Welcome the first part of my ‘How I Make Money Online’ series! The next instalment will be about my new online shop Impossibletobuyfor.com but today I’m going to be telling you all about Udemy. This is the portion of my income that I’d say is most accessible to everyone, so if you’re looking to start off easy, and maybe even alongside a full time job, then keep reading.
What is Udemy?
It’s a platform for video e-learning courses – if you want to learn from home and don’t fancy a book then Udemy is the place for you. It’s got everything from yoga to dating to web development to sales skills – it really is an entire encyclopaedia of new skills just waiting to be learnt.
What can you teach?
The short answer is: anything. Udemy don’t really set any limit on what topics you cover; if you think it’ll sell you can do it. You don’t have to be a qualified expert, you just have to have enough gravitas to persuade people to take your course, and then offer enough value that they leave you a great review. My courses are on everything from Negotiating to Blogging to University Study Skills (wait until the end for cheap access to all of them).
If you’re now thinking “I’ve got nothing I can teach” then think again. Once I got started on my first course I soon realised that you didn’t need to be a world class expert, you just needed to be passionate, relaxed in front of the camera, and clear at explaining things. We all know someone who’s a mega pro but simply can’t put it into teaching language, so you just need to make that jump. Maybe you could teach about your previous career, or your hobby, or the content from an inspiring self help book you just read. Once you open your eyes you soon realise the possibilities are endless.
How much can you make?
That’s really entirely up to you. Instructors make anything from £10 per month to £10,000. Part of that is to do with having great online skills for things like Facebook ads and gaining YouTube subscribers, but it’s also heavily linked to the quality of your course. If you can make a great course, packed with information, in a topic that people really want to learn about, then you’re set. So far I’ve made between £300-£1000 a month with zero promotion or effort on my part. It’s not enough to live off yet, but it’s a pretty nice chunk to make while you sleep!
Is it a lot of work?
As I mentioned above, you can choose to promote your course, and if the sale comes from a link you’ve shared then you get 97% of the money. By contrast, if Udemy do the selling for you (someone searches via the platform and finds your course) they keep 50%. For me, I’m happy to let them do all the work and keep some money, but if you had time to promote your course (it’s on my Jobs to Do List I promise) you could make twice as much straight away. The time taken to creating a course is similarly up to you – many people spend months perfecting a script, but I tend to plan a bullet pointed outline over week or two, and then set aside a morning to semi-ad-lib it to camera. Editing can take a few days, but all in all if you set your mind to it you could be done in a long week. Each ‘lecture’ (aka video) is only a few minutes long so there’s not much content to remember if you do want to try and improv a bit on camera, and then the whole course should ideally be around 2 hours. This might sound like a lot but you’d be amazed how quickly that time goes by – once you get researching on your topic you’ll have pages and pages of ideas that you want to include.
What tools do you recommend?
Udemy aren’t too fussy about camera quality (a lot of people just use Powerpoint screenshots with a voiceover, or even their laptop camera) but they are very very keen on sound quality. I’d recommend investing in a decent mic like these two:
I use the Sony ECM-MS907 Condenser Microphone and it’s great if you’re going to be talking to camera as it plugs directly into the AUX (headphone) hole on the camera so you don’t have to sync up the audio later.
If you’re going to be doing powerpoint or screen capture (e.g. filming your screen while you demo web development or design) then a USB mic will be better for you. The Blue Yeti is the one Udemy themselves recommend, so it’s a pretty safe bet.
However, I personally think full video capture is better for the student and leads to higher reviews and ranking. I love my Sony a65 as it’s one of the few SLRs that do autofocus in video mode and is super reliable. I use the Sony SAL 30mm Lens as it gives a beautiful picture and background blur, but you can fit a lot more in shot than with a 50mm lens. If we’re going for full video, for me lights ate 100% essential. You’d be amazed how much of a difference it makes. If you’re just using ceiling lights the whole thing will be dark and gloomy, but with proper lights you’ll get an instantly professional look. Plus, they’re a lot cheaper than you’d think. I have two big soft boxes which were only £15 each (practically worth it just for the gorgeous selfies you’ll get). Next you’ll want a sturdy and versatile tripod like the Ravelli one and then you’re all good to go! I do my editing in iMovie, so no need to invest in expensive video editing software, and if you’re doing screen capture tutorials then you NEED iorad as it turns everything into lovely PDF tutorials for you (utter magic). Plus their team are super lovely and respond to questions really fast. Finally, I’d highly recommend you join the Udemy Facebook groups – Udemy Studio and Udemy Faculty Lounge. They’re a great place to ask questions, get feedback, and be inspired. Lots of people share screenshots of their monthly earnings so you can get a good feel for how big the potential is.
Officially a legit #fashionblogger now thanks to my #ebaybargain #lightboxes – very happy!! A photo posted by Louise Croft (@louisecroft) on
Can you help me get started?
Of course! If you want to become a teacher then comment below, or email me on email@example.com and I’ll gladly give you some tips! I’ll probably do an updated Q&A post in a few weeks once I find out from you guys first hand what you most want to know.
Or, if you’re based anywhere near Dorset let me know – I’ve now started filming and editing other people’s courses, so I could save you all the trouble of getting cameras, and editing videos etc. Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested, or know someone who’d do a great course.
Can I take your courses?
I’d love you to! If you’d like to take any of my courses just use the coupon code PAUPERFAN to get any of them for $10/£8 instead of the regular prices. Just click the link below to the courses you want. Enjoy!