London Daily

Focus on the big picture.
Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

I make $17,000 a month selling online courses in addition to my day job at Amazon. Here's how I set up this side hustle that only takes a few hours a week.

I make $17,000 a month selling online courses in addition to my day job at Amazon. Here's how I set up this side hustle that only takes a few hours a week.

Jasmine Katatikarn is a tech artist manager at Amazon and she runs the Academy of Animated Art, which sells industry software courses for up to $736.

I work 40 hours a week at Amazon as a tech-artist manager, a role I've had since January, and on the side, I run a business. My side hustle, the Academy of Animated Art, helps people acquire the skills they need to become 3D lighting artists and get jobs in the animation industry. 3D lighting is the process of lighting in animated movies, games, visual effects, commercials, and so on. For example, if you have a scene with a haunted house, lighting helps create that spooky ambiance by adding shadows and dim lighting.

My online courses cost between $244 and $736 each and teach industry software like Maya and Nuke, which are widely used in the film industry — movies like "The Avengers" and "Frozen" were created with Maya.

My top-selling product is the Lighting Bundle that combines seven core classes and workshops into one package. The primary added benefit of the bundle is personal, professional feedback on students' work via the Academy's community channel. After graduating from the Academy of Animated Art, my students have been hired by companies like Disney and Sony. More than 5,700 students have gone through all our paid programs so far, and the majority come to us when they're just starting out in the industry.


Money was never the primary reason I started my side hustle


I've had an entrepreneurial side ever since I was a kid. It's my passion, and I love to create something out of nothing. One of the other reasons I built the Academy is because it's very difficult to succeed as a lighting artist if you aren't already in the industry.

I started my side hustle in May 2012. The idea to teach others my craft came to me while I was working full-time as a 3D lighting artist on movies like "Ice Age" and "Rio" at major studios like Nickelodeon and Blue Sky Studios.

Based on sales in January through October 2022, I averaged $17,700 per month in revenue. My highest month was June, when I made more than $30,000 in revenue. We recently launched our diversity program, where I partner with leading studios to make animation accessible for children with diverse backgrounds, and this brought in extra revenue.

What keeps me going is the impact the Academy has on our students: It changes their professional and creative lives. Many of them come from creative industries — from traditional lighting artists to photographers, video editors, and engineers — but we also have students with diverse backgrounds, like healthcare professionals. Few things top that feeling of getting a message from a student who's found a dream job thanks to the Academy.


The challenges I faced when I started my side business were making enough time for it and figuring out the best format for classes


I had to decide if the courses should be live or pre-recorded, figure out the curriculum, and decide if there even was a market for my niche, which is very small.

To create the courses, I (or a teacher I collaborate with) do extensive curriculum research and create the 3D models and scenes we need to teach the skills. The teachers are generally contacts within my network or connections through my contacts. Sometimes they're alumni who are part of our community. We also record, edit, and create supplemental material.

The process of creating a course can take anywhere from three months to a year depending on the course and other time commitments at my full-time job. I've set up all my courses on Teachable and sell them through the platform.

The first thing I did after my first course was completed was post about it on LinkedIn and Reddit. When the first student signed up, it was so exciting and gave me proof that there were people who wanted to buy the course.

In the beginning, I ended up pre-recording lectures that came out on Sundays with assignments due the following Monday so that students could get feedback and ask questions. These days, we use a similar format with open enrollment, so that students can join the course at any time and submit their assignments at their own pace.


When I first set up the Academy, I had to put in more time


The Lighting Bundle was built up in the span of two years. While it's a lot of work upfront, it's less intensive in the long run and sustainable for creating a business that brings in a great income and allows me to work on other areas, like my full-time job.

It took me six years with a one-year break to scale to six figures and then multiple six figures. However, I was very casual about my side hustle for the first five years. I didn't promote it extensively and even paused the Academy after year five because I wasn't sure if I would continue working on it.

After that one-year break, I brought it back due to high demand. It was in the sixth year that I decided to focus on taking the Academy to the next level financially and doubling down on scaling sales seriously with Facebook ads, SEO, speaking on podcasts, and more.

Today, when I contract external teachers to create course content, I can keep my time commitment to three to four hours a week. The remainder of my time is spent on managing and mentoring.

