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What Is An Indie Course Creator?

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What Is An Indie Course Creator?

Independent (indie) course creators are individuals who create, market, manage, and deliver their own courses. 

They are subject matter experts, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, and small business owners, who package their skills, knowledge, and talents into information products broadly referred to as “online courses” and sell and deliver them online.

Indie course creators don’t work for organizations and institutions (such as companies or universities) that typically vet and vouch for the credentials of course creators and teachers. Instead, they gain their credibility through their experience and professional credentials as practitioners in their fields. 

Examples of Who Might Become an Indie Course Creators

These are all examples of people who have done the work and can prove their expertise by way of their extensive knowledge, demonstrated skills, real results, and impact to their clients or field of work. Even though they don’t have an ‘institution’ to vouch for their credentials, their work and results speak for themselves.

These are experts in their field who become indie course creators.

Project Manager

A project manager with five years of experience in project management and a PMP® certification created an online exam prep course.

Personal Trainer

A personal trainer helped dozens of clients achieve proven and sustained results over the last three years using a unique approach to nutrition and wellness.


A best-selling author mastered the perfect pitch to publishers that secured multiple book deals. Learn a tried-and-true formula in this workshop.

Home Cook

A home cook, raised on a farm, teaches parents and their kids how to cook healthy together. They have live sessions weekly, and send a grocery list and prep instructions in advance.

What Do Indie Course Creators Do?

They do a ton. Indie course creators put in a lot of work to design learner-centered experiences that will get their clients results.

At a high level, this includes:

🚩 If you come across an indie course creator who brags that their online course was quick and easy to create, or runs on autopilot and is passive income, that’s a red flag. You can read more about my thoughts on that in this post.

Why Create Online Courses?

I’ll venture a guess that most people asking that question really want to know “What can an online course do for me?” Instead, I’ll offer a different perspective on why learners benefit from online courses, and how that, in turn, can benefit you as an indie course creator.

Reach more people. Depending on how you structure your online course, you’re able to serve more people in more places, which obviously also drives up your impact and earning potential. Just make sure you reach them in the right way. Most online learners want guidance and mentorship. Some like to fly solo, but most need you. They’re looking for engagement and meaningful connection.

Yes, yes, many indie course creators like to charge “premium” prices, that they’ll inevitably discount throughout an elaborate promotional campaign (🚩🚩). Don’t be that person. Increasing the number of people you serve at a single time can allow you to lower your costs (especially in comparison to what you may change for one-on-one services like coaching or consulting), expand your access, and still increase your profit margins. It’s a numbers game.

So, online courses help you reach more people and allow you to lower costs. They also can be designed in an asynchronous way that lets learners participate when, where, and how they want. This means, your level of involvement can vary and allow you to support larger or multiple groups at once. Though that’s not an excuse to be M.I.A.

When your audience is adults, they come with a wealth of knowledge and real-life experiences. Everything you teach them should build on their experiences and be something they can take back to their work right away. This helps ensure what you bring to the table remains relevant, up-to-date, and in demand. Don’t become obsolete because what you think, doesn’t match up with your learners’ realities.

The number one thing learners care about is results. Once you know what they want to achieve, you can reverse engineer a learning experience that will help them achieve those results. Demonstrating your course’s value and sharing your outcomes transparently will drive up interest and, most importantly, enrollment.

What If An Indie Course Creator Isn't an Expert?

This is the downside of the indie online course space. 

Course building and hosting platforms (like Teachable, Thinkific, Udemy, LearnDash, Kajabi) have made it incredibly easy for anyone—and I mean anyone—to create and sell online courses. It’s easy to assume the online courses and the people selling on these platforms are qualified to do so. But that’s a bad assumption.

So as much as it sucks that there are bad online courses and course creators out there, there are also great ones too. But it’s up to consumers to weed out those who are worth it from those who are simply seizing the opportunity.

😍 If you want to read stories about about what’s good, bad, and ugly in the indie online course space, sign up for my email list below. I won’t spam you. Pinky promise.