Thinking of using Udemy, Teachable (or self hosting) to make an online course?
Not sure if it’s the right option for you?
Maybe instead you should just host your own online course and forget Udemy?
Maybe you don’t even know what I’m talking about? Well, let’s do a quick review.
Online courses are where it’s at (that and consulting) if you’re looking to make a lot of money online right now IF you don’t want to go the e-commerce route. With creating online courses you basically have three options:
1 -Udemy – Which is a market place for online courses
2 -Teachable and Thinkific – Which are platforms you can use to sell courses. Professionals also use ClickFunnels, but as this is pricey for beginners we will set it aside for now.
3 – LMS plugins like Learn Dash – Which allow you to go the self hosted route via a learning management system (LMS) plugin.
Each has their own pros and cons. In this post i’m just going to layout each option so you can decide.
All the gurus will tell you to never use Udemy because you “don’t own the platform” and what not. It’s a weird knee jerk reaction to using a market place or platform but one that no ever thinks about in any great depth.
Just look at Theme Forest for example. It’s a market place where designers can post their themes for sale and they share a percentage of those sales with Envato (the company that owns Theme Forest). No one is telling X the Theme or Avada makers haha you’re dumb for using Theme Forest.
You always want to be in front of potential customers if your goal is to sell anything. The same goes with Udemy.
Udemy is perfect for course creators who simply don’t have an audience on another platform of their own. If you’re just starting out and want to build some sort of passive income Udemy is still a fairly good choice. Granted, the marketplace has now matured and long gone are the days of easy sales.
But I’m confident if you kept at it an created 10, 2 hour courses you could make at least a few hundred dollars simply because of the 80/20 rule in that one or two of your courses will make up the bulk of your earnings.
So, should you use Udemy? If you don’t have an audience and want to create passive income the sure go for it. But if you already have a website that is getting 500+ visitors a day and you have a growing email list (even if it’s 1-2 sign ups per day) you’re much better of using Teachable or Thinkific as it can be more integrated into your website and you get the full payout of whatever you charge.
Udemy’s dirty little secret
Courses are cheap on Udemy. You can go ahead and price a course a $199, but no one will ever pay that amount because Udemy always has discounts. Always. Which you simply need to accept as a course creator.
Your goal instead should be to aim to make $5 a sale on a course. If you have 20 courses and each course makes 1 sales a day that will be the coveted $100 a day.
In practice an handful of course will make up the bulk of your earning but I hope you can see how mid range instructors make a living using Udemy. So say you have your courses on Udemy, a YouTube that makes a bit from advertising and blog or website as well as some sort of service you can provide (like web design or press release writing) – Udemy can make up a nice chunk of your monthly income.
But maybe you’ll get lucky! Udemy superstar Rob Percival made millions of dollars on Udemy. He is an OUTLIER mind you. Every platform has these types. A small few who bring in massive amounts of revenue. It does show that there is potential however.
How much do I charge for my Udemy course?
Udemy suggests you charge $25 per hour of content.
Udemy “experts” would say price your course at $199 to give a high perceived value as the course are going to be discounted to $10-20 anyways. I’m going to try different price points myself so I personally have no insight on this.
If you do Udemy go ALL in
Here is what I’m doing. Plan out a group of 15-20 courses that can be released over the next 4-6 months. You don’t need to know all the courses, but your mindset should be set on creating 15+ courses. Have a good idea of at least 5 courses you want to create.
Don’t obviously create courses on whatever you want. Research and get an idea of what is selling and working for other people. Don’t copy, but totally emulate. If you see a make-up course is selling, what sort of make-up course could you create?
The main idea behind a course is to help people, and you help people by solving their problems. So look for problems you can solve.
1-3 of these courses should be given away for free as a way to attract a base group of students and for prospective buyers to evaluate my teaching process as well as my knowledge level. These free courses should be an hour max.
The remaining courses will be paid, but should be no more than 4 hours on a topic. Zac Johsnon has some advice on giving away free courses:
For instructors looking to give away free courses, here some methods that have worked well for us.
Listing in Facebook Udemy Coupon Groups
Send out coupon codes to your mailing list
Submit to various coupon sites, forums and blogs
Use #hashtags on Twitter for #Free and #Udemy
Guest blog on other sites and mention the promotion
Create an infographic around your course and promote it
Getting interviewed on a podcast and leaving a coupon URL
Running a paid promotion on Facebook to existing site visitors
Writing a blog post on free Udemy coupons and including your course
Why would someone give away a course for free? Plenty of reasons. Out of their kindness of their hearts. The course itself could contain affiliate links or it could be used as the front end of a funnel. It’s also a good idea to have a few courses for free simply because it will help increase your personal student count.
If people see your profile and you have ZERO students, that’s not good obviously as it’s negative social engagement.
What about Teachable and Thinkific?
Currently the best platform available if you’re wanting to create and sell online course on your website. They have a low monthly fee and they take care of the complicated aspects of accepting payments, security, refunds and asset management (they currently use Wistia to host your video content).
They provide an easy to use drag and drop editor for creating courses and an excellent user experience because the course dashboard for students is SIMPLE. They also allow you to run your own affiliate marketing program.
Teachable and Thinkific simply make it easy to make video courses that you can sell via your own website and it’s what I suggest to anyone who has an audience already. Udemy is good for passive income, but the margins are much lower:
This is Lauren, she has 22 Udemy courses and makes between $1,900-3,000 a month passively. You could make WAY more money selling your own course on Teachable and driving traffic to your own email list and website.
BUT, if you have none of those in place Udemy is a great place to start. This is what Lauren did back in 2016 and now she has this nice passive income source to help fund her travels or other projects.
The alternative to this is to use Click Funnels but this is priced at $99 a month for the entry level plan. Click Funnels is an all-in-one solution in that they provide email templates, landing pages, sales pages, forms as well as an email management function with unlimited email. Learn more about email with our email marketing tutorial.
Learning Management Plugins (LMS Plugins)
The last spoke in this wheel is LMS plugins like Learn Dash. I don’t want to single Learn Dash out or anything but I don’t like LMS plugins. The plugin itself allows for course delivery like Teachable but you’re also responsible for all the little things you don’t even realize Teachable takes care of.
Things like hosting, security, payments, design. Unless I had a team and was building out my own education website I simply would never go with an LMS plugin. For your average blogger or content creator, LMS plugins simply don’t make sense as they create more complexity for soloprenurs than they’re worth.
Final Words and What To Do Next
If you’re going to go the Udemy route, go for multiple, course that will earn an income passively. Based on Lauren’s success aim for 15 courses minimum. That’s how most entreprenurs who are successful with the platform operate as it simply allows for more chances for success. A tiny minority are going to make a lot of money, most will make next to nothing. To be in that mid range you’re going to want to have multiple courses.
This works because Udemy is a market place for courses and the 80/20 rule will still apply to your online work. Some courses are going to WAY out perform others that you create but you simply won’t know which until you create the course.
Otherwise, start your blog or create a website, build an email list and start working with people to figure out what their problems are. Based on these problems, THEN create a course.