What: Udemy is an online school with millions of customers, where you create your own class in anything from computer coding to art

Expected pay: Speculative

Husl $core: $$

Commissions & fees: 3% to 75% (see review)

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: A computer; a quality iphone (to video tape your lecture) or other video equipment; a decent computer, internet connection and editing skills.


Do you have a special skill that you think you could teach people? Then you may want to take a close look at Udemy, an online school that says it has some 17 million customers. Classes at this site range from heavy topics like computer coding and finance to life coaching and organization.

You, the prospective instructor, create a sample video for the site to evaluate for quality and production essentials. If accepted, you create your class, upload and price it for sale. Both you and Udemy (at least in theory) then market the video and share in the profits.

High fees/low pay

Problems arise in two areas: First, Udemy has a sliding pay scale that’s based on who brought the buyer to the site. If you brought your own buyer, you get to keep 97% of the revenue from the sale. If Udemy brought the buyer, you get just 50% of the sale. If the buyer came in through one of Udemy’s affiliate marketing deals, you get to keep just 25% of the revenue from the sale.

Still, if each class was selling for, say, $100, you’d get $25 per sale in a worst-case scenario. But most classes — which, incidentally, include several hours of video and, often, ebooks — sell for $10 because of Udemy is constantly running promotions that discount its courses.  

So the only way to make a lot of money on this site is if your video course sells to hundreds of people that you referred to the site — or thousands of people who came to the site in another way. Of course, if you can get hundreds of people to buy your course, you may not need Udemy. If you do need them for their customer base, they take a lot of the revenue in exchange.


This can still be a decent side hustle — and certainly a decent way to develop your own following. But, we think the cost is too high. Moreover, some teachers maintain that their course materials get hijacked from the site, and the site does little to protect their intellectual property.

Better sites to offer a course are Teachable and Thinkific. Both sites allow you to create your course, price and sell it, paying either a monthly fee or a commission. Or, if you’d like to teach online via live Zoom connection, check out Outschool.

What their teachers say: (from Reddit)

“Stay away from Udemy. They keep up stolen classes that are available on my Youtube channel for free. Even after contacting, sending a DCMA, they take weeks to remove while Udemy and the theives profit. This hasn’t just happened to me, but many other tutorial creators as well.”

Running frequent sales is the Udemy model. The vast majority of course purchases on Udemy are for coupons like these, it’s a part of their setup and their plan. Creators are lured into creating for Udemy with what appears to be attractive rates and fair fees. Instead, what they get is courses selling for a fraction of what they expected, and almost no referrals unless they pay real money to advertise their course with their referral link, or they do marketing on their own

And: Why I stopped selling courses on Udemy

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