If you’re not familiar with Udemy, it is a program that allows you to create and sell courses. When you create a course, it is added to their course library. Visitors can then choose to purchase your course and Udemy takes a percentage of the sale.
There is more to it of course, but that’s the general overview.
I am a fan of what Udemy is doing. I think they offer people a good avenue for learning about how to create and deliver an online course.
It is not a good option for building a business around selling courses. Let me explain.
First, I understand there are some individuals on Udemy who have done well for themselves. They should be proud as selling elearning is no easy task. That said, a platform is not going to make you successful. These folks did well because of the hard work they put in creating a really great course, and then marketing it.
The reason I think you should stay away from Udemy for selling courses is not because I don’t think you can earn income from it. That’s clearly possible.
Instead, the reason why Udemy is a poor choice for anyone getting into the business of selling courses is because you give up ownership.
- You don’t own the platform.
- You don’t own the brand (Udemy).
- You don’t own the visitor traffic.
- You don’t own 100% of the revenue generated from course sales.
- You don’t own the student accounts.
- You don’t own the policies (for example, the refund policy).
Anyone who has started a successful business will tell you that these are red flags. The less control you have over the key business elements, the more risk you assume.
However, if you had your own site where you host and sell your courses, then you do own these things. You are building your own brand (and not Udemy’s), you don’t need to split revenues, you own all of the student data which can be leveraged for better marketing, you own the business policies, and so on. You are in control.
Why would anyone choose Udemy then? Well, they do make the process easy. Starting a business is hard as building a brand from scratch is a difficult task. Udemy also has people visiting their site who are already interested in purchasing courses, so they take care of that aspect.
If you’re not trying to build something with long-term growth potential, then Udemy might be the best option for you. They do take out some of the complexities that business owners have to manage.
On the other hand, if your goal is to sell courses and build a business that gives you full-ownership, then it’s best to use a different platform for course creation and sales.