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Are Online Courses As Passively Profitable As Everyone Says They Are?

Anyone in the online course creation space will have heard the statistics that the online learning industry is worth billions of dollars, and that it’s the modern day way of catapulting yourself into the ‘passive income club’.

But are online courses really a passive money maker, and is it really ‘passive income’?


Big cash payday – or is it?

The money you make from your online courses is directly proportionate to the amount of effort that you put into building an audience and marketing your courses.  

The second you stop putting your courses in front of the right target audience in a timely and helpful manner is the second that you will stop making sales.

The online education industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.

There are millions of dollars involved, and if you want your bank account to be included in that, then first you need to create your course.


Once your course is produced, then you are in the running for a share of the pie.

However, take note that these billions of online course dollars are absolutely NOT distributed equally.

Yes, there are most certainly 7 figure online instructors out there and I personally have numerous edupreneur colleagues who are earning way above and beyond the average professional western salary.  But I also know thousands of online instructors who make very little, and even more who make nothing at all.  

Just like any business, to sell a product you have to do more than put it on your shelves.

A business will not succeed without a strategy and a plan of execution. Unless you already have a large, well-established following, online courses on their own are not necessarily going to make you rich.

With increasing competition, the price that many students are willing to pay for online courses is being forced downwards.  This means that making really big bucks in this space depends on you either having extremely high volumes of sales – or having additional products and services on offer that your online courses feed from or to.

This is where the educator needs to fully tap into their entrepreneurial abilities to create a clear plan of how they will use their courses to develop other income streams.


Because I have a range of services, I personally now use my courses as ‘bottom of funnel’ services – to attract the right prospects into my sphere of influence and to open up a product for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford my services one on ones – and as such I advise edupreneurs to see that if it’s not the online course that will make you wealthy, it’s what the online courses lead onto that can.


Is passive really passive?

You upload your online course to your learning management system and connect your payment gateway.

You go to sleep, you wake up and there is money in your bank account.

Your online course was delivered to the payee whilst you were drooling on your pillow.

This is a passive exchange, and many edupreneurs live this reality on a daily basis.

However, as dreamy as this passive-looking exchange may seem, there is a lot of debate around whether passive really is passive when it comes to earning money.


In short, the term ‘passive income’ means ‘earnings an individual derives from something in which he or she is not materially involved’.

If someone is putting money in my bank account for access to an online course without me or anyone I employ having to be involved, then it by definition is a passive exchange.  


Is the ‘passive online course’ promise all a fantasy scam?

However, the flip side of the argument is that a whole heap of initial production work had to be done to build the product in the first place. Then there are the ongoing marketing efforts.

This is ‘the hard work vs money continuum’.

Put some strategically allocated hard work in, and somewhere the process ends with income. The more you input, the more your output.

There is no ‘scam’ to the simple equation of hard work.  Just as the farmer who places his seeds into the soil, eventually see’s a harvest appear from the ground while he was sleeping, so does the edupreneur face a similar ‘opportunity’…..


Input = output.  It’s simple.

However, after a while, your output can soon start to dramatically exceed your input.  

If you get to a point where you have created so many blogs, books, courses, articles, podcasts and other searchable content online, each of those pieces of content soon begins to work for you.

They repeatedly demonstrate your expertise and bring you yet more custom, and so the process of marketing eventually becomes ‘passive’ too.

I still have blog posts and YouTube videos that I published YEARS ago earning me money and new customers today; from courses that I created and published years ago.

If you are willing to work hard up front and remain strategic about every piece of content you produce, then passive is indeed eventually possible.  


Don’t get Complacent

Never forget however, that no business can stay alive by doing nothing.  

Here’s why:

  • The world around you will keep on changing.  If you don’t, you’ll soon be extinct
  • Eventually, you’ll need to update your content in order to stay relevant
  • You cannot stay ahead of the competition by doing nothing
  • You cannot meet the ever-changing needs and demands of your customers passively

You are about to join a multi-BILLION dollar industry that is growing every single day, so when it comes to what you can earn, the sky’s the limit. BUT you must do more than just build a course.


You reap what you sow.

Your earnings will be directly proportionate to:

  • Whether you build a course with market demand
  • Create a course that delivers absolute transformation and tangible
  • Create a community, tribe and following
  • The level and consistency of marketing you conduct

Those who do this the best earn millions of dollars per year – and there is nothing stopping you from aiming for the same.

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