How Much Can You Make Selling Online Courses?

How much can you make selling online courses

How much can you make selling online courses?

It’s the million-dollar question and one that everyone seems to have a different answer for.

In this post, I’ll tell you the real answer, backed by industry statistics.

I’ll also reveal a formula you can use to calculate your own online course earnings, share some case studies from actual course sellers, reveal expert tips to help you earn more money, and a whole lot more.

Let’s get started.

So… How Much Can You Make Selling Online Courses?

The real answer to this question is this: It depends.

Technically, there’s no limit to the amount you can make selling online courses. And as we’ll see later, many course sellers make upwards of six figures every year.

However, statistics show us that the average amount of money course creators earn is much more modest:

  • Course sellers on Thinkific (paid plans) typically make around $1,200 per month
  • Paid course instructors on Udemy earn around $2,950 per year (around $245 per month)
  • The top online course schools on Teachable make $2,500 per month

*Note: See the statistics section of this post for a more comprehensive overview of these stats, their sources, and how they were calculated.

Keep in mind that these are just averages–-they don’t tell us the whole picture. 

Course sellers will make $0 per month if they can’t land any customers. Others who are super successful will make $10,000+. It all depends on whether or not you can find a market for your course.

We’ll show you how you can estimate how much you can personally make selling online courses next. 

But first, here’s an overview of my take on how much you can expect to earn according to how successful your business is.

  • Not very successful: $0 – $300 per month
  • Moderately successful: $300 – $2,000 per month
  • Highly successful: $2,000 – $10,000+ per month.

How To Calculate How Much You’ll Make

There’s a super simple formula you can use to estimate how much money you can make selling online courses. It looks like this:

Number of leads conversion rate course price = revenue

Leads are prospective customers—the people who visit your landing pages/click your ads.

Conversion rate is the average percentage of leads that convert to customers (i.e. buy your course).

Course price is, of course, the price you plan to sell your course at.

With that in mind, here’s an example of how we might apply that formula:

Let’s imagine that you’re planning to start a business selling online courses, and you’ve already planned your marketing strategy. 

You estimate that you can drive around 1,000 visits (targeted traffic) to your course website landing pages through a combination of paid ads, social media marketing, and SEO.

You also know that the average website conversion rate is 2-5%, so you’re going to aim for around a 3% conversion rate. And you plan to sell your course for $99.

If we plug those numbers in, the calculation looks like this:

1,000 (leads) 0.03 (conversion rate) 99 (course price) = 2,970

So, your potential monthly revenue from selling online courses would be $2,970. 

Of course, this works much better if you have real data to plug in. For example, if you’ve been selling courses for a while, you’ll already know your true average conversion rate and how many leads you can realistically generate per month.

Other Factors Influencing Online Course Revenues

The calculation above is a simple way to get a rough idea of how much you can expect to earn in revenue, but there are a few other things you might need to factor in, too, such as:

  • Other monetization methods. Aside from course sales, you might be able to boost revenues in other ways, such as through upsells or promoting affiliates in your course content.
  • Costs. You’ll need to deduct business costs from your revenue to work out your profits. These costs might include transaction fees, the subscription costs of the course platform/ecommerce solution you’re using, advertising/marketing expenses, etc.
  • Recurring revenue. Sometimes, creators will sell their course to customers for a flat fee. But often, they’ll sell subscription memberships instead, which provide access to course content and supporting materials. If you go down that route, you’ll need to calculate your MRR (monthly recurring revenue) differently, accounting for things like churn/cancellation rates.
  • Potential market size. When estimating the number of leads you can generate per month, it’s a good idea to factor in the total size of your market. For example, if you’re selling a very niche course, there may only be 10,000 or so customers you could ever reach. Whereas if you’re selling a course with a larger target market, the sky’s the limit.

How To Price Your Online Courses

The amount you can make selling courses online will largely depend on how much you sell them for. 

According to Podia, the average price of an online course is $137, so pricing your course between $99 – $149 would be sensible.

That said, there’s a big difference in pricing from the bottom end to the top end of the market. At the top end, some creators charge $300+ for course access. At the bottom end, others charge as little as $50 or less.

If in doubt, look at how your competitors have priced their online courses and use that to inform your own pricing strategy.

How Much Do Online Course Sellers Make? (Statistics)

Below, I’ve listed all the latest statistics I could find that provide data-driven context on how much money online course sellers can make. 

  • The average reported Udemy instructor salary in the US, according to Glassdoor, is $63,000 to $111,000/year (Glassdoor).
  • Paid Udemy instructors earned a combined total of $161.4 million for their courses in 2020, according to an SEC filing (Udemy).
  • The average paid Udemy instructor earned $2,950 in 2020, and 9,000 global instructors earned $1,000+ from their courses (Udemy)
  • Thinkific creators on paid plans are estimated to make $1,200 per month. This is calculated by dividing the platform’s reported GMV in 2021 by the number of instructors on paid plans. (Thinkific)
  • 64% of the ‘top schools’ on Teachable earn over $2,500 per month (Teachable)
  • 23% of course sellers don’t sell any courses within the first 3 months (Podia)
  • 38% of course sellers make their first sale within 2 weeks, and 20% do so within 4 weeks (Podia)
  • Course creators on Teachable and Thinkific have earned a combined total of over $1 billion in revenue. (Sell courses online)
  • The online education market is estimated to bring in revenues of $185.2 billion in 2024 (Statista)…
  • …and online learning platforms account for $58.45 billion of that (Statista)
  • The average revenue per user of online learning platforms is around $70 (Statista)
  • There are around 783.7 million online learning platform users, and this is expected to grow to over 1 billion by 2028 (Statista)

How Much Do Online Course Sellers Make? (Case Studies)

It’s helpful to look at examples of real online course sellers to get an idea of how much it’s possible to make. With that in mind, here are some case studies.

