Making money from online courses requires not only the ability to create quality educational programs, but also to take action in the following areas: marketing, sales, customer service, and project management.
Ideally, you should think of your online courses as a business from the very beginning.
This mindset is of the utmost importance.
Most online course creators and educational authors have the soul of an artist! However, keep in mind that an artist is someone who loves to create, but generally doesn’t pay attention to factors like project management, target audience, sales funnel, revenue generation, business system, or business growth planning.
The result is that many artists create excellent works, but nobody wants to buy them. There are numerous situations like this and they breed a lot of frustration.
Deep down inside I have genuine admiration and sympathy for artists who somewhere in hiding create their wonderful works unknown to anyone. It’s so romantic… Yet at the same time extremely ineffective, which I know from experience because I was such an artist myself many years ago.
When you want to actually make money from what you create, you have to change your approach to the creative process. The first step is to include, from the very beginning, the perspective of the client and the broader context of your business model.
In many cultures around the world, perhaps apart from the USA, such a perspective on creativity can have pejorative connotations. Artists who think in terms of business are often accused of “commercialism”, “hustling”, and even “betrayal of ideals”.
But this is utter nonsense! Making money is just as difficult an art, sometimes even more difficult, as creative output.
What does it mean to “think like an entrepreneur”? What is entrepreneurship?
Popular texts on the advantages of entrepreneurship usually emphasize that once you start a business, you become your own boss. Advantages include no one telling you what to do; working when, how much and where you want; and doing what you are passionate about. What’s more, the opportunities to make money are essentially unlimited.
This is true. But only partially true. These lauded advantages are just a few aspects plucked from a much broader context.
The fact is that most businesses fail. And very quickly – within the first year. To grow a successful business, you must first accept the failed ones. However, if you have the soul of an entrepreneur, these failures won’t matter in the long run.
Unsuccessful ventures are a bit like the missed shots of the best strikers in soccer.
Did you know that players of such class as Ronaldo or Lewandowski first have to take up to 10 or more missed shots before they score a goal?
What could this mean for you? For example, to make more money with an online course, you may have to create several training courses, systematically refining and improving them until they reach their commercial potential. Chances are you’ll have to experiment with the target audience, modify the description, and even change the title or other important parameters of the course.
It’s advisable to put effort and creativity into your business model right from the start. This will make financial success easier to achieve.
The more we do complicated things, the easier they become. This is the essence of the educational process.
Entrepreneurship is much more difficult than a full-time job, which is why most people choose to work full-time. That’s why it’s so important to have the right mindset at the beginning.
Your business venture is not likely to be a sprint. It’s a marathon where you can run much faster from time to time, only to return to your normal, even pace again.
If the idea that entrepreneurship is a radically different lifestyle is beginning to dawn on you, you’re on the right track!
To understand the nature of entrepreneurship and how to learn business skills, let’s first address the rules of business.
Most of these rules deal with attitude and psychology. In Poland, this type of approach is still treated with much reserve, suspicion, and even outright dislike. Such reservations are a serious mistake because character traits can be developed just as effectively as purely technical skills. Courage, perseverance, self-discipline, and a positive attitude regardless of circumstances are absolutely crucial in every business.
Technical skills – be it writing, video production, or sales – and positivity, perseverance, and discipline are like two sides of the same coin.
Remember that technical skills alone, without the will to put them into practice, are worthless. So is positive thinking without hard work.
It’s worth answering the following questions: what type of personality do you have? Are you systematic, or do you tend to have a “straw man” mentality? Are you good with risk, or do you prefer to take the safe way out?
The key principles of business
So let’s look at the key principles of business, which apply both to mental and technical areas.
They are the basic rules of entrepreneurship, so take them seriously – with commitment and attentiveness.
Read them carefully and start gradually implementing them into your business practices right now.
Be confident in what you’re doing.
The media loves to report on the overwhelming uncertainty that is the result of, for example, a pandemic or an economic crisis.
It’s certainly possible to create statistical models that present variations in the uncertainty or certainty of a particular time or circumstance. When the political situation is unstable, we are entitled to feel anxious. If we suddenly lose our jobs, it’s natural to feel uncertainty.
Yet certainty or uncertainty are generally very subjective categories. They reflect a state of mind more than an “objective reality” – if we have access to such a reality at all!
Certainty is your decision. It’s your vision and your determination to bring that vision to life.
Certainty and the belief that you can create an online course that will be commercially successful is your choice to make. What’s more, you must trust yourself to develop all of the necessary skills in the course of your project. Don’t look for certainty in external circumstances, but rather in your inner conviction that you’ll do what you set out to do.
Take carefully calculated risks.
It’s almost always the case that the more risk we can take, the potentially greater the gains.
High risk is generally associated with a lack of experience and skill. The more we know about an issue and the more often we put this knowledge into practice, the less risk we take.
Your project must revolve, like a planetary system, around the recipient, the user! It’s his or her problems that you’re aiming to solve. It’s their needs that you have to satisfy. They, your clients, are the reason for the existence of your business.
Regularly ask for feedback from your customers. Give special importance to critical comments, because they act as valuable signposts to guide the development of your project.
In art or academic research, manifestos, debates and theoretical models are what’s important. In business, though, the key is what works in practice, and the best way to find this out is to conduct experiments.
Develop a business model.
The business model is how you operate and generate money. It outlines your customers, the benefits you offer them, your strategies for delivering value, as well as your pricing, costs, and revenue.
Work on your business growth.
An online business is not subject to physical or spatial constraints, making it somewhat easier to achieve spectacular growth than in a traditional business. This doesn’t mean that expanding an online business is easy. However, you should incorporate so-called exponential growth into your business strategies right from the start.
The entrepreneur is a renaissance man.
In the world of salaried employees, regardless of the level, very narrow specializations count. Yet in the world of online business, you’ll become a renaissance man. In the corporate world, the better you are at your specialty, the more rapidly your career advances.
While running your own business, you’ll hire outstanding professionals yourself. Furthermore, you’re expected to have a profound understanding of different fields and industries. It’s your responsibility to know not only about your product but also about sales, marketing, project management, people management, finance, and taxes. You need to learn new things quickly to continuously grow your business.
Be a leader.
Entrepreneurship is the art of leadership. An entrepreneur is a leader – someone who inspires and encourages others. You should lead your project by example, rather than just giving orders.
The more advanced your business project becomes, the greater your responsibility.
Even if you consciously want to remain a small, or even a one-person company, you’ll still need to work with many professionals. So, learn leadership skills. Make it your goal to lead by example. If you expect your co-workers to be creative, communicative, well-organized, and productive, first demonstrate these skills yourself.
The basis for high productivity is systematic work. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind the rules of entrepreneurship presented here. They show you the vital actions to achieve success in any business.
In conclusion, if you want to make money with online courses, you need to be both an artist, a researcher (scientist), and an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is firstly a set of technical skills including project management, building business models, and generating revenue. Secondly, you’ll require essential psychological skills such as leadership, determination, and goal achievement. Both of these skill sets can be learned and progressively developed.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll take responsibility for your own comprehensive development in many areas. By contrast, when you work as an employee, you mainly focus on one specialty.
Want to start or grow a profitable online business faster? At The Manka Academy, we run customized online programs for those who want to start their business or enhance growth. Let’s meet and talk about your business.