You only need one principle to make millions of dollars by selling online courses: “Build Once. Sell Twice. Iterate Thrice.” In this article, I will teach you how to apply this principle that we borrowed from Jack Butcher to make millions of dollars by selling online courses.
If you are aiming to create profitable online courses whether they are self-paced, community-based, or cohort-based—using this principle will create a massive impact on your revenue. What do I mean? Once you build your first online course, you should aim to sell it twice as much as you build it. And you should aim to iterate thrice to improve its quality.
Jack Butcher, a veteran digital creator & entrepreneur created this quote in building digital products. One of his self-paced courses is called Build Once, Sell Twice where he teaches in-depth methodology on how to earn 7 figures in a one-person digital business.
Though I have one crucial step to add for online course creators: Iterate Thrice. Iteration is a must-have to make your online course relevant in the market. Selling gets easy when your product over-delivers its value to your customers.
There are three parts to uncover in this article:
- Build Once: Discover your hyper-niche topic, create a high-quality curriculum, and price your course in the right way.
- Sell Twice: Build your personal brand and do the boring stuff.
- Iterate Thrice: Ask for feedback and observe to capture implicit moves.
- Scale with a learning platform. Scale with Teachfloor.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Part 1: Build Once
Discover your hyper-niche topic.
Have you heard the saying, “The riches are in the niches.” Hyper-niches are not just for digital products or online communities. They work well with online learning. Professionals who have specific domain expertise add a specific audience to make it hyper-niche. It creates a strong unique value with less competition in a specific market.
Let’s say, you are an instructional designer with 15 years of experience. You are based in South Africa and you mostly work with non-profits. How can you capture a hyper-niche topic for your course? We can use the 4-Deep method:
Level 1: Instructional Design Course
Level 2: Instructional Design that uses the ADDIE process
Level 3: Instructional Design that uses the ADDIE process for non-profit organizations
Level 4: Instructional Design that uses the ADDIE process for non-profits in South Africa
Apparently, doing this exercise still needs validation if your market needs a new online course and if they are willing to pay for it. Here are methods to validate:
Research your competition and market size. Are there any courses that offer instructional design for nonprofits in South Africa? How do they design the course? How many students do they have? What do they lack that you can provide? Answer these questions by searching them on Google or asking ChatGPT for the list of online courses in this niche.
Join online communities or physical ones in your area and see if they need to up-skill or re-skill in instructional design. Look for repeatable questions in these communities and check if you have a better answer.
Conduct a Workshop.
Try out a 1-2 hour workshop and observe how people respond to the topic, to the way you teach, and to the activities. If you see some traction, then continue building and iterating.
Create a high-quality curriculum.
Key tactics in online course creation:
- Chunk the content into bite-size to avoid information overload. Write course objectives that are actionable and clear. Smart course creators build their minimum viable courses in a learning platform that they trust. Do the same to save time and effort.
- Show real results to inspire your students. Share case studies or tell your own story on how you achieved X by doing Y & Z.
- When doing live sessions or recorded videos, make the environment lively by playing music, facilitating icebreakers, creating interactive presentations, and encouraging participation among students. In short, make it entertaining.
- Apply a project-based learning approach where students are encouraged to work with teams and submit their projects in order to complete the course. Simple projects may do such as writing a blog post with 1500 words on Medium and sharing them on your social media platforms. This helps you as an instructor to evaluate if your students learn something from your course and for your students to apply what they learned from you.
If you want to learn more, explore our comprehensive guides on how to create the best online courses to make millions of dollars from your online academy.
Price your course appropriately.
Pricing your course correctly has always been a challenge for course creators. We knew this at Teachfloor, so we created a free tool to help you calculate your potential monthly revenues and come up with an appropriate course price.
Let’s say, you are targeting to make your first million from selling online courses. Play around with our free calculator and you’ll get the answers right away! In this example, you need 15,000 landing page visitors per month, and a 10% conversion rate to price your course at $100.
Part 2: Sell Twice
Once you have built your first course, you should aim to focus on selling it twice more as you have built it. In other words, the effort you put into marketing should be twofold than in the building phase to be able to make millions of dollars out of your online course business.
