You’ve put ample time into becoming a good teacher. After years of schooling and expenses, classroom experience, and the day-to-day grind, that drive for the next step is setting in. But what should it be? What angles can a teacher take to profitably leverage their knowledge?
One thing you can do is turn your teaching experience into a successful online business.
There are plenty of active websites where teachers are making good money by sharing their knowledge with a specific niche clientele. No bosses, no early morning commutes, no overcrowded classrooms or frustrated parents. It takes a bit of business savvy and personal commitment, but earning money online is doable. Let’s look at the basics.
What can you teach online?
This is the first question that must be answered. Teacher Indie has talked extensively about leveraging personal expertise to identify a niche audience. Are you a math whizz? Plenty of students need tutoring. Musician? Perhaps you can draft an introductory lesson plan for beginner-level guitarists.
Think about why you got into teaching. What are you passionate about? What really gives you that burning desire to help people? Boil it down to one direct skill or base of knowledge which you have that most people don’t. Once you’ve grasped this, identify the target niche that could benefit from that skill or knowledge.
Perhaps you’re looking to teach an online course. This is a great option for how-to instruction on a software program or maintenance project, as well as professional guides. Top guide sites like Udemy walk instructors through the process of setting up their course and provide plenty of guidelines to make the process as easy as possible.
Contracting with an existing site or company is an option, and not a terrible idea for getting your feet wet. Learning how the online teaching world works takes some research and practice, and working alongside existing cohorts is a great way to gain some insight. Owning your own business and website, however, brings the opportunity to make real money while increasing your personal freedom.
In order to market yourself and your business, draft what the brand will look like. The key here is to separate yourself from everything else that’s already out there, and make it obvious why your services are better. I’ve had immense success by letting my personality shine through all aspects of the business. Let me tell you why:
- My career experience has helped to shape the way I present myself.
- No one can replicate my specific personality and quirks.
- People respond positively to what they see as personable and real. Even a professionally designed teaching website can’t overshadow an instructor that is in over his or her head. Students or mentees will see right through anything that seems fake or copied.
The overall goal is for YOU to make money by teaching YOUR base of knowledge. Always play the part of the expert, and project your expertise in a confident and compelling manner.
Tools that help you turn your teaching experience into a successful online business.
There are a few basic things you’ll need to get your business going. Let’s cover what you’ll need to offer live Skype lessons, pre-recorded lessons, and accompanying documents.
- Fully operable and fast computer with webcam. At least a 1Ghz processor for Skype and streaming use. 1 GB of Ram, particularly if you’re using a Mac.
- Reliable high-speed internet.
- A space clear of distracting things in the background. Always be conscious of what is on camera!
- Microphone or headset, if you aren’t confident in the built-in mic on your computer. Something cheap and simple like the Logitech clearchat Comfort or this AudioTechnica USB mic will do the trick. These items may be cheaper via Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend.
Software and websites to help turn your teaching experience into a successful online business.
You may want to look into templates or get some basic formatting help when setting up your course, program, or lessons. Here are five websites that any teacher looking to make money online should check out:
- WizIQ offers a great online teaching platform for most education-based online teaching.
- Udemy is great for online courses. Their staff walk instructors through the process, and they offer promotional assistance.
- Teacher Indie’s resource for Building Your Website.
- ElectaLive– Incredible efficient virtual classroom software. Great for tutoring, training, and general instruction.
- LitmosLMS– easy to use software for quick creation of web-based courses.
We also recommend looking into what other teachers in your specialty or niche are doing, and how they are presenting themselves. Again, let your personality shine through your business – but if they have a great resource or tab on their site, you’ll want to make sure you offer something similar.
The bottom line.
After perusing these resources, you should have a good feel for how to turn your teaching experience into a successful online business. It starts with a concept that is brought to life through a compelling website and informative, practical lessons. The beauty is that nearly anything can taught – as long as you’re the expert! Teacher Indie will continue to highlight the best resources for teaching online and answer as many questions as we can. If you have specific concerns, feel free to get in touch.