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Learn how to make money teaching online, with tips and step-by-step advice from some of the best-selling creators.

What if I told you that you can make real, actual money teaching online? (And no, this isn’t some sort of “get rich quick” scheme, like all the terrible financial advice that goes around on TikTok.) It’s true — there are legitimate ways for you to earn a monthly income by sharing your knowledge, skills, and expertise with eager students.

The bad news: Teaching online takes grit and determination. You have to really put in the effort if you’re looking to make this your new full-time career (or even a lucrative side-hustle). It takes time, energy, and the right type of person to be super successful.

The good news: Almost anyone can earn some extra cash teaching online. If you’re looking to start off small (like, say, trying to make an extra  $100 a month as a side-hustle), then all you really need is a laptop, an internet connection, and a passion to get started.

But whether your ambitions are small or large, it helps to learn from the best. That’s why we decided to chat with some of the top-selling creators on Thinkific to get their tips and advice on how to make money teaching online. Creators like Mina Irfan, “The Universe Guru,” who regularly brings in $350-$450K a month:

“Five years ago, there’s no way I thought we’d be making that much money. It blows my mind that we can make this amount of money.

So how does she do it? Keep reading to learn all of the different ways you can earn money by teaching online, or jump ahead to get tips from best-selling creators like Mina:

Different ways you can teach online and make money

If you’re just getting started with the idea of teaching online, the first thing you need to decide is which type of online teacher you want to be. There are a few options depending on your experience level, how much time you’re willing to spend, and of course, how much money you’d like to earn. Let’s go over the options…

Option #1: Become an online tutor

Were you an “A+” student in school? Do you have an expertise in one particular subject, like computer science, essay writing, or math? If so, you might be a perfect candidate to become an online tutor. (Yay — finally being a nerd in high school is paying off!)


  • Flexible schedules
  • Tutor online from anywhere in the world
  • Easy to apply and get started on sites like, Preply, and Tutorme.


  • Relatively low pay ($15 – $25 USD / hour)
  • Hard to find consistent work
  • Time-consuming (expect to do work outside of actual billable “tutor” hours)
  • University or college education required

Option #2: Teach English online

If your academic skills are a bit rusty, there’s another path you can take to earn some side-money teaching online. All you need to be able to do? Speak and write in English! There are thousands of kids around the world who are looking to practice their language skills, and you might just be the perfect person to help them do it.


  • Flexible timing, depending on where you students are located
  • Teaching jobs are available to anyone who speaks english as a first language
  • No lesson planning required
  • Easy to apply and get started on sites like VIPKid, Qkids, and English Hunt 


  • Even lower pay than online tutors ($14 – $22 USD / hour)
  • University or college education required
  • Working with kids can be a challenge unto itself

Option #3: Start an online course

Rather than teach for somebody else’s tutoring agency or online school, why not create your own? 

In today’s technology-driven landscape, the demand for online courses has skyrocketed, primarily because it’s a convenient way for people to learn skills from the comfort of their homes via their mobile devices. 

According to Statista, the online education market is worth $185 billion and is expected to have an annual growth rate of 8.1% in the next decade. This means that if you start creating valuable online courses for your audience, there’s a good chance you’ll make a decent income from it. The flexibility of creating online courses allows you to reach a global audience, tap into diverse markets, and earn a passive income by monetizing your expertise. 

With a platform like Thinkific, you can create an online course on any topic you choose. You can record video lessons to create passive income (instead of having to meet 1:1 with every student) and set your own price to make significantly more money.


  • No limit on how much you can earn — from $100 a month to $10,000+
  • You can choose your own subject matter
  • You can pre-record lessons to create passive income
  • No technical know-how or higher education required to build your own beautiful course site
  • Easy to get started for free on Thinkific


  • Requires you to put in work upfront to create your own course
  • You’re responsible for your own marketing and finding students

How much money can you make teaching online?

You can make anywhere between $100 to $10,000+ a month by teaching online. It really depends on the subject matter you’re teaching, your qualifications, and whether you’re working for yourself or as part of an existing online school or tutoring service.

