How to Make Money on Udemy: 10 Best Tips

Are you interested in making money as an online course creator on Udemy or similar platforms? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

I’m an experienced Udemy instructor, and I want to share what I’ve learned over the years about how to succeed on the platform.

Throughout my time on Udemy, I’ve tried different strategies. Some worked well, and some didn’t. I’ve also paid close attention to what other instructors are doing on the platform and learned from their successes and failures.

In this post, I’ve gathered a list of Udemy tips based on my experiences and observations. These tips are ranked by importance, but each one is valuable, so be sure to read them all.

These are the best tips I know for making money on Udemy. They come from years of hands-on experience on the platform, and I hope you find them helpful.

Ready to discover how to make money on Udemy? Let’s get started!

What is Udemy?

Udemy is an online learning platform where students and professionals can expand their knowledge. With a massive user base of 50 million students, Udemy offers courses taught by 57,000 instructors in 65 different languages.

You can access over 100,000 online courses from your desktop, laptop, or mobile device using Udemy’s Android and iOS apps. What’s great is that once you purchase a course, you get lifetime access, allowing you to learn at your own pace.

Udemy covers a wide range of course categories, including:

  • Development
  • Business
  • IT and software
  • Design
  • Marketing
  • Personal development
  • Photography
  • Music

These courses utilize various teaching materials like videos, audios, and texts. Plus, Udemy offers platform-specific features such as quizzes, closed captioning, bookmarks, and instructor announcements.

Upon completing a Udemy course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion. It’s important to note that Udemy is not an accredited institution, so this certificate serves as proof of your skills and accomplishments to share with your employer, family, and friends.

Udemy for Business is a popular choice for employee learning. With this service, every customer gains unlimited access to over 4,000 top courses and fresh content provided by more than 1,500 experts and practitioners.

How Much Money Can You Make on Udemy?

A lot of folks wonder about the money they can make on Udemy. To keep it simple, the average Udemy course creator earns about $3,306 per year. But let’s dive a bit deeper. How many instructors actually make a full-time living? How is the money spread out among them? Is there a “middle class” of creators on the platform?

Unfortunately, our research uncovered some big differences. Only 1% of Udemy instructors make a full-time income, which means more than $50,000 a year, and just 4% make more than the US poverty line, which is about $14,500 a year. But here’s the kicker – most instructors (75%) make less than $1,000 each year.

But there’s an even smaller group, the top 1% of the top 1%, who make a cool million dollars annually.

The inequality becomes even clearer when we look at how the money is divided up. The richest 1% of instructors get over 50% of all the earnings, while the bottom 50% of instructors only share 1% of the money.

In simple terms, most instructors on Udemy don’t make much money, while a tiny group at the top makes a lot. There’s no middle class on Udemy, and the platform strongly favors the top 1%.

Now, you might wonder if those who didn’t make much money on Udemy at least didn’t lose anything. Well, they did lose something precious: their time and effort. There are over 73,000 courses with fewer than 100 students, which means they didn’t make much money on Udemy. But together, these courses offer around 253,000 hours of video training content. Creating all that content from scratch would cost over $500 million.

So, in a way, these creators invest their time and effort but don’t see much financial gain from it.

How to Make Money on Udemy: 10 Best Tips

For a quick start, here are 7 easy tips on how to earn money on Udemy:

1. Research Your Course Topic

When you’re getting started with Udemy course creation, the first step is to research your course topic. This means figuring out what your course will be all about.

Use Udemy’s Tools Udemy provides helpful tools to make this process easier:

  • Udemy Teaching Center: This resource hub offers free tools and resources to guide you through all stages of course creation, from planning to marketing. It helps you with defining your audience, scripting videos, checking video quality, editing, and marketing strategies.
  • Marketplace Insights: This tool helps you assess how competitive your course topic is and its income potential. It’s great for making informed decisions.
  • Free Video Feedback: You can submit your videos for a free critique from Udemy. This can be super helpful in improving your course content.

Use these resources to research your course topic effectively and set yourself up for success on Udemy.

2. Consider Your Skills

When you’re sketching out your online course on Udemy, it’s essential to think about your own skillset.

