Starting an e-learning business is one of the most trending business in 2019. As the sphere of e-learning is getting enlarged with more courses and genres, online tutoring businesses has become prevalent across the globe.
With these courses, learners are getting easy and accessible ways to earn new skills and work on their self-improvement. E-learning platforms are creating a revolution in the information technology era. With e-learning management systems, tutors can teach courses to the masses spread across the world. From architecture to computer programming, from singing to dance, and from K-12 to corporate training, there is nothing that e-learning platforms are not offering.
Perhaps, you might have already uploaded some videos on YouTube solving a Math problem. Maybe, you have sent some through WhatsApp to your friends and relatives. You have a passion for Math. Perhaps, you also require some much-needed money for your knowledge and skills; don’t you?
Regardless of what you choose for teaching, the online environment suits best to your subject needs. Maybe, it’s a time to grow beyond YouTube, and start your own e-learning business to make better money; somewhat similar to Udemy, Coursera, Khan Academy, or Edx? By starting a platform of your own, you can also team up with like-minded teaching professionals across disciplines.
This is what this article aims at. It will help you to launch your own e-learning website in minutes.
How to start your e-learning business?
Where to start? There are several factors contributing to your business prospects when you create your own e-learning website. Let’s start from the basics.
Prerequisites of an e-learning business:
Before starting an e-learning business, you need to find an explicit genre with different aspects for a profitable business. The basic step is to research, analyze, and scrutinize several niches before facilitating your learning business plan.
You should have a clear understanding of the industry and the skills you want to deliver to the learners. You will need to think about all the essential aspects of a business like-
- Who is your target audience?
- What are their pain points?
- How to introduce your business to them as a solution?
- How will you persuade them to choose you instead of your rivals?
- Who exactly are your rivals and how to compete with them?
The answer to all three questions is “finding a trending niche and creating online courses for the target audience in that niche. We will comprehend the aspects of finding a niche later in this article. First, let’s get you registered as an e-learning business.
E-Learning Business registration:
When you get ready with your business structure, you must decide whether you will operate as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company. Choose a unique name for your online business and incorporate it following the legal entities.
Know the business registration authorities in your state and apply for the license under your preferred ownership model. You might want to hire a lawyer to help you out in this process. Because it is not only the business that requires registration but also you should consider getting your courses accredited to the credit educational intuitions.
As soon as you decide a name for your brand, you need to purchase a web hosting along with domain registration to run your website. The hosting gives your website a place to live and be active on the internet. The domain name will be your unique internet address. You need to check the availability of your proposed domain name to see if it is available for claiming or exists in other variations.
There are many hosting companies that offer domain registration. You just need to set up an account, choose the name you want to register and pay an annual fee. You can also set up your website of your own if you are a designer, web developer, or tech-savvy. I have discussed the ways to develop an e-learning site in the later parts of this article. Keep reading.
Research your customer’s need and business requirements:
You need to evaluate and validate the competition in the market according to your customer’s need. Do market research to target specific audiences for your online services. Research the customer’s need, comprehend their pain points and compare the solutions given by your competitors. Define the characteristics of users based on their age, gender, location, etc. Target the needs and improvise it by providing an innovative solution through your business idea.
You need to emphasize on the following tips before starting an online tutoring business:
- Product sustainability
- Branding and positioning of your product
- Outline a summary of your product
Formulate an online course model:
If you have sketched the skills, potential, and got an overall idea about the targeted customers, then formulate the best course model that you can follow. The key business models in e-learning include:
- Academy business model
- Night School business model
Academy business model:
The students can learn the skills in a single comprehensive school type platform. When a student comes to a website, he/she may want to learn on a comprehensive vertical instead of concentrating on some specific topic. For example, they might wish to learn everything about digital marketing, instead of just focusing on a topic from digital marketing. Say, the K-12 education model, where students continue schooling passing one class after another.
It works just like the Netflix subscriptions. The students can get free access to courses or can pick the type of course by paying either monthly/yearly subscription charges. They are only eligible to access the course lessons up to the validity of their subscription. There are few sites which offer the courses for free but charge for certifying the leaners after successful assessments. Choose what’s fitting you the best.
Night school business model:
The name is quite fancy and is considered as the classic e-learning business model. If professionals want to take a class apart from their day job, they can choose it. It is also being used by many schools, universities, and institution worldwide for years.
A student only has to pay an upfront fee for accessing a course and follows the curriculum to complete it. The evolution of a person can be determined and tracked by tests, quizzes in this model. With an upfront purchase, the learner gets lifetime access to the course.
This business model drives online courses to create and sell them on the website. The customers only pay for a single course to develop their skills. They provide standalone courses in which the course materials are delivered as online video tutorials, on-demand-live classes, and on-demand physical sessions.
It offers particular skills according to customer needs. The learners can get enroll and learn a particular skill or topic on the online platform instead of focusing on the whole module. For example Udemy, Skillshare, etc.
For Example, a professional having 5 years of experience in digital marketing would not want to take an entire comprehensive course. He/she can simply focus on the specific skills and purchase a micro-course, say on ‘keyword research for digital marketing’.
Develop the platform:
Online tutoring business is itself a broad niche. The learners have an array of requirements in their educational fields. You need to develop a website that can accommodate the courses flexible with your chosen business model. It might include the topics covered on a specific topic, academic courses based on a curriculum, training, or corporate skills, and many more.
