Free PDF: The top 3 course-selling mistakes to avoid at all costs

170+ Highly Profitable Online Course Ideas in 2023 (+ Examples)

What are the most profitable online course ideas?

If you’re dreaming of starting a course business, you need a profitable idea. And today, you learn how to choose an idea, along with 170+ profitable course ideas.

Want to learn more? Read on!

How to find a profitable course topic

Online courses, when done right, can help you create impact and wealth that let you do what YOU want to do. Maybe you want to take time off in the middle of the day to spend time with your family…or say no to working with a difficult client without worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills.

But how do you know what course you should create? 

After all, you don’t want to create just any course if no one ends up buying it. Instead, creating a course that sells requires a strategy — but it isn’t complicated. 

All you have to do is solve a problem. 

You see, you solve problems every day at your job and in your life, so it’s all about figuring out which solutions you can monetize. 

That said, you don’t have to come up with a completely original idea. There’s nothing new under the sun and so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, improve on what’s already available.  

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)

There are two questions to answer: 

  • What problem can you solve? 
  • How do you improve existing products? 

Look at things you already know how to do. These could be…

  • Skills and certifications that you’ve gained through your experiences in school, work, and life
  • Accomplishments that you’re proud of, struggles that you’ve overcome, and transformational journeys that you’ve taken
  • Your interests, especially ones that others repeatedly ask you about
  • The common problems that you repeatedly encounter or that you frequently get asked to help solve

Once you’ve brainstormed these four areas, search for your topic on Google, Amazon, and Reddit. So for example:

  • How to use Microsoft Excel
  • How to live in a 120 foot camper
  • What is the fastest way to get an acting role
  • What are the best ways to use Evernote

Those search results should bring up a LOT of existing products. 

For each product, answer these three questions: 

  • How can you improve on it? 
  • What’s missing that you can add (you can read reviews of these products too so you know what your target audience think is missing)?
  • Do you have a better solution?

And that’s how you come up with your idea!

A few real-world examples include: 

A lawyer who creates legal courses for entrepreneurs…

Lisa fraley

A psychology professor who developed a psychology-based approach to food…

A course creator who downsized from a 1,200 square foot house to a 120 square foot camper and sells courses on tiny home transition and downsizing.

Need some more inspiration? Let’s look at the 170+ most profitable online course niches.

Online health and wellness course ideas

The global wellness industry is a $1.5+ trillion market. In this industry, which is pretty competitive, you need to stand out. 

How? Serve a niche (so instead of helping people to lose weight, you help busy moms lose weight). For example, Adrienne helps people lose weight, something that she packaged into a successful, 6-figure course with some group coaching support:

The online health course ideas include… 

1. Weight loss course for a specific niche (moms, entrepreneurs, executives; whoever you choose to serve) 

2. Vegan/vegetarian nutritional course 

3. Health course for people with an allergy 

4. Nutritional planning 

5. Fitness course to help people get leaner

6. Meal planning 

7. Strength training course

8. Running course 

9. Yoga course 

10. Fitness course to help people build muscle 

Online career growth and leadership course ideas

If you can help people find jobs, get promoted, and earn more money, career courses are hugely popular. Or, you might help become better leaders…and perform better in their work life. 

For instance, my student Adunola built a multiple 6-figure career coaching business that helps millennials achieve their career goals. 

And Emily, another student, is a career coach who helps people find their dream jobs. When she applied my launch framework, she sold out her course in 2 weeks to have a record $35,000 month. 

The course ideas are: 

1. Career course for a specific niche (such as managers, women, Gen Z, mature job candidates)

2. Salary negotiation course 

3. Executive leadership course 

4. Course to help people get promoted 

5. Writing a cv course 

6. Nailing job interviews course 

7. Course for finding your dream job 

8. Career change course 

9. Presentation skills course 

10. Course to help people land leadership positions 

Online marketing and sales course ideas

Are you a digital marketing or sales pro? Then, these online course ideas might be something for you. You can sell your course to small or bigger businesses, depending on the market you serve and how you plan on selling your course.  

My student Tracy built a branding course from scratch to be able to afford flights home to visit her family in the Philippines. Here’s what she shares about her first launch: 

“I didn’t realize how quickly things could happen! I launched my first course with a small list (under 300), and it was close to an $8,000 first launch.”

These ideas are: 

1. Business website building course 

2. Branding course 

3. Sales funnel course 

4. Social media course 

5. Email marketing course

6. Copywriting course 

7. Conversion optimization course 

8. Affiliate marketing course 

9. Sales automation course 

10. Course on how to sell 

Online arts & crafts course ideas

Are you someone who loves to use your creativity and skills to create beautiful arts and crafts? These types of courses are incredibly popular. 

For instance, some of the online course platform Skillshare’s most popular classes include many creative classes, such as hand lettering and illustration. 

