Mom built successful online business teaching sourdough baking

In 2014, Teresa Greenway, who had spent the last few years escaping an abusive marriage and hopping between California and Washington to support her young children, was trying to figure out how to make money.

“I did whatever work I could find,” she says. “I worked as a hotel maid for a while. I worked as a nanny for a while. I worked in two bakeries.” Greenway had married young, had 10 children, and never graduated from college. “I felt like I had nothing to offer the workforce,” she says.

That year, while back in Washington state full-time, Greenway received a scholarship to attend business coach Sherold Barr’s online course, Smart Women Make Money. As Greenway tried to figure out her next career moves, Barr asked bluntly, “What can you do?”

“Well,” says Greenway, she said to Barr, “I can make sourdough.”

Greenway had started baking sourdough bread as a hobby in 2004. Since then, she had honed her craft and gained years of experience. Researching how she could potentially build a business from this experience, she discovered online course website Udemy. She decided to create a sourdough course and published it in May 2015.

“The very first month of my course, I made $1,000,” she says, “which was amazing because at that point I was only making about $300 a month.”

Since then, Greenway, now 63, has uploaded a total of 13 courses to the site, including a series of courses on baking with more leaven, baking pizza crust and baking challah bread. She has made a total of $323,000 on Udemy.

This is how she built her online baking empire.

The first bread was “bubbly and beautiful”

Greenway’s entry into sourdough production was initially a challenge. In 2004, her eldest daughter tried to learn to bake herself. Never quite able to figure it out, she gave up and told Greenway, “No one can make real sourdough bread, Mom, not even you.”

Challenge accepted. It took several months, but Greenway was finally able to perfect the art.

“When I made the first really successful loaf, it was all bubbles and beautiful, crackling out of the oven, and my kids were dancing and clapping,” she says. “It was just such an amazing moment that I decided to start a website and share it.”

Greenway started a website called Northwest Sourdough, which included a blog where she shared the lessons she learned.

“Why don’t I try to take a Udemy course?”

Greenway sourdough bread.

Courtesy of Teresa Greenway

When Barr suggested Greenway start a business with her knowledge of sourdough, she first tried to monetize her YouTube channel. While researching, she came across Udemy, where people were offering courses on how to optimize your YouTube channel.

“I took all these courses,” she says, “and suddenly it clicked. I was like, ‘Well, why don’t I try and do a Udemy course?’”

Offer “life-changing” content and viewers will overlook video quality

Greenway didn’t have many resources initially.

I almost didn’t post my first course on Udemy because we lived in a kind of garage and the neighborhood wasn’t very nice,” she says. “I had set up a kind of kitchen there. It was just a makeshift kitchen. And I was like, ‘I can’t video this, it would look awful.'”

But she recognized when you know “that life is changing for someone, they’re willing to overlook the quality of your production.” So she did, and the course was a hit.

Because of the success of her courses, she has now moved to a bigger house with a real kitchen.

“Be consistent”

Greenway courses range in length from 44 minutes to four and a half hours. They cost between about $30 and $100 each. Partly because Udemy often offers sales, their monthly income from the site varies.

“When I added it all up, it totaled almost $4,000 a month,” she says.

Greenway’s early kitchen.

Courtesy of Teresa Greenway

Greenway’s newest venture is a membership site called The baking network. For $10 a month or $110 a year, members get access to some of her Udemy courses, as well as tutorials from other bakers, workshops she’s run over the years, and recipes.

For anyone looking to build a business on their own unique skills or knowledge, Greenway’s #1 tip is to “be consistent,” she says. There are so many ways to share what you’ve learned, whether it’s an online course, a YouTube video, a blog, or an ebook. Even on the days when you don’t feel like creating, “just be consistent in your effort,” she says. Write a word or record a snippet.

“Just keep doing something.”

More from Grow:

Leave a Comment