Many starter course creators might be scared of making it happen because of the possible course creation expenses. So how much does it cost to create a course?!
First of all, just like it is for anything in life, things can be done in many different ways. And the same goes for online courses!
There are plenty of platforms you can use. This also includes plenty of tools and additional help that you may or may not choose to opt-in for.
I started out with no money to invest in my course creation and I always searched for either free or madly cheap offers. However, as my business grew, I also started exploring some other options and find the best ways to invest in improving my courses.
Through this article, let’s review some of the different decisions you might need to make along the way and how much does it cost to create a course if you choose some of the most common options. It will include all the must-know course creation expenses!
Course creation expenses
There are several questions to consider before clarifying the possible course creation expenses:
- Are you planning to outsource any part of course creation? For example, writing, design or video editing. You CAN do it all on your own, by the way!
- Is course creation your main focus at the moment and you want to build your business based on this income module or is it just a “side thing” for other of your business offers?
- Do you have any previous experience and are you ready to truly make it happen? Or do you just want to “dip your toe” in the idea and see how it goes?
Once you have clarified your answers to these questions, you can move on with a better vision on what will and won’t be WORTH the investment.
INVESTMENT #1: Platform
Unless you are going a very alternative way, you will need to purchase a subscription to a platform where your course will be uploaded, where your students will have the access to it, where you receive your payments, etc.
Most of the course creation platforms offer free trials but from there you need to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to keep things running.
Even if the free version is available for an unlimited time, it will have limiting features that sooner or later will require an upgrade.
For example, Thinkific offers a free plan. You can create 2 courses with an unlimited number of students within then. But you’ll pay higher payment processing fees, won’t be able to email your students, won’t have the custom domain or discount coupons.
See, it IS possible to run a successful course based on such a free plan. And if you don’t have a penny to invest in this, don’t hesitate to use such an option.
However, as soon as you’ll want to upgrade your student experiences, offer more courses or overall take it to the next level – the upgrade will be needed.
So what pricepoints are we looking at here?
- Teachable is overall one of the cheapest of the popular course creation platforms. Their plans start from $29/monthly if you pay for a year, $39 if paid from month to month. I’d also suggest looking out for their Black Friday deals where you can invest in a yearly subscription with incredible discounts and bonus offers!
- Thinkfic starts from $39/monthly if paid for a year, $49 if paid month to month.
- Podia starts from $39/monthly.
- Kajabi – from $119/monthly.
The most likely average investment option: $39/monthly for the Teachable basic plan.
INVESTMENT #2: Design
Another important part of having a successful online business is design. However, here you have plenty of free options to go for instead of making any investments.
- Canva as your free design tool
- Free stock photo websites
- Icon, background and other design feature websites like FreePik.com (available for free or a small monthly fee of less than $10).
If you choose to rock’n’roll through your design decisions all on your own, you’re covered pretty much without any investment.
Investing in course design starts if you decide to use more upgraded tools OR hire help.
- Canva Pro costs 14.99/monthly
- Adobe Photoshop costs $20.99/monthly
- Hiring a VA for design tasks could cost starting from around $20/hr (the pricing is highly individual though and you might find plenty of different options
Another option where investment might come in is if you decide to purchase any templates. For example, Canva templates from CreativeMarket. Such templates cost anywhere between $19 to $79, depending on your needs.
Design templates can be a major investment since one template can help you to build out your whole course. For example, eBook templates usually consist of around 100 different pages! You can also find presentation and workbook templates.
The most likely average investment option: Around $49 one-time fee for a template package if designing the course on your own.
INVESTMENT #3: Video recording gadgets
Generally, video recording might come off as the biggest investment in your online course creation. However, there are also plenty of variations and none of this is a MUST if you want to create an online course.
If video making is on your to-do list, you can easily start recording videos with your phone.
But if you are ready to upgrade the quality of your content, FIRST OF ALL, I’d suggest investing in a microphone and a ring light in that specific order.
The prices of the microphones vary greatly. For example, I purchased my simple mic for $29. It’s small and not wireless but the quality is just what I needed!
Investing over $50 you might also find some wireless options or on desk standing mics. Whatever is your preference.
Another recording tool you might want to consider is the ring light. This would assure that you’ll have a great video light in any settings + you won’t have to figure out where and how to put your phone for it to stand.
Such lights cost starting from around $30. Once again, the pricing would depend on your preferences and location.
There, of course, are other filming gadgets you might want to consider, however, none of them are necessary if you are just starting out!
The most likely average investment option: Around $70 for the mic and ring light. None of which are must-haves right away!
INVESTMENT #4: Presentation tools
Presentation preparation rarely will require any additional investment. And the only biggest investment – the design part – is already explained in the previous step.
However, there is one other important investment you can make and that is a screen recording tool.
My favorite is Screencast-o-matic and I’ve been using it for so long that, honestly, I don’t even know which screen recorders are cool these days.
Screencast-o-matic gives you a chance to record your screen or combine screen recording with a laptop camera as well. Which gives you a chance to record your presentations in whatever way seems the most convenient for you.
Screencast-o-matic costs around $12/per year.
The most likely average investment option: $12/per year
INVESTMENT #5: Video editing tools
As it always goes, we have plenty of room for variations!
For example, if you record your videos on your phone, you can edit them (if even needed) right there as well with app like InShot! This would cost you $14.99 per year. The app can also be used for free but it leaves the logo on videos and is not suggestable for professional-looking content.
You can edit your own videos for free on iMovie if you’re a Mac user! Or opt-in for other similar apps where the investment might vary.
You might also want to consider hiring help and here is where the investment might raise. Video editing is one of the most expensive freelance services out there since it can take a lot of time. On average, you might find a decent video editor for around $30/hr if you need just the basic edits.
The most likely average investment option: $14.99/yearly. Considering that you’d edit your own videos with the InShot app!
How much does it cost to create a course?
It is absolutely possible to create a course for free if you choose to do so. For example, you can do video recordings with your phone without additional editing (or invest in InShot for some slight edits). Then, create designs on Canva, based on their offered templates. And use Thinkific for hosting your course!
However, if you’d opt-in for an average upgrade, as explained in this article, it could cost you around the following:
- $39/monthly for course creation platform
- $119 one time fee for design templates + some video recording gadgets
- $26.99/yearly for presentation and video editing tools
Remember that these investments can be made gradually and are not specifically required to make an online course happen.
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