How I Started Over Online After Losing 95% of my Income.

In June 2016, I got the chance to effectively start over online.

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I received an email one day out of the blue from Udemy after they had been unhappy with what I had done in April 2015 with my post in the studio. I had accidentally sent an educational announcement that they weren’t a big fan of in July.

However, when they introduced their new discipline system in September 2015, they told me that I had no more room for error. Even though they’d never given me an actual strike, even though I’d never done anything since their new discipline system was in place.

They basically said, “We didn’t like what you did before and if you do anything else we’re just going to take you straight until the final step.

After literally praying to God for months and trying to do my absolute best to make sure I followed every single letter of the policy absolutely clearly, after the new discipline system went into effect in September 2015, one day in June just a month after the instructor I learned everything from mysteriously left, he was making $20,000 a month, and he mysteriously sent out an announcement saying he was leaving and putting all of his courses to private.

That made absolutely no sense at the time. After he had made courses about how to make money. After he’d been a big deal on Udemy he mysteriously left for no obvious reason.

Then a month later I got an email letting me know that I would be mysteriously leaving as well. Except my email did not allow me to have a chance to say goodbye to my students.

Why I got banned on Udemy.

My email said that because of 30 or 40 out of 10,000 of my reviews 30 or 40 of them appeared to be spammy reviews.

I had recently given out 50,000 plus free coupons to my courses and it’s quite possible some of those got shared in areas which then triggered Udemy’s review flag systems.

And they also said they did not like my co-instructor relationships. That even though the policy made very clear that you could work together on a course for a lot of different reasons, even though I had put at least one video in every single course I had collaborated on, and even though my co-instructors all wrote in or many of them did to protest, Udemy stuck with their decision saying that they banned me because of my co-instructor relationships. Which they said were against policy even though with my reading the policy and my co-instructors reading the policy all of us saw absolutely no way that was possible.

Because I had collaborated in every single way the policy said that you should collaborate. I’d put videos, I’d work to make the best course possible. In fact, the course they cited I had put two hours of HD video in that course. I had doubled the length of the course, I had doubled the material that the course covered and they said, “Well, you were added after the course was published.” Which they allowed any instructor to add and which they had never seemed to have a problem with any other instructor.

Point being, in one little email, 95% of my income was wiped out online.

I was feeling real good about how even on a bad month I’d make $20,000 in profit everywhere going forward on Udemy. Once 2015 got rolling even as the price adjustment Udemy made pissed-off users and instructors unanimously and dropped the traffic by a huge margin on the website, I still made a great profit and was off to a great start until I got the email.

It was very painful to start over. It was miserable to get that email when my entire business I went all in and completely based everything on Udemy.

I got the chance to start over.

And now I’m grateful, because I feel I’ve been able to be even more helpful to you. In that being freed from Udemy has given me the ability to start being a truly helpful to the entire world. To allow the whole world to access my classes for free instead of requiring that people pay for them on Udemy.

That’s still even nearly a year later after having built an entire system on Udemy that was working so well, my profit is $ 5,000 or $10,000 a month right now which I’m very grateful for.

I’ve since made Audiobooks on Audible, I’ve got 50 more classes on Skillshare after getting another five or 10 books on Amazon and on Kindle. I’ve now got about 500 plus more YouTube videos I’ve put up on all different subjects. I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to start over, because this has allowed me to more effectively teach with you.

When I was making all that money on Udemy every month, it was a little bit difficult for me to even remember what it was like before. What it was like to try and start out online with no followers, with no skills or relationships established. To remember how challenging it was to start over. And for most of the rest of 2016, I felt like I was starting over. Even though I had lots of followers online, most of the rest of my business was not set up to make hardly any money.

Without Udemy which I had been using as the majority of my income online, I’d put no effort or energy into trying to build anything else up that actually made money.

It was a ridiculous feeling to be sitting there having done so much with hardly making any money online. I felt like a complete idiot and a complete fraud with sharing how I’d made all this money and how I built my business and then here I am with effectively a business with a nuclear bomb dropped right in the middle of town and my main production all knocked out.

And yet I got to work in July after a year or two of thinking, wanting, trying to figure out how to get a book published on Audible in July I set about recording my first Audiobook. I quickly got an hour-long Audiobook published on Audible and then I started recording book, after book, after book. And now I think I have six or eight Audiobooks on Audible.

