I came across the concept of making money teaching online relatively recently, when I was introduced to Udemy. Teaching students online? No, I had never considered it as a viable option for myself before as I didn’t think I would have anything to teach others. But, after looking around myself and on the vast array of learning categories on Udemy, I became aware of the endless teaching online opportunities out there and that I too could earn by teaching courses online. So, let me tell you more about Udemy.
Founder: Eren Bali
Rating: 75 out of 100
What is Udemy
Udemy is an online learning platform to fulfill learning needs of virtually everybody and in virtually any field of subject you can think of. Udemy does not only cover academic subjects or online skill based needs, but it can cater for technical learning requirements too.
Today, however, I am going to cover the aspect of Udemy which concerns the population of teachers who make a success of Udemy.
As a teacher – or instructor, as Udemy likes to call us – you are put before a vast collection of online tools to build your course, with the aid not only of video and sound tools, but also of practice tools to make your courses easier to follow and to practice tasks on.
As an instructor, you can make your course available for as little as £20, all the way up to £200. Udemy retains a small figure of 3% of the price charged, but there are guidelines that as an instructor you have to abide to, when putting your course together.
The aim of Udemy is really to make education in most fields available to the mass of people who, for any reason, want to catch up with basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as in business, tech and personal development areas.
Udemy also has a separate learning section dedicated to business owners, who want to purchase specialized courses for their workforce. As an instructor, by all means you can equally contribute to such bigger deals, where your earnings will be higher, given the higher quality of teaching delivery required by you.
Born from a bedroom
Before I move onto describing a little more in details how Udemy operates, I wanted to briefly go through its history and how Udemy was born.
The founder is a Mr Bali, who as a young Turkish gentleman initially didn’t have access to much learning – until, as the story goes on Udemy’s page, his parents got him a computer. The long and short of it is that through that big boxed screen computer, Mr Bali started linking with teaching communities, which helped him achieve high accolades in Maths, but also gave him the idea to replicate his learning experience by building that community on a single platform: Udemy.
He found co-founders Oktay Caglar and Gagan Biyani, who shared with him this common vision of making learning more accessible to remote communities, and the rest is history. A successful history, by the sound of it!
How does Udemy work?
The principle over which Udemy works is very simple.
As somebody signs up to any courses available on Udemy, they are asked to pay a fee for that course. The fee paid by your student represents your income. And in the long run, it ends up becoming a form of passive income, as you can have a multitude of different students buying your course at different times, hence your earnings keep coming your way.
Udemy does not charge potential instructors to post their courses on the platform. In order to start charging for your courses, as an instructor, however, you must upgrade your profile to the one of Premium Instructor (again for FREE).
Udemy will then retain a small percentage of your earnings. Here is a breakdown of their percentage fees they claim over your earnings:
The beauty of Udemy
Tons of good ideas and earning opportunities contribute to making Udemy a most successful platform. With a following of approximately 16,000 student worldwide at any time, the success of Udemy is also to be attributed to the good quality of its courses and to the ease of delivery.
In other words, Udemy is a good deal for both students and instructors.
To me, what strikes as real positive on Udemy are:
- So many course and subject categories you can post your teaching under – again, versatile for instructors as much as for students;
- Good marketing material available – Udemy supports instructors in promoting their teaching material with coupons, with discount periods for new students, and with social media tools;
- Udemy walks instructors step by step in the creation of their courses, again making available a lot of supporting interactive material;
- It is totally FREE at the point of registering your details and submitting as many courses as you wish.
- It offers an affiliate program which enables you all and me to earn using instructors’ coupons from their course and earn a 25% commission if a student purchases the course within 7 days.
Limitations of Udemy
However, Udemy in my view does have limitations – although not that many.
Nobody can dispute the fact that Udemy has become one of the leading online teaching platforms currently available on the market. But there are a couple of issues that prevent me from rating it higher:
- Length it takes to put your course together – STEER CLEAR of Udemy if you think it’s a quick and easy money opportunity, because it is not;
- The website could be slightly more user-friendly – much like Fiverr, it has a sub-site for instructors, but not all terms and conditions are clear until you register as an instructor;
- So many categories, but I would like to see more – so much can be done online nowadays, that it breaks my heart to see that, although Udemy offers a wide range, it could offer even more.
No, I have not yet had time to post a full course. Bearing in mind that one of the main requirement for instructors is to deliver a minimum of 5 lessons over no less than 30 minutes, I have started my course (on how to build a website, would you believe it?!?!), but I have not yet completed it.
Yet, I do believe that, once my work is finished, and once I use a combination of marketing and promotional material offered by Udemy, combined with the use of my personal social media account, I will start finding students interested in my course.
I see many similarities between Fiverr and Udemy. On both platforms you sell your work, mostly online based, but as both websites have a worldwide reach, the competition we face is in fact quite steep.
And that is why I believe the earnings on Udemy will come, but only with time, perseverance and dedication.
Then again, I do mistrust the ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes and would never want to go down that route.
Udemy is not different from many other online entrepreneurial ventures. It does require hard work if you want to make money, but ultimately it can be highly rewarding not only financially, but from a personal fulfillment point of view, when you realise that there are people out there who can improve in their knowledge and in their career paths through your courses. Because there is nothing better and more rewarding than helping others.
Now, yes, I would like to hear from you. Especially if you are already an established instructor, I’d love if you could take a few seconds of your time to share your experience as an Udemy contributor with us. Or by all means, if you are considering using Udemy as an additional source of income working from home, and would like to find out more – either way, do leave your comment below. I shall respond to each and every of you as soon as I possibly can.