Want to know if you can make money teaching online courses on Udemy? I did the research, and here are the tips, tricks, and trends of successful Udemy instructors.

Is selling online courses on Udemy worth it? Well, as I found out, that depends on a handful of factors.

One thing I did find is that, like most other online learning platforms, Udemy rewards course creators who take an active approach. Miguel Hernandez once made $90,000 without putting any effort into marketing. Let’s just say it takes more now.

That can be in the form of smart preparation, selling courses via your own referral link, and more – some of which I’m sharing with you right on this post.

I’ll also share examples of Udemy course instructor earnings to give you an idea of what’s possible, how they achieved their success over time, and more. So, stick around, this is going to be a resourceful read for your ambitious soul.

What’s the big deal about Udemy?

Udemy logo

Picture this.

  • Udemy is a bustling marketplace with more than 75,000 course instructors
  • It’s a treasure trove of over 210,000 courses covering everything you can imagine, and then some
  • A community of over 67 million learners
  • Has over 900 million course enrollments
  • Udemy made $629 million in revenue for 2022.

Whether you’re a whiz at web development, a guru in gardening, or a master in mindfulness, Udemy provides a stage to showcase your skills and knowledge to an enthusiastic and ever-growing audience.

In the next sections, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of what it means to be a Udemy instructor – Udemy course earnings, the factors that affect your success, and some real-life stories to inspire you.

Then, you’ll have a clear idea of whether Udemy is the best place to sell your courses online — or whether to consider Udemy alternative such as self-publishing on your website or using a robust course creation platform like Kajabi, Podia, or Systeme.

Udemy instructor revenue share explained

Udemy’s revenue model for course creators boils down to two key streams: the Udemy marketplace model and the Udemy subscription model.

The marketplace model offers two options:

  • Course sales through instructor promotions and organic Udemy sales: When you, the instructor, drive a sale through your own marketing efforts, such as using an instructor coupon or referral link, you get to keep 97% of the revenue from such a sale. It’s like saying, “Great job marketing your course – here’s the lion’s share of the profits!”
  • Course sales through Udemy promotions or marketplace discovery: On the flip side, when a student enrolls in your course without any direct influence from your promotional activities – say, they stumbled upon your course while browsing Udemy – you get 37% of the revenue. This split recognizes Udemy’s role in connecting you with learners who might never have found you otherwise.

Oh, another thing. Any sale you make from Android and iOS devices is subject to a 30% charge from Google and Apple.

The subscription model offers two options:

  • Udemy Personal Plan: Udemy Personal Plans offer access to thousands of courses across hundreds of categories for individual learners. This means that, as long as your students renew their monthly or annual subscription, they’ll access all applicable course materials. That’s different from the lifetime access they’d have if they purchased a course directly from the Udemy marketplace (the marketplace model I’ve shared above).
  • Udemy Business: This plan works like the Personal Plan except it is designed for corporates. Here, an employer can use a single subscription to access a package of courses that several employees can study together.

Udemy is still rolling out the subscription model across different markets as of publishing this post. So, you may not be able to access some markets at the moment, but you will over time. Plus, Udemy Business is still invite-only, so not every course creator can join.

How the Udemy Business revenue share works?

Udemy created an “instructor revenue pool” in which 20% of Udemy Business’ monthly subscription revenue goes to instructors.

To give you an idea of how much that is, Udemy made $443.1 million in 2023 from Udemy Business subscriptions. Going by Udemy’s own math, it allocated 20% of that $443.1 million to the instructor revenue pool, or $88.62 million.

Here’s the thing now. Your share of that pool depends on the level of engagement your course(s) generated in that month.

Udemy calculates engagement in terms of consumption, and the factors that count towards that consumption metric include the following.

  • Minutes spent watching course videos
  • Time spent using interactive online tools such as quizzes, tests, and exercises
  • Re-watched minutes
  • Time spent watching courses offline on the mobile app

If Udemy determines that your course(s) gained 2% of all the engagement Udemy Business courses achieved for the month, you’ll receive 2% of the instructor revenue pool.

There’s something else — and you won’t get excited about it.

Udemy recently said it will tweak its revenue-sharing formula, changes that will significantly impact your earnings as a Udemy course creator.

Udemy said it wouldreduce its revenue share for Udemy Business from the current 20% to 17.5% from January 2025. From January 2026, it will be even lower, at 15%.

How does the Udemy Deals Program fit into all of this?

If you’ve seen massively discounted Udemy courses for a limited time, as much as $9.99 depending on the target market, you may have an idea of what this is all about.

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Credit: Udemy

If not yet, the Deal Program in Udemy lets you choose whether the platform should include your courses in their site-wide discount campaigns to boost sales.

