Developing and selling an online course can be a great way to make a living. With the course plugins on the market, you don’t even have to be an expert in web design or development to create a high-end virtual learning experience.
However, to get your online course off to a strong start, you’ll want to put some thought into its niche. This can feel like an overwhelming decision, but no matter what skills you want to share, there’s likely an audience that’s eager to learn them.
In this article, we’ll have a look at a few niches you may want to consider when choosing a subject for your online courses.
Then, we’ll share 15 specific areas that tend to pay big. And we’ll show you real, live MemberPress-based businesses that are making it happen in each niche.
What to Consider When Choosing a Niche for Your Online Courses
With a decision as important as choosing your online course niches, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. Ask yourself these four questions to get started.
1. What do I know a lot about?
First, be sure to pick something you’re knowledgeable about. Potential students will expect their instructor to be an expert.
And don’t be concerned if your topic is super specific. That’s actually a great thing called “niching-down”. The more specific your niche, the fewer competitors out there trying to take a piece of the pie. Just be sure there’s an actual demand for what you have to offer (question #4).
2. What am I passionate about?
Second, the topic should be something you have a passion for. This is important if you’re going to stay interested over the long haul. The more you discover about your niche, the more you’ll be able to offer to your pupils.
3. Do I have (or can I get) the necessary equipment?
Third, keep in mind any specialized equipment you may need to teach your chosen subject. This includes selecting a learning management system (LMS) that both you and your students will enjoy working with.
4. Is there a demand?
Fourth, do some research to ensure there’s an audience for the topic you want to teach. If no one is interested in your course, it’ll be a tough sell.
15 Good Niches That Pay Big
Now that we’ve covered what tends to make for good niches in the world of online courses, let’s have a look at some that can potentially pay big.
The suggestions below are listed in no particular order, and they’re all proven profitable markets with good demand.
1. Fitness Niche
Health and wellness is a good niche for online content generally, but especially now. With so many people forced to confine their workouts to their homes in light of COVID-19, it’s a prime time to sell an online fitness program.
Between 2015 and 2017, even before the pandemic hit, the “Fitness & Mind-body” niche grew from $542 billion to $595.4 billion – an average annual growth rate of 4.8%.
The fitness niche provides a lot of creative freedom. You could offer anything from guided walks or hikes via audio to advanced workouts and one-on-one consultations for health enthusiasts.
AthletiCulture is a popular online fitness subscription service powered by MemberPress.
The company specializes in workouts and nutrition plans designed to fit every lifestyle, “whether you’re training for a marathon or keeping fit while traveling.”
2. Art Niche
According to recent polls, 91% of Americans believe the arts are a vital component to a good education. And the growth in popularity of online art classes supports that belief.
While you definitely need to have a measure of talent, you don’t need any formal training to teach art. And many of the artistic disciplines, like drawing, require minimal materials to get started. That goes for both you and your students.
This low barrier to entry may makes it easier to encourage potential students to give your virtual art course a try.
MemberPress site Marie Burke Art School has niched-down big time. This online academy has found great success teaching botanical and natural history painting through the medium of watercolor.
3. Parenting Niche
If you have a child, you’ve likely learned a thing or two and developed your own unique parenting style. If you don’t have children, you might still have some training in child development.
Either way, there are plenty of new and expecting parents who would love to learn from your experiences and insights.
If you pursue this niche, you may even consider building an online parenting community, which may encourage students to stick around after completing your course.
Homeschooling Torah is another highly niched-down, successful MemberPress-based website. This family focused resource for parents offers a Messianic Jewish homeschooling curriculum and community.
4. Decorating Niche
People are spending more time in their homes than ever. As of 2021, research shows that when it comes to do-it-yourself (DIY), 77% of projects are interior-based. Only 23% focus on exterior elements.
If you have a flair for decorating, you may be able to capitalize on it. The interior design niche can cover a lot of ground, including simple DIY home decor, feng shui, or even houseplant care.
Be More With Less is a MemberPress-based online business catering to the minimalism niche. For everything from decor to daily living, this online community offers resources and education to help you declutter your life and your mind.
5. Fashion Niche
What to wear always seems to be a hot topic. The fact is, people care about what they look like. In 2021 alone, the fashion retail market was expected to reach $100 billion.
So if you have some expertise in this area, you’ll likely find a receptive audience. Fashion and style give you a lot of opportunities to set yourself apart from your competition.
You can also niche this one down. You might focus on sustainable clothing or create a course about how to shop secondhand, for example.
The site was a natural offshoot that allowed Connie to monetize her extremely powerful, educational Instagram presence.
6. Writing Niche
Writing is a valuable skill no matter your line of work. Job growth for content writing, in particular, is expected to grow at an above-average rate of 8%.
Of course, writing is also a much-loved hobby. There are many directions you can take an online course in this niche.
You might focus your efforts on teaching grammar to students and professionals. Or you can help people express themselves through fiction or poetry. Yet another possible angle is teaching budding authors how to pitch their work to publications.
MemberPress-powered website Copyblogger provides a mix of top-notch copywriting services and next-level training for writers. This blend of services has made Copyblogger one of the most successful writing sites in the industry.
7. Personal Finance Niche
DIY investing is one of the biggest tech trends in the personal finance space. That trend aside, most people could probably use advice in the area of personal finance.
