CASE STUDY: Why You Should Release A Course On Udemy Right Now

One of my main sources of income when it comes to internet marketing is my own products.

At the present time, I have one eBook course for sale. Previous to this, I had a video course (which is undergoing a redevelopment).

These two products have achieved over $50k worth of sales over the past 3 years.

And it is why I maintain that creating and selling your own product is one of the best ways to earn money online.

But just recently, and remaining true to my goal of  ‘uncovering smart income streams’ on this blog, I uncovered Udemy. The following Udemy Case Study investigates Udemy as a teaching platform, discussing why you should consider using this platform as well as sharing my own experiences through releasing my first Udemy course.


If you haven’t heard of it yet (and I hadn’t up until a few months ago), Udemy is a platform which delivers online learning. The twist in the tale comes in the fact that anybody can sign up and become an instructor, build a course and then offer it to any one of their reported 3 million students.

udemy case studyThats right. 3 million students looking to take a course on anything from cupcake decoration to selling on eBay.


As a platform, Udemy is perfect for both the student and the instructor.

As a prospective student visiting the site for the first time you are met with a beautifully crafted landing page which oozes those delicious web 3.0 properties that we are becoming more and more accustomed to.

A simple search bar dominates above the fold, simply asking “What do you want to learn today?”

udemy case study

Once you type in a search term, you are then directed to a page which displays different courses. It’s less web 3.0 here, but still organized in a fashion that almost makes you want to take a course.

Visual arrangement does attract, and is an important cog in any marketing wheel (as I learned in Las Vegas) and it’s really no different here; an arrangement of courses presented uniformly across and down the page, headed by perfectly sized course graphics.

udemy study

The emphasis here is purely on matching a suitable course to an interested student. At a glance, a student can see the vitals – the title of the course, price, star rating and the number of students already enrolled.


Without doubt, Udemy is gaining more and more popularity by the day.

According to Google trends, interest started back in mid 2011, and has been growing steadily ever since.

udemy trends

And according to Alexa.com, popularity started growing exponentially 12 months ago (July 2013) and continues to see real growth.

udemy case study

With these two trusted sources in mind then, now really is the time to look closely at Udemy as a platform to deliver your own products.

WIth the 3 million reported students already there and waiting, and with the trend and popularity growing, it would be remiss of you not to give it some consideration.


Did I mention they have a reported 3 million students on their books?

Yes, course I did.

If that isn’t a reason big enough, check out the other reasons I believe you should be looking at Udemy today:

  • Udemy is a platform. Unlike a visitor stumbling across a website with an eBook for sale, this is a professional platform. This is on a whole different level to a visitor seeing an eBook on a (sometimes) spammy looking sales page.
  • It’s free. No hosting or website required. You will need a good video tool (I use ScreenFlow for Mac) because at least 60% of your course must be made up of video. This is your only cost.
  • The user interface is superb. Honestly, I could not imagine it any better. Udemy make it easy for you to create the course and upload it. Most importantly, the UI is also extremely pleasant for the student, with the ability to mark where they are in a course, and to type notes whenever they please.
  • Affiliates drive traffic. After 2 days, I have $75 in income. I have not promoted it myself much, and all sales have come through affiliates. Awesome stuff.


The first thing you should understand about setting your course price is a little strange.

And that’s because you will never receive the full amount you set for your course. My course is currently set at $47. Yet, I will never ever receive $47 for my course.

And here’s why.

Udemy utilises a number of different ways to get paid.

There are three main ways.

1. Udemy drives traffic to your course. In return, Udemy take 50% of your course price as a commission.

2. You drive traffic to your course through a special link. You can create as many of these special links as you want, and they can vary. You can create links which entitle students to access it for any price you want (including full price, free, or at a discount). In return, Udemy will only take a 3% commission.

3. Affiliates can drive traffic to your course. Affiliates are paid 50% – and Udemy also takes 25%, leaving you with 25%.

This table helps explain things a little better:

udemy payments

Overall, there are multiple ways of promoting your course. As I have already said, just a few hours after my course going live, I had revenue coming in. Because I opted into the Udemy affiliate program, affiliates have already picked it up, and I can already see my course promoted on other people’s websites.

udemy ebay course


I decided to launch a test course on Udemy at the beginning of July. Fortunately for me, I already had a wealth of material to draw on, deciding that I would base the course on my already popular Instant Start Business eBook.

