Have you ever wished you could have seen the next major business trend before it happened? Well, you’re about to do just that!
Now and again, a paradigm shift occurs that creates extraordinary opportunities for people who understand what’s happening and take advantage of it.
Charles Dickens and the Blockbuster Novel
The creation of mass-circulation newspapers in the 1850s was just such a paradigm shift and it created an extraordinary opportunity for a man named Charles Dickens.
Dickens was born into poverty but became a multi-millionaire and the first blockbuster novelist in history.
But it wasn’t his books that that catapulted him to fame and fortune. It was the weekly serialisation of those books in the new mass-circulation broadsheets that had just swept across England, creating a massive new market amongst the country’s working class.
'Hard Times' by Charles Dickens, serialized in 'Household Words', April 1854
The Online Education Revolution
There’s a similar paradigm shift going on now. And a growing number of entrepreneurs who understand what’s happening are quietly making their fortunes.
That’s the subject of Danny Iny’s book ‘Teach and Grow Rich’.
Who Is Danny Iny?
But for first of all, who is Danny Iny?
He’s an entrepreneur whose first major business venture collapsed, leaving him with $250,000 of debt.
If you’ve ever felt that your back was against the wall, that the odds were against you, this is an inspiring story!
Success Through Guest Posting
In one year, Danny mastered the art of guest posting. In a period of 12 months, he wrote no less than 80 guest posts as well as 40 posts for his own blog. He was so prolific that at one time he had 11 different guests posts appearing simultaneously on 11 major blog sites.
He started getting emails from readers saying that he was the ‘Danny Krueger’ of blogging. “How do you manage to write so much?” they asked him.
So Danny, using the ‘Audience First’ technique (more about that later), launched the ‘Write Like Freddy’ online course for blog writing. It was an instant success - he enrolled nearly 1000 students within the first year.
But that’s another story.
Worlds in Collision
Back to the paradigm shift. What brought it about?
It's the result of two different systems, operating on entirely different premises, colliding with each other, “the glacially slow-moving world of education, and the lightning-paced world of online business”.
Traditional education has failed to keep pace with the changing economy. College education is becoming way too expensive for most people. On top of that, a college degree no longer guarantees you a career or a place in the work force. University graduates who go back home to live with their parents are at record numbers.
At the same time, there’s been an explosion in online publishing. The digital goods market has become a veritable gold rush.
The Digital Goods Gold Rush
Here are some figures to give you some idea of the size of the online education market.
Lynda.com was recently acquired by LinkedIn for the staggering sum of $1.5 billion. Udemy, another provider of online courses, recently received $113 M of investment.
In 2015 the global e-Learning market was valued at $107 billion and it’s projected to reach $325 billion by 2025.
In 2012 everyone seemed to be talking about these MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses. So much so that the New York Times declared 2012 as the Year of the MOOC.
But e-Learning has not produced great results.
Survey after survey has shown that most online courses are not bringing about transformation in the student.
Many of the courses are information rather than education. Much of the market consists of high priced information products masquerading as education.
The problem is that the courses are being provided at such scale and so cheaply that there is almost no teacher-student contact, no checkpoints to make sure that as a student progresses through the course they are really learning how to do the techniques being taught.
Danny Iny predicts that as the market matures and becomes more demanding and more discerning, digital publishing is going to split into two distinct channels: information products and real education.
Digital goods that are really nothing more than information products will drop in price sharply. We’re already seeing this on Amazon where a Kindle book is capped at about $30 and Udemy sells its online courses for less than $100.
Information products will return to the Long Tail distribution of profits, where volume rules, and a few mega hits in the ‘head’ of the curve bring handsome profits to a few, while the majority struggle with tiny profit margins in the Long Tail.
On the other hand, genuine education products, with a commitment to seeing transformation in the student, will command a premium price, anywhere from $50 to $5000.
This is the opportunity that Iny refers to in the title of his book and he calls it ‘Fat Tail’.
It defies Long Tail economics because it won’t be driven by volume and the margins will be high. In the Fat Tail, you only need 15 students at a time paying $197 or even $997 to earn a good living.
Here are some examples.
Anthony Green is 26 years old and lives in a Manhattan apartment. He works from home and charges $1000 an hour to teach the children of hedge fund managers and financiers how to raise their SAT scores by an average of 430 points.
He teaches by Skype and never meets his students face-to-face. His students have to sign up for a minimum of 14 sessions of 90 minutes each.
Amber Copeland was giving ballroom dancing lessons but illness meant she could no longer give face-to-face instruction. She had a tiny email list of just 60 people.
She created a pilot course with the aim of getting 5 students at $197 each. Within 5 days of mailing her list, all 5 spots were sold. It may not seem like much, but without her online course, Amber would have had to close down her business.
How to Create Your Own Rewarding and Profitable Online Course
Danny Iny’s approach to Course Creation corrects some of the existing problems with online education by placing a heavy emphasis on interaction between course creator and student.
In fact, in his system for course creation, prospective students help create the course!
Here are some of the principles underlying Danny Iny’s approach to online course creation:
- The democratization of online education means that anyone now has access to the platforms and technology to deliver courses.
- Everyone has skills or knowledge that someone else needs, wants, and will pay for.
- Start small, with a pilot course that covers a small fraction of what you have to teach.
- You should be able to outline your pilot course on a single sheet of paper.
- The volume of content in your pilot course should be about the same as the amount of information you could communicate to a fellow passenger on a 2 hour flight.
- This is a Minimum Viable Version of your course.
- Enrol a small group of students, just 5 to 15.
- Co-create the course with your students - ask them what they want in the course. This is the ‘Audience First’ approach and it vaccinates you against the danger of creating a course that you think will be in demand but no one wants.
- Sell your pilot course at a discount, before it is even created.
- Get constant feedback from your students and use that feedback to course-correct as you go along.
This is an exciting opportunity for anyone who wants to turn their knowledge or expertise into a work-from-home business.
As Danny Iny notes in his book, this new paradigm in online education will create a string of successes, earning $50K, $200K, and $1M at at time.
But this kind of student-focused online education is difficult to scale and so it won't be attractive to venture capitalists and big business.
Instead, it will be the domain of solopreneurs like you and me!
For more information of Danny Iny's system for course creation, visit: Course Builder's Laboratory