How Selling Online Courses Helped Me Stay Afloat During the Pandemic

  • Much of my business was based on travel and speaking, so it disappeared during the pandemic.
  • To stay afloat, I turned to online courses, an area I had explored in the past.
  • The courses have helped me serve the same audiences, expand my reach, generate passive income, and upsell.
  • Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.

When the pandemic started, over 75% of my work and income as a solopreneur was immediately put on hold or completely wiped out. I found myself frustrated and confused as to what to do next.

I realized that any work involving travel was out of the question and that many companies I had contracts with were too focused on surviving the pandemic to continue to employ me. It got me thinking about what I could do, from home, to earn money and recover my lost income.

I thought of an online course I started in 2017 for my wedding business that did pretty well and generated a small income each month. It made me wonder if I could produce more courses, for different audiences, as a side hustle to the pandemic.

I started by picking out a few skills that I’m an expert in and have a unique perspective on. I researched competitor courses and got feedback from my potential audience.

This information put me in the right position to go out and build these courses. In 2020, I released three courses, ranging in price from $149 to $247.

Each one took me around 20-30 days to create and by marketing these courses every month I was able to earn a few thousand dollars a month. Not only did it save my income, but it became a viable source of ongoing passive income that still brings in money today.

Here are four ways selling these courses has increased my income that has all but disappeared during the pandemic.

1. I uploaded canceled in-person workshops

Part of my income, before the pandemic, was earned traveling the country and speaking at conferences or doing in-person workshops for companies. When those opportunities disappeared, I took the main topics people were paying me to talk about and formed online courses for each of those topics (personal branding, public speaking, and side hustle).

I was then able to market and sell these courses to companies to provide their employees with online learning during the pandemic.

Not only did I save time and energy by not having to travel to teach these workshops, but I was able to reach more companies that would be interested in purchasing the online version of my traditional workshop by nobody, which would have cost them more.

2. I was able to expand my reach internationally

I had spent much of my time giving workshops across the country, but had never been able to serve international clients because the travel costs were too high.

By having online courses to offer them, I was then able to close deals with potential clients who would never have considered hiring me to come in person.

Additionally, I could now extend my courses to people who also lived overseas and could now access my content that was previously only available in person. It also allowed me to increase my sales.

3. He generated passive income

Before the pandemic, I had many ways to earn small amounts of passive income (from my high-yield savings account to selling ebooks), but once I launched my online courses, I I was able to generate a steady stream of monthly passive income.

Once the courses were built and hosted on a course platform, I then had to do minimal work to support those courses on a monthly basis. I did a few hours of marketing a month (using social media, my mailing list, and my podcast) and was able to generate a few thousand dollars in regular income from these courses.

4. I was able to upsell

Another great benefit of having online courses was the ability to sell other offerings. This is how I was able to increase my income from these courses even more.

On the course checkout pages, I gave people the option to add another course, private virtual coaching session, book, or other items I’ve already offered for a small discounted price. Over 75% of people added an upsell at checkout, which increased the amount of money they spent and the amount of money I earned.

Before, when I made offers in person, there were few upsells that could be offered. Bringing these courses online has been a game-changer to jump-start my income after the pandemic sidelined many of my lucrative offerings.

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