One thing to consider is that if you are an online tutor working one-on-one with students, you will limit how much you earn based on the time you have to work with each student. Whereas if you create your own course on a platform like Thinkific, you can earn significantly more by letting students access the lessons on-demand.

Related: How ‘Miss Excel’ Launched A Six Figure Online Course Business On TikTok

5 big benefits of teaching online

You might have noticed that the online learning industry has blown up in popularity over the last couple of years. But why is it that so many people are deciding to try to make a go of it in the knowledge economy right now? Here are some of the biggest benefits that creators say make the effort worthwhile.

  1. It’s profitable

Did you know the average YouTuber makes only $500 per 100,000 views? Or that one of TikTok’s most popular creators has only made $422.81 (yep, he counted the cents) from hundreds of millions of views? 

Many creators have flocked to online learning because it is so much easier to monetize than other types of online content. You get to set your own price and have total control over your business and marketing — meaning the sky’s the limit on how much you can earn.

And as for teachers? There’s some irony in the fact that being a classroom teacher in the United States is one of the lowest-paying jobs in the country, while teaching online is more profitable than ever.

(Thinkific has features like order bumps, course bundles, and subscriptions to help you be as profitable as possible. Check out some of those features here.)

  1. There’s great flexibility

As we come out of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that many people are re-examining their list of priorities in life. Teaching online gives you much more flexibility than a typical 9-5 job. You can set your own hours, earn passive income, choose what type of work you do, and log in from anywhere in the world.

  1. It’s easy to get started

There are no gatekeepers when it comes to online learning. You don’t need to pass any exams or get accredited (unless you’re working in a particular field that requires it). You can decide to become an online teacher over your morning coffee, and start working with students as early as a few days later. (Plus, it’s totally free to set up an account with Thinkific.)

  1. You can scale up or down

Not sure how much time you have to devote to your online teaching? You can easily scale your business up or down depending on what else you have going on in your life. Once you create an online course, you can choose how much you spend on marketing in any given month and even set limits on how many students you accept.

  1. It’s rewarding

More than anything else, the biggest benefit of being an online teacher is that it is rewarding. There’s just something warm and fuzzy about the idea that you’re helping other people around the world achieve their full potential, and nothing feels better than getting a testimonial from one of your students after they accomplish something with your help.

Creating high-quality course content

Because of how promising the online education market is right now, there are millions of online course creators across several industries who are trying to tap into the same audience at the same time. So if you plan to create online courses, your content has to be relevant and genuinely helpful. When you demonstrate that your courses can help them learn a new skill, advance in their careers, or improve their personal lives, people will be more inclined to give you their money in exchange for your expertise. 

A huge part of creating a high-quality online course is organization. You want each topic in your course to flow into the next and form a coherent and compelling narrative. What you don’t want is for your students to be unable to make heads or tails of your course content by the time they’re through with it. 

Here are a few tips for structuring and organizing your course materials effectively:

  1. Define clear learning objectives 

Every module in your online course should start with your learning objectives. Clearly articulate what students will learn at the end of each lesson. This way, they’re able to set reasonable expectations and understand the purpose of the course material. 

Here are the learning objectives of a website development course I’m taking on Udemy: 

These objectives helped me understand what the content of the course was and whether it aligned with what I was trying to learn or not. After buying the course, I was happy to see that each section began with a short video that explained what the section was about and what I’d learn. 

  1. Organize content logically 

Remember what I said about each section flowing into one another and forming a compelling narrative? That’s important when organizing course content because it helps students understand and retain information better. 

For example, my web development course starts with an introduction to web development and then moves to HTML, which is the fundamental markup of websites. 

You’ll notice, however, that HTML is divided into three sections: The Essentials, Next Steps & Semantics, and Forms & Tables — in the order of easiest to hardest (before moving to CSS, which is also divided into multiple sections, from the easiest to the hardest).

