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17 Online Course Ideas for 2023 Ranked (And How to Find Your Own)

Home / Learning / 17 Online Course Ideas for 2023 Ranked (And How to Find Your Own)
Online Course Ideas

17 Online Course Ideas for 2023 Ranked (And How to Find Your Own)

Home / Learning / 17 Online Course Ideas for 2023 Ranked (And How to Find Your Own)
Online Course Ideas
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Welcome to my online course ideas mega-guide.

Starting my own online course business was life-changing, and still the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s been a total life upgrade in every way.

Flex time…

Do you want to sit on a cool mountain in Asia looking out over pristine nature?

Online course ideas example one

Making a web course is how you do it. eLearning is in 1849 Gold Rush mode right now, and there are billions and billions for the taking, most of it will be 100% passive once you’re off the ground.

I hate to look like one of those GuRu types. I’m definitely not…but it’s cool to wake up to this several times per week at least:

Online course passive income

This is just one course of mine, and it’s at a discount.

I’ve had my own profitable online course for a few years now, and after attending conferences, networking with other online course creators, and talking to thousands of students, I’ve got my finger on the pulse of this market.

This online course idea guide will help inspire you to level up in your life by showing you the most profitable niches and trends in the course market.

How Is My Life Different After Starting a Course?

I used to be an SEO grinder. I still am in a way, but things are different now.

I had my own content sites, an agency, a coaching service, and pretty much everything else. But I was always way too busy to get to that next level. I was still mostly trading time for money, and I was busy as Hell.

My course brings in a nearly full-time income 100% hands off. I now have:

  • A steady stream of passive income every month from my online course that has upgraded my life in ways I never thought imaginable
  • More free time than I’ve ever had in my life, which gives me functionally unlimited time to work on my other businesses like consulting and other online course ideas (and lay on the beach in Thailand…)
  • A huge platform that finally gives me at least a little bit of clout in my industry
  • Tons of inquiries for high paid coaching, conference talks, course collaboration, online community teaching gigs, and cool things like that

All in all, I work way less, but have still totally leveled up my life.

And here’s why you can too…

Online Course Stats for 2023 (A Little Inspiration for You)

Online course statistics

The eLearning industry is in full boom mode. And unlike crypto, it’s actually sustainable and there are no whales hiding in Belarus trying to scam you out of money with pump and dump schemes.

Prosperity For America reports the following mindboggling numbers:

  • 93% of global companies are switching to online learning, creating a huge market for upskilling corporate workers in areas like security, marketing, analytics, and even programming
  • The eLearning market is currently worth over 300 BILLION dollars in 2023, and will grow 20% per year until 2028 (compound annual growth rate)
  • Revenue in online learnings platforms is nearly 3 BILLION dollars as of 2023
  • The top 500 Skillshare teachers make an average of $2,000 a month totally passively
  • Online learning platforms generated 47 BILLION dollars in revenue recently, according to Forbes

Long story short – make your course NOW and you’ll be glad you did.

5 Steps to Consider Before Creating an Online Course

Let me give you a quick step-by-step guide to making a successful course that levels up your life.

You need 3 things to make money as an online course creator:

  1. A paying audience
  2. A unique value proposition
  3. A way to get the word out

Sound simple?

It’s not.

If you don’t get this right BEFORE making your course, you’re going to waste months of your life, hundreds or thousands of dollars, and have 0 to show for it. You might as well quit now if you skip the following steps.

I’m not joking. If this were as easy as PiCk A nIcHe n’ MaKe ScRiLLiOnz, then everyone would do it.

Follow these 5 steps:

Step 1. Conduct Surface Level Market Research

Market research for online course ideas example one

I’ve already done half the research for you with my boots on the ground, but you need to put in some effort too, cupcake. This ain’t a free lunch.

Market research for online course ideas example two

For each niche, start combing the web for the following information:

  • How many other courses are there in the niche?: Competition is a good thing. This means people are paying for online courses in this niche.
  • How much are they charging?: A rough pricing idea will let you start doing back of the napkin sales and profitability calculations.
  • How good is their branding and positioning?: You don’t want to have to go up against too many big players in an industry. If you can undercut their pricing it’s fine, but the fewer the better.
  • Industry buzz: People are stupid. We love trends and buzzwords. Remember Beanie Babies? If a topic is all the rage with corporations or the public (examples below), then you’ve got another great data point.

