How To Earn Money Selling Online Courses – 5 Mistakes To Avoid

How to Earn Money Selling Online Courses - 5 Mistakes to Avoid
I'm Susanne!

I’m here to help you turn your passion into profits and build a thriving online business. This is where I share fresh off the press digital marketing tips and tricks, mini trainings and more.

hey there

Get the Free Online Course Starter Kit 

Gimme that

Tips and advice for building a profitable online business as a spiritual entrepreneur.

TOp categories

Learn how to pick your niche and build a strong personal brand and website.

Behind the scenes of my business and life, living in a campervan and travel tips.

Catch up with guests on my  podcast for top advice on what’s working now.

If you think that building an online business is hard, that nothing works out as planned, that everything takes longer than it should, or that you’re going slower than everybody else, I want you to know that you’re not alone and that I’ve been in your shoes. Honestly, I still have these feelings more often than not.

But over the years, I did it, I built a business selling online courses and group coaching programs that allows me to work from anywhere, and if I did it, so can you!

All you have to do is stick with it – you’ve got this! You can also learn from my many, many mistakes, which I’m telling you all about in this post.

1. Giving Into Imposter Syndrome

My first online course was solid. I had nearly 20 years of experience working in digital advertising under my belt and I had a successful yoga and travel blog and small online business since 2013, so I knew what I was talking about.

But regardless of that, I still struggled with imposter syndrome. I remember being so concerned about what others would think about me and that led to me not showing up confidently enough when it came to selling my course.

It actually stopped me from selling it successfully.

I told myself it wasn’t good enough, and I had to create a new course – and then the same thing happened all over again – nothing was ever going to be good enough. After talking to my students, I realized that this is an issue for so many.

To tackle this imposter syndrome, I just had to stop myself and say, “I’m not going to let these worries stop me in my tracks.” It wasn’t easy, but it was a decision I made because I really wanted this to work.

I didn’t have a plan B. I was all in. I invested in courses, and business coaching, and I followed the roadmap that was laid out for me because nobody is just born knowing all of this.

You have two options when trying to start creating and selling online courses:

#1 You can figure it out on your own, with a lot of time and effort and experimenting, testing, and improving things.

#2 You can follow a step-by-step roadmap that someone lies out for you, with a strategy behind it that will save you a lot of time.

Once you’ve followed the roadmap and you have that first launch or the first few launches under your belt, you can start experimenting with the process and make it your own.

This is what I did and recommend. Follow a proven launch roadmap, don’t try to figure it out by yourself, and save yourself tons of time.

2. Creating A Course That You Think Your Audience Wants

The second online course I launched was about social media, and I created this course because a few people asked me about it, and I thought it was what my audience wanted.

Despite knowing a thing or two about how to market yourself on social media, I was far from an expert, and even more importantly, it’s not what I wanted to spend my time on – it didn’t light me up and it’s not what I wanted to teach.

When you’re trying to come up with an online course idea, you have to look for the sweet spot. The course idea has to light you up, and be something that you know about and have gotten results for yourself or for someone else, and, it has to be something your audience wants, that will serve them, and that they will be willing to spend money on.

When you love what you’re teaching it’s going to show up in not only how you teach the content, but how you market it. Without that passion for what you created, it just going to fall flat and you’ll have a really hard time selling it.

Having said that, your online course topic doesn’t need to make you the most passionate you’ve ever been – you just need to feel some excitement and energy behind it. You also need to remind yourself consistently that you know your stuff and you’re confident that you can teach this because you’ve gotten results.

3. Your Course Doesn’t Have A Clear Promise

There’s competition in the yoga and wellness industry which is great because it forces us to be specific with what our course delivers and what results we are promising.

Your course promise needs to be specific – the more specific, the better. Your potential students need to understand from your course title or intro sentence, what your course is about and what results they can expect.

Here’s an example from Bee Bosnak:

“Go through a 7-day meditation journey to understand yourself better using techniques to deal with certain emotions and behaviors you experience. Practice daily meditations for 20 minutes and be more yourself.”

