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Have you succeeded on Udemy or as an online educator... If so what mistakes should we avoid if we're just starting out?

xxx22

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Avoid starting out on Udemy. :playful:
Why? Is it because it would violate control? Or is oversaturated with courses? I am asking as this is where I want to start, I will be preparing a course for the accountancy qualification which I've completed a few years ago, with my first course being a beginner level course, in fact I am about to buy the camera, microphone and a Camtasia subscription, would you just go straight to your own website? I thought Udemy had a high number of users from the start so even if they get a massive revenue share it's still worth it for accessing high number of customers/students quickly.
 

Andy Black

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Lex has a progress thread somewhere recounting his experience selling courses on Udemy. If I recall, Lex's issue is with lack of control. It's worth reading his thread.

I've sold a few courses but not via Udemy. Most of the sales were from people in this forum and a few Facebook groups where others (probably forum members) recommended them. Oh, and a few folks came via a post to my personal Facebook profile (see "Just Start Already" in my signature).

If I was to use Udemy I would treat it as a marketing channel.

There's a few course/education threads in the forum. @Fox has a recent one. I might have even created a master thread linking to them (but can't remember!).

Good luck!


EDIT: Found it:

 
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Lex DeVille

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Why? Is it because it would violate control? Or is oversaturated with courses? I am asking as this is where I want to start, I will be preparing a course for the accountancy qualification which I've completed a few years ago, with my first course being a beginner level course, in fact I am about to buy the camera, microphone and a Camtasia subscription, would you just go straight to your own website? I thought Udemy had a high number of users from the start so even if they get a massive revenue share it's still worth it for accessing high number of customers/students quickly.

As Andy said, it basically comes down to control. When you publish on Udemy you have very little control over your product.

If You Publish to Udemy WITHOUT Joining Their Promotional Program
If you don't join Udemy's promotional program, your course won't get seen or advertised and you won't make sales without bringing your own audience. Assuming you bring an audience, you might get sales, but you won't capture their emails, so they're not your audience. In this case, it doesn't make sense to give up control to Udemy since you're going to put in the footwork to bring an audience anyway. Might as well bring them through your email/website/platform so you can market to them however you want and whenever you want.

Publishing to Udemy as Part of Their Promotional Program
If you publish to Udemy and join their promotional program, you will almost certainly make *some* sales. Unfortunately, Udemy will discount your course into oblivion, selling it at $11-$12 per student no matter what price you set, and giving you $1 to $3 of the sale UNLESS...you bring your own audience.

Course Topic Matters
If you pick a course topic that doesn't have a lot of demand, or if there are already way too many courses on that topic, especially good courses, then you still won't make any money. I have like 20 freelance courses published. COMBINED, they generate about as much as a single course generates on my other Udemy account.

Multiple Courses Matters
Unless you bring a huge audience to Udemy, you'll barely make any money by publishing a single course. So you'll need to publish multiple courses just to build up to a full-time income.

Audience Mindset Matters
If your audience is a bunch of whiney losers from third-world countries (a huge portion of my freelance Udemy audience is), then you can expect that those whiney losers will consume your content, leave 1-star ratings, and contact Udemy for a full refund. If you publish multiple courses, those same whiney losers will buy ALL of your courses and follow the same process before refunding ALL of them and Udemy will do nothing about it.

Negative Reviews Are Extremely Damaging
My freelance courses have hundreds of pages of 5-star reviews and a low ratio of 3-star or below reviews. Nonetheless, it only takes a few negative reviews before Udemy stops promoting a given course. Suddenly, sales drop off a cliff, and your course dies.

Knowing What I Know Now...
If I launched a course business today, I would do it through a platform that affords more control (Wordpress, ThriveCart, or New Zenler). Then I would set up a simple sales page and run ads from Google and YouTube and skip all the bullshit in between.
 

Andy Black

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Knowing What I Know Now...
If I launched a course business today, I would do it through a platform that affords more control (Wordpress, ThriveCart, or New Zenler). Then I would set up a simple sales page and run ads from Google and YouTube and skip all the bullshit in between.
Would you send people to a free email thingy first, or straight to that sales page?
 

xxx22

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As Andy said, it basically comes down to control. When you publish on Udemy you have very little control over your product.

