Online course businesses are one of the fastest-growing online business models. Creating an online course is an awesome way to generate extra income because it allows you to monetize the knowledge you already have. More people are taking online courses every day, and the COVID pandemic has accelerated that, with some online learning platforms having seen 15-folds growth in the number of users.
Another advantage is that these new platforms are so easy to use for instructors that you don't have to worry at all about the tech side of the business. You just need to focus on creating exciting content that is informational & engaging at the same time.
Here are some real life success stories of starting a online courses business:
1. Let's Reach Success ($60K/year)
Lidiya Kesarovska (from The Netherlands) started Let's Reach Success about 9 years ago.
I’m Lidiya, a full-time blogger, course creator, and the founder of Let’s Reach Success. With the content I publish on the blog and the courses I create, I help people start a side hustle and earn passive income so they can pay off debt, quit their job and live their best life.
My signature program - Financial Freedom Through Blogging - is the formula for starting a blog, growing it to 100K page views and $5,000/month, and living life on your terms. Inside it, you’ll find answers to all your questions about becoming a full-time blogger, behind-the-scenes content, real ways to make money and build blog traffic, a ton of video tutorials, how-to guides, and bonuses.
2. Mikkelsen Twins ($1.44M/year)
Rasmus & Christian Mikkelsen (or Mikkelsen Twins) (from Chester, New Jersey, USA) started Mikkelsen Twins about 4 years ago.
We are Christian and Rasmus Mikkelsen, also known as the Mikkelsen Twins online. We run an online education company where we help people to build an online book publishing business. The reason why we teach what seems like a random/kinda weird online business model is because it’s what changed our lives almost 3 years ago and freed us from the life path we were heading down (were in the middle of a business degree in community college and there was absolutely no hope for a truly happy and fulfilled life if we had continued to take that path in life).
Fast forward to today, our company is making over 6-figures in profit every month which is almost unbelievable for two 24-year-old (ambitious) idiots with just a laptop, wifi connection and a small team.
3. Writing Revolt ($300K/year)
Jorden Makelle (from Dallas, TX, USA) started Writing Revolt about 7 years ago.
Hi! I’m Jorden Makelle. I started online as a freelance writer, and now, I run Writing Revolt, which is a blog and YouTube channel that helps freelance writers learn how to make money online, even with no experience and no college degree.
My online business now brings in multiple six figures, and just as importantly, I’ve been able to build an incredible online community and help thousands of writers succeed and live their dream life!
4. Create and Go ($1.2M/year)
Alex Nerney (from Texas, USA) started Create and Go over 5 years ago.
My name is Alex Nerney. My business partner Lauren McManus and I started an online blog, two of them actually, that we were able to make a full time income from. We started out with building a health and fitness blog Avocadu. It seemed like a reasonable first niche to start in as I was a personal trainer at the time. After growing that blog to six figures a year Lauren and I decided to start Create and Go to teach others exactly how we did it and share our journey as professional bloggers with them.
The freedom we have experienced is indescribable, Lauren has been full time traveling for over a year, fulfilling her desires to travel the world. While I have been living my best life, marking things off my bucket list one by one. Including getting a motorcycle license, traveling to every state in the U S of A, and finally being able to eat strictly organic food and watch all the football games I can in a single weekend. We have had adventures and experiences we never imagined we would have.
5. Proofread Anywhere ($2.4M/year)
Caitlin Pyle (from Remote) started Proofread Anywhere over 7 years ago.
Hello! My name is Caitlin Pyle, and I start Proofread Anywhere back in 2014. I help proofreaders earn extra income from anywhere in the world… even if you’re starting from scratch! I have two different courses: Transcript Proofreading, which teaches students how to proofread legal transcripts for court reporters. My second course is General Proofreading.
Before I started Proofread Anywhere, I was making $4,000 a month as a proofreader and I was convinced that was the most money I would ever make. Today I make an average of $200K a month! I wasn’t looking to just “make more money.” I simply focused on my passion of helping others find work-at-home freedom. Find a way to help others and your own business will grow also!
6. The Savvy Couple ($240K/year)
Kelan Kline (from Rochester, New York, USA) started The Savvy Couple almost 6 years ago.
