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4 Different Types of Online Courses You Can Create

Have you been thinking about creating your online course? Maybe, even procrastinating a little? Or, do you have an online course and wondering what to create next?

There are many factors that come into play in determining what is the right type of course that you should create.

We’re going to cover how to choose the right course to create based on where you are in your business.

In order to figure out the right type for you to create, it’s important to keep the following factors in mind:

  1. Do you have a cash priority in your business and you need to get generating revenue flowing quickly? 
  2. Is keeping this low-tech important (even if it means you do a little more manual support)? 

With this in mind, I’m going to walk through four different types of online courses, give you some pros and cons of each type and help you decide which type of online course you should create.

Four Different Types of Online Courses You Can Create

Online Course Type #1: The Introductory Course 

What exactly is an “introductory course”? 

It’s common to think of an introductory course as just a quick preview course or something you offer for free.

I want you to think of an introductory course as a paid offer. Your introductory course is designed to create a quick win for your students which can lead them into deeper work with you.

This can look like:

  • A two hour live session with you 
  • A one hour live group coaching session series delivered over several weeks
  • A paid webinar training 
  • A virtual retreat 

It’s easy to think that an online course has to be entirely pre-recorded or require hours of video recording. I lead a business-building virtual retreat for our clients that want to build their business model and launch their course. It is delivered over 4 days via video conference (using Zoom). It is entirely live with no pre-recorded content. 

Think about the first step that you could move your clients through to get a fast win. 

The Advantages:

  • It’s typically less content which means you can start generating revenue faster. 
  • You can deliver it live which means you have less tech to deal with which means you can launch faster.
  • Major advantage: When the content is designed the right way, you can easily lead your students into your next level work. It’s a great way of building your following while you’re also generating revenue and moving people into deeper level work with you.

The Disadvantages:

  • The number one challenge when you’re creating an introductory course: You have to nail the right content focus in that course because the purpose of the course is to move people into your deeper work. The content must be well curated to lead your students to your next level offer. 

Key takeaway: A well-designed introductory course could be the way to go if you want to go fast.

Online Course Type #2: The Transformation Course

The second type of course is typically your main offer. We call this a “transformation course”. 

A transformation course is usually a deeper dive experience focused on helping your students get results. You’re helping them implement and walking them step-by-step through your method or process for achieving results.

The Advantages:

  • You are focused on results, so this is a great way to have wins with your clients. You can handhold them through a process and support them in learning how to get success.
  • This type of course can also be positioned at a price point that could help you replace your one-to-one work. 
  • Because you are positioning your course at a price point that is very profitable for your business, you can actually automate your course and create passive revenue streams using paid traffic. 

The Disadvantages:

  • This type of course can take more time to create than an introductory course.
  • There is more preparation involved including recording videos and uploading your content to a course hosting platform.  

Key takeaway: The transformation course should be the core offer in your online course funnel to create leverage and profit in your business. 

Online Course Type #3: The Certification Course 

What else can you do with a transformation course?

Do you have the opportunity that you might want to certify others in your work?

Kim Moore has a transformation course she created, Head Shape Matters. This course is focused on helping hairdressers cut hair using Kim’s patented system. When Kim launched her course with us through Create 6-Figure Courses, her business exploded. She had requests for next level support in the form of regional live workshops for the hundreds of people she was training every quarter. Kim needed a way to have a faculty that could lead this training.

Kim created a certification course to develop the capacity to serve she needed in her business. Her certification course is a next level offer for her online course graduates and a source for finding new faculty members.  

The Advantages:

  • You can scale your work. If you’re serving the corporate market, a certification course can help you scale your work inside of a company. They might want to certify their own trainers in the company and use your certification program to build internal capacity.
  • You can create an additional flow of additional revenue using the same content. 
  • You can develop a faculty. If you really want to scale and have more people supporting your work, this is a great way to do that.

The Disadvantages:

  • Certification typically requires that you audit the learning output of your students to ensure they have gained the skills required.  

Key takeaway: Certifications can help you grow a team and grow revenue.

Online Course Type #4: The Membership Course 

Maybe you’ve heard of a membership site or a membership community?

A membership course means people are joining your community through a subscription service. 

Becki Branstetter, a member of our Create Six Figure Courses Community, created and launched her transformation course, The Thriving School Psychologist. Many of her customers wanted a way to have continuing support inside her community so she created an alumni membership course for her people. Once her students move through her main offer, they can easily transition into her membership course which allows continuing support for them. It also provides recurring revenue to support Becki’s mission to help schools psychologists. 

The Advantages:

  • You can create recurring revenue in your business.
  • You can support your students’ success with ongoing support..

The Disadvantages:

  • You will likely need to deliver new content and ongoing support regularly. 

Key takeaway: If your community is looking for ongoing support and connection, a membership course could be a great way to generate recurring revenue in your business. 


There’s many different ways that you can create an online course. You can choose where you want to start based on where you are in your business, how fast you need to move, and how quickly you want to generate revenue. 

I want you to think about what type of course could really work to drive the results that you want to drive in your business right now. 

Which type of course sounds like the right move for you? Share that with me in the comments.


  1. Diane says:

    Thanks, Jeanine!
    Your video was helpful in trying to figure out which course to consider offering – especially for a newbie to the online world of coaching/teaching (and marketing!).
    I think the best suggestion for me was the Introductory Course as it would satisfy my need for “cash now” as I build my list.
    Of course my biggest hesitation is marketing the course as I am just starting to build my list – so I guess that would mean buying a couple of ads on Facebook etc. And because I’ve never done that – I’m a little nervous of throwing $$ down the drain.

  2. I like the way you have simplified course creation! Your four types are good -Introductory,
    Transformation, Certification, and Membership.
    I prefer the Certification type!

  3. Phyllis Bivins-Hudson says:

    Is there a way to determine what a course should be about? I just wrote my first book, a memoir, and it has been receiving great reviews. It is filled with themes that matter In the lives of the disenfranchised. I’d love to curate a course around the myriad of themes in the book, but I don’t know how to start or how to begin presenting it in an online course format. Do you have any suggestions?

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The key is to figure out the one thing you can do that will make the


Then, do that ONE thing first.

-Jeanine Blackwell

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