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Teaching Technology

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GradyS

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Oct 16, 2018
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Hey all,

Pretty new user to the boards, and just blew through most of Unscripted. Definitely a book I'm going to read multiple times.

I've had an idea that has nagged at me for a while, and would love some feedback.

I enjoy teaching technology to people. Whether it's teaching my mother-in-law how to set up a printer, or telling my dad why he accidentally has 5 different brower search bars at the top ("I swear I didn't click on anything!")

How could I do this on a larger scale? I suppose I could do it locally, but I wanted to know how I could help someone virtually?

Is it receiving an inquiry and then recording a video with step by step instructions? Is it calling them on the phone and attempting to walk them through? Or purchasing one of those "Easy Remote PC" software tools that lets you instantly connect to someones computer and take control?

At this point I have several people in my family that I could test out methods/technology on, but just thought I'd ask is this viable?

Thanks!
 

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Akeem

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Feb 4, 2016
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Honestly, if there's anything to learn from ideas and businesses from the past it's that anything is viable so long as their is demand/need. From toys/gadgets (like the fidget spinner and other fidget gadgets) all the way up to the weird and wonderful.

So to answer your question, I'd probably advise you to assume its viable until your results say otherwise. There's no harm in testing it out. It's free (or at the very least, cheap) and probably won't take too long for you to execute and come to a conclusion.

The only thing I'd mention is the how. Are you going to physically help people in return for the monetary value of your knowledge and time, are you going to create videos demonstrating the issues your 'clients' are facing or are you going to write up and illustrate ebooks? (FYI: short and snappy ebooks are probably the best out of the 3 suggestions I mentioned as they'll take a few hours to write up and illustrate and then can sell for hours, days and months, not requiring anything more from you.)

Other ideas can include: YouTube videos, Instagram posts (both photos and videos), your own 'how-to' blog, local serviceman (like a handyman), ebook publishing and distributing, Facebook group/page posting your 'tutorials' etc.
 

garyfritz

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Summit Attendee
Jul 16, 2011
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Colorado
I've taught technology for Fortune 50 & smaller companies for 6 years, and occasionally for years before that. I haven't taught to individuals or for my own business.

There is always a demand for learning. HOWEVER the tech training landscape has changed a LOT in the last 5-10 years. Now people expect training to be cheap or free -- on Youtube, or for $9.95 on Udemy, whatever.

I make money in my training gig because the company hires me to teach their customers. That only works because the customers are paying megabucks for the product, so a few extra k$ allocated for training is no big deal. But for the kinds of things you're talking about, those deep pockets aren't there.

So while you might find lots of willing customers, it may be hard to make any money at it. Not impossible, but it might be a lot of work for not much return.
 
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GradyS

GradyS

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 16, 2018
107
113
131
North Carolina
The only thing I'd mention is the how. Are you going to physically help people in return for the monetary value of your knowledge and time, are you going to create videos demonstrating the issues your 'clients' are facing or are you going to write up and illustrate ebooks? (FYI: short and snappy ebooks are probably the best out of the 3 suggestions I mentioned as they'll take a few hours to write up and illustrate and then can sell for hours, days and months, not requiring anything more from you.)

Other ideas can include: YouTube videos, Instagram posts (both photos and videos), your own 'how-to' blog, local serviceman (like a handyman), ebook publishing and distributing, Facebook group/page posting your 'tutorials' etc.
This is the struggle. I've been in the corporate world for about 10 years, in a "sales engineer" type role. It's the HVAC industry, and I see tons of people that don't even know the basics of word/excel/powerpoint. I understand that a lot of this could be learned online, but no one does. I would love to help people just learn the basics and how they could simplify their daily work. I don't know if that would target the business owner ("You could save X hours of productivity") or more targeted at older home users that their kids/grandkids are tired of having to help them.

I think ideally to be more in line with unscripted I would want to create a video instead of only in person/live training. The video/courses could be sold multiple times. But I know I could be a lot more helpful in person if I was sitting next to the person.

Maybe I should just launch something locally (through a thumbtack style website) for home help and see if I could help around the office to see how that would go. Maybe see which one creates more demand?
 
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GradyS

GradyS

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 16, 2018
107
113
131
North Carolina
I've taught technology for Fortune 50 & smaller companies for 6 years, and occasionally for years before that. I haven't taught to individuals or for my own business.

There is always a demand for learning. HOWEVER the tech training landscape has changed a LOT in the last 5-10 years. Now people expect training to be cheap or free -- on Youtube, or for $9.95 on Udemy, whatever.

I make money in my training gig because the company hires me to teach their customers. That only works because the customers are paying megabucks for the product, so a few extra k$ allocated for training is no big deal. But for the kinds of things you're talking about, those deep pockets aren't there.

So while you might find lots of willing customers, it may be hard to make any money at it. Not impossible, but it might be a lot of work for not much return.
Thank you for the feedback. May I ask what type of technology you are teaching? Is it MS software (excel, word, etc) or is it the software that is developed internally and you are creating training videos?

I don't want to start down the path of something that doesn't have the ability for me to focus on this completely one day, but at the same time I think it's my strongest skill at this point.
 

garyfritz

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jul 16, 2011
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I've done all my training work on big-dollar corporate iron. For many years I developed & taught training on various HP server systems & supporting software. For the last 6 years I've been a senior instructor for NetApp storage systems. I'm a freelancer. NetApp hires a training company for all their customer training, and the training co hires me for individual gigs. The training co is just picking up North American training for SUSE Linux and I'm one of the instructors for that too.

This is all live in-person or online (webinar) training. Fortunately for me, my clients understand the value of live training -- and they're willing to spend the $$$ for a live trainer -- so they haven't dumped it off into video or canned training. I don't know how long the market will continue to support that model, or if everybody will end up going to video or Udemy or whatever, but it's worked well for me so far.

You have to be flexible if you want to do this. Obviously you have to be able to learn and understand lots of new technology. But you also have to be nimble because the market keeps changing. I've been doing solely NetApp training for 6 years, but that's starting to fizzle... partly because the storage market is changing (people are storing data in the cloud instead of in a locally-managed storage system) and partly because of the changes in the training biz that I mentioned. I've been trying to spin up another business for years, so I wouldn't be so dependent on the NetApp work, but it's not easy to generate another six-figure income. That's why I'm picking up the Linux work, to diversify so I'm not so dependent on one client.
 
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jesseissorude

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Jun 12, 2014
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I do something similar.

I am an Electrical Engineer, and I teach electronics workshops related to DIY audio projects.

Have you considered doing volunteer work? It's made a lot of connections for me. I teach at a couple kids' summer rock and roll camps. Kids 7-17 meet for an hour every day for a week and learn electronics and solder together a guitar pedal (one year we did a mini-synth).

I've also taught this class to adults as a fundraiser for the camps, and of course on my own for income.

I also make products and wholesale them to music stores, but the teaching and running workshops is a great way to build brand recognition for my products AND generate another stream of income for the business.

Plus, it's fun :)

The kids are WAY better at it than the adults are.
 

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