Happy to share that I have crossed a personal milestone of $250,000 on Udemy this month. This has been an absolutely delightful journey as a course creator. I want to begin by sharing my humble thanks to Udemy for providing an outstanding platform for instructors like us. Here's a glimpse of my journey:
Why I joined Udemy?
I joined Udemy in August 2016. The primary reason to join was to manage work-life balance and achieve financial freedom. Two mortgages and other loans amounted to over INR 80 lakhs (>$114K) of my personal debt. Although I was earning exceptionally well in my full-time job, I realized (much later) that most of my earnings were paid as interest to banks and taxes to the government. So, something had to be done. These huge loans were to be eliminated. Hence, in 2014, I had started taking cohort based trainings and the initiative was successful. My new side-hustle had a great start. However, with the full-time job, I had to manage marketing, execution, conversion, training, admin, and everything else for this side hustle (my new company). Plus, my weekends were packed with 12 hours of training each day. So, the initial success was at the cost of non-stop work for 3 consecutive years (2014 to 2016).
How I found Udemy?
During this period of extreme hustle, I realized my core strength was content creation. So I needed someone who could do the rest (marketing, sales, administration, etc). That's when I stumbled upon Udemy. I saw @SandeepKumar's Six Sigma courses on Udemy. That was my niche. I saw the number of enrollments and like everyone else, I thought the price per course was $200 (Lol 😂). I was blown by calculating the numbers of the high price per course and the number of enrollments. I later realized that the price point is not very high, however, a sustained effort can bring outstanding success on this platform. I joined the platform instantly in August 2016.
The Initial 2.5 Years on Udemy (2016 - 2018):
During this period, I dabbled with my full-time job, cohort based trainings, and creation of new courses. Below is my income of the first three months:
I continued the path of earning a three figure income until September 2017. I was still fairly new on the platform and realized the importance of in-demand topics much later.
By mid-2018, I had heard much about @PhilEbiner and @ScottDuffy's success on Udemy. So I enrolled in their courses. I was also inspired by revenue posts from @FrankKane. I also regularly tuned in to Phil's Podcasts where he would interview successful Udemy instructors.
This became a perfect foundation for a sound and thriving business that was ready to be built on Udemy.
The Year that picked pace - 2019
My mantra was to create quality courses on in-demand topics and release new courses frequently. I followed this path and it helped me hit my first 4 figure mark in 2018:
As I continued this journey, I hit my first $5,000 mark per month ($5,196.01) in Dec 2019.
As my income increased and showed promising signs of success, I stopped efforts on my cohort based, reduced the frequency of my visiting faculty sessions, and focused only on my full-time job and Udemy. My non-stop work schedule was getting relaxed and work-life was getting in control.
The Year of My Corporate Life Retirement - 2020
I had never imagined I would ever retire the corporate life. And that too when I am in my mid-30's. But by 2020, early retirement was on my mind. I was earning twice as much as my full-time job salary. At a few occasions, my earnings surpassed the monthly salary of the CEO of BNY Mellon, India (my employer). And to top it all, I had cleared my mortgage and all other loans of >80 lakhs INR (> $114K). So, I was saving every penny earned. As I consistently started earning more than $7K per month, I decided to quit my full-time job. This was in October 2020. In the next month (November 2020), I hit my first 5 figure mark ($10,260.18). This assured that my decision to quit full-time job was right.
This was my first year as a full-time Udemy instructor. With more time at hand, I dabbled with a number of other activities such as eBooks, Audiobooks, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. But it was Udemy that continued to increase income significantly. No other source was even close to Udemy earnings. The return on time and effort investment in making Udemy courses was way higher than any other sources. November 2021 turned out to be my best month on Udemy with a monthly income that crossed $15K. And in December 2021, I crossed $250K in life-time earnings.
That has been my journey so far. I achieved financial freedom. The standard of living increased significantly. I control my own schedule. I never have to leave my house. After clearing the debt, I purchased two villas - all cash. And the best part, I can see my daughter grow each day - all the time.
This post is definitely not to brag about achievements. These are several other instructors who have been on this path. I have just followed their path. Milestone posts (like these) from seasoned instructors used to inspire me.
To be successful, all you need to do is stick to the path with utmost dedication and passion. I am open for any questions. Feel free to drop them on this post.
