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How To Make Money Teaching on Udemy – An Interview With Miguel Hernandez

Joe Fier from GigHopping.com interviews Miguel Hernandez about his experience creating online courses and selling them on Udemy.

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Miguel created a full course on Udemy where he has taught over 1000 people how to create, promote, and sell online courses on Udemy.
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Interview Transcription:

Joe: Hey, Gig Hoppers, this is Joe Fier, one of the cofounders here, with Miguel Hernandez. He is the CEO of Grumo Media and a lot of awesome cool stuff. Welcome to the show, man, and thanks for taking the time.

Miguel: I love to do interviews. If there’s anything I can say that is of value to somebody, I’m so happy.

Joe: Perfect. Well, hopefully, we’ll get a bunch, man, out of this one. I don’t think you know this, Miguel, but I’ve seen you probably about a year or two years ago or so just on Udemy and also in Grumo Media – just the different types of animations.

Miguel: Nice.

Joe: Yeah, man. Because I have an animation company. It’s kind of how I got started. So, you know, us video guys, we always kind of look at each other’s stuff and take little ideas and things like that. Miguel’s one of the most animated, coolest educators out there. On Udemy, you definitely have that look. You’re very animated on camera.

Miguel: I try to be. One of the reasons why I’m animated – well, it’s because it’s my personality, one – but the other reason is because when I started teaching online, I remembered all those years I went to a private Catholic school back in Spain and having to go through very boring lectures. When I teach, I try to make it somewhat entertaining, so even if what I’m teaching is dry, at least you have fun watching.

Joe: There you go. Yeah, man. That’s like the devil’s curse is boring education out there, man. That’s the power of Udemy. You can just take it and make it your own. And that’s exactly what you’ve done. You said you came from Spain, and you made the big move to Vancouver – I think that’s where you’re at now, right?

Miguel: Yeah.

Joe: What sparked that whole move? I know that was a big uprooting.

Miguel: Well, that was 16 years ago. The main reason was because my father moved here, because he had a job opportunity here. And he was traveling throughout the whole world, and he really liked it. And at that time, he had divorced recently, so he’s single, and he wants to do his own thing. I was 19 when I moved here. I have two siblings, too. They were also very independent. And he said, “Hey, why don’t you come here for a year?” And that’s what we did. We came. We loved it. And next thing you know, I was studying here and making a living here. And eventually, we became Canadian back in 2000, so we have dual citizenship. But my mom and a lot of relatives and friends are still back in Spain, so every year, if I can, I go back and visit them. That’s how we ended up here.

Joe: Yeah. And 19, too. Obviously, you’re out of high school. You’re kind of probably trying to figure out what you want to do as a career, too, right?

Miguel: Yeah. We’d just finished high school. Well, the story’s more complex than that. I did a semester in Reno, Nevada. I took mechanical engineering. Once I moved to Canada, I started all over again. And I again took mechanical design at an institute here in British Columbia. So, I basically did my secondary education in Canada.

Joe: Wow. So, it’s double doing it then. And obviously, passions come from that. How did you fall into the whole animation, and then teaching, too?

Miguel: That was a very winding process.

Joe: I know.

Miguel: I started from mechanical designs. For three and a half years I worked for a big manufacturing company, designing machinery for the plywood industry. And after that, I got bored with it. And also, the company didn’t need me, so I was made redundant.
But while I was doing that gig, I taught myself how to do 3D animation. And then I freelanced 3D animation for four years, something like that. Then I ended up getting a job at a big television studio here in Vancouver, and that’s where I kind of learned all the TV stuff and camera operation and editing. And then I had also this background in animation.
And then, when that gig was finished, I was doing some web developing as well, and made some friends here in Vancouver that needed a video to explain what they did on their website. And I’m like, “Maybe I can do that.” So, I went online, figured out what more or less one of these explanatory videos looked like, and then I said, “Maybe I can do it.”
And that’s what I did. I basically in a couple weeks made a video for this local company, and they really liked it. And from there, I found out there was a need for this type of video, and that’s when I kind of started Grumo Media.

Joe: Got it. You fell right into it. That’s kind of my story as well. Different paths. But that’s usually how things happen like that.
How about the teaching, though? Obviously, you had the background – going to school twice – so maybe you knew how teaching was done. What got you into that?

