Friday, December 1, 2017

Thoughts of Udemy Instructor Who Made $40000 in a Year Teaching Online Courses

One year ago, I put up my first Udemy course. Today, I now have 12 courses on the platform, over 20,000 students, and earned $41,876 (and counting thanks to the cyber Monday sale ongoing).

I am not posting this to brag, but hopefully to encourage those just starting out. I had ZERO audiences of my own when I started. I built one course and made $58 the first month, then worked on a second course. Month by month it grew, as my reviews built up (positively), students told their friends, and Udemy kept bringing in more students to the platform.

Tips for success

- Ask Others for Help
Seek out information. Guys like Scott DuffyPhil Ebiner, and countless others share their knowledge on this forum and their podcasts. Learn from them!

- Build Great Courses
There is no shortcut to success, it takes time and patience. Build great courses, you will get great reviews, and that will turn into more sales.

- Find your Niche
 Look at Insights and find a hot topic with less competition. You don’t have to be the next Web Dev or Java Course. There are niches everywhere, you can make money in the niches!
Udemy isn’t a get rich quick scheme. My average course makes $300-500 a month, with one or two lucky course topics earning. $2000-3000. 
Find your niche
Keep building content
and 
Be persistent

Happy to answer any questions you guys have!
Jason Dion



Jason posted these photos and message on Facebook. I believe these are very useful insights and wanted to save these for my reference later on. Things get buried in social media rubble very quickly. 
Link to Jason's profile is given below.

https://www.udemy.com/user/jason-dion/

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Udemy December 2017 Sales News

Here are Udemy's December sales dates.Udemy is definitely working on getting the prices up a bit. Which is good for us if they succeed.

December 2017 Promotion Dates


Holiday Sale

Start Date: 12/04/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 12/08/17 11:59PM PST
Discount: All Courses will be $15 USD for all Users

If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $15 until 12/08
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 12/08

Tech & IT Category Sale

Start Date: 12/14/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 12/17/17 11:59PM PST

Business & Marketing Sale

Start Date: 12/18/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 12/22/17 11:59PM PST
Creative Materials: Banners, Swipe Copy, & Video

Boxing Day Sale

Start Date: 12/26/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 12/29/17 11:59PM PST

Discount: $10 for all users in UK, CA, Australia, and Netherlands , Everyone else sees $15


In targeted countries: Boxing Day sale on Udemy-- All courses down to $10 until 12/29


Suggested Positioning:
If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $15 until 12/29
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 12/29

Udemy November 2017 Sales News



Here are Udemy's November sales dates.

"As with most companies, Q4 is one of the biggest seasons at Udemy, and its success is anchored to one of the best performing promotions of the year: Black Friday! We have every reason to believe that this year's promotion will be just as strong as it's always been, if not stronger! Not only do we have amazing new brand with a site more highly optimized for sales than ever before, new creative,our amazing & loved competition running (sign up here if you haven't already!), but we will be providing you with new resources throughout the promotion for you to better engage the audience. As always, if you have any suggestions of what we can provide you to be more successful, please do not hesitate to let us know!

"Now while Black Friday sale does get a lot of our attention, we do want to highlight a few awesome new promotions and events we will be participating in for the first time to help you end the year strong:

"Single's Day Sale: For the first time ever, we will be participating in one of the biggest e-commerce events of the year in China. During this time, all users from China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong will be seeing a $10 for all courses. If these are big markets for you, and you think there's something we can do together to better promote, let us know! We will be sending out copy and banners to everyone.

"Category Specific Sales: While we've highlighted certain categories in the past, we are including some revenue share bumps for courses that fall within the categories. Stay tuned for more details on how to opt in to this before December!

Upcoming Promotion Dates

November 2017 Promotion Dates


Exceptional Instructors & Courses Sale

Start Date: 11/06/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 11/09/17 11:59PM PST
Discount: All courses $15
Suggested Positioning:

If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $15 until 11/09
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 11/09

Single’s Day Sale

Start Date: 11/10/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 11/14/17 11:59PM PST
Discount: All Users in China, Taiwan, Singapore & Hong Kong see $10, Everyone else sees $15

If large audience in targeted countries: Single’s Day sale on Udemy-- All courses down to $10 until 11/14
If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $15 until 11/14
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 11/14

Udemy Black Friday/Cyber Monday 13 Day Indulgence Sale


Start Date: 11/16/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 11/28/17 11:59PM PST

Discount: $10 for all users

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Udemy October 2017 Sales Schedule & Plan


“October! And happy start of the quarter! If you’ve been in the program for awhile, you know we love Q4 here at Udemy & so do our students! We’ve been busy on our end getting things ready for you and make the most of our busy season.