Now, I have an even better system for making online courses. When I was teaching on Udemy, I made my courses so specific for Udemy that I often couldn’t put them on other websites. The courses would show so many things about Udemy that other websites would reject them and say, “Jerry, we don’t want these courses which are basically promoting Udemy and your course on Udemy the whole time. Meanwhile, we’re trying to sell a course that promotes another website. You need to edit and make this course more specific for our website or remove all that Udemy content in it”.

On things like Amazon Video Direct, I had no time or energy or desire as long as Udemy was going so good to try and even put anything up there. I’m grateful today now I’m making a business system that’s much more simple. When I started making so much money on Udemy, I felt the need to add on all these things to my business. For example, I added email marketing on. I paid my friend $3,000 a month and signed up on MailChimp and set to work building my email list.

Since then, I’ve got rid of my email list. I had a teachable account with a bunch of courses on there as a backup. I initially sold the courses I had on Udemy on there, but I’ve since got rid of that as well. It’s taken another leap of faith to invest fully in another website. I’ve started putting my courses on Skillshare which my friend Joseph, who I paid him to work for me while I was on Udemy, he got a lot of my courses published on Skillshare. However, I hardly even looked at Skillshare which had made $7,000 off of Joseph’s work. I hardly even looked at Skillshare or thought anything about Skillshare.

In fact, my course production process made it difficult for Joseph to put my courses on Skillshare, because of what I just mentioned about Udemy.

Going into gaming.

In 2016, I tried something pretty ridiculous as well. I had an audience I’d built doing all these gaming videos which were really good for teaching in my courses. The gaming videos could get results so much better than anything else I could teach. For example, with a Call of Duty viral video it was costing me 8 cents CPM per thousand in the USA to advertise that video.

I got that video millions of views in all kinds of viral sharing on Facebook at a fraction of the cost that I could promote a sales video for. That made really great case studies, it made great sales pitches for my courses on Udemy. And with this huge gaming audience, thousands of people watching my gaming videos every day, I decided to try and start doing video games full time and live streaming.

This was kind of a crazy thing to do, because I’d never made any money off of playing video games and I’d had in the back of my head that I wanted to try video game live streaming.

I rented a Mac Pro which I’m still using now to film for $300 a month, and I set up my office to be able to live stream video games on five different websites at a time. Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Azubu and Hitbox. I did live streams on all five of those websites at once. To my knowledge, I’m the only one in the world still who’s ever live streamed on all five of those websites at once. Not that you get any award or bonus or anything for doing that. I pushed the limits. I tried some new things and I had some cool things happen. I made the homepage of twitch.tv which I think is the top or one of the top websites for live streaming video games in the world. I made the home page. The home page is where they feature a channel or something really exciting’s happened. And making the homepage, I got hundreds of people watching me live all at once during an Epic Boss Fight on the newest Zombie Map Gorod Krovi on Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombies.

For all of the video gameplay in my life, that was a complete fantasy. To be able to have so many people watching me to do something live which I then failed at. I got almost all the way through the Boss Fight and then failed and died right at the end of it. It was a lot of fun doing that live streaming with gaming and I had a viral League of Legends video.

I got another League of Legends coach and started doing all kind of League of Legends streams that were getting hundreds of people to watch them. I played Sunday morning one morning on Facebook and 750 people at once were watching me play the newest Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombies map at that time which was called Zetsubou No Shima.

I’m grateful I got to try out all these new things and here today I’m not doing them. It’s March 2017. I’ve actually given up playing video games after five months of live streaming games anywhere from two to seven times a week.

Anywhere from a couple hours to 10 or 20 hours of live streaming video games a week. In December, I started to ask, “What would my life look like without playing video games?” I started my business to help people with video game addiction and after five years here I was live streaming video games for a key part of my business.

I started to accept that if I was really going to meet these business goals I had set, then I would need to give something up. And I haven’t even mentioned the business goals yet, so let’s take a look at that.

A dive into my business goals.

As I first got banned from Udemy, I had this attitude like, “Whatever.” I’ve got so much money coming in still because the Udemy payments ran two months behind. So I still had $50,000 or so coming in from Udemy, maybe 30,000 or 40,000 coming in from Udemy even after they banned me. I figured, if I cut down my expenses drastically which I immediately did, I cut everyone working for me within a few months and I drastically have continued to reduce my business down since getting banned from Udemy to the point where my expenses now are about 90% less than they were when I was on Udemy and yet my income is maybe about 80% less. So effectively, I have the chance to make even greater profits as my business continues to grow than I’ve already made.

