Is Teaching on Udemy Worth It? 10 Pros and Cons
Teaching online courses has become a lucrative job for many people, and Udemy is a good place to test it out. However, a lot of work goes into teaching on Udemy, so you have to determine if it’s worth it for you. Consider the pros and cons when deciding on the best place to break into the online course market.
Is teaching on Udemy worth it? Udemy is a great option for new teachers since they do all the marketing. All a new instructor needs to do is set up an account and create a course. However, teachers can face some competition on the platform, and with all the sales and discounts, it can be hard to make a decent income.
If you want a place to house your courses and make some extra money, give Udemy a try. But if you want to make teaching online your main source of income, you might want to look elsewhere. Choosing a place to teach online is a personal decision, and it isn’t one to take lightly, so consider the good and bad of Udemy.
Why Teach an Online Course
There are many reasons to consider teaching an online course. If you’re already a teacher, you can create online courses as a side hustle. Other professionals can create online courses to showcase their knowledge and expertise on a subject.
For the most part, online courses are easy to create. If you have a computer and a camera, you can record and upload a course.
You can create your online course on your own schedule. If you work a day job or have other responsibilities, you don’t have to worry about creating your course at a specific time.
There are online courses on almost every topic, so you probably have a skill or subject that you can teach. Even if you have a weird hobby, someone will probably want to take your course.
If you want to build a career for yourself, your course can show that you know what you’re talking about. Teaching people to do something is almost as hard as doing the thing, so you can show that you know your stuff.
When you teach an online course, you don’t have to worry about booking a space to teach it. All you need to do is record videos and upload them to your course platform of choice. Students can come to you and learn wherever and whenever.
Teaching an online course can be an extra way to make some money, or it could be your primary source of income. There are multiple popular online course platforms, and Udemy might be the one for you. To learn more about Udemy and how it works for both teachers and students, click here.
Pros of Teaching on Udemy
If you want to teach an online course, you need to find a place for that course to live. You can use your own website, but a course platform like Udemy can sometimes be the better choice. There are many benefits to starting your online course venture with the help of an established platform.
For one, you don’t need to have a website. You also don’t need to have an active following online. With a platform like Udemy, you’ll have help when it comes to marketing your course, and you can work with their large base of students.
If you aren’t sure about teaching on Udemy, consider the pros of doing so. While there are advantages to other platforms, Udemy is such a large marketplace for courses. Teaching on Udemy doesn’t have many requirements, so almost anyone can get started.
There are many things to think about when choosing the right place to put your online course. Consider these pros when deciding whether teaching on Udemy is worth it for you. Some of the pros might surprise you.
Pro 1: Free to Start
One of the best reasons to start teaching on Udemy is that it’s free. Udemy doesn’t charge teachers anything to set up an account or create a course. That can be especially intriguing if you don’t have a ton of disposable income.
You can set up an account with Udemy, and you can use your account to create a course on just about anything.
Udemy will never charge teachers fees to host or promote a course. This can be nice if you don’t want to deal with hosting and marketing.
While there aren’t any fees upfront, Udemy does take a cut of the cost of your course. That means you won’t make the entire price of your course when someone enrolls.
You also don’t have to worry about paying for a website or other host for your courses. Udemy will take care of storing your videos and course materials once you upload them to the site, but you should still keep copies on your computer for reference.
If you’re new to teaching and want to get started for as little cost as possible, Udemy is a good option. They don’t charge anything to set up an account as a teacher, but you can still teach basically anything you want. You can read this FAQ page to learn more about getting started as a teacher on Udemy.
Pro 2: No Application Process
If you don’t have teaching experience, Udemy is perfect. They don’t require an application to sign up as a teacher, so you don’t have to show a lengthy resume. That means you can get started on the same day you sign up for an account.
Of course, traditional teaching jobs usually involve an application and interview to verify that you can teach the subject you apply to teach. However, since Udemy isn’t an accredited institution, you can start teaching no matter your credentials. While you may not make money immediately, you can at least start teaching soon.
Now, the downside to no application means that anyone can teach on Udemy. Even people who just want to make a quick buck can put up a course. Students do rate courses, so they can rate low-quality courses as such, but it can still have an impact on good teachers.
If you want to teach on Udemy, make sure you create high-quality courses so that you can get higher ratings from students. That way, you can prove you’re a good teacher and that people should enroll in your courses over others.
Pro 3: Udemy Markets Your Course
Another nice advantage of using a platform like Udemy is that you have some help marketing your course. While marketing is an important skill these days, everyone could use a little help. If you don’t have any following online, it can be much harder to get your course out there.
Udemy has a huge base of students that they can share your course with. Compare that to a small following you might have on Instagram, and that free marketing can come in handy.
They use sales to promote courses and get sales throughout the year. While a sale price means you’ll make less per sale, it could help you get more sales.
