10 Places to Sell Your Online Course

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Time to Cash In

You've done the hard work of creating a course and now you are ready to start seeing some revenue from your efforts. So where do you sell it?

There are three basic ways to go about this:

  1. Get your own learning management software, host the course yourself, and market and sell to students that you attract. An example of this would be buying a license for a learning management system like LearnDash and running it on a WordPress website.
  2. Subscribe to learning management technology that takes care of course delivery, student management, and sales. You then focus on marketing. An example of this kind of hosted technology would be Thinkific or Teachable.
  3. Listing your course on a course marketplace that has an existing audience. You focus on answering student questions and maybe doing some of your own marketing to help with sales. This third approach is what this article is about.

The following is a list of course marketplaces with an existing audience. Where possible, we've listed the number of students the sites claim to have served since their beginning to give you some idea of their relative market size.

Keep in mind that by listing your course on these marketplaces, you might:

  • Run into competition from other course creators
  • Will likely keep less of the revenue share in comparison to the other options mentioned above.
  • Are at the mercy of the course marketplace when they decide to change any of their terms unless you have a solid agreement in place. (term changes can include how much you can charge for your course, how much of the revenue they decide to keep, etc.)

However, we've also indicated where the course marketplace terms are clear that you own your course content and are thus free to sell it somewhere else. It might be a good strategy to list your course at several different places and see how well it sells.

Online Course Marketplaces with Existing Audiences

Place Audience Size Course Content Earnings Sell Course Elsewhere?
Udemy 40,000,000 students Almost Any 25-97% of sales Yes
Skillshare 4,000,000 students Almost Any Paid on # of minutes watched Yes
Pluralsight 1,000,000 students Technology/Development Paid on # of minutes watched Unknown
Simplilearn 1,000,000 students Management, IT, Software Development Unknown Unknown
simpliv 15,000 students Any 30-97% Yes
OpenSesame Unknown Workforce training 50% of sale Unknown
Eliademy Unknown Any 70% of sale Yes
Learning.ly Unknown Academic and Professional 50% of sale Yes
Curious Unknown Any 70% of sale + 100% student tips Yes
edureka Unknown Technology training and certificaiton Unknown Unknown

Online Course Marketplaces – Overview

 

Udemy

https://teach.udemy.com/

  • Founded: 2010
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Course Content: Almost Any
  • Audience Size: 40,000,000 students
  • Teacher Requirements: Anyone
  • What You Can Earn: – 25-97% of sale (depending on who generates the customer and if an affiliate is involved)

Udemy is the king of the of the non-accredited online course marketplace universe and by far boasts the largest student size since its creation.

When selling on Udemy, you are getting access to a very easy to use technology system, some good training material, and a very large audience. However, having read a bit from expert Udemy course creators, you are still going to have to put some investment into marketing for your course to sell well unless you hit a hot subject without a lot of competition.

Additionally, you need to understand how the revenue share works. There are basically three tiers:

  1. You keep 97% of the sale if you are responsible for bringing the paying student to Udemy through your own marketing (tracked via a coupon code that can be used as a link or as a type in code).
  2. You keep 50% of the sale if the paying customer was generated through Udemy's marketing or finds you through Udemy's site.
  3. You keep 25% of the sale if a paying student is brought in via a Udemy affiliate partner.

The pricing tiers are fair in the sense that Udemy has spent a lot of money to be as big as they are and have the kind of technology platform they do. Also, they will promote a course with their own advertising dollars if their internal metrics tell them it has potential. They also give a decent percentage to affiliate marketers that bring in a sale so when there are three parties splitting up the sale (you, Udemy, and the Udemy affiliate), the percentage to you goes way down.

One great thing about Udemy is that you still own your content. You are free to sell your course on any other marketplace or your own web site if you wish.

Udemy might be a great place to test out ideas, sell smaller versions of larger courses, or use it as one of many sales channels for you to get known, hone your product with customer feedback, and pick up some sales.