There are several options to develop an online tutoring site. There are several LMS (Learning management system) that you can use for the website. For example, WordPress has a free LMS plugin you can use it free of cost that works well.
If you are trying to build long-term potential and want to sell your courses with full ownership, then build a platform which can maximize your profit and takes your business a great extent. If you are a tech-savvy, then you can build your personalized online learning website to fulfill your requirements. You can also build websites from either from SaaS vendors or get a readymade self-hosted turnkey solutions from the market.
They are paid services that help your e-learning space to grow rapidly with their customizations and features. You just need to do some configurations, and then you can upload the courses and run up for business. Either you can integrate APIs if you want to add additional features to your website from the vendors. You can create the site according to web and mobile platforms compatibilities to skyrocket your product.
You can make money from live webinar lectures, pre-recorded videos, and also from advertisements. Even you can also implement the pay per use services like application for scholarships, Spoken English, etc. and many more.
You can also cater your business model according to your personal strengths like one-to-one personal tutor can help the students to focus on their goals.
Some revenue model works on a commission basis and you can decide your profit percentage depending upon the type of courses. It’s up to you to determine the marketing strategies and set the commission percentage depending on the course categories. Consequently, the commission based channel is the most common revenue generation source. There are several revenue models used by many of the e-learning platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera, etc.
There are other monetization channels that help to earn good remuneration.
- Course listing fee
- Featured courses
- Commission on individual tutors and individual courses
- Banner display ads
If you want to know how to start e-learning business either by building an independent website or from any service providers, the following points will help you.
Different ways of building an eLearning platform:
There are three major and popular options to build an e-learning platform. They are:
- Develop from scratch
- Choose a SaaS eLearning solutions
- Choose a turnkey Self-hosted solution
Develop from scratch:
This is the traditional way of developing a website. You take the full ownership for the entire project, and it is best suited for launching large scale websites. You are responsible for developing a website and mobile apps and then monetizing your business.
An in-house tech team is needed to start the process from scratch. The team will be solely responsible for the testing, designing, maintaining the whole website.
The tech team should have sound knowledge about different tech stacks to add more features, modify the coding and many more in a later stage. The scalability, flexibility, and customizability are completely depended on the skill of your team. You have the full access to the source code and it will take a lot of time to develop a full-fledged website. The time factors include setting up the server, hosting the website, and set up for building the platform.
The developmental frameworks, tech stack, domain registration, website hosting, and integrated APIs make it more costly. The in-house team will be working for developing a website starting from a web developer to project manager, so the resources utilized for the overall development cost will be more. The maintenance of your website by your tech team will increase the costs as well.
Choose a SaaS e-learning solution:
If you need a readymade solution in which you can simply create a website using a GUI, then go for SaaS-based solutions. You won’t be responsible for the coding, just a basic understanding of how to operate and set up the website is necessary.
The SaaS vendors will do all the coding and you simply buy from them and set up the website. The hosting is also completely managed by these SaaS vendors.
These services have many in-built features but have many limitations. You can’t add or remove any additional features as you don’t have the source code with you. You need to pay more amount to add additional APIs to your website. The scalability is limited as you are restricted to given server capacity.
The overall cost of the platform is based on a subscription basis. There won’t be a cost of development as you pay as recurring charges to keep using the software. If you need any additional advanced features, the SaaS vendors will charge you an extra amount for the development.
Choose a turnkey self-hosted solution:
If you want a readymade website without any coding skills, these solutions are best suitable for you. These solutions are considered as the most suitable, flexible, and easy option to create an e-learning platform. These self-hosted scripts are highly scalable. You can upscale your website by adding integrated authoring tools, LMS platforms, and payment gateways according to your requirements.
As you have the source code, you can edit and modify it. You can also add new features or remove any feature on the website if you have some coding knowledge.
The cost of development is negligible as you have to buy the developed script with onetime payment. As these are readymade scripts and have the source code with you, you can do personalization of website with an additional cost.
For example SmartSchool
You can launch your own e-learning platform in minutes with the help of Smart School. SmartSchool provides state-of-the-art Ed-tech software to launch your own tutorial business. All you need to do is to discuss your plans and ideas with Smart School. Smart School will handle all the technical details of the launch. It is a white-labeled turnkey software, which does not emboss its branding. You can brand the platform with your own brand identity.
Smart School uses Lavarel PHP framework, Angular JS, JQuery and Bootstrap to ensure a seamless and dynamic web experience. Also, MySQL and Redis cache can use for brilliant database management and performance. NGINX is the web server deploy. Also, SSL compatibility is there to keep your site safe. Moreover, maintenance is easy along with lifetime security updates to your eLearning development system.
How can I upload courses in the e-learning platform solution? You can upload your own courses in multiple formats including PDF, audio and video. Smart School also provides a comprehensive admin panel and analytics tools with in-built SEO on your eLearning development.
Also, Smart School can access via mobile apps. These include Android and iOS. So, you can start your e-learning platform on your own terms and ensure that students learn well on this eLearning platform. You and like-minded teaching professionals are realizing their passion and helping students worldwide.
So, how can I make money out of the e-learning platform? Smart School provides multiple payment gateways and monetization channels to enable you to make good money with this e-learning management system. So, do go ahead and set up own e-learning platform in minutes.
Once you have decided to create a website, the next step is to implement it and begin delivering content through it. I hope this article was helpful to you. You should try out the demo to comprehend this software practically.