I have 20+ pages of testimonials and praise for it on a public forum – so that gave me the confidence that the same could happen on Udemy.

SO the decision was made – I would use some of my existing content and repurpose and present it in a different format for this new platform.

But before I decided to create my course – I decided to take a course instead.

I did this for 2 reasons.

First, I wanted to see how a course looked from the point of view as a student.

Second, I wanted to do some detective work – and see the sort of quality and expectations others were delivering.

Surprisingly, the course I took was actually not all that good. The audio quality contained echo, the slides on the presentation were hard to read, and the over the shoulder video was zoomed out so far I could hardly see what was going on.

At this point, I knew I had the ability to create a quality course.

So I set about creating my course.


Your Udemy course doesn’t have to be some huge, 30 hour epic. Keep things simple, take out any fluff, and give the student what they want.

My course consists of 3 elements:

  1. Keynote ’09 presentation slides that I created and then talked through. This consisted of the theory part of what I was teaching.
  2. Over the shoulder videos. This consisted of me taking the theory, and putting it into practice, showing my students exactly how my sourcing systems worked.
  3. PDF. This was created to compliment the above 2, and consisted of the theory as well as step by step instructions to put that theory in practice.

In total, and as it stands currently, there’s around 67 minutes of video content, and 37 pages worth of PDF content.


Obviously, the first step is to sign up to Udemy.

You can do that here if you wish: Udemy Free Sign Up

Next, you will need to apply for Premium Instructor status. If you are not a premium instructor, you can only create courses that are free. And that’s not what we want!

So application to become a Premium Instructor is a must.

The application is your personal details, as well as doing things like uploading a picture of yourself and writing a biography.

Be warned. They rejected my first application (which took 5 days) because they said my biography was too short and not descriptive enough. I resubmitted, and it took them a further 4 days to accept me as a premium instructor. The biography now is 4 paragraphs long, with 2-3 sentences in each paragraph.

I advise that you apply for this status as soon as possible. I didn’t. I had my course complete, but without being a premium instructor, I could not set a price for it and had to wait nearly 2 weeks; 9 days to become a premium instructor, and a further 5 days for them to review my course and make it visible in the marketplace.

The second step is common sense. You should download their course guideline PDF which you can get here, so you can follow their guidelines. I recommend you do this, and have a good read of what they require from your course, because they have some mandatory requirements that if you miss, can stop your course from being accepted.

Once again, the guidelines can be found here.


Once you have an account on Udemy, and have familiarised yourself with the course guidelines and requirements, it’s now time to start creating your course.

All of my content was created on my Mac. I use Screenflow for Mac for recording and editing the video content. I used Keynote 09 to create the slideshows (recording and narrating through them using ScreenFlow), and I used Pages to create the documents which I then converted to PDF.

Once all this was done, I uploaded to Udemy.

Uploading is a very simple process. Udemy gives you an easy interface to upload the type of content you have:

udemy upload

TOP TIP: When creating slides or when narrating your course, do not refer to the section number or lecture number. This is because you have the ability to move these sections and lectures about, or even add in more at a later date. Obviously, if you say ‘Welcome to Section 2, Lecture number 3’, you have limited scope if you want to change the order around later. Only reference the lectures by the title you give to them.

This was a lesson I learned early on. I introduced a lecture as ‘Welcome to lecture 3’, but then decided to move things about. Meaning that the particular video was now under the heading of lecture 4, but I had introduced it as lecture 3.

udemy course graphicsYou will also need to upload a course graphic. You can create your own course graphic, but Udemy are pretty fussy over these graphics. If the reviewer of your course doesn’t like it, they can request a new one made by their in house graphics department (There’s no charge).

My original graphic was changed by Udemy a few days after my course went live. It now looks like what you see to your left.

I’m not too happy with this if I being totally honest, but I do believe that I can change it out again.

My original graphic was designed with a purpose. I used the blue deliberately (as this is a ‘trust’ colour), I used an image of myself (so students could see who was instructing the course and for personal branding purposes, and I used text to display the course title.

The new graphic Udemy have given me does none of this, so what I will do is see how well conversions stack up against my old course graphic.

Talking of conversions, Udemy also give you access to helpful statistics regarding your course – stats such as conversion and engagement analytics. You can also set up Google Analytics for your course (which I haven’t as yet).


