Growing an Online Course Business in a Competitive Niche with iOS Developer Azam

July 12, 2021
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In today’s episode, we have Mohammad Azam, who is going to talk about how he was able to carve a place for himself in the competitive niche of iOS development.

You will also get to hear why it pays off to pay attention in a rapidly changing industry, his strategies and tactics for maximum growth on the social media platform Twitter, and why you should be posting free content on YouTube to help drive more students to your course.

Website: azamsharp.com
YouTube: azamsharp
Twitter: @azamsharp
LinkedIn: Mohammad Azam

Notes

In this episode, you will hear...

… Azam’s story, journey, and experience before getting into the online business world.

… how Azam was able to carve a place for himself in the competitive niche of iOS development.

… why it’s essential to always keep up and pay attention in a rapidly changing online industry.

… Azam’s strategies and tactics for maximum growth on the social media platform, Twitter.

… why posting free content on YouTube can help drive more students to your course.

… why Azam divides each of his courses into different versions and updates.

… Azam’s tips and strategies on posting on YouTube, and how he finds new topics and ideas for his online courses.

… how Azam has learned to build and gain trust from current and potential students. 

… Azam’s tips on responding to student’s messages, answering questions, and interacting with students. 

… helpful tips on how to make sure a student stays on track to completing your online course.

… Azam’s advice to anyone who is thinking about beginning their own online course, and how to find your niche.

Resources

Transcript

Jeremy Deighan
Hey, everyone, thank you for checking out the show today. We have iOS development expert Azam on the show with us, who I've actually known for quite a while and has done some really great things in the online space. And I know his business has been growing and getting bigger. And it's great to catch up with you. And I'm excited to just have a conversation with you and see where things are going. So, how are you doing today?

Mohammad Azam
I'm doing great, Jeremy. Thanks for having me again.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, definitely. You were a guest on a previous podcast that I was a co-host of, the Online Course Masters podcast with Phil Ebiner. And it was great to talk back then. And it's great to catch up now.

But for anyone listening who isn't familiar with you, I always like to go back and just get a little bit of history on the guests and hear how they got started into this world. So if you could just briefly tell us, what were you doing before you got into online courses and online business?

Mohammad Azam
Yes. So my name is Mohammad Azam. I go by Azam. So I am a software developer. I started in 2004-2005 at .NET Technologies. And in 2010, I jumped into the iOS platform, worked with very large companies, very large retail companies in Houston, Texas.

And during the time of 2015, I found Udemy. I'm not sure. I don't remember how I found Udemy, but I found Udemy. I applied for an instructor, got accepted. And at that time, in 2015, probably around July or August, I released my first course. And I made probably around $20-$24 in the first month. And that course got obsolete in like less than a month because Apple released a new version. And then everything that I did for that course was kind of obsolete, so it wasn't even working. So that was a bummer.

But I just continued on to creating new courses and courses and courses. A couple of years later, when Apple released ARKit, that's when I published my first course. It was the first course in the world for ARKit developer augmented reality. And that really got famous. And that is when I started investing more and more time into creating online courses on Udemy.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, awesome. Yeah, we'll definitely pick apart all of that and go through that. But thinking back to when you first started that very first course. And yeah, that's I've been in the software niches before. And that's always a bummer when you create this long, great extensive course. And then a new version comes out. And you got to kind of do it all over again.

So that is one thing that you do have to think about when doing courses. And I'd to ask you a little bit more about that here in a minute. But thinking back to that first course, what was it like for you? You know, what were you thinking? Had you made videos before? Have you taught before or done anything like that before?

Mohammad Azam
Absolutely. So probably around 2004. So it's very old, 2004, 2005, 2006 even, I was recording these development videos, where I'm recording my screen and coding for YouTube, as well as a company called ASP Alliance, so they were purchasing my videos. As I was creating them, I would give it to them, and they would pay me some amount for each single video.

So, I have a large, long background experience in creating these videos, either for YouTube or for different companies. So jumping onto Udemy was more of a very, very easy jump or transition from YouTube and other sources to Udemy for me.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, cool. So you had a YouTube channel that was long withstanding. Do you still have that same YouTube channel today?

