Everybody knows something that they can teach to other people. Depending on the information you have, some people might pay quite a bit of money to learn from you. The best part to all of this is you can do this on the Internet.
A lot of people teach math and English through their web camera and their computer. Others would take video footage of them explaining certain steps or concepts and people would pay to access those videos. Others would write a set of instructions and students would pay to read those materials.
There are just so many variations to this. The bottom line is if you have information that people want, they would want to learn from you.
Online tutoring doesn’t necessarily have to mean you have to reserve a block of your time to tutor somebody one to one on Google Hangouts or Skype. You can pre-record or you can write materials so people can learn from you through these documents.
Why would People Pay for Your Information?
Everybody has their own set of skills, experiences, and core competencies. The more you do something, the better you get at it. Also, the more you do something over an extended period, the more you will anticipate problems. You are also more likely to do things faster, cheaper, and better than other people who are not as experienced as you.
For example, if somebody is building a house as a do-it-yourself project, that person is probably going to take a long time if he or she is not a professional carpenter. On the other hand, if that person is a professional construction worker and works on houses all day every day, he or she would probably put up his or her house fairly quickly. At the very least, he or she would work faster than somebody who’s just doing construction work on the weekend when they have time.
Anything that you do repeatedly over an extended period can be something that you can teach to other people. Chances are you know how to do the right things at the right time to produce the right results without taking too much time.
People are always looking to save money and time. As you probably already know, time is money. So, if you have a way of doing things more efficiently, people may want to know that information and pay you to learn from you.
What Kind of Information can You Sell through Online Coaching and Online Education Platforms?
This is the key question that you need to focus on. Not all skill sets are valued equally by the market.
If, for example, you know how to do basic mathematics very well, chances are your market is going to be quite saturated. Why? A lot of kids are already going to school. There are already a lot of materials out there for basic mathematics.
Also, a lot of people are exposed to basic mathematics already. Your only advantage in that situation is if you have come up with a better way to teach people basic math. However, if you’re just going to go by what you know, you probably are not going to go far because what you offer is readily available.
What are the factors that would determine how valuable your skill or information set can be?
Generally speaking, if most people do not have your skill set or experience with certain topics, whatever you have to offer tends to be more expensive. People are more likely to seek you out because there are not that many of you out there. The fact that you are one of the few people who know this information means that you can charge a bit more to teach others.
Generally speaking, the more specialized the information you have, the more money people would pay to learn from you. This means that there are few other people who teach that information you know on the Internet.
Your skill set requires a lot of time and/or money to acquire. Law professors are paid a certain amount because it takes a long time to get a law degree and to pass the bar exam. Not anybody who went to law school can pass the bar exam. Depending on the state or jurisdiction you live in, the bar exam can be very difficult. It’s not uncommon for over half the takers of the bar exam to fail.
Since it takes quite a bit of preparation as well as expensive schooling to pick up legal skills, legal instruction is more expensive than other types of instructions. The same applies to medical school.
Look into how expensive it would be for other people to pick up your skill set. If you have a skill set that is very easy to pick up, maybe people just need to read the right books or put in a week or two of preparation, you probably would not to be able to charge as much money as more “expensive” types of knowledge.
Another key factor in determining whether you have a skill set or knowledge base that people would demand depends on the distribution of that demand. If the stuff you know is only in demand in your town, you probably are not going to do well when you put up an online seminar, webinar, or a set of YouTube videos for on the Internet. That wouldn’t make any sense because the demand for whatever it is you are offering is already located in your town.
On the other hand, if your skill set or knowledge base is in demand from all four corners of the globe, then you’re in a better position. You can use the platforms that I’m going to talk about later in this article, or you can set up your own specialized site.
However way you want to do it, people can sign up to take online courses with you, and you can make money from your students. This is because whatever you are teaching has a global appeal. It’s not just restricted to your town, state, or region.
What You’re Offering can be Taught on the Internet
There are certain skill sets that really cannot to be taught outside of a physical classroom. For example, if you are teaching a student how to perform a specialized type of surgery, this can only be done during an actual surgery. Also, if they are going to be participating, they normally have to be physically present. I know that there is such a technology as robotic or remote surgery, but in the medical school setting, generally speaking, students have to be physically present.