Ask yourself:

  • What are you really good at?
  • Where’s your expertise?
  • Where do you shine?

Harness Your Strengths Now, make the most of those skills when crafting your course.

For instance, if you’re a natural in front of the camera and confident in sharing your knowledge, make video instruction a central part of your courses.

On the other hand, if you’re a marketing whiz, leverage those skills to promote your course effectively when it’s ready for launch.

Remember, you don’t have to excel at everything. The key is to take the skills you’ve mastered and put them to work as you create your Udemy course. Your strengths will be your greatest assets.

3: Invest in Quality Equipment

Don’t underestimate the power of good equipment when you’re recording your Udemy video course. It’s a detail that’s easy to overlook but can really impact the final product.

A few small adjustments can lead to a big improvement in both your video and audio quality.

For instance, when it comes to audio recording, consider these Udemy-recommended tips:

  • Get an External Microphone: Using an external microphone can significantly enhance the clarity and quality of your audio.
  • Check Audio Early: Don’t wait until the end to review your audio. Make it a practice to check and fine-tune your audio settings early on to avoid the need for extensive re-recording later.

4. Create a Solid Course Outline

Having a clear course outline is like having a roadmap that makes the course creation process a breeze. You can use Udemy’s free course outline template or create your own.

Fill your course to the brim with your knowledge on the topic. Hold nothing back and strive to make your lessons as valuable as they can be.

When outlining your course, keep these key components in mind:

The Introduction:

  • Introduce your course
  • Include instructional lectures
  • Add an engaging activity

The Middle Section:

  • Organize into sections
  • Include lectures
  • Add activities and assessments
  • Provide reference materials

The Conclusion:

  • Wrap up with a final lecture
  • Consider adding a bonus section (if relevant)

Udemy offers flexibility in creating course content. You can use video and text-based lectures, incorporate quizzes, assignments, practice tests, and various other exercises to enhance the learning experience. So, let your creativity flow while outlining your course!

5. Script Your Videos 

Using a script when recording your Udemy course videos can be a game-changer. Here’s why it’s a smart move:

  • Preparation: A script helps you feel more prepared and confident.
  • Professionalism: Your videos will come across as professional and well-organized.
  • Smooth Delivery: Your delivery will be smoother and more polished.

Even the most confident course creators can get nervous in front of the camera. But with a script, your delivery will shine, even if you’re feeling a bit jittery. A script provides you with talking points and ensures your course flows seamlessly.

Here are some handy Udemy tips for using a script effectively:

  • Keep It Simple: Don’t make your script overly complicated; clarity is key.
  • Define Terms: Explain any jargon or acronyms you’ll use in the course to help learners understand.
  • Structured Lectures: Follow this structure for lectures: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you just told them.”
  • Engage with Stories and Examples: Include diverse stories and examples to keep your audience engaged.
  • Practice Your Tone: Make sure your tone is friendly and approachable.
  • Show Enthusiasm: Display enthusiasm when introducing yourself to convey your passion for the topic.

With a well-prepared script, your Udemy course videos will be engaging, informative, and professional.

6. Connect with Your Audience

Here’s where we dive into marketing. If you already have an audience, it’s time to let them in on your Udemy course. Reach out to them wherever they gather online, whether it’s Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, your email list, or other platforms.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Write an SEO-Friendly Blog Post: Craft a blog post that’s friendly to search engines (SEO) and publish it online. This can help attract potential learners to your course.
  • Share on Social Media: Make an announcement on your social media platforms to let your followers know about your course.
  • Email Your List: Send out an email to your email list, providing them with all the details about your new Udemy course.

By sharing your course with your existing audience, you’ll give it a fantastic head start and increase your chances of success on Udemy.

7. Promote Your Course

Now, let’s talk promotion. This is all about making people aware of your course. You should be promoting it before it’s live, while it’s live, and even after.

Here’s the deal: Some folks on Udemy make the mistake of thinking that just being on Udemy’s big platform will get them noticed. While it can help, marketing can take your results to the next level, whether you’re already getting attention on Udemy or not.