From this, you know it’s 20 minutes a day for 7 days – that sounds manageable, right? It promises that you’ll learn to deal with emotions and behaviors and be more yourself.

You need to be so clear on this promise. I wasn’t clear in my first online course and it made it hard to sell.

It’s not always easy coming up with a really great, specific promise, but it’s necessary. Even if your course teaches all the things, you should focus on one problem that you solve, one clear promise, and tell people what it takes to get to this result.

Is it a certain timeframe? Is there a system or framework that you teach? Do you have a process that got you results that you can share? This all needs to be part of your course promise.

4. Trying To Teach ‘All The Things’

You’ve done so many trainings, learned so much, gained so much experience and knowledge, and now you want to share it all. It’s what you’re good at, right? And it should all go into your online course so that you can make the most of it all!

Wrong. If you think that cramming 50 hours of videos into your course is what’s going to make it successful, I’ve got to stop you right there.

Think about it; your audience is BUSY. They don’t have time to spend 2 hours a day on your course – they probably struggle to find 30 minutes to themselves.

You’ve heard of quality over quantity, right? Well, your goal shouldn’t be to impress your students with the amount of content they get inside your course, it should be to get them results, and for that, they actually need to do the work and finish the course – which won’t be happening if you have 50 hours of content shoved in there.

Your job is to decide what’s truly relevant to your students and leave the rest out of your course – zero fluff. This will take incredible restraint so you may benefit from having a friend or a coach to help you and look at your curriculum.

5. Playing It Small

I was getting ready to launch one of my courses for the second time, but the first launch was just a semi-success and I decided not to do a big launch with a live event. I thought, “I’ll just play it safe. I’ll send a few emails and post about it on social media. That will be my launch.”

As you could have guessed, I sold a few courses, but I didn’t get the results I could have gotten.

I did the same with Facebook ads. I waited for a long time before I started investing more than a few hundred dollars in a launch campaign and it stopped me from growing.

Again, I was playing it small.

This changed for the first time when I invested in a high-ticket group coaching program. Suddenly I was in the room with people who were playing big, unapologetic, and having huge successes with their online course launches.

Sometimes we need this energy around us to be able to see what’s actually possible and to become aware of where we are playing small, and what might be stopping us from stepping up and playing a bigger game.

If you’re playing small like I did by just sending a few emails only or doing a mini launch or just testing the waters with your first course, you’re delaying your success. You’re delaying success which is inevitable if you put yourself out there. Do the Instagram Reels, do the email sequence, do the live trainings and launch challenge, do it all because it makes a difference.

Basically, go all out. Create your course to serve your audience. Make it about your students and their needs. Show up and sell it as well as you can. Go all in.

My hope for you is that you can avoid all of these mistakes of course. But if you don’t or if you make a few of your own that aren’t on this list, promise me that you’ll get back up, and keep on going. That’s all you need to do to succeed.

Are you ready to start earning money online and launching your courses successfully?




Hi, I'm Susanne.

I’m here to help you turn your passion into profits and build a successful online business.

I went from working in digital advertising to become a yoga teacher, move to Bali and build my online business that allows me to work from anywhere in the world. Now, my mission is to help you do the same. I want to empower you to embrace the transformative potential of midlife and menopause, build a purposeful online business and create your unique legacy.

I’m also obsessed with my little terrier Luna, love traveling in my campervan, and am happiest when I can wear yoga pants all day long. 

Learn more

let's work together

If you’re a daring + driven  entrepreneur, check out my online programs and get your learnin’ on!

ready for more

Package Your Brilliance into an Online Course

Get my ultimate online course starter kit that shows you step-by-step how to create your first online course.



Get my Financial Planning Spreadsheet 

Plan your yearly and monthly budget like a pro, track your expenses, calculate your income for each of your offers and figure out how much you need to sell at what price point to reach your income goals!




Join the (free!) Midlife Biz Hive and get immediate access to my free course for midlife entrepreneurs who are ready to build their online empire and go from struggling to making a full-time income.

Make Your First (or Next) $5K

Free course