Teachers will be the next millionaires!
I've been making this statement for the last decade. But it's only been in the last few years that I've actually seen it becoming a reality. Training-preneurs are all over the internet. They are the people who have seen what technology has done to other industries, as well as what it's done for individuals. The tools of the internet have changed the world of education/training for ever. The tools mixed with the natural creativity of those born to teach makes for a powerful combination. And that wave of change has only just begun to swell. The next millionaires are on the rise...and they're selling knowledge.
Who are these Training-preneurs
Training-preneur is an awkward term at best. But it's the best way to describe in one word those who earn a living by teaching outside the traditional education system. Most often their entrepreneurial instincts see a need There are major success stories like Lynda.com and Khan Academy. But there are also small startups. And for the biggest collection of Training-preneurs you need look no further than YouTube.
Many sell their knowledge on blogs and monetize via online advertising platforms. Some do it better than others. And they may not be millionaires, but many are making a good living, or extra fun money at the very least. Teachers are even selling their lesson plans to one another. I recently experienced live guitar lessons on the popular blab.im LiveCasting system. Many training-preneurs have even stepped up their game with training platforms like Litmos.com to manage their entire training business. The list of ways to make money in education are growing, and I can't list them all here. Heck, I don't even know what they all are. Nobody does. But it's safe to say there are enough options to give everyone a shot at it.
A New Breed of Learning Professionals
Training-preneurs are no different than any other teacher drawn to their career by an inner passion for learning and sharing. This growing population has a natural instinct for both teaching and learning. When they gain new knowledge they are compelled to share it with others. And how that sharing occurs is not restricted by any rules, models, methods, or school systems defining "the right" way to deliver instruction. They simply do what comes natural, build an audience, and deliver on what that audience responds too.
I've seen many business models in the education space come and go over the years. Lynda.com is a great example of how just giving the learner/customer what they want actually works. Short high quality videos on highly focused topics. YouTube is no different. It's everyman's Lynda.com. No matter how BAD your video is, you can still post it to YouTube and learn from that experience. The hope is that you get better and better with each new video. Most YouTubers that stick with it actually do get pretty darn good. Their delivery improves, the video quality improves, the content improves, and their following grows. And as their audience grows they begin to see financial returns.
Others taking a more traditional business model approach simply see a need and build a business plan around it. My favorite example is Paula Cooper, founder of Dine Aware. The following is a quote from her case study you can read here.
"Dine Aware™ is a new brand with an end goal to change food service perceptions industry-wide and worldwide. Their mission is to teach all employees in the food and beverage industry how to manage and interact with the food allergy and food intolerant public in a way that inspires confidence."
It's a brilliant idea. And from personal experience I can assure you her training in this area should be required for all the restaurants in my neighborhood. And if you think certification programs are a wide open market, think about CEUs (Continuing Education Units). Continuing Education training is a massive industry. Most licensed professionals are required to have a certain number of hours in CEUs to keep their credentials current. This of course makes for an amazing opportunity for those willing to put in the work.
The Technology is Amazing!
Technology has created new opportunities in just about every industry. The technology today is powerful, fast, and finally in the mainstream. When you have 82 year old grandmothers becoming famous on YouTube, it's definitely gone mainstream. And okay so maybe their show is more about entertainment, but that doesn't mean it can't be educational. But I'll save the "what's learning and what not" conversation for someone else. The reality is that technology is not only amazing but it's being used on a regular basis by all ages.
The latest trend is livecasting. Live video streaming from mobile devices with apps like Meerkat, and Periscope. And more recently a platform called blab.im has made a HUGE entrance onto the scene. While it's anyone's guess as to which companies will win and which will lose, its the basic idea of easy video streaming that is the big winner for everyone.
Even before mobile livecasting there was Google Hangouts, Ustream, and others. Technology is no longer the barrier. It's even incredibly easy to create a beautiful website faster than ever before. Look at Strikingly.com. So, you can create a web presence with something like strikingly.com. Create and sell courses with Litmos.com, and publish supplemental, or primary, content via YouTube or Vimeo. And promote your efforts on social media to engage your audience of learners.
The Training-preneurs are real. They're already here and they're making money. And they aren't instructional designers or learning gurus. They're teachers using technology to do what they love. And I think that's pretty awesome!