See this discussion on Udemy’s own forum:

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Credit: Udemy community

Of course, It doesn’t have to sell courses at $9.99, but you get the idea. In fact, Udemy courses range in price from $9.99 to $199.99.

If all of this is starting to feel sucky, there are some upsides as well.

Udemy does not charge a monthly or annual fee for creating and selling courses on its platform.

However, you pay a subscription fee to access and use the platform’s capabilities, which can range wildly from platform to platform, and plan to plan (Kajabi pricing starts at $149/month to $399/month, for example).

Then again, a platform like Kajabi offers a ton of online course creation, sales and marketing, student engagement, and course management capabilities in a single place – a whole lot of value vs Udemy, if you ask me.

Ultimately, you decide how to price your Udemy courses. Here’s more.

What factors influence how much Udemy instructors make?

Consider the following nuggets.

Market supply-demand dynamics

Your success on Udemy hinges on understanding the market supply and demand. Luckily, Udemy’s Marketplace Insight tool can be your crystal ball.

It gives you a peek into demand, supply, pricing, and potential revenue for various course categories. How does it work? Think of it as your personal market analyst, providing real-time data on what’s hot and what’s not, helping you make informed decisions about your next course topic.

Here’s a peek at insights on the demand/supply in the personal productivity niche:

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Credit: Udemy Marketplace Insights

The tools offers insights such as related course topics learners are searching for, keywords they use, the search volume for the keywords, examples of live courses in that category, and where and how students purchases the live courses related to your searched niche. Handy!

Marketing and promotion strategies

Stepping outside the Udemy platform to market your course can be game-changing. Utilize your own referral links, leverage social media, engage with online communities, and don’t shy away from email marketing.

These efforts can drive sales directly to your courses, boosting your earnings significantly.

Student engagement and course ratings

The more your students engage with your course, the better your ratings are likely to be. High engagement and top-notch ratings can turn students into your advocates – they’ll not only keep coming back for more but also refer their friends.

Remember, a highly-rated course is more visible and attractive to potential students, boosting your revenue over time.

Regular updates and course maintenance

Think of your Udemy course as a living, breathing entity. Regular updates and maintenance can breathe new life into your content, keeping it relevant and engaging.

This not only boosts student engagement but also improves course ratings. In turn, this leads to more enrollments, referrals, and a consistent income stream. Staying current is key!

Each of these factors plays a vital role in determining your success as a Udemy instructor. Combine them wisely, and you’re on your way to maximizing your earnings.

Next, we’ll look at some real-life earnings data and case studies from Udemy instructors.

How much do Udemy Instructors make on average?

Here’s some recent data I collected — the range is wild.

Udemy instructors make anything from $0/year to more than $250,000/year. I’ll share case studies of Udemy course creator earnings in the next section.

Some estimates put the average Udemy course creator earnings at $3,306/year.

In reality, “average” is a highly skewed representation of what a typical Udemy course creator makes.

A few years ago, Udemy reported that its top 10 earners had made $17 million. Even then, individual earnings ranged between $500,000 and $8 million, meaning just one instructor earned more than half of the top earners’ income.

  1. An Udemy instructor can make anywhere between $0 and more than $3 million in lifetime earnings. This depends on factors such as the number of courses they offer, student enrollments, the quality/engagement/pricing/rating of their courses, and more.
  2. The most successful instructors on Udemy have not only published a good course, but they have built a business. Some of the highest-earning Udemy instructors have contracts with Udemy, and their earnings can also come from off-Udemy profits.

These examples illustrate the wide range of earnings potential for Udemy instructors. So, I think a more resourceful way to go at this is to share some examples of Udemy income reports.

Udemy course creator income reports (with insider tips)

I think this is a more helpful approach because you can learn what these successful Udemy instructors did to achieve various levels of success on the platform. Then you can apply the lessons to your own online course journey. Here comes.

Case study 1: Yash Thakker makes $30,000 with 4-hour courses

According to him, Yash launched his first Udemy course in January 2023 without prior experience anywhere else. In the next nine months, he was averaging $2,000/month and by December, he had attracted over 14,000 enrollments and earned $29,554.

He says one of the biggest contributors to his success was that launching multiple courses quickly (as fast as 4 days from 3 weeks) helps. You can read more about his Udemy income reveal here.

Case study 2: Cher Hin Chong’s Udemy earnings hits 5-figures with his programming language course

In two years, Cher has earned five figures from his single Python course on Udemy. He launched the 4-hour long course in 2020 and has enrolled 29,000 students and attracted more than 7,300 reviews.

More significantly, his students have rated the course a solid 4.9 out of 5.0. This, he claims, led Udemy Business to pick up his course a year after it was launched, and it has since started making significantly more.

His advice is to create a resourceful course that will earn strong ratings, thereby attracting more students and a slice of the Udemy Business subscriptions pie.