  1. Provide consistent navigation

Maintain a consistent format for navigation throughout your online course. A clear and intuitive layout helps students locate materials easily, which reduces frustration and improves the overall learning experience.  

  1. Incorporate interactive elements 

If your schooling system involved you sitting down for hours and listening to a teacher drone on and on about a particular topic, you probably know how boring it can get. The lecturer teaching style does not allow students to actively engage in their learning process, and it can stifle just how much students comprehend. 

In your online courses, you want your students to be involved in their learning process and you can do that by including quizzes, assignments, projects, discussions, or interactive activities at various intervals in the course. Interacting with the course materials and with other learners not only reinforces understanding but also fosters a sense of community and a supportive learning environment where students can share insights and learn from one another.

  1. Offer real-world examples 

There’s no better way to make concepts relatable to your students than illustrating them with practical, real-world examples. These real scenarios help students connect theory to application, which enhances their understanding and demonstrates the relevance of the course content. 

  1. Include visual aids in your course 

Despite how effective they are, real-world examples alone are not enough to help students put abstract concepts into perspective. That’s why you should use visuals such as charts, graphs, diagrams, and videos to complement textual information. 

These visual aids enhance comprehension, cater to diverse learning styles, and make your course content more accessible and memorable.

Pro tip: Ensure that the visual aids and multimedia components align with your course objectives, reinforce key points, and sustain student interest.  

  1. Provide progress tracking 

Implement a system for students to track their progress within a course. This not only motivates learners but also gives them a sense of accomplishment as they advance through the material. 

Here’s how the web development course I’m taking tracks my progress: 

  1. Regularly update and revise 

If you’re teaching a course where you use tools or explain digital techniques for doing things, your course content likely won’t be evergreen. Some of the tools and techniques you explain in the course will become outdated in the real world and you’ll have to update your course to reflect that. 

Periodically review and update your course content to reflect industry trends, advancements, and/or feedback from learners. This ensures that your course remains valuable and meets the evolving needs of students. 

Self-hosting vs third-party platforms: Which is better?

Now that you know the earning potential of making online courses and how to organize a high-quality course, the next step is deciding how you’ll host your course. You have two options: host it on your website or use third-party platforms like Udemy, FutureLearn, Teachable, or Thinkific.

  1. Self-hosting

Self-hosting your online course means that, instead of using a third-party platform to host and deliver your course content, you set up your own website or LMS on your chosen web hosting service. While this approach provides more control, flexibility, and customization options, it requires time and technical expertise to set up and maintain. 


  • Full control. Self-hosting grants you complete control over your online course, which means you can customize every aspect of it according to your preferences. 
  • Branding. You can establish a unique brand identity without being confined to the default branding of a third-party platform. 
  • Cost savings. While there will be initial costs for setting up and maintaining a website, most of these are one-time payments (as opposed to recurring fees associated with third-party platforms). This means that self-hosting can be cost-effective for your business in the long run.
  • Monetization flexibility. When you host your course on your website, you have more flexibility to set your own pricing models and keep a larger share of the revenue generated from course sales. 


  • Technical expertise required. Setting up and maintaining a website where you’ll host your online course requires technical knowledge. This might be a barrier for instructors who don’t know much about web development.
  • Limited features. Creating a feature-rich platform on which to host your online courses by yourself takes time and resources. This means that, at the start — and for quite some time after that — you may have fewer built-in features compared to established third-party platforms. 
  • Security and maintenance. You’re responsible for the security and maintenance of a self-hosted platform, including updates, backups, and protection against potential security threats.
  1. Third-party online course platform 

A third-party online course platform is a web-based service or software that allows individuals, educators, or organizations to create, host, and sell online courses without the need to set up their own infrastructure. When you go for a third-party platform, you can capitalize on the existing user base and marketing capabilities of the tool to reach a wider audience. 


