I'm Starting an Online Education Business - Where Do I Start?!

It's easy to get stuck, bewildered by the volume of information out there, or to go down a rabbit hole, focusing on just one area of your business. 

We've created a simple checklist for you, to help you start with confidence. Almost all of these steps can be completed in an hour or less, without spending a penny.

Getting Started Checklist.pdf

While it's good to be calm and measured, it's also important to get moving!
Many businesses have stalled and failed while their owners are cooped up behind a desk, planning for the day they'll finally launch. If you want to get some virtual bums on virtual seats, you need to take action.

Look at the checklist, and cross off anything you've done already. Then go back to the start and fill in the gaps. The steps are in order, so start at the top, and work your way down.
Below, I'll include a list of useful links and articles to help you finish each step:

My school / business has a name

Check out our article What Should I Name My Business?

 I have a logo

Check out our article Do I Need a Logo?

 I have a website

Set up a free site today. It just needs to be a basic brochure page

For complete beginners, Jimdo and Wix are good options.
They both have free plans, and you can set up a simple site within 30min. Remember, you just need something in place; you can always improve it later.

Here is a free sample pages I created to give you some inspiration:

 I have a facebook page

Hubspot have this fantastic tutorial article that should help you

 I have a profile image

It's a really simple step, but so many people either miss this or get it wrong!
We have this great article on how to take a nice, professional headshot you can use as a profile picture.

I've decided on my pricing structure

This is a big one, and really depends on your market, your overheads, and most importantly, what people will pay!
Some simple things to consider are:

  • Is it realistic? What do your competitors charge?
  • Can you offer some free or discounted classes as an incentive to sign up?
  • Do you have some easy-to-understand options for customers to choose from?
  • Is it sustainable? Will you be able to keep offering these prices or will you need to increase over time?

I have a way to deliver my classes

There are a variety of online teaching platforms you can use, depending on your needs.

  • LearnCube* is great for 1:1 classes and small groups. It has been designed specifically for education, and you can brand it with your own logo and colours. The platform works in-browser so no downloads are required.
    You can sign up for a free 14-day trial of the Virtual Classroom Pro here.
    Plans start at $14 per month and there is a free option available too. The free version allows 1:1 classes only, but the classroom tools are the same.
  • Zoom is ideal for larger class sizes and lecture-style teaching.
    The screen share feature is easy to use, and most people are familiar with it. You'll need to download the app to use all the features.
    You can see the plans and sign up here.
    Plans start at $14.99 per month and there is a free option. The free option has a time limit on meetings of 40min for groups and 30min for 1:1 classes.
  • Google Meet is more basic, but easy to use. Like LearnCube, it doesn't require any downloads to use.
    If you have a Google account, you already have the free version of Meet. You can see the pricing plans and sign up here.
    Plans start at $9.99 per month. The free version has fewer features and a 60min time limit on group classes.

I have a way to book my classes

There are a variety of booking and scheduling services out there. At first, I strongly recommend using a free option. There's no need to increase your overheads until you have some volume and the admin work starts to get a bit too much.

  • Google Calendar is a good option if you already have a google account. You can add meetings with links to your classroom, and it's easy to add new bookings. The bookings will have to be managed by you, not by your students.
    If you have a Google account, you already have the free version of the calendar.
    You can sign up here.
    There is a paid version, but you're unlikely to need those features, particularly when starting out.
  • Calendly is a fantastic booking app. Your students can choose a time from your calendar to book classes, and you can customise reminders, confirmation emails, and more.
    Calendly integrates with most online calendars and is easy to use with platforms like Zoom and LearnCube
    You can sign up here.
    Plans start at $8 per month, but the free option has everything you need to get started.
  • When your business is a little more established, you may consider an all-in-one platform such as LearnCube's Online School Lite*, which has student accounts, bookings, payments, reporting, and more, all in one platform.
    You can sign up here.
    There is a setup fee of $250 and plans start at $25 per month after that.

I have a way to get paid

Of course, if you're starting a teaching business, you'll want to get paid! There are a variety of different ways to accept payments, from cash in the post to bank transfers, but the most common and reliable ways to receive online payments are Stripe and PayPal.

Both of these services charge transaction fees, but they are free to sign up to. I recommend having both options so that you can offer students alternative payment methods if one option doesn't work for them.

It's important to check that Stripe and/or PayPal are available in your location, as though they are the two main contenders, they aren't available worldwide yet.

I've identified some places to look for students

It's really important to narrow down your search so that you can spend your time effectively. We've created a niche finder brainstorming exercise, which you can find in this article - What's My Niche?
It's in the "first five students" section, but can be a useful exercise at any stage in your business.

I've advertised my classes

There are a lot of ways to do this, depending on what stage you're at. Advertising and marketing never really stops, but what's important here is that you start! You could try:

  • Posting about your classes on social media
  • Spreading the word amongst friends and family
  • Paying for some facebook or google ads
  • Creating some physical flyers or posters (lots of people overlook this, but it can really help!)

 I got my first student!

Congratulations - you're on your way!

 I got my first five students!

Great work - another milestone hit!

I got my first ten students!

Now we're really cooking!

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