Here are some practical ways to promote your course:

  • Offer Discounts: Give out promo coupons or discounts to attract your first customers. It’s a great way to get people interested.
  • Show a Sneak Peek: Share a video preview of your course content. It’s like giving a taste of what’s inside.
  • Think About a Website: You don’t have to have one, but a website can be a powerful tool. You can create content to attract visitors from Google, and adding a “buy now” button can help get more students.
  • Embrace Social Media: Engage with your audience on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These are ideal places to build a community and let people know about your course.
  • Join Online Communities: Get active in online communities like Quora and Reddit related to your course topic. It might take time, but building a presence there can be super rewarding.

Promotion is a vital part of making money on Udemy. It helps you reach a broader audience and boosts the success of your course. So don’t forget to promote—before, during, and after your course goes live.

8: Gain Trust with a Free Course

Still not sure how to sell your Udemy course, or if people will be interested in it? Here’s a clever approach: Create a free course!

It might sound a bit unusual, but let me break it down:

When you offer a free course, you remove the price barrier, making it easy for students to sign up. This way, you can grow your audience and establish trust. So when you eventually launch a paid course, you already have a group of people who are interested.

Making a free course is less demanding, and you can even repurpose content from your paid courses to create a shorter introduction to the main topic.

Udemy’s current rules say that a free course should be no longer than 2 hours. However, that doesn’t mean you should compromise on quality. Treat your free course as a valuable asset to make an excellent first impression.

Fill those 2 hours with as much value as you can. The goal is to convince your students that your paid courses are the right choice for them.

9. Use Udemy Email Announcements

Udemy offers a way for instructors to connect with their students through email announcements. There are two types of emails you can send:

  • Educational Emails: These should focus solely on providing educational content, without any promotions.
  • Promotional Emails: These are where you can share discount coupons with your students.

Here’s the catch: You can send up to 4 educational emails and 2 promotional emails in a month. But here’s the thing – using all of them every single month might be a bit too much.

Your audience could get overwhelmed or annoyed, leading to them unsubscribing. This, in turn, can reduce the effectiveness of future promotions.

So, here’s how to use these emails strategically to boost your sales:

  • Limit Frequency: Send no more than one email per week, and most of the time, make it an educational one.
  • Share Sample Lessons: Send a link to a YouTube video or another hosting service like Vimeo. The video should be a sample lesson from the course you’re working on. This way, students get a taste of the course before it’s even launched.
  • Prioritize Education: Focus on delivering educational content more often than promotional coupons.
  • Reserve Promotions: Use promotional coupons sparingly, especially on major sales events like Black Friday, New Year, and course launches.

By primarily sending educational content and using promotions strategically, you can keep your students engaged and avoid overwhelming them with constant sales pitches. This approach is likely to be more effective and maintain a positive relationship with your audience.

10. Keep Improving Your Courses

Your first course version won’t be your best – that’s perfectly normal. You might make mistakes, explain things too slowly, or miss important details. But here’s the key: Don’t leave your course as-is and settle for current results.

Top Udemy courses are frequently updated for a reason. To climb the search rankings, you should refresh your courses with new information or even re-shoot them if needed.

For instance, I’ve re-filmed some courses multiple times to maintain my top spots in various categories.

However, frequent updates may not be necessary for all topics. In my field (software development), things change rapidly, so I update often.

But whatever your topic, sending an updated version of your course usually leads to increased sales, more reviews, and better rankings. This ensures your course’s long-term success.

So, don’t neglect a course just because it’s doing well. Keep improving it over time, and your efforts will pay off in sales and overall performance.

Final Thoughts

Earning money on Udemy is an exciting way to make passive income online, and it’s open to many people. Teaching a subject you’re passionate about to eager students can be both fulfilling and beginner-friendly.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, don’t hesitate to become a Udemy instructor. You’ll invest your time, but the potential rewards are significant. This venture could even replace your day job and provide a full-time income, as many instructors have achieved.

However, it’s essential to understand that it’s not as easy as creating a course and expecting sales to pour in. While knowing how to create a Udemy course is crucial, it doesn’t guarantee instant success.

Udemy’s low entry barriers for instructors have their advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it’s accessible, but it also means there’s fierce competition. Moreover, Udemy’s review-based system can be challenging for newcomers. 

Overall, while there may be hurdles along the way, with dedication and effort, success on Udemy is attainable.

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