Can You Make Money on Udemy? (Explored!)

There are a bunch of great online courses available on Udemy. Not only is this good for those interested in increasing their knowledge, but it is also terrific for those wanting to share their knowledge with curious minds.

If you’re an expert in your profession or a particular niche, you can design and offer online courses on the platform. Still, do you get paid properly for your efforts, and is that effort even worth it?

We explored the teaching side of Udemy below…

Here’s why you can make money on Udemy:

Udemy is a globally known learning platform that attracts millions of visitors eagerly searching for courses. Thanks to this built-in audience, you have the chance to make money by creating a course and generating sales without having to do your own marketing. The more your course gets downloaded and the more students you bring in, the more money you can earn.

studying and teaching on udemy

Although Udemy’s audience continues to grow along with the entire online education sector, so does the competition. This means it may not always be easy to make money on the platform.

However, there are still plenty of opportunities to share your unique expertise with an eager audience. Have a plan in place and aim to create the highest quality course on the market. Add some marketing strategies combined with Udemy’s built-in audience, and you can make a great side income or more.

Recommended Reading: Udemy Answers

Is Making a Course on Udemy Worth It?

Making a course on Udemy is worth it, depending on a variety of factors such as:

  • Do you have an online presence with a large following?
  • How much are you looking to sell your course for?
  • Does the topic you teach have mass appeal?
  • Do you want to create a teaching brand?

If you are looking to create a small side income, teach a niche topic with some appeal, and don’t have a large following of your own, making a course on Udemy is totally worth it.

We will explore the specific positives and negatives in more detail below. Still, with the right expectations, Udemy is a great place to start online teaching. 

If you have a bigger online following, have a particular price in mind you want to sell your course for, and are looking to create a teaching brand, there are potentially better options available.

Udemy’s audience typically is used to getting great deals for the courses they purchase (between $5 to $11). So if you price your course outside of the typical pricing customers are used to or don’t offer deals, you may drive away students to other courses on the platform. 

There are, however, numerous reasons why Udemy is so popular among online course creators and why you might find success on it. All the same, there are some drawbacks you shouldn’t ignore. Let’s dive into more of the advantages and disadvantages below.

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The Advantages of Offering Courses on Udemy

Here are a few of the reasons why selling courses on Udemy is an excellent option:

Access to a Massive Number of Students

Udemy’s primary selling point for new instructors is that it provides them with access to a large, engaged student base. In fact, as of 2021, more than 40 million students worldwide took courses on the platform from over 56,000 instructors.

The platform’s strong brand recognition is one of its standout benefits. It is one of the go-to platforms people visit when they are looking to purchase or gift online courses. 

In addition, thousands of affiliates and paid adverts can help spread the word about your courses.

Most new instructors have a harder time building an audience and marketing their courses. Udemy simplifies this as the audience is already eagerly looking for great new courses.

Offers a Fantastic Learning Experience

Udemy does a great job of providing a positive learning experience for students, keeping them coming back for more.

For learners, Udemy has a variety of methods for delivering coursework, quizzes, practice examinations, and even industry-specific exercises that can help them succeed in their studies.

Students and instructors can communicate directly through the site’s messaging feature. The platform itself includes a built-in Q&A forum where they can interact with one another.

It also has a strong review rate. Meaning that students are encouraged to leave reviews at several stages of a course. This allows potential course buyers to quickly see which courses are high quality and offer great value. It also allows teachers who deliver a great product to be rewarded quickly with positive reviews and grow their student base faster. 

Udemy also features a mobile app. This makes it possible for students to learn while on the go. 

Learners can access course videos on various devices using the app, which also allows them to download the videos on the go. Who needs movies on road trips when you have classes to take?

Fastest Way to Begin a Career as a Course Creator

Starting a career as a course creator is no walk in the park. It’s both expensive and time-consuming, making it intimidating for beginners. You have to spend time on marketing, building a stunning website, and trying to reach an audience, all while usually starting from zero.

This is where Udemy comes in. They’re here for budding course creators. You can start creating your first course almost immediately after you sign up for an account.

You also don’t have to deal with many aspects of being self-employed or owning a small business. Things like setting up a payment processor or calculating taxes on sales, which differ depending on where the customer is from, are all handled for you. 