OK, let’s move on.

Step 2. Consider the Difficulty of the Topic and Your Expertise

Online course ideas example two

This is going to sound obvious, but if you don’t know anything about project management, programming languages, or certain difficult professional skills, then don’t make a course on them.

With courses on guitar, dogs, cooking, or other relatively simple skills, you can probably get away with it, but not something that complex.

For example, you could learn a ton about training dogs, dog breeds, dog food, and dog exercise, then put together an entry-level dog course. As long as your marketing is good, you can probably make money.

Computer programming? Yeah, not going to happen.

Step 3.  Understand the Target Audience

Online course ideas example three

This is the most important factor in how much money you can make with a course.

If your audience is broke and going to complain about a $9 course, you’re better off just quitting now.

You want a somewhat affluent, middle-aged or older demographic with money to burn.

This is why B2B courses and corporate upskilling courses are the only courses I’ll ever make.

Small business owners and corporations have money to burn, and are happy to invest in taking their business to the next level.

Long story short, aim for niches with a middle-aged demographic with disposable income.

This is why pets is such a big niche these days. People who buy pets not only love them, but they love spending money on them…and if they own a pet, chances are they have disposable income.

Step 4. Consider the Value of the Transformation You Offer

Online course ideas example four

High-priced courses don’t teach skills. They transform the student from one thing into another.

Consider some of the promises in these high-ticket courses:

  • Quit your 9-5 to become a full-time, remote programmer making $80,000/year
  • Quit the rat race and build a million-dollar Amazon business from anywhere in the world
  • Overcome your fears and doubt, and become the most interesting man in the room (I call BS on this though…)
  • Become a best-selling novelist with in-depth training from the world’s best writers

The list goes on and on and on. But notice it’s all about changing and becoming something new.

When choosing a niche, think about why types of transformation you can offer.

I hate them with a passion, but this is why self-help gurus make millions and live in mansions in Florida, while I’m writing these stupid blogs – people eat this crap up.

Step 5. Lastly, Think About How You’ll Create and Deliver Your Course

Online course ideas example five

Making a dog training course sounds like a ton of fun.

But you’ll probably need a dog…I know that’s Earth shattering stuff there, so please send me some money on PayPal for changing your life.

Seriously, though. See what I mean?

I see a ton of people wanting to jump head first into making a course without thinking about HOW they’ll actually make it.

Want to make a life-coaching course? OK, what are your credentials? What case studies can you show? How are you even going to film it?

Want to make a pet training course? Do you have a dog or other animal? Do you have a space to train them? Oh, you think people are going to buy a text-only course where you say “sit boy, sit” 10,000 times? Not happening.

This is why smart course creators default to niches where they can just do screenshares or “interview” videos where they just talk into the camera. Things like online marketing, crypto, etc.

Another good example is cooking. Anyone can just go buy food at the market, cook, and film it. Getting a dog to actually sit and not hump your leg every time is a bit harder to do, get what I mean?

5 Steps to Choosing a Niche Synopsis

  1. Research the market and find out where you fit in (if there’s room)
  2. Choose a topic that’s relatively simple to learn, but still has value
  3. Consider the target audience and choose niches with a demographic with money to burn
  4. Focus on niches where you can offer transformations, or at the very least, find a transformation within whichever niche you choose
  5. Lastly, consider choosing a niche where you can just do screenshares, because physical demos are much harder than you think

Online Course Ideas: The 17 Best Niches in 2023

I’ve divided these niches into 2 categories based on a few factors. Including, how profitable I think they are, how in-demand I think they are, and how simple it’ll be to create a course.

The best ones are my “5-star niches” that tick all the boxes. The rest are ones that tick only 3 or 4. That’s doesn’t mean they aren’t good for making a successful online course, they just might be a bit harder.

OK, let’s get going.

