Pros and Cons of Creating an Online Course

online course Feb 07, 2022
create an online course

In 2020, when the world shut down, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to create an online course to teach photographers how to have a successful Branding Photography Business.


So I did!


It was a lot of work and in many ways a labor of love. I had spent nearly a decade learning how to serve small businesses by creating valuable photo and video content for their branding and marketing efforts, with no one to teach me, and I wanted to help other photographers in a way that wasn’t available to me.


I learned so much from creating my course that I’ve now started helping other entrepreneurs create their own course and memberships.


But creating a course isn’t necessarily the right move for everyone. Here I list the pros and cons I’ve found so you can make a more informed decision about whether or not you should create one.


Pros of creating and online course or membership



Unlike a one-on-one service, an online course is an asset you create once and sell over and over again. You can sell beyond your local area to many, many people. Not just the few you hvae time to personally serve.


Time Freedom

An online course can serve as teaching or prep work for one-on-one clients. Are there certain aspects of your service that are the same for every single one of your clients? Could you record the steps on video and have them go through the steps on their own before or after your service?


Up-sell or Down-sell

An online course could be a starter package or introductory content to a larger product or a down-sell when clients aren’t ready for a high cost service. Example: You offer one-on-one business coaching services for a very high price and you can only take a handful of clients at a time. But you could offer a high level overview of what you teach to those who aren’t ready for the larger investment.


Recurring Income

An online membership or mastermind community with monthly or yearly fees can provide you with recurring income, which everyone seems to want, right?


Cons of Creating an Online Course or Membership



Once you create your course, don’t expect people to buy it in droves just because you created it. You’ll spend the majority of your time, or money if you choose to invest in advertising, on spreading the word about your course! This can be time consuming and difficult, especially if you don’t already have a large audience of followers who want to learn from you.


Complicated Tech

Creating the initial course content and website can be difficult and time consuming if you don’t have the skills to do it yourself. This can often lead to procrastination and just not getting it done. Or, doing it poorly and having frustrated students who can’t easily navigate your content. Consider hiring someone who can help you.


Knowing What to Teach

I’ve seen plenty of people create courses that nobody wants to buy. Either they didn’t do proper market research or their messaging isn’t properly communicating the value of what they have to offer. This is another piece of the puzzle you may want to hire help for. 


My recommendations for success:


Market Research

Make sure people actually want to know what you want to teach. This could be done by listening to frequently asked questions of your audience, posting polls in online groups of your ideal customers or contacting your network directly.


Grow Your Audience First

Start gathering a following and offering your expertise in bits and pieces so you can build trust and establish yourself as an expert. Don’t rely on social media following for this. Gather email addresses so you can directly communicate with your audience when you launch.



Consider holding off on creating a course until you’re maxed out on your one-on-one services. When you have more inquiries than you can handle, that’s the time to start creating assets you can sell to a larger audience.


Support your current clients

As mentioned above, is there course content you can create to support or supplement your offerings to your current clients? 


Choose the right platform

I initially created my course in a free facebook group to save money but it was a mess. Nobody could find the modules, things were unorganized and  I had to use many other softwares in a mess of links to make it all work. One platform for a landing page, a video hosting platform, an email marketing platform, etc.


Once I switched over to Kajabi for my online course platform, everything was so much easier. It’s all inclusive with course portals, email marketing, website and landing pages, marketing funnels, video hosting and everything else you need to create and market your course. 

Try Kajabi for FREE*

*Affiliate Link


Hire help

If you want to do it right from the start and have money to invest, consider hiring a strategist to help you develop the content, someone to build out the website or landing page and course portal, create graphics, film videos. You may not need help with all of these, but a solid strategy can help you determine what you need. My 2 hour BrandStorm session is perfect for this!


Book a 15 minute call to see if the BrandStorm is a good fit for you.


Are you ready for your brand makeover? 

Get started with a WorkStory BrandStorm™

Learn More

Stay connected with news and updates

Join my mailing list to receive branding and marketing tips right in your inbox!

Unsubscribe any time. I respect your privacy. I will never sell your information, for any reason.