Selling Courses: Yes Or No?

There’s this weird vibe amongst selling courses.

On one hand, it’s perfectly fine, but on the other hand, new or unknown creators/entrepreneurs are walking that thin line between genius or fake guru.

But rarely, there’s this in-between sweet spot where selling any course is a true moneymaker.

Observations

Lots of people want to build an edge for themselves and accelerating your learning curve can be done by taking courses. And usually it’s a cheaper alternative than coaching or consulting.

But coaching is not the same as teaching someone a subject in-depth. And I think many amongst us don’t see the difference. Coaching provides guidance on a more personal level that helps you understand a path. A course is a tool to become an expert in a matter which in turn helps you execute much faster.


I hear you thinking: I can just learn it on YT, or find some free material.

That might be, but courses are designed with structure to make it achievable for the student to learn the essence of the materials.

Because most free content is scattered and free advice often only will get you that far. Courses usually contain more details and, it’s really in the details where the money is.

Can I Sell A Course?


I don’t know if you can. That’s based on your street rep, trajectory and past experience.


But here’s what I see:

Many professionals that were just like me in the service based business of consulting started selling courses or digital products. And I think that’s a fair, if not the most viable route to go for.

Because productizing your knowledge and reselling it for your audience can happen once:

  • You ran a successful service based business
  • You can carve out a sub-niche within your field of expertise
  • You racked up enough experience and use cases to reflect your opinions in your course
  • You obtained a certain level of street rep or authority through socials, blogging or other channels


All of the above adds the legitimacy factor. Because great courses are not filled with in-depth material but also with personal perspective.

And why wouldn’t you sell one if you check all the boxes?

The Upsides


2024 is this year of pivots and change for me, and I have been holding off selling info products or courses forever. But not this year. I felt that the stars are getting aligned since I am pulling out of the high ticket consulting side and focus more on LaunchPad, NanoBets and FocusX.


In one of my previous blog posts where I compared poker with entrepreneurship, this resonates with the idea of reducing variance in my revenue streams where riskier bets are made and I need to counter that.


What I see is that:

  • Productizing knowledge instead of consulting, which frees up time
  • Hedging riskier bets on the market or diversify revenue streams
  • Create once and sell forever with minimal upkeep or the option to update content once every year or 6 months
  • It’s a usually a lower ticket entry/item than coaching or consulting advice
  • Can be used as a lead magnet for higher tickets but is not always the intention
  • It’s a great way to strengthen your personal brand equity


The Downsides


It requires a lot of effort in building the right channels of distributions or coverage to make it worthwhile. But that’s not my greatest fear.

Sell Side

  • People might be dissatisfied with the content and that leads to bad reviews
  • If too many bad reviews pop-up, whether your content is genuinely the best out there, it tanks your reputaton
  • Some people, even competitors are buying your course just to tank it with a 1-star
  • It’s hard to handle refunds. There’s lots of abuse floating in that area. People might read or copy the entire thing and claim it’s bad – and gun for the chargeback or refund

Buy Side

  • Without a proper influence or reach, people have a hard time validating if the course is a fit for them
  • They might question the quality if you are not established enough (Personal brand equity)
  • It requires a lot more than just compiling docs. It needs to make sense that the subjects are cohesive
  • Lots of course creators struggle with the pricing and positioning of the product, and leads to zero sales


What it boils down to is… personal brand equity and launch your course on the right timeline. Not because you think you can pull it off in a highly competitive space.


Your audience trusts you with the past actions or record that’s been proven overtime. And for smaller or new creators, that’s a hard bargain.

It only makes sense that someone is launching a free info product first to reach a broader audience and pin point the correct ICPs.

And I had that struggle too.


In 2023, I was not clear which audience I really want in public and how it aligns with creating the right courses for them. But 2024 now gives me clarity on the matter.

Selling a course is not just throwing it out there and see if it runs good. You have to work on other strategical elements to make that happen.

Either way, I wanted to touch this subject already so early in the year before I document my road to productizing knowledge further on my blog.