How Ben Lovegrove Created 4 Udemy Courses and Generated Several Thousand Dollars in the Process

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  • Who: Ben Lovegrove
  • Website: benlovegrove.com
  • Course Topic: Flight Training
  • Interesting Stats: Launching Udemy Courses in a Few Weeks

Who are you and what course have you created?

I have created four courses.  They are all listed on this page.

What market do your online courses serve?

  1. Learn How to Fly! How To Get Started in Aviation – This course is designed to inspire and motivate anyone thinking of flight training, either for recreational purposes or because they have ambitions to begin a career in aviation. This course assumes no or little prior knowledge of the subjects.  It’s based on my experience of learning to fly and gaining a Private Pilots License.
  2. How To Start & Run A Successful Drone Business – This course is designed for people who want to start a drone business as an aerial photographer or as one of the many roles that now exist for drone pilots.  The course concentrates on the planning, marketing, and management of such a business rather than on the techniques of flying a drone.  It’s based on my experience of first selling, then flying drones, and running an aerial photography business.
  3. How To Start & Run A Successful Online Dating Business – This course describes how to start one or more dating sites and how to run an online dating business.  It’s based on my years of experience as a dating site owner from 2005 to the present day.
  4. Beginner’s Guide to Ufology, UFO Studies, UAP – This course is designed to introduce people to this fascinating and at times controversial subject.  There has been a lot of development lately and they are ongoing.  This course gives you some background information about the key events over the past few decades.

What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?

Here’s a rundown of each:

Private Pilots License

The PPL course will help save time, effort, and money.  I wanted to explain to people how to avoid some of the financial pitfalls of learning to fly.  I also wanted to inspire people to take up flying lessons.  Many people think they are not capable of learning to fly a light aircraft but most are wrong about that assumption and once they begin the learning process they find all kinds of unforeseen benefits, including increased self-confidence and better judgment and decision making.

Drone Business

The drone business course explains how to write a business plan and properly evaluate the costing and marketing of a business.  It’s not enough to be a good drone pilot and to have a photographer’s eye.  You must also write a business plan and be strict with your spending.  You must work towards making a profit and that takes planning.  Many businesses of any type fail because they think that all it takes is to have a skill, but you need several skills to run a successful business, and managing the money and marketing are essential.

Dating Site Business

The dating site business teaches the candidate how to start a site or a portfolio of sites. Again, running it as a business is key, but with this type of business you can start small and scale-up.  You can start by working on your business for a few hours a week and with a small budget.  You learn from my experience and I point out the mistakes I’ve made so that the candidate is forewarned and doesn’t fall into the same traps.

UFO Business

The UFO business gives those interested a firm grounding in a subject that dates back to World War II and beyond.  If you’re new to this subject that’s a lot of ground to cover.  It’s designed to be a taster that will inspire people to find out more for themselves.  They are then much better equipped to take part in the ongoing discussions on this subject in the mainstream media and in social media.

All four courses will save you time.

All this information is out there somewhere, but finding it, collating, it, and discarding what is irrelevant is a time-consuming task. - Ben Lovegrove Click To Tweet

Ben Lovegrove's site

How did you get into the market?

Aviation is my main interest and I think more people, particularly the young, should learn to fly. There are all kinds of mental, emotional, and social benefits to becoming a recreational pilot and of course, some will go on to forge a career in aviation. Looking back on achieving that milestone and seeing what people of all ages who were new to flying were asking in social media groups, I thought, “I can answer that” and decided to create a course rather than post the occasional answer.

I’ve been using the internet/web since the mid-1990s.  I’ve had some financial success both with online dating and aerial photography and I wanted to distill what I had learned and pass it on to others in an affordable way.

I also developed a YouTube channel that contained much of the original material for all four courses.  I created short explainer videos and gradually built up playlists but then I thought, “There’s enough here for a course” and so began the process of turning the playlists into courses and adding more material.

Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?

As others have said many times, it feels good to help people and to know that what you have created helps other people, or at least interests them.  Of course, it’s good to see a little extra money come in each month but the feedback from the courses is very important too.  If people give my course a 4 or 5-star rating, I’m thrilled.  If they occasionally give me less then I want to know why so that I can improve it.  I want to give value and I’m prepared to put the effort in to achieve that.

Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?

Yes, imposter syndrome is very common.  I doubted myself too.  I worried that people would react badly, pointing out gaps in my knowledge or even calling me a fraud, saying that I had no business trying to teach people.  I’m the first to admit that I’m not an expert in any of the subject matter of my courses. But I had learned enough to pass on a few tips to total beginners.

If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?

I took a close look at what other people have done and thought, “Well, if that’s the standard, I can do better than that or at least match it.”

There is also the confidence that comes from knowing through doing.  If you’ve actually done something and succeeded at it from your own efforts, even if you failed a few times beforehand, then no one can tell you that you haven’t learned anything. And that’s a valuable experience that you can pass on to a novice.

You don’t need academic qualifications to be an online instructor.  You just need to be honest and talk to people through your course without any BS.

What’s your online course like?

All my courses are made up of collections of short videos on a particular aspect.  I wanted to create videos that were long enough to cover the subject in enough depth but not so long that the candidate became bored.   There are also supplement text sections, a few quizzes, and links to additional resources that I think maybe useful and which have been of use to me.

How long did it take you to create your course?

It took several weeks in total to create each course.  As I had the YouTube material to draw on and convert into course material the actual process of creating the course plus the time is taken to create the original YouTube material would add up to several weeks.  I think it would take less time today as there are some excellent new software tools that could be used.  Also, I was quite particular about my video scripts.  I would write them out, proofread them, and then record the voiceover videos.  That’s more time-consuming than talking directly to the camera with an autocue.

Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).

Having enrolled in several courses on Udemy myself I was already familiar with the platform and the format. It was the obvious choice when it came to choosing a hosting platform for my courses. They have a system that guides the novice instructor into creating the course and starting the marketing. I also found the support in the Instructor Forum very helpful too.

The Udemy deal is that they do a lot of marketing for you. The proceeds from sales are split between Udemy, the course owner, and any affiliates.  The downside is that you won’t get as much as you had hoped from the sales. The upside is that you don’t have to spend on complex marketing techniques.

When the courses first launched I was genuinely surprised when the first sales were made and then thrilled when they accelerated.  However, sales appear to be seasonal. There’s a spike in the new year when people resolve to learn new things. At other times sales drop to a fraction of what they were.

Do you have a lead magnet?

Yes, I’ve employed several methods.  Social media accounts are a no-brainer since they are free.  If you can build up enough followers then you’ll get a few additional sales but you have to aim for big numbers.

I’ve also used blog posts and dedicated websites.  I have several aviation sites and one ufology site but I have found all this is a lot to manage on my own.  To feed several social media accounts and websites on a weekly basis is a big workload, so some of them are not exploited to their full potential.

What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?

I think it’s a combination of factors. There’s an old saying that people buy from people, so while a cleverly produced video ad might generate a few sales, the most cost-effective method of selling a course is when people learn to trust you, the instructor.  This means you have to get involved with the audience you’re trying to reach.  Join the Facebook and LinkedIn groups and get talking.  Add value to these groups, don’t be a lurker.  Answer questions on Quora and put the fact that you’re an instructor in your bio.

Ben Lovegrove's site

What online course platform are you using?

My courses are all on Udemy.  I have tried LearnDash and I tried Podia when I was managing someone else’s courses but you have to weigh up the pros and cons.

If you’re going to go for full autonomy then the pro is that you keep all the revenue but the con is that you pay for all hosting charges, subscriptions, SEO, and marketing.

If you share the revenue with someone like Udemy then all that work is done for you but of course, you receive less income.

Do you like it?

Yes, I’ve no complaints.  The support is there when you need it.

Are there any features you wish it had?

I would like to receive more nudges to update and add to my courses, and suggestions of what to add.  I’ve been a bit neglectful on that score.

I also think they could provide more email templates for sending out to existing students, and suggestions on how to do more of my own marketing.

What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?

The bottom line was the ease of use and the fact that Udemy is a huge site that attracts millions of visitors.  If you give your site a great title and pay attention to the SEO of the intro pages and free previews, then there’s a good chance it’ll be found.  Trying to do that for a course that you host yourself on your own blog is not easy.  It’s possible, but it’s not easy and it takes time.  Udemy is a global brand and the site has a top ranking in the search engines.