Tier 1 – 5-Star Niches: The Most Profitable Online Course Ideas

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

Now is the time to get your A** in gear, and make some courses in the crypto space. It’s the fastest, easiest way to make money in the online course creation world.

Here’s why:

  • It’s all just knowledge (no physical demos needed)
  • The demand is massive
  • You can make a course doing only screenshares
  • The general public is super keen but relatively uneducated on the topic, so there’s a ton you can teach them

You could theoretically make a course doing only screenshares and Google Slides, then make a bunch of money off of it. If you’re really into crypto, then you could even add in a Facebook group or community to make even more money.

The total market cap for crypto is well over $1 TRILLION dollars, and there are trillions being investedin blockchain tech. Yet market adoption is only about 4% worldwide.

That means 96% of people still have 0 clue what’s going on. Imagine how big that market is going to be in 3-5 years.

Example to Follow

Massachussets Institute of Technology’s Blockchain course is a self-paced course going for $3,500!

Online course ideas example six

An introductory version of this course could easily sell for $299 and make you some serious money.

Mental Health

Life is hard these days.

Not only do we have to maybe wake up sometime in the morning, but most of us have to click some buttons before going home to endless entertainment and food options.

It’s a rough life.

Seriously, though. This is going to become one the largest markets in the world if it isn’t already.

As our AI overlords become more powerful, humans will struggle to find purpose. That’s where you can come in.

The reasons I rank mental health so high are similar to the ones for crypto. It can be mostly screen shares, finding the knowledge is simple, demand is high, and you could use your own experience as a foundation to prove your expertise.

Also, think about the transformation (there’s that word again) you could offer. There are a lot of people making good money that feel like their mental health is holding them back from succeeding or being happy in life.

If you can transform them into the person they want to be, you’ll be in business.

Even simple health and wellness ideas like stress management, online health, or basic anxiety management are great wellness courses ideas.

Example to Follow

This one looks like a ton of fun to make.

Online course ideas example seven

Personal Development

The personal development space is growing exponentially. It’s a bit different than the one above, so let me explain that first.

To me, personal development is more about moving forward in your career or acquiring interpersonal skills like actually being able to go to parties without being asked to leave. I’m working on it…

It ticks all the boxes.

Easy, in-demand, transformative, working professionals have money to burn, and you can just use slides and talking head videos.

Think about how many people out there need help communicating better, being more assertive at work, basic time management, overcoming imposter syndrome, or even something as simple as being more productive in their daily lives.

The global market for personal development is over $40 billion dollars and that’s only going to increase as more people spend the majority of their time online. If you’ve got a skill you can teach, start creating online courses now.

Example to Follow

You’re telling me you couldn’t make this course in a few days?

Online course ideas example eight

Online Marketing

Digital marketing is one of the largest and fastest growing skills markets in the world, and most of the information is out there for free (if you know where to find it). If you want to create courses the easy way, this is the niche to get into.

It’s also another one of my 5-star niches, since it ticks all the boxes that I’ve repeated a million times.

This niche includes things like social media marketing, SEO (don’t step on my toes), online copywriting (don’t do it…), funnel building, eMail marketing, and pretty much anything else you could possibly imagine.

The cool thing here is that if you’ve got a skills, you can easily find some clients, document everything you do with screenshots, and have great materials and case studies for your course.

It would be a lot harder to get those real life examples in most other niches.

The only issues I see here are that there are just so many courses to compete with that you’ll need to really dig down and find a microniche for your online school within the marketing space.

Example to Follow

Here’s an awesome course on writing web copy that converts visitors.

Online course ideas example nine

Career Guidance

The career counseling market is reaching close to nearly 5 BILLION dollars. It makes sense though, right?

The world is big and confusing now, and schools are absolutely awful at helping students. Plus most young people have 0 clue what they want to do with their lives.

I know a person or two already in this niche helping with interview questions, how to dress for an interview, or how to determine what type of career is best for you courses/websites.

The cool thing about teaching online courses in this space is that you don’t need any credentials. Experience helps, but you can figure this out on your own pretty easily.

Example to Follow

Basically, anything on Udemy…

Online course ideas example ten

I really wish I had thought of this 5 years ago.

