If you are looking for a Newbie-Friendly way to grow a passive income online then learning how to make money with Udemy or one of the growing band of Online Course Marketplaces is a great place to start.
No need to purchase a domain name, set up hosting, create a Clickbank account, upload videos to Amazon S3 or do any of the myriad tasks usually associated with starting an online business.
Of course many experienced Internet Marketers are re-purposing some of their content for sites like Udemy, but in this post, Greg Jeffries reveals his own ‘lazy strategy’ and how he eventually made money online.
Over to Greg…
How I Banked Over $30,061 in 12 Months using “Content Stretching” and Online Course Marketplaces.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you just knew that ONE thing you could do for just a few hours per day or per week, that was pretty simple and produced predictable passive income?
That’s kind of the dream, right? Either that or having someone just dump a BIG pile of cash into your bank account overnight that you didn’t have to work for at all 🙂
But the reality is you generally have to hustle and grind and fail A LOT before you ever find those magical unicorn income streams…if they even exist.
Well, I’ve been online now for about 10 years and I’ve got the typical story you’ve heard over and over. I struggled a lot…but I did eventually find something very simple that worked for me.
And the great thing about it, is it is one of those rare gems of income streams that doesn’t require a ton of time, a ton of money to get started, you don’t already have to be an “expert” in your niche…AND you don’t have to be a master at copywriting, marketing or recruiting affiliates.
It’s a simple strategy that I like to call “content stretching”.
Now, I appreciate that for some of you $30,061 is not a lot of money – but it is real!
Sure, some of those Guru’s are earning millions but the point of this article is to share how I eventually made money online. Hopefully if you are still struggling to make your first dollars online this will help.
The really good news is that my results are extremely average or perhaps even low average compared to other brand new instructors, so I want to emphasize that this is something you can absolutely do…and I truly believe if you do, you will have success.
So What The Heck Is “Content Stretching”?
Content Stretching is essentially taking one piece of content and leveraging it as much as you can by spreading it out to as many different marketplaces and media as possible.
In the results above I chose online course marketplaces such as Udemy and Skillshare.
How To Make Money Using Udemy and Online Course Marketplaces
What Do You Need To Get Started?
All you need to get started are these few items…
1) Computer/Laptop – I use a Macbook Pro (I know they’re not cheap but they’re definitely worth the investment)
2) A decent microphone – you don’t have to be some super master sound engineer and go overboard here. The mic I use is a Blue Yeti USB microphone that you can pick up on Amazon for about $100. I also recommend picking up an inexpensive pop filter to block out additional noise. I purchased a black Whisperteknik foam windscreen which you can also find on Amazon.
3) Screen recording software – I have a Mac and highly recommend ScreenFlow, but if you are using a PC, I recommend Camtasia. Both of these softwares are extremely simple and intuitive to use. Don’t worry, you don’t need a Masters degree in video editing and motion graphics to whip out high quality videos with these tools.
In any case Udemy has plenty of inexpensive online courses
if you want to take your Video Production up a level.
In addition to the above, I recommend recording in a quiet place so you don’t get much noise or feedback. Good audio is a high priority to many of the course marketplaces.
TIP #1: Like I mentioned, you DO NOT already have to be an “expert” or what you consider to be the absolute top authority in your niche to be good at this or to have success. The majority of courses I published were just my spin on content of courses that I had just bought and consumed. You probably already know a lot about more about a certain topic than most people, but if you’re absolutely drawing a blank when coming up with ideas for content to teach, just get a subscription to Lynda.com – it’s only like $25/mo. Go through a couple courses that interest you, and teach those things you just learned. I guarantee if you do this you’ll absolutely make at back least the cost of your subscription within your first 30 days or less IF you take action.
TIP #2: Also, if you’re worried about being on camera or you don’t like your voice – you gotta just push past that fear and get over it. When I started out I sucked too, but I got better and improved over time. However, even to this day I still cut out all my ahhhs and umms – I almost never record it perfect on the first try.
TIP #3: If you’re concerned about not being “expert enough” for people to buy from you, do not let this stop you from taking action. If you have some awesome credentials, great, you can use them in places like your profile or biography for these platforms. But if not, that’s fine too, just be honest. But also be creative with it and try and squeeze out as many strengths and accomplishments that you’ve achieved in your life, because your profile is really your opportunity to brag about all the things you’ve done and shine…kind of like the cover letter of a resume. The most important thing is that people want to buy from others they like, trust and that are just real and genuine and know what they’re talking about. And even though you may not consider yourself the tippy top “expert” in your entire niche yet, for the person who knows absolutely nothing about what you’re creating a course around, you’re a little more expert than they are. So, again, don’t let that fear stop you.
The Step-By-Step System to Creating Online Courses That Produce Passive Income
The “content stretching” system for online course marketplaces is extremely simple and it’s basically: Learn. Do. Teach.
– Go learn something
– Do it, so that you know what you’re talking about and can speak from experience when you’re teaching
– And then teach what you just learned to others
It’s really that simple.
Create A Course Outline
Now, in order to make things flow as fast as possible, I like to plan out a simple outline for the courses I create.
To do this think of what you want to teach, and then figure out how you can break that down into simple steps. Each step will be a separate lecture or video.
I typically try and make most courses about an hour or so. Now, that may seem like a long time. But to make it really easy for myself, I break each step into short videos.
If you were to teach something that included 12 steps and you needed to have one hour of content, that would mean only talking for 5 minutes about each step, which anyone can do.
Then, when you’re done, you just assemble all the pieces, and now you have a full hour long course.