You have to look at the skill set that you’re trying to teach and ask yourself if you can only teach it on a one-to-one, face-to-face, person-to-person basis. If that’s the case, for example, you’re teaching people how to do certain types of carpentry that requires you to guide them to really feel out the material, you’re going to have a problem migrating or translating that information to an online instructional platform.
On the other hand, if your skill set involves generating traffic from Google or setting up successful blogs so people can make a passive income, you can easily do that on the Internet. You can shoot videos. You can write books and booklets. You can set up worksheets and upload all of that to the Internet.
People then access it, downloaded it, and act on your instructions. If people do that, they can benefit from your knowledge. You don’t necessarily have to be there and look over their shoulder.
Some Common Myths about Making Money as an Online Tutor, Life Coach, or Online Instructor
There are many misconceptions regarding this form of making money online. Before I dig into the step-by-step process of how you can set yourself up to earn online as a tutor, instructor, coach, or some sort of teacher, we need to get these misconceptions and myths out of the way. If you believe them or somehow are influenced by them, there is a good chance that you probably will fail with your online instruction business.
Myth #1: Online teaching and information-based businesses are hobbies or sidelines
One of the most common reasons people fail with this method of making money online lies in their attitude. They think that since they are sharing something that they know like the back of their hands that this is not really serious. This is more like a hobby. They feel like they’re just doing their friends a favor and setting up this website is just really an extension of their personal friend and family network. They have the impression that this is just something that they do on the side on a completely casual basis.
If this is your attitude, you’re not going to give this money-making method the type of attention to detail and focus it needs to succeed. You would easily kick the can down the road when it comes to major improvements or, even worse, simply getting down into writing or into video form whatever specialized knowledge you have. You’re saying to yourself, “Well, everything can wait because this is not really serious.”
Here is the secret to success. With any kind of online income source: treat it like a business.
When you have a business, you set up timelines. When you have a business, you stick to the timelines and you invest in your business. When you have a business, you set up goals and you fine-tune whatever it is you are doing until those goals materialize. In other words, you play for keeps when you view whatever it is you are doing as a business.
On the other hand, if you think that this is all a hobby, then it’s going to be very low on your priority list. You know that you would like to earn extra money on the side but you just have so many other things going on so you put everything on the backburner. You say to yourself, “Well, tomorrow I’ll have more time, and I will be able to put this up, and I will get a nice sideline income.”
If only things worked out that way because here’s the secret: tomorrow never comes. I can guarantee you that there will always be something more important or pressing when the time comes for you to invest time in your online teaching project.
Treat it like a business. Stick to the deadline. Hold yourself accountable. Most importantly, invest in your business.
I’m not just talking about money. That’s absolutely crucial. You’re going to have to get a subscription to a teaching platform. You have to get a domain name. You have to get a website going. The whole nine yards.
As important as all these are, I’m talking about something more. I’m talking about an investment of your time. This has to be high priority. Otherwise, forget it. Seriously. As the old saying goes, “You either go big or you go home.” This is not one of those “tiny things” that you put on your to-do list. This is a big project and you have to treat it as such.
Myth #2: You have to be some excellent speaker or have a professional media persona to teach others
When you go to YouTube and check out a lot of instructional videos, it’s very easy to get the impression that you must have some sort of media savvy or a media “look” to you. A lot of these people are very polished. They are well-spoken. They are quite articulate. They seem to be bubbling over with personality.
Please understand that there’s a big difference between substance and presentation. If people are truly interested in what you have to say, they will put with a certain degree of roughness or lack of polish.
Maybe you don’t convey emotions all that well with your voice. Perhaps you speak in a very passive way. Possibly, you shot your videos with uneven sound. Perhaps the video quality of your work is too fuzzy or needs quite a bit of editing.
People would put up with this, believe it or not, because at the end of the day, they’re looking for information. As long as you don’t completely drop the ball and shoot your videos with a potato where the audio is really garbled and people could barely figure out if it’s a human being speaking, you should be okay.