If You Publish to Udemy WITHOUT Joining Their Promotional Program
If you don't join Udemy's promotional program, your course won't get seen or advertised and you won't make sales without bringing your own audience. Assuming you bring an audience, you might get sales, but you won't capture their emails, so they're not your audience. In this case, it doesn't make sense to give up control to Udemy since you're going to put in the footwork to bring an audience anyway. Might as well bring them through your email/website/platform so you can market to them however you want and whenever you want.

Publishing to Udemy as Part of Their Promotional Program
If you publish to Udemy and join their promotional program, you will almost certainly make *some* sales. Unfortunately, Udemy will discount your course into oblivion, selling it at $11-$12 per student no matter what price you set, and giving you $1 to $3 of the sale UNLESS...you bring your own audience.

Course Topic Matters
If you pick a course topic that doesn't have a lot of demand, or if there are already way too many courses on that topic, especially good courses, then you still won't make any money. I have like 20 freelance courses published. COMBINED, they generate about as much as a single course generates on my other Udemy account.

Multiple Courses Matters
Unless you bring a huge audience to Udemy, you'll barely make any money by publishing a single course. So you'll need to publish multiple courses just to build up to a full-time income.

Audience Mindset Matters
If your audience is a bunch of whiney losers from third-world countries (a huge portion of my freelance Udemy audience is), then you can expect that those whiney losers will consume your content, leave 1-star ratings, and contact Udemy for a full refund. If you publish multiple courses, those same whiney losers will buy ALL of your courses and follow the same process before refunding ALL of them and Udemy will do nothing about it.

Negative Reviews Are Extremely Damaging
My freelance courses have hundreds of pages of 5-star reviews and a low ratio of 3-star or below reviews. Nonetheless, it only takes a few negative reviews before Udemy stops promoting a given course. Suddenly, sales drop off a cliff, and your course dies.

Knowing What I Know Now...
If I launched a course business today, I would do it through a platform that affords more control (Wordpress, ThriveCart, or New Zenler). Then I would set up a simple sales page and run ads from Google and YouTube and skip all the bullshit in between.
Sounds like a solid lesson, thank you for accelarating my learning curve, might try something affording control, might put one course on Udemy as part of the marketing funnel a bit like what Andy suggested above.
 
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Lex DeVille

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Would you send people to a free email thingy first, or straight to that sales page?
I'd go straight to a sales page from Google ads and see how much it costs to get a student. If it costs too much, then I'd bring in an email strategy. I want the fastest path to sales, and if Google or YouTube ads can generate sales for less than my course price, I don't need to put time into free stuff.
 

Andy Black

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I'd go straight to a sales page from Google ads and see how much it costs to get a student. If it costs too much, then I'd bring in an email strategy. I want the fastest path to sales, and if Google or YouTube ads can generate sales for less than my course price, I don't need to put time into free stuff.
Yeah, I like to start as close to the end as possible too.
 

DMass

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Finally, a topic I can make a solid contribution towards!

All joking aside, I've been selling my courses on Udemy for just under 12 months and in that time I have acquired 15,000+ students so I feel like I can speak a little from experience. That being said, don't take what I say as gospel, people such as @Lex DeVille and @Andy Black have far more experience and expertise than me.

I'll answer the question that you are undoubtedly getting at first, can you make money on Udemy.

The short answer is yes, but nowhere near as much as you think you can. You would think that with 15,000 students in 12 months I would be well on my way to creating a system that generates "kiss my a$$" money. Unfortunately as Lex has pointed out, you make very little per student. On average between $1-$3 per student. Please take into consideration that my course has been included in the Udemy Business Catalog meaning that I make considerably more than people who are not as I get paid per minute watched by Udemy Business Students and my course is 13 hours long so that drives a significant amount of revenue.

Also my course is highly regarded in my field and is recommended by people on Reddit, LinkedIn, and Facebook so traffic isn't coming purely from Udemy searches.

I would seriously reconsider Udemy unless you are testing the market.

Following Lex's example here are a couple of things that I wish I knew before starting out on Udemy.

