See what I learned as a top 10 instructor on Udemy earning $663K now teaching exclusively at jerrybanfield.com/courses/ and coaching other Udemy instructors towards greater earnings than me at https://jerrybanfield.com/partners/ !
Being a Udemy instructor was a great way to make passive income and build a business as an entrepreneur online. The question is how much I would have made if I had just used Thinkific or LearnDash from the beginning to build my own platform?
That’s what we’re here to talk about and I think you’ll find this really helpful for building your own online teaching business and if you’re teaching on Udemy or thinking about it, you can get incredible insights here that you would have to learn the really hard way. Otherwise, let’s take a look at the lessons I’ve learned. Number one is sell on my own. When I was a top 10 instructor on Udemy, I saw so many suggestions to focus on building my own platform, which I’ve finally got on jerrybanfield.com/courses after using several other ways of doing it. Selling on my own is, and this goes for almost all of us, is the best longterm solution because yes, Udemy can make a lot of money, but it’s unstable, it’s volatile, it’s not trustworthy.
As I’ve found out myself, when Udemy, sent me an email in June, 2016 at closing my account, despite no real policy violations, they just wanted me off the website and that left me with not a very good setup selling on my own. For you and other instructors, whether it’s getting an account suspended, which happens to a lot of instructors or rather it’s just instability in the marketplace, changing their business system or they change the pricing policies again, the essential thing to do is to sell on our own self hosting with Thinkific or LearnDash makes this really easy. You can upload your courses and then sell them for whatever price you want with whatever services, without all the restrictions. Udemy is so full of restrictions. It makes building a real business difficult even when things go really well. The way you might make sales is the way I use so successfully to sell my Udemy courses is just put free previews on YouTube and instead of sending people to Udemy, send them over to your own platform.
If you have your own platform that you can also transcribe lectures into blog posts like I do on my website. I’ve got a blog that brings in thousands of people every single day for free, and this allows me to then make sales on autopilot directly on my own website. The key lesson here is never, ever, ever, never send people to you. To me, Udemy, has a great marketing system that they do on their own. There’s no need to send people over to you. To me, when you could send them to your own platform, because you could send somebody to your own platform and make thousands of dollars sending them over there. As I’ve learned the hard way, I sent hundreds of thousands of people to you. To me, I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads to get these earnings. I funneled a ton of people over to Udemy, and what I can see is me, while I put very little effort until being banned from Udemy to actually sell on my own website.
And if I look at the earnings on two different websites I’ve made you Uthena and on Jerrybanfield.com I’ve earned over 200,000 on these websites with a fraction of the effort I put into selling on you. To me, the reason for this is when you send people to Udemy, you can’t make more than a few dollars off of them. When you can send them over to you on website, there’s no cap. You can make $100,000 off of sending one person to your website as they bought your courses and services on you. To me, it’s difficult to do anything more than sell a course and make five or $10 thus always, always, always send people your own platform. Never, ever, ever use your own marketing efforts to send people over to Udemy because if you’ve made a great course, Udemy can do the work to sell it without your help and if you haven’t made a great course, you certainly don’t want to push it.
The next big lesson is do not be exclusive with you. To me, Udemy for business launched recently and is asking instructors to be exclusive. This is a huge mistake to commit your courses to Udemy for business 99% of the time because as Udemy says they only take the top courses for Udemy for business, which means why go exclusive when they’re probably not going to take your course anyway and even if they do, how much money is in Udemy for business, let me show you my earnings on other platforms. 167,000 on StackCommerce. What are the odds and continuing to come in every month? What are the odds? Udemy for business is going to put out numbers like that. I’m YouTube off 53,000 in ad revenue alone. That doesn’t account for sales. Putting videos up on YouTube is a very good way to increase earnings directly on YouTube and drive sales on Skillshare.
I’ve also sold some on skill success, another $5,000 there and the point of this is don’t be exclusive. Do you? To me, there’s so many other places you can make money with your courses and even Git rather it’s just selling them on your own website, which you can do with you. To me for business, you can sell them on your own website. These are my Stripe transfers and if you add that up to the above, it’s about 250,000 I made selling just on my own platforms and this goes directly into the next lesson, only compete with myself. I like an M and M, one of his songs he said I got to go back and listen to old tracks so I can make sure to keep up with my competition. That means for me, the only person I need to compete with is me. I need to look back if I wanted to see who I’m competing with.
Let me look back at some of the courses I filmed before that made hundreds of thousands in sales and see how I can improve on that. This allows me to not get sucked into competition because competition hurts longterm. And if I can say one thing I did to give Udemy, the opportunity and the motivation to suspend me, it’s my competition. I was competing with other people and I was dominating. I had best-selling courses all over several different categories in hacking and Linux and Facebook and YouTube, and there was so much jealousy getting built up all over the place that I contribute jealousy and backstabbing from other instructors and just that kind of negative energy being to what took me down on you. To me, jealousy. And that’s what happens when you compete and not only that bone, you obsess over rankings and reviews, it can be gone overnight.
