Are you a teacher exploring new ways to make revenue with your skills? Then it’s time to kickstart your new online teaching business!
In recent years we’ve seen online teaching become a popular and lucrative market, and the eLearning revolution has shown no sign of stopping. As long as you’ve got a stable internet connection, then you’ve got everything you need to make money online through your teaching skills.
Whether you choose to start teaching online as a part-time or full-time career from the comfort of your home, the options are numerous. You can set up interactive live classes using Zoom or Skype, or you can upload create and upload online course content on learning platforms.
In this article, we’ll explore why we favor online courses as a revenue source for online teachers, and we’ll also show you how to set up an online teaching course using WordPress and a Learning Management System plugin called Sensei LMS.
What Are the Benefits of Teaching via Online Courses?
So, you’re a teacher who wants to make money in exchange for your knowledge. One of the most confusing aspects is how to go about it, as there are many revenue streams available to online teachers. Do you want to want to join an online educational institution and work remotely as a teacher, delivering online classes with a similar time schedule you would follow teaching at a brick-and-mortar school? Do you want to be an independent instructor and host your own webinars in group sessions?
It’s worth pointing out that these options already give you a lot more flexibility compared to solely relying on in-person teaching as a source of income. However, we believe that creating and selling online courses offers more advantages to online teachers than any other approach. Here’s why:
- You can choose how many hours you wish to dedicate to your online venture. As a result, you can make this your full-time job or a part-time project that you work on in addition to your other revenue sources.
- As an independent course creator, you can set your own curriculum! This means you can create lessons built around your own experience and teaching philosophy which is a surefire way to stand out from the competition.
- Once you’ve launched your online course, the teaching part is effectively taken care of. This makes it much easier to find time to market and promote your online course to build your audience.
- You’re not limited to students within your area any longer! If you’re dedicated to promoting your online course as per our point above, then it will be possible for you to reach students across the globe without having to travel anywhere.
- Learners who would otherwise struggle to attend a physical class, based on their locations or limited physical abilities, can remotely engage with the digital learning experience in their own time.
Low Initial Investment
- You don’t need to spend a lot of money to develop an online course. For many subjects, such as teaching English, you’ll simply need a smartphone with a good video camera. With the power of video editing to add text examples on screen, you may not even need a whiteboard.
- For other subjects, you may want to invest in more items. For example, if you teach online fitness then you may occasionally need to rent out a gym or gym equipment. However, the advantage of an online course is that you can make these decisions later, depending on how your first few courses are performing and whether the revenue you’re earning is worth the extra expenditure.
- The main advantage of having an online course is that you can build a passive income by selling pre-prepared classes and materials. Depending on how many courses you create and depending on how well your market them, the more possible it will be to maximize your passive revenue potential.
- Additionally, you can experiment with pricing. You may choose to launch with a starting price and scale it up as you start to build a following. Don’t be afraid to increase your prices, as it’s a normal strategy for course creators!
- You can also offer more services to increase your revenue, such as by offering one-on-one teaching sessions or hosting webinars in addition to your courses.
Improve the Teaching Experience for Your Students
- Depending on your teaching style, you can add lots of media to your lessons to engage your students. Experiment with videos, quizzes, written lessons, and even downloadable learning materials such as PDFs, videos, and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.
- Students will be able to learn at their own pace and revisit the lessons which will help them really absorb the material you’ve provided them with.
- Consider incorporating voiceovers in your educational videos to enhance the learning experience for your students. By adding audio narration, you can provide additional context and explanations that can complement the visual material. If you know how to become a voice actor, you can either record your own voiceovers or hire a professional voice actor to bring your content to life.
How to Start An Online Teaching Business in 2023
In this ultimate guide, we’ll help you navigate the creation of your income-generating online teaching platform! Let’s go through the major steps involved in creating courses that are engaging and will attract new students.
1. Lesson Plans: Find The Most Profitable Course Content Ideas
When looking for the most profitable course ideas, keep in mind that profit depends on two core elements:
- The value your knowledge delivers to the e-learners
- The demand for your course or courses on similar subject matters
However, if you want to be credible and have a chance of being successful, you first and foremost need to identify the topics that you are knowledgeable about and are comfortable incorporating into your course content. There’s no point chasing a profitable niche if you can’t hold your own against the big players creating courses in that market.
