How to Make Money Selling Online Courses on Udemy

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Young woman using a computer and taking notes, online learning, online teaching, side hustle

Author Jessica Brody taught writing courses at libraries and conferences for years. Although she enjoyed teaching, it started to get exhausting. She had to travel to each location, and she often taught the same material over and over again. Brody started looking for an alternative.

“My husband was researching online teaching platforms, and we decided to create a short writing class as a test course for Udemy to see if it’d work,” she said. “We earned $1,000 in the first week after releasing it.”

If you’re like Brody and looking for a source of extra income, you could teach classes through Udemy too. Find out how the platform works and Brody’s tips for getting started.

What is Udemy?

Udemy is an online marketplace for users all over the world. Home to thousands of classes, Udemy allows instructors to record video courses and sell them to interested students of all ages.

For people looking to earn extra income, Udemy can be a great tool. If you’re an expert in your field or have expertise in a specific niche, you can create a course and sell it online. You’ll earn money for every student who enrolls.

Anyone can teach a class on Udemy, even with no prior teaching experience. When you sign up to become an instructor, Udemy will ask about your experience, your comfort level with video, and whether you have an established audience interested in your materials. Udemy offers robust resources to help you get started based on your answers.

How much do Udemy instructors earn?

Brody currently offers five courses on different aspects of writing. Her courses are popular; over 7,000 people have taken her classes on Udemy. Her earnings from teaching online are substantial.

“I make between $1,500 and $3,000 per month with Udemy,” said Brody. “I use that extra money for things like travel or big purchases.”

With Udemy, your earning potential is unlimited. You decide how much to charge for your course. Some courses are free or cost as little as $1, while others cost hundreds. How much you make depends on the price you set and the demand for your course.

One of the best features of selling classes on Udemy is the fact that it can become an excellent source of passive income. Once you create and post a course, it can earn you money for a long time without additional work from you.

According to Udemy, there are over 65,000 classes on the platform. There are courses on almost every subject imaginable, including dog grooming, making gift baskets, computer programming, and editing photos. Although some of the best-selling courses focus on graphic design and programming, you can make lots of money teaching any subject. It just might take more work to market your course to potential students.

5 tips to create and sell online courses

Although Udemy can be a good source of extra income, it takes more than just throwing together a course to be successful. Brody offered the following five tips to help you get started.

1. Use Udemy resources

Udemy publishes many free resources for instructors, both beginners and seasoned teachers. It offers guides on how to create a course, build an audience, and use video. You can even submit a test video and get feedback on your performance from Udemy experts. There’s also a community where instructors can learn about and share best practices.

Brody stressed how useful these resources are and encouraged new instructors to take advantage of them.

“Udemy does a lot to help you,” she said. “If you can sell your course and prove there is demand, they’ll also help you market your course.”

2. Focus on your most in-demand skills

When you’re thinking about what to teach, Brody recommended focusing on your most in-demand skills. Doing so will help you find an audience for your courses.

“I tell people to think about what their friends ask them about,” she said.

For example, Brody said people often asked her about how she managed to write several books a year. Those questions prompted her to create a course on productivity hacks for writers. Now, over 3,700 students have taken that class.

3. Invest in good equipment

Although you don’t need professional-grade equipment, Brody recommended investing your earnings in some upgrades.

“When I started, I just had PowerPoint slides and audio,” she said. “Then, I used that money to invest in more equipment, like a higher-quality camera and teleprompter.”

You might be fine with only slides and audio; some courses follow that format and are quite successful. However, Brody said you should consider investing in a good microphone, which can cost between $50 and $100. She also recommended using an excellent screen-capturing program. She uses Camtasia because it’s easy and even allows her to edit video.

If you’re short on cash, consider taking out a low-interest personal loan to purchase the essentials and create quality courses. Going into debt isn’t ideal, but a small investment now can help you earn more money later.

4. Script your course

Some Udemy instructors use a casual format and teach courses off the top of their head instead of following a script. According to Brody, that’s a mistake.

“It’s important to remember that this isn’t YouTube,” she said. “People are handing over their money and expect a polished and professional course.”

Instead, Brody recommended coming up with a script ahead of time. Writing a script and sticking to it can prevent you from rambling or going off on tangents, making your course more engaging and focused.

5. Give away your knowledge

Brody said one of the biggest mistakes she sees is instructors who are afraid to give away too much information.

“Some instructors hold back,” she said. “They’re afraid if they give away all of their secrets, they’ll create their own competition.”

Brody stressed how important it is to share your secrets for success to make your courses valuable and useful. Otherwise, the courses won’t be effective, and you won’t get as many students.

Earn extra money

If you want to make money without setting aside time every day, Udemy might be a good option for you. By teaching classes online, you can create a course once, and it can continue to earn money for you months or even years after you post it.

If you’re ready to share your expertise and start making money online, sign up to become a Udemy instructor today.

Looking for other ways to make money? Check out our list of the best side hustle opportunities.

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.