  • Ease of use. Third-party platforms are designed to be user-friendly, which makes it easy for instructors to set up and manage courses without extensive technical expertise. 
  • Ready-made features. These platforms come with built-in features such as content delivery, payment processing, analytics, communication, and student management tools. These features help you save time and effort as you finetune and upload your course content. 
  • Wider reach. Established online course platforms like Udemy often have a broader audience, which increases the potential for boosting course visibility and attracting more students. 
  • Security measures. Reputable third-party online course platforms invest in robust security measures, relieving instructors from the responsibility of managing security concerns. 


  • Limited customization. While it’s possible to customize your online course in third-party platforms (sometimes, extensively), some platforms limit how much you can brand and customize your courses compared to a self-hosted solution. 
  • Transaction fees. Many third-party course platforms charge transaction fees for each sale, which can impact the overall revenue earned from courses. 
  • Recurring fees. Most, if not all, third-party platforms operate on a subscription business model, which means you have to renew your payment monthly or annually. If your business grows beyond the payment plan you’re on, you’ll be required to upgrade your plan to accommodate this growth (which will cost more money). 
  • Dependency on the platform. Relying on a third-party platform means that your course(s) is subject to their terms, policies, and potential changes in pricing or features.

Choosing between self-hosting and using a third-party platform depends on factors like technical expertise, budget, and desired level of customization. If you have adequate coding knowledge and enough budget to cover initial expenses, you can go for a self-hosted solution. But if you don’t have enough technical expertise, it’s better to use a third-party tool that comes with built-in robust features.  

Choosing the right platform

If you opt for a third-party platform, you have to choose one out of the hundreds of online course platforms in the market right now. It can be quite confusing to know which platform is right for you, but here are some key features to consider when selecting an online course platform or learning management system (LMS). 

  1. User-friendly interface

An LMS with an intuitive interface is crucial for both instructors and students. The platform you choose should be easy to navigate, allowing users to easily access course content, submit assignments, and engage in discussions without getting confused.  

  1. Customization options 

When choosing an online course platform, ensure you pick one that allows you to customize the course layout, branding, and overall appearance to align with your personal brand and teaching style. 

  1. Multimedia support 

We discussed how the use of multimedia and visual aids can provide more context to your course material and improve student interaction. Therefore, ensure that the platform you choose supports various multimedia elements, such as videos, presentations, and interactive quizzes.

  1. Scalability 

If you decide to create online courses, chances are you want to make as much money as possible doing it. That’s why you should choose an online course platform that can accommodate the growth of your courses and user base. 

You don’t want a situation where your website crashes indefinitely because of a surge in traffic or many people trying to pay for your courses simultaneously.  

  1. Mobile compatibility 

Gone are the days when people needed to use desktop computers to take online courses. These days, many people catch up on their course materials through their smartphones, iPads, and tablets, so the platform you choose has to be mobile-friendly. This way, your students can learn on the go and get a seamless experience across different devices. 

  1. Communication and collaboration tools 

Effective communication is key in online learning, especially if you’re creating a cohort-based course. So look for a platform that offers communication and collaboration features, such as discussion forums, messaging systems, and group projects to facilitate interaction among students. 

  1. Payment and pricing options 

Since online courses allow you to tap into audiences across the world, there’s a good chance that people will be paying for your courses with different currencies and payment methods. You need an online course platform that can handle several payment methods and pricing structures. 

Look for flexibility in setting course fees, subscription models, or one-time purchases to align with your monetization strategy.  

  1. Learning analytics 

It’s not enough to create a great online course; you also have to check in on your students. That’s why you should choose a platform that has robust learning analytics tools to track and assess the effectiveness of your courses. This gives you access to valuable insights into student engagement, progress, and areas of improvement. 

  1. Security and privacy measures 

Your course materials are your intellectual property, so it’s only right to choose a platform with robust security measures to protect both your course content and user data. Ensure that the platform you choose complies with privacy regulations and follows industry-standard security practices. 

  1. Customer support and training resources 

If you’re going to be creating online courses for the first time, you’ll likely need some help as you organize and upload your course materials into the platform. 

To make things easier for yourself, select a platform that provides responsive customer support and comprehensive training resources. This ensures that both you and your students can quickly resolve issues and make the most of the platform’s features.  