1. You have no control over the price that your course sells at if you join the Promotional Scheme.

Yep, you heard that right. You can tell Udemy to list your course for $99.99 hoping that you get a third of that ($33.33) however Udemy will list your course at $9.99 and if you are lucky you will get $3.33. There is nothing that you can do, you are basically taking something that you have spilt blood, sweat, and tears over and giving it to a company who doesn't give a shit and will do what it wants with it. This is incredibly frustrating when there are courses that are not as good as yours but have been around longer so carry a higher price.

2. Country bases pricing

This is probably the most frustrating thing about Udemy, the prices are set per country so your course may sell at $19.99 (if the gods at Udemy deem so) but in third world countries someone will be able to pick it up for $2 and you will make 60c on the course. I'm not kidding. People are smart and have realised this so they use a VPN to look like they are login in from elsewhere and get the course cheaper. This has impacts your course in a number of negative ways, firstly, it means that you have even less control over the course prices as people can just use work around meaning your hard work is basically being given away. Also it leads to a influx of customers from outside the US or the West who believe it is their right, almost their duty to complain about every little thing, that leads me onto my next point.

3. Reviews

Reviews are king in Udemy, if you can get good reviews your course will be pushed to the top. But you need a significant number of 5* reviews, anything less that 5* reviews are worthless. Even 4* reviews are a waste of time as they will bring your average down and that will lower your courses overall rating which then lowers sales etc. As Lex pointed out, 1* and 2* reviews are given far more weight than 5* reviews and can really F*ck things up. For example, I remember when I was starting out and I hit 100 Reviews (which is no easy feat considering you are lucky if you get 1 review per 5/6 students) and I got my first 1* star review. So the ratio of that is 1% of my reviews were a 1* rating, guess which review was front and centre when you viewed my course... You guessed it... that single 1* review.

Just to really drive home the point of Reviews and how little control you have over them here is another point. I'm British so I write with a British tone (Slides etc), e.g. Summarise vs Summarize. Some student gave me a 1* review because of my spelling mistakes and when I challenged it with Udemy they sided with the Student as they want to promote a clear and transparent review system, another time a Student wrote a 1* review because I 'missed a topic', turned out after messaging them that they skipped it by accident but found it and were happy. I asked them to change their review to reflect it, again nothing happened, and infact Udemy gave me a warning for influencing reviews. And my last example just to really drive home the point, I got another 1* review from someone who took 1% of the course, that's 1% of 13 hours (roughly 7 minutes). That means that they didn't even get through the introduction or where I break the exam guide down. I raised this with Udemy and as usually they believed that it was a fair review and wouldn't remove it.

4. Questions

Don't underestimate the number of questions that you will get from Students of your courses. Especially if you teach something that can be technical. This is exasperated by the fact that a number of students believe that buying you course entitles them to answers within a hour and failure to do so results in... can you guess... a 1 star review that you can challenge. Students know this and use it as a tactic to ask daft questions that are covered throughout your course but they just cant be bothered to look.

5. Free Mentorship

A step up on the questions element are the Students who believe that buying your course gives them free mentorship for life, they constantly ask you 'hypothetical scenario based' questions for a better understanding which are obviously real life scenarios at work that they can't figure out. These can be really complex scenarios that are completely out of the scope of your course yet they still expect you to provide them with step-by-step instructions and guidance to solve every need. This can be particularly dangerous for me as legally as part of my work contract I cannot offer any advice regarding configuration or implementation and if I did then I would be dismissed, also, if you advise someone wrong they'll come for you.

6. Time Consuming

Man it is time consuming, keeping the courses up to date, answering questions, responding to reviews. All for $1-$3 per sale. Keep in mind that in my day job I get paid around $50 a hour, and if I was in the US that would be around $150 a hour (the UK market pays rubbish compared to the US), taking 2 hours a day to respond to these questions and reviews, plus the hours to keep the course up to date isn't really worth it.

7. Udemy are Assholes

This is probably the biggest issue I have with Udemy. They are Assholes, it doesn't matter what happens, what you do, how irrelevant or false a review is they will always side with the student. This is a bit of a nightmare when it comes to reviews because Students will buy your course, download you lectures or scrape them (Im sure there is software that does this) and then get a full refund and you have nothing to show. Udemy does not care about the Instructors in the slightest and they don't even hide it, every time you try and raise a concern, issues, or customer service case they send the same boiler plate respond that hides behind a "Trust and Integrity" value that cannot be deviated from.

