My Revenue Increased 300% After Leaving Udemy

By Tommy Griffith / Published on November 10, 2020

With their new pricing scheme that caps the maximum price of a course at $199, plus the standard 50-75% revenue share they take, Udemy is crippling their best teachers. No good instructors should continue teaching on the Udemy platform with this new policy change.

I Left Udemy, and My Revenue Increased 300%

My first course, the ClickMinded SEO training course, (which is now just one of our many courses — you can check out all the ClickMinded digital marketing courses here) was originally on Udemy.

When Udemy was just getting started, it made a lot of sense to use them. They had a reasonable revenue share, they took care of all the hosting and technical details around hosting, and there was not a ton of good alternative learning management system options.

Over the last few years, however, Udemy has continued to roll out new policies that are extremely teacher-unfriendly. It has become less and less attractive to host with them, and this most recent price cap change will likely be the final nail in the coffin for most good teachers.

The moment I left Udemy was the moment my course became a legitimate business. In the first year of self-hosting, my revenue increased 300%.

The revenue from my online course business soon surpassed my annual salary as SEO Manager at Airbnb, which eventually led me to quit my job and go full time on ClickMinded.

At the time of writing this, there are over 30,000 students enrolled in our courses and ClickMinded has generated over $2m in revenue.

In the meantime, Udemy continues to make it harder and harder for teachers to succeed. The results I mention above would've been impossible if I had stayed at Udemy.

The best instructors are going to start migrating off the platform (most of them already have). Self-hosting your course is increasingly becoming a more attractive option.

I understand why people are drawn to marketplaces like Udemy and Skillshare: because they acquire customers for you.

But the trade-off is just not worth it.

A $199 price cap, along with a 50-75% revenue share, makes it almost impossible for teachers to be compensated fairly for their work.

In addition to that, all of the standard crappy things about Udemy apply:

  • You don't get your students email addresses
  • You can't take them out of the Udemy ecosystem
  • Udemy will send your students promo codes to your competitors right after they sign up

And perhaps the most insidious part of their business model:

  • Udemy will constantly offer steep discounts of up to 95% off the list price of your course — regardless of the price you set

This has caused Udemy courses to become a commodity. If you build your course on their marketplace, it will be "just another Udemy course" (with all the negative connotations that carries).

Because of this, to grow your business inside Udemy, you’ll need to continue creating new courses all the time — the top Udemy instructors typically have 10, 20, 30+ courses.

In my opinion, spending all of your time creating new courses defeats the purpose of starting an online course business, which is to stop trading hours for money.

Instead of relying on Udemy to attract customers for your course, you're much better off learning this stuff yourself and building a business you have 100% control over.

Free resources to get started

If you're looking for more information on how to get more customers for your business through digital marketing, here's a number of FREE resources and tutorials we created over at ClickMinded:

How we built a 7-figure online course business

I’ve talked about how we built this thing on podcasts like Indie Hackers1, Tropical MBA2, and Niche Pursuits3, but I was never able to really get into the weeds and share everything I wanted to share.

We decided to put everything we learned into one comprehensive framework to start and scale your own online course business as quickly as possible.

This is everything we wish someone had taught us when we were just getting started — and it’s all you need to get the fastest results possible. We packaged up everything we know about this stuff and put it all in one place. This, combined with our massive library of downloadable templates, like this description template for new YouTube channels, is really all you need to get started.

We've broken this up in two courses.

The Start & Build course

This course is designed to be the fastest way to validate your course idea, attract early customers, and build a world-class online course. It covers:

  • Finding your ideal customers
  • Discovering market opportunities
  • Finding your unfair advantage
  • Getting your first 10 customers
  • Starting your online course business
  • Creating your course curriculum
  • Recording and editing video content
  • Setting up your marketing site
  • Setting up your learning management system
  • Setting up your email service provider
  • Course certifications and updates
  • Pricing your course

The Grow & Scale course

This course is designed to be the fastest way to validate your course idea, attract early customers, and build a world-class online course. It covers:

  • How to build a powerful sales funnel
  • Target persona blueprint
  • Google SEO blueprint
  • YouTube SEO blueprint
  • Lead magnet blueprint
  • Mini-course blueprint
  • Warm-up sequence blueprint
  • Pitch sequence blueprint
  • Evergreen newsletter blueprint
  • Sales page blueprintWebinar blueprint
  • Special promotion blueprint
  • Partnership blueprint
  • Refund policy blueprint
  • Scaling your business

If you're just getting started, this is the fastest way to create a world-class online course and the tactics to scale it to 1000+ customers.

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