Danny J. Liu

In this post, I’m going to talk about a topic that I’ve been seeing a lot in the space that I follow in the online business world. I’m referring to this whole concept of passive income and earning money without doing hardcore marketing, specifically for online courses.

First, what is passive income?

If you’ve never heard of passive income, it’s essentially a term that’s used pretty loosely to describe earning money while you sleep or without having to put a whole lot of work in and trading time for money. It’s unlike a traditional job where you’d show up, put the time in, and then earn money.

The no. 1 myth is that you don’t need to put a lot of work in. I started trying to do and learn how to create ebooks and courses and realized that, “Man, this stuff is a lot of work.” The truth of the matter is, it is. There’s no getting around that.

It’s a matter of maybe I’m sleeping and I got a course sale on Udemy. To me, that’s passive, but the whole distinction between trading hours for dollars and passive income is the fact that I put in all that work ahead of time and I didn’t get paid for it yet.

I created a course on Udemy and it took me a couple of weeks to create the content, edit it, and get it published. Then, it was like another month before I saw my first dollar. So, there’s a difference there when it comes to the 2 types of ways that you can make money.


Watch the video:

Earning passive income through selling online courses

But, the great news is that in 2018 and onwards, the future has a great outlook for online courses, specifically because video is so much more readily and easily accessible to people today. You can pretty much get any content via video on a mobile device.

I was doing some reading and I was looking at this one site. I can’t remember the exact site, but it said that based off of market trends and analytics, the outlook for courses is in the billions of dollars over the next decade. So, if you are not already creating online courses, then you are missing out in that regard.

If courses are not your thing, I would highly recommended that you revisit that because I said the same thing in the beginning. “Ebooks are not my thing” or “Courses are not my thing.” All those things were excuses for me not to use the knowledge that I have in my head to help other people, and that is what it really came down to. So, I started to create videos and uploaded them to see which ones are doing well on YouTube and decided to put a stake on the ground and create a course.

But, selling a course requires marketing

There’s a lot of marketing that goes into selling an online course, especially if you’re doing it on your own. There’s a lot of marketing lingo that goes into it. And it works. The numbers don’t lie.

The marketing works when you use common terms and build headlines or copies that say “Fast”, “Easy”, “3 Step Guide”, etc. All these are catchy. Don’t get me wrong. Yes, they do work, but there’s an element of truth that needs to be embedded in the content to really be honest with your audience if you’re in a position of selling something.

All these help you in earning passive income or income that you can make through selling digital courses, products, or services without having to be there for it.

How can you sell courses without hardcore marketing?

Marketing takes a lot of time, effort, and let’s be honest, money. However, if you use a course platform, like Udemy, you don’t need to know how to sell.

You don’t need to pay for Facebook ads or anything like that. You don’t need to worry if you suck at marketing or don’t know anything about marketing or making copies. I don’t. I’m not a marketer. I’m a tech guy. So, for me, marketing doesn’t come easy.

But with platforms and marketplaces like Udemy for digital courses and Amazon Kindle Publishing for ebooks, you can do it. These platforms market your content on their marketplace. They take out ads to promote your content if you publish with them.

There are several advantages in using course marketplaces…

You can save time from marketing

Now, you won’t earn as high a commission as far as the per unit profit that you’d make for selling a course or ebook. But, you also don’t have to invest the time and money in trial and error on trying to find the perfect audience and targeted ad campaigns. Let’s be honest. Doing marketing on your own not only takes up a lot of your time, but also causes some headaches and lost money, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Udemy is definitely a great place to go and get started. I wish I would have done that in the beginning because I created my first online course on Thinkific, which is a great platform. But again, if you’re not a marketing pro and you don’t have a huge email list, then don’t even bother going on these kinds of platforms. I say that from personal experience. Don’t do it.

You can focus on creating your course and building your brand

I can’t stress this enough. Build an email list. Start building your list and communicating with your audience. Without marketing taking up much of your time, you can focus on this.

You don’t need to have a personal membership platform or anything like that. Unless you’re marketing on your own, then this is not something that you want at this point. You don’t even need to have a website to create or promote your course. You can just use Udemy.

Just focus on your course. Outline it, create it, edit your video, get them up on Udemy, and hit publish.

You don’t need to spend money on different tools

I think this is where a lot of people get tripped up. They think they have to invest in this shiny, new piece of software. But then, it’s crickets because you don’t have the marketing skills and the audience. Then, it just becomes problematic.

My first course, Agile Project Management for Beginners, is not earning a whole lot of money right now. But, it’s still earning me money and I’m not even actively promoting it. I also did not need to spend a whole lot to get it up and running. That’s the beauty of a marketplace like Udemy.

In the future, who knows, maybe it gets to a point where I’ve published a lot of courses and built my email list to a more sizable audience and my earnings can stack up. I can also start looking into what my audience wants to create a more customized membership site or course platform.

Personally, I intend to focus on Udemy for 2018

I am focused on Udemy heavily this year because I want to see how far I can take it. I work a full-time job and I’ve got a busy life. I’ve got three kids, and so, I know what it’s like to not have time for things. But, if you prioritize and make time to slowly whittle away at a goal, you’ll get there.

I got my first course published at the end of last year. My second course, WordPress Made Easy, was published earlier this year. This course is for those of you out there who are looking to build a personal branded website in an hour.

It’s actually taken me a couple of weeks to really plan, record, and get the course out while having all these other responsibilities. But, it can be done. And once it’s up there, it starts earning money. You can do it too.

If you’re working on creating and publishing your first online course, then I highly recommend you join our Facebook group Launch Your First Online Course. There are a lot of people in there who are also actively working on their own courses. So, go ahead and join us. It’s all about learning and getting out of your comfort zone. Then, the stuff that you learn becomes more comfortable for you, and you can just keep setting the bar higher.

I really love the idea of creating content, but I’m not a passionate marketer. So, that’s why platforms like Udemy are great. If you are like me, go ahead and check it out.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.