Last week marks the first anniversary of my course, SignalR Mastery, which I launched on Udemy on January 11th, 2021.
In private, I've been pretty detailed on the experience of building this course. After a year in, I wanted to be open with the community on what I've picked up building and supporting this course.
First, a little background. This isn't my first video course. I've developed several over the past ten years for many of the most prominent publishers out there in the technology community. The folks I worked with at all those companies have been professional and a joy to work with.
However, when you work for a larger company, they typically want you to abide by pre-determined processes. Module or lesson structure. Time lengths. Demos structure. Everything in between. You do not usually get much flexibility in how a course should be presented to a student.
Heck - I've done a SignalR course before. It was a lot of fun and a fantastic learning experience.
But I wanted much more flexibility over the complete course. Everything from what topics I discuss, how I discuss them, and the length of the discussions. If I want to talk about the different ways to cover client filtering in SignalR, which takes 5 minutes, it should take 5 minutes. Many companies would ask or require a minimum of a 15-minute long segment, and that's not useful to you as the student.
So where do you go?
I could've self-hosted the course through something like Teachable or Gumroad. And goodness, I could've charged five times the amount of money.
But I'm no Scott Hanselman.
Getting the course out in front of a willing audience is key to success!
My friend, Bret Fisher, found a lot of success with his Docker Mastery course by hosting it on Udemy. Publishing a course on Udemy is pretty low risk because, as the author, I retain 100% of its rights. Nobody controls the course layout, the content, or how often I choose to make updates.
But Udemy severely limits the amount of money you make from a course. When you look at the landing page, my course could be nine dollars or seventeen dollars. If you buy directly from https://signalrmastery.com, I get roughly 95% of the amount. But other promotions or affiliates could see me making less than 10%. It varies.
But the Udemy marketplace opens up easily thousands of potential students that I wouldn't have otherwise have had access to. So yes, I could've sold the course for more money - but would I have MADE more money?
Join the thousands of developers who have already taken their first steps into building real-time web applications with SignalR.
SignalR is not the type of technology that folks are googling for daily. It's not getting BUILD keynotes or presentations at .NET Conf (believe me, I've tried).
But SignalR is definitely one of those super valuable technologies in daily application. Very few people know how to use it intelligently. As a consultant, I've worked with dozens of clients to best utilize SignalR. It's always full of "oh, I didn't know you could do that" moments.
My previous SignalR course was syntax and some design, but I couldn't really go into the detail I wanted on issues that real teams have to face.
This course was syntax, design, and real-world experiences with SignalR. This was a topic I could talk about at length, on-demand, anytime. Building the course was simply ceremony, and the content practically wrote itself!
How about some numbers? At this writing, SignalR Mastery has 1799 students and has made a little over $6,300.
I know what you might be thinking: Kevin... that's all??
Well, yes. The course has made about six thousand dollars (US), but I also have made over $30,000 from consulting engagement leads. The riches are in the niches, as they like to say!
Suprisingly, SignalR Mastery students don't ask many questions. A lot of the time, the questions are answered in the course and I need to direct the students to the correct answers.
Other times, students want consulting from the Q&A, which is difficult to do due to individual circumstances. Consulting involves many conversations, and having context into the overall problems a person is trying to solve.
SignalR Mastery has been a ton of fun to build. The students ask great, engaging questions. I've learned a ton myself, just supporting the students. And I think most teachers will tell you they learn the most from their students. It's simply because everything I know is from my experiences, and that's a narrow, limited view. Students help expand my horizons by changing my idea of how things should work. Not knowing the answer to a question is the best!
SignalR Mastery is due for some updates, and those are coming up in the next month or two. I have several ideas for new courses that I want to do, and I'm excited to get started on the next big thing.
Thank you for hanging out with me through this journey! If you have any questions about building a course, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or email.