I am impressed by your journey and I look forward to celebrating hitting the 250k mark in even less time. I hope I can learn how from you and the others you have mentioned in the post. Congratulations and well done!
Big congrats! I just released my first Udemy course on Machine Learning for Product / Non-Technical People. I used to do workshops on this course, so decided to put it online, my background is in elearning originally and ed-tech:
Just launched it today lol, no users. The name, "Machine Learning Simple for Product Managers / UX Designers", doesn't come up easily in searching. Even, "Machine Learning Simple" or "Machine Learning for Product Managers", comes up more with the technical courses. Not sure how to fix the keywords accordingly. Am starting to send coupons to all my friends, family, tech colleagues to get more reviews, etc.. Then will post in reddits, etc. Still working on my free vs. coupon vs. paid strategy.
Have a long journey, but excited it's up to experiment with. I spent 2 years developing this course to make A.I. simple and product relevant. Love any advice if anybody has any? Thanks 🙂
Thank you for your kind words. Nice to meet you.
I took a few moments to go through your course promo video. Below are my observations:
If this is the format you have used throughout the course, I am sure it will do well.
What do we need next?
All we need now is more reviews, regular presence in the Q&A Discussion, and if possible marketing course coupons on various social media platforms and coupon websites.
What to expect?
You may possibly be in a highly competitive niche. But spending two years to make the course indicates that you have taken enough care to have the right content in it. As time passes the course should do well. I would not recommend to keep extremely high hopes of huge revenue initially. As it takes time and effort to build your audience from scratch. On the contrary, if you already have a huge following on any social media site, you are bound to do well. If not, no worries. You will do well eventually. Just stay put. And congratulations to have launched your first course. It is in itself an amazing milestone.
Wish you good luck and all the success 🙂
Thanks so much for looking at my course and all the great advice 🙂 So nice of you to take all that time. I guess we do like to teach each other on this platform 😉
My course doesn't have a lot of competition. There's only like 2 other courses that even try to teach A.I. in simple terms and nothing is product management or UX oriented intersecting ML (course on these topics in isolation yes, but not the intersection) on Udemy. Also, I work in these fields or have, and with these professionals, and have presented the course as a workshop. I found high demand from product people (UX, Product Managers, Researchers, Business Execs, Sales Engineers) to learn ML concepts and they loved my course.
So I already know the demand is there and has been validated (I work in tech). It is a little difficult though that Udemy buries my course under all the technical A.I. courses though, bc it's a course for non-technical people. It doesn't really show up under the correct search terms easily, even though I tried to optimize it for the right words, "Machine Learning, Product Management, UX Designer."
If I look at my analytics, students don't see the course, it's not like they see it and they don't want it, they don't find the page, they don't know it exists and never even visited it! Nobody can find my course, is my main problem to solve now.
I thought Udemy would take care of my marketing for me, but I see it doesn't quite work that way. I think I'll have to post it to lots of sites and make a website and advertise that on Facebook / Google to try to drive traffic myself. Then maybe once I get more users (Free and Paid with reviews), it will show up more in the search and Udemy will "kick-in" and get me more users? Is that basically how it works out?
Thanks again for your advice, I'm looking for all the tips I can get 🙂
My hearty congratulations to you Rahul!
This is exactly the kind of motivational write-up that I need to not despair with my current low monthly income since August 2021 that I have been on Udemy. I was already having the feeling that I probably joined Udemy rather late in the day when there are a plethora of courses available on the platform covering practically every topic one can think of.
I am seriously hoping that I have a similar success journey like yours within the next few months or so.
Nice to meet you and thank you for your kind words.
You are probably at the right time and in the right situation. I took the liberty to go through your courses. I see that your niche has potential like every other niche. Just that, the courses need some finesse. It needs what's in it for me quotient (from an audience perspective). If I may humbly recommend you to take a few Udemy official and unofficial courses on how to be an excellent Udemy instructor. This will help you learn the key requirements and will further strengthen your ability to produce exciting content that will start selling at a good pace.
I hope this helps 🙂
Thanks for sharing @Rahul Iyer and congrats on your achievements. You are proof (again) that dedication, persistence, and long term thinking are key for success on Udemy (and many other areas of life).
Keep on doing your great work!