  1. Integration capabilities 

After creating and uploading your online course, you’ll likely use other marketing channels like email marketing and social media marketing to promote your course. 

To make this process smoother, you’ll need a platform that can integrate with other third-party tools, including email marketing tools, social media scheduling platforms, payment gateways, landing page tools, business operations apps, etc. Integration capabilities enhance user experience and the overall functionality of your online course platform.

Guide to start making money teaching online (10 tips from best-selling course creators)

How did the best-selling course creators on Thinkific get to where they are today? Here are some of the steps they took (and tips you can try) as you get started teaching online. Remember — it can be tempting to jump ahead to their advice on how to scale up to over $10,000 per month. But the best method is usually slow, steady, and sustainable growth.

How to make $100 per month teaching online

There’s an old saying in personal finance that when you’re trying to save money for retirement: “The first $100 is the hardest.” Well, the same principle applies to teaching online. Oftentimes, the first $100 is the hardest to earn because you need to make some important decisions upfront.

Tip: Specialize on the right topic

To make your first $100 per month teaching online, the first thing you’re going to want to do is pick the right topic. You can think of this in the form of a Venn diagram — you want to pick a topic that you have a lot of expertise in, but also something that your audience cares a lot about. (Enough that they would pay for it!)

A perfect example is the Tongue Tied Academy, which was created by Dr. Richard Baxter. Dr. Baxter has performed tongue- and lip-tie procedures more than 7,000 times and knew that there would be an audience of other dentists and physicians who would be interested in learning how to perform these procedures.

Here’s what advice Dr. Baxter would give to creators just starting out:

“Specialize in a topic, learn all you can about it, and then teach others in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. A quality script, video production, and get the info out to as many people as possible.”

Tip: Teach what you’re passionate about

At the same time, you’ll want to be careful not to pick a topic just because you think that’s what an audience wants to hear about. Online students can sniff out when someone is authentically excited about a topic — and when someone is just trying to cash in on an idea they had in a money-making brainstorm session.

Mira Irfan, creator of Universe Guru, says her number one tip for creators just starting out is to pick a topic they’re truly passionate about:

“Teach on something you are genuinely passionate about and knowledgeable on. If you are not passionate, you will burn out. If you haven’t mastered your craft, you will keep doubting yourself. So keep learning and growing. The more you grow, the more your influence grows.”

Tip: Read the guide to create and sell online courses

Once you’ve landed on the right topic, you’re going to want to take a crash course in how to create and sell online courses. Don’t worry though — Thinkific has got you covered. Take a look at this step-by-step guide to get details on how to…

  • Validate your course idea
  • Create your course content
  • Host your online course
  • Price your course
  • Create a sales page
  • Market your online course
  • Help your students succeed

How to make $1,000 per month teaching online

Once you’ve got your course launched and started bringing in your first couple of students, it’s time to start scaling up. Here are some of the tactics best-selling creators on Thinkific used to grow their online learning business.

Tip: Give out content for free

It sounds counterintuitive, but one of the best methods to get more paying students is to actually start giving away some of your best content for free. (Whaaaa?) It’s true — you shouldn’t be afraid to splice out parts of your course and upload them to a YouTube channel or transcribe them into blog posts in order to fire up a content marketing engine. You can then link from your free content to your paid courses in order to attract more students.

This is the exact method Stefano Somma, creator of 10 Bagger Stocks, used to launch a multiple six-figure business in his first year:

I don’t talk about my courses or services much. I focus on teaching people for free and then once I mention my course and services people are interested because they enjoyed my free content.

Tip: Connect with your target audience

Looking to take things one step further with your content marketing? One of the best ways to turn passive followers into interested buyers is to connect more intimately with them. Because chances are that students can get this type of learning content elsewhere — what you need to sell them on is why they should be learning this from you.

Min Irfan, creator of The Universe Guru, says she uses live streams as a strategy to build deeper connections with her audience:

“I try to livestream on my youtube channel as often as possible. This way I can answer their questions in real time. Making genuine, life long connections with my students is very important to me.”

