One common attribute that many entrepreneurs have is a desire to make an impact on the world by helping people. In 2016, business leaders are now finding their calling in online teaching. Whether it's business coaching, sales training or teaching niche skills or hobbies, there's a market for almost any skill these days. For the people who figure out how to scale it, there's a lot of profit to be made.
Teaching online has become an attractive business model because it allows people to make money doing something they are passionate about. We've all heard about the school teacher who quit because the job doesn't pay enough. Technology now lets regular people actually scale their teaching faster than ever before. Simply put, they can help people without sacrificing profitability.
One success story of the online teaching boom of recent years is Kunal Desai, founder and CEO of Bulls on Wall Street, a company that teaches people to trade stocks online. Desai came to his idea of launching Bulls on Wall Street while working as a successful stock trader. He decided to try making money teaching it to people. Now his company offers a series of successful bootcamps for prospective traders. I caught up with Desai and asked him about how he built and manages his teaching empire.
John: When you were planning your monetization strategy, how did you plan out how you would separate your levels of service?
Kunal: "This took some time to really think about when we started. We set out to take people who knew nothing about trading stocks and turn them into professional traders. This solved the biggest problem for me when thinking about the monetization strategy, which was scale.
You can only fit so many people in a chat room before it becomes a zoo. It's also harder to monetize a chat room. If you have 500 members at 100 dollars a month, it's only a $500k/year business that struggles to scale much higher. We've personalized the business and also created bootcamps that individuals can be a part of. Being a full-integrated company can take a $500K/year model and turn it into something that is worth tens of millions if the plan is executed properly."
John: One of the areas I write most about is how small businesses can use social media more effectively. Can you speak to what sort of role social plays in your business strategy?
Kunal: For us social media is a huge part of our business. On social media we talk about how we are a family business. I have my three best friends working for me along with numerous former students. I have had over 200 different students come to my house and stay for a week and finish their trading. I house them and feed them as if they are my own family.
Social media is everything on getting those messages out on what you believe in your values and the type of culture you're building. It also allows me to interact with people on a daily basis and build relationships.
If you go on my Twitter or Instagram, you will see me talking stocks with people each day. I not only get to show my lifestyle, values, and culture, but also my competence. I post articles and ideas each day. Behind all the social media you need to show that you are the best and give people a peak at how good you really are."
John: What are some concrete steps Inc. readers can take if they aspire to create their own online business?
- Figure out your skills. What are you good at? What is your edge that you can tap and market to others?
- Research your field and the biggest names in it. Figure out what they do well but also really dig into where the holes are -- where you can fill a need and provide value. How can you differentiate yourself?
- Learn. Go on sites like Khan Academy, Coursera, and Udemy. There are so many free and cheap classes that you can take. Learn a little bit about Internet marketing, web development, social media and others. In the beginning you will have to wear a lot of hats, so make sure you train your brain. I still take classes from those websites to this day.
- Reach Out. People are inherently good. Reach out to some successful people that run similar businesses and ask questions. Get some guidance. Hit them up on Twitter, Instagram, and email them. I reply 100 percent to all my emails when people randomly reach out for advice.
- Just do it. There is no better day than today. If you wait until you get all the training and all the information you need to make a move, you will be waiting your whole life and it will pass you by. Start working. Build something, and don't be afraid of the obstacles or what you do not know. In the end you will get knocked down thousands of times. It's inevitable; you have no choice in that. But it is your choice whether you get back up."