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.
Your story is hugely inspiring. I started on Udemy in May 2021. My first 3 month earnings have been like this. Until I read your story, I thought this was a poor start.
May 2021: $ 151
June 2021: $ 323
July 2021: $ 162
Thanks for sharing your new income. I am sure you will do greater and greater. I am new in here and still creating more first course and it's been so exiting already. Now ready to set up my studio so I can begin to film 🥰
Good luck to You 🙂
Most welcome @DigitalDash! Nice to meet you here.
Great question. My promotions mainly include two aspects:
1) Udemy Promo Announcements
2) My personal email list
1) Udemy Promo Announcements:
Most of us start on Udemy with little or no audience. At this stage our promo announcements may not be that effective. However, as you keep growing on Udemy, your paid student base increases. And after a particular period, your promo announcements start doing really well. I have about 70,000+ unique and paid students. So, I make a point to send both the Promo Announcements in any given month. A huge base helps in getting higher number of clicks and many of those clicks turn into paid customers. That is the first reason you see the Self Promotions field has higher revenue. Main reasons: Larger paid student base and usage of two promo announcements per month.
2) My personal email list
I have added a few lead magnets on my website. This allows me to build my email list. When I create coupon codes, I make sure I send out those to my email list. The sales revenue from my personal email list is not as good as the Udemy Promo Announcements. But something is better than nothing. And it is all about sending two emails to your email list per month. So, it is well worth the time spent.
Hope this helps 🙂
@Rahul Iyer - I saw that you also have a free course. I wanted to know your opinion as to whether that helps students register for your other courses. I am thinking of creating a free course (1hr) and see if I get more registrations for my PAID courses. Not sure if that is worth it.
Great question. I have 1 prominent free course on Udemy. There may be others that I do not recollect and do not track either. I launched this specific free course way back in 2017.
Below are some numbers:
Here are my observations:
So - this small sampling does indicate the creating free courses may not be a good idea. A free student will not pay for the course. A paid student will always prefer paying for the course.
Do I regret my decision of creating a Free Course?
Not at all. Why? This is because my Free Course got selected in the UfB catalog (possibly due to its high consistent ratings). And even though it is a free course in the marketplace, it earns money when a UfB customer takes this course. This free course has been able to earn about $3,000 after being on UfB until today and continues to earn money each month.
Conclusion: If I was asked whether I would create a free course, I wouldn't do so. Primarily because now a student does not have the ability to filter out free courses and the number of enrollments will be way lesser. I would use this time to create a higher quality paid course that have a good potential to get selected in the UfB catalog.
Hope this helps 🙂