a skill that people would pay to learn? Whether you are an expert in social media marketing, using Excel, or building tables and chairs, you can make money teaching a course through an online teaching platform. And this month, you can learn to teach for free.
Like podcasts, online courses are on the rise. And, for someone with a teachable skill, like baking or appliance repair, it can be an extraordinarily good way to earn semi-passive income. After all, once a course is designed and launched, it can live on the web forever, bringing in new students and revenue year after year.
However, the big barrier to entry is that while many people have in-depth knowledge of a subject, the process of designing and implementing an online course is a mystery. How do you structure, film and edit a course at your own pace? How do you define and find your target audience? And how do you market to these people to sell your program?
This month, two of the best online education platforms — Teachable and Thinkific — answer those questions with free workbooks and online courses for would-be creators. Both sites normally charge hundreds of dollars for the plans they offer for free in October. So, if you’ve ever considered making extra money by sharing your knowledge, now is the time to check it out.
Teachable, for example, has a 23-page workbook to help you find a course topic, develop it, identify a community that needs that information, and drive sales.
The workbook guides you through the process of not only determining which skill to teach and how to name your class, but also how to market yourself. In other words, how do you convince strangers to pay for your course? It also shows how to use social media to market and sell your class.
In particular, if you decide to put your course online, Teachable offers four ways to do so. You can publish the course for free, paying a commission on each sale, or you can sign up for a monthly subscription plan that lets you keep more — or all — of the sale price of the course. (Once you’ve secured more than a dozen sales each month, monthly subscriptions are usually more profitable.)
If you choose the second option, paying a monthly fee of $29 to $39, the site offers another group of freebies, including mini-courses that teach you how to write for publication, how to increase your Instagram following, and how to set up and develop an email. listing.
All of Teachable’s plans are fully refundable for 30 days, so even if you pay for a plan, you have no financial risk until the 30-day period is over.
Thinkific also offers a group of step-by-step guides on developing a curriculum, using the site’s software to teach an online course, and building an engaged community that can become a marketing arm for your course.
The site suggests that people who want to get started sign up for the site’s free plan and use it to track. The best place to start is with the Curriculum Builder course, which helps you turn your knowledge into a classroom and turn your classroom into a business.
Much like the courses it suggests you take, Thinkific’s free “learn to teach” modules are done in easy-to-digest snippets, ranging from two to 15 minutes. Each takes a narrow topic — like hosting your first class — and walks you through the steps.
Add polls and quizzes to make your course more interactive, the site suggests. And it shows how you can do it with a drop-down menu included in the site software. Thinkific also helps you build a website to support your course sales. This website is hosted by Thinkific, so there is no cost to offer it.
Thinkific’s free plan is truly free – forever. However, the site’s free plans bear the Thinkific logo and lack a few bells and whistles.
In October, the site offers a one-month free trial of a much more comprehensive paid plan designed to help you grow a community. Community marketing can be a powerful way to sell courses, as well as ancillary products like t-shirts, books, and webinars.
Thinkific’s bundle includes a plethora of courses that show you how to find and connect your community, as well as the software that can manage sales and contacts. However, this plan is structured as a one-month free trial, so you must cancel within 30 days of signing up or the site will start charging you $99 for the monthly site starter plan.
Kristof is the publisher of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews money-making opportunities in the gig economy.