Online course ideas- a proven method for finding the right one

Google “online course ideas” and you’re guaranteed to find your pick of blog sites that list out an astonishing amount of ideas. This one site gives you over 100 online course ideas to be inspired by.

Don’t get me wrong. Having these massive lists are a huge plus for someone who has no clue where to start.

But the fact remains. If you want to choose an online course idea that is both profitable and enjoyable, you need one that’ll match your skills with a problem, and within a niche that consists of people who are willing and able to pay for what you’re offering.

So giving you yet another list of one hundred course topics wouldn’t be in your best interest.

Instead, I want to share a proven process you can follow that’ll help you figure out which online course idea you should pursue. Once you have your course idea, then you can choose your course platform like Kajabi or Teachable. But first, let’s find your idea.

An idea that’s the perfect mix of your experience, your interests and of course the one that actually makes you money.

So let’s jump right into it.

Find the perfect online course idea

 

You’re going to make your own customized list of online course ideas:

First, I want you to grab a notebook and a pen. Or if you’re really savvy with spreadsheets, you can open up Google Sheets or Apple Numbers. For this exercise, that’s what I’m going to be using.

Now that you’ve got your tool of choice, you’re going to make three columns.

  • We’re going to title the first column “Skills/Experiences”.
  • We’re going to title the second column “Love/Hate”.
  • And in the last column, we’re going to title it “Yes/No”.

Now that we have our framework, it’s time to start brainstorming.

You’re going to make a list of every job you’ve ever held in the “Skills/Experiences” column. Even something like babysitting or tutoring when you were 14 years old, counts as a job.

Nothing gets left out here.

Next, in that same column, I want you to list every degree you’ve earned, if applicable.

And finally, in the same column, you’re going to add every topic you’ve studied, formally or in your free time. Also, you can list every skill you have, including the ones that come easy to you.

This can be something as simple as I can build custom cabinets or how you devour almost everyone at chess.

Or maybe you can design anything in adobe illustrator.

Once you’ve finished your list, your column should look something like this:

Online Course Idea Column 1

 

Now, it’s time to move on to the “LOVE/HATE” column.

In this column, you’re going to write what you love or dislike about each of those skills and experiences you’ve listed in the first column.

So sticking with our cabinet builder, let’s say you loved building cabinets because it allows you to work with your hands.

With the chess example, let’s say you love the mental exercise it gives your brain when you play a worthy opponent.

And for the adobe illustrator line, maybe you love being creative and your favorite thing to design is a logo.

But what if you didn’t love it all?

Then you’d write that too. So if you hate chess because it’s boring then you’re going to write that.

Or maybe you hated it because you sucked so bad that you cried every time you lost. No need to feel embarrassed. We all have had our moments.

Remember, the only one who’s going to see this, is you. So be honest my friend.

It only works if you’re 100% honest with yourself.

The objective here isn’t perfection. The idea here is to arm yourself with an educated measurement of which direction you should go when it comes to narrowing down some online course ideas to pursue.

At this point your paper/spreadsheet should look something like this:

Online Course Idea Column 2

You’re kicking major butt my friend. Let’s keep rolling.

So we’re now going to work on the “YES/NO” column.

The question I want you to think about as you go through your list, is whether or not you can see yourself writing about this speciifc skill/experience you have, every single day. Can you live, eat and breathe this thing?

Go thorugh each one by one and put yes or no in the last column. Don’t skimp here. Really take the time to picture yourself doing that one thing. Let’s say you get to one and you’re like, well Ashley, I can kind of imagine myself doing it. But there’s also this part of me that feels like I don’t want to do it. Then, what do I do?

Well my friend, in that case I will challenge you to think about doing it and not getting paid. That usually solves that dilemma. If you’re like, “Well, heck no!” Then that’s indication you should put a “no” there.

Cappesh? Cool.

Hopefully, by now you’ve got yourself a pretty decent list to analyze. Woot woot!

 

Online Course Idea Column 3

Now let’s get into the fun stuff.

But first, a little trivia.

Did you know that the most successful courses and blogs are not just based on solving a problem, but also topics that fall into larger markets?

If you did, you’re just a show off aren’t you?

If you’re like the rest of us, no worries, we’re going to briefly cover these four mega markets right now.

They are:

  1. Health and Fitness
  2. Money
  3. Relationships
  4. Hobbies

These are what marketers call evergreen markets.

