Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
How I Turned an Idea into $7K by Teaching Online (leerob.io)
87 points by leerob on May 9, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments

It's a great project, I would only make a small correction... What the author* calls profit still includes all the time and effort you put in: building an audience, creating the course, building a reputation, marketing, etc.. Just to make people understand that it's a lot of hard work and taking that not consideration the ROI is much lower.

*small correction: you->the author

That's a good point to call out. Building an audience and establishing credibility takes time and effort. You pay an upfront cost, but having an audience will pay dividends in the future.

To me, it's counter-intuitive that people would pay $100 for a course on such a niche topic such as NextJS. My experience with these courses is that they provide all that's available for free (typically docs), but nicely packaged and with videos. And, especially if it is on a custom platform like this one, I'd be worried about them being kept up to date.

Here's how I look at it. You're absolutely right you can learn everything on your own––but how long would it take? How much is your time worth?

Is $100 for five hours of video worth the years of experience the author might have? For me, it is.

Bingo. It also is a forcing function to spend the time learning - once I've paid money, I am more committed to seeing it through rather than flip-flopping around to different tutorials, etc.

+1. You can easily turn 10 hours of connecting the dots into 2 hours with the right materials.

Though in my experience, the courses on Udemy/Udacity and the like have been disappointing. I always get the feeling that they're trying to fill up time, and they tend to move really slowly.

I've had more luck with books being very useful.

I often go through these "amazing courses", everything makes sense, everything works, and then I'm unable to do anything other than what the course showed. So, I'm still forced to spend some hours outside of the course to really learn.

This 2-hour-course vs 10-hour-learning is a false dichotomy to me.

YMMV. I chose 'materials' instead of courses specifically since I've found books to be more useful.

A course, or any kind of structured learning, is just a foundation. I would still expect to spend hours outside of the course, but with a good background I can now search for more specific things than if I had started w/ a blank slate.

I have mixed feelings about Udemy. On one hand, it's a large platform with lots of interested customers. On the other, courses are often heavily discounted and priced very low. 50+ hours of content for $20? You have to treat your audience like they're both smart and busy. I don't have time for that. I'd rather pay $100 for 5 hours of good content.

There are always naysayers or people who simply do not believe your idea can potentially work.

I was there recently, some guys told me you can't make filament at home cheaper than what you can get from Amazon.

And then I made my own filament: https://medium.com/endless-filament/make-your-filament-at-ho...

Now I am selling my filament on e-commerce websites under my own brand name and making good money, I'll clear $4000+ in sales this month alone.

One of the primary things is that one doesn't know what is authoritative, and what is just some random kooks ramblings. In theory a certified course, from known academics (say), gets over that hurdle. It also allows you to put something on a CV (ie resumé), and allows you to check reviews first if it's a proper course (to measure how decent the course materials will be for you). If you don't follow a proper course you don't know what you missed; learning is improved with expert guidance of the pupil.

Great points. I've taken a few online courses and always had unexpected insights. For example, in a niche programming course, I learned valuable information about SEO.

The expertise of a great teacher can impact you more than you'd expect.

There's the obvious time savings, but to me there's additional value. Docs tend not to be learning focused, and you'll end up reading a lot that doesn't matter for your desired result. We get paid for business objectives, not framework knowledge. Additionally, there's so much docs don't cover, in terms of standard opinions and best practices (eg, "Where the f* should I put this file?!") that experienced practitioners can guide you.

100% agreed. I always prefer a real-world approach like building an application from start to finish.

A great example of docs I found recently was RedwoodJS: https://redwoodjs.com/tutorial

Another view might be that this means you are investing in the community behind it and some of the leading people who hopefully will help to ensure that the project lives on.

I had a similar experience with putting a course on udemy. Made about $4k in the first month and $400-500 per month after. Completely passive income with no advertising and just word of mouth

Very impressive, nice work. What was the course and would you recommend Udemy?

The course teaches Python for Autodesk Maya with a focus on teaching artists with no programming experience, how to make tools that will can be used in production.

Udemy is alright. The profit sharing rules cut you out of a lot unless you actively market, and they’re constantly on sale so you don’t make much per purchase. But it makes up for it in sheer volume. You also need to stand out amongst a lot of content because there’s a very low barrier for entry to meet the requirements to create a course.

Course link for the interested. https://www.udemy.com/course/python-for-maya/

What made you choose your own site vs Udemy? I'm interested in my own courses, but I know that Udemy comes with a built in audience (with the understanding that the prices they charge are pretty much highway robbery for course creators)

You can't contact your customers via email through Udemy. My customers are my audience and having an email list is crucial. After I found Gumroad, it was a no-brainer to use their platform.

The course site is basically just a marketing page. There's information about the course, some blog posts, and the ability to pay. That's it.

The biggest advantage of Udemy is its audience. How much are you willing to sacrifice for using Udemy to gain an audience? I'd argue you should build the audience first, then sell the product.

For those wondering: this is about a video course on Next.js and React.

You say it took about 6 months, but what would you say that actual time outlay for the course creation itself was?

I had the idea in October and started creating in November. Made the first video, launched a pre-order, and worked on the content until January. The course went live in February.

It's me that shared your post about stripe, I discovered your blog by searching something about dashboards, keep going !

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact