Making It As A Udemy Instructor : My 5-figure Income Recipe (Part 1)

Cher Hin Chong
6 min readApr 26, 2022

Udemy is an online video-based learning platform. It is also called a massive open online course provider (MOOC for short).

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Without further ado, let’s get started!

I have a plethora of ground to cover on Udemy after creating and launching an online course that has till today garnered 4700 reviews from 19000 students within 2 years and earned me 5-figure income from just one single 2-hours course.

** update as of 19th January 2024 : 7271 reviews from 28596 students

This multipart series of articles will be an ongoing one with additional information coming along in new articles as and when they cross my mind and new updates as Udemy changes their rules — which is rare but still they do it occasionally. Hopefully I won’t encounter writer’s block in the process.

The articles in the series are written from the standpoint of an instructor and so it benefits more to those who are looking into becoming a Udemy course creator or instructor.

First and foremost, Udemy is an online platform where 2 parties meet — namely, students and instructors. Students are looking for online courses and instructors are providing these courses.

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Udemy is a payable online course platform. Udemy courses are just like Youtube videos — they are pre-recorded video-based teaching. Unlike YouTube, which we are all so familiar with as a free platform funded by ads, Udemy is ads-free and its revenue comes from selling the online courses.

It should be noted at this point that YouTube now has a premium access option where ads are removed if the user pays a subscription.

A Udemy instructor determines the selling price for his course. A Udemy student pays Udemy when he purchases a course. Udemy then pays the instructor a portion of the course’s selling price after deducting taxes and Udemy’s share of revenue. I will write on revenue sharing in a later article.

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A Udemy instructor generates passive income for himself from every course that he creates as more and more students enroll for his course and watch the video-based training at their own pace and timing.

Unlike some other online course platforms like Teachable and Thinkific where an instructor pays a fee for hosting his courses on their platforms, Udemy does not charge hosting fees. However, Udemy takes a cut from the course’s selling price every time a sale is made — while the other 2 platforms do not.

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While the other 2 platforms do not market, sell or promote courses on behalf of instructors, Udemy on the other hand does all the marketing and promotion of its courses on the instructors’ behalf. Udemy pays for ads that it places on Facebook, Google and various other social media platforms and websites.

Most of the revenue from my course at Udemy now comes from Udemy For Business (UFB). Udemy For Business is the coveted section on the Udemy platform whereby Udemy curated the cream of the crop and the very best courses out of the hundreds of thousands of courses posted on Udemy.

One of the success formulas for a Udemy instructor is to produce a course that gets curated by Udemy into its Udemy For Business model. It took my course one full year to get curated after it was launched. From then on my revenue starts to pick up exponentially.

Being curated for UFB is a privilege as it gives the course a stamp of quality assurance as one of the most sought-after courses on Udemy. It will also help to boost the sales of these courses to individual student purchases.

Udemy’s course curation (UFB) is synonymous with Medium’s article curation.

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There are tons that I want to share about my success recipe on Udemy and which I will put up in later articles. In this article I will focus on Udemy For Business.

Udemy For Business is a subscription-based model specially catering for businesses. Udemy curates the best courses on its platform and places them right in front for businesses. Big corporations are Udemy’s main paid subscribers.

Businesses pay a yearly subscription fee whereby the company is then allowed to allocate a fixed number of their employees to enroll and take an unlimited number of courses on the UFB platform. Employees therefore do not have to pay to purchase individual courses.

Udemy takes out a portion of the pool of money they have collected from UFB subscriptions under the UFB model and allocates and pays to instructors based on how much time each student spent watching each UFB instructor’s videos. It works very much like Medium’s Partner Program (MPP).

A course that is curated to be on UFB has to be exclusively hosted on Udemy and no other platforms or personal websites. Non-UFB courses, on the other hand, are free to simultaneously host on other platforms.

Udemy has recently come out with a subscription-based model for individual students which mimics its own UFB model for businesses.

The next question on your mind is likely to be — so how does a course get curated into the UFB program? The answer is to create a good course that has thousands of good reviews.

Reviews are very important for success as a Udemy instructor. Whether a course is on UFB or for individual student purchase (non-UFB), a high number of good ratings and reviews will tremendously boost the ranking of the course on the platform.

A Udemy course obviously becomes very visible among the hundreds of thousands of other courses if it has more reviews. I will touch on this important aspect in a later article.

The barrier to entry for potential Udemy instructors is that the time taken to create an online course is very much more when compared to, say, writing articles on Medium. This is also one of the reasons why I have only created just one course on Udemy.

It took me 2 years to reach 4700 good reviews for one course and every course that I make will have to start from zero reviews all over again.

But one good course can still generate 5-figure income passively. It did for me. Working very hard to create and launch a very good course that ultimately gets curated into UFB is the way to go.

** update as of 19th January 2024 :

Udemy’s revenue from UFB for the year 2022 is $314M
Udemy’s revenue from non-USB (individual student purchases) for the year 2022 is $315M
The total amount paid to instructors in the year 2022 is $192M

That’s it for now!

In the next article, I will cover Making It As A Udemy Instructor : My 5-figure Income Recipe (Part 2) where I will show the most highly demanded courses and the top-earning instructors and how much they earn from their courses. This information will help potential Udemy instructors understand where the demand is coming from and what are the earnings potential.

Here is the link to Part 2 :

See you in the next article!

In the meantime, here is the link to my online course “Python Programming Made Easy”:



Cher Hin Chong

A software developer who has found the penchant for writing. Without writers, there will be no readers.