Next up in our e-learning with Curious.com Review series, we continue with reviewing this personal favorite of ours! We blindly believe Curious is the best startup tutoring business idea of the last four years. In our last post, Lynda.com as well as Udemy.com were reviewed and for the latter anyway, some very tough revelations resulted. As was said, everything we wrote, whether pro or con, came from hard won experience as long-time tutors on this website. We referred to a group of Udemy tutors as ‘pet instructors’ which requires a bit more explanation because ‘pet’ brings with it negative connotations. All bestowed with such favor, joined during Udemy’s first year of operation and thereby enjoy loyalty rewards through (but not limited to) being promoted, more than every other, using massive resources available at Udemy.
Nevertheless; Curious.com is a new opportunity for entrepreneurs who have a bit of patience and vision beyond the next several months. Curious was launched by the founder of Homestead.com. Homestead was sold and now serves as a website builder included with some QuickBooks software. Some months ago, we at SBDC TV were honored when Curious contacted us and gave a special invitation to join as beta instructors. They found us, by their own admission, on Udemy and took a liking to not only our course curriculum but also engaging personalities of our tutors. We took a ‘run at it’ with course uploads, setup and other necessary functions to teach on their website and realized what an awesome opportunity we’d been given.
Curious.com isn’t just another e-learning website rather is one of the very few to receive millions in capital investment – $8.5 million to be exact. This means not only is there value in the eyes of its founders but third party investors as well! Let’s go beyond their value for online learners and stick to what their existence means for entrepreneurs and small businesses wishing to expand profit centers. Before doing so, it is crucial to warn readers away from the short-sightedness, for example, of one Udemy instructor. Around September 2013, we received an offer to cross-promote courses from this particular instructor. For those in the know, this is an arrangement whereby two (or more) instructors allow access to their students to increase sales for all involved.
Although this instructor, a young woman, had only 140 or so students compared to our thousands, we loved her course and countered with something much more valuable to both her and us. SBDC TV offered to allow hosting her course on our website as well as ‘open a then closed door’ at Curious to expand her business. Why? One of our strategic imperatives is assisting what the SBA (Small Business Administration) defines as small and disadvantaged businesses. As an African-American female, this young woman fit the bill and her course was AWESOME! She did some checking and decided because she hadn’t heard of us and Curious (at that time anyway), was still in beta test phase, neither was worth the time. All she could see was ‘the now’ which was access to our 8,000 students. The best outcome and having mastered the economics of online tutoring, she could’ve hoped for was a few hundred dollars in one-time earnings. Further and because she had only one course, how was she building a longer term business?
Where is this leading? Key to a successful e-learning business is content multiplication whether you think a website is worthy of ‘your greatness’ or not. Udemy’s top earners began teaching long before the website received capital investment. Checking back in with our ‘emerging’ e-learning instructor, more than 6 months after making the offer and being refused, she had marginal growth (just 30 more students), no other courses and as far as we know, was still teaching only on Udemy. Had she possessed even a bit more vision, this tutor could’ve had, at minimum, three additional profit centers and even with a single course, would’ve massively increased earnings. The opportunities for instructors, especially the ‘grass-roots’ venture at Curious.com, is not only a chance to earn more money but can literally be a GAME CHANGER. What if you were among the first 10-100 instructors at Udemy back in 2010 when they began? According to Udemy, the top ten are earning $1.5 MILLION yearly. This is a bit embellished; what this means is the $1.5 million represents a ‘total’, before Udemy takes their cut of the profits. Of this amount, tutors received approximately $850K which, split among ten, is still nothing to laugh at! What is they multiplied content on ‘like’ websites?
We digress. Whether you’ve come across this post searching for the best online learning website or simply conducting research, starting your own online tutoring business with Curious should be seriously considered. One thing which sets it apart from competitors is the vast array of non-tech focused classes offered. With classes on everything from how to surf to baking cookies, pretty much any skill will qualify and it is a sure bet, if you love to do ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ means to you, there are tens of thousands of others searching for ‘more information’ and training on that very subject.
Udemy, literally, plowed the road for others who came after. Because Udemy did so, websites like Curios.com enjoy mass market appeal to minions willing to pay a premium price for Internet based education and those with skills enough to teach them. Let us be clear about Curious; as ‘beta test instructors’ we believe they are, at minimum, a few years away from real profitability which means instructors must endure the journey alongside them but the rewards will be more than any can imagine. When SBDC TV first launched in the early years of the last decade, Amazon.com stock was around $10 per share and a then unknown software company, RedHat, was at a paltry $2 per share.
In those days and like the Udemy instructor referenced earlier, in some areas, we lacked vision. Had we purchased even 500 shares of each, sat on them while they steadily increased in value, our net worth would be approximately $500,000 more than is currently true. What is your lack of vision, at this very moment, going to cost several short years from now?