udemy online course creator

How much does an Online Course Creator earn? Up to $450k on Udemy

udemy online course creator

As education startups are private companies and therefore don’t have to disclose their revenue publicly like companies that are traded at the stock exchange, it is often hard to estimate how well they are actually doing.

Usually you get a press release stating the startup has hit a major milestone by making it to break even or you get a revenue in the six or seven digit space. Therefore it is always great if someone shares some real numbers we can chew on and that’s what Udemy did today.

And though Udemy isn’t telling us exactly how much revenue the platform is making at a whole, it got their top 10 performing instructors to share what they earned with their courses. And it’s actually pretty impressive, I have to say.

The top 10 instructors earned a combined $5 million with their courses on Udemy, ranging from $44k to a pretty nice $450k. Most of those courses were launched in July 2011, the latest to make it in the top 10 in July 2012.

These are some telling numbers in several ways.

First of all, these numbers show that people are willing to pay for Internet based on demand video courses. Probably not that much of an eye-opener as Lynda.com has proven this for years, already. Of course, Udemy tends to make clear that their business model is totally different, they offer a better share for content creators and that Udemy therefore has the better content. Hard for me to tell, that is basically how the PR game goes.

Secondly, it once again underlines my point that platforms like Udemy or Skillshare are growing in a very homogenous environment, usually big cities and within those more specifically the community of well connected and tech savvy Gen-Yers. They are all urban education platforms. If you take a look at the topics of the top 10 earners it gets pretty clear.

  • Web Development – Victor Bastos $452,985.78; 7,502 students (teaching since 11/11)
  • IT Certifications and Training – Chris Bryant $260,822; 13,000 students (teaching since 7/11)
  • Video, Animation, and Multimedia – Miguel Hernandez $146,512.81; 2,882 students (teaching since 7/11)
  • Business Software – Huw Collingbourne $128,729.83; 4,214 students (teaching since 7/11)
  • Photography – Ken Schultz $65,003.37; 4,157 students (teaching since 6/12)
  • Writing and Content Development – Len Smith $59,532.72; 2,926 students (teaching since 1/12)
  • Yoga – Dashama $43,599.59; 981 students (teaching since 7/12)
  • Graphic Design – Tara Roskell $30,371.92; 3,702 students (teaching since 7/12)

Udemy is born in the Bay Area and Gagan Biyani and the early marketing team did a great job to make the startup known among other startup people. The courses clearly show the trend of lifelong learners who invest in their career by adding new skills for their tech based jobs. Of course, health is also a big topic which shows the entrance of a Yoga course in 9th place.

This again leaves open the question if Udemy and others will be able to grow in other verticals as fast as they did in the tech and skills verticals. Or does this show that people are simply not willing to pay for courses outside of these topics because there are cheaper / free alternatives like Duolingo in the language learning space.


Picture LicenseAttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by Thomas Hawk

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com and the future of learning at Disrupt Education. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+