7 Rules for Business Success of Online Instructors

7 Rules for Business Success of Online Instructors

Every successful journey starts with a simple first step. Make sure to take one step toward your goal every single day. No matter how far you will get in that day, what matters is, that you will take that one step.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links. When you purchase products or services using these links and I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me make this content free of charge to you. I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used.

Let’s say you will give your goal 5 minutes per day, every single day. It’s more than 30 hours after one year. It’s so little and yet so much.

On Udemy, the course’s length is 2 to 5 hours on average. This means you would be able to deliver 6 to 15 courses per year. One course is sold for $50 on average, with 15 of them, you’ll have a potential value of $750 in your video content.

There are many successful instructors with less than 6 courses in total, yet they make so much money, they can afford to leave their regular day job and make a living with their online business.

All you need is the focus. Make those 5 minutes per day your top priority. I believe every one of us can squeeze 5 minutes out of our busy schedules, even if it means giving something else 5 minutes less.

I want to tell you a short story. I have always loved to learn new things. The problem is I wasn’t able to achieve anything substantial because I have always jumped from one topic to another. After many years of this scattered knowledge of everything and nothing, I finally realized that I need to focus on getting results.

In this short article, I will present you 7 rules for the successful setup of your online entrepreneurship, but the most important of them all is the focus. Focus gives you power. Use it.

1. Start today

Procrastination is your biggest enemy. Please, start today. I mean it. Don’t finish this article with the conclusion, that you will start all this when you have time because you never will. Just make a move today. Grab your phone now and make a note to your calendar.

Start with 5 minutes today. Start with reading this article. That’s all you need to do today but do it. Don’t scroll through it, read it thoroughly.

I know you have time. We all have time. The trick is to prioritize, to make time for things that matter instead of wasting time with things that are unimportant. Skip your favorite TV show tonight, close Facebook app 5 minutes earlier, stop wandering around doing nothing, do something productive instead.

This article can be read in 5 minutes, but there are links to some other tools and services that would take you hours to go through. Whenever you have time, grab your phone or tablet and browse the links provided in this handbook. Learn. The time you invest here will give you tons of new experience. Remember, constant learning gives you the potential to sell what you have learned.

2. Pick your name

Being a successful online instructor means being online. The crucial part of this is your own domain. Domains are very cheap today. You can buy a generic .com domain for $2 per month which is cheaper than most coffees at Starbucks.

Just give up one coffee a month and pay for your domain instead. Remember that you want to build a long-term relationship with your customers. Don’t try to save on wrong things, don’t settle with a third-level domain name. It will only hurt your brand later.

How to pick a great brand name?

Start with research. Don’t fall in love with some great idea only to realize that your name is already taken by someone else. Don’t pick your national domain, because you will regret it when your business outgrows your initial potential market. Go worldwide. A generic .com domain is cheap, yet internationally recognized, so why settle with anything less?

There’s much more to this specific rule. Make sure to read How to Pick the Best Domain Name for Your Blog where I explain everything in more details.

3. Setup a website

Once you have your .com domain registered along with Facebook and Twitter accounts, it’s time to set up your website and then connect it to your domain name. When you set up your online presence you will sooner or later come to the ultimate question.

WordPress or static pages? Believe me, there are a lot of other possible solutions, and you can spend not hours, but months in research, but eventually you will realize it’s either WordPress or static pages. So which one is it? Hard to say, but…

WordPress is a great platform in many aspects, but its strength might be also its weakness. The biggest difference between WordPress and static pages lies deep inside a technological background. While WordPress is a sophisticated interplay between data, application logic and interface (sometimes also referred to MVC or ModelViewController), static pages are exactly what the name suggests, pages without any “moveable parts”.

Let’s take a look at this from 3 main points of view:

1. Ease of use

WordPress is user-friendly, with plugins for almost anything. With static pages you need some knowledge of HTML and how to use your favorite generator, be it Jekyll, Hexo or something else.

2. Security

WordPress community is working hard, yet the logic dictates that you cannot beat the security of something that can’t be altered. Static pages will be always more secure because there is no database to steal, no script to temper with.

3. Cost

You can run WordPress on free hosting but forget about your own domain. You need to pay to use it. With static pages, you’re covered since GitHub, Bitbucket and many others let you use your own domain with their servers free of charge.

I would suggest starting with a simple ready-made Bootstrap static page published on GitHub and later set up WordPress as your business flourishes. However, if you’re ready to jump right in WordPress, I’ll be the last one to tell you otherwise.

Read How to Build a WordPress Blog with SSL & 2FA to make sure that your WordPress blog has everything it needs for great launch including secure certificate and two-factor authentication.

4. Make a strong brand

Strong and easy to recognize brand is another part of the success and your business name will greatly influence it. You can use a professional designer or you can create your brand yourself. I recommend you take it into your own hands in order to have total control.

