Resit Gulec of Master of Project Academy is an online entrepreneur whose business has delivered online courses to more than 50,000 participants and business professionals around the globe. Master of Project Academy covers the IT and Business Management Fields.
Resit started his business after working as a project manager and gaining experience in the field and managed to create 13 courses in 13 months.
Here's what he has to say...
Tell us what you do in 2 sentences:
Master of Project Academy delivers 100% online and self-paced certification courses for IT & Business professionals. Master of Project Academy is the world’s #1 affordable and flexible certification education provider.
At what point did you decide to create your online business?
I worked as a project manager several years before starting my own business. One of the last projects I managed was development of Turkey’s largest online education platform for Turkcell, which is the largest mobile operator in Turkey, and one of the top 5 operators in Middle-East region.
During this project, I had the chance to work with senior executives monitoring the online education sector and saw how the education world will change in the coming years. I was giving project management lectures at Ozyegin University to undergraduate and MBA students at that time as well as a visiting professor. I wanted to put my rehearsals to online education platforms.
I received very good feedback from students and then the real story began! I prepared and published more than 13 courses in 13 months and exceeded 32,000 students in 15 months from September 2014 until March 2016.
What did you do next?
I launched Master of Project Academy at April 2016 with Teachable’s platform. Actually, masterofproject.com has been live since 2012 and acting as a blog for project management and IT service management.
We continued to prepare and publish new courses. We recently passed 50,000 professionals from more than 170 countries. We celebrate this milestone with 50K50OFF coupon which will give 50% off to our visitors in all courses and all pricing plans sitewide.
Our news appeared on hundreds of popular sites including Yahoo! Finance and Market Watch. You can check the most popular appearances from our media coverage page.
What was your greatest struggle in the beginning? How did you overcome it?
The biggest struggle I had was narration of the courses. My colleagues, friends, supervisors and managers were telling me that I am good at project management, but as you know, being good at something doesn't ensure that you will teach it as well as you practice it.
Around 10-15% of my students were saying that although my content is impressive and comprehensive, my narration would be better.
To improve this, I found a native voice actor. We transformed our courses with native narration and our students are much happier now.
What has been the best part of running your own business?
These courses change the lives of our students. I have never felt the satisfaction or happiness in my previous professional life as I did when I receive positive feedback from a student or a message that he or she passed an exam with the help of our courses.
Two weeks ago, one of our students wrote to us and said that he prepared for the PMP exam with our course and passed it on their first attempt. Then, he got an offer from a company with an 18% salary increase! We hear several stories like that each week which makes us very happy.
How did you build an audience for Master of Project?
We have various channels to reach our target audience. In the beginning, we worked with coupon sites. We prepared and published SEO articles each week which improved our organic visibility. We posted trending news about IT & Business world through our social media accounts: Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook.
However, the most important channel which is much more over the channels above is word of mouth. Our happy students tell about our courses to their colleagues or network and this brings a significant and ready to enroll student traffic to our site.
Why online courses as opposed to other mediums?
There is a very big shift in the education sector since 2010's from traditional classroom trainings to online courses. While there are many platforms for software development, academy courses and soft skills, there are a few players in the online certification training market which offers a complete and comprehensive portfolio for IT & Business professionals.
Based on our research, over 90% of certification courses are still delivered through classroom trainings. We expect a very big shift towards online certification courses in following years. Because, online certification courses provide up to 90% price advantage, self-paced and offers a money-back guarantee.
Corporate organizations are also looking for online course alternatives to training their employees since online education is more flexible and lowers the operational and training costs of a company. Google, Salesforce, Flipkart and many other well-known companies train their employees with the courses of online education platforms. I believe, this wind will turn into a storm in the following years.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are looking to go full-time in their online business?
The most important advice would be: be prepared to work 24 hours! Ok, I am exaggerating but before I started my online business, I was thinking that I would be the boss of my own business so I would set the rules: no overtime, happy weekends, holidays with no work in mind bla bla bla…
Believe me, none of them happened :) your store is open 24 hours! And your customers wait for your prompt responses. Otherwise, it can cause dissatisfaction and you can lose business in long-term.
Therefore, prepare a plan, try to keep a to-do list (it will grow and grow and grow but will never shrink), prioritize your to-do list, set deadlines to milestones on what to do when and try to meet these deadlines.
What are your plans for the future?
More than 50% of our current visitors come from the US. ~20% of the traffic comes from Canada, UK, Australia, India and Ireland. Until now, we focused on North America mainly and applied B2C marketing strategies.
We are planning to be more visible in Europe and India market. We are also planning to approach corporate companies in a few countries to open a new B2C sales channel.
We are aiming to add new courses to our portfolio until the end of 2017 and exceed 50 courses in total.