Want to build an online course, but you’re not sure what it should be about?
Maybe you have some ideas, but you feel pulled in different directions?
Or do you feel that your topic has already been done to death, and you’re searching for a way to stand out?
Then this post is for you.
Today, we want to get your mental gears spinning and help you to consider course ideas that might never have been on your radar before. We’re talking about weird, wacky, quirky, original, different and interesting course ideas that can help your brand stand out from the crowd.
If these 6 course creators can do it, then so can you!
Sure, we’re taking a lighthearted approach to these courses, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect the value to the right audience, or the effort invested by these entrepreneurs.
These online courses have been created and shipped, which puts these course creators miles ahead of most people, who like to dream and talk about launching an online course.
... and some of these online courses will be generating thousands of dollars in revenue.
Sometimes the craziest ideas stand out from the crowd, or resonate with a small but incredibly passionate audience. Let’s take a look at some extraordinary online courses from around the web…
Disclaimer: We came across these courses on social media. We’re not endorsing them, we haven’t tested them, and they’re not built using Thrive tools. This list is simply to help you open your mind on what's possible.
Do you want to get fitter? While jumping over park benches?
Now’s your chance....
Parkour Fit is a 30-day online video course offered by pro-parkour athlete & Hollywood stuntman, Ronnie Shalvis.
The course aims to give people of any skill level a full body workout and an introduction to parkour.
Parkour Fit normally costs $80, and it includes over 50 parkour techniques, a mobile app, and 24/7 email support.
Why we love it
The general fitness niche feels extremely saturated.
It feels like almost every idea has been done before and, if anything becomes too popular, countless competitors pop up for their slice of the pie.
So the only ways to differentiate your online fitness course are:
- 1Build a hugely recognizable brand
- 2Build on celebrity status (which most people don’t have)
- 3Ruthlessly specialize
- 4Create a hybrid crossover
Parkour Fit does both 2 and 4.
First, Ronnie Shalvis has a hugely popular parkour and free-running YouTube channel with 1.4 million subscribers. That’s on top of his Hollywood stunt work that includes small indie studio productions like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Second, Ronnie combines his love of Parkour with an intensive full-body workout fitness goal.
So yes, it’s kind of strange to get fit by going over trash cans and benches instead of jogging around them, but that’s what makes this online course stand out and it appeals to a passionate audience who share Ronnie’s love of parkour.
Equestrian tai chi
Do you love horse riding? How about channeling your Chi at the same time?
Do horses even have Chi?
Let’s find out...
Jenny Pim offers an online course combining her love of horses with her great passion for Tai Chi. Yes, that means harmonizing your internal energy with that of the horse you’re sitting on.
One thing is very clear: Jenny has put in some serious work to write, shoot and launch this online course. Her Equestrian Tai Chi for Riders course costs $495 US, and includes over 120 technique videos in addition to other written resources.
Why we love it
At first, the merging of two such different activities – horse riding and Tai Chi – feels like it shouldn’t quite work. After all, not only do you need a strong belief in the alternative concepts of Chi, Dantians, and internal energy, but you’ll also need a horse.
Chances are, most of us are not in Jenny’s target demographic.
However, once you consider this from the perspective of her intended audience, it actually starts to form a compelling product.
Just like riding a bicycle, effective horse riding is really just a physical synergy between rider and horse. The more experienced and skilled a rider is, the more closely connected they are to the horse, until both learn to anticipate commands as a single entity.
So, if you also believe in the esoteric, why not apply this to an emotional, mental and spiritual connection?
Coming back to online marketing, Jenny Pim does something very effective with her online course. She says “This is who I am and what I believe, and I make no excuses for that. If you’re interested in learning more, I can help you. If not, that’s OK too.”
Plus, and this is purely my opinion, I think it offers a great alternative low-impact physical and meditative activity for horse owners, regardless of the spiritual aspect.
Not all courses need to appeal to everyone to be successful!
Next up, Yoga on a skateboard.
Want to reverse the effects of aging, but you don't have a time machine or a cosmetic surgeon?
Maybe you just need to wiggle your face a little...
Sometimes it’s not clear what’s an online course versus a membership site.
Face Exercises calls it a course, so we’ll roll with that for now.
Face Exercises offers their online course material on a freemium model: you can access 1 lesson a day on their iPhone app for free, with the option to pay $9.99 US each month to unlock everything on demand.
With specialized facial workouts and over 30 exclusive exercises, Face Exercises understands the value of bite-sized, easily consumable course content. Each lesson is a quick, repeatable video for customers to follow along with at home.
How bite-sized? Here’s one of their free demo lessons (each workout features multiple exercises)...
Why we love it
You don’t need to write thousands of words, or shoot a 10-minute video for each lesson of your online course. The size and depth of your lessons should be defined by the needs of your audience.
In the case of Face Exercises, the clue is in the name. It’s far easier for people to commit to a short, repeatable exercise on their phone, than to ask them to sit through a long video extolling the virtues of pouting in the mirror.
