by Sarah & Kevin Arrow

Online Courses: The Great Passive Income Myth

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Online courses have been hailed as a great way to earn passive income. It seems like everyone and their uncle is creating online courses these days, promising to help you make money while you sleep. But the truth is that online courses are not the passive income solution they're made out to be. In fact, they can be quite a bit of work with no guarantee of success. In this article, we'll explore why online courses aren't the miraculous money-making solution they're made out to be.

Online Courses Require Significant Upfront Work

Online courses aren't a get-rich-quick scheme

Creating an online course is no small feat. It takes time, effort, and expertise to develop a course that people will actually want to pay for. You'll need to invest time in creating the course content, designing the course website, and marketing the course. And even after all that work, there's no guarantee that anyone will actually sign up for your course.

However, some online courses have been wildly successful with little effort.

While it's true that some online courses have been successful with minimal effort, these are the exception, not the rule. Most successful online courses require significant upfront work to create and market. Where online courses are successful with little effort, there's usually a hungry audience ready and waiting.

The Market for Online Courses is Saturated

You're not the only one with this idea for a course

There are thousands of online courses available on virtually any topic you can think of. With so much competition, it can be hard to stand out and attract students to your course.

However, there is always room for more quality courses.

While it's true that there's always room for high-quality courses, the market is so saturated that it can be hard for a new course creator to get noticed. You will need to invest in a strong and actionable course marketing plan.

Marketing an Online Course is a Full-Time Job

Creating the course is only half the battle

Once you've created your online course, you'll need to market it. This can involve creating ads, building an email list, and networking with potential students. It's a full-time job in and of itself.

However, marketing your course isn't that difficult with the right tools.

While it's true that there are tools and strategies to make marketing easier, it still requires a significant amount of time and effort to be successful. You need to start building your audience of prospective buyers so that when it comes to marketing your online course your content is seen by people who will love it.

Online Courses Require Ongoing Maintenance

The work doesn't stop once the course is live

Once your online course is live, the work isn't over. You'll need to update the course content regularly, answer student questions, and handle technical issues. This ongoing maintenance can be time-consuming and detract from the passive income dream.

Once the course is created, there's nothing left to do is the biggest myth of all when it comes to online courses. While it's true that some courses require less ongoing maintenance than others, any successful course will require ongoing updates and support.

Online Courses Can Become Outdated Quickly

Staying up to date requires ongoing effort

The internet is a fast-moving environment, and online courses can become outdated quickly. You'll need to stay on top of industry trends and update your course content regularly to ensure it remains relevant.

Anything that you created about AI 4 weeks ago is now out of date. Your social media course from last month is out of date, and Facebook Marketing is usually out of date by the end of the week.

Few course creators update their courses the moment something changes. Think about this aspect when you create your online course – how much time are you prepared to give to updates?

However, you can create evergreen content that doesn't require updates.

While it's true that some course content can be evergreen, most courses will require updates to remain relevant and valuable to students.

Online Courses Can Be Dependent on Platforms

You don't control the platform.

When you create an online course, you're reliant on the platform you choose to host and sell your course. For example, Facebook. If it changes its policies, goes out of business, or experiences technical issues, your course can be impacted. This means you don't have complete control over your course and its ability to generate passive income. Sure, you might think that Facebook will never go out of business… but they frequently change aspects of their platform that can impact your online course.

There are multiple platforms to choose from, reducing the risk.

While it's true that there are multiple platforms to choose from, this still means you're putting your passive income potential in the hands of a third party. It's important to consider the risks associated with this dependency.

While online courses can seem like a great way to earn passive income, the reality is that they require significant upfront work, ongoing maintenance, and marketing efforts. The market for online courses is saturated, and staying competitive requires ongoing effort and investment. In addition, online courses can become outdated quickly, require ongoing updates, and be dependent on platforms that can be out of your control. If you're considering creating an online course for passive income, it's important to approach it with realistic expectations and a willingness to put in the necessary work.

Ultimately, the promise of passive income from online courses may be more myth than reality. and if none of this scares you off of creating your online courses then check out Zenler. It's the course platform that we use. It's an all-in-one online learning system that will save you hours.


About the author, Sarah & Kevin Arrow


Sarah & Kevin Arrow have worked in digital marketing since 2006. They share their thoughts and tips here on this site. They'd love to help you become more visible. Book in a call or ping us a message - we're waiting to hear from you!

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