Mohammad Azam
I still have that YouTube channel. I'm not that active. So, but I still post like maybe one or two videos a week, I try to at least. And now I'm going for more longer videos on YouTube rather than like five or 10 minutes I go sometimes 30 to 50 minute videos.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, very good. Okay, so you're posting these videos on YouTube. And then it comes around that there's this platform out there where you can upload these courses and make money. And then so you put these courses up, and it's funny you said $20 or $24 because I think that's about how much I made when I first started to.

And then this new version of iOS comes out, and you have to redo the course. What were you thinking at that time? I mean, some people would have just thrown up the hands right there and been like, "I'm not doing another one."

Mohammad Azam
It's definitely very, very, you know, a lot of work. I mean, I was thinking, "Oh my god, I have to record the entire course." It's not like an article that you can just go and edit it, and you're done. You literally have to re-record the whole thing. So that course, what I believe if I remember correctly, it was about, like, MapKit for Apple Maps. And I couldn't do anything with it. I had to re-record it later on.

But whenever Apple puts out a new version, that definitely causes issues. And there's no stopping to that because they will keep on improving things and adding things and removing things. So you just have to keep up with it. Sometimes, if the difference is so big, I end up creating a brand new course.

But sometimes if the difference is like, "Oh, well, okay, these few things have changed. That's okay." Then I just add a couple of lectures and tell people that "Okay, well, everything is the same, just these four things have changed. That's it." So that's my strategy at this particular moment.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that's a smart strategy, being able to update the small changes. And then, as the big changes come through, just redoing it entirely and giving a new experience. When you redo those new courses, is it easier to get the older students in those new courses?

Because I know from experience, sometimes it would be kind of beneficial, because I could push people into the new course. But then other times, you'd have people, you know, might complain, "Oh, I just got this course. And now I gotta get another course." So how are you handling that?

Mohammad Azam
I think in technology, it is pretty easy because they also want to jump and learn the new stuff that Apple released or some other platform has released. So there is one course about Server-Side Swift. It's about making servers in Swift language. And I created the first course, then they changed, I created the second one, then they changed, the third one they changed, and then now fourth one.

So every previous customer, all the previous students, they got enrolled into the first one, second, third, and now fourth. So they're pretty happy with it that I'm keeping up to changes. And they're still asking that if the new version comes out, maybe in a year or two, "Will you update?" And I usually tell them, "Well, it depends on what the update means." It might end up being a brand new course.

Jeremy Deighan
Gotcha. Okay, cool. So you go out, and you're making some of these courses, and then the augmented reality came out. So the ARKit course is what really came in and made you see some success. So what was that like? You had found out that this was a new tool or a new thing that you could create a course on, and then you decide to just build something around that idea?

Mohammad Azam
Yeah, so sometimes, I've seen that with programming courses, and especially with this technology that is changing so much, so rapidly, it does pay off to be the first. And with augmented reality with ARKit course, I immediately dive into augmented reality. I start creating videos on YouTube, posting it on Twitter, and also working on the course.

And I think it took me a couple of months to create the course. And since it was a first-ever course on Udemy, on that particular technology, and everyone was like excited about ARKit, because it was just brand new. Everyone wanted to learn. So they kind of like dived in and started, you know, purchasing the course that I created.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that's awesome. That makes a lot of sense. So that's a great idea for anyone out there who's in a rapidly changing industry to always be looking out for those new things that are coming out, new software or anything like that, that you can be one of the first developers and you got your foot in the door.

And then so you got that course, you saw success from that point. And then what happened from there? You were just all in. You kept creating courses, or did you just keep working on that course? What was your strategy going forward?

Mohammad Azam
Yes, after I launched that course, I provided a lot of updates. So I think it started with like a nine-hour course, and then it ended up being probably around like 20-hour course now with the updates. So all of those people were getting like 10 or 11 hours for free.

After that year, I just started jumping into different courses, different technologies. Every year, Apple does a conference, which is called Dub-Dub DC. And that happens in California, or right now, it's remote. And in that conference, Apple released some new frameworks like augmented reality or some other frameworks like SwiftUI. And that is the time in June, particularly in June or July, to start creating these new brand new courses on the brand new technologies. So, investing a lot of time. So that's what I did.

When SwiftUI came out, I was the second one on Udemy to create the course on SwiftUI. And again, I started with like nine hours, but now I think it's like a 24-hour course with the updates. So course after course, or, you know, subject after subject, I just started creating these courses, and I was seeing that people are liking the courses.