Other ideas are: 

1. Knitting course 

2. Painting course

3. Calligraphy course 

4. Pottery course 

5. Sketching course 

6. Sewing course 

7. Crocheting course 

8. Furniture restoration course 

9. Illustration course 

10. Woodwork course 

Online personal finance and money course ideas

Do you have experience growing your own wealth and/or helping others do the same? Maybe you have a side business that makes extra money or you have an amazing track record as an investor?  

Take my student Ryan. He built his own 6-figure real estate investment portfolio before he started helping others do the same. 

Or Paridhi, who built a 6-figure personal finance business, SkilledSmart, which helps people save and invest their money. 

Just like Ryan and Paridhi, you can help people earn more and manage their money better.

Some online course topics include: 

1. Real estate investing course 

2. The basics of personal finance course 

3. Planning for retirement course 

4. Course on how to make money by renting out your house 

5. Managing personal investments course 

6. Family finance planning course 

7. Course on how to pay off debt 

8. Money management course 

9. Course on how to invest in art

10. Side hustle course 

Online relationship course ideas 

If you have experience as a psychologist, relationship coach, or therapist, you could help people improve their relationships. 

Helping people find love is a huge niche. Other topic ideas include helping people find friends and improve their family ties. 

For instance, my student Briana, who is a creative arts therapist, helps people understand their attachment styles and improve their relationships. Her course business is a multiple 6-figure business.

Other ideas are: 

1. Dating course 

2. Course to help couples improve their relationship

3. Online dating course

4. Relationship communication course 

5. Attachment course 

6. LGBT dating course

7. Dating course for religious groups

8. Breakup recovery course 

9. Building friendships course 

10. Managing family relationships course 

Online self-development course ideas 

Another hugely popular course niche? Self-development. 

The personal development industry is a $40+ billion industry. For example, 94% of millennials report that they’re willing to spend on their self growth. 

Self-development courses can include topics ranging from improving your money mindset to improving your social skills – so there’s a lot of possibilities in this industry. 

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)

But what are some online course ideas? Here you go: 

1. Public speaking course

2. Social skills course  

3. Stress management course

4. Networking course 

5. Productivity course 

6. Self-esteem course 

7. Happiness course 

8. Spirituality course 

9. Mindset course

10. Creativity course 

Online language course ideas

Do you love teaching languages? Then, you could teach other people your own native language. 

The online language learning industry is going to be a $31.81 billion market by 2029. Just think about it: people travel, move, and work in different countries – and for all those things they need to learn new languages. 

The biggest languages will always be popular, but also smaller languages can be in demand. 

A few language course ideas are: 

1. English course

2. Chinese course

3. French course 

4. Spanish course 

5. Portuguese course 

6. Hindi course 

7. Italian course

8. Japanese course 

9. German course 

10. Arabic course 

Online music course ideas

Plenty of people want to learn how to play an instrument or sing. And many of those are happy to take an online course instead of learning in-person. 

You could work with professionals who want to improve some aspect of their skill or profession. For example, signers who want to land more gigs. Or, you can teach people who want to improve their musical skills for fun.

Here are a few examples:

1. Piano course 

2. Singing course 

3. Guitar course 

4. Drumming course 

5. Violin course

6. Opera singing course 

7. Music for kids course 

8. Song writing course 

9. Cello course 

10. Accordion course 

Online science course ideas

Have a knack for mathematics or physics? There are tons of people who’d love to learn from you — from students to people who are switching careers, learning for fun, or need to achieve a certification or test at work. 

A few ideas are: 

1. Math course 

2. Physics course 

3. Chemistry course 

4. Science for kids course

5. Biology course 

6. Nutrition course 

7. Course to help people prep for a science certification/test

8. Data science course

9. AI course 

10. Psychology course 

Online tech course ideas

An increasing number of people want to learn how to code and learn other technical skills. For instance, some of the most popular courses on the online course platform Udemy are technical courses, including courses on Python, AWS certification, Excel, web development, and JavaScript. 

For example, my student Jasmine is the founder of the Academy of Animated Art. She teaches new 3D lighting artists how to learn the skills and become professional lighting artists. 

Other ideas are:

1. Course on how to use AI to boost productivity 

2. App development course 

3. Web design course

4. UX course 

5. Animation course

6. Web development course 

7. JavaScript course 

8. Python course 

9. AWS certification

10. Machine learning course 

Online sports & fitness course ideas

Do you play a sport? Maybe you’ve played it professionally or have coached a team — you could help others master that same sport. 

Here are a few ideas, but don’t be afraid to explore YOUR sport to see if there’s demand for it. 

1. Ballet course

2. Tennis course 

3. Climbing course 

4. Pilates course 

5. Skiing course 

6. Hiking course 

7. Martial arts course 

8. Golf course 

9. Weight lifting course 

10. Crossfit course 

Online cooking course ideas 

If you are a great chef, then teaching others how to cook can be a great way to build your course business. Maybe you’ve worked as a chef or you’ve learned how to cook from your mom — there’s a market for both. 

