120: Transitioning to Teaching Art Online


This episode is all about doing something new and exciting online — something that you’ve maybe been asked to do before but now is the time where you’re going to get over the fear and put your online product out there!

Yup, if you didn’t guess by the title of this episode, we’re talking about transitioning to teaching others online. And the same holds true no matter what you’re transitioning from. You could be transitioning from being a student or apprentice or creator or dabbler or professional there is a lot that goes into shifting our minds from creating a saleable product into teaching others to create in our style or using our methods.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to explore… everything that might go through your mind and how to come out the other side with a solid mindset that can take you through the 5 phases of an online product.

As you probably recall, the phases are idea, mode of delivery, tech, creation and launch. If online education is new to you, then it might be hard to see how you can translate something that brings you joy and income into something new that can bring at least as much joy and income in an entirely new way.

If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to download the Expand Online Getting Started Guide where we get into these 5 phases and more than that, help you see this expand online vision in your own business. Click here to download it now.

There are three things that I want to cover in today’s episode:

  1. Why now is the best time to create an educational side to your business (no matter when “now” is)
  2. The easiest way to create out of the gate success with online art instruction
  3. The costs associated with online art instruction

Let’s start with the costs and move backwards up that list…

Have you heard the saying that you either pay for something with time or with money? Well the same holds true for expanding online. If you want to DIY everything, the money costs can be less than a couple hundred dollars and the time costs could be 40 or more hours.

If you’re anything like me, it’s probably going to be a hybrid of the two — being willing to invest money into your new online business is going to reap benefits far faster than keeping your wallet closed. And you don’t want to throw money at things that are within your abilities… say for example you’re a visual artist, you probably don’t need to hire a graphic designer to create custom artwork for your education business, it would make far more sense to use your own art in this way. Or if you’re already really confident in front of a camera, use that skillset to create website videos.

The hard fast costs come from doing business online — you’re going to have to invest in a few tools that may start out free but as your online education business grows, there will be fees associated with these tools. The tech tools will be

  • a place for people to find out what you’re offering, let’s call that your sales page
  • a place for people to sign up, let’s call that your checkout page
  • a place for running the classes or workshops, let’s call this your paid access portal
  • a mechanism for relaying important information to your students, let’s call that one your email marketing platform

There are hundreds of options available that will meet your needs for these and this is truly one of my favorite things to work on with my clients as we go through the Expand Online Mentorship and inside the Expand Online Incubator.

Those are my signature one-on-one program and group program respectively. You can find out more about them by going to my website https://techofbusiness.com/ and clicking on the work with me link at the top of the page.

The cost can be very low, I can even make a case for some tools that you can use indefinitely for free — save for credit card processing fees… but the truth is, you’re going to outgrow the free tier because I know you’re an action taker!

So, in short, the cost of expanding online with an educational product is a balance between time and money for the infrastructure. The cost of creating your program is completely dependent on what it is you’re creating and what’s appropriate for that product. It would be disingenuous of me to put a price tag or estimated amount of time on this… but I do believe that program materials can be created in as little as a weekend and on average 3 – 5 weeks.

Now, let’s talk about the easiest way to create out of the gate success.

What seriously lights me up about my podcast listeners is that you already know your genius and have proof in happy consumers. You have people who have purchased what you offer and you’ve had conversation after conversation with your buyers. You have gotten to know why they want what you offer, how your art fits into their lives and what brings them joy.

Your buyers may not be the people who invest in your online program, but I bet they know someone who would love to do what you do. And that’s the thing… you don’t need a lot of people to invest initially, you just need people who are willing to commit to learning from you and see how what you are going to teach is going to help them create something new.

On the Expand Online Summit, about half the sessions were focused specifically related to finished products. In order to sell a finished product online, you need to make the product. When you’ve reached your creation limit you may want to bring on others who can also make your product… having an online program for them to take would be a surefire way to expand your business! This is particularly relevant to crafters and artisans.

Think about your business — what is it that you create, what part of your process is predictable and repeatable? There is likely an online program opportunity in there… and the most likely people who are going to buy into that program are people who are inspired by your work on social media. These people who love your behind the scenes shots and video clips, they are going to love to learn from you.

It’s funny, isn’t it, your collectors or purchasers probably not going to buy your online educational products but they know people who would love them and your social media followers are not necessarily going to buy your finished work but absolutely love what you do and how you do it and are going to jump at the opportunity to learn from you.

You really only need 10 – 20 initial students or workshop attendees when you start. Because their testimonials and word of mouth and social media will expand your reach on every new iteration of your program.

Here’s a really important aspect of doing something new online — the fewer the number of people you have access to when you’re selling initially, the more touch points you’re going to want to have with your students. So, a completely DIY course is not going to do nearly as well as a live group workshop when you’re launching to a small number of people.

The nice thing about this is though, you will be recording your workshop sessions and can repurpose them into a DIY course as word gets out about your talent as not only a product creator but also as an educator!

I love when this stuff can iterate upon itself — so, suffice it to say, you already know everyone you need to know to fill the first round of your online program. And then it’s just a matter of selecting the right mode of delivery to exceed expectations and achieve fabulous results!

And finally, let’s talk about why now is the right time to dig in and do this…

Quite simply, you’re never going to be done learning and honing your skills but there are people who haven’t learned as much as you wanting to improve (or get started) in their own right.

And think about everyone you have learned from (or would like to learn from in the future) and look how much becoming a trainer has helped them grow as an artist.

Now look at your own business and imagine how being seen as a trainer, mentor or guide could do for your business.

  • Imagine what that could do for your product sales
  • Imagine what that could do for your income
  • Imagine what that could do for your creativity
  • Imagine what that could do for your free time

When you create an art education program you’re opening the door for your own growth and that of your future students. So why wouldn’t you start now?

At the time of this recording, I’m over two months into the stay at home orders here in Washington State due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And I know that there is a massive need for inspiration and creativity.

People aren’t going to craft fairs or farmers markets. They aren’t dining out nor window shopping. They aren’t going to the usual places your work is on display…. And this leaves you without your usual stream of income.

Sure, you could open up online sales of your work or an Etsy shop (both of which are great ideas and I think have a lot of merit) but an education product is going to solve a greater need in your community than the store will at this time.

Now, if you’re listening to this episode after the strict stay at home orders have gone away and shops are opening back up and your art sales have recovered, it’s still a great time to expand online with an art education product because it reaches your audience in a new and exciting way!

That’s really the gem here, when people know you for your final product and then find out that they can learn from you, they are going to take a chance. You are already someone they admire and someone that they trust, it’s an easy sell with your knowledge and methods!

I’m not talking about creating a 20 week course that costs them thousands of dollars, I’m talking about starting with something that is tangible for both of you. Like I said earlier, running a live workshop is a perfect first online art education product.

  • You really have what it takes to run online workshops.
  • You really have an audience waiting for your online programs.
  • Now really is the best time to start this process.

Look at what you do, how you do it and how that becomes something you can teach to someone else. Think about your audience, who are they, what interests them, what would they like to create if only they were shown how. Visualize what successfully teaching will feel like and the response from your students. Take action. Make a plan and start executing on it.

I’m here to support you in any way that I can, from working with you to figure out the best education product to start with, to guiding you through the journey. Send me a DM on Instagram @jaimeslutzky. Your time is now and I want to see you succeed in the online education space.

Next week, in episode 121 we’re going to talk more about your audience and understanding what they want from you other than buying your finished product.

And if you haven’t downloaded the Expand Online Getting Started Guide, click here now and get started expanding online!

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