IIP063: Passive Income From Scratch: How To Make Money On Udemy

Note: Click here to download the free PDF: “How to build online courses on Udemy and start making passive income – today!”

Make Money Teaching Courses Online: Episode Highlights

  • How can you start making passive income of $2500 per month or more – by creating an online course on Udemy or Skillfeed.
  • Why you don’t need an existing list or following to create a successful course.
  • How to use online learning platforms like Skillfeed or Udemy to build your mailing list rapidly and effectively.
  • How to create an online course: Resources, tools, guidelines and recommendations.
  • How to find passive income ideas for information products.
  • The secrets of making money on Udemy: How long should your course be? How many videos should you have? How to price it?

My Guest Today: Making Money With Udemy

Rob Cubbon is a good friend of mine that I met on Chris Ducker‘s mastermind last year in London. He was also one of the first listeners of the podcast, so you can imagine how excited I am to have him joining the show as an interviewee!

Rob Cubbon

In this interview Rob explains how make money by teaching online courses. Rob has been building passive income streams with his online courses on the top e-learning platforms including Udemy and Skillfeed, and today he shares everything he knows with us!

Step 1: Building Your List By Offering Free Online Learning Courses

Besides making money with Udemy, Rob has also been very successful at using Udemy and Skillfeed to build his own brand (and mailing list).

Think about it: Instead of spending months on building your online audience before you can make them any kind of offer – you can go to a place that already has an abundance of students that share a passion of learning and a habit of paying for it!

You can offer this audience base free courses in order to start engaging with them, and in return you get 3 important things –

  1. Their attention
  2. Access to their inbox
  3. An opportunity to convert into lead, or even paying customer!

Having their attention and being able to engage with them and teach them through a video course is very beneficial to your branding as an expert and as someone worth following.

Having access to their inbox (through Udemy’s “course announcement” system) is not as good as having a list of your own – but as you’ll soon see – it’s brings you one giant step closer to having your own list!

Can vs Cant Switch

Attention + Engagement = Trust

If the students of your free courses like you – there’s a good chance they’ll want more from you. Cubbon suggests letting your students know in each of your free courses that you have other free resources on your website. “Send them to an opt-in page with a valuable lead magnet!”

This is where the magic happens, because you start organically and passively building your list, tapping into Udemy and Skillfeed’s audience pool!

Skillfeed vs. Udemy

Several people have asked me what was the bottom line of this interview: Where should they start and focus their efforts: Skillfeed or Udemy?

While Rob explained in the episode some of the differences between the two platforms, when it comes to online learning sites, there’s actually no exclusivity required. This means that the best answer is: Be on all of them!

American dollars

Step 2: Making Passive Income On Udemy

Once you have a list (whether it’s via Udemy’s ‘course announcements’ system, or (even better) your own mailing list, you can start introducing your paid courses.

Don’t get me wrong – Udemy will let you create paid courses even without a single follower, but if you want to be able to get some traction, you need to get some students enrolled and some positive reviews – so you have enough social proof to make other Udemy students join. Once that momentum is built it feeds itself, and your free courses will keep pulling more and more students into the funnel.

If you’re ready, let’s talk about what it takes to launch a course on Udemy! 🙂

Developing An Online Course

According to Cubbon, developing an online course doesn’t need to take much.

In fact, it turns out that most users on Udemy prefer short and easy-to-consume, easy-to-complete courses. Cubbon has been finding that his free courses, running from 30 minutes (Udemy’s minimum) and up to an hour of content do very well and he gets plenty of new students joining his courses (which form his funnel to his premium courses and mailing list).

For the premium (paid) courses, Cubbon recommends a total length of 1-3 hours, with the price ranging between $55-85.

While $85 might seem like a high price-tag for a 90 minutes course, Rob points out that over 90% of the purchases on Udemy are heavily discounted:

“Udemy sometimes ends up selling my premium courses at $2 per sale, but with the huge audience on the Udemy platform it’s still making good money”

As to the format and length of your videos, Cubbon gives a few guidelines:

  • Your videos should not be more than 4-5 minutes long.
  • Remember: Easy to consume is KEY!
  • Your videos don’t need to be a “talking head” – you can save time and equipment by recording only voice over for a PowerPoint presentation, or talking while recording your screen and teaching how to do something (see resources below).

Are You Ready? Creating A Course On Udemy

Creating your first course on Udemy is easy and free. Simply head over to Udemy and sign up. Once you’re signed up, go to the Become an Instructor section and create your first course. This will create a course skeleton, and provide you with instructions on what you need to create for the course to be ready.