If you would like to see my course, just sign up to the newsletter below and I will give you an exclusive discount code to use. Only Smart Income Detective subscribers get this huge discount (and I am practically giving it away at this price).

[optin-monster-shortcode id=”pp4ikspd69-post”]


Alternatively, you can get another discount by sharing the this post. Once you have shared it, the link is revealed.

[sociallocker id=”2315″]Click here to see the course – and the discount![/sociallocker]


I really hope you found my Udemy Case Study interesting and informative.

But what do you think of Udemy? Have you heard of it before? Maybe you are already an instructor? Or maybe you are thinking this isn’t for you?

Whatever your thoughts and experiences, I am keen to hear them. Just drop me a comment below!
Richard Martin

All the best,

Richard Martin



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Related Posts:

1. How I Earned over $10k in Under 12 Months With My First eBook
2. How To Create an eBook To Sell
3. 5 Awesome Ways To Market & Sell Your eBook (#4 Will Blow You Away)
4. How To Create A Sales Page For Your eBook

  • July 24, 2014
Richard Martin

I'm just a normal guy, earning money online, hoping to help you do the same.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 38 comments
Pete - July 24, 2014

Great post Richard.

Udemy is a great site to host courses and I’ve been doing it for around 18 months now. I’ve got well over $100k from the site and and it keeps on coming 🙂

Pete recently posted…Amazon Sales Figures – Month 1My Profile

    Richard Martin - July 24, 2014

    Hi Pete.

    Thanks for the insight – sounds like you are doing a tremendous job!

    Do you find you are the main one driving traffic to the course, or is it mainly affiliates and Udemy organic traffic?

    If you could share the percentages of organic/traffic you drive/traffic affiliates drive, roughly, this would be fantastic Pete.

    Thanks for your input.

      Pete - July 24, 2014

      It’s a mixed bag really. Originally I was driving a lot of traffic myself from a website I have. The income increased each month and from looking at the data back then I was driving around 75% – 85% of the traffic.

      Then Udemy (last november I think) changed it’s payment structure which meant even though I was driving traffic I only got 50% of the revenue at best. All to do with active cookie duration etc..

      Because of this I stopped driving the traffic to Udemy and sent them to my own platform. I still got sales on Udemy but without me driving the traffic it represented around 25% of the norm.’

      Udemy have now changed their payment structure again (starting this month) so it is possible to get a good revenue share again … like the good old days.

      My take-away from this is…. always own your own channel if you can, but still make use of market places like Udemy because they have a lot of traffic.

      I know plenty of other instructors who do well with Udemy too so I know it’s not flash in the pan.

      Oh, I forgot to mention the affiliates…. I turned that feature off some time ago. My main gripe was that affiliates find coupon codes for your course and include them in their links. This meant a course priced at $100 that had a coupon code for 75% off meant I would only receive $6.25 !!!!
      I know lots of other instructors who love the affiliate side of it, but not me.

      Pete recently posted…Amazon Sales Figures – Month 1My Profile

        Richard Martin - July 24, 2014

        Peter – wow!

        I didn’t expect the reply – so I appreciate it a lot that you have come back and answered the questions.

        I agree with you – always own your own channel. The course on Udemy is actually an offshoot of a course I have on my own channel – where I get the full £17 (about $28.90) for every sale (minus Paypal fees). That site alone is averaging around $250 a month, which is nice because I actually do very little to promote it (it’s on a large, public forum and has approval from the site owners). Just 20 or so posts a month on the forum, which exposes my signature link.

        I agree with what you say, and am still learning myself on this platform. The smallest amount I have received so for is $2.75, because as you say the affiliate used a blanket discount code provided by Udemy, and then took their cut. BUT, all in all, it’s $2.75 that I wouldn’t have probably earned anyway.

        For me, it’s all about building these income streams. Udemy is yet another income stream that I have, and for anybody else, too.

        Right at the moment, I have nearly $100 in earning in my earnings report. Not bad at all, considering the course I have has only been out there for 4 days or so.

        Again Pete – I Appreciate your comments a LOT!

          Pete - July 24, 2014

          Multiple income streams is my goal too. In fact, if i remember rightly… you came from the ebay eCommerce route right? and now including Udemy. I am similar in a sense but the other way round. Courses => eCommerce (eBay / Amazon etc..).