Build Your Personal Brand
How do you want to be known? What do you want to be known for? Building your personal brand nowadays is getting more popular in order to create a side hustle while working for someone else. This strategy is popularly known as building an audience where you establish credibility and expertise using your social media platform. Once people trust you as an expert in a certain domain, you can make selling online courses easier than it seems.
In Teachfloor, you can set up your personal brand identity on the platform without any hassle. With its white labeling solution, companies and personal brands in any form, shape, and size are welcome to brand their courses.
Do the Boring Stuff
Most of the marketing strategies that make millions of dollars by selling online courses are boring strategies. It needs consistency, determination, and creativity. If you are serious to get things done, then you should follow these marketing tactics:
In the user journey, you have to treat every potential customer as the “hero of the story” and you as their “guide”. What actions do you want them to do after another? People have problems that they want to solve, and you are there to give them solutions. So, you need to guide them through how they can solve their problems through your products (in this case, your online course).
Creating a sales funnel is the next step after identifying your persona. It’s also the step where you decided to create marketing strategies. Is it social media marketing? Email marketing? Affiliate marketing? SEO & content marketing? etc.
Social media marketing.
Social media platforms are the best way to build an audience. People are hanging out there and scrolling non-stop. If you can communicate your ideas and position yourself as a credible solution by creating new content, then it would be easy to build email subscribers and bring them to your course landing page.
Although social media is a great strategy, you don’t have full control over your audience. That’s why most successful course creators build their email lists as the next action of building an audience. Through an email newsletter, you can promote the courses available to your potential students. You can email them updates, and entice them of the results they would get in joining your course.
One way to put yourself out there is through content marketing or creating a blog. Social media allows you to share your ideas in precise short-form writing, but content marketing allows you to share them in long-form ones.
Once you get students to pay for your course, you could work on your referral program. This works well when it comes to making millions through online courses especially when you established a reputable high-quality course that your students love. It works on course growth loops where word-of-mouth and organic marketing play their roles.
Part 3: Iterate Thrice.
Transformative courses plus a strategic marketing plan could make you millions of dollars. To do this, you need to iterate as much as you need to.
I added the concept of iteration as a tactical move to improve your educational products. In other words, you don’t need to launch a perfect online course. The crucial part is to build it first and then iterate as you go. You could also use this in your marketing strategies. You need to experiment a lot and see what works.
Ask for feedback.
Online courses that thrive are learner-centric. Another way to create a UVP (unique value proposition) for your course is to design it from the real problems of your learners. You would be able to improve your course by asking your students directly what they think about it, what they can suggest, and what they don’t want. You may use the Stop-Start-Continue approach to simplify your questions. Ask your students: what would you like us to stop doing? What would you like to start doing? What would you like to continue doing? And then from there, you can iterate your course into a learner-centric one.
Observation is the kill.
Let’s be real. Not every feedback is real. Some are hidden through implicit actions. Observing your students through their participation can help you get the right answers to iterate. Do they participate more in a large discussion? Or are they more active in asynchronous forum discussions? Do they enjoy gamified activities? Or do they prefer social debates and AMA?
Not just that, observe too how other courses are created and apply some concepts in your course. Observation is a powerful skill when it comes to creativity and birthing new ideas.
🚀 Scale with a learning platform. Scale with Teachfloor.
Making millions of dollars by selling online courses is unbelievably possible! There are many stories that have shown the possibility of this trend in online business. The only thing that keeps them different from those who don’t make the millions is learning how to execute the right strategies correctly.
Reaching your first million dollars through your course business takes a lot of tasks. Smart course creators scale their online academy with a learning platform that does 50% of the tasks for them through automation.
Teachfloor is the perfect learning platform for scalable digital schools as it provides unlimited students, activities, courses, and storage from their basic plan to advanced plans. Unlike other LMS, there are no hidden costs when you add students to your course. That way, you could scale up to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of students and make your first million dollars without paying so much for a learning platform.
Try the tactics above and sign up for a 15-day trial.