Case study 3: Andrea Bizzotto makes $4,250/month from Udemy

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Andrea of Code With Andrea, earned an average of $4,250/month from his course between September and December 2020. He swears by email marketing/newsletters, blogging, and YouTube were some of the methods he used to promote his courses. Lesson? Building your own audience before selling a Udemy course will help you have a “ready” market when it’s time to launch.

Case study 4: Rahul Iyer’s 6-figure Udemy income report


Rahul joined Udemy in 2016, hoping to earn a side income to pay off his mortgage of $114,000. During the previous two years, he had been a cohort-based trainee. In October 2018, he reached $1.024, up from $11.65 a year earlier, which was the first significant success he describes.

He crossed the $5,000/month threshold in December 2019, more than 2X his full-time salary at the time. He then went on to blast past $250,000 lifetime earning the following after quitting his 8-5 job. Lesson: He used to do 12-hour weekends for several years without much in returns, a testament that Udemy success does take time — but can be incredibly reward for your effort.

Case Study 5: Joe makes $502,400 on Udemy with 92 courses

Joe’s approach involves partnering with other experts to not only produce a variety of courses but to also boost the quality and diversity of his courses, expanding his reach through shared audiences.

This strategy exemplifies how collaboration and leveraging different expertise can significantly boost an instructor’s profile and course attractiveness on Udemy.

Case study 6: The Modern Dude makes $150/month with minimal effort

You don’t have to be Gary Vee, grinding hard to make money on Udemy, though.

Nick Carter explains how he’s made $1,800 from his three Udemy courses without making any more effort into the course — not as much as updating or editing the existing content. Take a look at the video to discover how he earns passive income selling courses on Udemy.

Case study 7: Viking Dev makes a splash on launch day


In this video, Mitch Edwards shows what you can achieve by having your own audience via email marketing, social media platforms, and other networks. He earned a respectable $1,134 in November 2021.

That number is far higher than his earnings for the following month, $58 in December. That’s because he’d prepared the sale for launch day, in November, a strategy you do as well.

But if you want a more gradual rise, here’s another example.

Case study 8: Hilal Hakla Udemy earnings reveal

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Hilal is an Azure developer who, in 2022, launched a course on Udemy and earned $1,000 within the first six months. As he shares in the community, he’s learned that achieving more success on Udemy may require launching and selling more courses there, strive towards a subscription-based pricing model, and that Udemy is a long-term game.

Case study 9: Scott Stockdale makes $500 with 89 students in 2 months

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Scott learned from one of the best how to create a Udemy strategy that leads to success. He goes into detail how Louise (Digital Nomad Girl, who’s made $100,000 on Udemy herself) taught him what he used.

You can also listen to the podcast where he chats up Louise in July 2020. He took action, launching his “Outsource to a Virtual Assistant” soon after and made $518 from November to January. As of February 2024, the course has grown to over 350 students enrolled and 62 ratings (4.6/5.0).

His advice? Get good ratings early to make Udemy’s SEO algorithm show off your courses more and to gain the social proof customers need to convert. In spite of barely mentioning his course on social media at the time, he also recommends leveraging your network and collaborating with other creators to earn more.

Case study 10: How Lindsday March made $33K in one month before Covid-19

You’ll notice that I haven’t include many courses launched in 2020, a watershed moment in online learning. I want to keep it practical (avoiding the boom brought by the lockdowns), so to speak.

Just before the online course boom, Lindsay was already making $20,000/month in 2019 which hit a record $33,500 in January 2020. To her, selling multiple courses is a gem (her goal was a new 10-hour course every 6 to 8 weeks).

She also does one big promo monthly, selling all courses for $9.99. She does live streams, makes more cross sales by offering intermediate courses to the main ones, and leverages her Facebook community to drive higher engagement and recurring sales.

Wrapping up: Is Udemy income worth it for course creators?

As we’ve seen, Udemy is a great way to sell online courses without investing a lot of money upfront. For example, it does not charge subscription fees, like Teachable and it’s alternatives.

But it can take up to 63% of your earnings for sales originating from the Markeplace (not your own referral link) and 50% for sales you get through affiliates.

From the Udemy income reports we’ve shared here, you can also tell that there’s no guarantee you’ll make six-figures selling Udemy courses.

But neither is that guaranteed anywhere else, right?

If you’re looking for some initial motivation, starting on Udemy can be helpful. However, if you want to truly expand your course selling business and offer high-ticket items in the long run, hosting your own courses may be a better option.


Take the next step.

We have a blog post on the top online course platforms to choose from.

Alternatively, I would personally recommend either Podia or Kajabi. If you are confused between them, do read this comparison between Podia and Kajabi.

These platforms not only provide course creation capabilities but also offer features to create your own community and utilize marketing automations to take your business to the next level.