Tier 2 – The Really Good Niches


Dog training, how to take care of wild animals, how to get your cat to actually love you, how to not own 9 cats by the time you’re 35 – the ideas are endless.

One idea I’ve had recently is a nutrition guide for cats and dogs. Like showing urban hipsters how to keep their animals in shape. You know ANYONE who wants that course has some money to burn.

The dog training market alone is in the billions. People love to spend moey on their pets. They’re the only things that actually love us.

The only reason this isn’t one of my 5-star niches is that I think it would be tough to make without having the live animals with you. You could use stock footage, but I think people would expect to actually see you with the animals.

But yeah, anything to do with training pets, feeding them, taming wild animals, talking to them, or using them for emotional comfort is golden.

Example to Follow

This course looks AWESOME…you’ll need a dog though. I suggest something simpler like “what can your dog eat?”.

Online course ideas example eleven

Personal Finance

Personal finance is a huuuuggeee market, but it’s pretty competitive.

There’s always room for one more good one, though. Especially if you find a unique angle that doesn’t look so corporate.

You won’t compete with edX, big universities, or traditional gurus, but people are getting pretty tired of all that BS.

When thinking of course ideas, try to think about some out-of-the-box ways to attract younger people. Their financial reality is nothing like what their parents had, so having some “we hate boomers RAWR!” marketing might help (that’s a joke).

The best route for the finance niche – at least for a beginner wanting to create online courses for the first time – is appealing to the younger crowd. “Finance for broke Gen Z’ers” or “how to save money in a post-apocolyptic world” – that kind of thing.

If you can find a way to appeal to that untapped demo, there’s money to be made.

Examples to follow

This is a solid angle to take…

Online course ideas example twelve

Gardening Courses

I honestly had no idea gardening courses were such a big deal. Do that many people really garden?

It’s really easy to get into, the start up costs are cheap, and there are hoards of gardening-fanatics ready to pay to learn how to plant tomatoes, so have at it.

They might not be willing to pay that much, though, and you’ll have to get your hands dirty…but be my guest.

The cool thing here is that you don’t necessarily need to even demo in your videos.

You can do an introductory type course where you just show people the best things to plant in each season. Clean hands, money, happiness…it’s the whole package.

Cooking Courses

I have a dirty secret: I binge Instagram cooking reels for at least 30 minutes before bed every night. They are addicting.

Seeing as how eggs are like $9 now, anything to do with cooking at home is a huge market.

According to the Food Network, 82% of American meals are now prepared at home and restaurant dining is on the decline. That’s a huge change from a decade ago.

Covid, food prices, and new delivery services are for sure to blame, but the fact remains that making a cooking course is a great to make money online.

Teaching people how to cook simple meals at home is becoming a HUGE opportunity, since so many of us didn’t learn how to do it growing up.

If you want to make your own business at home, showing younger people how to make affordable meals, do meal prep, or make date-night meals is a great way to start earning money…you could even start a delivery service.

Example to Follow

Here’s an awesome idea: A course that also delivers a cooking kit. Dope!

Online course ideas example thirteen

Craft Courses

I had no idea arts and crafts were still so popular. I think this is an awesome niche since the barrier to entry is so small, and it’s easy to differentiate yourself.

You could try crafts from any culture, crafts from a different period in time, or just a beginners class with some hands-on support remotely.

Seems like a cool idea and it’s becoming more and more popular by the day.

One still untapped niche that I think is going to keep growing is crafts for kids to “make them more intelligent”. Parents love that stuff.

Arts and crafts are a great way for kids to learn hands-on skills, meet friends, and avoid their phone or video games, so dive in while the getting is good.

Example to Follow

Here’s a cool idea for creating a school for kids with different arts and crafts courses…

Online course ideas example fourteen

Tier 3 – The Hard Ones

Look, let me level with you. Chances are, if you’re googling a term like this, you don’t have the requisite skills to make courses like these.

You’re going to need a ton of experience and expertise. For most, you’ll need certifications from at least someone recognizable.

If you had those, you probably wouldn’t be here. Still, they’re worth mentioning QUICKLY.

