Given the amount of funny cat videos, pictures of lunch, and selfies crowding the internet, it’s easy to forget about the internet’s potential as a learning venue. But as an art teacher, I’m amazed by how the internet makes learning more accessible to students. And I won’t lie: online teaching has also given us teachers the opportunity to earn money by sharing our knowledge on our areas of expertise.
I wanted to try teaching (and earning) via the internet, so I tried out Udemy a year ago. It was the perfect time; the school year was over and I had a couple of months to get my content up on Udemy.
My experience was pretty awesome, and I made a good amount of money. I strongly suggest you give this a go. And don’t worry if you’re not a teacher. You don’t need to have a teaching degree to do this: a lot of instructors on the site don’t come from academia. But it is important that you have great communication skills and, of course, deep knowledge in your field.
I’m writing my review and experiences to help you make a more informed decision about becoming an instructor on Udemy. Read on, if you’ve ever considered teaching online and earning in process.
What is Udemy?
Udemy is an on-demand learning platform. On-demand means lessons are usually provided through pre-recorded video and presentations. The instructor doesn’t have to give the lesson in person.
What this means is you only have to record a lesson (or a series of lessons) once. Students can then purchase your video anytime and anywhere. This business model is actually a really good source of passive income. Udemy, in turn, gets a cut from your earnings.
To make this a profitable venture, you’ve got to have really good presentation skills. Unlike a classroom setup, students are not required to take your lesson. So you really need to win them over. I’ll be providing some tips on how to gather paid views later on.
Possible subjects for you to explore include Business, IT and software, personal development, marketing, design, photography, lifestyle, music, academics, language, test preparation, health and fitness, and many more!
How to Much Can I Earn?
When you register in Udemy, you have the choice of uploading free or paid courses. For the latter, you will have to fill out a Premium Instructor application.
To determine the price of your course, you first have to consult a price tier matrix. Prices range from $19.00 for Tier 1, up to $199.99 for Tier 37. These tiers are determined by the complexity of your courses. If you upload a relatively simple lesson, it would be best if you price it along the lower tiers.
Udemy gets a 30% royalty for every lesson view you get. But if you refer a student directly to your course, that amount becomes 15%.
Your net earnings will depend on the number of views you get, of course. This makes it all the more important to make your presentation as attractive and informative as possible.
Tools and Resources
Udemy wants you to succeed. To that end, the site provides some utilities to help you create and promote truly awesome courses. These include:
- A free all-in-one training platform
- Course design and development support
- 24/7 tech support and payment processing
- Worldwide availability of your courses
- Course management tools
- Course tracking
- How to Make a Great Presentation
A Few Tips
Here are some tips on how to make your courses more enticing to students. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In time, you'll be able to fine-tune your own process.
Make yourself presentable
Not being physically present during these courses is no excuse to look unkempt. You’ll want to look professional, competent, but also approachable. I recommend a nice, semi-casual attire. Even if you never appear on-camera during your courses, getting dressed will put you in the zone to create a great course!
Make your space presentable
If you appear on-camera, your space also has to look professional. You don’t have to make it fancy (although I know a few instructors who’ve invested in making their space as photogenic as possible); just cleaning up and getting ample lighting will go a long way to making your room look better on video.
I would also recommend you use a bookshelf as a backdrop. It appears “scholarly” and looks great on camera. And best of all, we probably have a full stacked bookshelf already.
Remember, on Udemy students aren’t required to pick your course. Nobody will want to sit through a long video where an instructor rambles incoherently. It pays to have a more outgoing personality on Udemy.
I’m not saying you should be like a game-show host. Just try to be as pleasant and well-spoken as possible in your courses.
Get a decent camera
I started out using my iPhone’s video camera. It was great for a while, but when I started earning, I upgraded to a DSLR with video capabilities. The jump in quality was so great I even went back and re-recorded my old courses.
Get a decent microphone
The built-in microphone of your phone and camera will not be enough to make a decent-quality video. At the start, I tried using the mic of my iPhone, but it made me sound like I was giving lessons in the other room. So I immediately went out and got an entry-level lapel mic. These days, even entry-level exceeds my needs. To this day, I still use that label mic.
Invest in great design and graphics
This is pretty next-level and requires some financial investment (unless you’re a design instructor and can do your own design). Simply standing in front of your camera and talking is okay at the start. But great visual elements will really make your courses come to life.
It’s up to you how far you want to take this. You can go all-out and make a completely animated presentation (like those whiteboard videos) or you can limit graphics to title cards and some transitions. Either way, adding a visual element to your courses will help make you stand out.
Udemy is a legit way for teachers and instructors to earn money online! I love the fact that this is passive income: upload the courses once, and watch the money come in.
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This review is based on my own experience uploading lessons on Udemy. Now it’s your turn to share! Have you tried Udemy? What courses did you teach?
Let’s hear your stories!
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