Ever wonder what it would be like to teach classes online? Lyric Kinard, founder of The Academy for Virtual Teaching, and Spoonflower artist Luciana Caballero, also known as luli_print, share how to get started, along with related tips and tricks in this PRO webinar recap from Spoonflower’s Maker Community Manager Alexa Terry Wilde.
Note: Some instructors prefer to use the term “virtual courses” and others prefer to use “online courses;” they are talking about the same thing! In this post, we’ll be using them interchangeably, but you can go with what you prefer!
Alexa: Running a creative business amidst a global pandemic is rife with challenges. Many business owners are looking for new ways to expand their business and supplement their income at the same time. Virtual teaching is an affordable and accessible solution!
In August, we hosted an exclusive PRO Webinar on the subject, with assistance from two industry experts: artist, author and educator Lyric Kinard and Spoonflower artist Luciana Caballero also known as luli_print. Read on below for a brief recap or scroll all the way down to watch the webinar in its entirety.
Our first guest was Lyric Kinard. Lyric Montgomery Kinard is an award winning artist with a passion for sparking the creativity she knows each of her students possess. As an artist, author and educator, she transforms cloth into art in her studio and timid spirits into confident creatives in the classroom. Lyric was recognized for her talents as the 2011 International Association of Professional Quilters Teacher of the Year and is the author of the book Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises. She has written extensively for Quilting Arts Magazine, appeared on Quilting Arts TV and The Quilt Show.
Lyric is the founder of The Academy for Virtual Teaching (A4VT) and passionately educates creatives about taking their in-person workshops into the virtual world to grow a scalable income, leaving more time for the things they love!
Here are some key takeaways from Lyric’s presentation:
Common Roadblocks to Getting Started
Think About What You Already Have
There are many common concerns or fears creatives have before they begin teaching, such as “It costs too much!,” “I don’t have time!,” “I don’t know what to teach!” or “I don’t know where to find students!” However, remember that most creatives already have most of the equipment that they need to get started. (For example, if you’ve got a computer and/or smart phone, you already have most of what you need!)
Remember to Start Small
It’s easier than you think to scale when you’re teaching online! Many creatives feel like they have to offer up high-level, professional classes from the start. This does not have to be the case! Remember to “start with what you know, where you are.” Your offerings will improve as the revenue comes in.
Ideas on What to Teach
Committed to the idea of teaching an online class but have no idea what to teach? Here are some suggestions:
For Spoonflower Artists:
- What are some use cases for your designs?
- How do you create your designs?
- Upsell video instructions (i.e., an online class to go alongside a cut-and-sew project you’ve designed)
- Studio tours
For Spoonflower Makers:
- Teach what you love to do!
For brick-and-mortar shop owners:
- Classes that use your merchandise
- Community projects
- Virtual shopping or shop tours
Giving Back = Receiving More
Having reservations about sharing your tips, work and process? Many creatives and small business owners have faced this fear at some point in their careers, wondering things like “If I show the public how I make my _____, then they’re going to make my ______ and take away my business!”
Lyric quickly dispels this idea with a beautiful word of advice to the creative community, as a whole: “the more you give, the more you will receive.” No one can make your ______ exactly like you can! Embrace that.
Pro tip: Lyric recommends saving short clips of your teachings to post on social media, little “teasers” to drive traffic to your full product offerings!
Virtual Teaching: On-demand vs. Live-virtual Courses
The virtual teaching world has two camps: on-demand and live-virtual.
On-demand Courses: This type of course is typically hosted online. After students sign up, they will either get their content all at once or content will be “dripped” into their inbox. They may even be able to access the material long term in an online portal of some sort. This type of class or series can be hands off for the creative and can be a great source of passive income.
Live-virtual Courses: This type of course is usually scheduled ahead of time but takes place in real time. That said, live-virtual classes can still incorporate pre-recorded material (i.e., a very detailed embroidery stitch or intricate design process) and can even lead your student to an on-demand class after the live session wraps. This type of class offers more opportunity for interaction between student and teacher.
Virtual Teaching Advantages
- Easy access to materials: Students have all of their stuff!
- Accessibility: a) each student is granted a “front row seat,” b) volume can be adjusted to comfort and c) travel is not necessary for those who are unable to do so
- No in-person comparisons: Since everyone is looking at their own screen, there aren’t comparisons with other students, meaning confidence levels aren’t as impacted as they are when students are sitting side by side
- Easy barrier to entry: Most disadvantages to virtual teaching can often be overcome with savvy technical skills and thorough communication
Questions to Ask as You Plan Your Course
How will you show them what you’re teaching?
- What do you need to show your students?
- How will students easily see what’s being instructed?
- What will you film with? Will you need to edit your video?
- If you’re using a smart phone to film, there are some video editing apps that will allow you to edit directly on your device!
- What lighting do you have?
- Tip: Try filming by a window and relying on natural light as much as possible!
What else will you need to film?
- How big is your workspace?
- How big are the tools needed?
- How much time will you need to teach?
Content Delivery Questions to Ask Yourself
Perhaps one of the most important considerations when it comes to teaching online classes is where and how your content will be delivered after it’s been recorded. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before making this decision:
- Will your content be pre-recorded?
- If so, will it be “dripped” out to students or will it be available all at once?
- Will the content be available short term or long term?
- Do you plan to bundle or upsell your content?
- Do you want to link out to kits to go alongside your class?
How to Know Which Content Platform is Right for You
As you’re making the decision about which platform to use, here are some things to consider:
- Does the platform offer any kind of promotion (i.e., Is your first class free to post without a subscription fee)?
- What is the platform’s subscription fee?
- Do they offer drip scheduling?
- Do they have automatic enrollment caps?
- Do they offer notifications of comments?
- Are you able to communicate with your students?
- What is the ease of both teacher and student navigation?
Lyric prepared an extensive workbook for webinar viewers accessible via QR code during the webinar. However, she also created an abbreviated version that we’re happy to share with you right here on our blog!
Our second guest was Spoonflower artist Luciana Caballero. Luciana is originally from Argentina but has lived in Florida for the past 10 years. She’s an architect in addition to being a stationery and scrapbooking industry designer She’s been featured in magazines and presented her line of products on the Home Shopping Network in the U.S. and Create & Craft TV in the U.K. Luciana has also had products in major hobby and crafts stores throughout the globe. Here are some of her tips from her presentation.
Create Your “Creative Circle”
A main focus for Luciana is her “creative circle,” which is made up of 3 parts of her career that flow together in tandem:
- Artist: Her creative process begins with the design.
- Sewist: She also loves to sew—it gives her the ability to see a “design come to life.”
- Educator: Being an artist and a sewist created a natural progression toward teaching other artists the skills they need to turn their own designs into small zipper pouches, tote bags and more!
- Back to the beginning: The circle is complete, so she begins the process all over again!
What steps do you have in your skillset to create your own creative circle?
Planning is Important
- Break your projects down.
- List your projects step-by-step, ensuring each step is relatively easy to follow.
- Build a framework.
- Use these steps as the framework from which to build out your class.
- Take notes as you go.
- As you look at the steps to create a framework, determine details like what your visual components need to be. (I.e., will you need to zoom in on a particularly detailed step? Will you need B-roll for another step? Could you include a lifestyle shot?)
Luciana’s platform of choice is Skillshare. She loves how teaching has allowed her to connect with others in the creative community. Join in on the fun by signing up for one of Luciana’s Skillshare classes!