How to Make Money on Udemy Selling Online Courses

Do you have a unique skill but aren’t sure how to harness its power? If you haven’t considered making money selling courses on Udemy, maybe it’s time you start.

You can do more with your skills and knowledge than just toil away at a 9-to-5 job. With Udemy, you can share your knowledge by creating an online course and make money in the process.

Udemy gives you the reach you need to get your course in the hands of many, with over 35 million students worldwide. Their huge user base means there’s already a built-in audience ready to consume (and pay for) your online course.

So, how do you make money selling courses on Udemy? Let’s find out.

What is Udemy, and how does it work?

Udemy is the leading online course provider of its kind, with 130,000 courses and 57,000 instructors. There are courses on every topic and skill imaginable.

Udemy boasts over 400 million course enrollments, spanning across 180 countries and in over 65 languages.

As a course creator, Udemy will give you all the tools you need to create your online course. Once you choose a topic, you’ll plan lectures, upload videos, and build a community around your course within the instructor dashboard.

By now, you might be wondering whether Udemy is a place you can “get rich quick” or rather a viable way to build long-term, passive income. Let me address that in the next section.

Want to fast-track your growth on Udemy? There’s a class for that! Enroll in The Complete Guide to Selling Courses on Udemy by Daniel Boehm. It’s currently ranked as the best course for new instructors wanting to make a full-time income on the platform.

How much money can you make with Udemy?

There’s no limit to the amount of money you can make on Udemy. It all depends on how much demand there is for your course and how much you choose to charge.

Courses range from free up to $200 each. It’s important to note that Udemy often offers discounts to new students, so from time to time, your course may be discounted. This will undoubtedly affect how much money you make.

While it can be frustrating to have your course sell for so little, realize this is only to get more people into the Udemy ecosystem, and it will lead to better results down the line for everyone.

What is Udemy’s pay structure?

It is completely free to create a course on Udemy. They make money by taking a percentage of each sale you make. Course creators are paid out via PayPal (or Payoneer) every month.

The pay rates for course instructors vary based on how people originally enrolled in your course. Here is an overview of the instructor revenue share:

Referred by the instructor

You can make the most money by getting people to enroll in your course with your own marketing efforts. In that instance, you earn 97% of the revenue, with 3% going to Udemy for administrative and processing fees.

To make 97% of a course sale, students must enter your unique coupon code at purchase or follow your referral link.

Organic Udemy sales

For courses purchased organically through Udemy or search engines, you will receive an even 50% of the revenue. However, if your course sells in the Udemy iOS or Android app, you’ll lose an additional 30% fee (which goes to Apple or Google), leaving you with 20% of the sale.

Sales made via paid channels

If your course is promoted within Udemy’s Marketing Boost program, you will receive 25% of the revenue for every course sale. This covers Udemy’s commission they pay out as well as the cost of marketing.

What are the best course topics to make money on Udemy?

Picking the right course topic will make or break your success on Udemy.

While you can teach just about anything you want, if you want to make money on Udemy, you should focus on teaching the topics most in demand.

So, what are the best online course topics on Udemy? Here are 4 hot topics to teach:

  • Online marketing
  • Programming (Python, Java, C#)
  • Graphic design (Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator)
  • Web development (Javascript, WordPress, PHP)

While these course topics bring in the big bucks, that doesn’t mean you should entirely ignore smaller topics. While a topic might have a smaller audience, the competition is also lacking as well.

If you can find a gap and fill a need, you’re going to be a successful course seller on Udemy. Here are several other smaller online course categories you can still make money with:

  • Writing
  • Repaying student loans
  • Dog grooming
  • Painting
  • Architecture engineering

What equipment do you need to get started?

There’s no required equipment to get started. It all depends on how you want to present your course.

Some people start simply, with just PowerPoint and a microphone.

Of course, the equipment needed also depends on the nature of the topic you’re teaching, with some course topics being more visual than others.

While you don’t need a state-of-the-art camera and audio equipment, you do want to make a good first impression and come off professional. Successful instructors will tell you they took their earnings and reinvested them into their courses by purchasing higher-quality equipment.

That being said, if you’re looking to buy a few items to get started, your first purchase should be a good microphone.

