Thinking Like a Business Owner (And Not a Teacher)
I am a teacher on Outschool. I also have my own off Outschool teaching that I do as well and of course mentoring for some select teachers on Outschool. I had a couple of advantages when I started teaching on Outschool. First, I joined during the beginning of the pandemic. Parents were desperately seeking ways to enhance their students education and to fill their time since everyone was stuck inside. Even with all of that my first month I made an entire $87.
There were a couple of things I was doing wrong when I first started. I just applied and started to list classes I thought would be good. How to balloon twist. How to hand sew a face mask. How to paint faces for fun. Things that I could do, and do well, and that I thought I would enjoy teaching. I did actually enjoy teaching them but it wasn't lucrative at all. I wasn't sure that Outschool was going to be a sustainable way for me to actually make a living.
Then I came to a realization. I was expecting Outschool to do all the work for me. I expected them to advertise and filter students into my classes, after all, they keep 30% of every dollar we make, isn't that what it's for? I wasn't thinking like a business owner, which is funny since I have been in business for myself for over 15 years.
Let's do some math. Realistically Outschool has over 10,000 teachers and it isn't practical to advertise them all. I do know that sometimes a teacher will be advertised, I don't know how that process works but when it happens it is magical, but for the majority we benefit from general advertising. Outschool is fantastic at getting students to the site and then perhaps they will find you in the search and enroll for your classes. When I realized this I realized I needed to 1. Get some reviews so that parents would be willing to try my classes. 2. Figure out how the search engine worked.
A couple things to realize: over the past 2 years the search engine functionality has changed multiple times. What worked last summer does not work today so you'll need to revisit this sometimes. The blog that I'm writing today, may be out of date tomorrow, and that's one of the good things about Outschool, they are constantly working to improve their internal processes to make it easier for parents.
To get started I realized that I needed to hustle. I had to offer my classes as discounted rates, or even free, to get some students. I used the Discount Groups on Facebook to advertise my classes and then gave money off or even free classes. Sometimes those classes would result in reviews, sometimes in gentle feedback for improvement. Mostly, it resulted in some really good reviews and some students who are still with me (and not at a discount) over 2 years later.
I messaged friends. I shared on community bulletin boards. I also paid attention to my title and my welcome lines at the very top with a guess this was what the search engine would scour. How do you know what your keywords would be?
You're a parent and you're looking for a class to solve a specific problem they are having. What is that problem? Maybe it's CVC words, maybe it's that their child needs friends but only enjoys gaming, maybe it's that they want to be a professional YouTuber. What search terms would YOU use to find the right class for your child?
Those are the words for your title and introduction. Shove as many keywords in there that sound like a good sentence as possible.
"CVC words for beginners who are struggling"
Try not to repeat those words, you want to cover as many search terms as possible.
"Beginner class for basic reading skills involving sounding out letters, games, singing, and fun ways to learn and practice."
You know everything you need to about this class even before you read the description, and that's good. We know that some parents will read every single word of the description. They will watch the videos. They will read the reviews. Others will sign up having only read the title and the top tagline. You'll know when you get that bad review that is inevitable because they didn't bother to read beyond the title and they thought that you would be teaching something you didn't clearly state in your description. Don't panic about that review, Outschool will help with things that are based on not reading the description.
So make sure you're ready to hustle to get some students in your classes and make yourself findable in the search engine.