On the other hand, if there’s a field you’re passionate about and experienced in, then you can find ways of targeting your course to a wider audience. For example, let’s say you have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. You might not be very competitive if you’re just another online maths tutor, but you may be able to build your audience if you create a course about how to use maths and statistics in everyday life scenarios that people have never thought about. That’s an angle that would set you apart and would give you a distinct Unique Selling Point as an online teacher.
However, the course you create will also depend on what your audience actually wants to know. Tools such as Google Trends and even Google Keyword Planner can provide valuable insights about the search volume for your specific topics.
2. Set up Course Prices
Pricing is often a tricky issue as online teachers don’t want to underprice themselves but also don’t want to make their courses inaccessible to potential students. There are 6 simple questions you should ask to help you determine the real value your course provided and what it would genuinely be worth paying for. These are:
- How much credibility do you have in your niche?
- What outcomes can e-learners expect?
- How does your online course compare to competitors?
- How long is your online course?
- How targeted is your audience group?
- What is the goal of the course?
3. Develop Your Brand and Approach to Course Creation
Once you’ve decided how you can make a difference as an online teacher and have accurately determined how much your knowledge is worth, then it’s time to think about how you’re going to communicate your value to your target market.
As an online course creator, you’re not just a teacher. You’re a brand. Think about whether you’re going to operate under your own name or create a catchy, distinctive brand name. Both options are valid; the former may help establish yourself as an authority while the latter may be better for SEO if you choose a name with a good keyword relevant to your area of expertise. You’ll also need to think about your brand logo, brand colors, and any other elements that will really help set you apart.
In addition to a brand, you need a distinct teaching style that your students can rely on to be consistent, engaging, and informative. Not all online courses have the same format, so think about what approaches you’re particularly interested in as an online teacher:
- Do you want to include lots of videos in your courses, or do you prefer written lessons?
- How many modules and lessons do you plan on including in your courses?
- Do you want to set quizzes and assignments that you manually grade yourself? This can help establish a more personal relationship with your students.
- Will your courses be available for an indefinite period, or do you want to set access periods?
- How interactive do you want your courses to be?
4. Pick the Right Teaching Platform For Your Online Course
With a variety of online learning platforms to choose from, it can be tricky to know where to start. But we’re here to help.
Online Platforms For Course Creators & Sellers
You may be familiar with many online platforms, such as Teachable and Udemy, which are popular for online courses. These platforms can be a good choice for online teachers who wish to build passive income from their online courses without setting up a business model. These online platforms make it easy for beginners to create a course, set up payment options, and market their products to a broad audience. These platforms also include managing customer support, payment processing, and often handle customer queries on behalf of their content creators.
Some course creators on these channels do very well. For example, the top Skillshare teachers make up to $10,000 per month just in passive income. This sounds utopic, but we do need to stress that the operative word here is some. The other side of the coin is that popular closed course platforms like Skillshare are extremely competitive, and if you’re just starting out on such platforms it will be extremely difficult to get visibility.
Additionally, you’ll typically also have limited branding and customization options for your courses, and you’ll have to pay regular hosting and transaction fees to such platforms. Therefore, if you can’t stand out, then you might start operating at a loss.
Building Your Own Online Teaching Business
If you wish to establish your own brand as an online teaching expert, we recommend staying away from pre-built platforms and creating your own online course website instead via WordPress and Sensei LMS.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the most widely used platforms for website building. Packed with plenty of versatile features and functionality, WordPress makes it easy for everyone to build a bespoke website. WordPress plugins let you extend the features of your site, bringing functions such as translation, easy shipping, display tables, and so on.
While there are some minor costs involved with building a WordPress website, such as hosting costs and monthly/annual payments of any plugins you may use, the overall costs are typically less compared to the average third-party course platform.
What is Sensei LMS?
Sensei LMS is a freemium WordPress Learning Management System, which allows WordPress owners to create interactive online course materials for their websites. The range of material formats is varied and versatile, letting online teachers build their lesson plans and modules as they wish, from using video modules to written quizzes, for example. With many different configurations to set up and choose from, online course creators can cater to all teaching business requirements, whether they prefer pre-corded formats or interactive live webinars.