Hey! We are Kelan and Brittany Kline the founders and co-owners of the popular personal finance blog The Savvy Couple.
We are currently on pace to make over $250,000 this year alone with our personal finance blog!
7. Frontend Mentor ($300K/year)
Matt Studdert (from London, UK) started Frontend Mentor almost 4 years ago.
Hello! I’m Matt Studdert, and I’m the founder of Frontend Mentor. We are an online learning community that helps people improve their front-end coding skills by building projects. Instead of providing learning tutorials, we provide professionally designed challenges to help our community gain real-life experience building websites and web apps.
Today, we have over 200,000 members on the platform and grow at over 16,000 new members per month. Of those 200,000+ members, we have 1,500+ paid subscribers generating over $15,000 MRR.
8. Stukent, Inc. ($6M/year)
Stuart Draper (from Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA) started Stukent, Inc. almost 9 years ago.
Hi, I'm Stuart Draper and I'm the founder and CEO of Stukent. I am the co-author of Digital Marketing Essentials, the bestselling text in higher education of its kind. I gained valuable experience doing internet marketing for companies that range from mom and pop shops to Fortune 500 companies.
My work in education has taken me all over the globe. I have been to Romania, Mexico, China, Puerto Rico, Germany, and India to speak to audiences ranging from ten to north of 1,500 people about entrepreneurship and digital marketing that will be used by over 100,000 students this year.
9. PM-by-PM ($204K/year)
Praveen Malik (from Delhi, Delhi, India) started PM-by-PM over 6 years ago.
In the year 2016, we had negligible revenue from the blog but the blog has grown substantially since then. Our average revenue is about $17K per month. Our gross profit margin is about 80% since we maintain a very small team and there are no physical products. Our target is to achieve 100% revenue growth by the end of next year.
10. SI Certs ($1.5M/year)
Gabriel Kramer (from Eagle Mountain, UT, USA) started SI Certs over 11 years ago.
Hello, I’m Gabriel Kramer, a co-founder and the CEO of SI Certs. We sell online test prep courses to construction inspectors who want to pass important certification exams. Our courses include custom tutoring support through Intercom chat.
We made around $45,000/month in revenue last year. Based on first quarter revenue, we’re probably going to make around or more than $60,000/month this year.
11. Markeko ($48K/year)
Diego Rios (from Guatemala) started Markeko over 4 years ago.
Hi! My name is Diego and two years ago I launched a blog called Markeko. I help people prepare, study and pass the Facebook Blueprint Certification exams through free study guides and paid practice questions.
I do have a full-time job at another company and am currently in the process of transitioning to Markeko full time.
12. Pushtak ($1.8M/year)
Adam Tal (from Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tel Aviv District, Israel) started Pushtak over 8 years ago.
My name is Adam Tal, I’m a high school drop out and an ex-musician, and I started an online education business in Israel, which has turned into a movement and which I’m now considering taking worldwide.
We have over 100,000 active subscribers and followers, as well as just over 7,000 students who took at least one online course. In the past 5 years, we’ve generated over 21,000,000ILS, which is roughly 6 million dollars, with profit as high as 45% in some of those years.
13. No-Code MVP ($72K/year)
Bram Kanstein (from Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands) started No-Code MVP over 2 years ago.
Hello! 👋 My name is Bram Kanstein, I’m the creator of a course called No-Code MVP. In this course, I teach people the mindset, process, and tools they can use to build and validate their startup and business ideas without knowing or learning how to code.
18 months later the course was almost done, and with 2 of 42 videos (5.5 hours in total) left to edit, I decided to run a pre-sale. In 3 weeks I made $8000, and the course is on track to do about $6000/month, so I’m super happy with my start and the reviews I’ve already gathered! I’ve also gotten a lot of support from people who are rooting for me and my mission to show and teach people they don’t have to know or learn how to code to start working on their business ideas.
14. Animal Behavior College Inc. ($12M/year)
Steven Applebaum (from Santa Clarita, California, USA) started *Animal Behavior College Inc. * almost 21 years ago.
Hi! My name is Steve Appelbaum and I started a vocational school called Animal Behavior College (ABC). Having trained dogs for years and seeing how dramatically the pet industry was (and still is) growing, I wanted to create something that would allow passionate animal lovers a real chance to earn a living helping animals.