Tip: Start posting in community groups

Looking for other ways to find potential students? You’ll want to try hanging out where they hang out online — Facebook groups, Reddit forums, and other online community hotspots can be great places for you to advertise your services. This is something that has worked well for Dr. Richard Baxter of the Tongue Tied Academy:

“We use Facebook groups to get the word out. We primarily sell to dentists, so we let dentists know about the course in Facebook groups.”

A word of caution though: you’ll want to make sure you don’t come across as purely self-serving in these types of communities. Instead, try to be genuinely helpful and answer questions, offer your expertise, and actively engage in discussions.

How to make $10,000 per month (or more) teaching online

Going from $1,000 a month to over $10,000 a month is no easy feat. Only creators with the right experience, subject matter, and audience tend to reach this level of success. That being said, here are some tips from the folks who have reached this milestone on what they think helped to set them apart.

Tip: Increase your prices

To start making $10,000 or more in a month from teaching online, you’re either going to need a lot more students — or you’re going to need to increase your prices. (Or, most likely, both!) If you’ve already gotten to the point where people are loving your courses and are consistently leaving you great testimonials, then you should absolutely reexamine how much you charge.

This is something Yongming Huang, creator of YongmingU, says can even benefit your students…

“Increase your price. When your price is significantly higher than your competitors’, people think [you] have more value. That also actually helps your students — since they have invested more, they are more motivated to study and implement what they’ve learned.”

Tip: Focus on your most profitable channels

By this point, you’re most likely using a combination of different organic and paid channels to attract students to your courses. Keep an eye on which of these channels are providing the greatest return on investment (ROI) and see if there are any opportunities to dial up their volume.

Stefano Somma, creator of 10 Bagger Stocks, says focus is key:

“Build multiple social media channels but focus on your top performing channel. Use paid promotions and influencers to get exposure.”

Tip: Deliver a solid return on investment

Speaking of a return on investment, one thing you should consider is what learners are getting out of the content you provide. Dr. Richard Baxter, creator of Tongue Tied Academy, says this is what separates a regular course from a best-selling course…

“The benefits that learners can get from your course determine the value that someone is willing to spend on the course. If someone can make 10x or 100x the course cost by taking your course, then you can increase the fee to match it. Our course is around $2500, so someone should be able to make hundreds of thousands or more by treating patients (the right way) using these principles.”

Tip: Don’t be afraid to keep selling

Most online teachers aren’t salespeople. They don’t like the feeling of pushing their course and asking for money from their students. That’s natural! But one thing to keep in mind is that you are providing genuine value to the people who take your online course. If the students who work with you come out the other side happy and more successful? Then there’s no reason to have a negative mindset when it comes to selling.

This is something Mina Irfan, creator of The Universe Guru, says she had to discover for herself…

“The most important point in my journey was to fully give myself permission to be an expert and sell my sacred work as often as possible. I think lots of people are afraid of appearing salesy and hold themselves back. [But] your work needs to be seen and experienced so it can make a real difference in people’s lives. Never hold back from sharing your gifts!”

Tip: Use automation tools and outsource work

The first time you create an online course, you can design and edit all the graphics, visual aids, videos, and text that make up the course by yourself. But when your user base and revenue grow large enough, you’ll become inundated with different responsibilities and won’t be able to handle everything on your own anymore. That’s where automation tools and outsourcing come into play. 

When you get to this point, don’t be afraid to hire people: graphic designers, writers, video editors, etc. to share the workload. If you have an email list at this point (and you should), you’ll need to use an email automation tool to automate your drip emails (hence why third-party integrations in online course platforms are important). 

If you use social media to promote your courses, you may also need a social media scheduling tool to schedule multiple social posts across several social media accounts to be published at predetermined times. This way, you don’t have to spend hours every day trying to figure out what to post.

Get started teaching online today

You can create your first online course easily — no technical skills required. 

This blog was originally published in June 2022, it’s since been updated in March 2024 to provide the most relevant info.