Now that the world is accustomed to remote learning, education will remain a massive opportunity for engaging customers – and upskilling yourself. Get clever: monetize all of your skills, and use knowledge to add value to your product by teaching your skills online.
1. During lockdown, learning became something we had time for… and something to keep us productively distracted. To fill the void of human interaction, virtual classes, workshops, and tutorials emerged as spaces for engagement.
2. For small businesses that could never afford the cost of physical events, the virtual space has levelled the playing field for knowledge sharing and teaching skills online, and the communities that form around this.
3. The innate skills and talents you’ve developed for your business now have value for your brand. Your know-how can be monetized, creating an additional income stream – or an engagement strategy that will grow your business over time.
4. Sharing knowledge through teaching online courses is an opportunity to put a face to your brand, and showcase the human beings behind it. Your sparkling personality is an asset you can put to use.
5. Adding value includes maintaining, repairing, and optimizing the products we buy. There are opportunities to teach your customers about this via online upskilling; going beyond the quick sell, and realizing that when cash is strapped, longevity is a priority.
6. While you consider the knowledge you can share, realize that this new world presents boundless opportunities for you to gather skills that make you more empowered, and self-sufficient.
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Thirst for Knowledge
The combination of time to kill and constant anxiety made self-improvement an ideal past-time in 2020. Calligraphy, Portuguese, Thai cooking, kombucha brewing, puppy training… we could use all this downtime to improve our lives amidst the chaos through online upskilling. With the world in limbo, the decision to bet on your future self is perhaps an expression of optimism.
The surge of skill sharing was more than just a gap-filler. Online learning made us aware of how easy it can be to grasp a new skill in your ‘jammies, and how we often prefer the ease and accessibility of learning informally: learning Japanese from a tutor on Tik-Tok is so much less daunting than signing up for weekly lessons at the community center.
Home Ground Advantage
All of a sudden, it’s possible to attend a convention in London with a rockstar speaker, from your living room. You can spend exactly 45 minutes doing a yoga class on your lunch break, without the added hour it usually takes to get changed, fight traffic both ways, and arrive early to get a spot. It’s… better this way.
And of course, you get to choose any teacher in the world to guide you, not just the one nearest to you. Serena Williams is literally on standby to improve your ground strokes right now. If the world’s greatest tennis player is side-hustling with online teaching gigs in this economy, you should probably think about it too.
Skills to Pay the Bills
Soon after real-life lessons went virtual, businesses disconnected from their regular customers made innovative attempts to reach us in our homes, and keep things turning over: chefs out of work hosted virtual cooking classes, make-up artists with cancelled shoots shared their trade secrets on YouTube, and guitarists without gigs taught scales and licks via Zoom.
Many of these new ideas emerged out of necessity, but they persist as opportunities to expand your marketing arsenal with sought after content – a surefire strategy for growing and engaging your customer base. In the best- case scenario, workshops, tutorials, e-books, or a YouTube channel could become additional income streams in 2021.
A lesson of some sort can also serve as an introduction to your product: watercolor techniques from an art supply shop, or apartment gardening tips from a nursery selling seedlings and pots. There is almost certainly something you know better than most people, and there is an equal likelihood that somebody out there wants to learn more about it.
Teaching, in some form or another, is also a great way to humanize your brand. Putting the people behind your business front and center can have a positive effect on brand sentiment. Your nervous smile, interesting accent, or dry humor might be more of an asset than you realize. In the world of social media, we all know that personality really counts for a lot. Oh, and we’re using our phones, in our hands, in our kitchens now. Cameras on tripods in studios is very 2019.
Sharing knowledge also boosts credibility in your category. Faced with a choice of service providers, those who clearly – and frequently – demonstrate deep understanding, stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Never underestimate how compelling the inherent passion you have for your craft or line of work can be to a new customer. If you really do love what you do, let your passion override your fear in 2021, and just try stuff out. Open up that front-facing camera, get in front of your customers, and talk from the heart. We love that.
You might well find that a virtual class focused on a specific topic serves as a magnet for like-minded people. Creating activities related to your business – embroidery workshops, home maintenance classes, reading circles – will invariably draw together a range of humans united by a common purpose, or passion. Facilitating this kind of online learning is fertile ground for building a community around your brand.
Folks who take the time out to actively engage in your world, to listen to your podcasts and watch your videos; the ones who ask questions, and request topics for upcoming talks… these are the ideal customers. Their expression of interest is undeniable, and authentic. In return for the value you’re offering them by teaching them a skill online, you’re adding value to your business by engaging meaningfully with the right kind of customer, gaining insights into their behavior, priorities, and needs.
The Repair Revolution
What you teach or discuss on your platform can also be an expression of ethos. For example, 2020 saw an exponential rise in mending and home repairs as a hobby, and with it all the online tutorials to guide us. I guess we all finally had the time to darn our socks.
But this trend obviously goes much deeper: we’re experiencing a global rewiring of priorities. With almost everybody coming up against financial stress in 2020, we’re rethinking fast fashion, and cheap ‘n easy consumerism. ‘Built to last’, and ‘lifetime guarantee’ are the words we want whispered in our ears. And if it breaks, well then, we’d do well to repair it, rather than buy a new one. We’re wearing patches with pride in 2021.
Mending, repairing, maintaining, optimizing, and customizing are great avenues to explore for teachable content, and align well with the prevailing mindset. Keeping people engaged with your product, and adding to its value, uniqueness, and longevity, is a brilliant long-term strategy. In 2021, consumers are going to be more discerning – for the sake of their slimmer wallets, and this beautiful planet we keep piling up with junk.
Whether it’s to add an extra revenue stream, emerge as a pro in your category, create engaging content, or add long-term value to your product, teaching an online course is undoubtedly a strategy to grow your small business this year.
But so is learning. In a world where just about all knowledge is knowable with the relevant link, why not learn as much as you can about growing a small business? Aside from fueling your business acumen, there are practical skills that you could develop via online learning – like graphic design, branding, social media marketing, content creation, photo editing, website building, e-commerce, SEO strategy – and save a small fortune.
Don’t allow yourself to be bamboozled or befuddled. The more you know, the more you begin to take control of your own destiny. Lean, resourceful, and empowered is the order of the day.
3 Things You Can Do Today
1. Take an audit of the skills you have. What do you do really well, or in a unique way? Could you break this down into a series of teachable moments?
2. Host a short online workshop or class. Start small and informal, but focus on a practical outcome for the viewer. Consider where you could add value to your product by offering ongoing support to maintain it.
3. Learn more about online marketing, and amplify your brand’s voice out there in the wild. It’s changing all the time and needs ongoing knowledge. Design, copywriting, SEO, social strategy, website building. Take these services in-house; empower yourself and save money.
Find all of these templates – and thousands more – in Over. Make them your own with customized colors, fonts, and graphics, and take your brand to the next level in 2021. This is the year it happens!