Revenue varies but $1,000,000. per month is pretty typical. Our biggest month ever was $3.2 million but that only happened once. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a challenge but we are open for business and are actually seeing an increase in enrollments. While revenue is one metric of determining the success of a business, the biggest perk for me is that over the years we have helped tens of thousands of people fulfill their dreams. What’s more, our platform puts us in a position to make a real difference in the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats.
15. AustinLChurch.com ($27K/year)
Austin L. Church (from Knoxville, Tennessee, USA) started AustinLChurch.com about 13 years ago.
I’m Austin L. Church, a writer and brand strategist. My wife and I live with our three professional mistake makers in Knoxville, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains. After getting laid off during the recession back in 2009, I accidentally started my own freelance writing business, which eventually took me into selling an array of creative services, then developing iOS apps, then co-founding a tech startup, and then starting a branding and marketing studio called Balernum.
AustinLChurch.com where I started sharing what I have learned. My new course, Freelance Cake, is a business growth course for freelancers and consultants who want to make more money and enjoy more freedom at the same time. The launch in December went well, and this year, I plan to focus on scaling up sales from around $1,000 per month to $3,000.
16. Coursesity ($12K/year)
Keyul (from ) started Coursesity over 4 years ago.
Hello hustlers! My name is Keyul and I’m the maker of Coursesity. I started the website more than two years ago in order to create a search engine to find the best online courses on the internet.
Coursesity is also a platform for instructors and creators to launch their courses. Any creators or instructors can publish their courses and promote their courses to thousands of learners for free. This makes easy for creators to build their audience.
17. Duomly ($14.4K/year)
Radoslaw Fabisiak (from Prague, Prague, Czech Republic) started Duomly over 4 years ago.
Hello, I'm Radoslaw Fabisiak, and together with Anna Danilec, I'm the co-founder of Duomly e-learning company. We started our ideas to give people a better learning experience about two years ago.
Three months ago, we gave our clients the possibility of paying by credit cards and started selling first accounts. Now we have sales of around $1200/month.
18. Doctrina ($1.08M/year)
Jure Pučko (from Ljubljana, Slovenia) started Doctrina ago.
I’m Jure Pučko and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Doctrina - a global educational platform for healthcare professionals (HCPs). We are reaching over 1M HCPs with knowledge about RX and OTC medicines and medical devices, disease awareness, and other health-related topics, using our video platform. Our clients are pharma companies who want to get their messages to HCPs.
With our technology and team efforts, we helped over 60 companies worldwide to grow since 2013.
19. Mandarin Monkey ($12K/year)
Tom (from Taichung, Taichung, Taiwan) started Mandarin Monkey over 5 years ago.
We are Mandarin Monkey. We are Mandarin/Chinese content creators made up of myself (Tom) and my wife (Ula) Cain. We have produced 250+ videos on YouTube and as of writing this, 62 podcast episodes where we discuss various topics using both English and Chinese throughout. We also sell a phrase and grammar eBook, conversation packs (for Chinese study), T-shirts, accessories and Audiobooks. Oh and Teach in both group hangouts and private 1on1’s online.
Currently, our main product is our ‘hangouts’ where we facilitate group language exchanges using Google’s streaming video platform. As mentioned above we also package up and sell a bunch of other mainly digital products to help people learn. Currently searching for sponsors for the podcast and considering various pivots for the business.
20. Growth Ecole ($4.2K/year)
Lucas Chevillard (from Berlin, Germany) started Growth Ecole almost 6 years ago.
Hey doers, I'm Lucas Chevillard. I currently work full time at home.ht as growth marketer. Before that, I was at Airbnb for 5 years. But the story today is about what I create on the side.
It’s also my project that has been seen by the most people. Until now, more than 1050 persons took the course to help them learn how to increase sales with powerful email marketing and automation.
21. Modern Producers ($1.44M/year)
Adrian Wood (from Los Angeles, California, USA) started Modern Producers almost 7 years ago.
The business has been around since 2015 and in that time we have more doubled our revenue and profits year on year. In 2019 we are on track for $1.1 million in sales.
