Selling Online Tutorials

You’ve probably heard me carry on about how you need to diversify your income…and for some of you, that will mean diving into the world of selling tutorials online.

Here’s a few pointers to get you started:

  1. You’ll need an audience to sell to. If until now you’ve only made custom cake and never taught or sold before, you’re going to need to devote some time to raising your profile among people who are likely to buy tutorials. Don’t try to make “how to make a perfect gumpaste rose” to customers who buy cake from you because they have zero interest in making those themselves.
  2. People WILL pay for quality – so create quality. Sure, I can learn to make a perfect gumpaste rose on YouTube. I’m still interested in buying a tutorial if it’s nicely photographed, has step-by-step pictures to help me, I can email the instructor and I get a fool-proof gumpaste recipe with it.
  3. You can’t just make it, offer it once and then be sad about it not selling. Because tutorials are often time-consuming to make, we have a tendency to make one, chuck it out onto social media a few times, then sit and wait (and grow old) waiting for sales to roll in. You have to do some marketing here – as much if not more than you will for other products. It’s a constant process of reminding people it exists. 
  4. Make it easy to buy and deliver – if they have to click eighteen times to pay you and then you deliver it in a non-downloadable format via carrier pigeon imported from Malaysia, you’ve lost them and made your life difficult. Make it EASY for them to buy it and easy for you to deliver it! MINIMUM FUSS.
  5. Don’t make it overwhelming and over-deliver unnecessarily. Seriously, if I see a tutorial which boasts ‘450 colour photos’ and ’78 pages of in-depth detail,’ this just scares the heck out of me. I buy tutorials to teach me how to do things in an easy to follow, easy to understand way. If I’ve got to wade my way through 450 photos, I’m either going to get bored or lost or forget it, I’m buying those damn roses from someone else. Too hard!

And lastly… price matters, but not in the way you think. Tutorials which cost $1 are frankly, kinda pointless. If you don’t have a huge audience you won’t get a huge amount of volume in sales, and when something is super cheap we question it’s quality. Make an informed decision on pricing… don’t price it stupid cheap and think you’ll sell them in the millions.

Online tutorials are fun to make, can make you an income long after the pain of making them is done, and go a long way towards improving your reputation and street cred. I like them as a way to diversify income – but they are not the road to immediate riches – so go in with eyes open (and easy-to-use online shopping cart open!)

7 comments on “Selling Online Tutorials

    1. Great question! Honestly Andrea it’s pretty challenging to do this – I’ve never found a very effective way to both lock it down AND have the time to chase if they’ve shared it. I think they get shared less than we think too, once someone has paid for something they don’t necessarily then want to give it to others for free. So far the best I’ve seen is just to remind/ask – when they get send the materials, mark each page with a copyright of your business, and include a disclaimer about it NOT being sharable. That’s about it I’m afraid. 🙁

  1. Michelle you are Awsome! ! I know you probably hear that a lot, but is the first time I’m saying! ! Lol
    Thank you so much for sharing your skills with us. I’m from Brazil but I live in the USA for the lest 12 years and I make a lots of cakes. I started doing videos step by step instructions on how to decorate cakes for my people in Brazil and now I’ll start selling some more “well done” videos, lol. So thank you again for the tips. 🙂
    And keep being awesome that is contagious! !! 🙂
    Beijos… Sara Lewis 🙂

  2. How do you pivot from free content on youtube to selling tutorials. I am guessing this requires more than one person to produce. A partner in crime so to speak.
    Do you have resource about how to do this? What are the search words?

    1. Hey Jo,
      No need for another person to produce – you can create your own tutorials via PDF or video, then it’s a matter of packaging them up and making them available on your website and/or FB page. It’s not very complicated to do I promise! Probably the most challenging tech is figuring out how to have it on the website, but again that can be as easy as a Paypal button, or a little more complex like a plug in (woo commerce or similar.)

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