Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teaching Art Courses on Udemy

Teaching Art Courses on Udemy Image

Teaching Art Courses on Udemy

Hello everyone! Robert A. Marzullo here and I just wanted to give you all an update and my inside opinion about my experience with Udemy thus far. As you may or may not know I have been creating video courses for a few years now. I have created hundreds of Youtube videos and then got offered to work for Tuts Plus of Envato. I created about 6 full courses for their company for which they paid me outright for. I will admit the pay was pretty good but I no longer own those courses. They belong to Envato. Not a bad thing mind you, it did help pay the bills while I was creating them. That eventually ran its course when they started cutting back on art courses and I still had lots of ideas to offer so I started to look around.

I then made some of my own video lessons and uploaded them to a site called curious.com ( Which I do not recommend. ) Not a bad bunch of people but the return on investment for me was very small and they do not allow you to remove your content freely. They claim they are trying to protect their students that have already paid for the lessons but that unfortunately will lock you into a bad agreement if the return on investment isn't good for you and you want to repurpose your content. Which should be your right. It is your digital product after all. Oh well, live and learn seems to be my motto in life.

So while this experience was going on I continued to look for some better options. I started a Gumroad with my content and added lots of neat stuff for my Youtube followers, such as custom brushes and templates for Photoshop and Manga Studio 5. Some of those have actually done very well. And Gumroad has a pretty nice pay structure. They payout once a week and it automatically hits your account like clockwork. The fees are reasonable considering there is no actual operating cost other than production. And they do market your products somewhat. As people purchase similar products your may get recommended so you generate a few extra sales that way. They take an additional 10% discovery fee but hey, it's still an extra sale so I'm good with that! One thing I will note about Gumroad is that they have a free and a paid option. Be careful because the paid option goes up as you gain a customer base. Your monthly amount will increase as you get more customers to support. That can burn you if you are doing some free products to drive your customer growth. So do your research before going to the paid subscription model. Either way, I am still a big Gumroad fan. It has been great for my digital business thus far!

Here is my store on Gumroad - http://www.gumroad.com/robertmarzullo

I still needed to get more income and improve upon where I was at. Besides, I knew that if Envato was willing to pay me thousands of dollars for a course there must be some real value in what I was doing. Although my courses were selling on Gumroad, I still had to drive the main portions of the sales and that is another job all in itself. Setting up promo videos, blog posts, social media, networking, etc, etc, etc. Not that I don't enjoy that but I just shut down my sign business of 15 years to pursue art, not be a marketing guru. So I needed some help in the marketing department. That is what led me to Udemy. I researched a few others like Teachable, Skillshare, Thinkific and so on but they all had a few quirks that eventually led me to try Udemy. So I uploaded one of my courses on Udemy and BAM!! Nothing happened. I know, very sad. I was extremely hopeful and I really needed to make some financial progress. Storyboards illustrations weren't coming in as before and I was starting to think I needed a real job. So the next few months went by and I studied how to promote my courses and kept adding products to my Gumroad like a good little artist. Then I find out that it is extremely helpful to have multiple courses on Udemy. Which makes total sense anyways. Who wants to buy your product if you only have one product and very little reviews. Students want proof that you are good at what you do and that means more than one product. So I uploaded my next course and sales started to increase. Then I got some good reviews and sales increased again. I then got off my butt and did some promotional videos with course coupons leading to my content, and sales went up again. I won't talk numbers because we all need very different amounts to survive and be happy but I will say this, within less than a year Udemy is now my biggest income for my digital products. It now generates new sales every day without me lifting a finger. I am approaching 2000 students and growing every day as well as getting lots of great reviews and feedback from the students wanting more. So guess what, I am making new courses right now!

Now also take into account that I don't put all my eggs in one basket. I use a few revenue streams with my digital content so that if one or two start to decrease I can analyze what is going on and make changes accordingly. If it is something that is within my control. The wonderful thing about this type of business model is that you are now gaining income over and over again on the same product with no operating costs. And it is very sustainable because all content is going to video and digital books. You do have to continually respond to students and update your courses over time if you want them to remain valid in the marketplace but nothing is entirely perpetual without some force behind it. Nothing I am aware of anyways.

So the main thing I want to share is this, you can do it if you keep working hard and don't give up. Almost all things start very slow and need momentum to be successful. That is usually why most people don't make it. During that slow period we think of reasons why it might be failing other than how we can make it succeed. Look for growth even in small numbers because that will tell you what to do next as well as what not to do when the numbers decline. Just don't give up! You don't have to be the first one across the finish line, just make sure you get there!

Thank you for your time. I hope you found this information helpful and if you want to learn about art in the way that I teach it, here is my course coupons on Udemy -

Robert A. Marzullo
Ram Studios Comics

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