How Much Does It Cost to Create (& Sell) an Online Course in 2020?

sales Nov 26, 2019

Want to sell an online course for passive income? You may be wondering how much you'll need to budget for business expenses. In this guide, we'll share how much it costs to create an online course in 2020.

Selling online courses is one of the cheapest ways to build passive income.

In fact, with the right tools at your disposal, you can create an online course and sell it for less than $200!

But how do you know which tools to get, and exactly how much you'll need to budget?

We've done extensive research and testing to figure out which tools you absolutely need and which you can do without.

In this guide, we've gathered together ALL the essential tools that you'll need to build an online education business from scratch, from market research to selling your course. We'll tell you exactly what you need to get, and how much it's going to cost.

This list includes ONLY the tools which we believe give you the biggest bang for your buck. If you only use the tools on this list, you'll have everything you need to build a successful online education business. (Our Resources page includes even more tools that we also recommend, but these are completely optional.)

By the end of this guide, you'll know exactly how much money you need to budget. Don't worry– you can totally do this on a bootstrap budget.

Are you ready to get started?

Great! Let's dive into the tools...

Tools to Check if There’s a Demand for Your Course Idea

So, you have chosen your course topic. The next move is to find out if there’s a demand for such a course and if there’s a gap in what available courses are offering. Don’t be afraid if there’s a lot of rivalry in your topic area. High competition usually indicates that there’s a high demand for that idea and there’s a chance for you to carve a niche.

If there’s demand for such a course and your vision is different from what exists in the market, your course has a chance to become a best-seller. The following three tools won’t cost you a cent. They will help you check the demand and figure out your future target audience.

Answer the Public

Answer The Public is a tool that shows a user how often people ask questions related to the topic of interest. All you have to do is to enter your keyword and see the results. The number of questions asked will show you how popular your topic is.

Price: FREE

SurveyMonkey

This tool is all well and good for your needs if you already have an audience. Use SurveyMonkey to ask them to pick the course they want you to build. The ability to conduct such a survey is included in the basic plan of the service, which is totally free.

Price: FREE

Persuasion Nation's Student Avatar Template

This tool will be of help if you don’t have an audience yet and want to figure out who is your course going to be tailored for. This understanding will enable you to correctly personalize your course and promote it– it's an extremely important step that you do NOT want to skip! Just download the template which includes essential questions and fill in the answers.

Price: FREE

For market research tips, check out our guides: 5 Tests to Tell Whether Your Online Course Idea Will Sell and 15 Best Niches for Online Courses in 2020.

Total Cost for Market Research Tools: $0!

Recording Equipment & Software to Create Your Online Course

Once you have verified the viability of your course topic and decided on your target audience, proceed to record videos and prepare them for students’ screening. Make sure you’ve equipped yourself with the following tools.

Samson Go Mic

Even if your content is awesome, your audience’s learning experience will suffer if your audio quality is bad. So, make sure you use a professional quality microphone rather than relying on the built-in mic on your computer. For beginners, we recommend the Samson Go Mic– a USB microphone that plugs into your computer and sits on your desk. Don't let it's size fool you... this tiny microphone packs a mighty punch, and at $29.97 it's a steal!

Price: $29.97

Smart Phone Video Camera

For some course topics, it may be important to demonstrate on-camera. In that case, you'll need something to take videos with. Fortunately, smart phones these days have amazing quality cameras built in.

Price: If you already own a smart phone, you're all set!

Keynote (Mac) or PowerPoint (PC)

You may want to create slide presentations to explain concepts to students. If your computer doesn’t come with pre-installed presentation software, you can download and install Keynote for free, or you can get PowerPoint with a Microsoft Office 365 subscription for $69.99 per year.

Price: Comes pre-installed on most new computers

FilmoraScrn

Next you'll need a way to record your computer screen and your voice while you present the concepts with your slides. Filmora is a simple and affordable screen recording software. You even can opt for a free demo version to see how it works. If you're ready to buy, the lifetime license is the best value at $29.99.

