Hypnotherapist rebounds from career crisis with full-time focus on Udemy
Back in 2014, Dan Jones of West Sussex, UK, stumbled upon Udemy in a typical fashion. He’d been offering videos about hypnosis for years on YouTube, had a Facebook fan page, and was running ads, but he wasn’t making money from these activities.
Like others before him, Dan didn’t want to pay someone else to set up his online courses if they weren’t going to perform any better. He saw Udemy as a low-risk option that would let him do the work himself and be in control of his content. At the time, there were only two other hypnosis-related courses in the Udemy marketplace, and they were very different from Dan’s. He launched his first course, “Certificate in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy,” announced it to his Facebook followers, shared a coupon, and got some quick sales.
His next two courses (on self-publishing and solution-focused therapy) didn’t attract as much interest, but Dan wasn’t as intent on revenue back then and was satisfied to bring in about $300/month without any additional effort. Hypnosis had been a personal passion of Dan’s since he was a teen watching famous British TV personality Paul McKenna, but it wasn’t his full-time job.
Dan was building a reputation for his hypnotherapy expertise and seeing clients on the side while working as a counselor to troubled teens and their families. In his spare time, he self-published several books, hosted free webinars and discovered, “I love talking to the camera and sharing my knowledge.”
The Hand of Fate
Things changed in 2015. As someone with autism spectrum disorder, Dan had been on the receiving end of workplace discrimination for years, culminating with his taking a redundancy at his job. That gave him a six-month cushion to explore his options. Considering he was making money every month on Udemy without even trying, Dan decided to invest himself 100% in his courses and see if he could do better. If not, he’d reevaluate.
In a way, the job redundancy was a blessing in disguise. Dan wasn’t happy with how his career was going but felt trapped, depressed, even suicidal. Now, there was nothing stopping him from taking a chance. He gave himself one week of downtime and then “plowed into Udemy”—18 months after publishing his first course.
This time around, Dan did a deep dive into Udemy’s best practices and advice around instructional design, including the ever-popular “How to Create Your Udemy Course” course. He also schooled himself on promotional announcements and how he could be more proactive about driving traffic to his Udemy page. He’s taken courses on topics like photography and piano, not only because they interest him but also to better understand the student experience.
“I saw results pretty much instantly,” Dan reports. In his first full-time month on Udemy, his revenue lifted to $800. By September 2015, he’d reached $1,500/month, which met his threshold for supporting himself as a Udemy instructor. Since November 2016, that monthly figure has risen to $2,000.
Dan Finds His Udemy Groove
To be sure, it took a lot of work to reach these milestones. Dan says he’s “not the most outgoing person who’s comfortable talking to everyone. I don’t like putting myself out there, but I knew I needed to learn these skills,” so he read up on marketing, personal branding, etc. He spends time responding to student questions and comments and uses that feedback to figure out what his next courses should be about.
In fact, that was one of Dan’s first discoveries about achieving success on Udemy: the course you’d want to take isn’t necessarily the course lots of students want to take. For example, he found fewer people were interested in using hypnosis for treating conditions like depression or anxiety, but they were interested in learning different hypnosis styles, so he added courses on conversational hypnosis, Ericksonian hypnosis, and rapid hypnotic inductions.
Dan also advises aspiring instructors to establish themselves as subject-matter experts away from Udemy, such as by posting regularly to a website, social media page, or YouTube channel dedicated to their instructional area. “Answer questions about that topic on sites like Quora, be active as an expert on that topic, and make it easy for people to find that you also offer a Udemy course,” he suggests.
These days, with 11 published courses and about 5,500 students, Dan is closely monitoring his Udemy dashboard and learning all he can in order to maintain his earnings from month to month. Even though he’s not currently seeing hypnotherapy clients, he knows still helping people, which is important to him.
“I like motivating and inspiring others,” he says. “You get success from working hard and smart, so put in the hours and don’t expect it to be a get-rich-quick scheme. Be an active instructor and show you value your students.”