22. The Recording Revolution LLC ($1.2M/year)
Graham Cochrane (from Tampa, Florida, USA) started The Recording Revolution LLC over 12 years ago.
My name is Graham Cochrane and I’m the founder of Recording Revolution, an online education company that teaches musicians how to record and produce their music to a professional level in a bedroom or home studio.
Right now I’m generating about $1.2M a year in revenue with virtually no ad spend and in working only 5 hours a week.
23. EMDR Consulting ($1.8M/year)
Roy Kiessling (from Portland, OR, USA) started EMDR Consulting almost 9 years ago.
Greetings, my name is Roy Kiessling, founder of EMDR Consulting, an international training organization specializing in teaching the EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) psychotherapy to master's level and above mental health professionals.
What started as a one-person training organization in 2013, has now grown to administrative staff of 5. a training team of over 20 trainers and 150 coaches. EMDR Consulting is now one of the largest EMDR training organizations in the United States, annually conducting over 150 EMDR basic training courses a year, teaching over 1500 mental health professionals how to integrate EMDR into their clinical practice.
24. Horkey HandBook ($588K/year)
Gina Horkey (from Wyoming, MN, USA) started Horkey HandBook almost 8 years ago.
Hi, I’m Gina [waving]. I started a Virtual Assistant business on the side of my full-time job (in personal finance), in the spring of 2014 to “test the waters” for a potential career change.
And, my most recent “win” has been being tapped to teach a course on becoming a Virtual Assistant in an accredited university program – something I’d never dreamed would be possible back in the day!
25. Made Urban ($60K/year)
Erin Mooney (from Edmonton) started Made Urban about 10 years ago.
My name is Erin Mooney and I run MadeUrban, a blog for small business owners selling handmade products. My audience sells their crafts through craft shows, Etsy, a website, and/or retailers. I provide them with advice for each step they must take along the way. And I like to do so in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-follow way, with outside-the-box concepts they haven’t already read about on hundreds of other blogs.
As events start to open back up in 2021, and with a slight pivot to my strategy, I’m almost back to what my average monthly revenue was pre-Covid, and I currently earn between $5000 - $8000 per month.
26. HYLS ($456K/year)
Maxim Pogulyaev (from Moscow, Russia) started HYLS ago.
My name is Max. I am the CEO of HYLS, a donation-based online course platform. We use the “pay what you want to model,” which means that you can pay any amount for HYLS online courses on topics on Productivity, Healthy lifestyle, Yoga, Meditation, Digital Detox, Minimalism, and more are coming soon.
Our customers are mainly representatives of the working population, but all ages are welcome to participate. Our average revenue is $40k per month. All in all, we attracted $1M+ of donations from 90K students.
27. Product Focus ($1.8M/year)
Ian Lunn (from Cirencester, UK) started Product Focus almost 16 years ago.
My name is Ian Lunn and I am one of the Founding Directors of Product Focus, a leading global provider of product management courses in the UK, US, and Europe.
We provide training for product managers and product management teams, teaching them skills and providing the tools to excel in product management. We also review the product management roles and processes in companies to help them understand how to improve performance. We’re all about helping individuals and businesses deliver world-class product management. Over the past 15 years, we’ve trained thousands of product people and are now the European leaders in product management training running multiple courses every week.
28. Ellen Yin Media LLC ($960K/year)
Ellen Yin (from Salem) started *Ellen Yin Media LLC * over 4 years ago.
Hey, I’m Ellen Yin, founder/CEO of Ellen Yin Media and creator of Cubicle to CEO, our consumer brand consisting of our digital programs and a chart-topping podcast, the Cubicle to CEO Podcast, that has been downloaded in over 100 countries worldwide. To date, I have worked with over 7,500 customers through my online courses and marketing agency services, with clientele ranging from startups to Fortune 500 brands. My signature program is an online membership that helps coaches and service providers make their first $10K month - without a large audience or posting every day.
In the 3 years since I started my business, I’ve profitably bootstrapped our growth from an initial $300 client project into 7 figures in lifetime revenue (and on track to hit one million dollars in annual revenue in 2021); a milestone of only 2% of female founders achieve, and one that feels especially momentous to me as a first-generation Asian American.