The sheer volume of sales and marketing that Udemy does means you’re almost guaranteed to get at least one sale. That may not be enough to replace your income, but it could be enough for an extra coffee or meal out.
If you consistently get good reviews and create good courses, you could be featured on Udemy’s homepage, and that can help increase visibility for your newest course.
Unless you plan to teach a course on sales or marketing, odds are you aren’t an expert in those areas. That’s why having the help of Udemy can mean the difference between getting sales and letting your course sit for months. You can, and should, still market your course, but you don’t have to worry about doing all the marketing yourself.
Pro 4: Access to Udemy Students/Customers
When you create a course and put it on your website, you only have access you people who visit your site. However, putting your course on Udemy means you can access the huge customer base that Udemy has already built. Consider some of these numbers when looking at Udemy as a teaching platform.
There are around 30 million students on Udemy that you can sell your course to. However, there are only 42,000 instructors. Those instructors teach over 100,000 courses, but that still means there are 300 students per course.
While you may be able to attract students who have Udemy accounts to your website, putting your course on the platform will help with exposure. You can’t ignore the numbers that Udemy has amassed throughout their years of growing as an online course website. Of course, the downside is that those customers are loyal to Udemy.
It may be difficult to get repeat customers to visit you outside of the platform. However, you can create multiple courses, and if you do so well, you can get repeat students. Plus, you can list your Udemy course elsewhere, which can increase your reach to even more potential students. If you’re interested, you can read more Udemy statistics here.
Pro 5: Good for Beginners
There are many reasons why Udemy is a great platform for people who are new to teaching online courses. Of course, there’s the fact that there’s no application process. However, other factors can make Udemy the best place to put your first online course.
Udemy is already established, including their website, their customer base, and their ability to host courses. All of that is set up for you from the get-go.
When you start teaching on Udemy, you just have to worry about teaching. You can create the content for your course, publish it, and let Udemy do the rest.
Even if you want to do some of the marketing yourself, you don’t have to do as much to get the same results.
You also don’t have to deal with collecting payments from students. Udemy will pay you based on sales, and you can set up your payment method when you make your account.
You’ll also have some help from Udemy in the form of technical support. While you should connect with your students, they will have to ask Udemy about platform issues.
The “perfect” time to start teaching may never come, but Udemy can take away a lot of the guesswork. You can focus on creating awesome courses and get help for the more business-related tasks, like marketing and sales. That way, you can do what you want to do and what, hopefully, you are best at.
Disadvantages of Teaching on Udemy
While teaching on Udemy comes with a lot of benefits, there are some disadvantages. No teaching platform is perfect, and Udemy is no exception to that rule. Even if you’re set on creating an account to teach on Udemy, you should still consider some of the cons.
Teaching on Udemy can be very rewarding, but you won’t have as much control over your courses as you would elsewhere. You may have to follow their pricing structure, and it can be hard to turn students into customers who will pay for any other products and services you have. If you have experience with sales and marketing, it might be worth your while to host your course on your own website so that you can connect with your students.
Experienced teachers also may not want to give up a chunk of their income to a course platform. If you expect to make a lot of sales, you can probably earn more by paying hosting fees and keeping more of the profits from your courses.
The good news is that Udemy isn’t an exclusive platform. If you try it and find out it isn’t the best for you, you can sell the same course on your own website. Before you jump headfirst into teaching on Udemy, think about some factors that may make you rethink the decision.
Disadvantage 1: Regular Discounts
One of Udemy’s most popular ways to get sales and new students is by running sales almost all of the time. While this can be a great way for students to enroll in courses on a budget, it’s not so great for teachers. When your courses are on sale on Udemy, each sale will be less than the normal price.
Every time someone enrolls in your course during a sale, you’ll make less money. Of course, a sale can encourage more people to sign up for your course. In some cases, you may make more money for running a sale than if you didn’t run a sale.
Still, if you’re willing to wait for people to enroll and make money in the long term, sales can do a number on your income potential. Now, Udemy does allow you to opt-out of special promotions, but doing so might affect how well Udemy promotes your courses. Not participating in promotions might also keep students from enrolling in your course if they think the list price is too high.
On Udemy and elsewhere, discounts are a good way to get sales. However, Udemy seems to always have at least a few courses on sale. Their low sale prices can make it hard to make a lot of money on the platform, and it can be hard to compete with those prices if you don’t participate in sales.
Disadvantage 2: Cheap Overall
Even when your courses aren’t on sale, it can be hard to make a ton of money from them. Udemy courses tend to have affordable list prices, and of course, that benefits the student. Low priced courses are more accessible to more people, but that does mean you need to sell a lot more to make money.
Sale prices usually hover around the $10 mark. If you spend five hours creating a course, you’d need at least four enrollments to make minimum wage. You’d need even more if you want to make more per hour.