And once they enroll in one course, they're like, "Oh, you have a course on this. I'm just gonna check out that course also." And then enroll in that course. And then it kind of like started kind of like a domino effect, that one person started enrolling in like four or five of my course and become kind of like a fan. So whenever I release a course, they automatically enroll.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that's definitely one of the powerful ways of producing new courses is being able to generate new traffic and new sales. Because you do get those followers, you get those people who want to take everything that you have because they like you so much.

And so, whenever you are creating these courses, I know that there are some different trains of thought. And anyone who's not from, say, a marketplace like Udemy, and taking these big technological courses, nine hours, 10 hours, 20 hours sounds like a lot.

But it sounds like one of the strategies that you do is that you're constantly updating and adding more information into these courses. Why do you feel that it's important to just keep adding more and more and more instead of creating, you know, new courses or smaller courses around one subject?

Mohammad Azam
Yeah, so depending on how much the course has covered, sometimes I'm always learning new stuff. Like for SwiftUI course, I'm always learning new techniques. Like I think recently, just two days ago, I published authentication, how to do authentication in SwiftUI. So that course or that particular video I created for YouTube. But I also can publish on Udemy as an additional video.

And the reason that I want to provide the updates is that some things that I am learning, and I want to share with other people. And so also to make sure that the course stays relevant to the current technology, because there's a lot of information out there, but sometimes people will not find the correct thing that they're looking for.

And sometimes people are also asking you to create content because you have a particular style that they're comfortable with. So that's why I always try to update the course whenever I can.

Now I have like maybe 25 or 30 courses, and it's not possible for me to go and update all of them. But I go and look for my big courses or my best selling courses, and I've tried to be as relevant as I can.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, and now what about the opposite? When does a course become too bloated? And have you ever gone in and taken information out because you felt like maybe this is too much information and the student is not going to get through this course. Does that ever happen?

Mohammad Azam
That hasn't really happened to me. But what I have done is that when I'm creating a course, I create it. This is a mandatory thing that the student must know. And then version two of the course, which is update, must be some of the things that is nice to know, but not like mandatory things to know.

So I always create different versions, like I create maybe three versions, meaning the first version is the one that's live, the second update, or the first update that's going to go, it's going to add one more section. And the third of that is going to go one more section.

Because those things that are left out in the initial release are not like a mandatory thing, they are just okay, "If you know, that's good to know. But it's not like it's gonna stop you from making apps." So I always create one course, which has divided into different version numbers and version meaning updates.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay. Very cool. And then, so you're updating these courses, and you're creating them, and the ball is kind of rolling now, and your business is growing. A quick question, were you sending any kind of traffic to these courses? Or were you just relying on the marketplace to send the students?

Mohammad Azam
So I have a small Twitter following around like 3,500 or 3,800 followers, so I definitely shared it over there on Twitter. Apart from Twitter, whenever I create a course, I create additional videos for YouTube, and I publish it on YouTube. And right at the end of the video, I would say, "Well, if you like this video, then perhaps you would like to check out a complete course, which is nine to 10 hours on Udemy."

And I give them like a referral link or some sort of a coupon. Apart from that, I have tried Medium, but I don't really like writing that much. So I'm not more of an author. I mean, I have authored 1000s of articles, but it's like a very hard chore for me that I don't really want to do. But sometimes, I do publish articles on Medium. But apart from that, yeah, YouTube is the biggest factor.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, and then all that traffic you're just sending back to Udemy. And then the great thing about that is typically their algorithm will take over, and then it'll help promote your course more, right?

Mohammad Azam
Absolutely. Yeah. So I just released a course maybe two weeks ago, and I sent all the traffic from YouTube and Twitter to Udemy. And now that course is the best seller, and it's a brand new course. So it's selling well. It is available to all the users, and all the traffic is going to that.

Jeremy Deighan
Let me ask you a couple of questions about Twitter real quick because we haven't had anyone on the show yet who has utilized Twitter or that I know of that has been using it. So I myself, I get on Twitter, and I don't really post a whole lot, but I'll just read a lot of stuff, but I'm not too active on there.

So can you give us some tips or strategies that you've seen have worked for Twitter or anything that we can do if we wanted to use Twitter to send people to our courses?

