By far the most popular type of membership site setup request that I get from clients to date is to create an online course. And rightfully so. Because it is one of the best online business model that I’ve ever come across. Okay, maybe I’m a bit biased but hear me out.

Before we actually get into the why’s, let’s just cover a bit about what I mean by “online course”.

When I say “online course”, most of you would probably think of a college or university type course. Where you have lessons and assignments each week, and maybe an interactive class, with an exam or quiz at the end to assess “student” performance. Plus a certificate for graduates.

Well, I’m actually referring to something much simpler. More along the lines of premium web-based content that’s released as modules or lessons across a set amount of time, by the end of which, students (or I prefer to call them members) would have learnt a certain process. Your online course would teach your members how to achieve a specific result. Depending on the content, this could be something like a 12 week course where a new module is released each week.

That sounds totally doable, doesn’t it. Unlike the college-type online course which sounds rather complicated.

The great thing is anyone with any sort of knowledge can create an online course. Whether you’re a stay at home mum with parenting skills or a doctor with medical expertise, as long as you can systemize your knowledge into a process, you can create an online course.

So, why an online course?

Easy Passive Income

Offering premium content in the form of an online course is probably one of the easiest way to generate passive income without having to spend a lot upfront. The biggest hurdle for most would be the initial site setup. But even that’s not that hard to do with all the membership site solutions available to you.

Once the site setup is out of the way, all you have to do is create your content… once… and you can profit from it over and over again. You’ll probably want to update it once in awhile just to keep it relevant. But that’s it. You don’t even have to have all your content ready before accepting members.

If you’re already offering an “offline” course or workshop, then creating an online course is a no-brainer. Just record your live course while you’re running it, do a bit of editing and upload it to your membership site. You can then offer it to those who couldn’t make it to your live course. You can even offer it as a bonus to those who did attend.

Reliable Consistent Income

Being able to earn a reliable income is the ultimate goal for most entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy process. You need regular sales to build a steady stream of income. And to get regular sales, you need a flow of customers. Or better yet, repeat customers.

An online course is a great vehicle to generate repeat sales. By charging a weekly or monthly fee, as opposed to a one time fee, not only can you build a more consistent monthly income, you’ll also be able to attract more members by spreading out the cost over the life of the course.

The beauty with online courses also is that it has a very high retention rate compared to other subscription models. Once a member has invested some time into learning part of the process you are teaching, they are more likely to see it through to the end. The deeper they get into the course, the more likely they’ll finish the course and the more payments you receive.

Easy to Scale

When you first start out, you can create a fully text-based course. In fact, you can stop at that. But you can also easily scale up to the next level by adding audio. Providing both text and audio versions will allow you to double what you charge. And while you’re at it, why stop at that. Add a video version and you can triple your income.

Another way to scale is by adding interactivity to your course. You can release a “plus” version of the course that offers personal or group online coaching. This can be in the form of an online forum, livecasts or even an email reply.

When you can no longer scale your existing course, you can continue scaling by creating a next level course. So, for example, you start with a Gardening 101, then you can expand to Gardening 201, etc. and you can do this without the hard work of finding new members because your existing members are your target audience.

Minimal Monetary Investment

Setting up your own online course does not require a big investment. This is especially so if you already have a website or blog running. The only investment you need to make is on a membership site platform. And with so many options out there, there’s bound to be one that meets your budget and needs.

The only other financial investment that you may have to make is for your content. This is only if you choose not to create it yourself. You will have to hire a ghostwriter or other services to create the content for you. If you don’t have any problems with creating your own content then this becomes a moot point.

Content Protection

There is one other major advantage that is worth pointing out. It is easier to protect your content. From being plagiarized by your competitors or from being shared by your members.

Obviously, you cannot completely guarantee that others will not use your content for their own purposes, but the chances of it happening is quite minimal compared to say, if you were to distribute your content as an ebook.

The reason for this is that your premium content remains safe behind the “walls” of your protected membership site. A member would have to join your site and get their unique set of username and password. And you can limit how many IPs that can login using each set of logins.

So What Do You Think?

These are just five reasons why I think creating an online course is one of the best online business models to pursue. I hash it out even further in my free report “Passive Income Solution”. Click here to check it out.