Updated on 15th September 2016. Udemy is currently the leading online learning platform. In 2015, their top 10 instructors made more than $17 million in total revenue. Find out how I make $4000+ each month by selling courses on Udemy here. How long will Udemy be with us? Hopefully a long time. But they’ve received over $170 million in funding in less than 6 years and have yet to turn a profit. Read on to find out where else to sell video courses on these Udemy alternatives.
Udemy courses don’t have to be exclusive to Udemy so, once you have created the course, you are free to hawk it around to other online learning platforms, your own site as well as a plethora of other “deals sites”. This is passive income at it’s finest: make the product once and sell it again and again on various different platforms – through various different packages.
Skillshare is a New York based online learning platform. Their main categories of learning are creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle and technology.
The Skillshare site is, unfortunately, not as robust as Udemy is or Skillfeed was. Their email notification system is broken which makes student interaction virtually impossible. It’s something Udemy would fix in days but Skillshare have allowed to persist for months.
You need a certain number of students (25) on a course before they start paying you. Better to upload lots of short courses. However, it is worth persevering with – I make about $350/month there (see my income reports).
Amazon Video Direct
Amazon Video Direct “launched” amid great instructor excitement around April 2016. There’s a lot of talk of the retail giant moving into education in a big way.
It’s difficult to see how this is going to play out. My experience so far has been mixed. It’s difficult to get stuff up there and approved and then, when you do get material on the Amazon store, it’s largely viewed for free by Amazon Prime members so doesn’t make a lot of money. Sales of actual courses has been slow. However, this is Amazon so we’ve got to keep our eyes on this one. Read here on how to sell video courses on Amazon Video Direct.
Another new option available to us is the ability to sell or rent videos on the 3rd most visited website on the planet (after Google and Facebook).
As I’ve said many times before, every video course creator should work hard on creating a great YouTube channel. You can make a bit of money there if you allow ads at the beginning, at the bottom or to the right of your videos.
Putting content for sale there is very easy (just click the dollar sign in Video Manager and instead of monetizing with ads, check the “Require rental or purchase to view” box. You can then specify prices for certain countries and choose another video to act as a trailer for the one you’re selling.
I uploaded a two-hour course and started charging for it.
I’ll let you know how I get on with this.
Other online learning platforms
As I say, this is a personal account of what’s working for me. I haven’t even scratched the surface of online learning. There are other big names like Khan Academy, Coursera, Lynda.com, InstaEDU and Treehouse – are credible Udemy alternatives but these aren’t right for independent course creators.
For Adobe tuition, Phil Ebiner of VideoSchoolOnline, who regularly clocks more than $10,000/month on Udemy, also sees some money coming in from AdobeKnowHow. I’ve emailed AdobeKnowHow several times but they’ve not replied. This happened to Phil as well. Keep persisting with them, you never know, it may pay off.
Stone River Elearning
I’ve had some courses for a long time at Stone River Elearning and they’ve made some sales. The site owner, Mark Trago, is super helpful and did all the uploading from Dropbox for me.
StackSkills is definitely worth a try. They sell bundles of courses but that’s great to get you in front of new audiences. I’ve been making thousands of dollars a month recently through bundles on StackSkills. And now they have started a new general course directory called Skillwise.
Amazing (it isn’t)
I was approached by Amazing.com – the home of the Amazing Selling Machine, which is the foremost Amazon FBA course. They looked very promising at first but they ended up messing me around over uploading videos, not adding my courses, being rude to my VA and failing to respond to emails. They recently got rid of half of their staff. I would avoid this company at the moment but some instructors who got in early aren’t doing badly. At the moment I believe they’re only accepting courses on Amazon FBA.
learning.ly (from the Economist) looks promising. I sent a few emails last year which they ignored. However, they have recently put up a simple application page where you can apply to become one of their “experts”. I did this and they got in touch soon after saying my application had been successful. Currently in the process of uploading videos. Watch this space.
So far Curious.com has been disappointing. It’s a big site but I found their way of delivering courses restrictive and the small amount of videos I managed to upload didn’t get any interest. They do have a sizeable audience though and I have made $100 after 2 years!
SkillSuccess.com may be worth a try. I don’t know if they are still doing it but they were paying instructors a fixed fee for the ability to sell their courses on their site – so if you have over a dozen courses, as I do, you could get thousands of dollars for your courses up front. Like an idiot, I opted to get paid for my courses when they are purchased on the site. They haven’t uploaded my courses to their platform despite having them for nearly a month. 🙁
Learnable is now redirecting to Sitepoint Premium – SitePoint is a brand I have a lot of affection for as I used their forum a lot when I was starting out, they are publishers of books, courses and articles for web developers. Here is the email I got from Learnable (so I don’t know which they are now, Learnable or Sitepoint Premium?): Unlike some other e-learning sites, we are not a marketplace and we don’t usually offer 3rd party courses. We prefer to make our own, which are offered exclusively on our site. If you are interested in perhaps becoming an instructor, I can pass your info on to a colleague of mine, who can provide you with more information. So, nope!
I’ve also uploaded one course at LearnSocial – unfortunately with no sales yet.
PluralSight may be right for some people but as they insist on exclusivity of courses and 10 minute audition videos, it’s hard to see many existing Udemy instructors investing time with them.
