Working online is a desirable way to make a living — especially in a post-pandemic world. The freedom of schedule and location, the self-fulfillment of working for yourself — there’s so much to love that it’s no wonder why the rise of online education sites like Udemy and Live Lingua are growing.
Teaching online can be the best way to make a living on the internet — and one of the easiest ways to become self-employed. Just one thing — what on earth are you supposed to teach?
The simple answer is to teach what you’re really good at.
We know, that sounds super cliche, but think about it — there’s got to be a skillset that you have which others don’t. And whether or not you realize it yet, others may be willing to pay you to teach them that skillset.
This article is designed to help you identify what it is you’re good enough at to teach to others, and design an outline for building your business plan and putting it into action.
I urge you to stick with the exercise. It’s very long-range but it all ties in together at the end, and you should walk away with a solid idea of how you can move forward.
Identifying your skillset
We’re talking things you’ve done your whole life and have become quite good at — like a passionate hobby. For example, someone who is very dedicated to wood working might describe themselves as “a wood worker.”
Not just someone who has built a marble roller in shop class, but someone for whom crafting things from wood is a major part of their life and as such, it has become part of their identity.
This is what you are eligible to teach to others. While they may be initially attracted to learning from you because of your knowledge and experience, it is your raw passion for this topic that keeps them interested.
That’s what people want. They want to feel the excitement, not be preached at by a teacher. They want to feel like they are becoming part of something.
If you can present that feeling through your website and whatever medium you use to teach — be it YouTube, an online course, a podcast, or even simply a series of articles on your site — you’re off to a great start.
Breaking down your outline and bringing it to life
So you’re ready get the process started.
This is the most important step. Once you’ve identified a passion that others might take value from, it’s time to figure out why you are qualified to teach it and how to go about doing so.
I suggest turning this part into a game. Open a Google Doc or Microsoft Word doc and title it “How I Learned To X.” (“X” being your skill).
The doc will be broken into three sections. First is the “How I Got Started” section. In a bulleted list, write down your process of getting started with this activity.
- How were you introduced?
- What was the first thing you learned?
- What was the first piece of equipment you obtained, and how did you obtain it?
- What was it that made you fall in love with this activity?
- Anything else that comes to mind regarding how you got started and how it became a regular part of your life.
The next section is all about progression. Here you’ll note the concrete steps along the way that took you from being a beginner to being an intermediate and advanced player in this field.
- What pieces of feedback or advice have you received that really stuck with you and made you better?
- At what point did this activity become a regular part of your lifestyle, and what steps did you have to take to incorporate it into your schedule, buy anything necessary to progress, and/or
- Describe the moment when you knew you’d graduated from “beginner” to intermediate. Then, describe the moment you became an expert.
The final section is about this activity’s legacy in your life. You may get a bit more long-form on these answers because this is where the big picture really starts to come in.
At what point did this activity become a “lifestyle” more so than just a hobby
Outlining your lesson bullet points
Now that you have this list in front of you, save it. Back it up on the cloud. And then close your computer for the day.
It’s time to let this sink into the page and into your brain. Your mind is likely reeling, and this is a good point to take a break and let everything settle. If you think of anything super important between now and the next session, jot it down on paper or into a note on your phone.
Ok. Onward to the next session.
This time, we’re going to think forwards instead of backward. In thet same doc, but on a new page, create a section called “The Next Level.”
At this point, I want you to start by noting the next level of progression in your activity. For a skier who is at an advanced level and looking to progress even further, that might be to venture into the realm of backcountry skiing.
Below this, create a bulleted list of the actionable steps it would take you to get there.
- What research do you need to do?
- What equipment/skills do you need?
- How long will it take?
- What else is necessary to get there?
Now that you’re off daydreaming about your favorite activity, we’re going to switch course and go back to square one.
Starting at the top of your document, go through and apply this same line of thought to each step along the way, that took you from a new beginner to the expert you are.
The idea is to apply a progressive method of thinking and growth to each step along the way, and get you thinking about exactly what was needed in each step.
This is what you will be presenting to your students — the actual meat and potatoes of your entire plan. You have all the experience to draw on, which the student doesn’t have, and this is what makes your skill worth money to them.
You are giving them that chance. That’s what they’re paying you for, and that’s how they are going to progress in an efficient, productive manner.
Your list here is likely to get quite long as this is going to be the building block of your lessons, course, or whatever medium you choose to teach through.
Taking your concept forward
Now that you have the completed doc, it’s time to figure out how to go about teaching this material to someone else. This likely will happen through either an online course, a YouTube channel, or a blog monetized with affiliate links. There are many resources out there to help you craft whichever of these you choose to pursue.
By hosting this material on your website, even with a simple embed if it’s through YouTube, you maintain ownership of your project in your domain and can market it as you choose. Pinnacle Themes has many great website themes to serve as your backdrop.
Now that you have a basic plan jotted down, it’s on you to get out there and do it!