8. Would I do it again?

So after all my belly aching, would I do it again? Surprisingly the answer is yes. But because I understand that Udemy will not make me rich, but it does allow me to help 1000's of people and karma will serve me in the future. If you think you are going to make a decent amount of money you are sadly mistaken, you will be lucky to break even when you compare the cost of your time but it does give you a route to test your idea.

The saving grace about my experience with Udemy is that it has enabled be to help 1000's of people and that has opened up other conversations and opportunities.

I hope that helps!
 
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Andy Black

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Finally, a topic I can make a solid contribution towards!

All joking aside, I've been selling my courses on Udemy for just under 12 months and in that time I have acquired 15,000+ students so I feel like I can speak a little from experience. That being said, don't take what I say as gospel, people such as @Lex DeVille and @Andy Black have far more experience and expertise than me.

I'll answer the question that you are undoubtedly getting at first, can you make money on Udemy.

The short answer is yes, but nowhere near as much as you think you can. You would think that with 15,000 students in 12 months I would be well on my way to creating a system that generates "kiss my a$$" money. Unfortunately as Lex has pointed out, you make very little per student. On average between $1-$3 per student. Please take into consideration that my course has been included in the Udemy Business Catalog meaning that I make considerably more than people who are not as I get paid per minute watched by Udemy Business Students and my course is 13 hours long so that drives a significant amount of revenue.

Also my course is highly regarded in my field and is recommended by people on Reddit, LinkedIn, and Facebook so traffic isn't coming purely from Udemy searches.

I would seriously reconsider Udemy unless you are testing the market.

Following Lex's example here are a couple of things that I wish I knew before starting out on Udemy.

1. You have no control over the price that your course sells at if you join the Promotional Scheme.

Yep, you heard that right. You can tell Udemy to list your course for $99.99 hoping that you get a third of that ($33.33) however Udemy will list your course at $9.99 and if you are lucky you will get $3.33. There is nothing that you can do, you are basically taking something that you have spilt blood, sweat, and tears over and giving it to a company who doesn't give a shit and will do what it wants with it. This is incredibly frustrating when there are courses that are not as good as yours but have been around longer so carry a higher price.

2. Country bases pricing

This is probably the most frustrating thing about Udemy, the prices are set per country so your course may sell at $19.99 (if the gods at Udemy deem so) but in third world countries someone will be able to pick it up for $2 and you will make 60c on the course. I'm not kidding. People are smart and have realised this so they use a VPN to look like they are login in from elsewhere and get the course cheaper. This has impacts your course in a number of negative ways, firstly, it means that you have even less control over the course prices as people can just use work around meaning your hard work is basically being given away. Also it leads to a influx of customers from outside the US or the West who believe it is their right, almost their duty to complain about every little thing, that leads me onto my next point.

3. Reviews

Reviews are king in Udemy, if you can get good reviews your course will be pushed to the top. But you need a significant number of 5* reviews, anything less that 5* reviews are worthless. Even 4* reviews are a waste of time as they will bring your average down and that will lower your courses overall rating which then lowers sales etc. As Lex pointed out, 1* and 2* reviews are given far more weight than 5* reviews and can really F*ck things up. For example, I remember when I was starting out and I hit 100 Reviews (which is no easy feat considering you are lucky if you get 1 review per 5/6 students) and I got my first 1* star review. So the ratio of that is 1% of my reviews were a 1* rating, guess which review was front and centre when you viewed my course... You guessed it... that single 1* review.

Just to really drive home the point of Reviews and how little control you have over them here is another point. I'm British so I write with a British tone (Slides etc), e.g. Summarise vs Summarize. Some student gave me a 1* review because of my spelling mistakes and when I challenged it with Udemy they sided with the Student as they want to promote a clear and transparent review system, another time a Student wrote a 1* review because I 'missed a topic', turned out after messaging them that they skipped it by accident but found it and were happy. I asked them to change their review to reflect it, again nothing happened, and infact Udemy gave me a warning for influencing reviews. And my last example just to really drive home the point, I got another 1* review from someone who took 1% of the course, that's 1% of 13 hours (roughly 7 minutes). That means that they didn't even get through the introduction or where I break the exam guide down. I raised this with Udemy and as usually they believed that it was a fair review and wouldn't remove it.

