Earning

Teaching an online class made one coach $1,280 in April — here's how to get started

Twenty/20

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Bernadette Joy braced for some financial losses. As a money coach who once paid off $300,000 of debt in three years, her expertise revolves around financial accountability and management. In early March, when Americans started losing their jobs and the economy was generally unstable, Joy wasn't sure if people would be willing to pay for her services. 

But she was pleasantly surprised. 

"We're selling out our [online] class on 'How to crush your money goals,'" she says. "You can look at information [on money] for free on Youtube, but people are willing to pay for it if you show some expertise," she says. In April, she earned $1,280 from the class.

Tori Dunlap, owner of Her First 100k, says she's also had success selling spots for her digital workshops. "I did a 'How to make money online' workshop with a friend in early March, and we sold almost 150 slots at $97 per slot," she says.

As those two experts and others have found, online teaching can be a good way to make money from your home during the pandemic. And if you're thinking, "I have no skills people want to learn about," Joy says, you're probably mistaken.

Here's how to get started teaching an online class, according to people who are doing it successfully. 

Package a skill or knowledge you already have

"One of the easiest skills to translate into making your own money online is to teach what you know," online marketing and business expert Amy Porterfield told Grow

Farnoosh Torabi, host of the "So Money" podcast, says many people have skills that they don't using during their 9-to-5 job, that others would be willing to pay to learn about. "There's two ways you can make money: You can make money from what you do, which is on your business card or on your LinkedIn page profile, and then there's a way to make money from what you know," she told Grow

Many people are using the pandemic to try to accomplish tasks they've always wanted to do but never felt they had the time for. Christine Kendall, 30, lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and says she's indulged in a few classes since she began working from home, including an $8-per-month Pilates class membership.

Her justification is that she wasn't to be "physically, spiritually, and financially better once we return to normal."

VIDEO2:2202:22
The biggest money lesson Farnoosh Torabi learned from her podcast

Video by Courtney Stith

Scour the internet for ideas, Joy suggests, to see what else is out there and what people are willing to pay for. Once you find something you think you can teach, assess the competition.

"I would scope out what other ways people are learning about this topic and figure out what your signature differentiation will be," she says. That research will also help you set prices in line with what others are charging.

Don't be afraid to get creative with your offerings: "I've been seeing some crazy random classes, like 'How to create a cheese board,' yet people are paying $20 for that," Joy says. 

I've been seeing some crazy random classes, like 'How to create a cheese board,' yet people are paying $20 for that.
Bernadette Joy
Money coach

Find the right platform 

There are many platforms where you can teach online classes. Most take a percentage of your revenue. Teachers on Udemy, for example, often charge between $20 and $200 per course, and Udemy takes a cut of the earnings ranging from 3% to 75%, depending on how students find the class. 

Joy says she uses SkillPop, with whom she has a contract, to create her classes. She gets a percentage of the $20 per person the platform charges. "SkillPop is easy to work with and they do much of the marketing for you," she says. "I just have to show up to teach the class, they take care of all the logistics."

You can also charge for classes or events on Facebook Live. For example, Danira Cancinos used Facebook Live to build an online course demonstrating how to make and package caramel apples. In 2019, she taught the course twice to 633 students, and grossed $126,400. 

Kendall says she's found many of her classes through Facebook and Instagram ads, many of which she used to ignore, but now she wants to "give them a second chance." 

"Honestly I'm thankful for these resources, as they have made my time indoors productive and more meaningful," she says. 

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