Of course, you still have to invest in your business, and this means sticking to a minimum video recording and audio quality. In other words, you should buy the right low-level equipment at least. But don’t think for a second that unless you have a professional studio or you look like Brad Pitt or the early evening news anchor in your city that you have no shot as an online tutor, coach, or webinar instructor.
Focus on a minimum level of professionalism. If you’re going to shoot videos of yourself speaking to a camera, look presentable. Wear a clean shirt, get a haircut. If you’re female, apply decent makeup. Look presentable. People aren’t expecting completely flawless quality.
A Little Bit of Authenticity Goes a Long Way
In fact, if your videos are a little rough around the edges and it’s obvious that you’re basically doing everything on your own, this might actually draw more people to you. A lot of people are actually sick of slick productions that are overly glossy and just seemingly “too perfect.”
If your videos are obviously self-made but have a decent-enough quality level, people might flock to you. They would say that you’re the real deal. A bit of authenticity in a lot of competitive information markets is very desirable. Use it as an asset, but don’t go overboard. At the very least, don’t make it a chore for people to make sense of your video, audio, or other materials.
This applies to writing as well. People aren’t looking for extremely tight flawless text. As long as the information is clear and your grammar mistakes are manageable, you should be okay. Again, some flaws here and there actually highlight the authenticity and “real” feel of your materials.
Myth #3: Online teaching takes a long time
One of the biggest misconceptions about becoming an online tutor or teaching people through webinars or printed materials involves time. A lot of people are under the impression that for you to teach anybody, you basically have to record all these materials in one sitting and edit it together. This, of course, would take a lot of time and, for many people who are busy and have full-time jobs and families to take care of, seem close to impossible.
The good news is since you are going to be recording these materials once and then broadcasting it to your paying audience, you can record your lessons piecemeal. You don’t have to do it all at once. You don’t have to set a date and just get all you recording done within a week. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can start by recording bits and pieces of information. Once you have enough to work with, you can launch your course. Once people engage with your materials and send you feedback, you can then record other materials. Even with your main course itself, you can record it at different times.
As long as you have a clear timeline, you can give yourself a lot of slack when it comes to recording schedule. You don’t have to do it all at once. This relieves a lot of pressure and it’s more likely to push you to produce your best work.
Myth #4: You have to teach people in real time for you to be an online tutor or teacher
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One of the biggest problems people have with online tutoring involves definitions. For you to be a tutor, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to interact in real time with your student. You can set up videos where you cover basic concepts and anticipate questions that they may have and pre-record those materials. They then access these videos and resources at their convenience. If they have any questions, they can email you.
Usually, when people think of tutoring, they think of somebody who shows up at Google Hangouts at a designated appointment time. That’s definitely one way to tutor somebody, but you can use pre-recorded materials to teach people and then later on, once they’ve gone through your materials, you can schedule one-to-one face time. This way, you don’t have to cover the stuff that you have already presented in your videos.
Instead, the one-to-one consultation or coaching will focus on questions that they may have about your materials. It may involve feedback. That is more useful than just simply you teaching people in real time face to face the same stuff over and over again. It’s very easy for you to burn and it’s really a very inefficient way to teach people.
In fact, you’re doing them a big favor because when you pre-record your lessons, you can lower the price of your course. You record once but your materials are viewed many times over so you can afford to lower the price of their viewing. If they wanted to talk with you one to one over Skype, then you can charge your consulting rate. This is the best of both worlds.
Get the idea out of your head that to be an effective tutor or coach, you have to interact with people on a real-time one-to-one basis. You’re just going to burn yourself out if you do that.
Myth #5: The market is too saturated for new tutors or online teachers to make good money
A lot of people are under the impression that just because the niche that their personal knowledge falls under is already well covered in places like Udemy or there are specialized online webinars and schools focused on that niche category that they have no chance.
This is the worst thing that you can choose to believe in. That’s like Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, saying to himself that since there are already world records and there are a lot of people already competing, there is really no space for a new player in that sport. That doesn’t make any sense.
When you look at the world of online information products, there are just so many ways new people can compete. Maybe they have new methods. Perhaps they have a better way of breaking down otherwise confusing or complicated concepts and communicating this clearly to others for quicker and faster comprehension. Possibly, they have new ideas. Maybe they can combine a lot of old ideas and present them in a fresh, engaging way. Perhaps they just have a very interesting personality.