Miguel: Well, teaching was more of a… The year into Grumo Media, I was listening… I’m very interested in entrepreneurship and learning how other companies work and people started businesses and stuff like that. Since, at that time, I had just started this business, I was trying to absorb as much information as possible to learn from people that had already made it.
And I was listening to these Mixergy.com interviews. And in one of them, Andrew Warner was interviewing this girl in her early twenties. Her name is Laura Roeder. And she was saying that she had a business where she just had online courses where she taught people how to use Twitter and Facebook – like basic social media. And she was making a killing – over $300,000 a year – teaching what I thought was pretty basic stuff.
So, obviously, a spark went into my head. Actually, there must be a market for this type of online education. And at that time, well, what I could teach obviously was how to do explanatory videos. So I put up a course teaching that. And that was my first attempt at teaching online. And it got a really good reception. And that obviously validated the idea that I could teach online and that people were willing to listen to what I had to say. And since then, I’ve created a bunch of other courses.

Joe: Yeah. And that’s the beauty of Udemy. And that’s where you got your start, basically, with teaching?

Miguel: Yeah. Originally, I was selling my courses through my website. But then, on another Mixergy interview, I learned about one of the cofounders of Udemy. And at that time, they were just starting out. And they were like, “We created this community where anybody can upload their videos and teach online.” So, you don’t have to worry so much about the technical stuff or how to sell your videos.
They provide a platform where all you have to do is upload your video, put a price, and then Udemy takes care of all the marketing and promotional efforts, which is a lot if you’re doing it by yourself. So, I was one of the original instructors. I put my course in there, and sales pretty much doubled because of the efforts Udemy was putting into marketing. So, it was a great discovery.

Joe: Yeah, Udemy is awesome. You guys listening, if you haven’t checked out the website, just browse around. There’s something for anybody on there.

Miguel: Now, there are thousands of courses, thousands of instructors. Everybody I know, all my friends, I tell them, if you know anything, just spend a couple of weeks doing a course, because once you put it out there, it’s a product, and you can reach a lot of people. You can provide a lot of value. You don’t have to worry about how to do the marketing. It’s really a win-win situation for Udemy and for instructors.

Joe: Now, I know you mentioned the marketing, and they do a lot of that work for you. There are coupon codes. And you can be featured on their website. There are mailing lists. They send out email promotions. How did you really leverage their marketing to really get some sales for yourself?

Miguel: Their marketing to get sales for myself? Well, anything that is posted at Udemy – while I’m getting sales through their marketing efforts on Udemy, now, because they also promote… Actually, in all of my courses, I mention a little bit about Grumo Media. So, indirectly, I also get sales through my website thanks to their marketing efforts. I really don’t spend much time doing marketing myself, like with paid ads and stuff like that.
One hundred percent of my marketing is social media and inbound marketing, which consists of creating good content that people can share through my blog mostly and posting videos on YouTube. But my ability to reach more people has happened thanks to the marketing efforts of Udemy. And that helps me to sell more courses on their website, and also, whatever I sell through my website.

Joe: Makes sense. So, the blog was used as a kick-start, and social media, of course, to start driving the traffic over there.

Miguel: Exactly. For anybody that’s listening and starting a business, that’s probably one of the most efficient ways of getting traffic and potential sales, is to start blogging and creating really good content and reaching people that are in the same industry. I suggest you write for them, as well, because that gives you more credibility. You rank higher on Google. There are a lot of benefits from doing that. It takes a lot of time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s a more affordable option than just paying for Google ads. It’s a whole new world that if you don’t understand, you’re just going to waste a lot of money.

Joe: Yeah. And I know Udemy, as well, they offer coupon codes for viewers. And also, you gave us, very generously, a bunch of 50% off coupon codes for your courses. So, definitely check those out. They’re on the page here. Have you noticed that that’s a really good way to drive traffic and get reviews and all that stuff on Udemy?

Miguel: Giving out coupons?

Joe: Yeah, coupon codes.

