After launching my company four years ago, I started to get messages from aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to turn their ideas or talents into a profitable business. I found great joy sharing my lessons learned through Headbands of Hope to help entrepreneurs with business ideas I believed in. However, the quantity of requests got too high for me to handle and run my business.
Then I discovered a solution that would allow me to continue to help these businesses without sacrificing my own time (and make some revenue from it along the way). I teamed up with Brit + Co to create a short 45 minute online class called Be Your Own Boss packed with everything I learned about starting and running my business.
Brit + Co is a digital media and commerce company that provides the inspiration and tools to enable creativity among millennial women. The company started doing online classes in May 2014 to supplement their “how-to” content with a deeper look into the skills that interested them. In order to create a class, they partner with an expert in the topic, give them the platform to teach and, in cases like mine, grow their own business.
Anjelika Temple, executive creative director at Brit + Co, told me that the company’s mission is “to ignite the creative spark in everyone.” Online learning, she said, “allows us to do this by helping women to learn new creative skills, and giving makers a platform to share their expertise with others while sustaining and building a business around their passion.
If you’re thinking about offering content through online classes to your audience, here are some reasons I discovered why online classes are working…
Take it on your own time, in your own place
Especially when targeting millennials, we want to do what we want, where we want, and when we want to do it. Online classes grant the participant 100% freedom in the time and place of the class. Purchasing a class that can be taken around your own schedule sounds more appealing to a lot of people rather than committing to showing up at a designated time and place.
Have adult ‘homework’
As much as people love freedom, they also love structure. With my business class I created, there’s ‘homework’ after each lesson with downloadable PDFs for the participant to fill out. Having actionable items for class participants helps them channel the lesson content to their own life, which is ultimately the end goal.
Target very specific interests
Some of Brit + Co’s most popular classes have been Watercolor Painting, Hand-Lettering, Calligraphy 101 and Photography for Bloggers. I doubt you could find these class topics at your local college. Online learning has such a wide reach that it’s possible to offer classes for very specific interests, which makes these classes more rare and special to potential attendees that share that passion or interest.
It’s not a huge commitment
Depending on what class you take, it doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. Taking an online class could be a great way for you to ‘test the waters’ before you really dive into a topic and invest more of your time and money. Modern learning doesn’t have to be a four-year commitment and thousands of dollars, it can be a small fee (or even free) for a short class and you decide if you want more.
Make is social
Instead of raising your hand for a question, find your instructor’s handle and tweet them. Online learning creates a social network beyond the classroom and in some cases, allows for social media interactions and connections with the instructor and other class participants.
Brit + Co plans to continue to expand their online class offerings to help as many people as possible discover that they can be creative and even turn their creativity into a business. If you have a topic or area of expertise you feel like people could find value in, consider turning it into an online class.