The potential for online education is finally being tapped by small businesses. An increasing number of companies and entrepreneurs are offering online classes in their field of expertise to current clients and possible future clients. And why not? The online environment is a great way for students to learn, it offers unmatched flexibility for instructors, and it’s another way to generate revenue.
There is a lot of work involved in building an online class from the ground up. It’s a lengthy process, and it takes someone with the true heart and determination of a teacher to be able to distill all of their knowledge down into lessons and convey it to students so that they’ll learn and understand it. What’s more, there are lots of things to consider before you launch an online course (and that’s a topic we’ve covered in this space before. Still, offering an online course comes with a slew of benefits.
You get the income stream from the class, naturally; students pay a fee to enroll, and that money goes right to you. But there are more advantages to creating and teaching an online class than just the money you’ll make. Here are six benefits of offering an online course.
- More interaction with more people.
When you run a small business, you’re regularly engaging with clients, but when you have an online class, you’re engaging with anyone who wants to learn what you’re teaching. It’s an especially good strategy for developing your company’s network outside of your geographic region.
- You’ll strengthen relationships with contacts and clients.
The bonds you share with professional colleagues and clients are probably quality ones, but the relationships you’ll develop with individuals who are your students will likely be stronger. That’s because the relationship between company and client is largely one sided: the client pays for a product or service, the company delivers it, and the interaction is over. On the other hand, the student-teacher bond is one of give and take: the student benefits from what the teacher has to offer, and the teacher takes pride in watching students grow in their confidence and abilities. What’s more, a student-teacher relationship rarely ends when the class is done.
- You’re empowering your clients.
There may be some concern from businesses offering online classes that their clients will take the classes and no longer need their services. However, that’s not generally what happens. Instead of persuading your clients to take matters into their own hands and leave you behind, you help them understand the ins and outs of what you do. This facilitates better communication during meetings with clients and keeps expectations on both sides reasonable and realistic.
- Your brand gets a boost.
Actually, we should qualify this statement: your brand gets a boost if you offer a quality course. Students will associate that high quality with your business and your brand, which translates to better customer loyalty and, hopefully, a better bottom line.
- You’re not bound by the calendar or clock.
Your schedule is probably pretty full. You work, you spend time with loved ones, and you need to sleep at some point. Showing up to teach a class on a regular basis is just one more thing for you to do. However, when your course is online, you’re not committed to being somewhere at a specific place and time. (Well, unless you choose to hold synchronous class meetings, but many instructors of online courses do not.)
- You’ll improve your own skill set.
It’s often said that if you really want to learn something, you should teach it to someone else. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn when you’re in a teaching role. In addition to learning all the education-specific things like writing lesson plans and assessing students, you’ll vastly improve your knowledge of whatever subject you’re teaching. The process of breaking down something you think you know well into individual lessons is an eye opening one; you realize new connections and identify nuances you never noticed before. All of this new insight can of course be passed along to your students.
What Can You Teach?
Now is the time to think about building an online course! Consider the marketable skills that you have: what are you regularly teaching people on the fly? Which skills will translate well to an online course? Again, putting together an online class is a lot of work, but the benefits are tremendous. Let us help you get your online course up and running, so you can reap these benefits soon.