This is another good niche that gives you some flexibility. If you’re a professional accountant, you could provide instruction on tax preparation. However, if you’re a mom who’s learned to budget for a large family, your knowledge is just as valuable.
Don’t let the no-frills setup deceive you. Capital Market Laboratories is a MemberPress-powered subscription site offering powerful finance, stock, and investment news, education, and tools.
8. Cooking Niche
Since 2020, the “Cooking Crafts” niche has taken off big time. Plus, not only is cooking an important life skill, it’s an area of study that always offers more to learn.
This is a subject where you can niche down even further, either to set yourself apart from your competition or to expand your offerings.
You might teach specific cuisines, how to use the latest cooking gadgets, or recipes that cater to certain dietary needs.
Creator Cheryl Malik has been using MemberPress to monetize her alternative diet blog, 40 Aprons, since 2015. Members get an ad-free experience that includes access to premium content that includes educational resources.
9. Beauty Niche
As of 2017, the “Personal care, beauty and anti-aging” niche was the greatest contributor to the Global Wellness Economy, with a market size of $1082.9 billion, growing at an average annual rate of 4.1%.
Hair and makeup tutorials lend themselves well to video, so you’ll want to have the right equipment and skills to create the most valuable content.
This niche has the advantage of being easy to market. You can create a branded hashtag and encourage your students to use it to share their new looks.
10. Online Marketing Niche
According to Fundera, 47% of small business owners go it alone when it comes to marketing. And anyone with a business is probably interested in upping their online marketing game.
So, if you have digital marketing knowledge, you could have a large and eager audience of prospective students awaiting you.
This is also a skill you’ll naturally continue to hone as you promote your own business. You can cover a variety of topics, from affiliate marketing to content creation.
LaunchBlot uses MemberPress to sell graduated service plans to small businesses. They handle all things digital, including Managed WordPress Websites, outsourced IT, copywriting, and other types of digital marketing services and education.
11. Coding Niche
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for software developers is an incredible 22% between 2019 and 2029.
It’s obvious that coding has become a skill that’s valued even by those who aren’t developers. You could focus on offering the very basics to newbies or teach more advanced material in specific languages.
As this is a constantly evolving field, you should be able to find students at all levels.
Or approach this lucrative niche like our friends over at MemberFix. This team of coders specializes in membership and monetized WordPress sites.
The MemberFix team handles tech support, fixes, and education for all the major WordPress membership and monetization plugins. And they just so happen to run their website on MemberPress (just sayin’).
12. Self-Improvement Niche
As part of the health and wellness niche, the demand for self-improvement resources is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
You don’t need any specific training to offer guidance on self-improvement. It makes it a good niche for people with a variety of backgrounds.
Students interested in this topic often want to hone soft skills like time management, negotiation, or emotional intelligence.
The Compelled Podcast is a Christian faith-based podcast with super inspirational interviews with super real people. The goal is to inspire life changes through life-changing stories.
With MemberPress, Compelled offers memberships where uses gain access to educational phone calls, premium resources, and early release access.
13. Foreign Languages Niche
As economies around the world become more and more international, the demand for foreign language learning continues to grow. Incredibly, the ability to speak a foreign language can add as much as 15% to a person’s salary in the U.S.
And as a language teacher, you can offer a variety of courses with different focuses. For example, you might offer things like “Spanish for Business”, “German for Tourists”, or “Italian for Foodies”.
Our friends over at The Japanese Page offer everything from free lesson resources including skills practices, to grammar and vocabulary help, interactive stories, ebooks, and podcasts.
The Japanese Page uses MemberPress to protect and monetize their premium Japanese language learning content.
14. Healthy Lifestyle Niche
Again, any niche that’s part of the health and wellness industry is a safe bet these days. And what’s considered a healthy lifestyle can vary significantly from one person to the next. That means this is another subject lending itself to exploration and expansion.
For instance, you can offer lessons in meditation or using more natural household products. Courses in this area could also overlap with the cooking and fitness niches.
MemberPress-based business the Kresser Institute has taken an educational approach to the healthy lifestyle niche.
Their mission is “to provide the next generation of functional health practitioners and coaches with the skills, tools, and training they need to turn the tide of chronic disease – and change the future of medicine.” And they do this by offering accessible online classes.
15. Life and Career Coaching Niche
As the second fastest growing industry in the U.S., life coaching presents exceptional business opportunities. Career and life coaching is a niche that can be geared toward different audiences, depending on who you want to target.
This can include students starting a first job, professionals beginning a second career, or stay-at-home parents re-entering the workforce after time away.
Leading life coach and #1 NYTimes bestselling author Mark Manson was the first life coach to use MemberPress to supercharge his monetized site. Today his blog has a monthly readership of more than one million people.
Choosing good niches you and your students will stay passionate about is an important step in building an online learning platform.
Being thoughtful about the content you teach can be a major contributing factor to the success of your business.
In this post, we shared 15 online course niche possibilities. Whether you’re passionate about coding, working out, or decorating your home, there’s likely an audience ready to learn from you – and pay to do so.
And with online LMS tools like MemberPress Courses, it’s easier than ever to get started.
Is there a particular niche that you’re excited to pursue? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
If you liked this article, be sure to subscribe to the MemberPress blog!