4. Questions

Don't underestimate the number of questions that you will get from Students of your courses. Especially if you teach something that can be technical. This is exasperated by the fact that a number of students believe that buying you course entitles them to answers within a hour and failure to do so results in... can you guess... a 1 star review that you can challenge. Students know this and use it as a tactic to ask daft questions that are covered throughout your course but they just cant be bothered to look.

5. Free Mentorship

A step up on the questions element are the Students who believe that buying your course gives them free mentorship for life, they constantly ask you 'hypothetical scenario based' questions for a better understanding which are obviously real life scenarios at work that they can't figure out. These can be really complex scenarios that are completely out of the scope of your course yet they still expect you to provide them with step-by-step instructions and guidance to solve every need. This can be particularly dangerous for me as legally as part of my work contract I cannot offer any advice regarding configuration or implementation and if I did then I would be dismissed, also, if you advise someone wrong they'll come for you.

6. Time Consuming

Man it is time consuming, keeping the courses up to date, answering questions, responding to reviews. All for $1-$3 per sale. Keep in mind that in my day job I get paid around $50 a hour, and if I was in the US that would be around $150 a hour (the UK market pays rubbish compared to the US), taking 2 hours a day to respond to these questions and reviews, plus the hours to keep the course up to date isn't really worth it.

7. Udemy are Assholes

This is probably the biggest issue I have with Udemy. They are Assholes, it doesn't matter what happens, what you do, how irrelevant or false a review is they will always side with the student. This is a bit of a nightmare when it comes to reviews because Students will buy your course, download you lectures or scrape them (Im sure there is software that does this) and then get a full refund and you have nothing to show. Udemy does not care about the Instructors in the slightest and they don't even hide it, every time you try and raise a concern, issues, or customer service case they send the same boiler plate respond that hides behind a "Trust and Integrity" value that cannot be deviated from.

8. Would I do it again?

So after all my belly aching, would I do it again? Surprisingly the answer is yes. But because I understand that Udemy will not make me rich, but it does allow me to help 1000's of people and karma will serve me in the future. If you think you are going to make a decent amount of money you are sadly mistaken, you will be lucky to break even when you compare the cost of your time but it does give you a route to test your idea.

The saving grace about my experience with Udemy is that it has enabled be to help 1000's of people and that has opened up other conversations and opportunities.

I hope that helps!
That's scary reading. I just have to correct you and say you have way more expertise and knowledge than me on this. I've never put a course up on Udemy and have no intention of doing so after reading this.

I wonder about your last statement though. How many 1,000s more people could you have helped if you spent that time getting your course in front of people who'd appreciate it more?
 

xxx22

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Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
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Finally, a topic I can make a solid contribution towards!

All joking aside, I've been selling my courses on Udemy for just under 12 months and in that time I have acquired 15,000+ students so I feel like I can speak a little from experience. That being said, don't take what I say as gospel, people such as @Lex DeVille and @Andy Black have far more experience and expertise than me.

I'll answer the question that you are undoubtedly getting at first, can you make money on Udemy.

The short answer is yes, but nowhere near as much as you think you can. You would think that with 15,000 students in 12 months I would be well on my way to creating a system that generates "kiss my a$$" money. Unfortunately as Lex has pointed out, you make very little per student. On average between $1-$3 per student. Please take into consideration that my course has been included in the Udemy Business Catalog meaning that I make considerably more than people who are not as I get paid per minute watched by Udemy Business Students and my course is 13 hours long so that drives a significant amount of revenue.

Also my course is highly regarded in my field and is recommended by people on Reddit, LinkedIn, and Facebook so traffic isn't coming purely from Udemy searches.

I would seriously reconsider Udemy unless you are testing the market.

Following Lex's example here are a couple of things that I wish I knew before starting out on Udemy.

1. You have no control over the price that your course sells at if you join the Promotional Scheme.

Yep, you heard that right. You can tell Udemy to list your course for $99.99 hoping that you get a third of that ($33.33) however Udemy will list your course at $9.99 and if you are lucky you will get $3.33. There is nothing that you can do, you are basically taking something that you have spilt blood, sweat, and tears over and giving it to a company who doesn't give a shit and will do what it wants with it. This is incredibly frustrating when there are courses that are not as good as yours but have been around longer so carry a higher price.

