The Cost to Create a Course on Udemy: 2019

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You might think that making and selling courses on a very popular course marketplace like Udemy is too expensive. But what if it isn't? I decided to do some research and get updated costs for course creators in 2019.

How much does it cost to create a course on Udemy? It costs nothing. If your course is approved to sell, Udemy does not charge you to list your course on their site. Udemy makes money by taking a percentage of the profit out of each sale.

Although it doesn't cost anything to list your course on Udemy, you need to be thoroughly educated on how much you will actually make for each sale so you can predict your profit in advance. We will also give you some tips from Udemy and other course creators on how to get your course approved.

Helpful Resource10 Places to Sell Your Online Course

The Percentage of the Sale that Udemy Keeps

 

Udemy has different revenue sharing tiers based on who is responsible for introducing the paying customer to your course. The scenarios involve you the instructor generating the customer, Udemy generating the customer, and a Udemy affiliate referring the customer.

Scenario 1 – You Refer the Customer (97% revenue to instructor, 3% to Udemy)

Udemy has a system where an instructor can create their own coupon codes. When a paying customer users your coupon code to buy your course, you get credited with the sale and receive 97% of the revenue which is the highest possible amount.

The nice thing about this system is that you can either share the coupon code as a clickable link or as a code that must be typed in. When a user clicks on the coupon code link, the coupon code gets automatically input into the correct field upon ordering so the customer does not have to input it themselves. This will provide a much higher success rate than the other option of the purchaser typing it in. Either way, these two ways of promoting your coupon give you flexibility in how you handle your promotions to get the highest revenue share.

The coupon codes are interesting because you can offer all kinds of discounts to your audience which incentivizes them to actually buy through you and not someone else so you can earn the highest possible revenue share.

Scenario 2 – Udemy Refers the Customer (50% revenue to instructor, 50% to Udemy)

In this scenario, a course is purchased not using the instructor generated Udemy coupon code or through following a link that is tracked to a Udemy affiliate. Basically, Udemy gets sole credit for referring the customer. The payout is then 50% of the revenue to the instructor and 50% to Udemy. This revenue share is after any fees like the 30% fee Apple and Google charge in their app stores.

Scenario 3 – Udemy Affiliate Refers the Customer (25% revenue to instructor, the rest to Udemy and affiliate)

This scenario is what Udemy calls “Paid Acquisition Sales.” This is when a Udemy affiliate is responsible for referring a customer that buys your course. Now instead of two, there are three parties that need to be paid out of the purchase price.

This may seem like a very low revenue share and it is. From my research at the time of this writing, Udemy used to pay affiliates as much as 50%. Now they are only paying 12-15% depending on which network the affiliate is using to partner with Udemy.

It looks to me like Udemy is structuring the payout so they keep around 50% of the sale for themselves. Out of the 50% left, the instructor gets half and the rest is paid to the affiliate and possibly to the affiliate network and/or any additional fees Udemy incurs through sales in this scenario.

Udemy does allow instructors to opt out of this program but you lose out on the benefit of affiliates around the world promoting your product.

Is it worth it? I don't know, you will have to test. However, paying out 25% to an affiliate to help market and sell your product is very reasonable and I personally would try it out.

Anyone Can Apply to Sell a Course on Udemy

 

You might be wondering if you need certain academic or teaching experience credentials to sell a course on Udemy. The answer is no, you don't. Udemy lets anyone who meets their requirements to create and sell a course.

However, it is important to understand the two levels of course creators Udemy recognizes: free course creators and paid course creators (Premium Instructors).

If you want to create a course that you offer for free on Udemy, you are welcome to do so. It must meet the minimum quality requirements (overview below) and must not contain any restricted content (sexually explicit, weapons related, promoting violence, hate speech, promoting illegal or unethical behavior, etc.). Also, every instructor must have their identity verified through providing personal information, ID card, and pledging that you are the sole owner of the content you have created.

If you want to charge for your course, you have to meet some additional requirements. In the application you must provide a short description of your expertise, write a bio, provide a profile picture, and have a PayPal or Payoneer account to receive money from Udemy. Udemy does not charge you to become a premium instructor.

Tips for Getting Your Course Approved to Sell

 

Not everyone gets approved to list their course on Udemy. Here are some tips from Udemy and from other course creators to help you get approved.

Udemy tells you what their requirements are to get approved in this checklist. Here is a quick overview but I recommend you read the list for yourself before you start creating your course.

Meet minimum course requirements

Every course submitted for approval on Udemy must meet these basic requirements:

  • At least 30 minutes of video content
  • At least 5 lectures
  • Valuable educational content (read over the course materials basics)
  • Good video quality – HD video quality (780p or 1080p)
  • A complete course landing page with a high quality course image, good course title and sub title, a well-written course description, course goals and target audience, and an instructor bio.

These requirements are both fair and easy to meet. However, we suggest you go beyond these and do the following:

Meet recommended course requirements

  • Good audio quality – audio that is synced to video, no background noise or hums, little to no echo, no distracting popping sounds, adequate base volume levels
  • Good delivery quality – clear speaking style that is easily understood without filler words like “ah” or “um,” enthusiastic and energetic tone (don't put your listeners to sleep),
  • 2-5 minute intro lecture that gives a good overview of the course and each section
  • Clear goals in each section, keeping lectures in each section short (2-6 minutes), skills students will learn in each course (learning objectives), target audience of the course, good value for the price

These recommended requirements are simply sound fundamentals that every course creator should follow. To meet them, you may want to invest in quality audio and video production equipment at some point.

Tips from Udemy Course Creators

  • Create something unique and not a mere copy of something that is already being offered
  • Create longer and more detailed courses compared to the average of what is being offered in your topic area
  • Keep students engaged by offering periodic quizzes or checklists of things you want them to do
  • Research your market, find out what problems people want solved, and clearly state how you will solve those problems in your course
  • Do a good job editing your video so you don't waste time with poor quality or unnecessary information.

Related Questions

 

Is a Udemy course ever full priced? As of this writing, the most an instructor can charge for a course on Udemy is $199 in the United States (see this chart for maximum pricing in other countries). However, students rarely pay full price. According to the VP of Content at Udemy, 90% of sales occur with a coupon code. It is important for instructors to take this into account when trying to estimate profits.

Is using Udemy a good long term strategy? In most cases no. Though some course creators have done extremely well on the platform, it is only going to get more competitive over time. Also, Udemy can change their fees and their terms at any time which can really hurt your revenue. A few years ago when they put a price cap on how much instructors could charge for a course, it really hurt profits for some literally over night. In order to build a long term customer base where you retain the most control, I recommend you eventually move away from Udemy to a different solution. Doing so will allow you to market how you want, set the prices you want, and build a customer base you can sell more courses and other products to over time. You can use Udemy in the short term to test the market quickly.

Helpful ResourceCourse Creation Articles

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Jim Rosenquist

Jim Rosenquist

Jim started earning a living online in 1999 and became a solo entrepreneur in 2001. He started Solo Intel in 2019 as a way to help solo entrepreneurs and small operators become more strategic with their online business.

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