Price: Starts at $19.99 for 1 year license of Filmora

Total Cost for Recording Equipment & Software: $49.96

Tools to Market & Sell Your Online Course

Now that you've created your course, it's time to put it online and sell it! Keep in mind that successfully selling your course requires more effort than simply throwing up a website with a "buy now" button. You'll also need to attract an audience. But, with the right tools at your disposal, attracting an audience and selling your course doesn't have to be difficult. Here are the tools you're going to need to host your course, attract potential students, and get it SOLD.

Online Course Hosting Platform

First, you're going to need a platform to host your course videos and any other educational materials (PDF downloads, written content, etc.). Kajabi and Teachable are the two most popular options, but we highly recommend going with Kajabi (which is the one we use here at Persuasion Nation). Here's why.

Kajabi vs Teachable

At first glance, it appears that Kajabi and Teachable are very similar. They both allow you to put your course online and collect payments. However, comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges– they're actually not the same kind of tool at all.

You see, Teachable is a standalone solution that provides the basic features for hosting and selling a digital course. The best part about Teachable is that the basic plan is really cheap at only $29 per month ($90 less than Kajabi's basic plan). But, the drawbacks of this plan start to show their teeth when you begin to sell your course...

Because Teachable doesn't include any tools for building an audience, it's like slapping up a "buy now" button and then expecting people to magically find your course and buy it. It just doesn't work that way. You aren't going to make sales without first attracting people to your online course. Plus, even if you already have an audience to buy your course, you'll have to pay a 5% transaction fee PER SALE with Teachable.

On the other hand, Kajabi is an all-in-one digital marketing platform enabling you to not only host and sell online courses, but also attract an audience of fans, and then convert those fans into paying students. Because Kajabi comes with all of the digital marketing tools you need built right in, you don't have to purchase these tools separately– saving you a TON of money.

Also, just from the standpoint of hosting your course, Kajabi's platform is far superior to Teachable's, in our opinion, as it allows you far more features to customize the look and feel of your course. Oh, and Kajabi charges ZERO transaction fees.

To break it down for you, here are just a few of the audience-building tools you're NOT going to need with Kajabi:

  • Blog Hosting & Domain Name (e.g. Bluehost– $7.99/mo)
  • WordPress & WordPress Theme (e.g. Elegant Themes– $89/year)
  • Email List Software (e.g. ConvertKit– $29–$79+/mo)
  • Opt-in Forms & Popups (e.g. Hello Bar– $29/mo)
  • Landing Page Builder (e.g. LeadPages– $15–$48/mo)
  • Sales Funnel Builder (e.g. ClickFunnels– $97-$297/mo)
  • Membership Site Platform (e.g. LearnDash– $159)
  • Smart Phone App for Students (you'd have to build your own eLearning App)

That's a savings of AT LEAST $170 per month!

So although Kajabi costs more than Teachable, you end up saving $80 or more per month in other tools that you don't need to buy. Plus, you get the simplicity and ease of having everything you need to host, market, and sell your course, all under one roof.

Price: Plans start at $119/mo for Kajabi

Canva

You'll need to create some graphics for your course in order to make it look appealing and professional. For beginners, we recommend Canva, a free graphic-design tool website. This tool will help you design all the graphics you need for your course, website, and social media.

Price: Canva is FREE

To get started marketing your online course, check out our guide: How to Sell Online Courses Like Hotcakes with Email Marketing

Total Cost for Marketing Tools: $119 per month

Conclusion: How Much Does it Cost to Create & Sell an Online Course in 2020?

Now that we've shown you all the essential tools you need to create and sell online courses, let's add up the total cost of launching your very own online education business:

Market Research Tools: $0

Recording Equipment & Software: $49.96

Marketing Tools: $119

Total Cost to Launch: $168.96

That's well under 200 bucks!! I think you'd be hard pressed to launch another passive income business for less than that.


Irina Sidorenko is lead content and marketing manager at yalantis.com. She has many years of experience in IT and Business industry, which include establishing and running her own small business.

The Online Learning Industry Is Projected to Hit $398 Billion by 2026.*

Want Your Piece of the Pie? Answer 7 Questions and I'll Tell You Which Online Course You Should Create.

*Source: Research and Markets forecasts.

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