Counting the Costs: Launching Your Online Course Business

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It’s no secret that e-learning is growing in popularity, with many companies now launching online courses to expand their reach beyond traditional learning methods. The online course industry is expected to reach 5 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research.

Offering online courses is a great way for businesses to expand their audience, increase revenue, and even create unique content to drive more traffic to their site.

But how much does it cost to start an online course business?

Starting an online course business can be a daunting undertaking, but understanding the costs involved can help you better plan and budget to get your business off the ground.

In this blog post, we’ll outline some of the most common start-up and course expenses associated with starting an online course business.

Start-up costs

The cost of starting an online course business will depend on a variety of factors, such as the scale of the business and the type of materials and services you need to develop, deliver, and support the courses. Generally, you can expect to incur start-up costs, including:

  • Subscription to online course platform
  • Content creators team
  • Software licenses and tools
  • Product testing and certification
  • Online Advertising
  • Marketing and promotional material
  • Software updates, maintenance and hosting
  • Fulfillment services
  • Costs of employees and contractors

These costs can vary widely and can range from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is important to carefully consider and analyze your start-up costs before launching your business.

Finally, you also need to consider the total costs of setting up and running an online business.

Type of cost Average amounts (USD)
Subscription to online course platform 0 – ,000/year
Content creators team 0 – ,000 / month
Software licenses and tools 0-,000
Product testing and certification 0-,000
Online Advertising 0 – ,000 / month
Marketing and promotional material 0-,000
Software updates, maintenance and hosting 0 – ,000 / month
Fulfillment Services 0-,000
Costs of employees and contractors 0 – ,000 / month
Total ,000-,000+

It’s hard to estimate the exact cost of starting an online course business because there are so many factors to consider. However, the average cost of starting an online course business is around ,000-,000+. It is important to accurately calculate your estimated costs before proceeding.

Subscription to online course platform

Starting an online course business is a cost-effective way to leverage technology to share your expertise and build a business. To get started, however, you’ll need to invest in subscriptions to the digital course platform.

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According to recent PayScale Research, the average cost of an online course platform subscription varies widely. Depending on the features you need, prices can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.

That said, many popular online course providers offer plans designed specifically for those just starting out. A typical entry-level plan for small business online courses usually costs around 0 to 0 per month, or around ,000 to ,000 per year.

These subscription fees typically include access to niche-specific topics, customizable templates, a variety of learning creation and management tools, and an integrated sales/marketing platform that provides access to a wider potential audience.

More expensive subscription plans offer additional features, such as greater customization and the ability to create and sell courses with the click of a mouse, making it easier and faster to launch courses and grow your your online course activity.

Depending on your unique business needs, you may want to consider upgrading to more robust and enhanced plans that offer more features and expandability. However, this will require a bigger investment, with monthly plans usually costing between 0-00 and annual plans being around 00-00.

Additionally, most online course platforms charge transaction fees for each purchase made. It is usually a fixed percentage of the total cost of sale, usually ranging from 2 to 5%. These fees can add up quickly, so be sure to include it in your cost projection when considering the price of a subscription plan.

Content creators team; Costs

The team of content creators you hire to create great content for your online course business will be the “heart and soul” of the operation. To ensure that your company meets its ambitious goals, it is necessary to invest in them so that they can deliver the quality of content that your customers expect. Costs associated with a team of content creators vary based on individual roles, skills, and experience requested.

Content curators: Content curators are responsible for researching topics, adding value to content, and generally curating course content online. Content curators typically charge between and 0 per hour, but rates for highly experienced curators can be significantly higher.

Writers: Writers are responsible for producing engaging, accurate, and well-written course content. A qualified writer generally charges an hourly rate of around . If the job involves an advanced skill set, the rate may be significantly higher.

Editors: Editors play an important role in ensuring the accuracy of course content and reducing potential errors. Hourly rates for editors are usually between and , depending on their experience.

Graphic Designers: Graphic designers are responsible for visualizing course content and creating visuals that add value to courses. Graphic designers typically charge between and 0 per hour, depending on their specialty and experience.

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Videographers: Videographers capture and produce videos from course content, making courses visually appealing. Videographers typically charge an hourly rate of for labor, plus additional fees for materials.

Traditional: If you intend to market your courses internationally, it is advisable to hire professional translators to ensure course content is localized. Translators generally charge an hourly rate between and for their services.

In total, the cost of assembling a team of content creators to create quality content for your online course business can range from 0 to ,500 or more, depending on the skills and experience required.