Product creation takes more than three to four hours a week if I personally create the curriculum and videos — in that case, it takes me closer to 10 to 15 hours a week to work on my side hustle, with one to two hours a night on weekdays and five hours on the weekend. This creation phase occurs on average one time per year for two to three months.

Often, we think that the goal is to quit your day job to work on your side hustle full time — and I used to think that, too. But now I see everything I do as an extension of myself and an opportunity, not a chore. I love my full-time job and I love my business, so I keep them both. They help me design my work life so that it fits me perfectly.


To others interested in starting and scaling an online side hustle, I'd recommend creating a minimum viable product so that you can first test your idea


To find that idea, look at things you're already good at, whether you've learned skills at your job or have a hobby you love. Then you can iterate your offer instead of creating the "perfect" product or service for the first release, which only results in overwhelm and stress.

Next, build up a profitable business before you scale it. Especially if you're doing it on the side, you have to be very focused and work on the tasks that'll have the most impact on your business: course creation, marketing, and sales.

I took my business to the next level when I was able to re-invest my side business income into a team that has helped me grow further. Currently, I have three part-time employees: one person who works on our SEO and content creation, one who helps manage our social-media channels, and a business coach who supports me in growing my business.

Ask yourself: "How can I make this easy and fun?" instead of thinking, "This is going to be hard, but I'm going to do it." A side hustle should be fun. That's how you'll be able to sustain and motivate yourself to work on it after a long day at work.

