Shall you convert your offline students to online students? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages?
I came across this question in a community forum of an online teaching platform. The biggest problem of those platforms seems to be: How to get paying students. Interesting enough most of these platforms have no solution to this problem when asked by their teachers. Au contraire, they ask their teachers how they think to get students on the platform.
And the most discussed issue is: why don’t you simply convert your offline students into online students by bringing them to our platform?
So, here are my thoughts on this.
From my perspective the first question is not “Why not?” but “Why should I?”.
- I teach online to get more students. If I just convert my existing students I end up with the same number AND I have to pay someone a part of my payment for this (commission between 15% – 18%).
- I introduce my student to an environment where I might lose him to another teacher. Basically I bring him out of my save “cave” into an arena of hungry wolves and from this point on I have to fight all the time to keep the student by my side and the other teachers away from him.
- Most of the platforms aren’t yet stable enough to offer the same quality as in an offline environment. So why should I offer my long term student a worse service than I offered him before?
I think these are three very strong reasons NOT to bring a student to a teaching PLATFORM. But that does not necessarily mean that you should not convert an offline student to an online student at all.
All you need is a VoIP tool and a virtual classroom environment. So the same features that these platforms offer you for commission. And you know what? Skype, MSN, Yahoo Messenger and virtual classrooms are available for free! So in the end you already save 15% – 18% commission. You can either keep it or offer a part as reduction to your student. You don’t even need a website for this.
Remember: we are talking about students you already teach offline. Getting new students online is a whole different game and for this, online teaching platforms work really well and are worth their commission (most of the time).
Here is the list why you should turn an existing student of your into an online student:
- Save money on travel costs (fuel, time on the road).
- Online teaching is “weather proof” (no hassle with iced roads in winter time)
- Teach more students in the same time (no time on the road, multi student classes)
- Offer reductions but still earn more (take your savings on the fuel price and offer 50% as a reduction to the student)
- Offer shorter classes = smaller payments = higher frequency (offline classes have a duration of 90 minutes minimum, online classes can start at 30 minutes)
I made good experiences offering an online service to my clients. Most of them still take offline classes but with the possibility of going online they now can take classes during their holidays, when they are not at home or get a spontaneous lesson.
Or they can learn in smaller chunks now, fitting in classes at days that were not possible before which leads to more lessons at the end of the month = more in the teacher’s wallet.
And even with my offered reductions, I earn more at the end of the month! I think this is the real genious of taking your students online. It’s a win-win situation.