Boss Lady

How to grow your business selling online courses


It’s a great time to have an online business, and the potential is boundless for the success you can enjoy. If you have something teachable to share with people, and there is a demand for what you offer, that is a great place to start and you’re on your way.

Breaking burnout

A lot of online businesses are based on coaching or consulting, and your income is inextricably tied to the hours you put in directly working one-on-one with clients.  Which limits your income to the hours you work. (That’s what you do at a brick-and-mortar job. And isn’t that why you didn’t want to punch a clock in the first place?)

There’s a point where burnout is inevitable because you are required to work too many hours to keep the money flowing. Not to mention the stress of uncertainty, which is inherent to running your own business. As the sustainability increases, so does the certainty and peace of mind.

Famine or feast

One option is you can increase your fees, however the problem still remains. Do you really have a sustainable business if you can’t take time away from it? If that is the case, please don’t get the flu, and certainly don’t attempt any meaningful relationships or beloved hobbies.

The coaching and consulting lifestyle, while it may be the thing you love to do, is an arduous path, especially in the beginning. You have to hustle clients, you have to give sessions away to build relationships, you have to market your business, et cetera.  Unless you are an incurable workaholic and someone who never wants to leave the house, a balance must be found. A certain amount of cruise control, if you will.

Selling online courses can give you the balance you need by providing a stable, passive income. It can break you out of the cycle of famine or feast.

Ladder of services

Create a “ladder of services” by establishing a platform of online courses. For instance, people who cannot afford your consulting (think of all the clients you’re missing who want your services but can’t afford you) or people who need to start with the basics, can utilize your courses specifically to get started. The more affordable, smaller, online courses, fill that gap and provide stepping stones for your clients. It’s a viable option, to take a small course, if the client just wants to try it out or learn one specific thing from you. And then they can graduate, if they choose, to a more involved, higher-priced course or set of courses.

In a way, you are pre-qualifying your future one-on-one clients. It’s like a cycle that feeds itself. That’s how you create systems that maintain a stable business.

The end game

Develop a small program at an affordable price and sell that automatically. It won’t take you too much time. Better to start with something small at first, rather than a super-involved course out of the gate. Test it out and get in touch with what your clients need, and have services available for each step of the client’s journey. Perhaps a $50 course to begin with, a $250 course next that is more involved, also group sessions and so on. You can specialize them any way you want. Consulting sessions with you is the end product, also the high-end product. The customer’s journey is graduated, and it builds as your relationship builds.

The time you spend developing your online courses will continue to serve you for as long as you use them. You can get feedback from your clients and go back and alter your courses or install more of them to suit their needs. This is a way for you to repurpose your material and also reach a lot more people, particularly if you already have a platform and are currently offering online courses.

You don’t truly have a business until you can disappear on holiday for a month and still have an income. Online courses can liberate you from having to trade hours for income and they add  sustainability to your business, which is invaluable. Not to mention, it’s an awesome way to share your gifts with the world.

About Inés Ruiz

Inés Ruiz is a former Cambridge University Lecturer, military spouse turned entrepreneur. She created a multiple 6-figure online educational business in less than 16 months. After her success, she wanted to help other women create their online business - no matter their circumstances- and founded the Women Entrepreneur Community. She is the host of the show/Podcast “We Talk” in which she features other women entrepreneurs’ journeys.

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