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#NomadTalks 4: How to earn a living selling knowledge

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other title: How to generate a passive income on Udemy

Presentation by Mark Farragher on Nomad Talks on Apr 4, 2016 - CODINO - Community of Digital Nomads

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#NomadTalks 4: How to earn a living selling knowledge

  1. 1. How To Earn A Living Selling Knowledge
  2. 2. The world today • Very expensive education system in the US: $18,943 - $42,419 /y in ’14-’15 • Education costs is outpacing household income • Total student debt is growing fast • Traditional education is becoming unaffordable • This creates a new market for cheap educational content
  3. 3. The world today • High unemployment • Financial experts predict the next recession is imminent • Automation removes more jobs than it creates • In 9 years 30% of all jobs will be done by robots/computers • Lifelong learning needed to stay employed
  4. 4. The world today Ideal market for low-cost online education
  5. 5. Why am I doing this? • I want to reach Financial Independence (FI) • This is when passive income covers all my expenses • I would no longer need to work - all work is for fun only • Requires 0.8M$ - 1.5M$ • Essentially an unconditional basic income
  6. 6. Active income • What I had from 1995-2015 • I get paid for the hours I work • I receive (almost) nothing when I’m not working • Income maxes out at 176 hr/m • Impossible to reach FI (requires 15 yrs at $100/m)
  7. 7. Passive income • What I have from 2015-today • Requires unpaid up-front investment • Income starts when I publish • Small time investment needed to keep going • No upper limit on income • FI usually attainable in 2-5 years by scaling out
  8. 8. Online teaching • This is passive income • It takes about 3-4 weeks to produce a course • $250-$500 per month • 15 minutes per week aftercare • Course survives for 2-5 years • FI in 3 years (best case)
  9. 9. What to teach? • Deep knowledge • Wide knowledge • Reframing existing knowledge • Making knowledge accessible • Summarise knowledge • Compact How To’s
  10. 10. The market Blue ocean: • Empty market • No competitors • No content or quality requirements - anything goes • Untested market Red ocean: <— I am in here • Crowded market • Fierce competition • Content and quality needs USP’s to be noticed • Proven market
  11. 11. My USP’s • 20 years IT experience • 5 years teaching experience • Lots of interests: IT, Marketing, Finance, Self-development… • Deep & wide knowledge • Make complicated topics accessible to beginners • I can monetise my knowledge!
  12. 12. My Udemy strategy • I go for volume: 9 courses in 12 months • Every course is about an aspect of C# programming • Each topic will stay in fashion for years • Each course explains a complex topic to beginners and experts • There will always be C# developers interested in these topics
  13. 13. My recording studio Macbook Pro, a towel to cancel echo, Quicktime Pro, Audacity, Keynote, iMovie
  14. 14. But this is much better Studio Lighting, Blue Yeti microphone with pop filter, iPhone on a tripod
  15. 15. My production workflow • I start by writing a full transcript in Evernote • I record audio with Quicktime Pro and clean with Audacity • I play back the audio and record the screen with Quicktime Pro • I mix everything together in iMovie • I export in 720p mp4 write transcript record audio record screen mix in iMovie
  16. 16. Why so elaborate? • I never appear on camera! • Reading from a transcript removes all “uuhs” and “ahhs” • Ideal if you do not have a recording studio • Very easy to add subtitles or translate a course • Very easy to turn transcripts into blog/social media posts write transcript record audio record screen mix in iMovie
  17. 17. How profitable is online teaching?
  18. 18. My income €2000-€4000 per month, but growth has stalled since 02-2016
  19. 19. Course income €250-€300 per course per month, with big spikes in November and December
  20. 20. Cross-selling Sell new courses to existing students Good strategy if overall topic stays the same
  21. 21. Student loyalty • 4 out of 5 are loyal students • 9% in all courses • 68% in 3+ courses • 82% in 2+ courses • 18% in only 1 course
  22. 22. Course price • I sell at €100 • Almost no one on Udemy pays full price • Mostly $9 and $10 discounts • Slow shift to $14 - $24 full price
  23. 23. Sales channels • Commission is 3% - 75% depending on channel • My best channels are instructor and organic • 52.3% average commission • Udemy is an expensive platform! 50% 97% 25% 25%
  24. 24. Sales commission My target: keep it below 50%
  25. 25. So why Udemy? • Ideal when you’re starting with no clients, reputation & list • Huge market: 10M+ students • They do hosting, sales and marketing for you • You can do profitable cross- selling campaigns
  26. 26. Why not Udemy? • Very expensive: commission can go up to 75% • No control over marketing & sales campaigns • No squeeze page • You don’t own the student • Big restrictions on e-mail marketing
  27. 27. and this month… • All prices are now $20-$50 • Maximum allowed discount is now 50% • Organic sales and PPC has dropped significantly • “Superstar” instructors are leaving the platform • Unclear what the future revenue will be
  28. 28. What about Lynda? • 4M students • Students pay a $15-$30 flat fee per month • Instructors get revenue share per viewed lecture • Lynda determines what topics you’re allowed to teach • They broke off all contact with me without explanation
  29. 29. What about Teachable? • 10K instructors, 40K courses • Instructors pay $0-$300 per month • Teachable does hosting and e- commerce • Instructor responsible for all marketing and sales • 0%-10% commission on credit card transactions
  30. 30. My business strategy • Use Udemy to build reputation and experiment with topics • Put courses on other non- Udemy platforms • Allow 3rd parties to resell courses • Advertise on social media, blogs and Youtube • Collect e-mail addresses • Build a sales funnel social media Youtube blogs free micro course master class reseller course Udemy course
  31. 31. My business strategy • I use Edgar to automatically post on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook • Edgar is $49 per month but totally worth it • Posts refer to blog articles and free micro course • Youtube channel videos refer to blog and micro-course • Zero effort! social media Youtube blogs free micro course master class reseller course Udemy course
  32. 32. My business strategy • I host a Ghost blog on Digital Ocean for $5 per month • Each blog post is about a single course lecture • Each blog post ends with an invite for the free micro-course • Also a newsletter registration form for e-mail capture social media Youtube blogs free micro course master class reseller course Udemy course
  33. 33. My business strategy • I host free micro-courses on Teachable on their free plan • Each micro-course has 5 lectures from a popular Udemy course • The course ends with a 50% discount for the masterclass • E-mail capture at enrolment • Zero effort & free hosting social media Youtube blogs free micro course master class reseller course Udemy course
  34. 34. My business strategy • I host paid masterclasses on Teachable on their free plan • Each masterclass is 2-3 Udemy courses combined • I offer extra services • E-mail capture at enrolment • Zero effort & free hosting social media Youtube blogs free micro course master class reseller course Udemy course
  35. 35. My goals • Continue using Udemy to test course topics • Automate everything as much as I can • Build a mailing list • Start my own PPC campaigns to boost sales • Get my monthly income to a comfortable point • Reach FI in a few years
  36. 36. Thank you! Mark Farragher http://www.bitesizedcsharp.com/ https://csharp.teachable.com/ https://www.udemy.com/user/markfarragher/

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