If you’ve considered offering online courses or educational content for the purpose of making money with a side hustle, this article is for you.
You’ve probably been encouraged by the passive income “gurus” to take your experience, package it up into lessons, and sell it online — usually by encouraging you to purchase their program or online course to get started.
The idea is you should create something one time and then sell it a million times over without doing any more work. Just like the Rolling Stones, you’ll sell your greatest digital hits online then watch the residual income stream in from your app of choice.
It makes perfect sense right? Unfortunately it’s not a perfect world.
And you can’t always get what you want.
So today I want to shine a light on what it takes to create a successful membership program so you can get some satisfaction from your efforts -instead of it all just being a beast of burden.
You ready to rock-n-roll?
Launching a membership website is extremely hard work.
Even though technology has improved incredibly since the days I worked with clients like Wishlist Member and Michael Hyatt on building Platform University, there’s still a lot you should know before getting started.
It’s easy to believe all you need is some content and an app like Thinkific, LearnDash, Teachable, or Udemy to be successful. While this is partly true, the reality is you must do a LOT more than just upload and click publish.
In order to make a decent living, the minimum requirements are:
- Creating valuable content people will actually want and pay you for.
- Building a brand that sets you apart from the thousands of other competitors doing the same thing.
- Developing a strategic roadmap for onboarding your customers and keeping them engaged in the process.
- Marketing your business every single day because there is a high churn rate with subscriptions and online courses.
- Researching platforms and their features to ensure it’s the right choice for you, while reducing any friction for your target audience.
- Investing time to develop new resources or content to keep generating that passive income beyond your initial offering.
- Staying committed and persevering when it seems no one cares about your course or program.
As you can see, it’s not just as simple as those so called experts say. It requires more than you might think to make money online.
Plus that doesn’t count having some luck in the process.
Is it worth starting a membership website or selling your courses online?
From my experience of working with dozens of clients in this area, and being one of the first online course creators in the web tech industry, you can make a shit ton of money — if you do it right.
But I can also tell you a LOT has changed over the past decade.
When I saw the online education wave coming back in 2010, there were very few people doing it and doing it well. The opportunity was incredible.
Now there are thousands of people offering their expertise via online courses, paid or free. This means you have to be unconventional and different than the rest in order to thrive.
Would I do it myself today? Probably not.
Besides having already created hundreds of hours of educational content for freelancers, web designers, and other creatives, my passion is in mentoring or being an advisor.
I’d rather sell my expertise and time (I know, counter culture) for hundreds to thousands of dollars, to people who really want results and want to kick ass in business, than to sell cheap courses or ebooks to the smaller masses.
Both require hard work but the pay discrepancy is huge for the effort.
Unless you have a mega hit.
Only then will your investment truly pay off.
Should you venture into the online course or membership world?
If you want to play with fire and have a heart of stone, I say go for it. Write awesome content, create your courses, and market like hell.
It’s not gonna be easy at all, but if you are driven to see it become a success and you do it right, there’s no doubt you have an opportunity to achieve your passive income goals.
And honestly I’ve made a lot of money proving people wrong when they said something couldn’t be done. You might be the next to do it.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more from my online business experience, follow me here. There are some good things coming.
Until then get off my cloud. ☁️ 😀