Miguel: Yeah. Coupon codes – it’s one of the main strategies for incentivizing people to buy anything. In the case of Udemy, they really leverage coupons to be able to… Almost every other week, they have a special coupon of the week for different courses or discounts. That really helps people to go, “Oh, let’s check it out. It’s 80% off or something like that.” Or, “It’s 50% off for the next week.”
And the great thing is that instructors within Udemy can easily create their own coupons and give them a limit of how many of them are available or an expiry date. So, if you want to do a promotion – which is a very good strategy to get sales in a short amount of period, especially if you’re launching a course – and if you want to leverage your email list – well, obviously, when you release that new course, instead of saying “Go and check this course for the full price,” you give them a little bit of incentive. And a coupon is just the best tool to do that.

Joe: And like you said, leveraging an email list, too, because I noticed on your blog you’re collecting emails.

Miguel: Exactly.

Joe: That’s probably a very effective strategy there.

Miguel: Collecting emails. Leveraging social media, blogging, and writing for other people. And definitely from day one that you have your website up, collect email addresses. Build that email list. That’s the most valuable resource anybody that has an online business could ever have. So, definitely collect email addresses.

Joe: Nice.
Now, going back to Udemy, because within Udemy, you can see the number of people taking a course. You can see the ratings, reviews, all of that kind of stuff. What have you done to really get high reviews and keep people engaged in your courses?

Miguel: I personally don’t do much, like in terms of being active, like asking people, “Could you please review stuff?” Until recently, because now, Udemy has this community consisting of instructors, where they share tips, and a lot of people say, “Well, if you don’t ask people to review your course, a lot of people will forget.” Originally, I didn’t do that, so the reason why people gave me good reviews was because they really liked the course.
The biggest strategy to get good reviews is make sure your content is really good, one. And second, make sure that you support your students. When they ask me a question, I always answer them within the same day or sometime within minutes. And I try to provide answers that are very thorough and that really solve the problem. So, those two things will get you good reviews. And the third one is being proactive.
So, one of the things I’ve been doing lately in the last lecture of my course – it’s just one lecture where I tell people how important it is to get good reviews for instructors. And I also sometimes give them a coupon for some of my other courses, because some of my courses are related. So, that helps a lot. Because the last lecture they take is when they usually would send their review, and now, I’m reminding them, “By the way, it’s so important. If you could please give me a review.”
And, obviously, I say, “If you think the course is shit, please don’t give me a bad review. Talk to me first, and I’ll try to fix it.” But, definitely, reviews. It’s like when you go to Amazon and buy a book. Most people rely on those five-star reviews. So, they’re just golden. They really help sales.

Joe: Yeah. And like you said, a really good way – at least from our experience – really, with any reputation-based business, is make sure those negative reviews are sent to you, not posted on the whole board for everybody to see.

Miguel: Yeah. And there have been complaints on Udemy. There are two problems they had that I think they’re solving or they solved already. One was that, for a time, people could only give one-star reviews. And it was a problem with the system. So, I remember a friend of mine gave me five stars, and then only one star showed up. And I’m like, “Why?” So, that was horrible. They fixed that.
And the other thing is people that give you one-star reviews, but don’t give any explanation. And then you can never reach them. And you’re like, “Well, I don’t know what I did wrong. How can I fix stuff if you don’t tell me?” So, some people have been complaining, because some instructors say, “Well, if somebody gives a one-star review, please force them or ask them to please explain why, so when people see that, they at least understand what the reasoning is behind that.” So, things are changing.

Joe: That’s good, because I know you could reach out to individual users if you wanted to, but who knows if they’re ever going to get back to you. That’s the problem.

Miguel: Yeah.

Joe: So, within Udemy, you can actually use that kind of like an email list. You can mail to them. You can actually segment per course.

Miguel: Yeah. That’s a big thing on Udemy. Well, one of the biggest drawbacks of Udemy is that you cannot obtain the email addresses of your students. And, obviously, you want those, and everybody wants those, but that’s one of their most valuable assets. And Udemy knows this, so they don’t allow you to access those email addresses. But in exchange for not being able to do so, you can reach out to all your students within Udemy’s platform through a message form. You can, for example, say, “Send this email only to people that have completed more than 50% of the course or that have not taken this course.”
It’s very granular, which is great just to target those students that you want. And then, basically, you press “Send,” and it’s like any other newsletter or system. It immediately sends a mass email to as many students as you want. Unfortunately, it’s a different email list from your personal email list. So, when you’re doing a new launch, that means you have to do the launching from two different places, at least – your email list and Udemy’s list.