2. Country bases pricing

This is probably the most frustrating thing about Udemy, the prices are set per country so your course may sell at $19.99 (if the gods at Udemy deem so) but in third world countries someone will be able to pick it up for $2 and you will make 60c on the course. I'm not kidding. People are smart and have realised this so they use a VPN to look like they are login in from elsewhere and get the course cheaper. This has impacts your course in a number of negative ways, firstly, it means that you have even less control over the course prices as people can just use work around meaning your hard work is basically being given away. Also it leads to a influx of customers from outside the US or the West who believe it is their right, almost their duty to complain about every little thing, that leads me onto my next point.

3. Reviews

Reviews are king in Udemy, if you can get good reviews your course will be pushed to the top. But you need a significant number of 5* reviews, anything less that 5* reviews are worthless. Even 4* reviews are a waste of time as they will bring your average down and that will lower your courses overall rating which then lowers sales etc. As Lex pointed out, 1* and 2* reviews are given far more weight than 5* reviews and can really F*ck things up. For example, I remember when I was starting out and I hit 100 Reviews (which is no easy feat considering you are lucky if you get 1 review per 5/6 students) and I got my first 1* star review. So the ratio of that is 1% of my reviews were a 1* rating, guess which review was front and centre when you viewed my course... You guessed it... that single 1* review.

Just to really drive home the point of Reviews and how little control you have over them here is another point. I'm British so I write with a British tone (Slides etc), e.g. Summarise vs Summarize. Some student gave me a 1* review because of my spelling mistakes and when I challenged it with Udemy they sided with the Student as they want to promote a clear and transparent review system, another time a Student wrote a 1* review because I 'missed a topic', turned out after messaging them that they skipped it by accident but found it and were happy. I asked them to change their review to reflect it, again nothing happened, and infact Udemy gave me a warning for influencing reviews. And my last example just to really drive home the point, I got another 1* review from someone who took 1% of the course, that's 1% of 13 hours (roughly 7 minutes). That means that they didn't even get through the introduction or where I break the exam guide down. I raised this with Udemy and as usually they believed that it was a fair review and wouldn't remove it.

4. Questions

Don't underestimate the number of questions that you will get from Students of your courses. Especially if you teach something that can be technical. This is exasperated by the fact that a number of students believe that buying you course entitles them to answers within a hour and failure to do so results in... can you guess... a 1 star review that you can challenge. Students know this and use it as a tactic to ask daft questions that are covered throughout your course but they just cant be bothered to look.

5. Free Mentorship

A step up on the questions element are the Students who believe that buying your course gives them free mentorship for life, they constantly ask you 'hypothetical scenario based' questions for a better understanding which are obviously real life scenarios at work that they can't figure out. These can be really complex scenarios that are completely out of the scope of your course yet they still expect you to provide them with step-by-step instructions and guidance to solve every need. This can be particularly dangerous for me as legally as part of my work contract I cannot offer any advice regarding configuration or implementation and if I did then I would be dismissed, also, if you advise someone wrong they'll come for you.

6. Time Consuming

Man it is time consuming, keeping the courses up to date, answering questions, responding to reviews. All for $1-$3 per sale. Keep in mind that in my day job I get paid around $50 a hour, and if I was in the US that would be around $150 a hour (the UK market pays rubbish compared to the US), taking 2 hours a day to respond to these questions and reviews, plus the hours to keep the course up to date isn't really worth it.

7. Udemy are Assholes

This is probably the biggest issue I have with Udemy. They are Assholes, it doesn't matter what happens, what you do, how irrelevant or false a review is they will always side with the student. This is a bit of a nightmare when it comes to reviews because Students will buy your course, download you lectures or scrape them (Im sure there is software that does this) and then get a full refund and you have nothing to show. Udemy does not care about the Instructors in the slightest and they don't even hide it, every time you try and raise a concern, issues, or customer service case they send the same boiler plate respond that hides behind a "Trust and Integrity" value that cannot be deviated from.