How Sensei Pro Supports Online Teaching Businesses
Teachers and online educators choose to switch to the Sensei Pro version of the plugin to benefit from the full range of course creation and course monetization features. Depending on the objectives of your teaching venture, this could be the right strategy to make money online.
Indeed, Sensei Pro is specifically designed to enable the creation of interactive and immersive elements that enhance the learning experience. Quizzes, and survey assessments, for instance, are fantastic tools learners use to test their knowledge. From customizable Sensei Blocks that include interactive in-lesson elements to the modules to targeted student progress, it becomes easy to develop a course that delivers unique value.
Similarly, remaining focused when you follow a course on a screen can be tricky. Sensei Pro helps reduce distractions from social media notifications and other tabs by creating a positive environment that boosts learning and focus. The Learning Mode is built to enable just that, helping your online teaching business to stand out from the crowd.
Every student has a unique learning process. Some students prefer flashcards and quizzes, and others want to be part of a learning group to exchange knowledge. While these options are not available on typical learning platforms, the plugin enables teachers to set up online academic learning groups and cohorts and engage with students via a student portal.
Sell Online Courses With Sensei Pro and WooCommerce
Having a custom-built website for your teaching venture is one thing. Monetizing your online courses is another. Sensei LMS’s integration with WooCommerce can make a great difference as it allows online teachers to sell their courses seamlessly. You only need to pair individual courses with the WooCommerce extensions of your choice, allowing you to monitor individual products but also create profit-making course bundles.
WooCommerce is a free downloadable plugin in WordPress, for which you can choose to purchase or download any additional extensions that are relevant to your pricing plans, such as:
- Mailchimp for emailing campaigns with your students
- AutomateWoo to automatically market further courses to the relevant target audience
- WooCommerce Pre-Order to future courses
- Specific WooCommerce Payments extensions, such as Paypal, debit and credit card payment options, etc.
- Google Listings & Ads to promote your online teaching business
How to Set Your Course Up For Success
With WordPress and Sensei LMS, you have all the tools you need to build incredible online courses. But your tools can only get you as far as your creative ideas and strategies. Check out our top tips to propel your online teaching business in the right direction and win the satisfaction of your students.
- Make sure that each lesson has a clear objective and is organized logically so that students know what they need to learn next.
- Use different types of interactive media like videos, quizzes, surveys, and checklists wherever possible, and gamify your content to break up text and make content more engaging.
- To make your course more interesting and attractive, consider collaborating with other experts to offer “masterclasses” with guest speakers – this also helps build your network!
- Make sure that each lesson has relevant links to other parts of the course so that students can navigate easily through it.
- Cross-sell or bundle courses that are closely related to maximize the value of your offering and improve revenue.
- Get your course accredited to improve your authority and student satisfaction.
- Optimize your course for SEO for better search engine rankings.
- Build a rapport with your students through direct communication, while encouraging them to share feedback to make improvements to your course content, assignments, screen presence, etc.
- Use progress tracking, grading, and analytics to understand and motivate your students better.
- Consider integrating a time-tracking app into your course to help students stay on track and manage their time effectively. This can also give you valuable insights into how much time students are spending on each lesson and which ones may need to be improved for better engagement.
- If you’re teaching live, make sure you familiarize yourself with class content beforehand, along with common questions asked, the technology you’re meant to use in the class, and if there’s anything you need to be prepared for to teach your students.
We recommend checking our article on how to market your course online for more tips.
Start Your Online Teaching Business With Sensei LMS Pro
Nowadays, eLearning is growing in popularity and presents a valuable business opportunity for online teachers who wish to create a stream of income from the comfort of their homes. While many revenue streams are available in this field, we vouch for online courses since you’ll create your course material once and build a passive income while you focus on marketing and building new products.
While learning platforms such as Udemy and Skillshare can provide a great starting point for beginners, they also considerably limit the potential for growth and brand development. So, if you wish to establish a standalone teaching business online, we strongly recommend creating your own WordPress site and using Sensei LMS as your course creation tool. With many interactive features and WooCommerce integration, it’s easy to see how Sensei LMS has everything you need to get started.
Get started today with Sensei Pro so you can build interactive and engaging courses and sell them to prospective students!