Helpful ResourceThe Courses That Sell Best on Udemy

Skillshare

https://www.skillshare.com/teach

  • Founded: 2010
  • Location: New York City, NY
  • Course Content: Almost any, short courses from 20-60 minutes focused on teaching a specific task or skill
  • Audience Size: 4,000,000 students
  • Teacher Requirements: Anyone
  • What You Can Earn: Teachers get paid by how many minutes students view and how many new students you refer to Skillshare (actual amount not publicly stated)

Skillshare is a very different kind of course marketplace than Udemy. Instead of customers paying for each individual course, they pay a monthly or annual fee to get access to every course on the site.

Most of the “courses” on Skillshare are quite short – generally from 30-90 minutes long so they aren't true course as much as they are classes or lessons on a tightly focused topic.

Instructors are paid by how many minutes your lessons are viewed in a particular month. Somehow Skillshare divides up the total amount of views and allots a percentage of their revenue to pay instructors.

This kind of payment system demands a shift in mindset to use successfully. You want a high view count and you don't want to invest too much time on a class that may not bring in much money.

One strategy you could use with Skillshare is to simply break up a longer course that you would sell at Udemy and submit the smaller chunks to Skillshare to see how they do. If you can repurpose you already existing content, it may not be much of a risk to give it a try.

Or you could try to create something new that isn't currently being serviced on Skillshare. Just know that without a set payment scheme, you are at the mercy of how many minutes are viewed and whatever amount Skillshare is choosing to pay its instructors.

Pluralsight

https://www.pluralsight.com/teach

  • Founded: 2004
  • Location: Farmington, UT
  • Course Content: Software development, IT, data, cybersecurity
  • Audience Size: 1,000,000 students; 9,500 companies
  • Teacher Requirements: Pass a screening process
  • What You Can Earn: Paid for how many minutes your course is viewed in relation to total course view time on the site and revenue collected.

While Udemy and Skillshare host fairly broad subjects, Pluralsight is focused on helping people build technology skills.  In particular, Pluralsight's top level catgegories include software development, IT operations, data, architecture and construction, manufacturing and design, cloud computing, machine learning/AI, business, creative (design), and information and cyber security.

One nice thing about this narrower focus is these subjects tend be among the most popular across many different online course marketplaces. If your speciality is in tech, there are lots of places to find an audience.

Additionaly, Pluralsight requires potential instructors to put together a sample video as an audition to demonstrate teaching abilities. Also, instructors can produce written content that Pluralsight offers as text-only guides. If you don't think video teaching is for you, here is another option.

Like Skillshare, Pluralsight pays for how many minutes your content is viewed in relation to the other courses on the sight. Also, courses tend to be longer than what Skillshare offers.

If you have courses in technology you may be insterested in promoting on Pluralsight, its probably best to take a good look at the competition to get an idea of how likely your content will be viewed (or if competing content is even allowed).

Simplilearn

https://www.simplilearn.com/become-our-trainer

  • Founded: 2009
  • Location: San Francisco, CA; Bangalore, India
  • Course Content: Management, IT, Software Development
  • Audience Size: 1,000,000 students trained
  • Teacher Requirements: Expertise and certifications
  • What You Can Earn: Unknown revenue share

Simplilearn is focused primarily on certification training for companies and individuals. The courses include self-paced learning and instructor-led blended learning.

Course categories include: project management, big data, data science and business intelligence, AI & machine learning, cloud computing, DevOps, digital marketing, cyber security, agile and scrum, IT, software development, salesforce, and quality management.

Given the audience they are servign, you aren't going to find courses on sale for $10.99 at Simplilearn. These high end training programs range from several hundred to several thousand dollars each.

Because Simplilearn is going for the higher-end certification and training market, its standards for teachers are much higher. You must have relevant certifications in your teaching subject area and a commitment to delivering “best-in-class” training.

Simplilearn compensates teachers by revenue share but does not publicly state the percentage. Since these courses are much more expensive than other course marketplaces, it may be a good option to explore if you have what they are looking for.

simpliv

https://www.simpliv.com/for-author

  • Founded: 2017
  • Location: Fremont, CA
  • Course Content: Any
  • Audience Size: 15,000 students
  • Teacher Requirements: Pass screening process
  • What You Can Earn: 30-97% of the sale depending on sent the customer (similar to Udemy's model)

Simpliv's site looks a lot like Udemy's. Their courses are priced similar to Udemy's (heavy discounting from original price). In fact, their instructor revenue share looks a lot like Udemy's. How are they different from Udemy? They have a tiny fraction of the students.