          Funny old world 🙂
          Pete recently posted…Amazon Sales Figures – Month 1My Profile

          Richard Martin - July 24, 2014

          Yes, that is true Pete – I am trying to go the other way – from eCommerce => Courses and online content. For the simple reason that I love teaching and writing.

          Funny old world indeed!

    Suprabhat Mondal - July 27, 2014

    Hey Richard

    I had heard about udemy few days ago i had purchased a course from there but i didn’t know it was platform. I thought it was a website of the course provider but now i got to know what Udemy is.
    Thanks for Sharing i found this on Kingged and upvoted it
    Suprabhat Mondal recently posted…Free WordPress Theme v/s Paid WordPress ThemeMy Profile

      Richard Martin - July 27, 2014

      Thanks for the upvote Suprabhat.

      I think this is the key – more and more people are getting to know what Udemy is…which is why NOW is a great time to release a course on there.

Atif Mansoor - July 25, 2014

Hi Richard,
Really a great guide on making money with udemy. I was already thinking about it, your tips will help me to boost my income from my udemy courses. Thanks for sharing
Atif Mansoor recently posted…How to Add Widget or Gadget to Blogger / BlogspotMy Profile

Mi Muba - July 25, 2014

Hi Richard
Udemy is wonderful resource for those who want to make money online without blogging. IT is very cool for those who have an expertise in any field.
To get the course approved at Udemy requires a little planning and hardwork. But once you are enrolled as their registered instructor then you get great feedback and can sell your courses easily.
Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful post on quite a new topic to earn money online.

    Richard Martin - July 25, 2014

    Hi Mi!

    Thanks for your input. Actually getting accepted onto Udemy was the hardest part for me – so you are right. But now I am there, I have enjoyed an income every single day so far. And a little bit of feedback starting to feed through, so all is good.

    Thanks again!

Emmanuel - July 25, 2014

Hello Richard,

It might surprise you to know this is my first time hearing of this Udemy thing and per your review, this is indeed something worth trying.

Technology is indeed taking on a new dimension and this has of course transcend into the the educational arena as well.

Do have a great weekend.

PS:I found this shared on kingged.com
Emmanuel recently posted…Hard Lessons Blogging has Taught MeMy Profile

    Richard Martin - July 26, 2014

    Hi Emmanuel, thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!

    One thing I am shocked about from this post – is how many people haven’t heard of it yet. So still a huge potential to grow and grow!

    Have a great weekend yourself!

Adrienne - July 25, 2014

Hey Richard,

I know a few people who have courses on Udemy. One of the guys had told me how disappointed he was that they had changed the payment structure and he was getting a lot less for his courses. Udemy keeps sending me emails asking me to create one and hop aboard too but I haven’t done that of course.

I’ve always just heard that if you create your own products then you need to keep more control over them. Granted a site like that can probably put it in front of more people then just you but from what they are taking in percentages for hosting it and promoting it I’m not quite sure I would want to go that route. I think though my friends are just doing little “how to” type courses and really not expecting tons of income from them so for them this has been working out well.

I’m glad you’re testing it out, would like to hear your thoughts on this too. I’ve already heard from my friends about how they view this program and I enjoyed hearing what Peter had to say in his comment too. Good to know and I wish you the best. Thanks for this thorough write up.

Adrienne recently posted…Are You Sabotaging Your Blog Commenting EffortsMy Profile

    Richard Martin - July 26, 2014

    Thanks Adrienne.

    Yes, i understand the structure has changed, and no doubt it may change again. It is one of the many downfalls of using someone else’s platform.

    But, I also have my own platform, and as this is an offshoot of the eBook I have on my own platform, I just consider this as another stream of income.

    I will certainly keep the post updated.

    Thanks for your comments, hope you are having an amazing weekend!

Sunday - July 25, 2014

Until recently also I have never heard of Udemy. I think it is a great platform going by all the reviews on it. Having a platform that easily help marketers create a course should motivate many to make money online. The features of this platform are really worth checking out.

I upvoted this post in kingged where it was shared for online marketers and bloggers.

Pauleen - July 28, 2014

Hi, Richard! 🙂

This is really a helpful post. I haven’t heard of Udemy yet, but I found this platform absolutely useful and great.

The Udemy will surely help many people to effectively make money online. Since anybody can sign up and become an instructor here, I think this method will become a new improvised way of learning online. It’s both beneficial and profitable, right? It’s actually a good business for people who want to earn money by helping others.