8. Would I do it again?

So after all my belly aching, would I do it again? Surprisingly the answer is yes. But because I understand that Udemy will not make me rich, but it does allow me to help 1000's of people and karma will serve me in the future. If you think you are going to make a decent amount of money you are sadly mistaken, you will be lucky to break even when you compare the cost of your time but it does give you a route to test your idea.

The saving grace about my experience with Udemy is that it has enabled be to help 1000's of people and that has opened up other conversations and opportunities.

I hope that helps!

It does help as I will never put a course on Udemy now, I'm also in the UK and agree with how badly jobs pay over here compared to the US. Have you tried other marketplaces like Reed for your courses?
 

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Thanks @Andy Black.

I wonder about your last statement though. How many 1,000s more people could you have helped if you spent that time getting your course in front of people who'd appreciate it more?

That is a really good point and something that people need to be aware of, if I am spending 10 hours a week maintaining Udemy alone imagine the impact I could have with my own thing.

Hence why I am setting up my own platform... I need to update that progress thread on the inside...
 
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Hey Prusak,

I've tried a couple of other places but Course Marketplaces are not the best place to sell your courses. I'd recommend building on your own platform like Teachable or Kajabi.

Have you tried other marketplaces like Reed for your courses?

Its funny you mention that, I'm approached weekly from other places such as Reed, Skillshare, Pluralsight and Learnfly but I'm not 100% sure if that's the route that I want to go down.
 

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Finally, a topic I can make a solid contribution towards!

All joking aside, I've been selling my courses on Udemy for just under 12 months and in that time I have acquired 15,000+ students so I feel like I can speak a little from experience. That being said, don't take what I say as gospel, people such as @Lex DeVille and @Andy Black have far more experience and expertise than me.

I'll answer the question that you are undoubtedly getting at first, can you make money on Udemy.

The short answer is yes, but nowhere near as much as you think you can. You would think that with 15,000 students in 12 months I would be well on my way to creating a system that generates "kiss my a$$" money. Unfortunately as Lex has pointed out, you make very little per student. On average between $1-$3 per student. Please take into consideration that my course has been included in the Udemy Business Catalog meaning that I make considerably more than people who are not as I get paid per minute watched by Udemy Business Students and my course is 13 hours long so that drives a significant amount of revenue.

Also my course is highly regarded in my field and is recommended by people on Reddit, LinkedIn, and Facebook so traffic isn't coming purely from Udemy searches.

I would seriously reconsider Udemy unless you are testing the market.

Following Lex's example here are a couple of things that I wish I knew before starting out on Udemy.

1. You have no control over the price that your course sells at if you join the Promotional Scheme.

Yep, you heard that right. You can tell Udemy to list your course for $99.99 hoping that you get a third of that ($33.33) however Udemy will list your course at $9.99 and if you are lucky you will get $3.33. There is nothing that you can do, you are basically taking something that you have spilt blood, sweat, and tears over and giving it to a company who doesn't give a shit and will do what it wants with it. This is incredibly frustrating when there are courses that are not as good as yours but have been around longer so carry a higher price.

2. Country bases pricing

This is probably the most frustrating thing about Udemy, the prices are set per country so your course may sell at $19.99 (if the gods at Udemy deem so) but in third world countries someone will be able to pick it up for $2 and you will make 60c on the course. I'm not kidding. People are smart and have realised this so they use a VPN to look like they are login in from elsewhere and get the course cheaper. This has impacts your course in a number of negative ways, firstly, it means that you have even less control over the course prices as people can just use work around meaning your hard work is basically being given away. Also it leads to a influx of customers from outside the US or the West who believe it is their right, almost their duty to complain about every little thing, that leads me onto my next point.

3. Reviews

Reviews are king in Udemy, if you can get good reviews your course will be pushed to the top. But you need a significant number of 5* reviews, anything less that 5* reviews are worthless. Even 4* reviews are a waste of time as they will bring your average down and that will lower your courses overall rating which then lowers sales etc. As Lex pointed out, 1* and 2* reviews are given far more weight than 5* reviews and can really F*ck things up. For example, I remember when I was starting out and I hit 100 Reviews (which is no easy feat considering you are lucky if you get 1 review per 5/6 students) and I got my first 1* star review. So the ratio of that is 1% of my reviews were a 1* rating, guess which review was front and centre when you viewed my course... You guessed it... that single 1* review.

