In this post, I will give you a quick background as to how I started teaching online, how it’s helping me make passive money monthly, and how you can start doing the same.
For the past 5 years or so, I’ve tried out a lot of different ways to make money online. I’ve tried online surveys, YouTube videos, creating apps, and even investing in bitcoin (HAHA). A lot of these “experiments” were great because I enjoyed trying them out. They were also very educational because I was given more perspective on what worked for me and more importantly, what didn’t work for me.
In the “real” world, I’m a teacher. About six years ago, I started substitute teaching after I graduated from college and couldn’t find a decent job in marketing. When I finally landed my first post-college desk job, I realized that I liked teaching better and went to grad school for education. Flash forward five years from then and I’ve been a teacher’s aide, student teacher, part-time music teacher, personal tutor, camp counselor and full-time Social Studies and Music teacher. In that time, I also worked for a company that taught after-school classes and summer camp courses in subjects like Lego robotics, comic book making and video game design. The company once asked me to write the curriculum for a music class and I did. At the time, I had way more experience using Logic Pro for my home recording, but saw Garageband as a great introduction to recording and wrote the course as a “Music Production with Garageband” course.
HOW I STARTED TEACHING ONLINE:
One day last year, I discovered a blog post about a site called Udemy. According to the post, some guy made $60000 in a month by being the first to make an online course on what was (at the time) the latest iPhone development software. I was intrigued by Udemy and took note of it, but didn’t look into it much further for a few months. Then, in November of 2014 I started working on a Garageband course using the newest version of Garageband. I made an outline and began recording the lectures with my desktop. Recording the lectures took me very little time because I knew most of the stuff off the top of my head and had been teaching people how to use Garageband for quite some time. When I did mess something up when recording, I would just re-do that one lecture once or twice at the most before I thought it was ready to be published. I also made sure to read all of the rules and suggestions that Udemy had on their blog about course creation and joined the Udemy instructor group on Facebook.
Since my course has been up, I’ve made three other courses on Udemy and also uploaded some of the courses on other sites like Skillfeed (which is actually shut down now). Besides some basic maintenance every now and then, I have not been doing much work on any of the courses. Yet, my online courses are going to net me about $5000 by the end of my first year. The numbers fluctuate from month to month, but over time, the sales have added up. To some people, $5000 in mostly passive income may not seem like much, but to a lot of people like me, it is very encouraging. To me, it opened the doors to new possibilities. When I made an app for the first time, I was hoping to make $30 a month or at least cover the cost of opening up an Apple developer account (I didn’t…LOL). Now, making $300 a month in passive income is not only possible, but it’s been happening on a fairly regular basis, and that’s just on Udemy.
HOW TO TEACH ONLINE:
I know a lot of people who are interested in teaching online or are just interested in ways to make some side cash. I would definitely recommend starting with Udemy. In order to give you a head start, here are the steps that I took.
2) Once approved, join the Facebook group for Udemy instructors.
3) Research the Udemy marketplace and start thinking of courses that you may want to teach. If there are already courses on there, check the reviews and see what type of material is being covered in the course outline. Just because there are other courses about the topic doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for you. If anything, it’s a good thing if those courses are selling because it proves that there is some demand for that subject.
5) I definitely recommend Alun Hill’s course on creating a Udemy course. I took it and it gave me a lot of helpful pointers. I followed all of the advice that it gave me and I’m pretty sure that it helped my course out a ton. You can try to get it while it’s on sale during Black Friday. Definitely a good investment.
6) Make an outline for your course and start recording it.
That was how I started. There is certainly more to do after that, and a lot of it is covered on the Udemy blog and the Alun Hill course. But, just getting started could be half the battle. Like many of my other online “experiments”, I went in thinking it would be a valuable learning experience with the potential for something more. I’ve never had better results than with teaching online, and I think that you may feel the same way with a little hard work upfront. Then, somewhere down the line, you could be sitting back and collecting passive money, too.
…And that’s how I made $5000 in passive income by teaching online (with minimal effort). There’s nothing quite like the feeling of traveling, checking your phone, and getting an email from time to time that says “Congratulations. You have a new student!” $5000 certainly isn’t enough to live off of for a long time, but it’s definitely nice. Speaking of traveling, here’s some of the stuff I did this year:
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
If you’re like me, then you are amazed by the growth of Udemy as an online education marketplace. It’s amazing to know that you can teach something you already know and make some real money collecting commissions from Udemy when students enroll in your class.