Below you will find the calendar for October and November.  Things to highlight:

First October campaign begins 10/05-- three days from now! All courses will be lowered to $12 USD for 5 days. Please note the suggested discount here is in USD. 
   
Udemy Logo
Udemy


The dates for the Diwali Sale have been updated. Our apologies for the miscommunication!

Please note the Diwali Sale starts tomorrow

As a reminder, here are the promotion details for Diwali:

Diwali Sale Dates
Start Date: 10/17/17 12:01 AM PST
End Date: 10/20/17 11:59 PM PST
Discount: All courses $10 for users in India, everyone else $12
Suggested Positioning:
If large Indian audience: Celebrate Diwali with online courses for just ​640 Rupees until 10/20
If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $12 until 10/20
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 10/20

Upcoming Promotional Calendar
Diwali Sale

Start Date: 10/17/17 12:01 AM PST
End Date: 10/20/17 11:59 PM PST
Discount: All courses $10 for users in India, everyone else $12
:
If large Indian audience: Celebrate Diwali with online courses for just ​640 Rupees until 10/20
If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $12 until 10/20
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 10/20

Meet Your End of Year Goals Sale
Start Date: 10/27/17 12:01 AM PST
End Date: 10/31/17 11:59 PM PST
Discount: All Courses will be $12 USD for all Users

If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $12 until 10/31
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 10/31

November Promotion Schedule
Start Date: 11/06/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 11/09/17 11:59PM PST
Discount: All Courses will be $12 USD for all Users

Single’s Day Sale
Start Date: 11/10/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 11/13/17 11:59PM PST
Discount: All Users in China, Taiwan, Singapore & Hong Kong see $10, Everyone else sees $12

Suggested Positioning:If large audience in targeted countries: Single’s Day sale on Udemy-- All courses down to $10 until 11/08
If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $12 until 11/08
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 11/08

Udemy Black Friday/Cyber Monday 13 Day Blowout Sale

*Enter Black Friday Sale Competition*
Start Date: 11/16/17 12:00AM PST
End Date: 11/28/17 11:59PM PST
Creative Materials: Swipe Copy, Banners, Competition
Discount: TBD – More details to come


October Sitewide #1
Start Date:     10/05/17  12:01 AM PST
End Date:      10/10/17  11:59 PM PST
Discount: All Courses will be $12 USD for all Users”

Had trouble pasting so here’s the rest

October Promotion Schedule

October Sitewide #1

Start Date:     10/05/17  12:01 AM PST

End Date:      10/10/17  11:59 PM PST
Discount: All Courses will be $12 USD for all Users
Suggested Positioning:
If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $12  until 10/10
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 10/10


Diwali Sale

*ENTER HERE FOR POTENTIAL CASH BONUS!*
Start Date:     10/16/17  12:01 AM PST
End Date:      10/19/17  11:59 PM PST
Discount: All courses $10 for users in India, everyone else $12
Creative Materials Udemy will provide: Banners & Swipe Copy
Suggested Positioning:
If large Indian audience: Celebrate Diwali with online courses for just 鈥嬧偣640 until 10/19
If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $12  until 10/19
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 10/19
3h

Start Date:     10/27/17  12:01 AM PST
End Date:      10/31/17  11:59 PM PST
Discount: All Courses will be $12 USD for all Users

Suggested Positioning:
If mostly US audience: All courses on Udemy down to $12  until 10/31
If mostly global or international audience: All Courses on Udemy are up to 90% off until 10/31

Udemy October 2017 Sales Plans
Udemy October 2017 Sales

November Promotion Schedule

Start Date:    11/06/17  12:00AM PST

End Date:      11/09/17  11:59PM PST
Discount: All Courses will be $12 USD for all Users
Single’s Day Sale

Start Date:    11/06/17  12:00AM PST
End Date:      11/08/17  11:59PM PST
Discount:  All Users in China, Taiwan, Singapore & Hong Kong see $10, Everyone else sees $12

Udemy Black Friday/Cyber Monday 13 Day Blowout Sale

*Enter Black Friday Sale Competition*
Start Date:    11/16/17  12:00AM PST
End Date:     11/28/17  11:59PM PST
Pricing TBD

Friday, August 18, 2017

Why do students leave negative or low reviews on Udemy courses?

