I've been teaching online during Covid, can I turn this into a business?

Ah, Covid 19. It's turned most of our lives upside down, but it's also pushed online teaching and learning ahead at a rate never seen before. As someone who wanted to teach online from the late 90s before it was physically possible, I think this progress is fantastic. But it's also left many teachers, trainers and subject experts scratching their heads wondering exactly what to do now. It's hard to know exactly what to deliver, when, in what format and how much people are even prepared to pay for it. Or if it will even sell at all.

At this point it's incredibly tempting to put together a series of videos, upload them somewhere online and then wonder how to sell them. 

Been there, done that!

If you happen to have a set of (say) webinars or Zoom recordings that you've already made, then by all means go ahead. But I don't recommend creating a fresh set of videos then trying to sell them. At least not yet.

Let's say you have been teaching English to children online during Covid. Your lessons may have been a roaring success, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be straightforward to turn them into a business.

Maybe parents who buy English videos for their kids are supplementing lessons they already take, rather than needing to learn the subject right from the beginning. Maybe they don't want video lessons at all, maybe they want to practice speaking in English, live with a native English speaker. Perhaps they are happy to pay a bit less and take part in live, group lessons with other kids. Maybe they want one-to-one live tuition.

You could easily make a very effective, well structured course - if you're a trainer or teacher, you do that all the time -  but still find that it's not what people want to buy.

How do you avoid this? Do your research.

This research can be fairly informal, so rather than sending out a pile of questionnaires, try to speak to your perfect potential customer. Listen for what's really bothering them and tailor your course to solve that problem. Perhaps their kids are already taking an online English course, but what frustrates the parent is the lack of opportunity they have to practice their conversational skills. 

We tend to think of research in terms of data, and while that is important too, it's often listening to people's emotions that will help you zoom in to what they need most. That's what they are most likely to pay for, and THAT's what is most likely to lead to a profit, which in turn is most likely to lead to a sustainable business.

The other benefit of this research is you can find out where this perfect customer tends to 'hang out' and what they read, which is vital information for when you market your course later on. If you know the kinds of blogs they read, you can look into getting an article featured on that blog, for example. If you know the Facebook groups they frequent, you can use those to do more research, too. Maybe the Facebook owner has a podcast - you could ask to be interviewed by them.

Some information in the early stages can save a lot of wasted time and effort later on. And it's a huge knock to your confidence when you put time into making a course that doesn't sell very well. Been there, done that, too.

Good luck!

P.S. Definitely don't start shopping for tech at this point. :-) Work out what shape your course will take, then start looking for the technology to deliver it. I'll cover that in another post.

There are resources to help you plan and create an online course in my  Free Business Toolkit.

Categories: Online Courses