When creating your course, one of the many things to consider is the use of music and sound. If you’re a musician, you might have plenty of royalty-free music that you can use for your course and course promo. If you don’t have any royalty-free music and want to use music for your courses, then what do you do? The last thing you want to do is risk getting in trouble for using someone else’s intellectual property. For these reasons, here are 3 ways to get music for your Udemy course.
3) Royalty-free Music Sites: The first method is to go on Google and search for “royalty free music”. You may get lucky and find exactly what you are looking for. The downside of this approach is that you will probably have to pay a membership or fee to access the music and use it for your courses.
2) YouTube Audio Library: YouTube now has a feature where it provides users with royalty-free music to use on their projects. They probably included this feature to help lower the instances of copyright infringement within the videos on their site. A simple search for “YouTube royalty-free music” will get you a long list of music to preview and download at your leisure (but you need a YouTube channel to access it). This method is better than the previously mentioned method because there is no hassle with finding out what is free and what is not free: everything at the YouTube Audio Library is up for grabs.
1) Use GarageBand: If you have access to any Apple device, then you have the ability to get GarageBand. In my opinion, this is the best method for obtaining music for your courses. Unlike the other methods, you can easily customize your own music using Apple Loops and some simple editing tools. The possibilities are endless when you are able to take the loops and tweak them to your liking. Unlike the other options, you are not downloading a full composition that can only be edited so much before it becomes useless. With GarageBand, you have access to hundreds, maybe thousands of customizable loops that you can mix and match to your liking. I’ve used GarageBand in all of my Udemy courses to date. Here is an example of a promo I made using Garageband: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjMwpcTznns
In the promo, all of the music was made with GarageBand. Even though I know how to play different instruments, I did not need to use a single instrument to make the backing track for my promo. I also recorded the vocal portion of the promo with GarageBand.
When I got hired for my current position as a Music Teacher and Social Studies Teacher, I was given the honor of being the first Music Teacher in the school’s history. The first step to starting the first music program in the school’s history was to pick the musical equipment. Since the school is very technology-friendly and provides the students with Apple laptops to use for certain classes and activities, I started off the school year teaching GarageBand in the Music classes. Since I had to balance Music with Social Studies, I made the schedule that every grade would have a guaranteed Music class on Thursdays. Thus, GarageBand was the focal point of my Music lessons for the first few Thursday Music classes as we waited for the music equipment to arrive.
The first piece of musical equipment I recommended for the school was the M-Audio Oxygen 25.
I had used an older model of the Oxygen 25 in my previous school and had nothing but pleasant experiences using it with all of my Music classes. In my old school, I used the Oxygen 25 every time I had an opportunity to use the computer lab for Music class. This MIDI controller is literally “plug and play”. It doesn’t even need a power adaptor as it is powered by the computer when it is plugged in. Students would find their laptop numbers, open GarageBand and then receive their MIDI controller for the session. Once they connected the USB cable from the Oxygen 25 to their laptop and hit the power switch, they were ready to get started.
These controllers are small enough to store in most school cabinets. My old school had about 8 of them. I ordered 20 for my new school and there is no issue with storage. I love the 25-key version because it is easier to fit on student desks, whether they are working by themselves or in a group.
In 3 years, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences using these controllers. There have been no issues with compatibility. The students plug in and they are ready to learn. They absolutely love using these MIDI controllers and so do I.
There are some useful and more peripheral features on the controllers. For instance, the octave buttons are very useful and help users compensate with the lack of keys as compared to a full length piano or keyboard. A more unnecessary but fun feature can be seen in the pitch bend, which seems pretty standard on most keyboards I’ve seen nowadays.
When combined with a program like GarageBand, the M-Audio Oxygen 25 has been an excellent resource for me as a musician and as a Music Teacher. The controllers have become a cornerstone to teaching Music in my program and I would recommend them to any musician or teacher with full confidence.
[yks-mailchimp-list id=”04ab82c252″ submit_text=”SIGN UP for Updates, Bonus Content and Exclusive Offers”]