Joe: And just like what you said, launching – have you ever actually taken the content that you built in Udemy and launched it somewhere else? Because I know you can own all that content.

Miguel: Yeah. That’s one thing that’s great is that you own the content. You can do anything with it. You can promote it on other platforms. And by the way, now there are lots of other platforms besides Udemy. Udemy, I think, in North America is probably one of the top ones. But in other countries – for example, I have a course in Spanish. There are many other alternatives in Spanish-speaking countries that I found to upload my courses on as well, and there’s not a problem doing that. When I release those courses, I release it on as many platforms as I can.
The only tricky part of that is making sure that the prices of your courses are consistent across all the platforms. And the more platforms you have your courses uploaded to, the harder that is. Because what you don’t want is somebody figuring out, “Oh, I can buy this course for half the price than here.”
It creates a little bit of an issue. But as long as you can manage the pricing and make sure it’s consistent, it’s actually a good idea to post it on several platforms, because that way, you don’t have all your eggs in one place. And also, you’re leveraging their marketing efforts so your sales also increase.

Joe: That’s a good point. The worst number in business is one, so you want to make sure you’re spreading out and that you’re everywhere. I know you said there’s a whole bunch of different platforms outside of Udemy. What are maybe the top three that you have your courses on?

Miguel: Hold on. I have a list here, actually.

Joe: Nice.

Miguel: I’ll tell you right now. In Spanish, we have tutelos in [Inaudible 0:19:13]. Let me see. There’s one on India, which is very big. I haven’t used them, but it’s called EasySkills.com. Cursopedia in Spain is big. Udacity. For example, edX, Udacity, Coursera, Course Hero – they are more academic, so they’re concentrated more on university courses, but they’re changing their model, too. For example, the Coursera guys approached me, and I think they have my course now, too. So, there’s a lot. I would check and just type “online platforms” or “education platforms,” because it’s such a big thing today that there’s lots of them coming out.

Joe: Perfect. Starting out, would you recommend people just plaster their courses everywhere as fast as they can just to kind of get themselves going?

Miguel: You can do that. It’s a lot of effort, because once you record it, which takes quite a bit of time, and then you have to upload the videos. Take into account that a good course will have at least three to five hours of content. My course that has the most has ten hours of content. That’s a lot of megabytes of video data that you have to upload. It will take you two or three days to upload it, depending on your connection speed.
And then you have to give titles to your lectures and descriptions. Sometimes you create quizzes. It’s a lot of work to put the course together. So, yeah, if you have the time, upload it to as many places as possible, but just be aware that it’s going to take you a while to put it out there.

Joe: Yeah. And that’s one thing I’ve noticed with your other courses, too, is the length of time. Because Udemy actually tells you, “This is a ten-hour course.” That’s a selling point for a lot of people. Have you noticed that you actually make more money, more sales with longer courses, or more on the shorter end?

Miguel: If it’s too short, then you would price it accordingly. But I think the ideal length – they’re doing their own research – but I think it’s anywhere from three to five hours, something like that. It’s something that people get a lot of value from. Because one-hour courses or half-hour courses – you can find so many of them for free on the Internet.
But you wouldn’t be able to find something that’s five hours long that’s really in-depth that’s going to take you from not knowing anything to being reasonably good at doing something that you had no idea how to do before. So, definitely three to five hours. Anywhere from 50 to 80 lectures or something like that is where people get a lot of value.
Now, that allows you also two good things, which is, you can price your course higher than a shorter course. So, obviously, you’re going to make more per sale. And the other thing – because the course is more expensive, it allows you to create bigger discounts. If you’re selling a $10 course, and you can discount it by 50%, well, you’re going to make $5. At the end, it’s not that much, but if you’re selling something for $100, and you discount it 50%, you’re still making $50 per sale, which is quite a bit. And people – the perception is that they’re saving a lot more money, because they are.

Joe: Yeah, it’s a little sexier if you cut it in half by $50 or something. So, I know you have all these courses, and obviously Grumo Media. That’s animation. I’m in the business. It takes time. How much time are you dedicating specifically to Udemy work – responding to people and all that?