Just to really drive home the point of Reviews and how little control you have over them here is another point. I'm British so I write with a British tone (Slides etc), e.g. Summarise vs Summarize. Some student gave me a 1* review because of my spelling mistakes and when I challenged it with Udemy they sided with the Student as they want to promote a clear and transparent review system, another time a Student wrote a 1* review because I 'missed a topic', turned out after messaging them that they skipped it by accident but found it and were happy. I asked them to change their review to reflect it, again nothing happened, and infact Udemy gave me a warning for influencing reviews. And my last example just to really drive home the point, I got another 1* review from someone who took 1% of the course, that's 1% of 13 hours (roughly 7 minutes). That means that they didn't even get through the introduction or where I break the exam guide down. I raised this with Udemy and as usually they believed that it was a fair review and wouldn't remove it.

4. Questions

Don't underestimate the number of questions that you will get from Students of your courses. Especially if you teach something that can be technical. This is exasperated by the fact that a number of students believe that buying you course entitles them to answers within a hour and failure to do so results in... can you guess... a 1 star review that you can challenge. Students know this and use it as a tactic to ask daft questions that are covered throughout your course but they just cant be bothered to look.

5. Free Mentorship

A step up on the questions element are the Students who believe that buying your course gives them free mentorship for life, they constantly ask you 'hypothetical scenario based' questions for a better understanding which are obviously real life scenarios at work that they can't figure out. These can be really complex scenarios that are completely out of the scope of your course yet they still expect you to provide them with step-by-step instructions and guidance to solve every need. This can be particularly dangerous for me as legally as part of my work contract I cannot offer any advice regarding configuration or implementation and if I did then I would be dismissed, also, if you advise someone wrong they'll come for you.

6. Time Consuming

Man it is time consuming, keeping the courses up to date, answering questions, responding to reviews. All for $1-$3 per sale. Keep in mind that in my day job I get paid around $50 a hour, and if I was in the US that would be around $150 a hour (the UK market pays rubbish compared to the US), taking 2 hours a day to respond to these questions and reviews, plus the hours to keep the course up to date isn't really worth it.

7. Udemy are Assholes

This is probably the biggest issue I have with Udemy. They are Assholes, it doesn't matter what happens, what you do, how irrelevant or false a review is they will always side with the student. This is a bit of a nightmare when it comes to reviews because Students will buy your course, download you lectures or scrape them (Im sure there is software that does this) and then get a full refund and you have nothing to show. Udemy does not care about the Instructors in the slightest and they don't even hide it, every time you try and raise a concern, issues, or customer service case they send the same boiler plate respond that hides behind a "Trust and Integrity" value that cannot be deviated from.

8. Would I do it again?

So after all my belly aching, would I do it again? Surprisingly the answer is yes. But because I understand that Udemy will not make me rich, but it does allow me to help 1000's of people and karma will serve me in the future. If you think you are going to make a decent amount of money you are sadly mistaken, you will be lucky to break even when you compare the cost of your time but it does give you a route to test your idea.

The saving grace about my experience with Udemy is that it has enabled be to help 1000's of people and that has opened up other conversations and opportunities.

I hope that helps!

This would be really valuable as its own thread - this can help a lot of people.

I was close to doing a Udemy course for promotional tactics, but this sounds a total nightmare.

Thanks for posting this up.
 
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I might look at creating a thread on the inside so I can walk through all the numbers :)

That does make for frightening reading when you realise how much Udemy takes of your sale.
 

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This would be really valuable as its own thread - this can help a lot of people.

I was close to doing a Udemy course for promotional tactics, but this sounds a total nightmare.

Thanks for posting this up.
Upgraded to Notable and stickied. If it's helped Fox make a decision then maybe this will help others too.


Is it possible to create a free course on Udemy, or one super cheap, and just use it to get in front of new people?
 

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Is it possible to create a free course on Udemy, or one super cheap, and just use it to get in front of new people?

It is, however, the course has to be under 2 hours long and will not get promoted like paid courses will.

Basically its a waste of your time unless you are going to be actively pushing people.
 
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It is, however, the course has to be under 2 hours long and will not get promoted like paid courses will.

Basically its a waste of your time unless you are going to be actively pushing people.
What's the minimum price that Udemy is incentivised to promote?
 

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