Mohammad Azam
I think one of the things that I would share is don't just use Twitter as an advertising platform. When you are using Twitter, also try to share knowledge and become part of another conversation. If one person on Twitter is saying that, okay, they're having issues with some sort of a course, so kind of like help them out, guide them also, if you can.

But also post articles, post free articles, free video, free YouTube stuff, discount coupons if you want to, and webinars. I also post Clubhouse links. Sometimes I'm posting Clubhouse channels. So I post that, and obviously, Clubhouse is free. So everyone who has an invite can join.

So don't become kind of like a just an advertising platform, but become like a real human being so that people on Twitter can appreciate and they follow you as who you are, and not like some sort of advertising medium.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, so people are getting to know you, you're building your brand, your authority, your trust, and they're getting to like you. And then at the point that you do want to send them over to the course. How are you doing that? Do you just post a link? I know hashtags are big on Twitter. So what does it look like when you're ready to send someone back over to your course?

Mohammad Azam
Yes, I post a link like a discount coupon whenever I release the course, along with the hashtags. And sometimes I give them kind of like a small preview of the course also that "Okay, this is what we'll be covering." I mean, they can obviously see that on introduction and promo. But sometimes I give them obviously free videos and all those things, and they can utilize and see that what the course is all about.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, and are you using any kind of software for Twitter? I know there's some software for messaging or for hashtags. Do you have anything like that that you use?

Mohammad Azam
No, I just use Twitter, just the main website. And I usually schedule my tweets. So they go off at a particular time, close to around like maybe 11, which will be central time so that it will be nine in California and 11 in Houston. But I like to schedule it kind of like before lunch.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, so that way, you're hitting like the audience at the best time of the day?

Mohammad Azam
Yeah, at the start of someone's day, or right before lunch for most of the day people. Yep.

Jeremy Deighan
And then what about the hashtags? Or do you just put in hashtags that you think would be relevant? Or do you have a way of finding hashtags?

Mohammad Azam
For Twitter, I just know already the hashtag. If I'm posting something with a particular technology, I will just use the hashta, and post it over there. For YouTube, I believe there is something called vidIQ, which can recommend the hashtags.

In YouTube, you can even put the hashtags right within the description so that these hashtags will appear right inside the title or just below the title of the video. And people can click on that hashtag, and they can see all the relevant videos, which are marked with those hashtags.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, cool. And then regarding YouTube, what are some other things that you find work there? I know with YouTube, you can have, you know, cards or annotations. Are you using anything like that, any of those end cards at the video to send people to your website or your course?

Mohammad Azam
So my advertisement that I do on YouTube is right at the end of every video that I produce, and it's more of like a live thing. So I will record the video, meaning I will record the actual coding video. And I will just go to the actual course page. And I will just talk about that, "Hey, if you want to support my channel, then the best way would be to check out my Udemy course."

So it's all live with all embedded into the actual video. So there's no way to take it out also. And I think that's a little bit more natural for me to just talk about within the video just at the end talk about the course itself.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, so are you saying that you're showing an actual preview of the landing page of that course?

Mohammad Azam
Yes.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, so you give a tutorial, you're going to teach someone how to do something with, say ARKit. And you've taught that in that video. And then, at the end, what would you say maybe a minute or so you're previewing your course and saying, "You can go sign up here by using this link."

Mohammad Azam
Pretty much less than 20 seconds. I would spend, like I would go to the actual course page and I will talk about the course saying, "Hey, if you like this video, well, there's like 20 more hours of content that we haven't covered. And you should be, I mean, you will be in interested in that."

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome. Very cool. And are you using, you mentioned vidIQ? Are there any other tools that you're using for YouTube that help with keyword research or anything like that? Or are you just coming up with ideas and posting what you think people would want?

Mohammad Azam
Yeah, I just usually go on in private mode, I go on YouTube, and I search for a particular video category, let's say it's Swift UI technology. And I would see that what other people have used to hashtag it. And I would probably use the same hashtags they're using. But apart from that, I don't really use any other tools to recommend me any hashtags.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, very good. Are there any other tips or strategies that you see that work really good with YouTube or anyone who wanted to start a YouTube channel should know before they got into that world?

Mohammad Azam
I think definitely post free stuff on YouTube. And the reason that you're posting free stuff is that people can know how you teach. And they will learn your style, or they will appreciate your style of teaching, which is different for everyone. And when you post something free, whether it is five minutes or 15 minutes or 30 minutes, people who are watching the audience, they will have more confidence in your product that you're trying to sell them later on.

So if they have found that confidence, they will immediately buy your product, which is with YouTube, and when if I put something that, "Hey, I'm working on this course," and I show them a preview, most of the people will be like, "Oh, yeah, I can't really wait. I'll just buy the course whenever it's released." And they usually do end up buying those things.

So start with putting out free stuff on a weekly basis, and then promoting your course in at the end or wherever you want to promote it. You can definitely promote it, but give something to the audience for free, so they are comfortable with your style.

Jeremy Deighan
Perfect, perfect. Okay, great. So what about the community aspects? So as I talked to other people, I found that you know, a lot of people will have the content, say on YouTube and a channel like say Twitter or Facebook, but then they might have some kind of community aspect, a forum, or maybe they're using a Facebook group. Do you have anything like that setup?

Mohammad Azam
I did create a Facebook group. And I do sometimes share articles, but it's not that active anymore. For community, I just use Twitter mostly. So it's not like a community for people who are students. It's more of people who just want to follow me. And my DMS are open always, so they can message me if they want to. But apart from Twitter, I don't have any community related to the courts.

One other thing, which you talked about community is a very important thing is when your course is online on Udemy, one thing you should always do is to make sure that you answer the questions that students are asking in a timely fashion. Don't skip those questions. And don't, you know, don't say bad words to students if they don't understand what you're talking about if they are just beginning.

I would say you should always answer the question under 24 hours. And that is something that I'm very good at because I have the Udemy app on my phone, and I can quickly answer questions on the phone. And that can really make a very big difference on how likable your personality can become with the students. Because they know that this person actually cares about customer service and is trying to help you out.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, cool. That's great. That's a great segue because I wanted to ask you about student interaction on the platform. So, talking about Udemy specifically. You know, once you have a couple of courses, it's pretty easy to go in there and answer those questions and respond to reviews and help the students. But as you have more courses, your student base grows, and you start getting 1000s or even hundreds of 1000s of students. It can be very hard to keep track and keep up with all of that.

So, do you have any tips that you can give to someone who's kind of in the weeds when it comes to responding to messages? Are you hiring someone to help you? Or are there any strategies to interacting with the students on the platform?

Mohammad Azam
So right now, I have close to, let's say, 55,000 students or 60,000 students. I usually get around not that many questions in a week. I would say around maybe 10 to 12 questions a week. There can be some students who are beginning, and they're taking my course, or some other course and they will ask a lot of questions.

So my first idea is to make sure that they have looked at all the resources that I have added. And most of the time, what they're doing when they're learning programming, at least, is they're just skipping. They're skipping one lecture, they're going to the other one, they're going to the whole section they skipped, and now they have no idea of what I was talking about in the previous sections.

So one advice I always give to my students is, well, don't skip, you have to learn incrementally. If you're an advanced developer, then maybe you can skip. But if you're beginning iOS development or any kind of development, you have to go step by step.

And the second thing I always recommend to my students is to always make sure that you download resources, which means coding examples that I have done. Everything is in the zip file, and everything should be working. And usually, they end up downloading that in the end after asking a question, and that resolves the issue.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, awesome. That was another question I did have for you is what types of resources that you're putting in there. So there are some coding exercises that they can download and practice with. Are you doing any other kind of resources like worksheets or any other kind of downloadables?

Mohammad Azam
So the only resource that I add is sometimes I add links to articles, free articles, free videos. And with every coding course that I have, I always give them the complete code so that they know that this is the code that actually works. And that's the same exact code that you saw in the screencast or in the video that I was implementing.

And I give them the starting point of the code and the ending point of the code so that if they don't want to type along with me, they can always look at the final product and see, okay, this is a complete product. Now I can look at all the answers that I have.

Jeremy Deighan
Oh, cool, awesome. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Regarding students, do you do any kind of challenges or workshops or anything like that? That's something else I've seen this pretty popular is people will have some kind of challenge where you're challenging the student to maybe do some kind of coding exercise, have you tried anything like that before?

Mohammad Azam
So I consider my courses to be not beginner level. I consider my courses to be kind of like at the intermediate level. So I already have assumed that when people are enrolling in my courses, I mean, they are not like people who are like, "Oh, this is a Mac. How do I turn on the Mac?" So I don't really have those kinds of students, or at least I don't really want those kinds of students. There's nothing wrong with that. I mean, everybody has to begin somewhere.

But my courses are usually targeted to people who are in the industry for at least one to two years. And they want to enhance their knowledge by learning other stuff. So that's why I don't really have that many, you know, exercises and quizzes and workshop kind of things.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, cool, cool. Now, you also mentioned that you will have students who are kind of jumping around in the lectures, and you got to retain them and make sure that they're staying on track. And one of the big issues with courses, especially when you're talking about a longer course, like the kind that you're creating, is completion rates and getting someone to finish a course or even move to the next lecture.

What are you doing to make sure that the student is staying on track, completing the course? And how are you resolving the issue that just typically, most people who buy courses don't ever finish them?

Mohammad Azam
So most of my courses, as you know, are programming courses. So what I have done is that my courses are more of a project-based approach. So in one course, I will create three to four projects. So hopefully, they will at least begin or finish one of the projects.

But some people will end up finishing all the different projects because all the different projects are targeting different things. So once they learn one thing, then they're like, "Okay, how do I do this?" Well, this is in a completely separate project. So you have to go through the whole project and then finish it.

By creating a project-based course, it allows them to finish the projects. And by finishing the projects, they kind of finish the course.

Jeremy Deighan
Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, that's cool. I like the project-based course idea. That's really cool. Because instead of just showing them this is the code, this is the functionality. You're actually giving them something to do, which I think is important with learning.

So speaking on that, I know that there are some other platforms out there that, say, Skillshare is a project-based platform. And they offer programming courses. Though, I think they're more of a DIY and arts and crafts type platform. Have you looked at any other platforms for your particular courses?

Mohammad Azam
I have looked at Skillshare. I did upload two courses. Well, one course divided into two different volumes or two different levels. I did not really have that much success with Skillshare. And I, as you said, Skillshare is mostly for, looks like it's more for DIY projects, or UI/UX design.

So my programming course, which is also targeted to intermediate or even advanced developers, it didn't really do that well even though I have only one or two courses on Skillshare.

Jeremy Deighan
Okay, cool. And what about your own website? Do you have your courses on your own platform? Or are you strictly sticking with the marketplaces?

Mohammad Azam
Currently, I'm strictly with the Udemy marketplace.

Jeremy Deighan
Awesome, very cool. So just thinking about the beginners out there, the people who are listening to the podcast who are trying to get started in this realm. Are there any particular tips or strategies that you could recommend for someone who is just starting out who hasn't really taken the leap yet?

Or maybe they have a course, but they haven't published it. Is there any advice that you can give to those people?

Mohammad Azam
Absolutely, yeah. So if you're new to Udemy, or creating online courses, my recommendation my advice is to just get started. I mean, that's the first step you have to take. I have a full-time job, as Jeremy, you know, but this is something Udemy, that's something or online courses that I do on the side. So I can't. I don't really move that fast. I mean, I'm moving very, very slow like a turtle, basically.

But I'm consistently moving towards the finish line. So yes, it will take me more much longer to finish a course. But eventually, I will finish a course in a couple of months, or sometimes it can take even longer, but I will finish it. And that's the reason. I mean, you have to start creating your courses. Don't go with the perfection, "Oh, only if I can have a $10,000 camera and a $20,000 machine that I can create these courses." You can create courses with your machine, whatever you have. You just have to get started.

And the other advice is that create a course on something that you are very passionate about. Don't go to online platforms online course platform and search for all, which is the most popular course. So it's about bodybuilding. And I know nothing about bodybuilding. So I'm just gonna create a course because it's more popular.

If you try to do that, taking a shortcut, then it will come out, and it will show off in your course. People can hear it in your voice, as you're saying that you have no interest in bodybuilding, but you're just creating a course for that. So take something passionate, don't go after perfection. And go ahead and just get started.

Jeremy Deighan
That is some wonderful advice. I can tell you a little story real quick. When I was on the Udemy platform in the beginning and making courses and I still really didn't know what I wanted to teach. I knew a little bit of HTML and JavaScript, but I'm not like any expert, and I have no passion at all. But you know, I was doing that I was like, "Oh, let me you know, I know these courses are popular. Let me create a course on this."

