Do you teach?
Maybe you teach at a public school or tutor kids in your neighborhood. Maybe you already teach online, but you are working for a company. Teachers no longer need to work for someone else. This year, work for yourself! Start your own online teaching business.
I run Online Classes for Groovy Kids. It is a small business that I run myself. I started it when I no longer wanted to teach in a traditional setting. It is in its third year. The first two years I made enough money to get by. This year, my classes are filling and I can relax. When I started, I had never even taken an online class. I had no idea how it would work. It is not hard to learn.
Here is what to do
1. Do it today: Everything has to start happening at some moment. Effective people start the balls rolling right away. A good plan done today is better than a perfect plan that is never carried out. Do you have something that you would like to teach online? Get it going! Or, at least:
2. Make the time to get it going. If you want to launch a business, create a specific plan as to when you are going to do it. You have to carve out the time- without distractions, without interruptions and without other obligations. Right now, decide what you want to make happen, and schedule the time to make it a reality.
3. Read The $100 Startup. It is full of practical, advice and inspiration. It is great for anyone who wants to start a business with no capital.
4. Explore WizIQ.com. I teach my classes through WizIQ. WizIQ is an online platform for teachers and learners. It has everything that a first time entrepreneur needs to teach online. If you have never taught online before, check out these training sessions. There is even a link there to take you directly into an online classroom, right now. There is likely a live person in that classroom that can show you around the virtual space. It is easier than you can imagine.
5. Check out these stories. Here are lots of examples of people who make their living teaching online. There is the story of Alla Folsom, who teaches Russian women how to live with glamour, and AcademiaenCasa, which went from live tutoring to online tutoring. There is the story of a retired math professor who couldn’t stop teaching and many stories of people who teach ESL and foreign languages. There are endless possibilities.
6. Find a friend: I have been doing this for several years by myself. I had wanted a co-founder, but I couldn’t find one, so I carried on without one. While I don’t regret starting by myself, there is too much work for a lone person. Business starting is more fun with a friend. My business would have become more profitable, more quickly.
7. Decide upon your niche. There are so many people teaching online classes. You are not going to find students by teaching general run-of-the-mill classes. There are already thousands of people teaching writing or social studies. You need a niche. Are you interested in teaching social studies to the children of vegans? You will find a market. Do you want to teach math to future stock brokers? Sure. Are you equipped to teach English to Chinese Med Students? Go for it. You will struggle to fill general classes, but if you find a niche within those markets, your classes will fill.
8. Get your website and Facebook page: You can link right to your class from your web site. You can make a simple website yourself. It will take a couple of days. Here is a guide for creating your Facebook page.
9. Get an email server: As soon as people are interested, be sure to collect their contact information. I use MadMimi email server. Also check out Constant Contact and Mail Chimp. Do not, however, spend too much time comparing the plans. Pick one and go.
10. Prepare your first classes: WizIQ has several guides to talk you through the creation of your first few classes. Here is the “Quick Guide for Teachers,” “A User’s Guide to Creating Courses,” and “Fresh Teaching Ideas for your First Online Class.” Once you are comfortable in the online classroom, there are also great resources for making content, like “Creating Videos, Animations, and presentations for your Online Classroom,” and “Creating Educational Videos for use in the Online Classroom.”
11. Schedule some classes with friends: It takes some practice before you feel comfortable in the online classroom. Schedule a few sample classes with friends, and schedule some free classes for the public. The more time you spend in the classroom, the more comfortable it becomes.
12. Teach, teach, teach… Do not expect your first classes to fill up right away. Do not be surprised if you are teaching to 2 or 3 people. It takes time to build a business. Keep doing it, and the students will come.
I am not a technical person; I am a teacher. I did not know anything about online teaching, marketing, curriculum creation or social media when I started; yet I started. Now I know about all of those topics.