Since you can promote courses on both Udemy and simpliv, it may not be a bad idea to submit your course to both. If simpliv starts to grow, you'll want your courses to be listed early to take advantage.

OpenSesame

https://www.opensesame.com/sell-online-elearning-training-courses

  • Founded: 2011
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Course Content: Workforce training
  • Audience Size: Unknown
  • What You Can Earn: 50% of the sale price
  • Teacher Requirements: Pass screening process

OpenSesame's focus is primarily on the lucrative workforce training market. Their course categories include business skills, technology, safety, compliance, certifications, and industry specific (manufacturing, construction, healthcare, electrical, etc.).

For instructor's, OpenSesame serves as a middle man between your courses and those who pay to view them. You upload your videos, the customer buys a license, and then incorporates them into their own learning management system. Instructor's are then paid 50% of the sale price which can get quite large since many course charge “per seat,” meaning that if a company has many employees it wants to put through your course, the more you will make.

Eliademy

https://eliademy.com/en

  • Founded: 2013
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
  • Course Content: Any
  • Audience Size: Unknown
  • Teacher Requirements: Anyone
  • What You Can Earn: 70% of sale

Eliademy is a Finnish company with a service that is somewhat like Udemy's in that course subjects range from software development to learning water color. Courses also have a much broader range in price from free classes to larger courses costing thousands of dollars.

The site definitely has an international feel as many courses are offered in various languages. However, it is unknown how broad of areach Eliademy has.

If you are looking to move into more International sales channels, Eliademy may be a good option to try. They give instructors 70% of the sale and appear to offer much better course pricing flexibility than Udemy.

Learning.ly

https://learning.ly/pages/expert

  • Founded: 2015
  • Location: New York City, NY
  • Course Content: Academic and Profession subjects
  • Audience Size: Unknown
  • Teacher Requirements: Proven expertise (experience, awards, publishing and speaking)
  • What You Can Earn: 50% of course sale

Whereas Udemy attracts instructors of all experience ranges, Learning.ly is solely focused on the expert market. You must have proven expertise in order to be accepted into their system as an instructor.

Courses tend to focus on business and professional topics and range in price from free to a couple hundred dollars. Instructors are paid 50% of the course sale.

Learning.ly's instructor selectivity might be a good resume builder if you have the expertise they are looking for. Also, it may give you access to students who are more concerned by an instructor's credentials than those at other marketplaces. Fortunately, you retain your course material and therefore can sell on other platforms so its worth giving Learning.ly a look.

Curious

https://curious.com/teach

  • Founded: 2012
  • Location: Menlo Park, CA
  • Course Content: Any
  • Audience Size: Unknown
  • Teacher Requirements: Anyone
  • What You Can Earn: 70% of subscription fees split among teachers and divided by how often content is viewed, 100% of student tips

Curious has a very different approach to selling courses and lessons. They use technology they call a “Curious Quotient” which surveys users about who they are, what subjects they are interested in learning about, and time available for learning each day.

The system then sends a daily learning “workout” to students consisting of small lessons, in-depth courses, and whatever else in their system they think is a good fit.

Users pay a monthly or annual fee to get access to the daily learning workouts.

Teachers are paid in a manner similar to Skillshare in that all subscription fees are divided among instructors based on how much their content is viewed. Teachers also can earn referral fees from bringing in new students and any tips.

Its unclear how large Curious' audience is and if their unique system retains students longer than other course marketplaces. It may be worth a try if you like Skillshare's model and want to promote your content on both platforms.

edureka!

https://www.edureka.co/instructors/add

  • Founded: 2011
  • Location: Bangalore, India
  • Course Content: Technology training and certification
  • Audience Size: Unknown
  • Teacher Requirements: Pass screening process
  • What You Can Earn: Unknown

edureka! is a growning certification and training company located in India. Course fees tend to be on the higher end. edureka! does not publicly state their revenue share with teachers.

If you have content targeted at the workforce training and certification market, and can sell on multiple platforms, edureka! may be worth a look depending on their terms.

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Jim Rosenquist

Jim Rosenquist

Jim started earning a living online in 1999 and became a solo entrepreneur in 2001. He started Solo Intel in 2019 as a way to help solo entrepreneurs and small operators become more strategic with their online business.

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