If you’d told me a year ago I’d be selling hundreds of products and had passive income sources paying me thousands of dollars a month, I’d have bitten your hand off to take it.
Now I have it, I want more. Ain’t the male ego a wonderful thing? Anyway, here’s my take on how to make money teaching online.
I’ve no idea why I started doing video tutorials on my YouTube channel. I saw other people doing them and I thought it looked cool. The game changer was when I bought Screenflow which is a screencasting and video editing tool. Finally I could shoot half decent HD video.
The above video shows you how to create a Udemy lecture by talking over slides in Screenflow. If you’re not of the Mac persuasion you could try Camtasia.
I also bought a Blue Snowflake USB microphone for around $40. It provides great quality audio for the price. The quality improved still further when I put it on a large hardback book upon my desk which brought it closer to my mouth and eliminated the background noise of my computer whirring away.
Make money on Udemy by creating free courses (Attn: this doesn’t work as well as it once did)
Whatever you do, don’t spend ages creating a premium course and put it on Udemy expecting something to happen straightaway. The best way to make money on Udemy is to create an audience on the platform first. And the best way to get followers on Udemy is to create free courses which will attract students.
This goes back to my previous point on YouTube. The minimum requirement for a course on Udemy is 30 minutes video so it’s easy to pick a few of your 5-minute YouTube videos and bundle them together as a free course by adding introductory and concluding videos.
Unfortunately due to a Udemy change on July 1st 2014 you can no longer offer discounts of your premium courses to the students in your free courses. However, it’s still a good idea to create free courses. You will still grow your audience on the platform that well and you can change them to paid courses at a later date and promote to them that way.
The above video shows course editing, coupon setting and announcement sending through Udemy, unfortunately the Udemy UI has changed a bit since I made the video but it’s more-or-less the same.
What else worked for me?
- YouTube – I put about 20-25% of my premium courses and promo videos on YouTube with a discounted link under the video
- Social media – I have got the odd sale from Facebook and Twitter
- Affiliates – this used to work better before Udemy imposed restrictions on putting affiliate links in announcements but many instructors with relevant courses will be interested in cross-promotion
- Kindle – put discounts to courses in Kindle books. I have sold a few this way
- Bundles – Udemy allow you to bundle paid courses together, here is a WordPress web design bundle of mine
- And, of course, my email list – I have been promoting the courses to my list by offering a finite number (last time, 50) of free courses and then others at a discount. This always goes really well however I probably won’t do this again now that I’ve decided to sell the courses at learn.robcubbon.com – my new membership site
What hasn’t worked for me?
- Offering freebies to Reddit, etc – this is encouraged by Udemy but I don’t think it benefits the instructor. You can offer free coupons on sites such as Reddit to artificially swell the numbers on your paid course. Redditors often see this as spammy and the people you bring to the course rarely value it.
- Fiverr gigs. Many people put up Fiverr gigs and upsell their Udemy course through them. I’ve made one gig but it isn’t selling.
- The best length for a video is just 5 minutes
- The best length for a paid course is just 1 hour
- The course material does not have to be exclusive to the platforms
What makes a successful Udemy course?
The subject matter has to be something you’re passionate about and something that people want to learn.
The courses that do well are the courses that provide a definite outcome. Courses that teach students a saleable skill or something they can earn money with are particularly popular.
The above video is the promo video for Make Money Running A Web Design Business – my most successful course on Udemy.
What makes a successful Skillfeed course?
Skillfeed was created by Shutterstock and so courses on career skills such as web design and video making are popular there. “Soft skills” such as management and personal development will probably do better on Udemy which has courses on just about anything.
Skillfeed’s payment model is completely different. Instead of having a one-off payment per course as on Udemy, on Skillfeed you can watch any course you like whilst paying a monthly subscription, currently $19/month (first 7 days free). Instructors get paid according to the amount of time their content is viewed.
However, Skillfeed is a younger platform than Udemy and is still finding its way. The statistics they provide on your courses’ views are scant and to be improved, we hope.
The platform has so far proved to be a nice little passive income earner as, once your courses are uploaded, there is zero work to be done – there doesn’t seem to be the student-instructor interaction that there is on Udemy.
In the future I’m looking forward to creating new courses, developing my own membership site at learn.robcubbon.com and experimenting with other platforms. Watch this space.
You can do it
I know that some readers of this blog have moved into Udemy and I’m delighted to see some of you making a success of it already. Woohoo!
Udemy may be the market leader at the moment but the online learning space is highly competitive and volatile. However, as long as we continue to push out high quality video tutorials, we’ll hopefully be able to sell our expertise online through a variety of channels.
Find out more about creating video courses that sell here.