Monday, April 29, 2013

Earning a bit on the side?

In these days of increment freezes, pay freezes, pay cuts, pension payments suspensions - plus extra taxes and charges on everything, thoughts inevitably turn one's opportunity to "earn a bit on the side". I write this following my other posts over the past week or so about Udemy and other websites that allow people to put up some courses on-line and make some extra money. This seems to be a popular thing for American professors (the equivalent of our Lecturers). A quarter of  Udemy instructors are reported to have earned $10,000 or more. I have been experimenting with Udemy and had thought that I could make a few extra euro as I do on YouTube, but so far I am unlikely to release a course on this platform.

Employees of any organization are usually prohibited from earning extra by working on the side - especially if this is in conflict with the organization's main goals. No argument here, for example - it would not be appropriate for me to start running a Project Management course privately. And rightly so. An accountant is prohibited from opening up his/her own business when working for another company. The only people who are allowed to legally earn a bit on the side are hospital consultants?

I know of one College where you have to have written permission from the College President to do ANY work other than required by the employee's contract. I wonder how many employees abide by this? Surely it is morally OK for someone to earn a bit on the side if it is not in conflict day-to-day work? Especially if they have too endure pay cuts?

I can see the Udemy model causing problems is some organizations, as more and more professors/lecturers go on-line to sell their on courses.

Note: this post has nothing to do with NCI.


  1. Exactly how different would that be from writing a book?

  2. Good point!

    I have written just one textbook, but sadly make no money at all from it.

  3. Hi Eugene, It is most regretful to hear this.

    I wondered, is there any value in publishing via the udemy platform a free course offering and using the platform as a promotional engine to drive sales of your book?

    As you said, in the US this may not always be perceived as a conflict of interest and may very much be viewed as a most desirable pathway to help spread the good word and promote your organisations brand by association (co-branding).

    Such approaches can be understandable where there is a real qualified risk of conflict of interest being threatened.

    However, it can be difficult to understand a very narrow view which does not balance the benefits which may greatly outweigh the risk.

    After all, should we not correctly balance the greater good of knowledge sharing and embrace progress, creative thinking, innovation and spirt of business in order to create, support and sustainable growth?

    Just my 2 cents

  4. Hi Brendon - I hear you! I haven't completely abandoned the idea yet (the course is still on Udemy). But I am taking further advice before any next steps.