Evergreen markets are markets that will always be in demand. Come rain, sleet, snow or a cranky baby who only wants their milk, evergreen markets are here to stay. These are also the markets people will pay a lot of money for.

We want to put you in the best place to succeed and start making money as soon as possible, so you’re better off if you stick to these markets.

With that being said, your final task is to get a clean sheet of paper and then take a look at your list. It’s polish time.

Find your perfect online course idea.

 

I want you to categorize each item from your original list, into its corresponding evergreen market. Then you get to brainstorm ways you can sell that particular skill.

Even if you wrote that you hated that specific job, we want you to do those as well. No one gets left behind.

If you’re confused right now, don’t worry, I’m going to give you an example of how this looks.

Let’s see it in action.

Let’s say you’re a counselor who works with foster children. Stealing this from my chart above.

You can group this as a relationship category because relationship encompasses dating, parenting, marriage, etc.

So what kind of online course can you create in this space? You can create a course on how to foster a child. Make sense? Cool.

Another example is golf. Let’s say you study golf 24/7 and you’re a huge fan. So much so you have a $30k a year membership at a local country club.

This would fit into the hobbies category. And remember, people pay for things they’re passionate about, and hobbies is one of them.

Just take a quick glance at YouTube. All those gamers with $5-10k setups. Passion sells, my friend. Passion sells.

So in this case, you could create an online course about the beginner’s guide to perfecting your golf swing. Or maybe you can create a course on how to be a great caddy, becase everyone great golfer knows he needs an equally great caddy.

Easy peasy. See how simple and fun this is.

Brainstorming is always fun, or maybe that’s because I’m an ENTP (for all you Myers’s Briggs geeks out there).

But let’s say you’ve made your list and you included the fact you’ve been a coffee barista for the past ten years. Your only job, ever. No shame in that.

We have to work with what we have.

Crazy thing is, this one can actually be placed in two markets: the “hobbies” market and the “money” market.

As a hobby, you can create an online course about how to roast your coffee at home. Yes, that is definitely a thing.

From a money angle, you can teach people how to make money as a coffee barista. Especially if you were crushing it at that job. Maybe you are a brave soul, and you want to merge the money and the hobby together and make a baby. You can create an online course about how to roast your own coffee at home and sell it. There might be a market for you out there.

How to find online course ideas plus 20 ideas to get you started

Hopefully, you’re having as much fun with this as I am.

Now that you have a list of suitable online course ideas, you can begin the process of choosing the one that resonates the most with you.

Sometimes you find that you hated the job because your boss was a pain in your butt, but you find that the idea of teaching that topic is super appealing.

This is why I didn’t recommend scratching it off the list, even if you disliked that job.

So for example, you hated your counselor job with foster kids because it broke your heart seeing so many children without a stable home.

Or maybe you disliked the fact that so many people were ill-informed about how foster parenting works. But the idea of creating an online course around teaching people how to foster a child, is very intriguing.

It could be the online course idea worth pursuing.

Of course, I don’t want to let you leave without a special treat.

Although I’m sure you’ve come up with a good list of online course ideas that are custom-tailored to your unique skill set, I want to give you some ideas for each evergreen market we discussed.

Maybe you’re just graduating college and you’ve never held a job. You have no interests or skills other than studying because you were forced to. Or maybe you’re just feeling quite lazy today and you’d rather have someone handpick some online course ideas for you.

If that’s the case, you’re going to love this list. I have some online course idea suggestions that could spark something inside you:

Health and fitness:

  1. How to lose weight after a baby
  2. How to lose 50lbs in 3 months on a juice diet
  3. How to meditate
  4. Yoga for beginners
  5. How to build muscles on a vegan diet

Money.

  1. How to make money blogging
  2. How to start a dog walking business
  3. How to day trade
  4. How to file your business taxes without an accountant
  5. How to manage your investment portfolio

Relationships.

  1. How to find and attract a man
  2. How to break up with your partner
  3. How to potty train your toddler
  4. Online dating 101
  5. How to pick up women (yes pickup artistry is a big thing)

Hobbies.

  1. How to improve your jump shot
  2. How to operate a drone
  3. How to photograph landscapes
  4. How to fish for beginners
  5. How to catch a big game with a bow and arrow

So there you have it. Our proven method for coming up with online course ideas plus a list of 20 ideas to jumpstart your brainstorming session.

Now I want to hear from you.

In the comments below, what online course idea did you come up with that really gets you excited?

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