For After Effects Pro, Teaching on Udemy Means Owning Her Destiny

Maggie Osama hated her advertising agency job and didn’t get along with her boss—so much that she quit and vowed never to be “an employee” again. She didn’t have a plan or anything lined up, just a determination to control her own destiny and do whatever it took to make it work.

With degrees in computer science and integrated marketing communications, Maggie had knowledge to draw upon but wasn’t sure how to monetize it and still remain independent. So, she started searching for ways to earn income online and found Udemy. From there, she joined Udemy’s Facebook group for aspiring instructors, read other people’s success stories, and thought, “Okay, why not give this a try?”

Despite her lack of teaching experience, Maggie has always been someone who loves mentoring and sharing her expertise “with anyone around me.” Udemy offered her a platform for reaching people around the world too.

Maggie read a lot of help center articles and took Udemy courses herself, such as top instructor Scott Duffy’s course on “Udemy SEO: Winning the Udemy Search Engine.” She also contacted best-selling instructor Robert Marzullo for more tips and advice. He looked at her courses, offered encouragement, and told her to keep going, which was “so motivating.” Maggie launched her first Udemy course on how to play the game CashFlow in October 2016.

There is hope!
That first course was, frankly, a disappointment in terms of revenue, but Maggie committed to digging deeper so she could understand what makes for success on Udemy. Other instructors suggested publishing more courses so that’s what she did. Her second course, on the whiteboard animation tool VideoScribe, went live in December 2016 and brought in $200 in January. For Maggie, this was very exciting. “There is hope!” she remembers thinking, “I have to continue.”

Her friends, on the other hand, thought she was a bit insane and warned her how hard it would be to explain her gap in employment when she eventually failed on Udemy and went looking for a “real” job. Her parents, too, worried what would happen to Maggie if this Udemy thing didn’t succeed. She wasn’t having any of it.

Over the next few months, Maggie’s income fluctuated. Some months, she earned as little as $20 and was scared she’d crash and burn after all, but whenever she thought about her other option—going back to the 9-5 routine and having a boss—she refused to consider it.

Life for Maggie was definitely rough during this time. At 30 years old, she was surviving by dipping into her saving and cutting expenses by more than half. That meant no new clothes, no hanging out with friends, no travel—none of the things she used to enjoy. “I was working hard night and day and learning the process, hoping my hard work would start to pay off,” she says. “I had so much anxiety, stress, and self-doubt, but that just kept pushing me forward to work like crazy.”

Hard work and self-belief pay off
Once she had the basic course creation process down, she turned her attention to After Effects courses, “the thing that I love.” Currently, she’s working on her ninth course and has nearly 15,000 students. In November 2017, her monthly revenue hit $380, a good income for where she lives in Egypt.

Maggie is also improving her marketing activities and “getting better with promotional emails,” thanks to advice from other instructors. For example, she’s seen results from cross-promoting her courses to existing students and started a YouTube channel with free tutorials where she offers coupons to subscribers. She hears from many students who give her high marks for her approachable delivery style and ability to make complex material easy to understand, but she appreciates bad reviews too. “I learn from them and ask them what I should do, and they help me improve my courses,” Maggie explains. Some students request tutorials on specific topics and when she adds them to her courses, “people feel special, like they got something extra just for them.”

Looking back, Maggie calls the period between March 2016 (when she left her job) and November 2017 “the hardest chapter of my life, yet I definitely learned a lot from it.” Now she’s intent on looking ahead. Her New Year’s goal is to have a total of 20 published Udemy courses, and she’s researching the possibility of translating her courses into Arabic too. She also dreams of attending Udemy LIVE, our annual instructor conference held in San Francisco.

Like Maggie, we all have doubts and fears when taking on a big, new challenge. Her story demonstrates how you can channel that energy and use it to push on toward your goals. As she says in her Udemy profile, “I believe applied knowledge is power.”