Analyzing Business Results and Strategy

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LawrenceMMiller
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Analyzing Business Results and Strategy

I was reminded a few days ago about a post I wrote several years back (one of my best, for sure) (https://community.udemy.com/t5/Stories-and-inspiration/Udemy-Instructor-Strategy-The-Business-Strate...) and thought I should probably reflect on my own results and strategy. Every instructor is different in experience and expectations. But, I think it is helpful to take a look at the "business" of at least one "moderately successful" instructor. The data that follow is both very real and very personal. 

 

If you analyze the performance of any business you must understand the context, the environment of that particular business. For me, that is not only the Udemy business, but my own personal situation.  During the past two years I have experienced the illness and death my wife, a new marriage (we've known each other for 37 years), and a move from one state to another. That is all very distracting to say the least and as a result my own performance, as a business, has been weak. You can only expect results in proportion to your efforts and mine have been lacking. I am not beating myself up, I am just facing reality of my circumstances. Remember the internality-externality point from my previous post.

 

The Data

 

That said, I plotted my data over the past six years for dollars per enrollment and enrollments per month. I think the first is particularly relevant to other instructors given the changes in revenue share, past and future. You will have to click on these graphs to read them. 

 

Dollars per Enrollment 2018-2023.jpg

 

You will note that on January 2020 the $ per student drops and this is when the revenue share was cut from 50% to 25%. The $ per enrollment gradually increased as UB revenue increased. My revenue is now about 70% UB. During the last couple years you can see that revenue per student has actually increased somewhat to almost $4. I am not sure why but it may be because Udemy is doing fewer super low priced sales and increasing the average per course. I will update this graph at the end of 2024 and we can expect it to decline.

 

Revenue per enrollment can be offset with the number of enrollments each month. In the following graph you can see that my enrollments were increasing up to the Covid19 splash. They leveled off with a slight decline over the past two years. 

 

Monthly Enrollments 2018-2023.jpg

 

Analysis

 

First, we can see that the earnings per student has held up very well in recent years. This is largely out of my control. There is almost no way for us instructors to increase this unless you are very good at your own marketing efforts and bring a lot of students to your courses. I am not. 

 

Second, the decline in monthly enrollments is the result of a couple things, some under my control and some not. The competition in my category has increased a lot over these years. (Believe it or not, my new wife, with my help and encouragement, has just published a new course that competes directly with my best selling course!) When there are dozens of new competing courses, you are doing well just to hold your enrollments steady for those courses. But, if you are going to increase your business, or hold it even in an environment of growing competition, you must develop new courses as well as keep your courses up to date. For the past two years I have failed at this for the reasons I stated at the beginning. Now... no more excuses... I must get to work building new courses. 

 

Finally, I'll share the bottom line business results from the time I started in 2014. The most important thing about this graph for those early in your Udemy career is the slow and gradual increase. To go back to my previous post on strategy, you must have a long term view and be persistent in building your brand, your skills, and your course content.

 

LawrenceMMiller_0-1702839202350.png

I hope all this is interesting to some instructors. 

 

 

 

 

Lawrence M. Miller
Author/Instructor
4 Replies

Hi @LawrenceMMiller thanks for this post - especially for the link explaining strategies of top instructors and your chart presenting monthly earnings from day one. I just needed something like this to lift me up. 

Can you share with us how much time you needed to develop your own course-portfolio? For example, I am 2 years at Udemy, and have 7 courses in total - but some of them should be re-done, or significantly improved - after all, now I have some (technical) experience and new ideas 🙂 

So, I understand - it's always about balancing between developing new materials vs. improving existing ones. Any advice how you set a pace and prioritized those during the first few years of you doing business at Udemy? 

I believe it would be beneficial for other instructors (still pursuing their own way) to have such benchmark and guidelines.

Thanks in advance.

Boris

Hi Lawrence,

 

Thanks for sharing this information. I'm also sorry to hear about some of your personal challenges. 

 

About the last graph with all the colours. If I read it right, is your biggest share actually refunds? 

LawrenceMMiller
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

@MK_NL On the last graph, the revenue report, the largest variable, the yellow, is Udemy Business. About 70% of my revenue is from UB. Refunds have always been insignificant, about  one percent per month. 

Lawrence M. Miller
Author/Instructor

Phew! I misread it. Congrats on the fruitful journey though. 

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