Follow the guidelines (they are very detailed), create your content, and you’re ready make your first Udemy dollar!

Your Thoughts

So, do you have any questions? Will you give Udemy a go? What course would you create? I’d love to hear – comment below!

Don’t forget to download today’s free PDF – “How to build online courses on Udemy and start making passive income – today!” – for more information on creating successful paid courses on Udemy that brand your business and make you money.

Mentioned resources

Click here to download the free PDF: “How to build online courses on Udemy and start making passive income – today!”

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Photo credits: Dollars – © gawriloff – Fotolia.com. Can vs. can’t switch: © 3drenderedlogos.com – Fotolia.com

27 thoughts on “IIP063: Passive Income From Scratch: How To Make Money On Udemy”

    1. Thanks again Rob both for the interview and for being so dedicated to help me and everyone else in the Inspiring Innovation family. I truly appreciate it.

      And you have my warning / promise – I am going to put this to test very soon! 🙂

  1. Hey Rob & Meton
    Great to see Rob doing the rounds on the podcasts – you were a star on mine also!
    I have also just moved my course to SkillFeed recently and interested to see what kind of interest it has as a result!
    I even got a speaking gig this summer at a big online gig as a result of my Twitter courses on Udemy, so it pays of in many different ways for sure.
    Have a great weekend guys

    1. Hello Ashley, yes, I tried to make that point during the interview, Udemy, Skillfeed and other platforms, aren’t just about making money, they build your brand and get your name out there. If you’re an online instructor it gives you instant “expert” status and this is very powerful. Delighted to hear of your success, Ashley. 🙂

      1. You are making a real difference out there, Rob! I absolutely love how passionate you are about this, and about how everyone can do this too! Your down-to-earth approach to this makes it (I believe) a lot more actionable. I hope the audience feels the same 🙂

        1. Thank you so much, Meron. I’m thinking of calling myself the poor man’s Pat Flynn, but I hope this is relatable and actionable for your audience.

    2. That’s such a great point! I believe it’s true not only for online courses, but also to podcasting, YouTube channels, blogging – anything that starts building your brand can bring more than “jus”t direct sales / income.

      What’s your podcast, Ashley? Would love to check it out 🙂

  2. Hey guys, great episode! Rob, you shared some valuable information. It’s got me thinking of some ideas. Quick question – how much of a time commitment would you say it is to create a course from scratch? Let’s say you’re not going to be re-purposing anything you already have like YouTube videos or something. How long would you say it take from content creation to completion? Thanks!


    1. Hello Melissa, for me, 5 minute videos take 10 minutes to make and then 1 hour to video. I usually do one a day and I outsource the editing. So I can make a course in a month by working an hour a day or so.

      There are other things to do, for example, prepare slides or visuals for the videos, create course images, write titles, descriptions, etc.

      And you have to plan out the course structure before you start.

      Other people may be different and do nothing else but create a course and may get one done in a week.

      It all depends on how used you are to creating video. The process gets quicker and quicker the more experience you have with it.

      1. Hi Rob, I’d be very interested to know where you outsource to. The places I have looked at are so expensive that they would effectively negate any income derived from the tutorials. Cheers for any info.

        1. Hey Les, I just get a guy to do the preliminary editing. He’s on oDesk for $13/hour I believe. I can give you his oDesk ID if you’re interested. Contact me on rob at robcubbon.com 🙂

  3. Hey Meron and Rob great episode. I found your blog while looking for strategies to sell my course on udemy. I got 2 travel video courses on there and most recently skillfeed. I was glad I found this blog. It’s got some inspirational stories and good advice for internet entrepreneurs.

  4. Really enjoyed this podcast! Question though – on Udemy since they no longer allow directing people to external links where someone has to pay or enter their personal info, what is the workaround to get people from their platform to your own list so they will buy other items and services from you? I thought about putting another free course there but I struggle with how to convert them to clients without breaking the rules.

    1. Hey, Tanya, really glad you enjoyed the podcast.

      You can add external links to the video descriptions in your courses plus on any downloadable materials (PDFs, Powerpoint presentations, etc.)

      What I do is create a redirect to a squeeze page that’s really memorable, like rob cubbon dot com slash free and mention it in a few of the videos (one of the first and the last). These mentions are quite prominent.

      Does everyone who signs up to your course on Udemy sign up to your mailing list? No. But here’s the thing. The ones that do are the ones who are the most highly engaged with your message. Furthermore, they are the ones that obviously really like you, your message and products. AND they’ve already purchased from you. This is why Udemy is a phenomenal lead gen tool!

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