- Who: Sumit Bansal
- Website: TrumpExcel.com
- Course Topic: Excel training
- Revenue Stats: $3-5K a month from course sales
- Traffic Stats: 50K subscribers on YouTube
Who are you and what course did you create?
My name is Sumit Bansal and I am from India. I run a website that teaches people how to be more efficient in using Excel spreadsheets in their day to day work.
The website provides many free how-to tutorials and videos and also has a few paid online courses.
I offer a completely free Excel course (12+ hours) that doesn’t require you to signup or login. You can just visit the page and start learning. It’s meant for Excel beginners who want to create a strong foundation and get to an intermediate level.
Apart from the free course, I also have three paid Excel training courses.These paid trainings are about a specific area in Excel (such as dashboard or VBA or Power Query) and are meant for people who already have the basics in place.
What market does your online course serve?
The Excel training is meant for people who need to use Excel in their day-to-day work and want to be more efficient. Others want to get the work done faster or level up their skills so they can do more advanced work in Excel.
Most of the people who take my courses work in office where using spreadsheets is a large part of their job profile.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
My Excel training courses teach different concepts in an easy to follow manner. The courses are carefully designed to build a strong foundation without overwhelming the students.
The biggest benefit is you can learn all the concepts in a few hours and start applying these in your work starting on Day 1.
How did you get into the market?
I started my Excel site (TrumpExcel.com) as an experiment. I worked as a financial analyst in an information technology company in 2013 where I worked with a lot of data in Excel.
My job was to automate tasks and create dashboards, and I was learning Excel by reading books, blogs and watching videos. I also noticed that people had Excel blogs that were making money.
Since I was learning so many new things every day, I decided to start a blog about Excel and write about what I was learning. This also helped my team as I was able to share these tutorials with them. This saved me time since instead of explaining the concept to my team members individually, I could just direct them to the tutorial.
I started with a free Blog spot account, and once I had written 10 tutorials, I decided to buy a domain name and start a self-hosted site.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
I decided to create an online course 1.5 years after starting the site. While I was investing a lot of time (and some money) in the site, it wasn’t making any money.
Once I reached 2,000 email subscribers, I decided to test the waters by creating a course and launching it to my subscribers.
At this point in time, I was still working at my full-time job and I did the course launch as an experiment. If it did well, I thought I’d consider devoting more time and energy to more courses, and if it didn’t, I’d work on other ways to grow the site and make money.
I launched the course near the end of 2014 and it did alright. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I believe I sold about 10 courses (each priced at $97).
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
During the initial years, I had a massive struggle with technology. I had absolutely no idea how to start and maintain a site. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of all this. To top it all off, creating and launching a course required setting up a lot of parts on the site (such as plugins, payment processors, video platforms, etc…).
Despite all the struggles, I had to test it once before giving it up. I had a decent email list and YouTube channel following and was getting a lot of positive responses from my readers on my free tutorials.
A few even asked if I had a course they could enroll in. This gave me the confidence to at least try to launch one course to see what would happen.
While I was quite confident the course I created was useful, I was not sure how it would be received by my readers.
Thankfully, the response from students was positive and it gave me confidence that I could treat this side hustle as a full-time online business.
What are your online courses like?
My courses are delivered as videos. They are screen casts where I record the screen and show viewers how to do things in Excel. There’s also a voice over where I explain everything.
Along with the course, I also offer some useful eBooks and example files used during the recording of the course.
How long did it take you to create your course?
Since I was already in a full-time job, I could manage only 1 video a day. So the course took me about a month to record and edit.
I used to record late at night or really early in the morning as this was the time when things were quiet. I could get the recording done without any noise getting in the way of it.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I launched my first course to my email list by sending them an email letting them know it was live. At first I had a very simple setup where someone could make the payment through PayPal and I would manually give them access to the course.
Initially, I was using a membership plugin that made sure only those who have paid could access the course.
In the first hour, I ended up selling five courses, which was a huge morale booster.
Do you have a lead magnet?
I have a free Excel tips eBook to get people subscribed to my newsletter. Once a person joins, I send a series of automated emails and a pitch to my courses.
The entire system is automated and is working well. Every month, I earn about $3-4K in sales coming from this simple system.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
Most of my traffic comes from search engines. Since the tutorials I create are how-to types, I have a lot of people searching for queries that land on my site.
What online course platform are you using?
I’ve been using Teachable for more than 2 years now.
I really like the fact that the course delivery platform (Teachable) is separate from my website. So if anything goes wrong with my site, the course platform will continue to work.
I also like that Teachable processes payments – which makes the entire process very smooth.
Lately, I have seen more issues cropping up every now and then with Teachable. I hope this is just temporary and that the platform will continue to grow and become more robust.
Are there any features you wish it had?
I wish it allowed more customization in how the payment page looks like. Also, I wish they had more payment processor options.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
I wanted the course delivery platform to be separate from my site. This meant all the membership plugins were out from the equation. Among the platforms I tried, Teachable was the best fit.
I also liked Kajabi, but I found it a lot more expensive.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
I use an email service provider, DRIP to collect and manage emails. I also use VIMEO to host my videos.
Please share some idea of revenue.
Currently, I make between $3-5K a month through course sales. Since I use multiple monetization methods, my overall monthly income is in the five figures.
I have also stopped doing course launches and now rely completely on the email funnel to make sales.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
In the first few years after leaving my full-time job, I struggled financially as the site and courses were not making enough money.
That gradually changed and now it makes enough for me to pay all my bills and put some in savings. With some extra cash coming in, I’ve also started working on other side-hustle projects. Currently, I’m working on building a couple of niche sites that help me diversify and lower my risk (in case anything goes wrong with my Excel site in the future).
In the beginning, I was doing a lot of work myself, but now I have started outsourcing stuff such as graphic design and content creation.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
I’ve recently reached 50K subscribers on YouTube and I’m aiming for 100K by the end of next year. While video creation is hard, I gain a lot of traction on YouTube. Many people prefer watching a video over reading a tutorial.
As of now I have 200+ videos and I try and publish one video every week. YouTube growth took some time and initially I wasn’t getting any views or subscribers. But I continued to publish videos and it slowly picked up. Now I get about 100 subscribers a day. Most of my videos are how-to type videos ranging from 7-10 minutes in duration.
Most of the videos are created first as a written tutorial. I first write the tutorial and then I create a video on the same.
I’ve also crossed 40K+ email subscribers and I continue to add 100+ subscribers every day.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
I get a lot of emails from course students on how my courses have helped them in their work life.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
My advice to beginners would be to focus on serving your audience. Identify what you do that adds value to their life. Once you figure it out, the money will follow.
Learn more about Sumit and his TrumpExcel course:
Resources mentioned in this interview:
Some of the resources listed below may include affiliate links which means we will get a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase after clicking on a link.
- Teachable – Online course platform