After initially kind of being defiant being, like, “Whatever, I’ve got so much money that I can just do whatever I want to and play video games online,” after several months the reality started to set in. As I lost initially with my higher expenses I had months losing $5,000 or $10,000 of my savings. My savings continued to dwindle and dwindle and as I was holding on to estimated tax payments I wasn’t paying attention to my QuickBooks self-employed recommendations, because I’d paid what the IRS had asked me to, I just didn’t realize that you needed to pay, like, 90% of what you were supposed to pay for the whole year. And by the end of December, I paid out a $55,000 tax bill which left me with about $20,000 or $30,000.

Given that my expenses between my business and personal expenses, my personal expenses being about $3,000 a month in debt and about $4,000 a month to pay the rest of the bills for the whole family, health insurance rent and maybe $1,000 or $2,000 in all my personal expenses. Things like going to the grocery store. I try and get a massage once a week and that’s about it for my personal expenses. After looking at that and seeing the massive bills I have every month and realizing that I no longer had a serious cash reserve in the sense that I could easily roll through all my money in a couple of months, and then what is my business going to do? What is my family going to do? Because I’m sitting here paying all the bills for my family and for my business and the whole system I have is based on the cash flow, if I stop paying my bills, everything all snow balls into this huge problem.

If I run out of cash at any time, then I have to borrow more potentially at higher interest rates. It can snowball very easily into a big problem. As my attitude wore off of defiance, I started to look at the new reality and somehow I made this very damaging financial belief.

I looked at 2016 which was an amazing year. $250,000 in profit from my businesses online. An absolute miracle. More than I’d made in the whole rest of my life combined. I started to look at 2017 with these gloom and doom expectations that I might go out of business in 2017. That there was no way I could make a fraction of what I made in 2016.

And then in reading Tony Robbins’ book ‘Money Master the Game,’ I realized I had made very damaging limiting financial beliefs which were not based on any data. That I was simply taking a leap of faith that 2017 would be a year of austerity, of failure. And then I realized that’s ridiculous. That’s stupid. I have not seen any income from 2017 yet. I don’t know anything that’s going to happen in 2017. Why am I sitting there planning for it to be a disaster? And once I realized that I was operating under that belief, I was literally structuring my life. I was telling people that were doing work for me in 2016 that I need to pay them more, because I wouldn’t have any money to pay them in 2017.

Once I realised this belief and made it conscious, I decided on another one. I decided that in 2017 I would do way more. I would give way more than I did in 2016. That I would make my business contributions 10 times what they were in 2016. I would set up a system to give all of the best of what I create away for free. Where if someone in a country who couldn’t pay for it or who couldn’t get their payment method set up online or who simply was conditioned to not pay for things or who felt really good about getting paid things for free to set my whole business up so that they could take all of my courses for free without ever having to pay for any of them.

And at the same time, I could still be within the terms and conditions relevant for YouTube, Skillshare, Amazon Video Direct and Audible and Amazon Kindle. That I could offer the best of what I created for free to everyone and still have a business system where I’d be self-sustaining. Where I could make money. And I figured out a way to do that now.

On Skillshare what I can do is give out free coupons to my courses. Skillshare then does the job of selling a premium membership. Now, if you take a Skillshare course with a free coupon, you have limited functionality in it which is a perfect way to essentially allow people to take it for free who can’t pay and the people who can pay, but just wanted to get in for free very likely then upgrade and do start paying. That way the course is available as a premium course. It’s not available to just anyone who can’t find my free coupon to take it for free. Therefore, it meets the terms and conditions of all different websites.

Why I am grateful for the challenge.

Starting over was a very challenging process of self-discovery. Wondering, “Who am I now? What am I?” Feeling like I was a worthless person, because I’d lost my Udemy account. Hours crying. Being mad. Days waking up thinking, “I’m going to sue them. That’s what I’m going to do. They did me wrong. They can’t just do this. They wiped out a massive amount of my content.” Because even though I’d kept copies of the videos they deleted all of my landing pages. 70 plus landing pages I’d written. All kinds of effort, time, and student questions. They did me wrong.

Starting over was very challenging and I’m grateful today this challenge has conditioned to me to be of greater service to you today. I’m grateful for this challenge, because it’s helped me see what I did that put me in the position to have to start over.