They deduct expenses like sales tax automatically, so you don’t have to fear the day Uncle Sam comes knocking on your door demanding his due. At least so long as you’re paying your other taxes.

Provides a Wide Range of Helpful Resources

Even though Udemy is a simple way to begin selling your course, there are a few things you should consider before you go live. If people pay for your course, you want to make sure you’re giving them quality content. Two-pixel video quality and audio that sounds like it was recovered from an ancient artifact aren’t going to fly here. Even if you can upload this lower quality on the platform, reviews will likely be negative as soon as you get some sales.

Thankfully Udemy, along with giving you a platform to share your knowledge, also gives you plenty of resources to get started. They provide info on everything from how to design videos to how to record high-quality audio. They make sure complete beginners can look like pros in no time.

It doesn’t stop there, either. Udemy has a bustling community that’s open to receiving and answering all of your pressing questions. You can even get support and advice from long-time creators to give yourself the best chance at success.

They even have Marketplace Insights that allow you to know which courses are making money right now and if your niche has potential.

teaching on camera

The Disadvantages of Selling Courses on Udemy

While there are tons of benefits to selling on Udemy, you should know that there’s no such thing as a perfect platform. You have to take the good with the bad. With that, here are some negatives you should keep in mind:

No Ownership Over Customer Relationships

The major drawback in offering courses through Udemy is that you have no ownership over your relationship between you and your clients — in this case, your students.

Even though the Udemy platform allows you to send messages to your learners through email, you don’t have access to their email addresses. It’s a given for privacy reasons, of course. But you can’t exactly build your email list, which is vital for all online businesses.

There’s another drawback with this as well. Because you can’t build relationships outside of Udemy, Udemy is basically your lifeline. If something happens with the platform, your business is basically over. You also won’t be able to tell your students that your courses are now available somewhere else. You will simply have to start over. 

They Promote Your Competitors

Another drawback of Udemy is that it’s open for everyone… including your competitors. Your courses are going to end up right next to other courses that are similar to yours. That means people on Udemy have the luxury of choice.

If you had your own platform, they’d have to leave your website to find competitors. But on Udemy, your competition is only a click away and probably even recommended on your course’s sales page. If your courses don’t perform as well one month, you might find a huge chunk of your audience flocking to someone else.

Course Pricing and Platform Policies Are Not Under Your Control

It was already mentioned. However, it is important to realize that pricing on Udemy is not entirely up to you. While you do control what price you want to sell your course for, you typically won’t find success if it doesn’t follow the structure users are accustomed to. 

On Udemy, students are used to being able to access affordable courses. 

Most successful creators allow Udemy to run promos on their behalf. This means that your course will frequently be available on sale and for a low price of around $10.

Please keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just shows that if you have your own audience or want to create a teaching brand having more control will outweigh the benefits of teaching on Udemy.

Another significant disadvantage of using Udemy to establish your online course career is that they can modify their platform policies at any moment. Because you’re not running the show, you don’t get a say in what they do.

This means that you shouldn’t be surprised if Udemy suddenly changes how you interact with students or how instructors earn revenue. All of that will likely have an impact on your bottom line… for better or for worse.

You Won’t Be Able To Build Your Brand

Another problem with Udemy’s approach is that you don’t have much control over creating your own brand. The platform does not allow you to prominently display your brand’s name or logo in your course content.

Instead, Udemy’s own branding will appear in your course videos’ lower right-hand corner when you upload them to the platform. 

That means when students are looking at your videos, they aren’t really associating it with you. They’re associating it with Udemy.

If you’re looking to build a lasting personal brand, it might not be the best place for you.

It’s Becoming More and More Competitive

Selling courses on Udemy used to be quite simple. But now, it’s more complicated than ever due to fiercer competition.

Not only does the stuff you teach have to deliver value, but it is also crucial that your course itself has a high production value. Students expect high-quality video and audio, along with an entertaining teaching style. 

If a course doesn’t deliver, students quickly ask for a refund and give another course on the platform a shot. 

Courses on Udemy are ranked on search results pages based on different keywords, just like any other marketplace. As a result, the odds of getting any big sales are low unless your course appears on the first page of search results for a popular keyword.

If you’re not good with keyword optimization, you might have a difficult time gaining traction there. Even though it’s easy to upload courses, there’s still a learning curve for finding success.