There are just so many variations to this, and that’s why it doesn’t make any sense for you to say that just because there are a lot of people teaching in your niche, it is off-limits to you. Maybe the students and the audience in that market are simply waiting for the right person to show up.
Let’s put it this way. Before the Apple iPhone launched, there were already many handheld devices. That gadget was not exactly new. The same goes with mobile phones. However, when the Apple iPhone arrived at the market, it blew away everybody, and it just totally revolutionized the market. It reinvented it.
Whatever it is you have to offer might be a step towards such a change in your industry or niche. Don’t think that just because you’re somebody who nobody has heard of that you have absolutely nothing to contribute.
Myth #6: You have to start out big
One of the most paralyzing and discouraging ideas regarding putting up online tutoring materials and webinars is that you have to start out big. This means pouring tens of thousands of dollars in expensive videos and plugging them into very fancy platforms. This also means investing a tremendous amount of capital in polishing your product so your materials produce a Hollywood level-type of showbiz quality.
What if I told you that you don’t have to do all that? In fact, you can start so low-scale that your initial instructional base can be free. No joke. Seriously.
You can invest your time in writing a series of scripts and then you can either record these videos directly, or you can hire voice-over talent with slideshows. You can also hire video spokespersons. There are places like Fiverr and Upwork where you can easily outsource this type of work for an affordable rate.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg. If you have a non-existent budget, you can just do it yourself. You can practice your presentation several times until you’re completely comfortable and then record.
You can set up a series of YouTube videos and then promote them. Once enough people email you for consultation or for the latest installment in the series, that’s when you can charge money.
You don’t have to start with a very expensive website, fancy programming, or a specialized piece of software. You can just start with free stuff like your voice, your time, and your willingness to improve your work.
There are lots of free platforms out there. You can set up a free blog at WordPress.com. Uploading videos to YouTube and setting up your channel are free. Accessing people who may be interested in your niche can easily be done for free thanks to Facebook Groups and Facebook page. You can also tap into Twitter and YouTube channels. There are just so many ways you can set up your online recorded information business without having to spend a tremendous amount of cash.
How to Get Started with an Online Recorded Information Business
Follow this step-by-step recipe for video or audio recorded information business success. This information is based on my own personal experience. There are a lot of self-proclaimed online income gurus out there that will try to convince you to follow other steps. The steps below are based on the things that I know that work. This is based on actual experience.
Step #1: Focus on a specialty
Even if you were starting in a very saturated and big niche like online dating, you can still find a sub-niche.
When you establish a sub-niche specialty, you stand out from the rest of the crowd. They all want to sell the same product to the same people and guess what? People have had enough. If whatever you’re offering is not much different from what somebody else has offered them before, they’re not going to be interested. You’re just another face in the crowd.
Stand out by being a sub-specialist
Taking the online dating example, what sub-niche in that larger niche would work for you? For example, if your personal knowledge is focused on attracting people in an outdoor concert setting, that could be a nice sub-niche. The dynamics there are different than when you’re trying to attract a member of the opposite sex in a work setting or in a kind of enclosed area like a café.
Focus on your sub-specialty. Start small. The secret here is to be an inch wide but ten miles deep. When people get the impression that you really know what you’re talking about within that specialized sub-setting, you can then slowly expand out because, let’s face it, a lot of the things that you know can actually be applied more broadly, but you cannot start too broad.
Instead, start out as a niche specialist and then branch out. That way, you build up your credibility and your brand, and then you can build on it.
Step #2: Set up a content plan
I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s very easy to think that you know everything there is to know about your area of expertise. Great. Perfect. But that’s not going to put food on the table. You have to be able to slice and dice it in a clear and logical way so you can talk about specific topics in a non-rambling way.
You can’t teach people by referencing the fact that you already know this stuff. That’s not going to help them. You have to hold them by the hand and walk them through a concept. This is going to be very hard to do unless you pick apart larger concepts into bite-sized species so you can explain them better.
The best way to do this is to come up with a content plan where you take concepts, divide them, and then schedule them. You talk about the concept and then look at what you have recorded, and see if the bits and pieces are different enough from each other.
