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

150+ Profitable Online Course Ideas in 2021 (With 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 150+ profitable course ideas.

Want to learn more? Read on!

Why should you start an online course business?

I love online courses. They’re a key reason so many of my clients are able to build true Freedom Businesses. Where their business supports their lifestyle, work schedule, and fulfillment. 

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.

Courses are what helped me scale my business, too. At the time, I had a 6-figure coaching business. But I wanted more, so I set out to create a course

And within a year, I had sold $1 million worth of courses. Today, I run a multiple 7-figure business that lets me do all those things I love to do, like walk my dog whenever I feel like it and travel with my family. 

Because most of my revenue comes from my courses, I’ve freed up a lot of my time. These days, I work around 5-10 hours/week (unless I’m creating a new course, then I tend to work a bit more).  

Note, though, that if you don’t have a business just yet, there are better ways to build one than by selling courses.

Specifically, you can start selling your skills as a coach or consultant. (Read my guide on starting a coaching business here.)

That said, you can sell courses alone to get to 6-figures. I’ve seen it and helped clients do it. BUT, it’s a much harder path.

Because you have to make way more sales (since a course usually sells for less than coaching). And to do that, you have to be really good at teaching AND at marketing AND at selling your course.

To give you an idea:

My first evergreen funnel took $50,000 of testing before it even broke even.

And that was even though I had a team, already had millions of dollars of revenue, and hundreds of testimonials for my course.

It’s a tall order for most new entrepreneurs. Which is why I don’t recommend courses as a starting point for most.

But for someone who already has a service-based business, such as a coaching or consulting business? 

Courses are a great way to scale and help more people, while you make more money in your business. 

First, you need to decide on the topic of your course. How? That’s what we’ll look at next. 

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

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

What online courses are in demand?

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.  

What problem can you solve? 

The first area is the skills and certifications that you’ve gained through your experiences in school, work, and life.

A few examples include…

A lawyer who uses her certifications to create legal courses for entrepreneurs.

Lisa fraley

Other examples are Microsoft Excel courses, project management courses, energy healing courses, and data analysis courses.

The second point of inspiration is your achievements. This includes any accomplishments that you’re proud of, struggles that you’ve overcome, and transformational journeys that you’ve taken.

For example, Bright Line Eating is a business founded by a psychology professor who went from a size 16 to a size 4 after she developed her own psychology-based approach to food. Because of her experience, she was determined to share her process with others as well and now has a very successful business that has helped over 200,000 people.

The third point of inspiration is your interests, especially ones that others repeatedly ask you about. 

No interest is too out there. For example, this tiny home transition and downsizing e-course was the result of the course creator’s own interest in downsizing from a 1200 square foot house to a 120 square foot camper.

Your final point of inspiration is the common problems that you repeatedly encounter or that you frequently get asked to help solve.

Take Brett Kelly, who started a 6-figure business teaching people how to use Evernote and was later hired by the company. At that time, Evernote was a great tool with not enough documentation on how to use it, so he created his own course teaching people how to use it. 

The next step is simple:

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 can I 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 result, write down the course if it’s a course, or if it’s a product, write down how you could turn it into a course.

How do you improve existing products? 

We’re not quite done yet. You still want to figure out how you can improve your product. 

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 customers think is missing)?
  • Do you have a better solution?

And that’s how you come up with your idea! Don’t worry if you don’t come up with your ultimate course idea right away. This is a process, so you’ll want to go through it as many times as it takes you to find your idea.

Need some inspiration? Next, let’s look at different online course ideas!

The 100+ Most Profitable Online Course Niches (+ Examples)

What are the 100+ most profitable online course ideas?

Here you go:

Online health and wellness course ideas

Are you a health or wellness coach? Then, one of these course ideas could be something for you. But first, let me share a client example of someone who made it happen. Adrienne helps people lose weight, something that she packaged into a successful, 6-figure course with some group coaching support: 

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). 

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 course ideas

If you can help people find jobs, get promoted, and earn more money, career courses are hugely popular. 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 (e.g. 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 

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

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

Online marketing and sales course ideas

Are you a 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. PR 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 hugely 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 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. 

Some personal finance course ideas 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. 

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. There are a ton of sub-niches within this niche so the ideas here below are suggestions… But you could build plenty of other courses if you’re a self-development coach. 

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). 

1. Speaking course

2. Social skills course  

3. Stress management course

4. Networking course 

5. Productivity course 

6. Energy healing 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 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. Russian course 

Online music course ideas

If you play an instrument really well, these course ideas could be something for you. Plenty of people want to learn how to play an instrument or sing. 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. Bass 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. 

Other ideas are:

1. Course on how to find a job as a developer 

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 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. Padel course 

5. Skiing course 

6. Hiking course 

7. Martial arts course 

8. Golf course 

9. Chess 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? 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. Designing a tiny house course 

8. Product design course 

9. Course on how to use colors 

10. Room lighting design 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. 

Julie, on the other hand, 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. 

1. Disneyland trip planning course 

2. College counseling course 

3. Travel points course 

4. Crystal healing course

5. Law school test prep

6. Civil engineering test prep

7. Accounting course

8. Academic writing course 

9. Civil engineering test prep course 

10. Ebook publishing course 

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

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

Over to you!

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

Next:

What is your idea? 

Let me know in the comments below!

online course ideas

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

Want to know the 3 deadly course- selling mistakes to avoid at all costs?

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