Kat Norton – Miss Excel

Kat Norton - Miss Excel

Kat Norton started selling online courses that teach people how to use Microsoft Excel (and other MS tools) just a few years back in 2020. She grew super quickly thanks to her clever marketing strategy, making viral videos on TikTok and Instagram, and the quality of her course content. 

Now, she has a community of over half a million people and has made thousands of dollars teaching people how to become Excel wizards. Within just a couple of months after launching her course on Thinkific, she’d made enough money from passive sales to quit her day job.

Lidiya – Let’s Reach Success 

Lidiya - Let's Reach Success Courses

Lidiya is a successful blogger who decided to share her knowledge of blogging, SEO, and online business with the world. After launching her course, she turned her blog into a successful online business that brings in over $60k per year.

Kelan & Brittany Kline – The Savvy Couple

The Savvy Couple

Kelan and Brittany Kline are a husband and wife team that sell courses and other educational content through their personal finance blog, The Savvy Couple, to teach readers how to budget effectively and accrue wealth. Their course sales bring in over $20,000/month in revenue.

How To Make More Money Selling Online Courses

Now you know how much money it’s possible to make selling online courses, here are some tips to help you boost revenues and give your knowledge business the best chance of success.

Choose the Right Niche

Before you make your course, you’ll need to choose a niche—a particular topic/market segment you’re going to be focusing on.

For example, a niche could be health and fitness, SEO & marketing, relationships, graphic design, or anything else.

Ideally, you’ll want to choose a niche that:

  1. You know a lot about
  2. Has a lot of potential customers
  3. Isn’t oversaturated (i.e. doesn’t have too much competition)

And that can be hard to find. You’ll need to carefully research the market and check out online course marketplaces like Udemy to determine what course topics are in high demand and how competitive they are.

An excellent place to start would be to check out our roundup of the most profitable online course niches.

Know Who Your Target Audience Is

Once you know your niche, decide who it is you hope will buy your course. In other words, who is your ideal student?

While you’re researching your target audience, ask yourself questions like:

  • What are their pain points?
  • What problems do they want to solve?
  • Where can I reach them?
  • How can I market my course to them effectively?
  • What’s their budget?

You’ll use all of this to inform your online course creation, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Make High-Quality Course Content

You’ll be able to price your course higher and earn more per sale if the quality of your course content is superb.

If you’re selling video courses, then one way to improve the quality is to use professional recording equipment.

Nobody will pay a premium for access to shaky footage with poor-quality audio that you recorded on your iPhone, so invest in a proper studio setup with a good mic and camera.

And, of course, make sure you’re providing real value with the educational content in your course. Your students should walk away feeling like they learned a ton and that their money was well spent.

Add Value Around Your Course

Aside from creating great course content, another way to increase the perceived value of your course so you can charge more and make more money per sale is to add value around it.

For example, you could create an online community space where your students can interact and learn from their peers. Then, sell access to both your course content and community spaces as part of your monthly subscription package. Kajabi’s community feature is great for this.

Other ways to add value might be to offer students access to additional educational resources/tools/services, provide free weekly/monthly Q&A webinars, offer assessments and certification, etc.

Nail Your Marketing Strategy

Unfortunately, online courses don’t sell themselves. You’ll need to do some marketing if you want to make selling online courses profitable. And the better your marketing strategy, the more you’ll make.

There are lots of different ways you could market your course. For example, you could run ads on Google or Facebook. You could promote your course on social media platforms like TikTok, Twitter, or Instagram. Or you could start an educational blog and work on SEO to drive organic search traffic to your online course website.

One thing I’d definitely recommend is to build a sales funnel. Your sales funnel refers to the set of steps that guide your sales leads toward conversion, and it’ll play a big role in turning your site visitors into paying customers.

For example, you could offer a lead magnet like a free educational webinar to get customers onto your website—this is the top of your sales funnel.

Then, capture their email address with an opt-in form and set up a series of lead nurturing emails to build a relationship with them. This is the middle of your funnel.

Then, when the time’s right, send them an exclusive discount offer with a link to your online course sales page—this is the bottom of the funnel.


What are the most profitable online course niches?

Some of the most profitable online course niches include:

  • Business & entrepreneurship
  • Computers & technology
  • Home improvement
  • Arts & crafts
  • Fitness
  • Travel

However, any niche can be profitable with the right strategy.

How do you monetize online courses?

The easiest way to monetize online courses is to require customers to pay for a monthly subscription to access them. This creates a recurring monthly revenue stream for you.

Alternatively, you could use a one-time purchase pricing model, where students only have to pay a single, one-off fee for lifetime access.

Or, opt for a freemium model, in which you provide access to course content for free and use it as a vehicle to promote other complementary products or affiliate offers.

It’s also possible to monetize free online courses through ad revenue alone, but you’ll make less money that way.

How do I get started?

Check out our complete beginner’s guide on how to create online courses to learn how to get started. It walks you through the whole process, step by step.

Final thoughts

So, you now know how much it’s possible to earn by selling online courses. All that’s left to do now is get started.

While you’re here, why not look around at some of our other posts? We have lots of content to help you create profitable online courses and start your online course business.

You can start by checking out our roundup of the best online course platforms.


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