That last title that I put ‘Jerry’s number one’ that’s what I did as far as I can see. The idea that I need to dominate and be number one and be better than everyone else. That’s what ended up getting me removed. There’s an instructor who’s made millions of dollars on Udemy and he hasn’t gotten kicked off, because as far as I can see he set out to just try and do a good job for people and he just happened to be number one instead of sitting out trying to dominate and control other people.

I’m hoping to be of humble service to you here in my business. I’m hoping to honestly share things that I realize some viewers might be offended like, “God, he talks about his money he’s made all the time.”

When you’re in an Employment course I try and mention money when it’s relevant, but I try not and just unnecessarily throw it up to make myself look good. I try and share with you inside honestly in this journey. So I’m grateful today that I’ve had the chance. That starting over forced me to sit down and do all these things again.

When I was on Udemy, I felt like such a big shot, “I don’t need to take inventory, or who cares about relationships? And I’m getting discovered so much I don’t even need to think about it.”

I’ve been forced to take inventory, build better relationships and set up systems that I have even more potential today than Udemy to do good for you. To do good for the people watching alongside you. Tony Robbins makes a great point about making money with your business. I see how much money I make in my business as a function of how much good I’m doing. Because the reason I’m doing my business is to be useful to you, to be of service to you, to help you.

Final Words from Jerry Banfield.

Wow. You got all the way to the end of this video. Thank you very much for watching this. If you want to keep watching more videos like this, will you take a look at the Jerry Banfield vlog playlist on YouTube and subscribe.

Because you’ll find a lot more videos just like this where it’s just a talking head video and I’m blah, blah, blahing about something. You also might enjoy my video tutorials by Jerry Banfield playlist along with all the other tutorials and entertaining videos I release on YouTube.

What you’ve just watched is a free preview from the full course named Employed.

The idea of this course is to help you be employed doing work you love for the rest of your life just as I do which I’m so grateful for. I put all of the information I could think of to help you with this into one course that I imagine you will love and enjoy. And by buying the course, you will also be helping me to continue being here with you and employing others to do work they love collaborating with me.

Here is a link to take the course on uthena.com which is my video course platform.

It’ll look something like this when you go to check out.

You can also take the course right now on Skillshare. It’s an 11 hour course. Here is a link for the course as well.

Will you please use the link to take it if you want to try Skillshare, because what’s cool about Skillshare it gives you two months for free. Then there’s in addition to all my video courses, you can watch 25,000 plus other courses for $15 a month or $96 a year.

For me, I’ve got a platform on Uthena that you also can get course bundles on.  If you prefer one-time purchases or you want things like services, you may love using my Uthena platform.

You also can listen to more episodes on my podcasts for free at jerrybanfield.com/podcast where you can get more of these kind of formats in just audio. Thank you very much for being here with me and taking a look at the Employed course. We hope you’ll love and enjoy it.

If you’re so moved by this you really just can’t get enough of Jerry Banfield, you can get that Jerry Banfield Forever All Course bundle. Which will give you all courses forever that I make including the ones I narrate and the ones that I produce.

If you want to have the best chance of being employed by me, I recommend becoming a Jerry Banfield partner.

Yes, it’s $1,000 cost today, but you get voice calls with me, you get a partner’s only Facebook group and Discord permission along with private label rights to all my videos.

Some of the partners have earned thousands of dollars working with me. Because when I get to know you, I’m thinking, “How can I help you earn $10,000 out of your partner membership?” Lots of times it’s just by helping me do what I already do. Thus, if you want to get in my inner circle, this is how you do it. Plus this includes all the courses I make for life as well.

Thank you for getting to the end of this video. I trust you’ll leave a like on it if you enjoyed it, and I imagine since you are one of the few that’s made it all the way to the end I’ll be seeing you again real soon.

Where to Follow Jerry Banfield.

Wow while I’m asking you do all these things, I might as well just keep asking things and see how many of you will go for it, right?

So let’s ask you now will you please follow on Twitter, because I think you’ll love getting to see everything at one place on jerrybanfield.com, I’ve got tons of blog post, books and YouTube videos and you can see all of those. Gaming, everything will be right in your Twitter feed so that when you follow me, there’s going to be so much stuff you won’t even hardly be able to see anything else.

I mean, you’re going to absolutely love following me on Twitter, so join up me over on Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and on my website while you’re at it.

Love,

Jerry Banfield.