- Creators are often on the hunt for new ways to monetize their content, services, and audience.
- That’s why many creators have turned to teaching online courses and offering coaching sessions.
- Insider is highlighting 9 platforms that creators are using to make and sell courses in 2022.
After Catarina Mello left her full-time job at Google in 2019 to pursue a career as a travel content creator, she noticed an influx of DMs from followers who wanted to pursue a similar path.
“My followers were constantly asking me how they could grow and monetize their Instagram accounts, how can they leave 9-to-5 jobs, how to even make money as an influencer,” Mello told Insider.
So building and teaching an online course was a “natural next step” for her business, she said.
“I wanted to be in control of my business growth and not just rely on brands reaching out to me to partner in order to make money,” she said. “From [the] DMs, I knew there was a lot of interest. From a business standpoint, I knew I needed to launch some sort of product.”
Mello launched her course in 2020 using Kajabi, a platform with the sole purpose of helping experts build and sell online courses. Today, earnings from her’ “Influencer Mastercourse” make up more than 80% of Mello’s income. Her course has brought in a total of $1 million. (Insider verified these earnings with documentation provided by Mello).
She isn’t the only creator using online courses — whether on-demand or live — to make money.
Emma Cortes, a lifestyle influencer with 47,000 Instagram followers, sells three courses about running an influencer business that cost between $200 and $250 each. In 2021, Cortes earned about $27,000 from the pre-recorded classes, which are hosted on Teachable, another course platform. (Insider verified these earnings with documentation provided by Cortes).
Creators are even launching their own course startups. Nuseir Yassin, the creator behind the Nas Daily accounts with more than 30 million followers across Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, founded his own creator-focused course platform in 2020: Nas Academy.
“The reason why we started in the first place is because our founder [Yassin] had 30 million followers, but he was struggling to monetize regularly,” Alex Dwek, Nas Academy’s chief business officer, told Insider. “When you start getting bigger [as a] creator and you start employing staff and building out, you need to have more regular sources of income.”
‘A lot of creators are making educational content sort of by accident’
“Not all creators want to teach,” Dwek said. “But one thing we’ve noticed is that a lot of creators are making educational content sort of by accident.”
Still, while the content side can be a natural fit for creators, taking that content and turning it into a monetizable service often requires help.
“A lot of creators get straight into course building,” Wes Kao, cofounder of the platform Maven, told Insider. “They’re excited about their topic, about building community, and so they start building curriculum right away without thinking about, ‘Is this a topic that my students would want to pay for?”
That’s where course platforms come in. Maven, for instance, helps its creators think through everything from course design to developing a marketing plan, Kao said.
But choosing which course platform to use can be daunting.
The space has generated plenty of buzz as catch-all phrases like “creator economy” or “creator middle class” dominate industry discourse and blue-chip VC firms pour millions of dollars into these companies.
Last year, Nas Academy raised an $11 million Series A led by Lightspeed, and Maven raised a $20 million Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz, for example. Kajabi, which poached TikTok’s former head of product Sean Kim earlier this year, was valued at $2 billion in 2021.
“There’s just so many out there,” Mello said.
To help creators narrow that search, Insider compiled a list of 9 standout platforms that creators are using to teach courses in 2022. Insider narrowed down the list based on each company’s presence in the creator economy, fundraising, and reputation among creators and influencer industry experts.
Here are 9 platforms that help creators make money with online courses and coaching services: