Working in the test-prep field proved to be as valuable to students as it was profitable for these business owners.
You can be a multi-billionaire, marry the most beautiful woman on earth and you’re still going to have problems, or so says Jay Z. There’s truth to that. No matter who you are, you’re probably experiencing something you wish you could change.
As a business person, if you can provide the right solution, it will not only allow you to make money from home, but will do a lot of good for the people who need it.
Which is why I was thrilled to discover that three of our Teachable instructors are having a huge impact on the standardized testing industry.
Arun Jagannanthan (@AskCrackVerbal), Jon Haws (@nrsng) and Bharat Patodi & Swati Choudhary (@pyoopel) know the importance of passing major standardized tests, so they’re helping students prepare for these life changing exams.
Whatever your thoughts on standardized testing, it’s hard to deny that it’s a part of global culture that has historically divided high and low-income earners, skilled and unskilled labor, and barred people from achieving their dreams ergo happiness. Think I’m kidding, rewatch the end of Pursuit of Happyness when Will Smith…takes a test.
As such, the courses targeting this industry have resulted in big change, in the lives of the people they help and in their owners’ pocket books.
In this post, I’ll talk about how to find your own idea using these instructors as an example. I will link you to key resources that take the magic out of a million dollar idea and make ideation accessible and doable. Let’s break it down.
Arun Jagannanthan had been working in the test prep industry for over a decade before he decided it was time to create his own company, CrackVerbal. Working for well-known industry players, he realized that many “of the approaches and techniques were either cookie-cutter ‘one size fits all’ solutions or not suited for a more global audience.” Arun had a moment of epiphany when he realized there was an incredible opportunity for him to fill this gap. Helping students pass their exams was not only a passion of his, but seemed profitable as well.
Already popular in a few online forums, Arun launched his course and recently made 9K with over 300 enrolled students whose testimonials can be found here. He specializes in test prep for the GRE and GMAT.
Compare this to Jon Haws who runs NRSNG.com. Jon created a test-prep course helping nursing students prepare for their licensing exam (NCLEX). Jon’s inspiration came from his own struggle with nursing school. Teachers are often selected for their technical skills, not their teaching skills, and don’t always fully prepare their students for the mandatory certification exams. Jon pinpointed this problem and took it a step further asking students what area of nursing was the most difficult. He then tailored his course and content around his audience’s number one problem. Proving it’s effectiveness, Jon made 16K launching his course, which you can read about here.
The common thread between these two instructors extends beyond their interest in standardized testing and into HOW THEY TARGETED THEIR AUDIENCE’S WANTS AND NEEDS.
At Teachable, we’re constantly talking about how to find “your profitable idea.” We don’t think finding that million dollar ticket to financial freedom comes from spontaneous combustion, but rather from:
- Focusing on your passion
- Realizing you ARE qualified to teach
- Focusing your idea on solving your audience’s problems (thus ensuring there is a demand for what you’re supplying #econ101).
Let’s break this down logically.
At Teachable, we’ve found that being passionate about a topic is a shortcut to success. You’re probably already knowledgeable about the topic, know where the audience hangs out online and have an understanding of the problems in the industry. These are huge advantages.
This was especially true for Arun, who calls test-prep one of his passions. It might sound crazy, but he’s worked in the industry for over ten years.
However, you don’t have to have ten years of experience to be qualified to teach. Too often, I hear people telling me they can’t teach a course because they’re “not an expert.”
Put bluntly, you make this stuff up in your head. An expert is someone who is just one step ahead of you. Take Jon Haws, he isn’t a PhD or certified teacher. No offense to Jon, but he’s just a dude who went through nursing school, saw a problem in the industry, and decided to do something about it.
Jon himself wrestled with doubt about his ability to teach online, but when I asked him to give one piece of advice to future teachers, he told me:
The biggest thing is that people want solutions to their problems. If there is something you’re passionate about and have just a little bit of knowledge about, you know more than a beginner. If you can provide cheat sheets and solutions, they’ll pay you for it and consider you a hero and lifesaver.
That feels really good and having people say you changed their life or improved it in some way, well that feels really good too. Teaching is a way to do that.
Sixteen-thousand dollars later with over 40,000 downloads on his podcast each month and 900 students enrolled in his course, I’d say he’s doing a damn good job of teaching, not to mention he hasn’t been asked for a single refund on his course and he’s received tons of amazing feedback from his students.
However, before you run off creating an online course about pet rocks just because you like it, you MUST consider your audience’s pain, or the thing they actually need a solution to.
So for instance, if I want to teach a course about coffee, I need to pinpoint the problem for my coffee-drinking audience. Is it where to source the beans, how to prepare the coffee, or simply wanting to know the difference between an Arabica or Robusta? If I’m teaching a course about NCLEX prep, knowing that pharmacology is a trouble area is key.
At Teachable, we’ve seen thousands of course launches, which is why Teachable’s co-founder, Conrad Wadowski, created a free online course.
Conrad’s insights read easily because they’re intuitive. They help you break down your audience with scientific methodology pinpointing the crucial pain in your audience. You can use this information to take your product and information from “nice to know” to “need to know” and therefore profitable!
Whether or not Jon Haws listened to PCI, he embodies the very thing we teach. His course is focused on audience needs.
To pinpoint the pain exactly, Jon’s first email to any student who signs up for his newsletter asks subscribers to do one thing: tell me one thing you’re struggling with right now. This bit of advice comes from Pat Flynn and we’ve seen it work with Jon, Conrad and other students launching their course.
At Teachable, we host another set of instructors who are working together to solve the struggle. Bharat Patodi and Swati Choudhary of Pyoopel.com, an online course preparing students in India for standardized tests.
The idea that spurred Pyoopel was simple.
“Both of us felt that students paid exorbitant amounts of money on coaching. This was a gap we wanted to bridge,” says Bharat, who, along with Swati, has published a couple of books as well,” said Bharat in an interview with YourStory.
By contrast, Pyoopel is a FREE online course, a true MOOC (massive open online course) that doesn’t charge students. The two founders attempt to democratize education in a way that it’s accessible to all students in India regardless of location and income status.
While this might seem vastly different than what Arun and Jon are doing, it’s not at all. All three courses are set up to solve a truly painful problem: how to prepare for life changing exams. All three are providing a solution that’s been extremely well received.
Compare these testimonials:
Without these online courses, these students could have faced a drastically different future. That’s the beauty of the right idea, it falls at the intersection of ethical, profitable and beneficial, and that’s something the world could use more of.
Tell me what you think. Finding your idea? What are your priorities? Let me know in the comment section below.
Thanks to Alberto G. for his Flickr photo that we used in the header.