1. Why Udemy?

Udemy is like YouTube, but instead of scattered content, teachers structure videos into courses. Many of these courses are priced at $59.99 or above. However, with Udemy’s year-round promotions, most sell for $9.99.

  • Anyone can upload a course, and if it sells, you get half the royalties.
  • Udemy collects the other half in exchange for promoting your course.
  • If you want to market courses yourself, you can use referral links and receive 100% of the profits from each sale.


How to Make $17,000 a Month Passive Income from Udemy Courses


Louise, Digital nomad & Serial entrepreneur

“Personally, I wanted my course income to be passive, and that's what Udemy gives me. I also want them to be mass market, and I enjoy that my courses are affordable to anyone in the world.”



2. Identify gaps in the market for things you could teach

Louise started making Udemy courses when she was 23. She moved to Chiang Mai, met a course creator, and figured she could do the same. She already had a camera from her blogging days, and she knew she could teach about fashion, makeup, and lifestyle topics.

  • Before recording, though, Louise points out topic choice is vital.
  • You have to think about what will people pay for, and what will ENOUGH people pay for?



2. Identify gaps in the market for things you could teach (cont
  • Given that you’ll make around $3 per sale, and that it could take around 50 hours to make a course, you need to make it worth your while.
  • You also need to consider topics which are less competitive.
  • Louise recommends searching for existing Udemy courses on your topic and seeing how yours could be different.
  • Could it be shorter or more detailed? Could it look more professional? Could it be targeted at a different audience?
  • If you can’t find a gap in the market, you may have to choose another topic.


3. Start searching keywords on Udemy

It’s a good idea to assess which keyword or keywords you could realistically rank for on Udemy.

  • For example, prior to my outsourcing course, the top-ranking course for the keyword ‘outsource to a virtual assistant’ had just 19 ratings from 1,742 students. The content also seemed a little fluffy. I knew I could do better.
  • The best way to find keywords is to do a search on Udemy. I wrote down a list of potential keywords and searched for as many variations as I could think of.


3. Start searching keywords on Udemy (cont.)

The key is to find keywords that give you an opportunity to make money but aren’t overly competitive.

Louise recommends looking for keywords that have less than 1,000 results and around 30 reviews to rank in position one. This way, when you target a keyword, your course is likely to appear at the top of the search results — if not the very top.



4. Choose your primary keyword and plan your course

Once you’ve identified which keyword you want to target, it’s time to plan your course.

  • Write down on paper a list of topics to cover and put them into 5 sections.
  • Each section has an introduction to tell students what to expect, and these intros are around two minutes long.
  • The teaching videos are between five and ten minutes.
  • Louise recommends courses last between two to three hours.
  • If they’re shorter than this, there’s probably not enough material. Too much longer and students may feel overwhelmed.
  • If this is an issue, you can always break the content down into multiple courses.


4. Plan your course (cont.)

Important to make sure your course focuses on the primary keyword you want to target. Here are places to include it:

  • At the beginning of the course title
  • In the course subtitle
  • Multiple times throughout the course description
  • Say it in the videos themselves

Louise has a fantastic Udemy course on how to make a Udemy course which I highly recommend. It goes into more detail about keyword targeting, as well as the specifics of how to record and edit videos.



5. Make a compelling thumbnail and preview video

According to YouTube, thumbnails and titles act like billboards. They help viewers decide which videos to watch.

The same is true for Udemy courses.

  • There are a few thumbnail rules when it comes to Udemy. Generally, they’re not allowed to include text, and it’s best to include a human face.
  • These are seen as being more compelling for people to click on.
  • If in doubt, keep it simple. A picture of you and a few icons can look clean and professional, and Canva has a great background removal tool you can use when you sign up for a pro account.


5.1. Pay attention to the promotion video

With the promotion video, Louise recommends keeping it under two minutes.

She also says it should answer the following:

  • What is your course about?
  • Why should people listen to you? (What’s your experience/expertise?)
  • What can students expect to learn by taking your course?
  • What makes your course different?
  • What will be the benefits to students of taking your course?


6. Get those reviews in early

Louise has found getting the ball rolling on reviews is really important for Udemy SEO.

  • Once it’s high in the rankings, the quality of your course should start generating these in the coming months and years. For my course, I aimed for 20 in the first two weeks.

On a spreadsheet, I had three columns:

  1. People in my network who I thought might be interested in my course
  2. Which platform I messaged them on
  3. The date I messaged them (so I could follow up a week later)


6. Get those reviews in early (cont.)

The message said something like,

“Hey [NAME], hope you’re well! I think you might be interested in this course I’ve created, and using my exclusive discount code, you can get it today for £9.99. If you like what you see, it would be great to see you there!”

If you haven’t got many people in your network who you think would be interested, here are a few ways to promote it:

  1. Create a podcast and interview people who you think might be interested in your course.
  2. Guest on other podcasts.
  3. Line up the launch in relevant Facebook groups.


7. Collaborate with other teachers to create more courses

After creating a number of courses, Louise reached a point where she’d run out of topics.

“I didn’t know much about anything, so I decided to collaborate with other teachers.”

Here’s how she pitched it:

“If you give me a day of your time, I’ll do the filming, the editing, the uploading, the writing, the thumbnail — basically everything else."


8. Cut the excuses

Louise now has just under 32K YouTube subscribers and over 7K followers on Instagram. It wasn’t always like this, though, particularly when launching her first few courses.

“You don’t need a mailing list, you don’t need a big social media presence, and you’re not too late.”

There’s no greater feeling than earning money whilst you sleep!


Louise, digital nomad & Serial entrepreneur

“There’s never been a better time to earn passive income! What’s stopping you?


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