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
London's Iconic British Telecom Tower Sold To Become Hotel
You Are So Beautiful
Ukraine Arrests Father-Son Duo In Lockbit Cybercrime Bust
Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
US Offers $15 Million For Info On Leaders Of Cybercrime Group Lockbit
An old French tune (by Georges Brassens) Pomplamoose ft. John Schroeder
Russia Claims UK Cultural Agency Spied for Ukraine
Sattahip Motor Show 20
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
SONATE AU CLAIR DE LUNE - Moonlight sonata
Alexei Navalny: UK sanctions Russian prison chiefs after activist's death
A kiss to build a dream on
German economy is in 'troubled waters' - ministry
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Mean Blues
New video
La Chansonnette
Tucker Carlson says Boris Johnson wants "a million dollars, in Bitcoin or cash, from Tucker Carlson to talk about Ukraine.
Pattaya Addicts
Russia is rebuilding capacity to destabilize European countries, new UK report warns
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
EU Commission wants anti-drone defenses at Brussels HQ
Dream a little dream of me
Von der Leyen’s 2nd-term pitch: More military might, less climate talk
Unchained Melody sung like you've NEVER heard!
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Dave Brubeck - Take Five
Prince William Urges End to Gaza Conflict
Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Sofie)
UK court to hear Assange's final appeal against extradition to the US, where he faces charges related to his journalistic work—the publication of a classified video in 2010 that exposed US war crimes against humanity.
Rondo Alla Turca
About 50-60% kids either chose to be YouTuber or influencer
Kiss of fire
A viral video of Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce lying on a Canberra footpath is celebrated by his media mates.
Tom Jones - I´ll Never Fall In Love Again 1967, 1989, 2001
European Countries React to Navalny's Death by Summoning Russian Diplomats
Israel Cachao López - Guajira Clásica
Israel has gone ‘beyond self-defence’ in Gaza, says Labour’s Streeting
Edward Maya - Stereo Love (feat. Vika Jigulina) (Extended Mix)
English farmers to be offered ‘largest ever’ grant scheme amid food security concerns
Strauss - Radetzky March - Karajan
Cameron government knew Post Office ditched Horizon IT investigation
La vie en rose
EU Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict
The Temptations - My Girl (Smokey Robinson Tribute) 2006 Kennedy Cent
EU Vows To Hold Putin "Accountable" After Meeting Alexei Navalny's Wife
Orlando Cachaito Lopez Redencion
EU Launches Probe Into TikTok Over Child Protection Under Digital Content Law
Edith Piaf - NON, JE NE REGRETTE RIEN
The EU Initiates Naval Mission to Defend Red Sea Trade Routes
RADETZKY MARCH-2008-Wien, New Year Concert
EU and UK Announce Joint Effort on Migration
Only you (And you alone)
Brazil's Lula Likens Gaza Operation to Holocaust, Israel Says "Red Line" Crossed
Strangers In The Night
Ministers Confirm Proposal to Prohibit Mobile Phone Usage in English Schools
Charles Aznavour - La Boheme
Microsoft-backed OpenAI valued at $80bn after company completes deal
Summer time
‘Alexei would want to tell Russia not to give up fighting’
Sting and Stevie Wonder - Fragile (from Sting's 60th birthday concert)
Rwandan Footballer's Dismissal Sparks Concerns Over UK Asylum Plan
Aux Champs Elysees
Whisky Challenges China's Baijiu Market During New Year Celebrations
Stand By Me - Ben E. King (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Avdiivka - Symbol Of Ukrainian Resistance Now In Control Of Russian Troops
La Mer (Beyond the Sea) – Avalon Jazz Band
Putin Critic Alexei Navalny's "Killers" Refusing To Hand Over Body, Say Allies
She
"Historic Step": Zelensky Signs Security Pact With Germany
Nathalie Song by Enzo Petrachi Stjepan Hauser Cello
"Historic Step": Zelensky Signs Security Pact With Germany
Shape of My Heart - Sting (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
20 Tech Giants Sign Effort To Fight AI Election Interference Across Globe
Radiohead - Creep
Joe Biden Accuses Putin of Causing Navalny's Death
Quizás,Quizás,Quizás - Andrea Bocelli - Jennifer Lopez
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Multi-Couples
Tucker Carlson grocery shopping in Russia. This is so interesting.
Pentatonix Havana
Julian Assange's Wife Warns of His Death if Extradited to US
Paula Cole - Autumn Leaves
‘A lot higher than we expected’: Russian arms production worries Europe’s war planners
Oscar Benton Bensonhurst Blues
Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption Rights
OH NANANA vs ABUSADAMENTE
Hungarian Foreign Minister: Europeans will lose Europe, the Union's policy must change drastically
Nina Simone - ”I Put A Spell On You”. Vezi aici cum cântă Jeremy Ragsd
In Britain Homeowners are receiving CPO’s (Compulsory Purchase Orders) so their homes can be redistributed to migrants
NIGHTWISH - The Phantom Of The Opera
Microsoft says it caught hackers from China, Russia and Iran using its AI tools
Motorshow 2016 Tanjay Negros Oriental
Influencers Exploit X Platform for Profit Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict
Monica Bellucci - Ti Amo
Former Dutch PM And Wife Die "Together Hand In Hand" Via Duo Euthanasia
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean Milena The Voice France 2018
Media Giant Paramount Global, Which Owns CBS News, To Cut 800 Jobs
Michael Buble (Help Me Make It Through The Night) feat Loren Allred
Memories Canon In D - Maroon 5 (Boyce Avenue piano acoustic cover)
Matteo Simoni - Marina
Maroon 5 - One More Night
Maroon 5 - Memories
Mark Knopfler - Brothers In Arms (Berlin 2007 Live)
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - Romeo And Juliet (Real Live Roadrunni
Marina, Marina - The LUCKY DUCKIES intimist live concert at Guimarães
Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On Mauranne The Voice France 2016
Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet - Joslin - Henri Mancini, Nino Rota
LoLa & Hauser - Love Story
Linkin Park Jay-Z - Numb Encore (Live 8 2005)
Hallelujah Mennel Ibtissem, The Voice France Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love
Leonard Cohen & Natasha Rostova - Dance me to the end of love
La casa de papel - Bella Ciao
La Camisa Negra
L'italiano (Toto Cutugno) - The Gypsy Queens
Juanes - La Camisa Negra
Jonathan and Charlotte - Britain's Got Talent 2012 Live Semi Final - U
John Powell - Assassin's Tango
Joe Cocker - You Can Leave Your Hat On (LIVE in Dortmund)
Joe Cocker - Unchain My Heart 2002 Live
Joe Cocker - A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Jay Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind LIVE
Jason Mraz - Im Yours (live)
Jarrod Radnich - Bohemian Rhapsody - Virtuosic Piano Solo
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
James Blunt - You're Beautiful & Bonfire Heart (Live at The Nobel Peac)
If You Go Away - Helen Merrill & Stan Getz (Tribute to Virna Lisi)
I'LL BE MISSING YOU
I Say a Little Prayer
Hotel California ( Eagles ) 1994 Live
Historia de un amor - Luz Casal. Vezi interpretarea Biancăi Sumanariu
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover) on Spot
Heart - Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin - Kennedy Center Honors
HAVANA by Camila Cabello Zumba Pre Cooldown TML Crew Kramer Pastra
HAUSER and Señorita - I Will Always Love You
HAUSER - Waka Waka
HAUSER - Sway
HAUSER - Lambada
HAUSER - Historia de un Amor
HAUSER - Despacito
Great Pretender
Georgia May Foote & Giovanni Pernice Samba to 'Volare' - Strictly Come
Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues
GIPSY KINGS VOLARE Penelope Cruz
Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song
French Latino - Historia de un Amor
For A Few Dollars More The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live)
Flashdance • What a Feeling • Irene Cara
Filip Rudan - “Someone You Loved” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sez
Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
Enya - Only Time
Enrique Iglesias - Bailando (English Version) ft. Sean Paul
Enrique Iglesias - Bailamos
Elena Yerevan Historia de un amor
Ed Sheeran - Shape of You (Official Music Video)
Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony [with Andrea Bocelli]
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)
Easy On Me - Adele (Boyce Avenue 90’s style piano acoustic cover) on S
ERA - Ameno
ELENA YEREVAN- Cancion Del Mariachi-IN STUDIO-2017 DPR
Dust In The Wind - Kansas (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Despacito x Shape Of You - Pentatonix
Deep Purple - Child In Time - Live (1970)
David Foster When A Man Loves A WomanIt's A Mans World (SealMichael Bo
Dance me to the end of Love ( Pi-Air Design )
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. L.V.) [Official Music Video]
Conquest Of Paradise (Vangelis), played on Böhm Emporio organ
Cielito Lindo
Chico & The Gypsies - Bamboleo
Canción Del Mariachi - Antonio Banderas, Los Lobos • Desperado
Camila Cabello - Havana (Audio) ft. Young Thug
Camila Cabello - Havana ( cover by J.Fla )
California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas José Feliciano (Boyce Ave
Buster Benton - Money Is The Name of The Game
Hallelujah Pentatonix
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (Official Music Video)
Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door Emilia The Voice Kids France
Besame Mucho - Cesaria Evora
Ben E. King - Stand by Me Sax Cover Alexandra Ilieva Thomann
Bella Ciao
Bella Ciao - INSTRUMENTAL
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
Bad Romance - Vintage 1920's Gatsby Style Lady Gaga Cover ft. Ariana Savalas & Sarah Reich(1)
BELLA CIAO 2020 - KARAOKE ITALIANO
BAMBOLEO - Gipsy Kings • Antonio Banderas, Katya Virshilas
BAILANDO (original)
Awesome Ukrainian yodeler - SOFIA SHKIDCHENKO (with English subtitles)
Avicii - The Nights
Atom - The Great Gig in the Sky
Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Official Ly
Antonio Banderas - Cancion del Mariachi (Desperado)
André Rieu - Zorba's Dance (Sirtaki)
André Rieu - Can't Help Falling In Love
André Rieu & Mirusia - Ave Maria
Andrew Reyes Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down The Voice 2020 (
Andreas Kümmert Whiter Shade Of Pale The Voice of Germany 2013 Showd
And I Love You So
All About That Bass - Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Alan Walker - Faded (Piano Cover)
Ain't No Sunshine -- Bill Withers (cover by Canen 12 y.o.)
African music
Adriana Vidović - “Creep” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
Adriana Vidović - “Believer” Nokaut 3 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
A Fistful of Dollars - The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Tuva
4 Beautiful Soundtracks Relaxing Piano [10min]
2CELLOS - Whole Lotta Love vs. Beethoven 5th Symphony [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
2CELLOS - Smooth Criminal (Live at Suntory Hall, Tokyo)
2CELLOS - Smells Like Teen Spirit [Live at Sydney Opera House]
2CELLOS - Despacito [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
13 Year Old Girl Playing Il Silenzio (The Silence) - André Rieu
094.All About That Bass
00 - SADNESS PART 1
(Ghost) Riders In the Sky (American Outlaws Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams (Boyce Avenue ft. Conn
What a wonderful world
Moon river
×