Next, you may want to deepen what you’re talking about so you can offer more value. After several takes, you can come up with a recording that you can be happy with because it thoroughly covers what you want to talk about.
Step #3: Stick to your production plan
As I mentioned above, you don’t have to record everything all at once. You can do things in bits and pieces. What’s important is you record on time.
So, if you set up a recording schedule, stick to that schedule. This pushes you to produce content on a consistent basis. This also trains you to look at what you’re doing as a business instead of just something that you do on the side or something that you will get to when you have the time.
By setting up a schedule, you also put pressure on yourself to record with increasing levels of quality. This also applies to written work.
Step #4: Constantly do quality control
A lot of people misunderstand this step. They think that you basically record something, and you nitpick it, and then you re-record again. No. If you do things that way whether with video, audio, or written work, you’re not going to do much of anything. You’re basically just second-guessing yourself all the time and nothing gets done.
Instead, allow yourself to record materials or get stuff down in writing, and then budget a day or half a day to just go through the quality. You have to strike a deal with yourself where you will only step in and redo stuff or drastically edit materials if you have completely dropped the ball. In other words, rework stuff only if you have completely screwed up.
Step #5: Find areas on the Internet where people talk about your topics
I have some great news for you. Whatever it is you are specialized in, there are already people talking about it.
One of the best ways you can ensure success for your future recorded information business is to find these places and hang out there. This can mean hashtags on Twitter or this can mean channels on YouTube or sub-Reddits on Reddit or specialized forums. This can also mean Facebook Groups.
Spend a lot of time and basically let people know that you know what you’re talking about. Answer people’s questions. Give them information freely.
Before you know it, you become credible so when the time comes where you are actually launching your recorded information course or video seminar, people would be able to trust you. People would get the impression that you know what you’re talking about. You’re not just selling somebody else’s product.
Also, when you become active in these places, you get important feedback, which can help you make better decisions as to the platforms that you’re going to use for your business and how to better address the needs of people looking for the information you offer.
Step #6: Pick out a platform
Depending on your budget, pick out the platform you’re going to use to present your information
When I started out, I didn’t have any money so I just used free platforms like Blogger.com and YouTube. If you have some cash, you can put up your own website and then get people to view your videos from a restricted section.
Similarly, if you don’t have much of a budget, you can put all your videos and written materials on Udemy. There are other webinar platforms out there.
The key is to pick a platform that best fits your resources. Later on, you can scale up. Your course could become a hit on Udemy and later on you can upsell people to go to your own dedicated website. You can make more money from your webinar there. The key is just to get started based on the resources you have at hand.
Step #7: Promote your information business with free information
A lot of the successful video information courses, online tutoring, and coaching courses that I have checked out in the past have one thing in common. They actually share a lot more valuable information in the free content that they use to promote their paid content.
You should use the same approach because when people see that what you say for free is actually valuable, you get their attention. This is what gets them to commit to watching your paid stuff. If your free stuff is so legit, then your paid stuff is going to be equally legit. Do you see the logic? Good. Do the same.
Don’t Obsess about Making a Tremendous Amount of Money Now
One of the most common mistakes that I notice is that a lot of online course entrepreneurs want the full price of their course up front.
Let’s be honest. You probably would want to charge $400 to $500 to even $1000 for your course. Who wouldn’t?
But here’s the problem. Insisting on that much money up front is the kiss of death for your course.
It’s much better to offer free information and get people to sign up on your mailing list and then buy access to your courses on a piecemeal basis. There are many lists out there that have long-term list members who pay throughout a lifetime of their membership on that list thousands of dollars. Think long term. Don’t expect a big payout. Get rid of your one-time, big-time mindset.
Focus on sharing your information. If you can help other people, believe me, people would want to pay for that information as long as it’s not saturated and it’s not so basic that people could usually figure it out. Also, as long as it’s the type of information that people all over the Internet can be interested in, it’s fair game.
The Final Word on Making Money With Online Webinars and Courses
Don’t worry about the fact that you’re not a professional presenter or you don’t have the “look” for online presentations. There are so many ways you can make money off the information you have to share.