Funny enough the number one question I get asked isn't about my course content (those chats are often with Lyft drivers,) it's often numerous questions about teaching on Udemy. So I figured I would explain this being it's my six years teaching and partly to make it easier to respond when I get asked. I will try my best to update this as time goes on. Feel free to comment with additional questions as well.
First teaching online is far from passive income. I spend many hours updating social media, promoting my courses, marketing, and networking to gain more students. Often I spend more hours doing that part than recording, editing and uploading.
It takes a lot of time, my first course took 150 hours of filming and easily another 100 of editing, social media, e-mails, website building to launch and I had a business partner, tech help and a graphic designer. I currently work within "seasons," the filming/editing season and the maintenance season. I try to film in bulk, so will sit for hours sometimes very late at night doing so while maintenance is usually much shorter spans of time mostly social media work and engaging current students while working on gaining new ones.
Filming/Editing Season (per month) = 57- 65 hours
Maintenance Season (per month) = 38-68 hours
Social Media = 1-2 hours a day
Student engagement = 1 hour a week
Misc. (new equipment research, reading books on a topic) = 1 hour a week
I am not a trained teacher. I did not start by being a professor or teaching in a school setting. Many of those on Udemy have, but most have not. What I have done is lead groups in outpatient counseling centers and in a prison setting.
Udemy is unlikely to make you rich. Yes, there are instructors who make a million or more a year, and they are hard-working, wonderful people I know and are exceptional at what they do. It's rare, as a whole most of us are doing it for other reasons; love of teaching, resume building, practice, reason to further their education, etc. Income can fluctuate. For a period of time I was able to not work full-time and was teaching online working 30 hours a week. So I know it can happen, but it's a lot of hard work and currently I enjoy the stability working for an agency creates for my family currently. As of now I am not sure I would make that leap again for multiple reasons. Income is based on how the referral is made, so if a student searches Udemy for course the instructor makes 50% of that sale, if they use an affiliate link 25% and if they use a link I provide (like this one) it's 97%
Technology and quality are your best friends I find I still struggle here, but I keep things polished yet low-tech with the following set up. Those who use $10k in equipment also likely make 20x's that a year. I use my iPhone 8 to record (I am starting w/ a DSLR shortly,) iMovie (I m starting with Final Cut proX) a $9.99 app on my phone, a clean background of items from Amazon, lapel mic, pro light kit and tripod. Besides laptop and cellphone, the rest including website and domain (minus new DSLR) cost me $600. If I include everything $6500. If you already have a newer phone, have some nice lighting and space you could film a quality course for $200 easy. If you plan on using a 1998 Nokia flip phone, film in traffic and use the built in mic Udemy won't approve your course.
Reviews are vital and people can be mean If you want to be on the first page, have a top seller tag, or have people choose your course you need good reviews. And real good reviews, Udemy has a secret algorithm where not every review makes the cut. Let me start with I appreciate anyone who takes the time to review my work (honest!) Some reviews are star only, some are text with useful feedback and some can just be cruel. Luckily I have not received many of these, but others have including digs at appearance, mocking accents, and gems such as "this guy is dumb." Luckily some of these are removed by Udemy, but it takes some thick skin to put yourself out there and we are humans trying out best.
I love what I do...and continue to work full-time as Udemy is a lot of work and I love paid time off, insurance, and to clock out at 5pm. When I taught full-time I would send e-mails at 2am and felt like I was constantly trying to keep up, if it was a slow month I had to hustle to find enough students to turn a profit It's far from passive income, it takes a lot of work, some money and some thick skin at times. Udemy has allowed me to stay home and work in my PJs with my newborn, work while on an airplane and now allows me to make extra income while I work full-time, parent two kids and maintain some social life.
I am off to film in my new basement studio, if you have any questions please leave them below.
I am always happy to help anyone who wants to see my set up, shadow the work I do locally, preview my courses, see the technology or chat business about choosing a course to teach social media help, Linkedin, etc or get some info on the backend I am always happy to talk shop!