I first stumbled across Udemy while looking for online education similar to CodeAcademy. Shortly after, I decided to publish my own courses to not only let others in on the success I've found, but hopefully grow that success into a respectable income. Who knows.. maybe one day I can afford to do nothing but Udemy full time! These series of blogs will follow my progress, successes, failures, and everything I learn along the way so that anyone reading this can fast-track themselves to Udemy success!
Goal: Generate $3,000/mo from Udemy courses.
Deadline: May 1st, 2016 (1 year from first course upload date).
Luckily for me, I already had a good mic and some screen capturing software handy from previous projects. I highly recommend the Yeti mic; plug and play functionality with no additional setup or software to install and it picks up sound almost too well (be sure to turn down the gain if you don't want to pickup every keystroke). Camtasia is also pretty good at screen capturing; the learning curve is small and the interface is pretty straight forward. They have some great video tutorials on their website that can show you how to use the software. I went from never using it to editing and exporting my videos in less than hour.
With my mic and software all setup, the next thing I did was write down an outline for the course I wanted to make. In this case, I wanted to create a course that shows people how I create both iOS and Android mobile apps without needing any coding knowledge. This method also happens to be what I used to make a living for a couple years, so I wanted to be sure to let potential students know you can make a serious income doing this; that was a goal I really wanted to focus on. Who doesn't want to learn a skill that'll make them more money?
I came up with the title "Creating Profitable iOS and Android Apps Without Code!"
I wanted to make sure none of my videos were too drawn out and boring, so I kept in mind to keep lectures around the 5 minute mark. With that in mind, I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing down the titles for each lecture, and a brief summary of what that lecture would be teaching. From there, I took the 19 lecture ideas and broke them up into 3 sections: Getting Started - which would help the student install the software and get their ideas together, Developing Your Apps - which is the meat & potatoes of the course showing the student how to actually create the app, and finally Getting in the App Stores - showing how to prepare and publish an app for iOS and Android app store submission.
The only video of these 19 that is scripted is the first introduction video which would also be my promotional video. I wanted to be sure I was confident in presenting what students would be learning and wanted to make my point clear and straightforward. This is the video I use to show proof of what I've created and earned using this method, as well as what students can expect.
For my course description, I browsed Udemy for the most successful courses in my category and mimicked their format. From here, it was just a matter of recording and editing all of my videos. I found Camtasia really helpful in magnifying key pieces of information on the screen as well as removing multiple pops and hisses throughout the recording. I did my best to cut out any "uhms" and coughs.. anything I know I wouldn't want to hear if watching someone's video.
I made sure to follow Udemys guidelines for my recordings; writing good lecture descriptions, keeping the quality above 720p, and making sure the audio is loud enough to hear comfortably.
I've done no promotion for my course in the first month. I did however create 1,000 free coupons which I posted in the Udemy Studio group on Facebook and bestblackhatforum.com since it seemed they leaked the code from the Facebook group anyway (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em right?). Within almost 3 days all of the coupons had been used up. This really helped in creating social proof for my courses. I also found a forum related to my subject and asked anyone if they'd be interested in a free coupon. I received a dozen or so messages and let them in on a free coupon letting them know I would very much appreciate an honest review.
With my course showing 1,000+ students and a few reviews, I figured that was a good stopping point for building social proof with free codes. I made sure to follow every student that enrolled in my course, and even sent a personal message to each student whom at least mostly completed the course, asking for an honest review. I only received a couple of replies but it's better than nothing!
The rest of this month, I just sat back and let Udemy do its thing. My course was priced at $99, and I let it be known in my course description that the price would be going up at the end of the month. Now lets take a look at the...
Total income earned May 2015: $427.66
Not too bad at all considering I spent about 10 hours total between recording and editing and learning Udemy. No promotions of my own, strictly Udemy organic. Almost all of my sales came from a Udemy promotion code coupon, however I did have 3 sales at the full price of $99 which nets me $49.50 each after Udemys cut; that definitely helped my numbers out. About 3 weeks in, in spirit of mimicking a successful Udemy instructor, I re-titled my course "How I Make $6000+ per month Making Apps Without Coding!". Shortly after I saw what seemed to be a slight uptick in sales, but it's too soon to tell if that has to do with the title.
For the next month (June) I plan on experimenting more with course pricing (which I set to $199) , and try my hand at self promoting. Stay tuned for the June case study!
Edit: June results are in! Click here for the write up.