Software licenses and tools

When you start an online course business, you will need to purchase a variety of software licenses and tools; To help you automate different aspects of your business. You’ll need tools to help you create, deliver, and manage your courseware and other materials. You’ll also need tools to generate reports and analytics, and tools to manage customer communication and payments.

The cost of these contracts will vary greatly depending on the services you need and the software you decide to use. Generally speaking, the cost of licenses and contracts usually range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. For example, many online course platforms that help facilitate course delivery, membership, and payment processing will charge flat fees in the range of to 0 per month, plus setup costs. Additionally, there may be stable fees applied for additional services such as customer support, analytics and reporting, and custom solutions.

Another cost to consider is the price of hiring software engineers or developers to create custom solutions to meet your needs. Depending on the complexity of your online course business, you may need bespoke apps and software solutions to help manage and track your course materials. The costs for software engineers and developers to build and maintain these custom solutions could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

In general, most entrepreneurs can expect to pay between 0 and ,000 for the software licenses and tools needed for their online course business, when first entering. The cost can be significantly higher if you require bespoke applications or custom solutions.

Product testing and certification

Product testing and certification is an important part of starting an online course business. This process is designed to ensure that products meet industry standards and customer expectations. Product testing and certification is usually carried out by independent laboratories and may involve a range of tests including durability, function, performance, environmental, electrical and safety testing.

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The costs associated with product testing and certification can vary widely, depending on the type, complexity and quantity of products developed. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost for product testing and certification is around 0 per product. For large-scale or high-volume products, this cost can be significantly higher.

In addition to the initial testing and certification costs, there are also ongoing costs associated with maintaining certification. This includes periodic product testing and related costs to keep products current with changes in industry or safety standards. Additionally, products that require periodic re-certification or recertification may incur additional costs, depending on the terms of the certification program.

When developing and launching an online course business, it is important to factor the cost of product testing and certification into the overall budget. By taking the time to research certification options and accurately estimate associated costs, business owners can ensure their products meet industry standards while staying within their budget.

Online Advertising

When starting an online course business, one of the key considerations is the cost of advertising. As almost all customers of such a company are likely to search for course information on the internet, it is real for the company to have an effective online presence. It means advertising.

According to the latest statistics from Statista, the total spent on online advertising in the United States alone in 2019 exceeded 1 billion. By 2021, this is expected to reach over 8 billion. In 2021, Statista estimates that 21% of all global advertisements will be digital. Traditional advertising is down, with digital driving growth.

As for what that means for the average entrepreneur launching an online course? The costs of running advertising campaigns on different platforms such as Google, YouTube and Facebook can vary greatly. Generally, however, the cost of advertising on these platforms is quite affordable and can be quite profitable if managed properly.

For example, Google ADS operates on a pay-per-click model, allowing businesses to only pay for ads when someone clicks on them. In this way, companies can easily control and limit their expenses. Prices to advertise on Google Ads can range from around .10 to .00 per click, depending on ad type and industry. Similarly, on Facebook, prices start at .25 per click.

On YouTube, the average cost per ad view is .10 and .30. For example, a business can set up campaigns to target people who watch videos related to their business, such as potential students interested in their online courses.

Ultimately, as with most online businesses, the cost of advertising will depend on the specific goals and budget you are willing to devote to such a project. However, the information above should provide a useful starting point for those looking to start their own online course business.

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Marketing and promotional material

When starting an online course business, the costs for marketing and promotional materials can be significant. Investing in good promotional materials is key to growing your audience and increasing revenue. Nevertheless, there are various profitable ways that you can promote your business. Investing in promotional materials ahead of time will help your business grow over time.

Logo design: It is important to create a recognizable brand identity. Spending 0 to 00 on logo design can help your business stand out and make an impact. Investing in a good logo design can help make your online course business memorable and easily recognizable.

Website design: A well-designed website is essential to attract visitors and potential customers. Depending on the complexity, the website design can range from 0 to 00. Investing in good website design can maximize your return on investment and provide a great user experience.

Social Media Marketing: Social media is one of the most powerful tools for reaching potential customers. Building a following takes time and investment, but it’s one of the most effective ways to reach people quickly for minimal cost. Investing in social media advertising and content creation can help grow your business from scratch.

Advertising: Advertising can be extremely expensive, depending on the specific channels you choose. Internet advertisements, such as Google Ads and Facebook ads, can cost anywhere from to per click while print, radio and TV ads can range from ,000 to ,000 or more. Decide on a budget, then make a plan to allocate your spend across different channels.