Miguel: Not that much. The thing that takes the longest is to put together the course. And that takes anywhere from one to two weeks of preparation and research and outlining the entire course and another two weeks of production. So, let’s say a month of working part-time, not even full-time, doing the course. And then after that, it really depends on how many students you have.
Now, I have over 3,000 students on Udemy. So I’m getting maybe one or two email questions a day. That’s not that much considering that number of students. Now, I couldn’t say that’s the same for all courses. Some courses, maybe they require… It really depends. My courses, I try to make them so thorough that it’s hard for anybody to ask questions because everything is answered in the course, right?

Joe: Right. Smart.

Miguel: But if you happen to have something that’s not clear, everybody’s going to be asking you about that specific thing. So, what you should do is create a lecture addressing all those questions so you don’t have to continuously repeat them.

Joe: Very smart. I can see two things here. It’s outlining the course – making sure you spend the time – like you said, two weeks. It’s obviously a long time, but it’s going to save you loads of hours. But also, Q&A’s, too. Do you any kind of follow-up Q&A videos sporadically, whenever you see an issue arise?

Miguel: I haven’t had to, because I didn’t have that. I have random questions. One of the good things about the Udemy platform is that you have the Q&A to the side of the videos. So, when somebody asks a question, all the future students and current students can see the answer right there. So you don’t have to repeat it, because it’s there. They’re like, “Oh, somebody asked that question already.” So, so far, I haven’t had to do that.
Now, I wanted to mention something about… Before you spend a lot of time doing a course – because now everybody is going to get really excited. “Oh, I’m going to spend the next month doing it.” One thing that is very important to do is to validate somehow, with a minimum amount of effort, whether people are going to buy in the first place. This is hard if you don’t already have some kind of audience, but it’s still doable.
What I did when I did my first course is I created a sales page – just a landing page, which is basically a blog post – announcing that I was going to do this course, and that if anybody was interested, they could pre-buy it at a very hefty discount. And if I got enough interest, I would actually produce it. And if I didn’t produce it, I would return their money.
So, you can see my risk there is basically zero. And what happened is in the first month since I made that announcement, I got 25 people pre-buying the course. That, to me, was enough validation that people were willing to buy the course. And then I spent a lot of time doing it.
How can you do this if you don’t have a bigger audience? Well, you have to be more resourceful, but you still can do it. You can still create a sales page or something like that – start blogging or whatever. Open social media accounts everywhere. Post it on Reddit, on Hacker News, everywhere that you can. And then create a free course on Udemy, which is going to be a preview of the larger course. That’s one strategy. Obviously, you’re not going to make any money with a free course, but a lot of people obviously take free courses.

Joe: Definitely.

Miguel: So, you’re going to start building an audience of people that are going to learn your teaching style. If you get those students, that means that there’s an interest. So you have that, number one, validation. And then from those, you can actually convert them into the paid course once you have enough. You’re like, “Okay. I have, let’s say 500 students. It’s going to be a lot easier for me to upsell the guys that have already taken my free course than trying to just send emails randomly to my friends.” So, that’s a good strategy.

Joe: And then the way to take them from that free course to the paid one, is that basically through the messaging and email?

Miguel: Through the email, or just at the very end, in one of the lectures, you can say, “By the way, this is just a preview of my bigger course, where I’m going to include all of these things. If you’re interested, stay tuned. I’ll be sending you a coupon in the next couple of months.” Or something like that.

Joe: That’s perfect. If you’re watching, definitely, that’s the way to start. Just test the market. Get in there, prove it, and then start creating and selling. Because I know in Udemy, you can see how many people are actually in the course. It can be a little deceiving if people are giving away the course for free even if it’s a paid course.

Miguel: People don’t know who paid or not, so still, this is a big strategy for a lot of instructors starting, and which is actually encouraged by Udemy. The number of students is also a big point of credibility. So, maybe your course is awesome, but you only have one person taking it or two. People are going to go, “Why is nobody taking it?” At the beginning, you have to do things like this. Give a lot of free coupons and get people to review it, so you start building that credibility. And obviously, if the course is good, then you create enough momentum that people are actually going to do that without you having to ask them.

Joe: Yeah. It’s the social proof aspect and all of that stuff. It goes a long way with these types of businesses.
Now, where do you see yourself going in the future? Udemy – obviously said you don’t want to put all of your eggs in that basket. You have the animation company. Are you planning on any new ventures – something new?

