BEFORE YOU READ: DO NOT COPY OTHER COURSES.
- Rather, look at competitor / similar courses as inspiration and always think of a differentiator you want to build in your course. Copying and Pasting will not get you anywhere on Udemy. As Michael mentioned, genuinely building trust is the ONLY way.
- MY GOAL with this post is to show you how you can automate some of the "mechanical" work with AI, further exploring tools i used to go from 4 weeks to a week.
- I have no Intention to Disparage any instructor or their methods - please take any "learning" from this if you possibly can (as instructors)
- You cannot succeed until you really know what you're teaching (i've spent years in AI and Product Management) to being able to create courses faster. There is no short cut, but if this post can help you - i'd be glad.
I started creating courses in January, 2023. I had no experience prior to this creating online courses. Over the last 9 months, this has been a stable $2k / month for me and I want talk about my story and how I did it. Firstly, Revenue screenshot: — October revenue is still unaccounted for — but it’s going to be 3k based on enrolments and previous trends.
My first course — It was a disaster. Recorded with a laptop microphone, the 2 hour course was on a trending AI Topic, died in 2 months. Took me 3 weeks to build it.
My second course — Master Generative AI (Extension of previous course but taught everything in AI), took me 4 weeks to build, makes me the most amount of money, and has a lot of students
My Third course — Prompt Engineering — took me 2 weeks to build, a lot of students, but dying after 3 months
My Fourth course — AI & SEO (recently launched) — picking up slowly, took me 2 weeks to build
My Fifth and 6th courses are on AI Product Management & Digital Marketing and were built a week, primarily because i leveraged and learned a lot from my previous courses
Notice how i went from 3 weeks to 4 days for launching courses.
Firstly, i’m a hard believer of launching MVP and iterating over time. I don’t spend all my energy building perfect courses, I build a bare bone MVP and keep adding content.
A course has 6 stages of creation:
- Ideation — what you want to build, mostly go with your passion and the knowledge you have curve is shorter — 10%
- Research — What kind of courses exist, which ones are top rated and why — 20%
- Creation — Recording content and creating videos / assignments / notes / cover images / texts — 35%
- Editing Content — 30%
- Initial launch — 5%
(% indicates how long each step took me initially)
- Ideation — you figure out what kind of course you want to build, this one is relatively easy but super important. You need to choose a niche that is less competitive (AI SEO is one such niche) but has decent audience for making money. It could be a electric guitar, setting up a grocery shop, so on. As long as it’s not competitive, do it
- Research — Once you figure what you want to build, start looking at a couple of places for inspiration and understand whether the market exists for this type of content. This could be just looking at the course marketplace to see other courses exist, Reddit posts, blogs, Groups and so on, as long as there are people looking for it, you bet you can make money
- Creation — this is what takes a lot of my time. I’m going to show you how i significantly reduced my time in here.
THIS is by far my most time taking part, initially, it was the editing but i automated it, let me show you how.
- Editing — I’m proud to have automated this bit. But let me talk about the initial struggle first:
- Initial Launch — Takes me literally an 30 mins to launch my course. I publish it on Marketplaces like Udemy, they take care of all the marketing, while I keep creating courses. Most of the revenue is market place based, you get 100% of the revenue coming from your own marketing links. They take a cut for their marketing based revenue.
I don’t know who will benefit from this. But I hope I can help someone who is looking to productise their knowledge. All the best!
Thank you so much for taking the time and for sharing your story of success.
We LOVE hearing those!
It's absolutely amazing that you achieved such a stable income in such a short period!
Just let me reconfirm here: Do you have a big social media audience or a specific marketing strategy in place, or do you rely completely on Udemy marketing?😊
Keep on rocking!🙌
@goyashy, congrats on your success. This shows how teaching a new and emerging topic, such as AI, can lead to success on Udemy. But I think it also shows how disruptive AI can be to the teaching space, both in a positive and negative manner.
I think AI is great as a means to supplement the course creation process, but relying on it to do all the heavy lifting can lead to an abundance of courses where instructors aren't really experts in what they're teaching and just voice acting over AI-created content.
I also question the ethics of using AI to copycat the structure of best-selling courses on Udemy.
"Use the best rated course and use ChatGPT to generate a similar course structure, add notes on additional lectures example."
The other issue is fully trusting what responses an AI chatbox provides. I've seen where it's clearly incorrect, especially in technical topics. So, it's important to have the expertise and take the time to vet ChatGPT responses.
