The purpose of this post is not to show the money I make on Udemy (in fact there are no numbers in the screenshot I uploaded), but to share my journey as an instructor, in the hope of inspiring others who are perhaps just starting theirs, or who are frustrated because things are not turning out as they expected, and can't spot what is going wrong.
I have divided my journey into 4 stages. In all of them there is a single common denominator (mistake-learning process) and a single result when adding up all the parts (growth).
Stage A represents what we could call "magical thinking": I'm going to publish a course and I'm going to get rich right away. Who hasn't fallen into that wonderful fantasy? I have. And in the worst way. When that didn't happen I got frustrated, I blamed Udemy, I blamed the students, I blamed the review system, and I blamed my competitors. I blamed everyone except the person I was supposed to blame: myself.
The obvious result of this mentality was to stop trying. Why would I do that? I had created what I thought was the most magnificent course possible and no one was smart enough to give it the sacred value it had! As a result I lost 2 valuable years.
Stage B begins when I said to myself: "let's try it one more time, but this time let's look at what the winners do, and let's start from there". In this stage I dedicated myself to do two things: to be inspired by the right people (thanks Phil) and to produce non-stop, without focusing on the numbers. The only thing I was looking at was what I could do better in my next course.
Something very important at this stage was that I understood that nobody is an expert in everything (specially me), and therefore I needed to learn a lot, and for that I had to associate with others, exchange experiences, link up with my colleagues.
I took advantage of every opportunity that Udemy offered to network. These actions were reflected in my charts, and reinforced that conviction. The big step (fruit of this mentality) and that gave way to the next stage, was the decision to participate in the global event Udemy Live Berlin 2019. It was not easy, I live in Argentina, and my income still did not allow me to travel so comfortably, but I knew that this was the right step.
Stage C (immediate growth and subsequent fall) was a direct consequence of 2 aspects: the Berlin meeting on the one hand (which gave me contacts, successful partnerships, support groups, great friends, and mostly a lot of learning) and on the other hand the explosion of the Covid pandemic in March 2020.
At first my sales exploded, the quality of my products improved, I started to develop a team (why did I resist so much?) and everything seemed to go up. But there were still lessons to be learned.
Sales dropped sharply in the following months, and then just kept growing slightly. But this time I was ready to blame the right person: me.
I was guilty of taken for granted that success was guaranteed. I was being kidnapped by the dumb idea that my students will love my next course, just because they loved my previous one. At the same time the world was changing and I couldn't see where it was going, and I was letting my courses be a constant reproduction of themselves. I was giving my students more of the same, in an ever-improving package. Something needed to change, and fast.
That's how stage D began, where the chart shows the biggest growth lines I've had in my entire career. What are they due to? Because I reacted to what I learned during Stage C. I decided to stop thinking about making courses that make money, and focused on making courses that improve the life of my students. When it used to take me 1 month to do a course, now it takes me 6 months. I plan my next courses as if it were a Netflix show (I'm not saying I'll make it, I'm saying I use that concept as a goal).
The paradox is that I learned that when you produce with total love, the student falls in love with you, and you achieve in an indirect way the objective you were looking for directly before.
My success on Udemy does not mean that I have surpassed anyone, it only shows that I have surpassed myself. That I have learned from my mistakes and that I must have a humble attitude if I want to keep growing. That's why I shared this graph without numbers, because what's important are those lines that go up and down, moving to the rhythm of my own wisdom and my own stupidity.
If you ever feel stuck in your career as a course creator, run to the nearest mirror, there you will find all the answers.