Preparing to create your first online course can seem a little daunting at first. You might even believe it will be expensive to create.
I'm sharing some great tips on how to kick-start the course creation process without emptying your wallet on expensive equipment and software. You can even create a course with $0 in up-front costs–here's how.
Equipment & Software:
You don't have to pay for pricey equipment and software right now. Start where you are and use free/low-cost resources to get started quickly. Here are some options…
Most people don't realize that you don't have to be ‘on-camera' for an online course. You can use a screen-recording software to capture your voice over a slide presentation.
While there are some more expensive screen-recording software out there like Camtasia for PCs (which I only recently started using) and Screenflow for Macs, I started off using a simply screen-recording tool called Screencast-o-matic.
Screencast-o-matic is a screen recording tool used by a lot of online instructors. There's a free version and a premium version. This tool allows you to record yourself speaking over a slide presentation which can be used as your course lessons.
No need to hire someone to turn your slides into video. You can do this yourself. With the $15 per year version, you can also do some basic editing (like cutting out spots where you messed up or had a blooper.)
Again, when you are just getting started with creating online courses, there are some affordable options for microphones (which you need in order to capture your voice).
Low-Cost/No-Cost Option: If you use a smartphone and have the little earbud headphones with microphone you can use this to record.
Mid-Range Option: Blue Snowball Microphone – around $49. I personally use the Blue Snowball Microphone and love it–great sound quality and fantastic pricing. It has some great reviews online.
As I mentioned above, it is not necessary for you to be in front of the camera for your course. You can be behind the scenes by creating a slide presentation that you then record your voice over.
There are several affordable ways to do this. One option is to simply use PowerPoint (on PCs) or Keynote (on Macs). Most people have this software readily available on their laptops so that means no extra cost.
You can also create a slide presentation using Google Docs. As long as you have a Gmail account (which is free to create), you have access to Google Docs.
Another option is using web-based software like Canva or Visme to create your slide presentation. These websites offer gorgeous, premade presentation templates that allow you to plug-in your content and have an instantly beautiful presentation ready for you to record.
You don't need fancy equipment to make it high quality and valuable. As you scale up, you will be able to purchase more sophisticated software and equipment to make your offerings even better.
Graphics and Images:
If you are creating your own slide presentations, a great place to find affordable images is Creative Market. This website has thousands of amazing images, graphics, and templates that you can put to use for your online course. They even offer FREE goods on a weekly basis which get pretty addictive to checking because I find useful freebies almost every week!
If you really want to step your game up a notch, get a $10 per month membership with IvoryMix.com and get access to new members-only graphics every single month that you can use on your blog posts, Pinterest pins, and other social media.
You can also find tons of free images on websites like Pixabay.com, PicJumbo.com, and many more!
Hosting Your Course:
Once you have a better understanding of the tools you need to create your course, it's time to start thinking about affordable hosting options.
Just in case you are not familiar with the terminology, by hosting I mean finding a platform where your course videos, slides, and text will be uploaded for access by your students.
There are tons of different options out there for uploading and storing your online course.
Of course, you have your course marketplaces like Skillshare.com, Udemy.com, Amazing.com and more. But while these platforms each have some great perks and good reasons to use them (which I discuss in here), my suggestion is to also choose to self-host your courses on a platform that allows you to control the pricing of your course and names/email addresses of students who sign up.
My top suggestion for affordable self-hosting is Teachable.
Teachable offers a $0 starter plan that allows you to upload your course and set your own price.
Here's an idea of what the homepage will look like when you launch your courses with Teachable:
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have a website before I create a course?
The truth is that you do not have a build a website before you create your first course. If you build a course using Thinkific, you can actually create web pages within the software. This means you can have an About page, a Contact Me page, even write blog posts if you want. Don't let “not having a website yet” stop you from getting started with your first course. IT'S NOT A BARRIER!
Can I really start my first course for $0?
Yes! Here's a scenario:
- Use PicJumbo or Pixabay to get free images for your course design and slides.
- Then use PowerPoint to create your slides.
- Use the FREE version of Screencast-o-matic to record your voice over the slides with the headphones for your smart phone…
- Then set-up a $0 account plan with Teachable to upload your videos/audios/PDFs and allow students to sign-up.
Wallah! That's a $0 start-up cost!
Can I sell my course on my own website and on other websites?
Yes! Most of the course marketplaces are ‘non-exclusive'. This means you can create your course once, and then sell it on different websites, including your own website. Most of them simply have a rule that you cannot offer it for FREE on one website and then CHARGE for it on another website. For instance, I have a course that I sell via my website, Skillshare, and Udemy.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Teach what you know.
Creating your first online course does not have to be a cost-prohibitive venture. The tips above will get you started and you could have your first course complete in less than a week!
You can absolutely do all of this on your own! But if you need a little guidance, you will love my self-paced course–Epic Instructor Lab.
Note: This post may include referral links, which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for the extra love! xoxo