Have you ever considered teaching others in your industry what you know? Have you ever considered charging for this knowledge and experience?
As a small business owner, you're likely always on the lookout for new ways to generate revenue and grow your business. One often overlooked strategy is leveraging your expertise and knowledge to create educational products and services that can be sold to customers.
Laylee is an educator, speaker, and conference host with a heart for serving clients and fellow entrepreneurs through her coaching work. As the host of the So, Here’s the Thing Podcast and founder of The Creative Educator Academy—Laylee is passionate about her goal to equip you in your ability to make a difference, create impact, and to build a life doing what you love.
In this episode of Priority Pursuit, Laylee guides us through the process of how to make education a revenue stream in your small business.
What exactly does it mean to add education as a stream of revenue?
According to Laylee, education in this sense means monetizing your knowledge. Essentially, it involves you getting paid to share what you know and facilitating the distribution of your knowledge.
Educating others doesn’t have to be in a traditional classroom setting. In today’s age of technology, you can share your knowledge through online courses, YouTube videos, social media content, or written materials—all of which we will go into more detail about.
What are the benefits of becoming an educator?
Laylee believes there are a variety of reasons for someone to become an educator in their field. Your reason for sharing your knowledge all just depends on your specific outlook.
As a small business owner, you likely have a passion for helping others through your products or services. As an educator, you can have the unique opportunity to help people within your field by sharing what you know and have learned from your own experiences. It allows you to increase your reach and influence while helping an even bigger audience.
In a more financial and practical sense, education is a way to add another source of revenue without increasing your client workload, which gives you the opportunity to grow your business without taking on more than you’re willing or able to handle.
This is especially true if there is a demand for what you know. Do people ask you about what you do and how you do it? Are they curious about the way you handle certain challenges or tasks in your business? If so, there is clearly an audience looking for the information you have. Use that to your advantage.
No matter what the motivating factor is, Laylee says it can be very helpful to know and understand it, especially when you are just starting out. That way, you can better adjust your expectations and figure out how you want to approach your educational content.
How do you get started in the education space?
Laylee will be the first to agree that her story isn’t the usual. Before she was an educator for creatives, Laylee worked as a high school teacher and photographer. At first, she didn’t see a tie between teaching and her blooming photography business, but soon there was a demand for her to help students—and their parents—learn how to work their own cameras.
From there, Laylee began to tie education more into her photography business. Parents who at first came to her looking for camera help suddenly wanted to create their own businesses and needed guidance on how to do it. These workshops continued to grow and change into the education programs she leads today.
While her transition into the business education industry was very organic, Laylee understands that that’s not always the case, especially for small business owners. Still, you don’t need to have a background in education to share your knowledge—you just need to be confident in what you know and what you want to teach.
Deciding what to teach.
It can be intimidating or overwhelming to decide what you want to teach, especially if you know of or see other people in your field already doing so. Laylee shares that it’s very important to look inward rather than at what other people are doing. She recommends putting blinders on and focusing on yourself. What have you seen tried and true success in? What can you confidently say you are really good at?
This can be a really difficult question to answer. Some may struggle with being willing to recognize what they’re good at, thinking it’s just inflating their ego rather than doing anything productive. But Laylee explains that it’s more about becoming self-aware of your skills and recognizing where your strengths lie.
You can go further into this by thinking about whether or not you’ve helped someone else excel at something. What exactly did you help with? How did you go about it? Did it go well? This thought process can help you see which pieces of knowledge you’re confident in sharing with others.
Regardless, Laylee wants to make it clear that whatever you decide to start teaching now does not have to be the topic that you carry with you for the next ten years. You do not have to commit to whatever you try now. Just like with your small business, there is a learning process and a general give and take with becoming an educator.
What educational formats are there and which should you use?
When it comes to education, there are many different formats you can choose from. Laylee breaks it down into three main categories: one-on-one coaching or mentoring, in-person events, and peer-to-peer or small groups.
One-on-one coaching is one of the most popular forms of creating educational content. It’s usually focused on course creation and digital content such as podcasts, YouTube Videos, online courses, and other digital materials. Because there are so many different elements you can choose from, there is a lot of flexibility—allowing you to create the kind of content that works best with your schedule, topic, and audience.
In-person events are exactly as they sound. This can include conferences, retreats, and Masterminds—essentially any event where you are meeting in person and sharing your knowledge that way. These events can lead to creating more personal connections with people who are looking for the content you can provide, and they often lead to the last core format.
In the peer-to-peer or small group format, you connect with a few other people to form a small group that learns from and builds off one another. While you may be the coach or mentor, the others have the opportunity to share their own thoughts and experiences with each other to further grow in their field. This format often includes things like Mastermind group coaching.
Deciding which format to use.
Laylee believes the best way for anyone to start in the education field is through the one-on-one format. With its flexibility, you’re able to better explore how you want to share your knowledge and which methods work best for you. That being said, don’t feel like you have to stay in the one-on-one format.
According to Laylee, there really isn’t a timeframe when it comes to switching from one format to another. She explains that it’s more of a decision you should constantly be thinking about as you start and continue to dive into educating.
You want to find the sweet spot where what you want to teach aligns with both how you want to teach it and what you want out of life and business. For example, if you are more introverted and don’t have a lot of free time, an online course might be the best option for you to share your knowledge. If you’re still a little unsure, Laylee has a “What Type of Creative Educator Are You?” quiz that can help you clarify things!
Regardless of the format you use, it’s important to make sure what you are doing works for the people you are trying to attract and teach. This is also where the financial element comes to play. Take a look at what you are offering. How intense is your course? How big of a change are you hoping to accomplish? No matter what the answers to these questions are, make sure your pricing and format match. Always keep in mind what your audience will get out of your course and make that comparable to what you will receive in return.
How do you get started?
Again, starting in the education field can be very overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. The first step is to stop comparing yourself to other educators and to be brave enough to put yourself out there.
Once you’ve crossed that first hurdle, Laylee believes the key to establishing yourself is consistency. Pick one method of communication or distribution that you are comfortable with—YouTube videos, social media content, emails, newsletters, etc.—and stick to a schedule with that one method.
By consistently showing up and sharing quality content, you can build authority and show how knowledgeable you are on your topic. Soon, you will become an expert in that area in people’s minds—leading them to seek you out when they are looking for more information on your topic.
Be sure to listen to this whole episode (at the top of the page or wherever you listen to podcasts) to hear more about Laylee’s tips and tricks on how to make education a revenue stream in your small business. If you’d like to connect with Laylee, you can check out her Instagram (@laylee_emadi) or visit her website https://layleeemadi.com/.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Visit Laylee’s Website
- Take the “What Type of Creative Educator Are You?” Quiz
- Receive 50% Off Your First Order from Photographer’s Edit
- Learn More About Treefrog’s Small Business Marketing Resources & Services
- Join the Priority Pursuit Facebook Community
- Follow or DM Treefrog Marketing on Instagram
- Follow or DM Kelly Rice on Instagram
- Follow or DM Victoria Rayburn on Instagram
The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.
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