5 Months & 5 Stacks later: My experience with Udemy as passive income

In November, I launched a course on web scraping and how it can be used for sales & marketing. As of this writing, I’ve made $5,267.11 selling it on Udemy.

As the son of an art teacher, helping others is in my blood. It feels good to see others succeed based on your recommendations and your work. I’m a salesman so getting paid is also in my nature. Fortunately the two go together nicely. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I launched the course. It turns out my success up to this point required much less effort than I expected.

Some background & How the course came to be

My role at Storefront has me constantly trying to figure out new ways to grow & do so with a smallish team at a seed stage startup. When I found out about web scraping it was clear that it was a technique that was going to save me a tremendous amount of time. Fast forward to the present, now our whole team knows how to utilize the technology. It was validated externally through some training sessions with friends and helping other startups crank the data dial.

If I’m going to teach (and sell) something I want to make sure it’s an actionable skill, I can teach it effectively, and that I’m a practitioner of the subject.

Why Udemy? Because I’m really busy!

Leading growth at Storefront is my full time gig. Things are going incredibly well and we’re aggressively expanding the team this year. Consequently, I’ve never been busier than I am today. Ask my wife, ask my friends, it’s hard to come by time these days. I need to pack a punch with the time I have, which is why I used Udemy:

  1. Infrastructure is huge – You don’t really think about how much time it takes to put together a landing page, setup a payment system, upload the files, etc. Udemy does a great job streamlining all of this. Just now, in the middle of writing this, someone that bought the course through my website had an issue with the files. Now I’m re-uploading the files to make sure it works how it is supposed to. On Udemy, this type of issue would be taken care of by their support team.
  2. Screen sharing is easier than writing – Creating a video of software workflows I’ve done myself is much easier than writing a book on the subject. Speed to launch with a video course like this means the content is relevant for a much longer period. If you think about the time that it takes to write a book and the rapid changes in our industry, it can be difficult to keep tactics relevant.
  3. Udemy provides distribution if you don’t have an audience – My online audience is small. It’s grown a lot since the course came out, but Udemy still drives the majority of my sales. When I thought about selling on other platforms, a big reason was so that I could get affiliates and others to help sell the course. After going through the time and effort to customize the offerings to my needs, I realized how much of that was taken care of by Udemy.

Promoting the Course

I’ve done very little to promote the course so far, in fact immediately after the launch I was in Mexico for 4 days. I did nothing for the course during that time. The words “passive income” are often met with skepticism. To make sure we’re on the same page here, I’ll list out my promotional efforts.

  1. Distributed free links/promo codes – My course features the Import.io Data Browser and best practices around using it for sales & marketing. The Import team liked what I was doing and helped by sending out a free signup link for my course in their email newsletter/blog. I also sent around some free promo codes around to friends and posted the on sites like GrowthHackers.com, Quibb, and Twitter. This resulted in lots sign ups at the same time, which made my course #1 in the trending section of Udemy.
  2. Offline conversations – I’ve had a lot of offline conversations about the course and how to utilize scraping for sales & marketing efforts. Like I said in the beginning of the post, I love to teach. The result of these conversations is often times an advocate for the subject of the course.

That’s about it. The rest of the effort has been on Udemy’s end. I’ll share some of the breakdown below.

The Stats

Students: 4476
Total Revenue: $5267.11

Overall Revenue by Channel
Udemy has driven 92% of revenue and ya boy has only brought in 8%.

Revenue by Channel by Month
I have a big month every time Udemy pushes a heavy promotion.

Bonus Data

Number of Gift Purchases
Someone out there is really nice.

Honestly, these results are nothing compared to a lot of Udemy success stories in terms of sales. I’m really surprised at how well the course has done compared with the amount of effort I put into promoting it. If you’re considering an info product as passive income, Udemy is a great place to start.

You can get the course here on Ellsworthy or wander over to Udemy.