29. MindEasy ($36K/year)
Griff Williams (from London, UK) started MindEasy about 3 years ago.
Hey, I'm Griff, and I'm the founder of MindEasy. We create meditation courses and content designed to help people find their way into mindfulness and meditation in a personal way.
This is the problem I wanted to solve with MindEasy. Help people discover what they want to achieve with meditation and then help them approach it in a relevant and meaningful way.
30. Chefs Resources ($60K/year)
David Buchanan (from Ferndale, WA, USA) started Chefs Resources over 11 years ago.
I am David Buchanan, a professional chef, and owner of Chefs-Resources.com, a website geared towards providing professional chefs with free detailed culinary info (seasonality, flavor profiles, etc.) about fresh fish, oysters, and cuts of meat, as well as tons of free kitchen management articles. Paid subscribers get access to our premium kitchen management resources such as Excel sheets (prep sheets, recipe templates, ordering guides, etc.), video tutorials, and kitchen management articles.
The site is not about recipes, but I am a Chef, so here is one of my favorite personal creations...seared scallops, spring pea puree, lemon beurre blanc, fingerling potatoes, golden beets, asparagus, corn kernels.
31. Khan Academy ($44.8M/year)
Sal Khan (from ) started Khan Academy about 13 years ago.
In 2009, Sal Khan walked away from a high-paying job to start a business that had no way of making money. His idea to launch a non-profit teaching platform was ignited five years earlier when he was helping his young cousins do math homework over the computer. They loved his clear explanations and soon he was posting free tutorials on Youtube, where they started to attract the attention of thousands of users around the world. Sal realized he could help democratize learning by building a free platform to teach math, science, and the humanities. Today, Khan Academy offers hundreds of free recorded tutorials in dozens of languages. During the pandemic, its popularity surged to 30 million users a month. Order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
Read the full story on npr.org ➜
32. ClickMeeting ($10.8M/year)
Szymon Grabowski (from Gdańsk, Poland) started ClickMeeting ago.
Hello, I'm Dominika Paciorkowska, Managing Director and Board Member at ClickMeeting – a platform for webinars and online meetings. ClickMeeting was launched in 2010 and has been performing as an independent company since 2016.
This time I would like to focus mainly on the development of ClickMeeting: an innovative platform that focuses on intuitiveness and providing a real-life experience in the virtual world.
33. SketchUp For Woodworkers ($12K/year)
Zack Hall (from ) started SketchUp For Woodworkers ago.
Hello! My name is Zack Hall. I’m a software developer, and I’m the founder of SketchUp For Woodworkers, an online course teaching woodworkers how to use 3D design software. This was a project that grew from scratching my itch. In my spare time, I joined a makerspace near my home in the suburbs of Boston to start woodworking.
Fast-forward and I ended up acquiring an old website and setting out to build the woodworking design tutorials and resources I wish I’d had when I was getting started. After launch, it is currently earning about $1k/month.
34. Course Creator Pro ($3M/year)
Parker Walbeck (from ) started *Course Creator Pro * over 4 years ago.
- Learn how we generate $250,000 a month selling online courses.
- We have spent the last 3 years running the online course "FullTimeFilmmaker" which currently brings in over $250,000 a MONTH! We now are sharing our model for success with you!
Read the full story on youtube.com ➜
35. You've Got Clients ($22.4K/year)
LaTisha (from ) started You've Got Clients over 3 years ago.
- Hi, I'm LaTisha, founder of You've Got Clients a marketing consultancy course dedicated to helping coaches create and fill their coaching programs with high-quality clients.
- With our 4-step system, you'll never have to worry about where your next client is coming from again. And even if you're a brand new coach, you'll create the foundation you need to market your coaching business successfully.
Read the full story on youtube.com ➜
36. Trey Cockrum Case Studies ($101K/year)
Trey Cockrum (from ) started Trey Cockrum Case Studies over 4 years ago.
- I made $5.6k in my first 20 DAYS selling ONLINE COURSES
- I helped someone go from $0 to over $20k with their online course.
- I started "The Trey Cockrum Podcast" for my online course.
Read the full story on youtube.com ➜
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