Next up, for any tech-related courses, like graphic design, programming, and writing, you’ll need a screen recording app. Solid options include ScreenFlow, SnagIt, and Camtasia.

How do you get started selling courses on Udemy?

Here are the 4 steps to get started selling courses on Udemy.

Create an instructor account

To create a course on Udemy, you’ll need to start by creating an instructor account here. Note: you’ll need to be signed in to your Udemy account first.

Plan your course

Next, you’ll create an outline of your course. This includes topic, curriculum, and length.

Udemy requires courses to contain at least 30 minutes of content and 5 separate lessons. Any video used must be HD – at least 720p or 1080p. Make sure to factor this in when planning your course.

Record your video lessons

After you’re done planning, you’ll start recording your video lessons. This can be recorded on a smartphone or regular camera, as long as it can film HD videos.

If you don’t want to or don’t need to be on camera for your course, you can use screencasting software for demos. Udemy recommends Camtasia. Udemy’s support team offers video reviews for free so that you can create the best course possible.

Build your community

Once you’ve created your course, you should focus on building your community. Udemy provides tools for course announcements, Q&As, and quizzes. Make the course interactive by adding quizzes, assignments, and exercises. This will aid in students’ learning as well.

Using these tools lets students know that you’re active and engaged. This level of interactivity is crucial because it will undoubtedly lead to further course sales down the line.

How to be a successful online course seller on Udemy

Top earners on Udemy don’t do well by accident. Here are several things that successful Udemy instructors do well:

Choose an in-demand course

Take your time researching course topics before you get started. Find the list of the best-selling course topics on Udemy here. Check out what is already offered Udemy and think about what you can offer in comparison. Is there something that will set you apart from the competition?

Take advantage of Udemy’s teacher resources to build your course

Udemy offers lots of tools and resources for a reason – they want you to be successful. These tools are proven to work when applied.

Create a superior product that gets 5-star reviews

People expect a polished, professional course. Present yourself well, create a script, and invest in good equipment where possible.

Share your knowledge without holding anything back

Don’t hold back information. Once someone has purchased your course, they expect to be privy to everything you know about the topic. They should leave feeling as if they’ve learned everything you know on the topic.

Scope out the competition

We cannot stress enough how important it is to know your competition. Is your topic one you can compete in? Read reviews on courses similar to the one you’re thinking of creating, compare price points, and consider how saturated the market is.

Be an expert on the topic

In other words, don’t pick a topic just because you think it will make you money. You must be an expert on the topic before you create the course.

This is different from the advice I give to starting a blog. For a blog, you don’t need to be an expert in your niche – you just need to have an intense interest in learning more about it.

Have a marketing strategy

You’ll make the most money on courses that you sell via your own marketing. Before you create the course, put together a plan on how and where you’ll market your course without Udemy’s help. Are you able to market your chosen topic?

Find where your ideal audience hangs out and establish a presence there. This could either be a niche forum, Twitter, or on on-topic Facebook groups.

Becoming known as an expert on a topic can really help you boost sales and earn that coveted 97% of every sale.

Prepare to invest time

Choose a topic that you’re ready to spend hours discussing and won’t get bored of. As a course creator, you’re solely in charge of building your community and keeping your students engaged. While it takes time to create a course, it takes a longer time to build a tribe of people who’ll buy every course you create.

Sell your courses outside of Udemy

There’s no reason why you should stick to selling your courses exclusively on Udemy. You will stand to make more money if you sell courses on your own using an online course platform.

One strategy you can look into is offering smaller, lower-priced courses on Udemy and saving the more in-depth courses for your own platform.

The downside of not using Udemy, of course, is that you won’t get access to Udemy’s huge user base. But if you want to take on the challenge of building an audience on social media or a blog, I recommend giving any of these online course platforms a try:

Udemy is an excellent online course marketplace for both students and instructors alike. As an instructor, you can build passive income, creating a course once and then selling it over and over again.

Once you’ve made a successful course, the road isn’t over just yet, though. To make the most amount of money on Udem, you’ll need to update your content consistently and provide ongoing support to students.

Most importantly, you must market your course and build a community yourself to see big success on the platform. But if you have the expertise, willpower, and a social media following, you can successfully make good money selling courses on Udemy.

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