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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!

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Online Courses

How Much Does it Cost to Create an Online Course?

Creating an online course is a fantastic strategy for generating passive income and scaling your business offerings. Of course, getting started takes a little bit of up-front investment of your time and money. But how much does it cost to create an online course?

Mara Kucirek sitting at a table with a microphone and open laptop.

How much does it cost to create an online course?

The answer to that question can depend on several factors! Every online course looks a little bit different, but these are the main expenses you should plan for as an online course creator:

  1. An online course creation platform for building your course (this is where you will actually host your videos and lessons).
  2. Sales landing pages to market and sell your course.
  3. Filming tools.
  4. Additional support to help you set-up your course (copywriters, virtual assistants, etc…).

Let’s take a closer look at how these factors can affect the overall cost of your course, how much money you can expect to pay, and some of the best ways to save money when creating an online course.

1. Online course creation platform

You’ll need to build and host your course on an online course platform, and there are a TON of options out there. When you’re staring down a mile-long list of platforms, choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

ThriveCart Learn is my go-to since it’s easy to use, has the features most online course creators need and has a low one-time membership fee. If you’re looking for a platform with a few more bells and whistles (like video hosting and email marketing), check out Kartra or Kajabi.

If you want to do a deep dive into my favorite affordable platforms for online courses before choosing, read the list of my top eight picks!

Estimated cost: $495 one-time fee for ThriveCart or $100-$200 per month for Kartra, Kajabi or similar platforms.

2. Sales Page Builder

Sales pages are one of the most variable costs in online course creation! The most budget-friendly option is to use a pre-made template from your online course creation platform or existing website design and DIY the copy. You could also buy standalone sales page templates for ThriveCart, Kartra, and Kajabi. 
Estimated cost:
$0 (if you go totally DIY) – $250-$500 for a standalone template, $500+ for a custom-designed sales page

3. Filming tools

It’s OK to skip a full-on professional setup for your online course videos! Use Canva slides for the visuals and record your screen with Canva or Loom.

If I had to choose one investment to make for filming purposes, it would be a microphone. You can record without one, but even an inexpensive mic goes a long way to isolating your voice and improving the overall sound quality of your recording.

Estimated cost: $0-$13 for Canva or Canva Pro; $12.50 for Loom Business (which lets you record videos longer than five minutes long); plus $70 for the microphone

4. Course building and marketing support

If you don’t want to do everything yourself, you can work with a professional online course strategist (like me!) who will help you design and launch your entire course. You may also want to consider hiring a copywriter to help you write sales page copy and additional course materials.

If you fully outsource building your course, expect to spend at least a few thousand dollars, depending on the exact length of your course.

Estimated cost: $3000-$5000

Tips to save money when creating an online course

  1. Outline and film your content first. Filming online course videos is a time-intensive process, so don’t waste money on online course platform subscriptions before you need them. So many people sign up for the software first and then end up paying for a couple of months before they even get around to using the software
  2. Take advantage of free trials. It won’t offset the entire cost of creating your online course, but it’s helpful to try an online course platform before you commit to building your whole course. You’ll find out if you like the course builder and if it’s something you can handle working in without help.
  3. Use tools you already have. You don’t have to use all the top-of-the-line equipment recommended by your favorite course creators. Record videos on your laptop or phone to start – you can always replace your course videos later on down the road!

How much does it cost to build an online course?

Just like everything else in business, it depends! If you do everything yourself, it could cost a few hundred dollars. But if you outsource most of your online course building and materials, you can expect to pay $5,000 or more.

At a minimum, budget at least $500 to get a brand new course off the ground.

It won’t necessarily cost you every cent, but it’s nice to have a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses and the subscription fee for your online course platform while you get everything set up.

When figuring out your budget, factor in costs for your online course platform fees, a handful of basic filming tools, and any support you’ll need. You’ve got this! Just outline and film course content first, using tools you already have. The most important part of online course creation is jumping in and actually creating your online course!

Want more tips on how to create your next online course? Come hang out with me on Instagram – my DMs are always open!

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