Monetize your expertise! If you’re teaching online classes, use these tools throughout the process.
With lockdowns, quarantines, and mass layoffs halting daily life all over the world, many have begun thinking outside the box to maintain a revenue stream. Across continents, we’ve seen a meteoric boom in teaching online classes, including fitness classes, academic coursework, and niche topics like wine and baking.
Musicians are offering video chat lessons and donation-based solo concerts from their own shelters-in-place, and artists of all types are offering consultations.
Anyone from any field can offer masterclasses or lessons in their area of expertise to earn money in what are, for many, desperate and confusing times. But teaching online classes requires deliberate execution in order to be effective. So, if you’re looking to bring in revenue through one-on-one lessons or small group workshops, we’ve assembled a choice selection of free tools you’ll find extremely useful. With these resources, you can ensure a comprehensive and excellent experience for your customers—and for yourself.
Watch this video to find out a little more. Below, we’ll give a few quick pointers on planning lessons before we introduce you to the extensions that you’ll need to get started. Use these tools for a seamless online teaching process.
Planning a lesson
If this is your first time offering a class—or even if you’ve done this before—it’s useful to have a plan in place that will allow you to prepare, deliver, and follow up correctly. Classcraft lists a simple, step-by-step process to help you plan your lesson. We like it a lot, and so we’ve presented their skeleton as follows:
- Identify the objectives
- Determine the needs of your students
- Plan your resources and materials
- Engage your students
- Instruct and present the information!
- Allow time for student practice
- End the lesson
- Evaluate the lesson
Now that you have a clear process, you’ll need the right toolkit to get you from quarantine to quaran-tutor. Read up on the following: they’ll give you the upper hand.
1. Use email templates to catch your customers’ eyes, right off the bat.
First things first. You’ll need to send out invitations to notify potential customers of your classes. No time to waste reinventing the wheel! Use Gmail Email Templates.
Coming up with your own formatting isn’t easy. Aesthetic presentation is important; it matters to your customers that your invitations look professional and “fit” the mood of the class that you’re offering. When you use Gmail Email Templates, you can choose from a huge selection of over 100 business templates available to you through the extension. You can also upload your own templates, if you have ones you like.
Alternatively—and this part is really cool—use Gmail Email Templates to rip the templates out of beautifully formatted emails that you’ve received in your inbox. What do we mean? Well, remember that recent email you got with the formatting you really liked? Was it the Beyoncé concert tour promotion? The local wine store’s weekend sale notice? Or was it yesterday’s homeowner’s insurance email? Whichever the one, you loved the way it looked. Search for it, bring it back up, and use Gmail Email Templates to literally duplicate the formatting of that email for you and create a new template from it in one click.
Yes, we did just say that. Watch this movie to find out more.
Edit and customize for your own business, and you’re set to go.
Sound pretty handy? Try it and see.
2. Make sure scheduling goes smoothly.
When you send your emails out to clients, you’ll need to make it easy for them to book a time with you. If you’re only diving into the world of teaching online classes now that COVID-19 has turned the economy on its head, you’ll quickly learn what freelancers have known for ages: scheduling is everything. Avoid the unnecessary hassles: no double booking, no calling up clients and waiting for them to open their calendars. With Meeting Scheduler for Gmail, your time is yours.
This tool allows you to specify time slots in your schedule that work for a meeting with a specific person. Once you’ve customized your settings—dates, times, meeting length, weekends/no weekends—the extension creates a hyperlink and embeds it in whatever email you’re writing. The recipient of that email can click the link and schedule a meeting for one of the times that you designated available. And when they do, two new Google Calendar items appear: one in your calendar, and one in theirs.
(Note: this extension does not allow multiple contacts to schedule meetings for the same time slot. Therefore, use this to book 1-on-1 appointments only.)
3. Know who’s opened your emails, and when. (Email and text alert options.)
You’ve sent your beautifully crafted emails out to prospective customers. But this isn’t the time to sit on your hands and wait. You need to know who opened your emails; when they opened them; who clicked on your meeting scheduler link (or any links, for that matter); who replies quickly; and who takes their time. This way you can be proactive about turning leads into customers, and customers into repeat customers—and you can analyze your own effectiveness.
Free Email Tracker allows for just that. Install this extension, and you can receive an important set of notifications for when:
- Your emails are opened
- You haven’t received a response for two days
- Your email hasn’t been opened for two days.
- Note: You can also get your notifications via text message, so that even when you’re out for your socially-distant walk around the neighborhood park, you’ll know when your most promising lead sees your invitation for a session with you.
4. Manage your clients from inside your Gmail.
Great news! You’ve gotten some positive responses to your email campaign. Some people have said they’re available, and they’ve booked sessions with you. Others are asking you questions before they commit. You need a way to keep track of all of it. That’s why there’s Gmail Copilot.
Gmail Copilot is a mini Customer Relations Manager (CRM) inside your Gmail. It shows up as a trusty right-hand sidebar, complete with tabs that display the contacts you’ve been conversing with most recently. You can easily click between the tabs to find and sort through the back-and-forth messages you’ve exchanged with (prospective) clients. You can also take notes on specific emails, and you can even set up reminders that will send you notifications for when to contact them.
Keeping up with your customers can feel overwhelming. Don’t do it alone: get yourself a copilot here.
5. Keep tidy records with this smart extension.
If you’re going to make any real money with online instruction, you’ll need to be rigorous with your data. How much money have you pulled in from each client? Do you have a list of all your clients in one document? Do you have their contact info, the hours they’ve spent with you, the dates of their sessions, their preferred meeting times, their level of expertise, and notes on the sessions? Did you think you could make money teaching online classes all…well, willy-nilly? We didn’t think so!
Powered by artificial intelligence, Export Emails to Google Sheets allows you to export specific information from your emails into an organized Google Sheet, Excel spreadsheet, or CSV file. You can determine rules about what kind of data you want to extract from your emails, and the extension will transfer that to the spreadsheet automatically. Tell the extension to upload correspondents’ phone numbers, email addresses, or other information. Just like that, you’ll have great record books, hands-free.
Save your settings so that all new emails that enter a certain label—say, an “Orders,” “Inquiries,” or a “Registrations” Gmail label—gets automatically organized into a spreadsheet for you, and you don’t even have to click a button because our AI is doing the work for you.
And of course, la pièce de résistance: click here to download Export Emails to Google Sheets.
Yes to the side hustle. Yes to the hustle in general. #ShelterInPlace –> #ShelterWithGrace
This is not a normal time. We repeat. This is not a normal time.
Of course, you already know that. But it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves. Let’s forgive ourselves for being scared, and let’s take a deep breath…and steel ourselves so we can take some big leaps of faith.
Teaching online classes and offering online consultations can and will make you some cash during this highly uncertain period of 2020. But you’ll need to set yourself up for success. Allow the tools above to make things a little easier.
Now, for God’s sake, go teach some people all that crazy stuff that you know!