Take a look at these ideas to get some inspiration. 

1. Fine dining course 

2. Sourdough bread baking course 

3. Macaron baking course 

4. Wedding cake baking course 

5. Mixology course 

6. Gin creation course 

7. Italian cooking course

8. Indian cooking course 

9. French cooking course 

10. Chinese cooking course 

Online parenting course ideas 

Did you know that you can help other parents overcome the same challenges you’ve faced as a parent? For instance, if you have a system for getting babies to sleep and have done some sleep coaching, there are plenty of parents who would be happy to pay for your course. 

Here are a few ideas:

1. Baby sleep training course 

2. Single parenting or co-parenting course

3. Boundary setting course 

4. Communication course 

5. Early child development and education course 

6. Potty training course 

7. Feeding course 

8. Preparing for baby course 

9. Time management course for parents

10. Fertility course 

Online home decor and fashion course ideas 

What are the best home decor and fashion course ideas? 

Teaching home improvement or styling courses can be highly popular courses. For example, if you’re a personal stylist or an interior designer, you could create “passive” income with courses on those topics.

If you have an eye for interior design, home decor, or fashion, you can use these ideas to get inspired. 

1. Interior design course 

2. Tiny space design course 

3. Styling course 

4. Personal image course 

5. Fashion design course

6. Using design software course 

7. Carpentry course 

8. Product design course 

9. Course on how to use colors 

10. Room lighting design course 

Online religion & spirituality course ideas 

Want to help people grow their faith, deepen their spirituality, or find purpose? There are plenty of online courses that teach religion and spirituality…and one of those could be your course. 

Take Estelle, my student, who is an energy healer for sensitive people. Her course brought in $40,000 the second time she launched it ($27,000 the first time around). 

Want more ideas? Here you go. 

1. Astrology course 

2. Finding your purpose course 

3. Energy healing course

4. Aromatherapy course 

5. Meditation course 

6. Manifesting course 

7. Course on studying religious texts 

8. Crystal healing course

9. Feng Shui course 

10. Reiki healing course 

Online lifestyle course ideas 

One of the reasons people take online courses is so that they can improve different aspects of their life. And there are tons of ways you can help them do that with lifestyle courses.

Those topics could be anything from painting murals to transitioning into a certain lifestyle (zero waste, nomadic living, and so on). 

For example, a few ideas include… 

1. Habit building course

2. Grief work course

3. Downsizing course

4. Pet care course

5. Hair styling course

6. Gardening course

7. Breathwork course 

8. Housesitting course 

9. Remote work course 

10. Mushroom foraging course 

Online academic and tutoring course ideas

Academic courses are some of the most popular online course ideas. These types of online courses can cater to K-12, high-school, college, or post-grad students. 

For example, Julie is a college consultant who had maxed out with private coaching clients and knew she needed a course to scale her business. After launching her course the first time, it brought in $11,000 — and she now runs a multiple 6-figure business. 

Other online course topic ideas are: 

1. Homeschooling course

2. College test prep course

3. College admissions course

4. Law school test prep course

5. Civil engineering test prep course

6. Academic writing course 

7. Civil engineering test prep course

8. K-12 tutoring course

9. Memory improvement course 

10. Reading course 

Other online course ideas

We’ve looked at plenty of online course niches. But there are plenty of online course ideas that don’t fall into these niches. And to give you an idea of the different courses that exist (and you can create), let’s take a look at a few examples. 

For instance, my student Margy works for a company that helps new authors get their books published and that sells an online course on it. Think it’s too niche of an audience or that people aren’t willing to pay (the cost of the course was $400)? 

Margy and her team sold 37 courses the first time she implemented my course launch strategy. 

1. Disneyland trip planning course 

2. Project management course 

3. Travel points course 

4. Magician training course 

5. Gaming training course 

6. Storytelling course 

7. Accounting course

8. Make-up course 

9. Photoshop course 

10. Ebook publishing course 

Over to you!

There you have it! Now you know how to find the most profitable online course ideas.

But finding your online course idea is just the first step in building your course business.

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)

I should know – I’ve grown several multiple six and seven figure courses and helped hundreds of course creators create their own course businesses.

If you want to create an online course and learn what I’ve learned in the process, get my free PDF that reveals the three mistakes most course creators make. 

Want to learn more? 

Get the three deadly course mistakes! 

Read more: 

How Long Does it Take to Outline a Course 

How to Outline a Course 

Online Course Pricing Guide

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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4 Responses

  1. Brilliant course, thank you. Very helpful in giving the variety and genre of courses you can offer. I thought hard about what I could do, including phonics for young children, floristry, embroidery, and this is probably very niche Mindful Latin! What do you think?

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