How do I create an online school from scratch? People ask this question every day…
What is an online school?
An online school is a facility where knowledge is passed from a teacher to a student through various online services. The main advantages of such a company are:
Minimum initial investment: you do not have to pay rent or other operating costs. In addition, you can prepare the course immediately and thousands of people can follow it with or without a teacher;
High profitability: in 90% of cases, these companies fully cover the costs involved. Failure in the remaining 10% is often associated with poor niche selection and uninteresting content presentation;
Extensive customer base: An online school is accessible to people all over the world;
Multiple Working Options: You can either sell webinars or masterclasses consisting of multiple lessons, or communicate with students one-on-one to solve a specific problem (e.g. learning English or computer basics).
Preparing to start an online school
Starting an online school requires careful preparation. You not only have to decide what exactly you want to do, but also create the product yourself and find a name for it (school, studio, master class, lesson, etc.).
Then you need to analyze the future financial costs. To do this, decide who will be involved in the learning process: yourself (if you are an expert) or visiting experts. The first option saves you the cost of teacher salaries; the second gives you more free time that you can use to develop a new niche.
Different work formats require different investments. Therefore, the most profitable way is to send articles by e-mail after registration. Firstly, it does not require large hardware costs (all you need is Internet access, an e-mail box and a selection of useful content). Second, this product format has a great ROI because if you only produce the content once, you can sell it as long as there are prospects.
Unfortunately, this format is not made for all areas. Therefore, experts recommend insisting on videos, the cost of production of which depends only on the type of course. For example, while teaching the use of software can only be conducted with screen sharing, filming a chef’s master class requires a designer kitchen, expensive products, kitchen appliances and accessories, and a chef dressed in the company’s colors. The costs associated with these two types of rotation are not comparable.
It is therefore possible to analyze all the stages of starting an online cooking school, but practice shows that there is no single answer to the question of the initial budget, since some just need to show face and an Instagram account to get started. while others require a team of professional experts and a multi-page website.
How to start an online school: the main steps
If you don’t know how to start your own online school…
Step 1. Choose a niche
To start, decide what you want these courses to focus on: parenting, foreign languages, cooking, design, dance, psychology, etc. When choosing a niche, you don’t have to cover everything. It should be as small and deep as possible (ie cover a small audience and solve their problems).
An example ! Online photography courses represent a broad category. Landscape photography is a reduced category. Beginner courses in landscape photography are a well-defined category.
Of course, you can offer a wider range of services, but each category requires a separate marketing company.
Step 2. Audience Analysis
The target group is a group of people who are interested in the product you offer. In order to select this group, it is necessary to draw an accurate “portrait” of the potential customer. This includes the following data:
marital and wealth status
The most important values
Tasks that can be simplified with this course
Customer behavior: how they choose, how easily they spend their money, what characteristics are taken into account when making a purchase.
The interview is often seen as the best way to draw such a portrait. If that’s not possible, a quick phone call or voicemail survey can help.
Step 3. Choose the lesson format
The teaching format of an online school can be very different. Let’s look at the most popular options:
A selection of items that can be offered in exchange for registration. In this case, in addition to the theoretical foundations, you need to create a practical basis. Offered at the end of the training, it allows students to consolidate their knowledge and allows you to receive feedback. This format requires minimal effort and financial investment. All you need is a website that can take orders, bank details and email addresses. The most common version of emailing is sending one email a week;
Video lessons are a universal option that can be adapted to any course. The key is to really consider the format of these lessons. This can be either a standard video tutorial with an expert speaker, or a screencast (video screenshot with narration). For feedback after watching these lessons, you can use Skype sessions, social media chats, YouTube video lectures, and other communication channels. The average duration is 2 to 3 weeks;
Electronic courses combine different types of content (lectures, videos, photos, infographics, music). In this case, the course can be uploaded to the website or emailed to clients. The optimal duration of training with online courses is 45 days;
Webinars (online workshops) save you time and money that would be required for traveling and renting suitable premises. In addition, the lesson can be video-recorded at any time and sent to students along with an article, presentation, and other training content. The recommended duration is one and a half hours.
Step 4. Select Training Tools
If the use of e-mails is always allowed in the test stage, it makes sense to choose larger tools for serious projects. These tools are generally the most effective:
Accepting payments through Yandex Cash, Paypal, Square or a bank account. Paying with an e-wallet or bank card reduces customer trust;
A landing web page with the course description and a participation form. You can create one with any online design tool;
Email services like SendPulse, Zoho Campaigns, BenchMark, MailChimp, etc. Some of them offer free offers for a certain number of subscribers; In addition to the email service, SendPulse also offers an online course platform.
Webinar solutions like MyOwnConference, AnyMeeting, ClickMeeting, WebinarJam etc.;
Online school platforms such as GoogleClassroom, Teachbase, Teachable, Emdesell, MemberLux etc.
Step 5. Create a business model
At this stage, you need to decide how you want your online school to monetize. Many platforms have been created to sell courses: paid, free, and both (part of the course is free, part of the course is paid). Udemy, Geeksmath, and Coursera are the most popular of them.
Step 6. Product promotion
You can promote your courses using Google and Yandex advertising campaigns or social networks, where most of your audience “exists”. Take every opportunity and don’t be afraid to create your own unique content, posts copied from competitors are unlikely to bring you success.
Step 7. Creating an online school logo
If you have decided to start an online school, don’t forget to create its logo. Branding will grab the attention of potential clients and help them immediately understand the area these courses are about. You don’t necessarily have to hire professional designers for this. You can easily use online generators. Logaster is considered the most popular of them. With it, you can create a logo in less than 5 minutes.
Step 8. Process control and business growth
If you have a large enough audience, you can grow your business. This can be done with Trello and other CRM systems. First, create a private board, add the names of all employees, and draw columns that track the basic processes (Tasks, Accepted, For Evaluation, etc.). As soon as an online school employee transfers the task from one column to another, you will receive an e-mail to the e-mail address provided. Also, do not forget about the regular study of new niches, the analysis of applied training formats, the search for new directions and professional experts.
Successful Online Schools: The 4 Best Examples
Still wondering if online schools can serve as a permanent or additional source of income? The 5 Most Popular Courses On The Internet Will Clear Your Doubts:
1. Udemy gives practical knowledge from the best experts in the world. There are 500,000 students and several courses covering areas such as photography, design, health, art, entrepreneurship, sewing and others.
2. Khan Academy offers more than 3,500 video lessons on journalism, economics, medicine, law and other disciplines. It is suitable for people of all ages and walks of life (from students to business leaders).
3. code academy is an online programming school that offers classes on creating websites, mobile apps, and computer games. There are many trainings and they explain complex things in a simple and easy way.
4. skill share is a dedicated platform that teaches specific skills (entrepreneurship, art, cooking, fashion, design, etc.).
As you can see, starting an online school from scratch is not that complicated. Follow these tips and don’t be afraid to be original. You will definitely succeed!