Setting foot in your college or university presents a plethora of challenges. It marks the start of your adult life and prepares you for the corporate world that you’ll enter sooner in life.
While the costs of tuition and educational requirements are quite unforgiving, you can leverage your opportunity as a college student to start an online learning business, especially if you’re gifted with academic intelligence.
One might argue how inconvenient and burdensome combining studying and business is. However, with the right planning, manifestation, and assessment, you can make your online learning business into reality.
What Is An Online Learning Business?
An online learning business consists of providing educational services to students as a form of assistance to their learning and curiosity satisfaction. If you still don’t have any business ideas, considering an accessible and convenient venture, like an online learning business, is a good idea since it’s aligned with your university work.
With an online learning business inside an educational institution, you can offer a variety of student services, such as online tutoring, review courses, review applications and software, homework help, and many more. This type of business focuses on a centralized and personalized approach for every student, thus filling up for their academic needs.
To shed more light into this matter, here are some tips in starting out your own online learning business in college:
1. Reminder: Start Slow and Small.
One of the best qualities of an entrepreneur is patience and perseverance because you won’t be able to establish your business overnight. An important reminder when starting your business is always to go slow and small, taking it step-by-step.
Since this is a learning business, think of the best platforms and landscapes where you can highly succeed, such as your university. However, you can also promote your business online in platforms where students lurk around. To expand more of your ideas, this will lead you to the next step, which is investigating your market.
2. Consider The Market’s Needs and Demands.
Perhaps one of the top reasons why new businesses fail even before they succeed is the failure to investigate their target market. Market research is of paramount importance in any business because the information gathered here will be valuable in giving out services and satisfying the customers. Before moving on with any aspect of your business, ask yourself first – who is my target market, and what are their needs and demands?
With an online learning business, your main target market is definitely the students. You don’t have to include every student, but you can start with students inside your university. In this way, you know them better because you’re a student yourself, and you interact with them as well.
Ask your friends and classmates if they have any academic concerns and needs. List down all their answers and start from there.
3. Narrow Down Your Niches.
In accordance with your assessment of the market’s needs and demands, it’s time to choose where you want to focus. For instance, if your market sample expressed their concerns about asking help in different subjects, you can narrow down your business niche related to this concern. Thus, you can offer tutoring services to help them understand their lessons better.
While choosing your niche, you shouldn’t only prioritize what your market needs, but also make sure that it’s also one of your strengths. Since you’re starting out slowly, you can be a tutor yourself (if you’re academically gifted) and start expanding your tutoring business as you go on.
Aside from choosing a specific service to offer, choose a niche, such as a course or subject, to teach. For example, you can start as an online English tutor to engineering students struggling with this subject, or teach mathematics to language majors.
4. Make An Effective Time Management System.
It’s not easy to become a student entrepreneur since you have a full plate in front of you, such as personal life, student life, social life, and business life. While being a student entrepreneur is a one-of-a-kind experience, always expect crunch time all the time. Because of this, you should be able to make an effective time management system and stick to it.
While you’re into the process of planning your business and running it consistently, you should not forget your academic priorities. That’s why it’s important to know your activities and plans ahead of time so you can plan and schedule them accordingly.
Here are some strategies in balancing your time as a student entrepreneur:
- Schedule your tutoring sessions during a vacant time, but ensure that your customer is also free. If time doesn’t permit, you can skip your classes or do the online tutoring session during classes, but guarantee that you’ll make up for it.
- Don’t take classes that aren’t necessary. You allot this for business time.
- Prioritize things according to their level of importance and urgency.
- If your tutees will agree to it, offer group tutoring during jam-packed exam weeks.
5. Create A Competitive Branding.
To introduce your business to your prospective customers, you need a unique and competitive branding. The way how your branding is introduced will greatly impact your business’ reputation and the first impressions of the public as well. Make sure that the branding will not only introduce your business but also answer the people’s initial questions about your online learning business, leaving prospects interested.
Below are some strategies for your small business startup:
- Think of a memorable yet concise brand name, which will also give an idea of what your business is all about.
- Use branding and tagline that can appeal to your audience’s emotions. You can choose something special that only students can specifically relate to, or something to that effect.
- Establish an online presence to reach more people. Most businesses do this by creating their own website. But, you can start with social media platforms where your target market is usually present.
Take note that you shouldn’t try to appeal to everyone. Like how everyone isn’t your cup of tea, not everyone is your ideal customer. Thus, positioning yourself in the right audience will work better. Effective branding should make your target market feel they’ve come to the right place.
6. Establish A Wider Audience.
After setting up the fundamentals of your online learning business, especially the positioning, the next aspect that you need to work on is widening your audience for more opportunities. When expanding your audience, you should focus more on creating good connections and relationships with them, instead of simply increasing their population.
Use your advantage as a college student to gather an audience from your university. If this online learning business isn’t against your university’s policies, you can ask for their permission in posting advertisements inside the school premises.
Furthermore, use the word-of-mouth advertising by simply informing your friends and classmates about your business, and ask them to pass the message to the other students. Although it might seem informal, it definitely works, particularly in students who are interested in these types of academic services.
When your business becomes more known to your target audience, you can start broadening your audience on a larger scale by utilizing social media and content marketing.
7. Curate An Online Course With Unique Learning Materials.
To satisfy your customers’ academic needs, curate online courses consisting of unique learning materials that they can go back through without your presence as an online tutor. This allows them to develop their own study habits with a personalized approach to learning.
It can take several weeks to months to make an online course. If you have the skills for content, editing, designing, publishing, and programming, then creating an online course is entirely in your favor, but this is a rare eventuality. Otherwise, you can hire students with proficient skills in these subjects.
8. Offer Incentives To Your Classmates.
To encourage more customers into your business, the best way to start is from your daily surroundings. So, offer your classmates with incentives and promos that they can score by referring to another student from your university.
This marketing strategy can increase your reach and customer retention rate while making sure that they’re satisfied with your services.
9. Listen To Your Customers’ Feedbacks.
Last but not the least, be open to feedback and criticisms from your customers. This can highly improve your business perspective and performance.
Since the market and your target audience aren’t always stagnant, you should be able to adapt to these shifts by listening to what your clients have to say. Your customers, especially your friends and classmates, have different learning styles, approaches, and habits. You can use these to modify your online courses and tutoring sessions.
Keep in mind that the success of your business doesn’t solely depend on how enormous you’re earning or how many customers are signing up for your online learning, but it’s dependent on your customers’ success.
Building an online learning business as a student is entirely challenging, but you can take your advantage and opportunity as a student, who experiences the struggle of studying firsthand, to create solutions to your academic problems.
With the help of these steps, tips, and strategies, you can start your online learning business without sacrificing your academic life.
Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.