Not Enough Interest in Niche Topics

I mentioned earlier how Udemy has a Marketing Insights tool to track which courses are popular. This is an excellent thing because you can tailor your content to have the best chances of performing well. But that blessing is a curse for some creators.

It shows that the bulk of users on Udemy favor topics that are trending. If technology is trending (it has been for a while) and you’re not making tech courses, your courses will not gain as much traction. 

If everyone wants to learn how to build a bot, your underwater knitting course will be left in the dust.

It’s all about expectations here. Understand that some niches are trendier and more popular and therefore courses on those topics will have more sales. Meanwhile, another niche may be less popular and therefore generate fewer sales. 

It doesn’t mean it isn’t worth creating the course, however. You may still be able to earn a small but consistent side income. 

success creating an online course

How Much Money Can I Earn With Udemy?

When it comes to this question, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Several factors, including your industry, course, and marketing efforts, need to be considered. That being said, instructors can make money from zero to six figures per year by offering their courses through the platform. 

To give you a more detailed estimate, statistics from Udemy show that the typical course creator can earn $15 to $30 per course per month. 

This isn’t one-time, either. It’s similar to book sales — once you write the book, you’ll make money on it for months (maybe even years) to come. This is also known as a form of passive income.

Although $15 to $30 per month may not sound like much, your Udemy course can easily be sold more often if you promote it regularly. It’s definitely worth trying out some of your own marketing strategies rather than relying only on Udemy itself for sales. It’s possible to do this yourself, or you can even use Udemy’s Marketing Boost tool or social media to spread the word about your course.

It’s also worth realizing that some of the top instructors on Udemy can earn up to $2,000 per month with a single course. If you treat this as a long-term business, you may hit some impressive revenue numbers over time. Your mileage may vary. Continue working, and you might just earn much more than the average.

The best thing is that you’re not limited to just offering a single course. If you’re considered an expert in your field, you can potentially make more money by creating additional courses. The possibilities are endless.

Recommended Reading: How to improve your general knowledge

How Do I Get Paid by Udemy?

As an instructor, your revenue share is determined by how students discover your course.

On the bright side, creating and hosting a course on Udemy is entirely free. You can build unlimited premium and free courses. 

The fee you pay could be as low as 3% for every transaction. However, there’s also a pitfall. As much as 50% to 80% of the sale can be taken by Udemy and other third parties if you don’t generate it yourself.

Depending on where the student found you, your commission on Udemy will vary based on these things:

Organic Traffic

You get 50% of the money if students find your course via search engines or Udemy without using a coupon. However, suppose a user uses the app on either an Android or Apple device. In that case, those platforms take a 30% cut of the overall sale price, leaving you with only 20% of the sale price.

Promoted Traffic

There are also occasions where courses are advertised by Udemy at no charge for the instructor. The Udemy Marketing Boost program pays to promote your course, but you only receive a quarter of the money from course sales if you are a part of it. The rest of the money will go to Udemy to cover advertising expenses.

Your Own Traffic

To achieve the highest earnings of a course sale on Udemy, you need to drive your own audience to your courses. By doing so, 97% of the profits will go to you, and Udemy will only charge you a 3% administrative and processing fee.

An effective way of marketing Udemy courses that you need to learn is offering coupons. If a student enrolls in your course using a coupon code you created and promoted, you will be eligible for a 97% revenue split on sales.

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Is It Hard to Make Money on Udemy?

It’s not easy to make money on Udemy, but it’s not impossible. Since online learning platforms continue to grow in popularity, you can take advantage of many opportunities to earn.

Your online course’s success will be influenced by a wide range of factors, such as:

  • The subject matter or niche
  • The price
  • Your competition
  • Your existing network
  • Your marketing budget and efforts

If you try to make courses on highly competitive subjects, you will definitely have difficulty making money as a newbie. Still, if you can break into the niche, you will most likely earn more.

As with other businesses, you will reap what you sow. Don’t enter this space unless you are genuinely passionate about sharing your knowledge and expertise with others. This won’t be a get-rich-quick type of deal. It’s possible to make tons on Udemy if you consistently produce high-quality courses and invest the time and energy to promote them.

The Bottom Line

Selling courses on Udemy can definitely be a fantastic idea if you want to get your feet wet as an instructor or gather some initial feedback. Your objectives and niche will play a huge role in determining whether or not you can get started with your business as a course creator.