Author: Frank Kane, Platform: Facebook

Allow me to join the club of instructors pontificating on the nature of reviews.
It really seems to me that there is very little correlation between the actual quality of my seven courses, and the average review scores they have. In fact, the course I'm most proud of has the lowest score - and my earliest courses that make me cringe when I look at them are just as highly rated as my newer, professionally produced ones.
Here's what I think reviews are really measuring, assuming your courses pass some reasonable quality bar (based on my over 100,000 students):
1. How difficult is the course material? Topics that require a mathematical or computer science background - or worse, both - are going to be challenging for a lot of people who are trying to learn a valuable skill but lack the necessary educational background. If they simply can't "get it" no matter how good of an instructor you are, they're going to blame you as the instructor, not themselves. And they'll take it out in their review scores.
2. How much did students pay for your course? We know that the less someone pays for something, the less they value it. I've seen this clearly with a free course that I ultimately unpublished, and the decline in rating scores I've seen as Udemy has dropped its price points over time. I think there's also a valid concept of "quality of student," and lower price points attract people who are more likely to give you a bad rating and get a refund just for the fun of it.
3. What is the international breakdown of your students? One of my courses has been localized to Japanese and German. The same exact course gets a 4.5 rating in the US, but a 3.8 in Japan and a 4.1 in Germany. Different cultures interpret star ratings in different ways, and language barrier issues can also affect student satisfaction. I've noticed that almost all of the negative reviews on my English-language courses are from students from India. My most recent negative review came from a student who wrote the review in Spanish, complaining that I didn't use a "pencil" on my slides to write down notes on them while I was talking. Many International students have an easier time reading English than listening to it.
So, what's the positive, constructive takeaway on this? Well, for one thing, maybe it doesn't really matter - I don't see reviews influencing search placement all that much. It also means you need to think about your international students. Speak clearly, and make sure your captions don't suck. And as best you can, set clear expectations of the skills your students need as a pre-requisite. Listing these in the course requirements isn't enough - say it again in your promo video.
At Udemy Live there was a lot of talk of matching the right students to the right courses. There is a recognition from Udemy's end that many low reviews are really just a mismatch between students and the right courses for them and their skill level, and they are taking steps to correct this.
We also know Udemy is focusing a lot of energy on international expansion and creating a good experience for international students.
So, some patience is warranted. Udemy has the data and the people needed to work this all out, and they're on it from what I can tell.

Gregory Caremans: You forgot to mention: 4. whether they are having a good or a bad day. I'm not even kidding. If they just had a fight, or they're stressed, or even if they are just hungry (seriously!), they are much more likely to give us a lower rating.

Frank Kane Maybe an equally valid hypothesis is that students are rating you, the instructor, much more so than the course itself. That would explain why all of my courses are rated more or less the same.

Chris Parker I've taken courses where I couldn't stand the instructors accent and was distracting from learning. I can imagine I've had students that didn't like my voice either. Nothing personal. And nothing you can do about it.

John Bura I try to mix game programming and game art tutorials and I get the same thing: 3 stars - Can't program - Can't do art.

Eventually, I think Udemy will have to price courses based on weight (hours). A 50-hour course should cost marginally more than a 5-hour course.

Udemy is a new business they are figuring it out all of the time. I look forward to what they do next.

Bo Andersen I agree with #1. I think it's partially caused by Udemy's extremely aggressive pricing strategy. Some students are just not meant to join a given course, but join it when saving 95%. For example, I've tried clearly stating that a course is for beginners, and yet people complain that the course is too basic. When adding loads of new content to the course, I get people saying that the course is too comprehensive. Basically I've noticed that many students don't read the course description, learning goals, and requirements at all. A simple example is that one of my courses clearly mentions as the single prerequisite that students must know JSON before enrolling. It's been at the top of the landing page for years, and I still get bad reviews from people because they don't know JSON. A lot of it just comes down to overselling stuff, which is pretty much Udemy's business model. The latest feature of being able to add courses to the cart directly from the search results is not really going to help, but that's another story.

My point is that as an instructor, you just cannot please everyone, especially if your course is not aimed at absolute beginners, because you are just going to see people enrol in the course who really shouldn't. There are many other factors as well, but this is one of them. The more complicated the subject, the harder it is to get good ratings, even if you do a great job at explaining. You are just going to see people enrol in an intermediate programming course who don't know how to open a file in a text editor, etc. (slightly exaggerated, but you get the point) :)

P.S. Forgot to mention that there is no apparent connection between how much value your course gives. You can have a 15 hour course packed with tons of valuable information, but a 3 hour course covering just the basics will often get better ratings. It's more about instructor performance than the actual content.