Public Relations: Public relations encompasses any strategy or tactic aimed at building relationships with potential customers and the wider public. Typical public relations techniques include press releases and postings in magazines, newspapers, online media and blogs. Hiring a PR specialist can be expensive, with costs typically around ,500 to ,000.

Content Marketing: Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business. This includes content such as blog posts, videos, and podcasts. You can create most of the content yourself, making it an affordable option. However, it takes time and effort to implement content marketing strategies effectively.

Software updates maintenance and hosting

When launching an online course business, the costs for maintenance and hosting software updates should not be overlooked. Regular updates and maintenance are necessary to ensure delivery of the highest quality content to customers and a secure and reliable infrastructure. These costs, while sometimes expensive, are necessary to maintain a successful online course business.

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Software Updates Cost an estimated average of ,000 per year, including the cost of an IT professional. This figure, however, can vary depending on the complexity of the system as well as the size of the organization. It is important to ensure that software updates occur regularly to resolve issues that may arise over time and to ensure that content is always up to date.

Maintenance and Hosting Costs vary depending on the type of hosting organization and the type of maintenance and hosting services that are chosen. For most companies, hosting and maintenance individually cost between and 0 per month, depending on the services offered. Large enterprises may need to invest in more expensive maintenance services, such as 24/7 hosting, for large or mission-critical applications.

In addition to software updates and maintenance, online course companies must also consider the cost of security. Security is an essential part of any online course business and companies should invest in software and hardware solutions to ensure that their customers’ data is safe. This often includes measures such as firewalls, antivirus and intrusion detection systems, which can cost upwards of 0 per month.

realization services;

Starting an online course business is an investment, but it doesn’t have to be a financial burden. The cost of starting an online course business largely depends on the type of services you plan to offer and the level of technology you need to facilitate it. Fulfillment services are an important part of any successful online course business, and they often include e-commerce, warehousing, and order fulfillment.E-commerce costs:The cost of setting up e-commerce for an online course business varies depending on the platform chosen and the level of customization. To set up a simple online store and accept payments, you’ll need a domain, a web hosting plan, and an eCommerce platform such as Shopify, BigCommerce, or WooCommerce. The cost for the three items combined can range from 0-0 (£77-£232).Storage costs:Warehousing is an important fulfillment item if you plan to store and ship physical products. The cost of warehousing varies greatly depending on the size of your business and the amount of product you store. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from 0 to ,000 (£154 – £3869) per month in storage fees.Order Fulfillment Costs:If you are not planning to do it yourself, you will have to outsource it to a third party company. The cost of order fulfillment depends on the size and weight of your order, the carrier you choose and the number of orders you receive. Generally, you can expect to pay between .50 and per order (£0.38 – £3.85). In conclusion, the cost of setting up a successful online course business can range from 0 to over ,000 depending on the level of technology and services offered. By taking the time to research the different options available, you can find the most cost-effective solution that meets your needs.

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Costs of employees and contractors

When it comes to running an online course business, one of your main considerations will be employee and contractor costs . As a business owner, getting the support you need to succeed is critical and having the right team of people can make all the difference. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a salaried employee in 2020 was ,126 USD. You can also consider leveraging entrepreneurs and freelancers to help create courses and develop technology solutions. The 2019 Freelance Talent Index reports that the average US hourly wage for freelance talent was USD.

While these are general numbers, payroll and salary expenses will depend on your location, the talent you are looking to hire, and the associated experience. If you’re in the planning stages of starting an online course business, it’s worth considering the local labor laws in your area, especially when hiring international talent. You might also consider looking into HR solutions or solutions for small business owners to help ease the onboarding process.

You might also consider implementing a system to earn profit-based compensation for employees. A profit-based bonus system can help incentivize employees and show them that their work is valued and useful for business growth. Additionally, you may consider offering employees a retirement program or health benefits. Depending on your company’s budget and the size of your team, there are many options available.


Starting an online course business can be daunting at first, but can be a great way to expand your business’ digital presence and further monetize your content. At its most basic, starting an online course business requires a combination of investments in the right tools, software licenses, marketing materials, and employee/contractor fees to ensure the timely delivery of successful courses. .

Ultimately, the cost of starting an online course business can vary greatly depending on the type of course and your business growth strategy. Typical start-up costs for launching a commercial online course range from ,000 to ,000 , while ongoing costs are typically between ,000 and ,000 per course . Of course, these numbers can vary depending on your business size, scope, and budget.

Keep in mind that online course businesses can be a great way to expand your audience and reach, generate more revenue, and create unique content to help drive more traffic to your site.