What’s the case for an online teaching business in general? We’ve made a compelling case for teachers to offer advanced life skills online. Our intention is to further the TLS mission by partnering with such teachers. However, this still leaves the obvious question: What if you know you’re not yet ready to offer advanced life skills courses? Let’s assume you agree this is what the world needs… not to mention the majority of your students AND adults, for that matter. It’s still not yet a foregone conclusion that’s YOUR best place to start.
What’s the point of having a long-term intention to offer your own advanced life skill course as an online teaching business? There appears to be a vast, rather complex landscape you’ll need an overview of. Let’s have a quick look.
What’s in the educator’s online course arena?
The feedback we’ve gotten thus far suggests three groups:
- Educators with some knowledge and/or experience in personal development training, or expertise as coaches, counselors, therapists, or personal development
- Teachers with interest, expertise, or skill in a given area that they can teach to a wider audience, eg. playing a musical instrument, growing a herbal garden, writing a Kindle book, potty-training for difficult toddlers, preparing high school graduands for college life, etc. This also includes courses in traditional school subjects but for special underserved populations.
- Instructors who have an online teaching business already, and offer courses on platforms such as Udemy or Skillshare. This group now wishes to scale with higher quality (and higher price point) courses.
So.. what’s YOUR next step?
It makes sense for the first and third groups to partner up with TLS us as soon as possible to start with advanced life skills courses. But these are relatively small groups. Depending on the target niche, the best starting place for the large group-2 to get their feet wet might be with one of the well-known platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, Wondrium, Creative Live, or MasterClass.
One level up from these includes outfits like LinkedIn Learning, Teachable, Kajabi, and Coursera. Note that there are quite a few other platforms for starting an online teaching business. These are just the ones I’m more familiar with. I do believe they’re among the most popular also. Your choice should depend on a lot of factors too complicated for the scope of this post. Most of the comparisons and reviews online are from the consumer’s standpoint. They won’t help you much in putting a strategy together for yourself.
I probably don’t have to tell you that there’s a huge difference between the various options. Being paid a 5% share for offering a $12 course globally to 20,000 people has its advantages. As a mission-oriented teacher, however, one of them won’t be making the kind of impact to naturally flow into offering advanced life skills. It’s easier, and way more lucrative, to make such an impact with a $1,000 course. However, it will be with far fewer people, and you’ll have to level up your online marketing game. More on this is in a little bit.
The Online Teaching Business; a Bigger Picture
It’s only natural that you’ll want to satisfy yourself that all this is not only feasible but that this is where the trends indicate the world is going. After all, starting on the journey of offering online education, regardless of what topic you start with, is still no whimsical undertaking. So let’s talk about that for a minute. Full disclosure: The following is the result of ChatGPT content that I edited heavily after fact-checking and identifying things I don’t agree with, or had something to add.
Future of the Online Teaching Business
In recent years, but starting long before the pandemic, the popularity of online education skyrocketed. Many people are looking for ways to further their education and advance their careers without having to attend traditional, in-person classes. This trend has created a huge opportunity for businesses to offer traditional courses online, and it’s a feasibility worth considering.
A Drastic Shift In the Online Teaching Business Space
The global pandemic of 2020 brought about a significant shift in the way we learn and work. With the sudden closure of schools and universities, the demand for online courses skyrocketed. Traditional brick-and-mortar institutions were also forced to adapt to the online space. While the shift to online learning was initially seen as a temporary measure, it has now become a permanent fixture in the education landscape. With this in mind, it is worth exploring the feasibility of offering traditional courses online as a business.
Before the pandemic, the online education market was already experiencing significant growth. In 2019, the global online education market was valued at $187.5 billion. Further, it was projected to reach $319.2 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.23%. This growth was primarily driven by factors such as the increasing demand for distance learning, the rising adoption of mobile-based learning, and the growing preference for lifelong learning.
Fast forward to today, the pandemic has accelerated the growth of the online education market even further. According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global online education market is expected to reach $370 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.4% from 2021 to 2026. This growth is driven by factors such as the increasing adoption of e-learning, the growing demand for reskilling and upskilling, and the shift toward personalized and adaptive learning.
What’s Driving the Success of Online Teaching Business?
Here are some more reasons why many institutions offering traditional courses online are successful:
- Wider Audience: By offering traditional courses online, educational institutions and other businesses can reach a wider audience. People from all over the world can enroll in the courses without having to travel to a specific location. With just the correct marketing, this means these institutions can attract more students and generate more revenue. Online business teaching jobs will continue to appear as opportunities for tech-savvy teachers.
- Lower Overhead Costs: Running an online course requires less overhead than running a traditional, in-person course. There are no physical classrooms to rent, no utilities to pay for, and no need for additional non-teaching staff. This can result in significant cost savings, which can be passed on to students in the form of lower tuition fees.
It’s hard to say how this will affect competition. From the teacher’s point of view, however, it seems rather obvious that learning as much as you can about teaching online will be of benefit regardless. Hint hint: will YOU, become the competition? There’s a good chance others like you will, even if you won’t. Might as well be YOU!
- Flexible Schedules: Online courses are ideal for people who cannot attend traditional, in-person classes due to their work or personal schedules. By offering traditional courses online, businesses can cater to this demographic and provide them with the opportunity to further their education on their own terms. Traditional synchronous education will never go away completely. However, it’s going to continue to diminish as remote working becomes increasingly widespread.
- Technology-Enabled Learning: Online learning offers many advantages over traditional classroom learning. Students can access course materials and assignments from anywhere and can communicate with instructors and classmates via online forums and chat rooms. Online courses can also incorporate multimedia elements such as videos and interactive simulations, which can enhance the learning experience.
- Diversification of Offerings: Offering traditional courses online can diversify a business’s offerings and attract new customers. For example, a language school that traditionally only offered in-person courses can now expand its reach by offering online courses to students around the world.
Three Implications for entrepreneurial teachers
Before learning how to start an online teaching business, there are a few things teachers in the online world need to keep in mind.
1. Tech Infrastructure
First, businesses need to ensure that they have the necessary technology infrastructure in place to deliver high-quality online courses. This includes a learning management system, video conferencing software, and other tools to facilitate online communication and collaboration.
Teachers will see breathtaking shifts in workspaces that change with the times. Those that don’t even when it makes sense to do so, will run the risk of going out of business and losing teachers to those who do.
2. Qualifications vs Certification
Second, online teaching businesses still need to hire qualified instructors who are comfortable teaching online. These instructors should be trained on how to use the technology tools, and how best to engage students in an online setting.
It’s already the case, however, that many employers develop their own criteria for what it means to be qualified. There is a definite shift to an emphasis on being competent, resilient, and adaptive, rather than merely being certified. As more employers themselves become successful despite NOT being certified, this trend is bound to continue except in certain fields such as engineering and medicine, where formal certification still makes sense.
3. Brand and Direct Response Marketing
Finally, you’ll have to learn how to build your successful online teaching business. All online businesses need to market their online courses effectively to attract students. This can include using social media, email marketing, and other digital marketing channels to reach potential students. Teachers who learn these skills sooner rather than later will extend the horizons of their own careers. They’ll be able to become employers themselves in the online ed space, and elsewhere if they so choose. TLS intends to play an active role in this regard as we partner with teachers.