Web Development

Everyone needs good developers, but this is a super technical market that is ultra saturated. If you really are good at programing, consider making a coaching business instead.

Web dev courses can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, but they often require an online community, 1-to-1 coaching, and a ton of social proof on your part.

IF you do have all of that, be my guest. But be prepared to offer “bootcamp” style courses where you hold he learners hand for weeks. Not my style.

Courses like DataCamp have insane amounts of materials already and are on sale for only $9/mo – can you compete with that?

Machine Learning

Do you really have the skills to be making a course like this?

Can you compete with Coursera, Google, or major universities.

In order to make a course like this, you’ll need some serious proof of concept and accreditation.

This is one of the fastest growing niches out there, but I just don’t think it’s a profitable course idea for most people. If you are into this type of stuff, head over to a university course on the topic and see what you’re up against first.

Why not try to make some fun YouTube shorts or IG reels first instead?

Data Science Courses

Got an itch for noisy, unstructured data and want to turn it into coherent insights to advance society toward utopia?

Data science might be for you.

Again, though. Do you REALLY have the chops to make a course that’s going to compete with MIT, Harvard, and Coursera? Doubt it.

Maybe you could make a “data science for dummies” introductory course and sell it on Udemy and promote it with some YouTube videos. I’d buy it for like $10.

General Business Courses

Companies are investing billions of dollars in upskilling workers to drive growth. They are happy to pay as long as it results in a successful business.

The only issue is here that it’s hard to make yourself stand out, and you’ll also be competing with traditional business names from higher learning.

If you’ve already got a skill, though, consider trying to sell to corporations by attending conferences, making connections, and using webinars to get the word out.

Honorable Mentions

There are a few niches that are becoming more popular, but I just don’t see any room for a beginner to make a course, let alone actually sell courses in any of these niches. Either that or there just isn’t much money in them.

Language Courses

Hola, do you really want to be up against Duolingo, universities, every YouTuber out there, and language centers in your local area?

In order to stand out in this space, you’ll need a special method, a huge platform, and perfect working knowledge of whichever language you want to teach. And even then, it’s way better for a student to get a 1-to-1 language teacher.

Maybe you could make some free courses to advertise for a language teaching service, though.

Food Photography

Teaching people to take pictures of food sounds really odd to me, but have at it. Try to make a Udemy course on it and see what happens. Be my guest, but sounds like a waste of time to me.

Life Coaching

It’s against my inner beliefs and spirituality to convince anyone to make a course teaching someone to be a life coach. I just can’t do it. There are too many as is, and the industry is as cutthroat and scammy as it possibly gets.

The Best Online Course Ideas: Final Thoughts

The best online courses are full of value, simple to make, transformative, and come with online communities and ongoing support.

If you really want to get into online education, now is for sure the time. If you want to create a successful online course, choose one of these high demand niches for your online business.

Let me know which online course idea you choose. I hope it’s not any of the hard ones…

Best Online Course Ideas F.A.Q.

Q: What Type of Course is Best for Online Classes?

A: The best type of course for online classes is a course that’s in demand, simple to make, and doesn’t require heavy startup costs or professional accreditation. For example, a course on digital marketing requires only basic slides, some screen recording software, and an online course platform. While a course on yoga will require an actual studio set up, mats, and physical performance by you or another person, which makes it much more difficult. However, all online courses that teach practical skills or technical skills is always a good course idea.

Q: How do I find a topic for an online course?

A: You find a topic for a course by figuring out which subjects you have real expertise in, then researching those subjects to see which ones are in high demand. If you have expertise in an in-demand subject, you’ve got the recipe for a great course. However, if you are good with a marketplace insights tool and have the time to dedicate to researching, you could create your own course simply based on analyzing demand.

Q: How do I create a unique online course?

A: You create a unique online course by adding as much value and entertainment into your course as possible, and delivering it with as much added value as possible. For example, you could have an online community, 1-to-1 coaching, helpful eBooks and other downloadables, or just a series of goals and checkpoints to help your students along. Most online courses are very basic, and the course creator will just try to do the bare minimum. You can be a unique course creator by going the extra mile and adding real value.

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