You don’t want to crawl to your designer asking him to change some curve here and there only to get the answer that he doesn’t have time because he is currently working for this huge company.

I personally suggest using Sketch. It’s an incredible piece of software. I use it for everything from brand to assets for my iOS games. I have total control over my things and if I want to change the color of that guy’s hat I am currently using in campaign, I can do it in few seconds, no matter if it’s morning or midnight. I don’t need to ask anyone or negotiate the price. This is what I call freedom.

Once you have your brand, you will need many different sizes and aspect ratios, so you can place it on your site (where you can control a lot of settings) and social networks (where you can’t control anything). This is where Sketch as vector graphics software really shines. Make your design once and use it over and over in different scenarios.

5. Create quality

Quality will always find its customers. Make an honest product and you will witness wonders. I suggest creating two key products to start with.

Free lead magnet

Make a handbook or a free course. Making something for free doesn’t mean it can be bad. Give it your best, or people will immediately recognize that you want to rip them off. I like Canva because it provides a wide range of free tools for creating really good looking handbooks, but the content is still the king. So make it worthwhile.

Course

The regular full-featured course is where your money is. Give it time and prepare your studio before you begin. You need to invest here. A good microphone is a must. The built-in webcam on most notebooks won’t be enough if you want to have your “talking head” as a part of your presentation.

Also, make a script for every lecture. It looks very unprofessional when you pause all the time to think about the next sentence or jump from one topic to another. Use editing software to cut out all the mistakes and weird sounds.

Once you have your course ready, you need to publish it somewhere. You can use Udemy which is the most popular service out there. Or you can use your own website with the publishing platform.

Basically, you will pay for online presence no matter what choice you make. Publishers like Udemy will take a cut of your sales. Using your own solution means buying some WordPress plugin, quality ones are not for free, obviously.

Udemy will take a 50% cut, but they will force you to create a quality product because they won’t let anything inferior to their system.

They also have a big affiliate network, so they know how to market and sell your course. Another alternative is Skillshare. It works on different principles.

Another approach is on Teachable. I suggest you use them all including your own publishing solution. Start with Udemy, there’s no upfront payment.

6. Get subscribers

You can have the best product on the planet, but if you don’t have anyone to sell it to, it’s worthless. You need to get the attention of potential customers and it’s a hard job. These days we are all bombarded all the time with all sorts of offers.

You don’t win this with brute force. If you spam, it will only lead to losing whoever you initially had. You need to establish a long-term quality relationship with your customers.

The best way to do it is to find out what problems they have and offer them some kind of free solution in exchange for their e-mail address. It’s business as everything else. Real e-mail address they regularly use is worth more than all campaigns on Facebook. But in order to get the real one, you need to offer them something so they don’t give you just a fake address they will create ad-hoc. That something is the lead magnet we already talked about in previous rule.

But how to manage all the e-mails? If you need to ask this question, you are already quite successful. A lot of instructors would kill for this kind of problem since their list is sometimes quite thin.

There are a lot of services, I would recommend MailerLite for its free starter plan. This is great because you don’t need to spend a lot of money upfront. You will, once your business is humming like the well- oiled machine, but not sooner. One last thing here. Don’t hurt your brand, don’t spam.

7. Deliver

Last rule is the most important one. You can have it all prepared, rule by rule and after 3 months you are still reshooting and fine-tuning your first course to be the best. Stop! You need to deliver your product to your customers. Don’t give it more time than it needs.

Move forward. Remember, you don’t have to be the best to be able to teach, it’s enough to be better than your students, so they will get some value from your product.

Also, don’t be afraid that it won’t be flawless, it never will, but it doesn’t matter. You will make a lot of mistakes along this journey, but you know what? That’s great because you will improve. Without mistakes, there’s no room for improvement. I have been there, afraid of failure I didn’t post the test video for review. Instead, I have decided to shoot the whole course about the Swift language. You know what? It wasn’t accepted for poor sound quality. A month’s worth of work was useless. Don’t fall into the same trap.

I am here to help. Make a test video of your course and send it to me. I will tell you how to improve it, free of charge because I want you to be successful.

If you don’t know anything worth teaching, you can still succeed if you really want to. Learn something. There are a lot of courses available for free, take some, learn that skill and once you have it, make your own course. Learn something in order to sell it later.

OK! That’s it. I hope you find these rules useful. I have prepared a special deal for you, three of my popular online course for just a $1 each. Normally I ask 20 times more but since you’ve read this far, I guess you earned this offer 🙂

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Jan Zavrel

Jan is Biohacker, iOS & Web Developer, Author, Teacher, Lifelong Learner, Evernote Certified Consultant. He’s an author of THE SYSTEM2, a unique methodology for Evernote power users, and THE NEW FITNESS: Forty Years Old Dad in Twenty Years Old Body where he explains how to hack your life to live forever. Learn more about his work at jan.zavrel.net.

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