How to Create an Online Course + Teachable Review

I love online courses, both taking them as well as creating them. I'm a big believer than traditional education is outdated and that it's both better and more affordable to learn a skill through watching an online course verses going to traditional schooling. The days of spending $80,000 and four years to get a degree in something are outdated, especially since most of us don't even use our degrees or what we learned in school in our jobs or businesses today. Personally, I learned a thousand times more in 4 weeks taking an online course about how to start an ecommerce business than I did in the 4 years of University schooling in which I minored in Business and took as many marketing and business classes as I could. Not only have I learned everything I know now about business from taking online courses, I've also taken courses in topics such as design, photography, health, diet, exercise, podcasting, video editing, you name it.

When I finally started making my own courses, not only did it force me to get even better at the topics I was teaching, it also made me better as when you teach a subject, you naturally gain even more clarity. Fast forward four years, with online courses, I've been able to learn skills which have made me hundreds of thousands of dollars, take amazing photos, edit like a pro, and improve my health and fitness. With the courses I've created, I've made tons of money by sharing the skills and ways to avoid mistakes that took me years to acquire. This has given me fulfilment both financially but also a huge smile whenever a student tells me about their success with what I've taught them. In this post I'm going to show you exactly how to find the inspiration to get started, how to find a topic, the technical parts of how to record the course, a case study of mine, as well as what platforms I used and why I switched to Teachable.

This post has been updated for 2020 with a Case Study at the bottom show how I've done with my course on Teachable.

The Mistakes to Avoid

I'm a super lucky person, and have somehow managed to avoid a lot of the big mistakes by always being surrounded by other people who have given great guidance. But I also know that a lot of people aren't that fortunate and may not be in a digital nomad, or entrepreneurial hotspot like Chiang Mai.

Now it's really easy to meet others who have already been through the process and have learned from their mistakes, but when I created my first course, finding good information or first hand experience was really hard. Here are a two of the major keys to keep in mind when making your course.

#1 Make it Evergreen

The goal of your course is create both a passive income stream, but also a source is up to date information for years to come. When giving examples avoid saying things like "The new iPhone 11" as even though right now it's the latest, hottest version, in a few years, you'll be dating yourself. Just call it "the latest iPhone" instead as that'll always be relevant.

The same goes with showing specific examples of things like dashboards for things like facebook ads. As nice as it is to do walkthroughs of "click here on this menu, then click here" these things get updated and go out of date every few months. So unless you plan on re-recording your videos every time there is an update, it's better to do overviews of the main points instead of drilling very specific examples of where things are in menus. Think evergreen big concepts versus small specifics. 

#2 Smaller Niche Courses - 

A big mistake a lot of first time course creators make when first getting started is making a course that emcompasses too much, instead of niching down and being specific. As an example, if you are info health and wellness, creating a course about both Diet and Exercise can easily become a mega course that'll both take too long to create but also to go through as a student. Instead, make a course on one or the other topic first. You can always create a second course after the first is launched. 

Better yet, take a slice of the the bigger pie first and make as small of a course as possible to start with, you can always use it as a cheap easy way for people to get started, then upgrade to your larger course whenever they've gone though the first part. A example instead of teaching someone how to both start a website, get traffic and monetize, I have a small $7 entry level course called Blogging Bootcamp, which people can first take to learn the basics and get started before they buy the big course that I sell for $499 and emcompasses a lot more. 

#3 Audio Quality vs. Video Quality 

We want to have good versions of both, but having good, clean audio is a must, and is something that isn't actually that difficult or expensive to assure as long as you follow a few simple steps like having a decent mic like the ATR2100, and recording in a quiet room, or even simply putting pillows in the corner of the rooms to dampen some of the echos and make the room sound more like a recording studio than a cathedral. 

For video quality, even though 720p is fine today, especially for most courses still today, especially if it's over a powerpoint slide or just the instructor showing their face, you'll want to think evergreen like the example above. If you have a low quality camera, like the webcams in most laptops, it's better to either invest in a decent Logitech 1080p or even a 4k webcam when recording full screen, or put yourself in the bottom right hand corner to make your video smaller and have a big, high resolution, powerpoint presentation slide show as the main image with or without your face in it.

#4 Don't Use Wordpress or Udemy

When I first started with the first version of my course, it was then called Earnest Affiliate, which was impossible to spell. Since I was just getting started, I thought I was doing myself a favor by keeping the costs down as low as possible. The problem though was even though I was only paying $5.95 a month for Wordpress Hosting I ended up paying a lot more in total when I factored in using things like $20 a month Vimeo Pro, $147 a year for Wishlist Member, the wordpress plugin that controls who gets to see the member only content, plus a lot of other random costs that ended up costing me close to $100 a month anyways.

But even more than that, it ended up causing me a lot of headache, time and stress trying to integrate everything together, then keep all the various plugins up to date and working with each other.

