I often get asked which is better for making money online: ebooks or offering online courses. While I love both and am the creator of both ebooks and an online course, here is why I think that ebooks are a much better option for passive income.
1. Ebooks Are Easier to Create
Making your first ebook isn’t exactly easy, but it isn’t rocket science either. All you need to start with is a Word document. The beauty of this is that it is very easy to edit and update. When you first start out writing ebooks, you will probably leave out a few things. Customer service inquiries will start coming in and you’ll realize, “Oops! I could have explained that better!” You can go back in and update the ebook fairly easily. You can even add entire chapters for whatever you are missing. Then you re-release the ebook as a 2.0 version and send it out to your customers.
With online courses, especially video courses, it isn’t so easy. If you need to change something, then you’ll probably have to entirely re-shoot the video.
2. Ebooks Are Cheaper to Make
Again, all you need to start creating an ebook is a Word document. Of course, you will want to format and package the ebook in an attractive way (more on the cost of packaging ebooks here), but there are strategies for doing this on a low budget. Once the ebook is complete, then you’ll need some service for selling the ebook without you being required to be there, and those are only about $5 per month. You will probably come up with some other expenses along the way (such as stock images for the ebook, or hiring an assistant), but the absolute minimum investment is small.
For creating an online video course, you are going to have a much higher minimum investment. You will need to have a video camera, editing software (and someone who knows how to use it!), someone to shoot the video… You’ll also need to host the videos somewhere, and that comes with a cost. It is already getting a lot more complicated than the ebook, and those complications come with costs. If you have a small budget, then I’d opt with ebooks for making money online.
3. Ebooks Sell Better
Because ebooks are a small investment to make, you can price them fairly low – which means that they will sell easier than an expensive online course. It is also easier to do the actual selling. All you need is a landing page with some pretty pictures and a big buy button.
To sell an online course, you’ll need to come up with a strategy to get the word out there and convert your audience of readers into sales. This requires a sales funnel and online marketing skills.
4. Ebooks Are More Passive
I’m all about earning passive income, which is another reason why I prefer making money with ebooks instead of video courses. Now, it depends on how you run each things. You could really complicate your ebook or simplify your course, but in general ebooks are going to be the more passive option.
Online courses tend to be a bit more hands-on. Since the price tag of an online course is higher, customers expect more. They want something like a Facebook community, forum, or other support. Maybe they even want live calls! Of course, it could be just a self-study course and then it would be just as passive as an ebook, but it might be harder to sell the course.
Which Should You Start With?
I prefer ebooks over online courses for all of the above reasons. If you are on a small budget and not very marketing savvy, then I’d suggest you go with ebooks. I have both ebooks and online courses. If you are interested in learning more, download my free cheat sheet to making passive income from ebooks.