Miguel: Well, I’ve been doing both those things in the short term, for sure. Probably in the long term – I don’t know. As long as people buy my courses and ask me for more, and as long as there are people wanting videos, I don’t think I’m going to stop doing them.
Another thing we’re getting into is developing iPhone apps. So, we’ll be releasing one, hopefully, by the end of this year. That’s something completely new and different, but I like to try new things. So, me and my partner, we’ve pretty much finished developing this app. We always want to do something different, so that will be something new in 2014. We’ll try to do one or two apps.

Joe: Awesome. And that’s something we’re actually talking about inside of Gig Hopping, too, because there’s some cool things you can do to get apps to the market pretty fast without too much work.
Now, you said “partner.” Do you have a partner in animation or in Udemy at all, or is that all you?

Miguel: It’s all me. I own fully the company. All of my courses are entirely done by me. I call him my partner, because he’s the one that I work with the most. In this case, we are partners for the app thing, because it was his idea, and he originally hired a developer. And then I said, “Wow. This is a great idea. Let’s do this, you and me together.” So, that’s the idea.

Joe: Cool. Because that’s a big thing. That’s how I’ve seen it in business, is you leverage. You leverage other people to do more stuff, do other new activities.

Miguel: Yeah. That’s one of the things. Most people realize when they start doing a business… It’s also a drawback if you’re not ready for this. Let’s say you’re a great animator, and you want to start an animation studio. Well, that means that the moment you start getting enough work, you’ll stop being an animator and start being a business owner, which is completely different.
And that happened to me. Originally, I was doing the animations. And I think after the third animation, I was like, “If I want to be able to grow this business, I have to hire people to do it, and hopefully people that are better and faster at doing this.” But that meant that was the end of my life as a hands-on animator. So, you have to be ready for that, but that’s really the only way you can grow any kind of business, is by delegating and finding people to do stuff.

Joe: That’s exactly what I did as well. Starting out, you definitely have to be in the trenches. But once you get going and you kind of get a little tired of doing all the work, then start finding people that are better and smarter than you to take it over.
What’s one big lesson that you’ve learned over this that you would tell someone now if you were to start all over again? What would you do?

Miguel: Well, I wrote a blog post about my first startup failure. And what I learned… Before I started Grumo Media, I actually spent a year and a half trying to develop a project management system online – subscription-based, similar to Basecamp or Asana or something like that. And I developed it all by myself. My first big mistake, I think, was to not release it early enough and to not try to get paying customers as soon as possible. Now, I think it’s more common. People realize the LEAN startup mantra: “Release often, release soon. Validate stuff as soon as possible.”
And also, do not give too much credit to your ideas. Because it’s true. Ideas are just ideas. What I would do is try to extract ideas that people are willing to pay for. So, first, find somebody that’s willing to pay for your idea, and then build it. Not the other way around. Don’t come up with an idea and spend a lot of resources trying to build this idea, only to find out after a few months of being penniless that people actually don’t care about it.
That’s so important. Because we’re so attached to our ideas, and we think they’re going to revolutionize the world, it’s hard to swallow that pill and understand that, really, it’s the customer who is going to dictate what works – what they’re willing to pay for or not. So, definitely, find out that first.

Joe: Yeah, definitely. Going through the validation thing, like you said. Do something for free. Take some preorders. That’ll save you a whole bunch of time. But obviously, acting on any idea – that’s the biggest hurdle in the world for a lot of people. So, getting past that is huge.
The last thing – and I know everybody’s kind of dying. The only reason we ask this is just to kind of have people kind of frame what you’re doing. Let people set goals for themselves, but say for Udemy, for instance – because we know this is a full-time gig, Udemy and all your other projects – what kind of income are you making per month just through those kinds of courses?

