How I made ~3700$ from my first cohort-based course (without having any audience)?


We started a cohort-based course around engineering, charged ~$199 to 20 learners, 1-month course.

I was able to do that without having a significant audience. You can do that too!

Read on,

Hi, 👋🏻 I'm Dhaval, from India.

I quit my job at Unacademy (🦄 ed-tech giant from India) in January'21 to start working on a new idea around cohort-based courses.

We spent the first few weeks talking to potential customers and figuring out what are their pain points and what we can build for them. We had a rough picture of the product in mind but we were not convinced. We knew that we don't clearly understand this space.

One day, I wrote on a whiteboard that we should start our own cohort-based course and gather learnings from that. My co-founder (Navneet) was excited about this and we started working on our first course. 🙌🏻

This was a cohort-based course, which means

  • All sessions are live. ⏺
  • There is a start-date and end-date associated with the course. 📅
  • It's a premium course. 💰
  • There is an important element of a community (A separate post on this later). 🤝

Our first curriculum didn't have a well-defined audience and that resulted in 0 conversions. 😐

We talked to a few of our peers and customers to redesign the curriculum. Once it started working, we leveraged our social media profiles, asked our friends to share in their network.

Things that helped us increase conversion rate,
🎯 As a first time educator, I leveraged recommendations on my LinkedIn to increase the credibility.
🎯 We were able to crack a pretty good deal with DigitalOcean.
🎯 We onboarded guest speakers from the companies like G👀gle, Paypal and GoJek.

We were able to hit our target of 20 learners. Our pricing was $199/seat and with some discount for the first few folks, we were able to generate ~$3700 🚀

There were a lot of learnings from this course! I will be writing a couple of posts on our hits and misses.

If you want to create your cohort-based course, feel free to reach out (@i_dhavalt). I would be happy to share insights in detail. 🤝

  1. 2

    Hi Dhaval, this sounds really interesting. I think anyone who is deeply skilled in a particular domain should do cohort-based courses. Can you share what tech stack you used for your first cohort-based course, (Scheduling, delivery, payment, community management, messaging etc), what was the gap you found in them and what other tools you are planning to use.

  2. 2

    Congrats! Are you planning on scale this? I guess working on a 1 month schedule for a premium engineering course with external hosts takes some effort upfront.

    1. 1

      @rigovides - Thanks 🙌🏻

      And yes. I do plan to scale this.

      The next cohort will have more seats and higher pricing.

      Things I plan to add/improve in the next cohort:

      • Better content and more hands-on assignments.
      • Onboard first cohort members as alumni mentors (they can do smaller group discussions and 1-1s).
      • Use better tools for LMS.
      • More community-led sessions.
  3. 2

    Congrats!! 💪🔥

    1. 1

      Thanks, @EliotC! 🙌🏻

  4. 1

    this isn't unusual! it's not "too" difficult to get things up and running...

    ... congrats! keep going! what's next?

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