Face Exercises teaches course creators a good lesson that value isn’t always the same as depth of content.
If your audience benefits more from quick, accessible ‘lessons’ then that’s what your courses should give them.
Tattoo Mastery by oscar Akermo
Do you enjoy both sketching and causing people intense pain? Have your heart set on becoming a tattoo artist?
Oscar Akermo from Rihanna and Lebron James’ tattoo studio, has you covered...
Oscar’s Tattoo Master course offers 45 training sessions that guide his customers through every aspect of becoming a tattoo artist, from artistic concepts and development, to finding clients and managing a tattoo studio.
It costs $995 US, putting this online course at the high end. However, this will automatically turn off those who don’t view it as an investment into their future career, helping to focus his marketing and reducing refund requests.
Why we love it
To make money as an artist, you need to do one of 3 things:
- 1Work like crazy, exchanging your time for money
- 2Position yourself as an exclusive (expensive!) artist for high paying clients
- 3Find a way to break free of the 1-to-1 client-customer relationship
Oscar chose to go the third route, transitioning from 1-to-1 client servicing, to 1-to-many teaching via his online course. This allows him to break the link between his time and effort, and the income he can generate through his craft.
Online courses are one of the most accessible ways for coaches, artists and consultants to scale their income beyond the hours they work. You can too!
Launching a course also builds your authority – we naturally assume that course teachers know what they’re talking about, so this can help you to charge higher rates for your art commissions in future.
The foot collective
Do you eschew the popular claim that many physical conditions begin in the mind? Perhaps you believe they start in your feet instead?
Here’s the perfect online course for you...
The Foot Collective (TFC) offers an online course designed to “deliver a practical understanding of the importance of our feet, why they become problematic, how to restore them, how to strengthen them, and how to maintain function long term through optimal footwear and lifestyle choices.”
The content is available in 2 different tiers: a 6-hour collection of training videos for $79 US, and a smaller 2-hour course for $25 US.
Personally, I think these prices are on the low side for the amount of content and value they offer, but as long as TFC are happy with their online course pricing, that’s all that matters.
Why we love it
The Foot Collective’s online course is a lesson in niching down, and then down again.
TFC could have focused on posture, or leg problems, or even just foot injuries, all niches that offer a tempting balance of audience size and specificity, but they didn’t. They chose to create a sub-niche, and they own it!
TFC’s online course is so fanatical about feet, that it starts to rub off on potential customers.
Everything is just so infectiously positive... the TFC brand, the course sales page, the professionally produced video, the glowing testimonials. They did a great job communicating the benefits and value of their online course.
Finally, they also spell out exactly what’s included in the course, lesson-by-lesson, and back it up with no questions asked money-back guarantee.
30 Days to Backflip
Have you always wanted to backflip? Do you only have 30 days?
I bet you can guess where this one is going...
Lucas Ball’s online course promises you’ll be able to backflip in a month, and somehow practice this skill safely at home. This is a bold claim that grabs your attention. If you’ve always wanted to backflip, then this course seems like a perfect path to achieving it.
What’s more, it’s priced at only $30 US, thereby removing the objective of price entirely for most people. I mean it’s not pennies, but for $30 US, you could choose to buy a video game, buy some new clothes, go to a restaurant, or learn to backflip.
The sales page leads with a professional 2-minute video of Lucas doing exactly that – backflipping – so there’s no question about the teacher’s skill either.
Why we love it
Lucas Ball’s 30 Days to Backflip does something that the other online courses in this post don’t. While they focus on a journey to a long-term transformation, Lucas’s course gives you a single outcome and a defined timeframe.
Backflip. 30 Days.
When you buy this course, you know exactly what you’re getting, and how the results should be measured.
It’s natural to want to share all your knowledge and experience when creating your first online course. But creating a magnum opus risks investing tons of time on something that lacks a clear direction or a tangible result for your customers.
If you’re building your first online course, and you value rapid implementation, then be like Lucas and choose one compelling result that you can offer through your lessons.
How Can YOU Make a Remarkable Online Course?
This post is more than just a collection of quirky online courses. It should make you think about what’s possible for your next (or first) online course.
Our goal with these courses was to show that the list of potential topics is endless, and that as long as you can find a small group of really passionate people, you can make money selling an online course
So what are your next steps for choosing an interesting topic for your business?
Start by thinking about everything you want to teach your audience. Make a big list, and don’t exclude anything yet.
Then ask yourself these questions:
- 1Can you combine any ideas, like the Equestrian Tai Chi example?
- 2Can you create a way for people to learn and practice activities at home, like Lucas Ball's 30 Days to Backflip course?
- 3Can you narrow down a topic to connect to a smaller but more passionate audience, like Ronnie Shalvis’ Parkour Fit course or The Foot Collective?
- 4Can you identify a topic that will help you achieve your goal of breaking away from 1-to-1 sales, and instead enabling you build your authority, charge more for your art, and create 1-to-many products?