Why you should be a teacher: Online courses can boost reputation and income
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Frank Visciano, VP of Marketplace Content and Operations at Udemy.
As a freelancer, you know your most valuable resource is your time, and it’s very limited. Successful freelancers squeeze every drop of productivity out of their workdays in order to maximize their earnings. They also keep their eyes open for potential new revenue streams they can add to their plates without sacrificing quality of output.
One gig that more freelancers and self-employed businesspeople are exploring these days is online teaching. We’re seeing new instructors with various motivations joining the Udemy platform, where 20,000 others are already offering their subject-matter expertise to the world. Even if you’ve never taught before or think of yourself as the teaching type, launching an online course (or several!) could be a boon to your freelancing business—and you might even find you’ve got a knack for it.
One of our core beliefs at Udemy is that the world’s best teachers aren’t necessarily found in classrooms. They’re simply people who are good at explaining, have a passion for their subject, and are genuinely interested in helping others gain knowledge.
No matter your field, you can reach a limitless global audience with your ideas and expertise. Here are a few ways teaching online can support and grow your existing business.
Do it as a side hustle
It takes time and effort to create a high-quality video course, but people from all walks of life, with all levels of technical skill, have successfully launched content in the Udemy marketplace. From there, you can generate passive income simply by having your course open to Udemy students 24/7. Putting in a bit more work to promote your course, engage with students, update content, and produce new courses can lead to much bigger payouts (and maybe a full-time hustle!).
Build your personal brand
As a freelancer, you never know when the next amazing opportunity is going to come along and you’re always in pitch mode. An online course is a great way to demonstrate your expertise, attract followers, and network for new clients.
Help people around the world:
Additional income is awesome, but there are other benefits to teaching online, like connecting with students in far-flung locations and being able to help people expand their knowledge whenever they’re ready to learn, no matter the time of day or night.
If you’re not convinced, check out these stories of Udemy instructors who started out small, not sure of what to expect, and have exceeded their wildest dreams.
Frank Kane was running his own software development business when he started on Udemy. With no course production or teaching experience, he was pleasantly surprised when he surpassed his revenue goals and now, he says, Udemy is his “bread and butter.” Having diverse revenue streams gives him peace of mind, and “nothing I’ve done in my entire career has had so much of a positive impact on the world.”
For literary agent Sally Apokedak, teaching writing and punctuation on Udemy has exposed her to a much larger audience and led to opportunities like speaking engagements and new clients. In fact, she estimates that half of her income came through leads she got from students who had taken her courses or from freelance gigs she’d gotten using skills she learned on Udemy.
Hypnotherapist Dan Jones launched a Udemy course on the side and was earning a few hundred dollars a month without doing any marketing. When his full-time employer eliminated his job, he rededicated himself to Udemy to see if he could make up the income. By boning up on marketing, leveraging his offline reputation and followers, and thinking strategically about new courses, he’s steadily increased his earnings and now supports himself as a Udemy instructor.
To be sure, it takes time and effort to plan, create, launch, and market a high-quality online course. But many resources are available to help. At Udemy, we have an Instructor Success team, but our private Facebook groups are an even better place for newcomers to learn the ropes from others who’ve already achieved success.
In other words, for many professionals, especially freelancers, consultants, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed, teaching online is one of the best ways to build out an audience and serve more “customers” without being hindered by time, geography, or logistical restrictions.