All-in-all, I think AI is a powerful teaching assistant, but I caution newer instructors from fully relying on it to create their courses.
I agree - i don't "completely" rely on ChatGPT. but It does help you automate some "mechanical" work that previously wasn't needed. As for referring other best selling courses, i look at it as re-inventing the wheel. End of the day, a lot of my courses got copied too - that's true in any business. Goal is to bring in more than what other courses are bringing to the market. You can continue to offer an awesome post-course purchase experience via announcements + Q&A. Which will still continue to be a "differentiator"
My biggest asset on Udemy is the trust I've built with my students over the years.
Now, when I publish a new course:
I don't need to give free coupons.
I don't need to pay for ads.
I don't need to beg my friends or grandma to leave me a review.
I don't need to read through community posts on "how to market my course."
All I do is send one promotional email to my students, and I'm guaranteed enrollments, engagement, and reviews.
Because they trust me that I don't feed the curriculum of an existing course into ChatGPT and charge them money for reading the script that ChatGPT wrote for me.
Hey Michael, I agree with your view and this is the least bit applicable to me since when I first launched AI course on Udemy, none of the courses existed, so I was on my own. A lot of the courses that came after - I was copied rather. But I continue to get enrolments because I'm maintaining it till this day. I would never recommend anyone to "copy" a course. Rather, think of it as research and not re-inventing the wheel. Without differentiator, your courses will not sell, no matter what you do.
I reckon "trust" is the biggest factor even today and I fully support your view on this.
Hey @MichaelPog I have an unrelated question for you...
I see that you created some courses in different languages on the same profile... I was thinking about translating my courses into Russian and Turkish maybe in the future, do you think it's a better idea to create another instructor profile for other languages or not? And also is it okay with Udemy to have someone else's voice over the same course?
Hi @ArminSarajlic I don't have any advice for you, unfortunately.
My translated courses are a partnership with other companies that contacted me.
It's their profiles.
I don't think there's a problem with using someone else's voice as long as it's not AI, but I would double-check with trust and policy.
Congratulations🎉🎂 @goyashy for 30K in revenue it's a really big deal in less than a year!
Thanks for sharing wonderful insights, I'll try to implement all of the above steps in my next courses.
Best of Luck for your upcoming courses!
Completely agree with @MichaelPog on this.
Where's the value for the students in creating a course in this way?
I'm seeing no substantial teaching and learning from an expert, but rather using AI to copy a bestseller, (that's a bestseller for a reason) , and using that AI to hide the fact that the course is copied. Nothing is mentioned about ChatGPTs horrible hallucinations that's only getting worse by the day, and what effect this will have on your course content. (Pro tip: its not good) Its actually reached the point that creators cannot use ChatGPT for the simplest of tasks, but you will only know that the output is garbage if you know your subject.
Yep agreed - i clarified, this above. It's not good to use AS IS. But it can help you get to a starting point. Regardless, your course will sound terrible if you don't know what you're teaching, you need to know the in and out of your subject to make substantial impact. The idea is not to encourage people to copy paste courses, rather to automate some bits of manual work that's done while creating the course.
Congrats on reaching this income with your courses!
I really like your explanation of the % of time it takes for each step (showing that researching the topic/competition/etc is a very important step, you should not just jump into recording).
Now I will agree with the others, that in the mid-long term I don't see so much value from this way of creating courses. Also, I'm sure this won't work for a lot of niches, here you are kind of using the AI-trend which is exploding right now, so if I were you I wouldn't underestimate the "luck" factor.
To me this is a quick win, that will last a bit, but I don't think you can create a sustainable income from this. And the trust that Michael is talking about - 100% agree with this. I also don't give any free coupon or do any ad. When I launch a course I know I have an audience that buys because they just like the way I teach.
Taking the time (which means - weeks), to teach something you are an expert in (which means - years of practice/work) is for me the only real way to build a solid following and income base over the long term.
But, well, in the end, you're earning money (which a lot of instructors don't) - so good for you, while it lasts 🙂
Thanks for the feedback. I agree with a lot of your points. And acknowledge the fact that you "will" have to build the community + invest time to get to a point where you build meaningful courses. My entire goal with this post was to help people improve the way they currently create courses (if in anyway I can) - clearly not to disparage instructors on their methods of creating courses. Again, thanks for writing back - means a lot!