What other tools do you use to run your online course business?

I can’t think of any that I used but I know people have had great success by developing a blog and building a mailing list with it.  They can then of course sell their courses to people on their list.

What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?

I didn’t undertake any training programs or read any books to build my courses.  All I did was follow the instructions and the videos that Udemy provide to their instructors.  I think most people would find these to be quite sufficient.

Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?

If I have one mistake it’s not having supplemental information ready to add to the courses in order to update them.  You see, once the courses are online and you start seeing sales there’s a tendency to think, “Well, that’s working. What shall I do now?” and you move on.

Six months and six paycheques later you think there’s nothing more to do but all my courses would benefit from an update once or twice a year, and I’ve been neglectful on that front.

Ben Lovegrove's site

Please share some idea of revenue.

I noticed that the first month’s sales were modest, then things picked up quickly and the biggest sales were in the 2nd and 3rd months, probably because the courses were new.  Then things settled down and sales dropped during the holidays.  In total, my courses have generated several thousand dollars.  Some months I receive a couple of hundred dollars and other months a lot less.

However, that’s just me, and it’s a passive income.  I know from the instructor’s forums that some people are full-time instructors. They are making a good living at it, and a few have become very wealthy.  It all depends on what you teach and the quality of your instruction.

Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.

The revenue from my courses has enabled me to reinvest in my business and add some income to the general household budget.  There’s nothing quite like making some money while you sleep!

In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?

I teach how to do this in my two business courses and there is a video on my YouTube channel about how to build a channel from 0 to 10,000 subscribers.  I was a middle-aged man when I started my channel, not really keen on appearing on camera in a large pond of young people making videos, so I chose to stay behind the camera and narrate the videos.  Anyone can learn to do this –  all you need is to impart some conviction in your voice by talking about things you know about from experience.

The subject of your videos can be anything from being a parent to being a CEO.  The point is to tell the listeners and viewers how you did it and how they could do the same.

Talk with honesty about your trials and errors and people will appreciate your candid accounts. - Ben Lovegrove Click To Tweet

Once you’ve made the video and uploaded it to YouTube make sure it’s fully optimized.  YouTube videos are like web pages in that you have to work on search engine optimization.  YouTube is a massive search engine, second only to Google, so to increase the chances of your videos being found you have to optimize each one.  There’s a free guide to the basics in my blog.

What has creating your course done for you personally?

I like the feeling that I’m handing something on.  As I get older, there is some satisfaction in passing on some of what I’ve learned over the decades.  There’s a sense of achievement in being the source of useful information and even inspiration for others who weren’t even born when I learned from my experiences.

Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?

Not exactly, but I have received some excellent feedback.

Dating course:

“This is a highly informative course. I would recommend it to anyone interested in starting an online dating site. The instructor did an amazing job organizing and presenting the content of this course. He covers a broad range of details that are imperative to the success of not only online businesses, but all businesses.” ~ Tomiyo Williams

Drone course:

“This course is very good value for money. be aware that it concentrates on the business side of the business, not the operational side. there are many useful tips here that you won’t find on the many YouTubes out there that focus mainly on operations.” ~ Charles Alban

Ufology course:

“Thank you for this comprehensive & diverse look at Ufology. It will be ever etched in my mind, because of this well thought out & extremely informative course. It has been a treasure trove of grand information, set upon easy to listen to wise words & an abundance of information, all in one place without having to research all over the internet. Thank you kindly for your time putting this course together.” ~ Isabella Drayvern

What advice do you have for people just starting out?

You know more than you think you know.

Many people, especially those stuck in routines, don’t realize how much they’ve learned. What is a simple and routine task to you is probably difficult and time-consuming for someone else. - Ben Lovegrove Click To Tweet

Write out a script for the lesson and rehearse it.  It will save time and frustration if you rehearse.  It also adds to the quality of the final recording.

Talk as if you’re talking to a friend.  Just give your explanation as if you’re talking to someone who has never done it before. Convey your enthusiasm for the subject.

Take the time to do it right.  Yes, you’re probably in a rush to get the course published but it’s better that it takes a couple more weeks and is a 9/10 course than just a 7/10 course that you rushed.

Learn more about Ben Lovegrove of benlovegrove.com:

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