By Mark Winegar on Thu, 01/10/2013
“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” - Milton Friedman
It seems Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim found a “free lunch” when they founded youtube.com. As of 11:00 AM 1/10/2013 my youtube account contains 562 videos with 53,067 views and I have not seen one dime of revenue. At least not from youtube.
Now don’t misunderstand me. I think youtube is great. It's great for entertainment. It is just not a place where educators can teach for a living. It may be a good place to publicize your products and services though.
Youtube is a free service which means if your video goes viral you still won’t see a penny. And what are the odds of your video going viral? Chris Wilson said, “You might have better odds playing the lottery than of becoming a viral video sensation.” in his Slate magazine article. The difference is the lottery pays!
So, if you want to earn a living by teaching on the web you’ll need to find a way to make your course pay! That’s harder than you might think because so many people still believe information on the World Wide Web should be free.
Remember what Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” So, don’t try. Just do what you do well and put it out on the cloud at a fair price. But where?
You need to find a good company to do business with. One that will host and promote your course, collect tuition, and send your cash. If you are lucky it will be a company you can communicate well with too. Avoid those requiring membership fees.
I’ve tried a few companies and so far I like Udemy best. They provide good online development tools and promotional campaigns for those who believe in making learning available anytime anywhere. The support is outstanding. I often receive emails from the executive team soliciting input or encouraging me to do more. They also have an iPad app (see my last blog). And Udemy is selective about who they allow to teach on their site.
So the plan, after two years, is to start moving videos off of youtube. I’ll leave a few of the most popular ones there with a link to the corresponding course. I may also pilot new videos there for awhile to see how hot they might be. But as far as I’m concerned the free lunch has come to an end.
My newest course teaches Apple iWork Numbers. There are still a few free seats available when you use the “iPhone Life” coupon code but hurry. The coupon is only good for a limited time.
Thanks youtube for giving me a sandbox to experiment with. I’ll drop in for a visit from time to time.