Chris Parker In the end, you can't please all the people 100% of the time. It doesn't matter if you cover every possible scenario, someone will find something they don't like and give you a 1 star. I too had a free course. Got tired of getting low reviews and put it up as a paid course. It's now making money and getting better reviews.

Stéphane Maarek General advice: I create a lecture named: Course-requisite (alongside goals, expectations, etc). It's boring as hell, takes up 5 minutes of my courses, but at least, sets expectations. Students can't avoid seeing it. I encourage them to get a reimbursement if they feel this course isn't for them. I think it has worked on my favour
Additionally, make a "learning path". I have a beginners course, and I go more advanced in other courses. One course is a pre-requisite to another. Frank Kane, if you feel some students lack some background, make a course for it, and suggest in an intro video that they should check it out if they feel fuzzy about some concepts

Jon Avis I have also noticed poor review scores from Indian students. Every review I have on my course below 4 stars is from an Indian student. And none have left a comment so I dont know how to improve it. Everyone else has scored it between 4 and 5.

Luke Burkina Excellent post. I think they should allow the creation of a Udemy faculty body to help address the quality of courses and reviews. In the past, I wrote an algorithm that will remove outliers before computing the mean. I even submitted the idea, but it did not get traction. The mean is not a good measure of the center of the data when it contains outliers.
Why this important? If a course takes a half-star or two stars ratings from a student, for no apparent reason after just less than 20% of completion, the average rating will be depleted and the course in jeopardy of being removed from promotions. Over time, low ratings affect the overall brand.
Another quick alternative is to compute and display the median rating (which is robust).

Friday, November 11, 2016

Create thumbnails for youtube videos with paintnet and pixabay for free


This video shows how to quickly & easily make thumbnails for your Youtube videos.
The top advantage of a decent Youtube thumbnail image is that it catches the visitor's eye and lures them towards the video. A video with a well designed thumbnail simply stands out of the crow.



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thoughts on side-gigs


The seed:
A side-gig is meant to be a low gain, low stress thing. It should be something you can easily outsource/automate. In fact, being easy should be the highest priority. If anything doesn’t meet first criteria, the second shouldn’t be bothered. I crank up a lot of source code on my full time job, don’t want to do that for my side gig.

Benefits:
Having a different type of side-gig means a different part of your brain gets activated when you’re working from your home office. It also means you’re not putting all of your eggs in one basket.

Example:
Transcription and video editing for example, pretty much fit the bill. You can start the biz on your own. At first you’ll be slow but you’ll get familiar with various English accents and the overall process of transcription/close captioning. Once you have a reasonable income you can reinvest (after paying you a 15% of your full time salary), you can start putting cash aside to hire virtual assistant(s) to automate parts of the process.

Expansion:
I believe that the transcription expert should be a separately dedicated person. S/he would provide the transcription which would be then used by the video editor to add subtitles to videos. We do need better software tools for the closed captioning though. Techsmith Camtasia is not good enough IMO.

I being a software developer will have an opportunity to software products tailored to the needs of transcription people and video editors who add closed captions to videos on regular basis. Although, that’s a very far-fetched possibility and I don’t want it to be on the list. Smells like a short sighted office rat.

Instead, I would love to get a VA who could work as a BD and find work our little business machine.

Family matters:
Begum(my wife) doesn’t have to play a role in this plan. But, I do believe she needs to be able to support herself and the family even if I’m not there. She also needs to do something beyond the household, it will comfort her mind. She will have a purpose of life other than bearing and raising children. It’s going to come with a decent income as well, which will give her some freedom of choice.

Office or no office?
In the end, I believe I don't need an office where people could come to work. Instead, everything can be outsourced to guys & guls who can work from home(or anywhere else they can get the work done for that matter). If Wordpress do it, why can't a small video editing shop? Instead of spending money on buying the computers & air conditioning, I think we should pay them well and invest in collaboration tools(work software, company website, file sharing services, get together, project management software). Maybe we could facilitate a few people through co-working spaces sometime in future. Like, when the power cuts get worst in summer.
I will get myself a couple gigantic screens though and setup a home office for myself. 

PS: The author has been there, done that. I used to work through freelance portals like ODesk(now Upwork), Elance, and Freelancer for developing Android apps and Windows desktop software. Took a start in video editing through Fiverr. 

PS2: This is not a morning journal entry. Just putting it there so that it will be easily traceable in the future.