Miguel: Well, the courses – the last couple years on Udemy… I think I actually have a course where I teach how to create courses, which you get a coupon, as well. I started off saying, “Last year I made $90,000 in US selling my course.” So, that’s been true for the last two years. So, that’s a pretty good income, considering the amount of work that I had to put into it.
Now, the reality is that, as there are more instructors and more courses, it’s becoming more competitive, so it’s harder to make that amount of money. And the reason why I’ve been able to keep the same steady income a year selling courses is because I’ve created other courses. So, what happens is your courses start selling quite a bit, and then it’s going to taper off – especially if it’s technically-based or software-related, because there’ll be new versions of the software, and unless you update your courses, you’re going to become obsolete.
So, they’re always going to go like that, and they’re going to taper. So, in order to keep consistent sales or even higher, you have to keep pumping content, and then leveraging all your new students to do that.
So, it gets harder and harder, but there’s no question. If your course is really good, and it’s something that people actually want, and you’re a good teacher… There has to be three things – a market for it, it has to be really good content, and then you have to be good at teaching that content. So, if those three things are met, then you’re going to make money as an instructor, no question about it.

Joe: That’s beautiful. And obviously, you get a following after that, so you can have that mailing list and that marketing power behind you now to release anything you want to in the future.

Miguel: Yeah.

Joe: That’s great, man. I think we gave a lot of actionable points here for new students and all alike. But setting goals and all of that – I’m sure you’ve set a lot of goals for yourself and made sure you hit them along the way. Is that one big piece to keep it growing?

Miguel: Yeah, definitely. I’m actually also researching a lot on why people are successful. For example, to me, the ultimate successful role model would be someone like Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. Basically, he owns three – or has been involved in three billion-dollar companies. And my question is how somebody in 41 years – he’s 41 years old – has been able to accomplish all of that.
And one of the reasons why is because he had very, very specific goals in his life. They’re very big goals, incredibly big goals – just life-changing, human-changing goals. And he’s been able to accomplish most of them. Obviously, comparing yourself to somebody like Elon Musk is… But it teaches you that if you dream big, it’s good. But from there, you have to have specific goals.
I never really had specific goals. I did. My goal was I wanted to have an online business that was successful, that provided me enough income to survive. And that goal has been accomplished. My next goal is to grow that – to be able to have, let’s say 20,000 students in a couple of years. Or being able to have a very successful iPhone app. Those are very specific goals that I want to meet. And that gives me direction. “What am I doing all this effort for? Okay, to get there.” Very, very important.

Joe: And do you chop those goals down, kind of make them little baby steps along the way, just to kind of make it a little easier on you?

Miguel: Yeah. Well, that’s one of the things, right? If you say, “I want to take over the world,” that’s an amazing goal, but where do you start?

Joe: In Vancouver.

Miguel: So, one of the things that you do is you break them down. You go from short to medium to long-term. So, short-term would be three things you want to accomplish within this year, or something like that, or in a few months. And then five years or ten years or something like that. And then you just try to figure out from there, “Okay, what’s my next step to get closer?”
There’s one check you can do in your mind every time when you’re doing stuff. It’s like a binary test. It’s, “Ask yourself in this moment whether what you’re doing is helping you get closer to a goal or not.” The answer is going to be yes or no. So, if you really want to get stuff done, make sure that the answer is yes most of the time. So, if you’re on Facebook for hours on it, guess what? The answer is going to be no, so no wonder you’re not getting anywhere. So, make sure that you can answer that question as many times as a yes during the day.

Joe: Got it. I think that’s probably the best feedback to end on right now, is start now something new. So, Miguel, I think we covered it, man. Virtual high five to that one.

Miguel: Awesome.

Joe: Cool, guys. So, thanks for watching, Gig Hopping insiders, and stay tuned for more. Definitely check out all of Miguel’s courses. He has a lot to go through, but check out the one about how to make a course for you. It’ll get you going pretty quickly. All right, man. Good talking to you again. We’ll talk soon.

Miguel: A pleasure. Thanks.

Joe: Bye.

Miguel: Bye-bye.

grumo-udemy-gighopping

Enjoyed it? Here you have 7 more interviews with Miguel Hernandez:
The origins of Grumo Media: A story of trial and error – Miguel Hernandez
Running an Animation Studio by Grumo Media - Interview by Animation Orbit
“Life is too short not to take risks” – Audio Interview with Grumo
How Grumo Overcame His Fear of English and Built a Successful Company
How To Create Videos That Get You Customers – Mixergy Interview
Explainer Videos Explained: Interview by The Local Method
Grumo Advice to First Time Entrepreneurs - Interview by Siosism

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