How To Scale The System
So, each and every course platform is slightly different but also has several things in common.
This is how I like to structure and plan out my content so that when I’m done with my course I can scale it in the easiest, laziest way possible.
I create one full course, usually about an hour in total length, made up of multiple smaller lectures usually 3-10 minutes each.
I also create an image to represent the course and what I’m teaching. Make the image 1280 x 720 (it can be smaller, but keep those same proportions).
This structure is going to make it easiest to scale once you’re all done.
Some platforms want you to have full courses, some are fine with just mini lessons, some like to bundle your courses, etc.
So, setting up your courses this way, the most you’ll ever have to do when adding to different marketplaces is maybe add/remove a few lectures, create a different intro video, or add a text description to individual lessons.
What Are Some Of The Most Popular Course Platforms?
Udemy – this is basically the Google of the online course marketplaces. It’s the largest and most popular.
Skillshare – my recommended place to start out because they let you upload individual lessons. Each lecture only has to be a minimum of at least 10 minutes. This platform will be the easiest and fastest to scale since there’s no course approval process, and will put some quick money in your pocket.
StackSkills – this is another large platform that has a wide reach and can promote your courses out to their massive audience for exposure. They do like to promote courses as bundles, so you’ll need to have a few courses complete and put together before you reach out to them.
ULearning – this is a newer platform. It’s very similar to Udemy and makes it easy to upload and publish content, but I’m not 100% on how well this one will do, since at the time of me writing this they just recently launched.
Amazing – this is also a newer platform launched by Matt Clark, one of the people behind the massively successful Amazing Selling Machine. This is a unique platform and kind of a hybrid between Skillshare and Udemy. Worth checking out because I believe there will be greater chance to earn more revenue on this platform than other marketplaces, but it might be helpful to get your feet wet at somewhere like Skillshare or Udemy first.
Common Questions about Online Course Marketplaces
Do you do any offsite selling?
I actually don’t. The whole reason why I leverage these online marketplaces is because they already have traffic and an audience and they’re doing their own paid marketing and SEO to build up their members. That’s why I love this system and think it’s so great for beginners. You will literally make sales just from being in these marketplaces. I don’t care if you have a course about underwater basketweaving, you will eventually make sales just by showing up. It’s that simple. Of course if you wish, you could promote yourself, for example on your Facebook profile, via your blog and Twitter.
How do I get good reviews for my courses?
On many of these platforms you do have the opportunity for students to leave reviews. We all know the power of reviews due to sites like Amazon. Reviews are extremely powerful and provide social proof that helps in driving more sales and profits. But to get good reviews don’t overthink things. Number one, focus on creating the highest quality and valuable content that you can on your topic. Then next you can prompt students at various points throughout the course to take action and leave a positive review or rating if they have enjoyed the content inside, to help encourage others to enroll. You can also incentivize them in some way in exchange for a review, like sending them a content upgrade or free report, video or interview. That’s really all I’ve ever done. Keep it simple.
When do I get paid?
Each of the platforms are different in how you get paid, when you get paid and what you get paid for. But most typically pay out a full calendar month after the current month. For instance, if you earned $1000 in August, you would typically be paid out during the first week of October. But some pay on the 1st and 15th or later in the month. The most important thing for beginners is to just get started. Once you start getting results then you can begin planning out your months in order to reach your financial goals. Like if you wanted to reach a certain income goal by March, well you really need to be hustling hard in January because March is going to be the payout month of January’s efforts and activity.
How much of a cut (%) does the online course marketplace take?
This varies, depending on the company. But lets look at Udemy as an example. There is a good number of options available depending on how the customer found the course. (via an Affiliate, via Udemy or directly via the Instructors promotion)
For example if a student purchases your course using an Instructor Coupon code, either from promotions to your own audience (e.g., your email list or YouTube subscribers) you can make 97% revenue share. Alternatively if the course is sold via an Affiliate, the split is 50% affiliate, 25% Instructor and 25% Udemy. If the sale comes directly via the Udemy website (not an affiliate or an instructor promotion) the split is 50% Udemy, 50% Instructor.
You can make a lot of money with Udemy but like everything in life – the more effort, the more rewards!
97% is very generous – but you have to find the customer. I have been happy for Udemy to do the selling, marketing and driving traffic – which in most instances means 50% revenue share.
A simple, scalable, and sustainable passive income system
So, there you have it.
A simple, scalable, and sustainable passive income system that is completely newbie friendly, that doesn’t require a lot of resources to get started, and that you can still have massive success with…even if you suck at selling or driving traffic.
I encourage you to take action and implement this system. It’s so hard not to succeed with this system that I pretty much guarantee if you just take action you will see some results. And once you do, I think you’ll be amazed and get hooked. Look, if a somewhat Lazy Introvert like me can make money with Udemy and online course marketplaces, it should work for most people!
If you’re interested in a more in-depth video lesson explanation of this system or curious about other simple, scalable and sustainable passive income streams I use and recommend, I invite you to check out IMSource Academy where I share all my best tools, resources and systems along with my personal support and help.
Additional Make Money With Udemy Resources
=> Wistia Course Creation Compilation – A collection of videos about video lessons for the content creator – 1 hour of training. (Free)
=> A SlideShare presentation – 16 Tips on How To Make Money on Udemy. Well worth a flick trough for some additional ideas and suggestions on how to make Udemy work.
=> How 10 Instructors Earned $1.6 Million on Udemy in One Year. For those of you with aspirations to make a lot more than $30000 PA – plus a bit more background of Udemy and the opportunity.