I remember obsessing over my Udemy refuse fighting or responding to every one star review, getting mad reporting reviews, trying to get rid of them, watching how I was ranking, and I can tell you today, all that’s gone. Now, if I’d put all that on my own website, I would have a really strong presence on my own website. I got sucked into the vortex of competing and trying to have the top course and winning and if there’s anything worse than trying to get to the top spot, it’s trying to maintain the top spot because when you’re number one, everybody else is taking shots at you and that often doesn’t happen when you’re second, third, fourth, and fifth. I’ve literally had competitors go in and put one star fake reviews on my courses and this happens to other Udemy instructors frequently because it only takes one competitor who doesn’t feel good about themselves down at the 10th spot to create a fake Udemy account and go in and put a one star review on your course and that knocks your rating down a lot.
Competition is toxic and for me it was at the core of taking down my whole business on Udemy when nothing pisses people off more than when you’re winning and looking good and telling everybody about it, compete only with yourself. And this is the point I’ve got to today. Where do I, what approach do I take? Do I upload all my courses and try and be everywhere or do I just focus on one and today I’m choosing to just focus on one. I am just putting my courses on Jerry banfield.com I’m not fooling around anymore with all of these different platforms. Even though yes, I’ve made a lot of money on all these different platforms, I calculated that if I focused on just my own platform, I at this point would have made around double what I did by focusing on Udemy and all these other platforms.
While yes, if you add up all the earnings, I’ve made up almost a million dollars on all these other platforms. I believe if I had started from the beginning and focused on my own platform, I would have been up to about $2 million now because of the longterm earnings. Yes, I was making a thousand a day or more at one point on you. To me, however, for the last three years, the earnings have been around zero. If I had set up my own platform, I wouldn’t have been able to get up to a thousand a day as fast as I did on Udemy. But now I’d probably be up to at least a thousand if not 2000 a day on my own website and there wouldn’t be any end in sight. All these other platforms are very distracting. They take a whole lot of time and energy. They each have their own terms and conditions.
On my own website, I can do some cool things. For example, I can put courses on my own website and then I can upload the entire course if I want to on YouTube. If you do that on Udemy or Skillshare stack commerce, you violated their terms and conditions. But on my website I can put the whole course for free on YouTube and then get a bunch of ad revenue and other sales on my courses and consulting and uh, all kinds of additional sales on my website and sell the same course on my website because 99% of people aren’t going to be bothered. Rather, they bought my Facebook gaming course on my website and all of the whole thing’s available on YouTube. Also, most people are coming over to my website to buy courses because they want to support me and it sure, if one person gets upset, Hey, I bought five courses from you and they’re all on YouTube here have $100 I have a full refund, whatever.
It’s no big deal. But if you’re using these other platforms, they have all these terms and conditions and then when I’m creating my courses, I have to think about these other platforms and thus I, I’ve, I do like having my courses on other platforms, but what I’ve seen is I’m better off without you. To me, and this is taken me a long time, I’ve went through a lot of anger and resentment and frustration thinking things like Udemy destroyed their business. I didn’t deserve that. I was may, I was a policy expert. I knew every single policy back and forth. I was absolutely certain everything I was doing was 100% within the rules because when you’re so visible and doing so good, you’ve got to expect that everyone will be complaining and reporting. You’ve got to be prepared to handle all of those assaults when you’re competing and winning against so many other people and Udemy eventually just decided, well, we don’t care what the truth is.
We’ll just state some policy violations that aren’t real like improper co-instructor relationships. When I had videos in 72 courses, at least two videos in every single course; thus absurd. There’s no way you could argue that I wasn’t contributing to the courses and was just using them for marketing and I’m so grateful. I’ve been through so many iterations of this. I’m grateful today. I’m better off without you. To me, almost everyone I come across on Udemy is not very happy with it either. Either they’re doing well as I’m coaching people consistently that are on Udemy and they’re doing well, but they’re always afraid of their earnings disappearing rather. However it happens and I’ve set up a system today where if you want to get my courses on Udemy, I’ve tested it and it’s easy to put my courses on you.
To me, as long as the profile doesn’t say Jerry Banfield on it, it’s very easy to put my course up on you. To me, I’ve actually set up a system where I allow anyone using a creative commons license who’s in my partner program to put my courses wherever they want and this gives me the best of both worlds where I just focus on creating courses on my website. I do whatever I want with them, putting them up on my YouTube channel, and then I allow my partners to do whatever they want. As long as they modify the courses, my partners can put them up on you. To me, Skillshare and Stackcommerce and it’s not my concern or my problem, I don’t even need to worry about what happens with the courses that the partners use. I try and help them be successful, but I just focus on creating and then the partners help me and I help them Udemy is a good place to make money. It is a good opportunity to build a business if you apply these lessons. I appreciate you watching this today. I hope it’s helpful for you in building your online teaching business. I love you. You’re awesome. Thanks for giving me the chance to serve you today and I’ll see you in the next video.