Edcast.com or Edcast.org – either way. I’ve had my courses there for a while. Waste of time so far.
Coursmos claim to have 1.8 million users. Their Moz domain authority is worse than mine so I doubt this.
OpenSesame low traffic site, probably not worth it.
fr.tuto.com – French online learning platform is moving into the English language online learning space. One to watch maybe.
Skillfeed and other defunct sites
Skillfeed was a subscription-based online learning platform run by Shutterstock. Rather than one-off course enrolments, it was subscription only and you got paid per minute viewed.
Skillfeed is no more. They shut down on September 30th 2015, presumably because they weren’t making enough money.
You can see from my income reports that I used to make around $400 a month from Skillfeed which was totally passive income.
I had my courses on Bizsnack. Why, I don’t know. Bizsnack shut down in 2014. They couldn’t get it going successfully. The site has been offline for a long time. This shows you that there’s a potential to waste time with these sites. Putting courses on their site is a time-consuming process and I’m yet to hear of any of these course platform apologise for the time they’ve wasted.
This possibly shows you that only the very big boys are going to succeed in this market. But, we just don’t know for now.
Beware, there’s a lot of rubbish out there
Be wary of low quality, low traffic Udemy alternatives. They will waste your time and will steal your money.
Avoid Easyskillz, they have sold 20 of my courses and not paid me a penny yet. Avoid Edurila at all cost. They were selling my courses on Stackskills for months without my permission – extremely dishonest!
Where I’ve tried and failed: ThinkVidya, WizIQ and 360Training – avoid these, a waste of time.
Learnyst and Coggno are both reputably a waste of time as well.
To guard yourself against the dishonest and doomed to fail sites you should check their Alexa Rank, Moz Domain Authority or just about any other ranking factor you think of. You can guarantee that Udemy will win out over all the other sites in these ranking factors so there is a tale to tell here.
However, bear in mind, the online learning space is incredibly dynamic. A Google, an Apple or a Microsoft could move in and really shake things up. Similarly a smaller player with a good idea could appear from nowhere and trounce the competition. We just don’t know.
You can also sell your courses (and e-books) through different “deals sites” where courses are bundled together with other courses, software, e-books, etc., and sold.
There are thousands of sites like Groupon (retail) and Appsumo (software) and you have potential to reach a wider audience and make more money here.
Again, we are only scratching the surface. There is huge potential for joint ventures with not only “deals” sites but other sites as well and bundling your course with other products or services. It is limited only by your imagination.
Selling courses online on Udemy Alternatives
Selling courses on Udemy alternatives is easy but it’s turbulent and you never know what’s going to happen. For example, I was making about $400 a month without any effort on Skillfeed for over a year and, after September 2015, that disappeared.
In the above video I talk about the Skillfeed’s shutdown, online learning platforms and deals sites.
How to “duplicate” your courses successfully
Firstly, make every video stand up on its own so it can be repurposed onto another platform. So don’t mention Udemy, don’t mention the course’s name in the videos. Don’t number the videos if you want to use other Udemy alternatives. Brand them with your own brand. This makes it easy to use the same videos in multiple courses as well.
Secondly, save all the course’s video files (MP4s or MOVs) and downloadable materials (PDFs, DOCs, etc.) in one folder on Dropbox. This means you can upload direct from Dropbox (useful for Vimeo and Skillfeed) and makes it easy to share with a VA or another site.
Thirdly, get LastPass or some sort of secure password sharing service and hire a VA to do this time-consuming and tedious task.
On your site
And, finally, don’t forget the most important site to sell your courses on – you own site. Remember, selling content on Udemy, Skillfeed or other Udemy alternatives is great but these are other people’s platforms. They can do what they want with their platform. They can change the commission structure to pay you less money or even kick you off. That’s unlikely, but let’s spread our risk.
The least risky platform is your own website: Your site with your email list and your buyers list where you sell your products and pocket most of your profit. This may be the hardest place to sell your courses but you must try.
The hard way is to set up a WordPress membership site plug-in with video storage. There is a baffling array of WordPress membership site plug-ins.
A very popular and easy to use membership plugin is WishList Member. I have a free course Create a Membership Site with WishList Member and WordPress which shows you how you can use WishList to charge for online content. However, I thought I’d try out MemberMouse for my membership site as they’d received a number of positive reviews but I was disappointed with their support and documentation. So I migrated to Digital Access Pass (DAP) which offers greater functionality than most of these plug-ins.
There are many membership site solutions all offering differing features and the likelihood of you knowing which features you’re going to want in the beginning is very small. So just choose one and go for it – you can migrate between membership plug-ins so don’t let analysis paralysis get in the way of you selling stuff online.
Udemy Alternatives for making money – You can do it
You can create a video course and sell it on Udemy, Skillshare, your site, other online learning Udemy alternatives sites and other “deals sites”. It’s important to keep an open mind as some sites look like terrible places to sell your stuff one day and end up earning you thousands of dollars a few months later.
And, don’t forget to always sell from your own site.
If you think there are any online Udemy Alternatives, “deals sites” or membership solutions that I have missed out – and there will be some – please let me know and I’ll add them. 🙂