Dubai: Starting a business by monetising your expertise can be a daunting experience initially, especially when you do not know where to begin. UAE-based long-time entrepreneurs explain how newbie ‘edupreneurs’ can be better prepared when starting out on their own.
“Often the problem facing a new creator or edupreneur isn’t gaining expertise, but clearly identifying the areas where you’re already an expert and figuring out how to position yourself,” explained Dr Rashid Hammad, a UAE-based serial business investor and entrepreneurship mentor.
“Any expertise can be monetised, and one of the great things about making money online is how many options there are to generate revenue, and how democratic the process is. Anyone can become an ‘edupreneur’ provided they can find the right model for delivering their expertise.”
According to a study by online research platform Statista, the global e-learning market is expected to reach $400 billion (Dh1.5 trillion) by 2026. In turn, this has created a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs and experts who are interested in creating and selling online courses of any kind.
Often the problem facing a new creator or edupreneur isn’t gaining expertise, but clearly identifying the areas where you’re already an expert and figuring out how to position yourself
What should be the first steps of newbie ‘edupreneurs’?
“The first step to monetising your expertise is to identify a specific topic or set of topics that you want to focus on,” said Zahid Majid, a Dubai-based serial online entrepreneur. “This may be a topic you’re an expert in, or it could be one you want to develop your skills in and then offer to others.
“Regardless, before committing to a product or service, consider the audience you plan to target with your business model. Who are they, and where are you likely to find them? Identifying your key audience is vital as it will influence the online presence you create, and where you host the content.”
Hammad too agreed that among newbie ‘edupreneurs’, the need for a business model is often overlooked nowadays, while stressing on the need for one in order to create high-quality content and build a brand around a specific niche.
Why are the first steps tough for newbie ‘edupreneurs’?
“Many newbie ‘edupreneurs’ dread take the first steps, as it can be tough to decide on a single topic. It is often easier to start with a broader topic and then narrow your focus over time, but the key is to pick something that tackles a real problem and also has a strong potential market,” Majid added.
“Once you have identified your ideal topic, the next step is to create an outline for your course. This will help you determine the specific topics and subtopics that you want to cover, as well as how much content to include and how to structure the course.”
Hammad separately noted that if you are unable to create a detailed outline, you might prefer to just have a general idea of the topics that you want to cover. “Either approach is fine, as long as you have a clear structure in mind before you begin creating your course materials,” he said.
“So for newbie ‘edupreneurs’ this means continually exploring how to scale, how to put better processes in place, whether to outsource things like course production, and understanding what can’t really be outsourced.
“We usually become ‘edupreneurs’ based upon our expertise in a particular area – and our value as edupreneurs is tied to that expertise. But however knowledgeable or skilled we may be in the first place, there is always room to sharpen the saw and elevate our value.”
If you have specific industry expertise, that’s an obvious area to capitalise on. But even if you don’t – or simply want to do something different – “there are always other possibilities”, reiterated Majid, when asked about the next steps when facing a roadblock in monetising expertise into a business.
“You can select any niche where you have experience and a passion to educate others, and start teaching using the methods that most appeal to you, be it video classes, online courses, written articles, or in-person lectures and seminars,” he added, while cautioning about not having a niche.
“Because there are so many available options, some entrepreneurs make the mistake of spreading themselves too thin. You are much more likely to achieve success with one or two primary teaching methods than trying to do everything at once.”
It is only when your reputation as an expertise-based business begins to grow, should you branch out to offer new models or products, Hammad reminded newbie ‘edupreneurs’ who are starting out on their educational business online.