I’ll surely check this platform later today. I’m so interested to learn something here.

Great shared indeed! Thanks a lot. 🙂

Pauleen recently posted…Google Unveils Dynamic Sitelinks GloballyMy Profile

    Richard Martin - July 28, 2014

    Thanks Pauleen.

    Yes sure – as long as you offer value in your course, then it will be both beneficial and profitable. Since Udemy vet these courses too, it stops people releasing absolute rubbish on there – so does help with the quality standards, which differentiates it from other platfroms.

    Thanks for your valuable comments!

kelebek mobilya - July 28, 2014

Thanks for a great article

Sylviane Nuccio - July 29, 2014

Hi Richard, and nice meeting you,

Wow, you’ve got such a complete and detailed post here. A Real course indeed.

It’s my first time hearing about Udemy. It sounds pretty good. While I don’t think I’d have the time to try it, I’ll save your post in case I may need this later or heard of someone.

I found you on Kingged, but I see lots of folks I know who comment here too.

Have a great day!
Sylviane Nuccio recently posted…Why Freelance Writing Is An Underpaid Business And How Can You Change That As A WriterMy Profile

    Richard Martin - July 29, 2014

    Hi Sylviane.

    Nice meeting you too!

    I am glad you found the post useful – even if you don’t need it right now.

    Thanks again, and have a great day!

simranjit singh - July 29, 2014

I was not known of Udemy earlier and by reading your whole posts it seems to be useful for earning . One can easily earn and get leads from the by giving courses to students .

As there are many visitors on that site we can also become popular and become known to a large audience and by this they will trust you and this will help you in your future business .

In the post you also mentioned that we can earn through its affiliate . Could you tell me how to earn from its affiliate ?

I saw this post on kingged.com
simranjit singh recently posted…Earn real money by playing gamesMy Profile

Ryan Biddulph - July 30, 2014

Hi Richard,

You make a few wonderful points here. I’m new to Udemy, but more than anything, the point you make about the teaching sites being a professional spot versus a sales page is a big time game changer.

Before creating any product or service we think about how we can drive targeted traffic to the website. We also think about the quality of that traffic, and the willingness of visitors to buy into whatever we’re offering.

I feel Udemy is definitely worthy of a second look, and your post proves this.

Happy to retweet this one Richard.

On a side note, is this my first visit here? Doesn’t seem like it could be, but maybe it is….either way, super blog, great insight, and thanks again for the many valuable comments you post to my blog, and all over the web.

Thanks again and have a fun day 🙂

Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Why the Day I Threw Away 3400 of My Blog Posts Was My Most Triumphant Blogging MomentMy Profile

    Richard Martin - July 30, 2014

    Hey Ryan, thanks so much for taking time to drop me a comment.

    Your comment about the willingness of a visitor to buy into our product is interesting.

    As I have said in the article, the course I have on Udemy at the moment is an offshoot of an existing product I have, that I sell from my own sales page. The difference between the two are huge. A visitor may land on my sales page, see the product, but may not be at a purchasing stage at that moment. A visitor seeing my course on udemy, is already at the purchasing stage – they are actively searching for a course to take, and they have already made that conscious decision that ‘Yes, I want to take a course to learn X, Y or Z’.

    And that for me, is one of the key differences.

    Again, thanks a lot Ryan for commenting on my blog for the first time. Awesome.

Welcome to Smart Income Detective! - Smart Income Detective Blog - July 30, 2014

[…] Create A Course On Udemy […]

Peter Kanayo - July 30, 2014

Richard thanks for the great share. No doubt that this platform is awesome as it easily makes you to set up your own course.

No doubt that take a huge commission but since they help you promote the course it a great partnership.

Thanks once again

Why Creating Your Own Product Is The Best Way To Make Money online - Smart Income Detective Blog - August 21, 2014

[…] can read the full post on why you should create a Udemy course today right […]

DEBOJIT DAS - September 1, 2014

Before Designing a Udemy Course I wanted to learn from Horse Mouth Which I found Here. I Like to have an advice About Course Title

    Richard Martin - September 1, 2014

    Course title?

    Simple, just name it according to what you are teaching about and what keywords people may search for.

    Good luck!

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[…] My first blog talked about eBay, and ways to make money from it. From there, I wrote my first eBook on the same subject, an eBook that has brought in a very healthy 5 figure income. And that then spawned further products including video courses and Udemy courses. […]


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