You can set your regular price higher than that, but if you price it too high, people won’t want to splurge on your course. There are tons of courses on Udemy, and price can be a huge factor in getting someone to choose you over another instructor.
If you want to create a course that provides a lot of value, you should price it accordingly. However, you may not be able to make much from a super expensive course on a platform that offers cheaper alternatives.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should skimp and create a cheap course. Your course should be interesting and good enough so that students leave good reviews.
However, you need to find a balance between affordable for students and worth your time as the teacher.
Pricing an online course isn’t easy, but many course creators can make some decent money. However, some of the most successful instructors host their courses where they can charge more while providing valuable information. If you want to make a lot of money on Udemy, you may have to focus more on putting out a lot of courses.
Disadvantage 3: Minimal Connection to Students
A basic part of doing business online is maintaining contact with your customers or students. That way, you can promote new courses and other offers to people you know will be interested in them. Many online business owners do this through social media and email subscriptions.
However, the students on Udemy aren’t your customers; they belong to Udemy. Udemy is the company with access to students’ email addresses. That means Udemy will send their own promotional emails to students.
While you can communicate with students within Udemy, you won’t be able to capture their email addresses easily. If you decide to release a second course in the future, you won’t be able to market it to your current students. Instead, you’ll have to rely on Udemy to promote your course to the right people.
That reliance on Udemy can be difficult if you plan on creating courses that work together. It can also be difficult if you create other products and services. You can’t send people to your website as easily as if you had sold your course directly to students.
Disadvantage 4: Not Great if You Have a Following
If you have a following online, either through social media, or another part of your business, Udemy probably isn’t the best place for you. As with the previous disadvantage, you won’t own your students on Udemy. However, you do have a better connection with your email and social media followers.
While social media platforms don’t offer you complete control of your following, you do have some control. You can use a network’s private message feature to connect with followers.
If you have an email list, you do have full control of that list and what you send. That includes the ability to promote new courses and other products and services.
You can also stay in contact with your audience between course launches. That can help you build trust with your audience so that you become their go-to resource.
The bigger your audience, the more likely you are to have success launching a course on your own. Doing so can help you keep more of the revenue, and you can get customers to come back in the future.
If you want to teach an online course as part of your overall content strategy, rethink Udemy. Odds are, you probably have at least a small following online. Even a small following can turn into a loyal group of students who jump at the chance to take your courses.
When you work hard to build that audience, you don’t want to throw it all away just to use an online course platform. Plus, you may have to face some competition that you wouldn’t have when selling directly to your audience.
Disadvantage 5: There’s Some Competition
The industry of online courses has grown tremendously in recent years. On the one hand, that means there’s a growing demand for online courses and people to create them. However, that also means that there are tons of people looking to teach online courses.
If you look at Udemy and search for courses on the topic you want to teach about, you might find multiple pages of results. While that does mean there’s the demand for the topic, it also means you’ll face some competition. You’ll have to make it clear from the start why people should enroll in your course and learn the topic from your point of view.
It’s not impossible to break into a niche as an online course creator, but you will have to differentiate yourself. When evaluating the competition, figure out what makes you unique. Perhaps you learned a particular skill later in life, or you learned about a topic quickly and can help others do the same.
Whatever it is, you want to avoid creating a course that is exactly like another one. That could be in how you present the materials, how much information you include, or something else. You’ll have to get creative to make your course your own.
The competition on Udemy can be hard to overcome, but it’s not the end of the world. After all, you’ll face competition no matter where you host your course. Still, the vast number of Udemy courses is worth looking at, especially when it comes to courses in your niche.
Other Things to Consider
Teaching on Udemy can be a rewarding way to make some extra money, or it can lead to a successful career working online. There are a couple of other things to consider that might be an advantage, or it might be a disadvantage. How these things fit into your own pros and cons will depend on the course you plan to create and how you plan to get sales.
On Udemy, all courses must have at least 30 minutes of videos. That could be one long video or several shorter videos.
If you don’t like being on camera, you can record your screen and add a voiceover to discuss what you show on the screen.
However, if you prefer to teach via the written word, Udemy may not be right for you. While many topics do well as video tutorials, you want to do what makes you comfortable.
Another thing to consider is how much of a cut Udemy gets from each sale. The percentage that Udemy takes depends. If you attract students with your own link, you’ll get 97% since there’s a small processing fee.
Organic sales that come through Udemy will be split equally between you and Udemy. If a sale comes through some sort of paid marketing, you’ll only get 25% of the sale.
If you don’t want to record videos, you might want to create a course that’s totally written word. While Udemy revenue sharing isn’t the worst, you may also want to host your course if you want to make more money from each sale. You can learn more about Udemy’s Revenue Share model here.
Selling online courses has become a popular way to make money online, and many course platforms can help you. Udemy is just one platform to consider when you start creating online courses. So make sure you look at both the pros and cons before you decide if it’s for you.