To this day, I probably spend about two months creating a course that never saw the light of day because I got halfway through, and I'm like, "Why am I wasting my time doing this? There are a billion other courses on this subject, people who are much more passionate and can teach it much better than me.

And here I am chasing the money and chasing the popularity." And found out that that was not the way to go. So I really appreciate that you say do something you love, you know? Find out what it is that you love talking about, and you love teaching, and then teach that.

Real quick, is there any particular software that you are using or that you enjoy? Because we talked about, you know, the expensive cameras and so forth. What kind of equipment and software would you recommend for someone who's just starting out?

Mohammad Azam
You know, I use completely basic things. And whenever I tell people that I'm using this to record, they actually laugh at me. So I'm going to tell you. So I recently just purchased an iMac. Now I'm not telling everyone to go ahead and purchase an iMac. It's an expensive machine. All the courses for, let's say, 2015 till even 2020 are recorded in a MacBook Pro, which you can get for like $1,000.

Now for the headphones or for the microphone, I use the wired headphones or earplugs, whatever you want to call it from Apple. The one that you know you can get for, I don't know, 50 bucks. That's my microphone. And I'm very comfortable with it. And I think the voice sounds nice because I have carpeting in my home office, you know, that kind of sums up or kind of like dense the sound. That's my setup.

I mean, it's not expensive. I'm not using any expensive microphone. I'm not using any expensive machine for at least five years now I have finally bought something expensive. But for a very long period of time, I was just creating courses on my MacBook Pro. And I was publishing courses. So if I can do it with my MacBook Pro, anyone can do it.

Jeremy Deighan
Yeah, that's awesome. That just goes to show you that to be successful. You don't have to have the fanciest equipment and software. It's really about the value and the way that you teach. And I'm glad you said that. I mean, technology has taken a lot of leaps and bounds those little headphones/mic that you get from Mac. I mean, it sounds really good.

Like a lot of people feel like they have to go out and buy the $2,000 camera, sometimes that can be an inhibitor because you get so. For me particularly, I had a studio, and I got so wrapped up in the best lighting and the backdrops and the DSLR. And then you get a DSLR camera, and now you're trying to learn about aperture and focus, and it's completely taking you away from teaching.

I was so focused on setting up equipment that I wasn't focused on teaching anymore. So I think that's some killer advice, and we really appreciate it.

So looking out, you know, a couple of years into the future, and just thinking about like if you were to get exactly what you wanted and your business grew even more, what would you like to accomplish? Where do you see yourself going forward?

Mohammad Azam
You know, Udemy, as I've told you before, is not my main source of income. I actually teach web development at a boot camp called DigitalCrafts, where I teach full time. That's my full-time job. So using the Udemy income on the side has allowed me a bit of freedom, it has allowed me to pay off my mortgage, it has allowed me to invest some money into different, you know, investments like stocks and mutual funds and all that and to save up for, or still saving up for college for kids.

I think for a few years from now, four or five years from now, I would still like to be doing Udemy on the side and creating courses, then being in technology. It always gives you kind of like a little bit more advantage. Because every year, something gets released, either by Google or by Apple, or by someone else, and I can learn it.

I'm not gonna say I make, like, a lot of money from courses. But whatever I make, I'm pretty happy with it. And I want to go back to the good old days of when we just learned things for fun. And that is for me, that's for Udemy. It's not like my main source of income. But it allows me to just learn different things.

And people always ask me that, "Wow, how can you learn so many different things?" And it is by using Udemy and online course platform when you have to teach. You have to also learn. And that has, what are they allowed me to do, and I want to keep doing it for the foreseeable future.

Jeremy Deighan
Man, that's awesome. I love to hear that. And that's some great advice, too. So we just appreciate you so much being here on the show today, coming on and giving us your time and telling us your story.

And if anyone out there wanted to learn more about you and your business and what you got going on, where can they find you?

Mohammad Azam
The best way to follow me it will be on Twitter. I am @azamsharp. That's where you can keep up to date with all my article videos, courses, and everything. So it will be on Twitter.

Jeremy Deighan
Perfect, very good. Well, we'll make sure we link that up in the show notes. And thank you so much for coming on the show today. I appreciate you, and it just sounds like you're doing great things, and I just want you to keep it up.

Mohammad Azam
Thank you, Jeremy.

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