Should You Start Your Own Online School?

Blog Oct 20, 2020

With rising college tuition costs and no guarantee that you will get a job after graduation, many are questioning if a college education is worth the investment. For the 2020-2021 academic school year, the average cost of tuition for private colleges was $41,411 and $11,171 for public universities. In addition to declining wages and the student loan debt crisis, only 27% of college graduates utilize the education they receive. Fifty-three percent of college graduates are either unemployed or have a job that does not require a degree.

With the unemployment rate as high as 14.7% this year, hundreds of thousands of people are on the job market either looking to learn new skills or switch careers, but they do not necessarily have the time nor the funds to commit to a four-year degree. With the high demand for alternative ways to learn remotely, now is the best time to consider starting an online school. If you are interested in creating an online learning community, here’s what you should consider before making a decision.

You Should Start Your Online School If...

1. You are passionate about teaching

Having an interest in teaching goes a long way as an online course creator. Before you start conducting market research and identifying a profitable niche, consider if you are enthusiastic about the topic. Teachers who are passionate inspire their students to learn more.

Here are four questions to help you figure out if teaching is right for you:

  • Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner?
  • Are you comfortable with spending 10+ hours a week interacting with students?
  • Do similar programs sound interesting to you?
  • Can you explain concepts clearly and concisely?

2. You have deep domain expertise

You are ready to launch an online school if you are seen as an authority in your field and have extensive expertise. If you have written a book, consulted, or spoken on stage, you are well-positioned for this venture.  

3. You have an existing audience

One of the biggest misconceptions in business is, if you build it, they will come. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Course creators who do not have an existing audience struggle with selling because they haven’t established credibility. Before launching an online school, build an engaged audience full of people who are the right fit for your school. Create a newsletter, start a Facebook group, and share your ideas on social media.

There are other benefits to building an audience as well. By communicating with your audience often, you can ask for feedback and improve the curriculum.

4. You are excited about building your own business

If you are entrepreneurial, value autonomy and flexibility, launching an online school offers an opportunity for you to take control of your destiny - work from anywhere, choose your own hours, work across disciplines, and leave a legacy behind.

Our Favorite Online Schools

From memberships to bootcamps, here are some of our favorite online schools that are crushing it right now.

Write of Passage

Write of Passage is a cohort-based online course created by David Perell. Write of Passage provides the tools and step-by-step instruction for accelerating your career by writing quality content and sharing your work online. Alumni include students from Google, Facebook, and more.

Follow David Perell on Twitter: @david_perell

Building a Second Brain

Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte, an international productivity expert, helps content creators, freelancers, and productivity and self-improvement enthusiasts save their best ideas and organize their learning so they can expand their creative output. This course includes live classes, pre-recorded videos, a resource library, and more.

Follow Tiago Forte on Twitter: @fortelabs


Shift_up is a learning gym that offers flexible online classes, a community, and coaching support. This membership strives to help those who are looking to upgrade their skills. Training programs cover a variety of specialties, digital marketing to full-stack web development.

Follow Shift_up on Twitter: @learninggyms

On Delta

Using an income share agreement model, in 15 weeks, On Delta helps marketers break into tech and land a job. Paying $0 upfront, students have access to industry experts and dedicated career coaches.

Follow On Delta on Twitter: @ondelta

Get Started With Virtually

If you are ready to start your online school, we are here to help. Virtually is a one-stop solution for teaching online. Schedule a demo to walk through our key features or set up your online school today.

Danielle Desir

Danielle Desir is an author and the host of The Thought Card, an affordable travel & personal finance podcast. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, hiking, and running outdoors.

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