Udemy made it a lot easier with my course Small Talk, but they also took 50% or more of my sales if they come from any link that wasn't mine! That's crazy if you think about it. But what's even more crazy is since it's branded Udemy, it shows on their website with your competitors as recommendations. It'd be the same as if you were selling a product and instead of using your own website, you sent everyone to your Ebay listing. Don't do that. Instead, use Teachable and choose the non-branded white label option and put your course on your own domain. 

Example of my Income Boss course

Getting Ideas and Started

If you're like most people, you've probably been thinking about creating a course for a while now but just haven't pulled the trigger to get started yet. Part of the reason might be not knowing what course to start, what topic or niche to teach, what platform to use, how to get students and traffic, or the technical aspects. Well the good news, is regardless if you are lacking the inspiration, knowledge or technical skills to get started, the upcoming Teachable Live Summit will help you with all of it. 

It's amazing that huge names like Marie Forleo, Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, Luisa Zhou, Chris Ducker, Pinterest Superstar Melyssa Griffin, Jordan Harbinger and a bunch more successful course creators have given talks at the event.

Best of all, the event is completely free and it's online, which means you can watch it from wherever you are in the world and in whatever time zone. 

Sign up for the Teachable Live Summit

Teachable Review 

I've tried a bunch of different course creating and hosting platforms and have checked out various ways to create and host my own courses online including using Udemy, Skillshare, Thinkific, Kajabi and even spent a ton of time and money trying to host my course on Wordpress with a bunch of different themes and plugins. At the end of the day, even though I thought some of the other options seemed cheaper, they all ended up costing me more in lost sales revenue, time, and money. 

With Udemy you don't own your customers and can't even see their email addresses. You're also at the whim of Udemy which means even if you send your customers to your sales page, they are shown other, often cheaper courses from your competitors. The only good thing about Udemy is that it's free, but with that, comes selling your course against others priced at $10. So if you're serious about creating a high value course and want to sell it for what it's worth, i'd suggest skipping anything free and focus on how much you could potentially earn instead. 

What I recomend is staring with Teachable's basic month plan, which lets you put your course on your own domain, such as having it on instead of, but instead of paying $39 monthly, switch to annual payments which drops the price down to $29 a month. If the price seems too high, and if you don't think you'll make at least one sale a month to cover the $30, honestly, you shouldn't be making a course at all as it'll be a waste of time for both you and your future students. But if you're serious about creating a great course, and want to have another steam of passive income for years to come. Then my suggestion is to do it right and just do it through Teachable instead of trying to integrate a wordpress page, to a course theme, hooking it up with a shopping cart and payment processor, email list manager, video host, and paywall plugin. Trust me, I've been through that process and by the time I got done paying for all of the separate pieces it was way more than $29 a month. 

I've also ended up making way more money from being able to sell my course for $499 or even at $249 with an embedded 50% off coupon code to my Income Boss course, than selling it for $10 on Udemy or having them flash sale it every other week.  Since I've created my course, I've earned passive income ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars each and every single month for the past 2 years. In total I've made over $29,996 in sales and since it's a digital product with very little overhead costs, most of it, around $24,000 was actual take home profit. 

Final Thoughts

I call it double dipping, and it's one of my favorite things to do. If you're going to spend the time, energy and money to learn a skill, whether it's photography, editing, fitness, art, coding, languages, online business, whatever it might be, why not share it with others? It's a great way to take yourself from being very good at your skill set, to becoming a professional, as teaching something forces you to clarify the steps and master the basics. And if you can get paid for it, why wouldn't you?

I've given you everything you need to know to get started above, so if you're ready to start, just go for it! Scroll back up, order the recommended mic, sign up for Teachable, and get started today. There's no reason not to and everything to gain.

But if you're still unsure, or aren't yet inspired to know what topic to teach or how to get started, then sign up for the Free Teachable Live Summit and I guarantee that by the end of it, you';ll be overflowing with ideas, inspiration and you'll have a fire lit under your ass!

Get started today!

Hope this helps!

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Who here has an online course is or thinking about creating one? What's the subject?

  2. Johnny, what are your thoughts, and experience with Kajabi, if any. It is gaining more popularity? How about the KBB method? Can you also comment on Teachable?

    1. Kajabi is more feature rich but also wayyy more complicated to use. For online course I'd rather use Teachable. KBB Method is good for finding and choosing your niche, but it's designed for in person or at least over the phone masterminds not online courses.

      I've been using Teachable now for 3+ years and recomend them.

  3. I do. I'm building the content now. I love how detailed your posts are. I am leaning a lot for free and I appreciate that you donated quite a bit of your time and work to beginners like myself. Thank you, Johnny!

    1. Happy to help! Make sure you sign up the free Teachable Reach Summit as well as there will be a ton of detail and help in it:


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