The internet has created an environment where anyone can share their knowledge/experiences and make a profitable online business out of it. The online learning industry is worth over $100 billion and rising.
It doesn't matter how obscure your passion is (e.g., knitting hats or collecting baseball cards), there are most certainly people out there in the internet-universe who are interested in what you can teach.
You just need to find those people. Easier said than done in our noisy world.
1,000 True Fans
Now a famous concept among marketers and other online experts, 1,000 True Fans, was the brainchild of Kevin Kelly, who explained that you don't need millions of "followers" to be successful. Actually, you only really need 1,000 or so true fans.
Consider the math:
If you created an online education product teaching someone how to improve their fitness and nutrition (or whatever else you're interested in), and sold it for $40, you could make approximately $40,000 (minus taxes and other expenses) with 1,000 sales.
What if you sold your online information product for $100?
The possibilities are pretty exciting.
The focus should be on quality, not quantity. If you create a product that even 100 people love, you can expect that more will enjoy it as well.
Online information courses is becoming a very lucrative industry. An online course is basically a video "classroom" teaching a specific topic. Udemy.com is a place you can sell your online course if you don't currently have a website of your own, or if you don't currently have a very big audience.
Some of the categories of online courses on udemy.com include:
- Health & Fitness
- Teacher Training
- Language Learning
However, within each of these categories are several more nuanced sub-categories and topics. To be clear, you can create an online education course or education product (e.g., eBook, audio course) on any topic.
Here's a few tips to ensure you'll be successful:
1. Just Because You Build It Doesn't Mean They'll Come
Except for your parents and maybe a few friends, very few people will probably have interest in your first eBook about your passion for crafts. Seth Godin, world-renowned marketer, has taught that you should begin marketing your book three years before it comes out.
In other words, you need to build a fan-base that already loves you and trusts your work. Once you have the fan-base in place, and have been getting them excited about your product for several months or years, it will be easy to sell.
I learned this lesson the hard way. In September of 2015, I created an online course teaching college students how to create an online business while still in college. The problem? No college students who knew who I was. The result? Crickets.
However, over the past six months since that bitter experience, I've blogged consistently and managed to build a strong subscriber base. As a result, earlier this month when I published and eBook, it sold amazingly.
2. If Your Idea Seems Stupid, You're In Good Company
"The challenge is that the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it's a crazy idea. And crazy ideas are very risky to attempt."--Peter Diamandis
Everything: the telephone, computer, airplane, etc. were all considered stupid ideas until they worked out. When something succeeds, our confirmation bias makes us believe it was obvious the whole time. As Steve Jobs has said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards."
3. Your First Online Education Product Will Be Amateurish, And That's Okay!
Perfectionism stops most people from ever starting. Rather than waiting until that moment you feel totally qualified, start now. You qualify yourself by doing! You'll get better as you go, mostly through making mistakes.
If you're really interested in starting an online business sharing information, check out these essential sources: