Roy Martnez received an email in 2017—seven years after he first launched his YouTube channel—asking if he was interested in making a career off of his video. The sender, a Brazilian business he had never heard of, had learned about Martnez’s website and YouTube channel, where he offered expert vehicle repair equipment and a $20 monthly subscription to instructional films. Martnez started producing video courses in addition to his auto-repair company since his clients required ongoing technical training. Despite just having 50,000 subscribers, the startup Hotmart found promise in his videos.
Martnez has entirely stopped selling vehicle repair tools five years later. He currently manages a 19-person business that uses the back-end resources of Hotmart to create and market courses on his website. His annual subscription, which was $360 when Hotmart first contacted him, is now $497, and he now offers individual courses to an audience of around 6,000 individuals for prices ranging from $50 to $500. His salary has increased to $500,000 a year, but his social media following has remained modest. He has just over 10,000 Instagram followers and about 80,000 YouTube subscribers.
Martnez’s accomplishment is insignificant in comparison to some of the 135,000 other artists on Hotmart, many of them are business consultants, motivational coaches, dietitians, yoga instructors, or health influencers. Over 20,000 individuals purchase Marco Antonio Regil’s motivational courses, which are powered by Hotmart. He was once the host of a Mexican TV program. The only creator to offer motivational and financial techniques through Hotmart and make more than $50 million a year is Brazilian lifestyle coach Wendell Carvalho. According to the firm, many of its other creators make millions of dollars each year; its portion of the profits can reach up to 9.9% of each sale.
Hotmart does not sell courses from a single, branded website, unlike MasterClass, a membership-based streaming platform that provides a large collection of classes with celebrity professors. As an infrastructure supplier, it teaches creators and gives them the resources they need to start selling courses on their own websites. Most notably, it features a payment infrastructure that enables consumers to buy content from anywhere in the globe, in any currency. It supports them in improving their content sales and distribution. (Hotmart also provides website construction services for those who don’t already have their own.)
It has arrived to take the place of the jumble of platforms and plugins, such as WordPress, PayPal, and Stripe, that some designers, like Andrea Rojas, have referred to as “a technological Frankenstein.” Rojas, a content producer located in Mexico, specializes in producing material that aids viewers in expanding their web enterprises. Before she discovered Hotmart, she was already marketing online courses. However, the Brazilian business provided her with an alternative to social media’s follower-obsessed monetization strategy, which frequently relies on high views for marginal profits.
For instance, creators on YouTube can now only expect to earn less than 2 cents per view, meaning that for the video to become a reliable source of money, it must frequently become popular. “Hotmart’s goal is to grow your sales, not your number of followers,” Rojas said to Rest of World. She has been using Hotmart for seven years and just sold $3,100 worth of stuff to earn her first million dollars.
Hotmart relies on evergreen productions to alleviate the load of developing new materials regularly. Instead of creating intricate vlogs or well-edited films every day, producers typically upload quick photographs or snippets that are meant to direct social media users to the high-production material they offer through Hotmart.
The method at Hotmart, according to Martnez, “allows me to do the labor-intensive work [of creating content] just once and make money from it for many years.”
“A YouTube video, an Instagram post, or a 10-second reel is not going to solve their problem the same way a course could.”
After founders Joo Pedro Resende and Mateus Bicalho observed that there was little online material in Latin America that consumers really paid for, they founded Hotmart in Belo Horizonte in 2011. Leandro Conti, Hotmart’s head of marketing communications, told Rest of World that after watching the popularity of streaming services like Netflix in the local market, they saw a need for premium content that was being paid for.
In the end, Hotmart came to the conclusion that the secret to success was not selling to the content consumers, but rather, to those who developed it. The firm is quite front about the fact that it does not promote or distribute the material; that is left to the producers’ personal social media accounts and other means of connecting with their devoted fans.
Despite this, creators informed Rest of World they were satisfied with what Hotmart does offer: a unified system that frees them from having to worry about the logistics of selling their work and enables them to concentrate on creating it.
They cited the Hotmart payment mechanism as the greatest advantage they had ever experienced. Hotmart provides the resources necessary for a creator to paywall the material when a course is made available for purchase on their website. This is especially helpful in areas like Latin America where it is sometimes impossible to utilize international payment methods. Even while they provide producers prominence, websites like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram don’t have a simple way to make payments.
Prior to Hotmart, Rojas stated that she had mostly utilized Stripe to handle consumer payments; however, she claimed that the firm lacked a dedicated customer service team in her home country of Mexico and that transactions frequently failed.
According to Sofa Macas, inventor of personal financial software, “Hotmart has a really good advantage: They accept all payment processors, credit cards, and even cash payments in corner shops like Oxxo.” Most sites don’t allow monthly installment payments, according to Rojas, who said that approximately 30% of her clients do.
The founder of Hotmart, Martnez, had never been allowed to charge customers outside of his home market of Costa Rica until joining. Although many were prepared to pay his $20 monthly subscription fee, they were unable to get over PayPal’s limits on where payments could be made. Due to this, he was only able to serve Costa Rica, where over the course of four years, he only sold roughly 400 memberships. Given the popularity of his vehicle repair classes among the Latino population in the U.S., he said that the growth of his business was especially beneficial. There are a lot of Latinos who worked as repairmen before emigrating. They saw spending $150 or $200 for a single course as an investment, claimed Martnez.
The Hotmart team’s advice on sales and marketing tactics, which they did not previously possess, was greatly valued by the creators. Hotmart guides content producers as they create, publish, and distribute their work by offering advice on generating leads, enhancing SEO, and closing transactions.
According to Rojas, the success of this particular pay-per-view business model exposes the flaws in the free, ad-supported content economy. “A YouTube video, an Instagram post, or a 10-second reel is not going to solve their problem the same way a course could,” the speaker asserted.