Teach What You Know: Earn Money Online on Udemy and Google Helpouts

Image: Udemy

Update 3/24/15: Unfortunately, Google just announced that “Helpouts” will be closing down on April 20, 2015. 

When you think about getting paid to teach what you know, what comes to mind? Putting up a poster in a local coffee shop and hoping for the best? Posting an ad on Craigslist?

Lucky for us, we’re no longer limited to our local area when it comes to getting paid to teach our skills. Thanks to online learning platforms like Google Helpouts and Udemy, anyone, anywhere, can teach anything.

What Can You Teach?

If you think you don’t have any skills to teach, think again. Most of us are experts at something, whether it’s putting on makeup, baking brownies, or even making balloon animals!

Drawing a blank on what you could teach or help others with? Here are some ideas:

  • Music lessons
  • Photography lessons
  • Web programming lessons or services
  • Computer repair lessons or services
  • Social media consulting
  • Cooking or baking lessons
  • Fitness instruction
  • Nutrition consultations
  • Academic tutoring
  • Life coaching
  • Style consultations
  • Beauty consultations
  • Gardening help

How to Start Teaching Online

Sites that help you get paid to share your expertise are popping up left and right in response to the demand from the average Joe to learn new skills online. We’ve already covered using a YouTube channel to earn money by teaching others, but here are two more great options to use.

Google Helpouts

If you have a Google account (and let’s face it, most of us do) and are over 18, you can sign up to teach your skills through Helpouts — basically, video chat tutorial sessions. You’ll need a computer with a webcam, though you could probably work with your smartphone’s video camera as well.

Google Helpouts cover a variety of different subjects, including art, music, computers, cooking, education, fashion, beauty, fitness, gardening and more. For example, the top-rated Helpout under the Art & Music category as I write this post is for beginning and intermediate singing lessons. Under the Cooking category, the top-rated Helpout is for help with canning, freezing and dehydrating foods. And yes, there is someone on Google Helpouts offering to teach you to create balloon animals, so thinking outside the box is welcome.

How Much Money Can You Make on Google Helpouts?

Charge whatever you want for your lessons, and set your availability so that potential students can only schedule sessions when you’re ready for them. You’ll charge your students either per minute or per Helpout session, and they’ll pay you via Google Wallet. Google deducts a 20% commission from your earnings (similar to sites like Fiverr), unless you are a healthcare provider offering medical advice, in which case there’s no commission.

If you are unsure what to charge for your Helpout, browse similar listings to see the going rate. In the Art & Music category, most people are charging around $25 for 30 minutes. In the Cooking category, most people are offering 15-minute sessions for $10 to $15 each.

Consider what your time is worth; since you’ll be live-teaching every session, make sure you’re charging enough to make teaching the Helpout worth your while. However, you might also start off with a different goal: many people offer their Helpouts for free in hopes of getting positive feedback to help build up their rankings on the site. The higher your star rating is for your Helpouts, the more likely you are to be listed at the top for your category on Google Helpouts — with more people looking at your listing.

Advertising your Helpouts is up to you. Google does not help with advertising; they simply provide the platform.


Udemy is a little different from Google Helpouts, although the basic premise is the same: anyone can get paid to teach others anything they know. It’s hugely popular, with over 3 million students searching their database of 18,000 courses. The main difference is that Udemy is a platform you use to create and sell an online course, whereas Google Helpouts is live teaching.

The big advantage of Udemy over Google Helpouts from a teaching standpoint? You only have to do the hard work once — when you initially create the course — and then you can sell it over and over. On Helpouts, you’ll be teaching live every time someone books a session with you.

How to Create Your Udemy Course

Use the Udemy learning platform to create video, audio, PowerPoint presentations and anything else you need for your virtual course. Then, simply price it and hit the publish button.

Browsing existing courses should help you determine what to charge for your own courses. For example, most of the IT & Software courses are priced between $50 and $100, while courses in the Food & Beverage and Music categories, most courses are priced at less than $50.

As a rule of thumb, the more content you share in your course, the more you can charge. The higher-priced courses tend to have 10+ hours of content, where the courses that are $50 or less usually have just a few hours of content. As on Helpouts, many instructors offer their courses for free to build up good feedback before they start charging, or to become known as experts in their niches.

If you decide to use Udemy to teach your skills, note that they will deduct 50% commission from your sale price if the student finds you through their system. If you market yourself via your personal blog, social media accounts, or any other method using your specific link, you get to keep 100% of your earnings.

How Much Do People Earn on These Sites?

For many, Google Helpouts and Udemy are just opportunities for a little extra money. However, a select few are more than paying the bills using these platforms. For example, Victor Bastos from Lisbon, Portugal was able to earn almost half a million dollars in a little over a year thanks to the web development courses he posted at Udemy.

In addition to making money online, listing yourself on either site as an instructor could help you build your reputation as an expert in your niche. If you do a good job and your customers rate you highly, you’re more likely to attract new customers and become known as a go-to person in your field.

Your Turn: What skill would you teach online?

Anna Thurman is a work-from-home mom and blogger. Each week, she researches and reviews the best work-from-home opportunities on her blog, Real Ways to Earn Money Online.