The following is a guest post from Teachable creator, Kelly Casanova. Kelly is a self taught weaver with a big passion for sharing the timeless art of weaving with others through her Teachable courses. Kelly is known for her calm and slow teaching style and she bases her classes on how she would have liked to have been taught. She designs all of her own projects and caters for levels from beginner to intermediate. In honor of Teachable’s Creator Month, in which we celebrate and share the expertise of creators everywhere, Kelly shares how to run a business from the heart.
My business success story is not a typical one and for that I am truly grateful. You won’t find me reading books on marketing, business plans, or wealth. You certainly won’t find me “jumping on a call” or scheduling business meetings. I like to think of what I do as running my business from the heart.
In 2016, I was enjoying my weaving hobby immensely while being a stay-at-home, homeschooling, happily-introverted mum. Weaving was my passion. I had a desire to share this with others, and I noticed a real lack of practical learning information available online. So, I uploaded two simple tutorials to YouTube. I didn’t actually expect anyone to watch.
But they did. They watched, and then they asked for more!
In order to be able to cover my yarn costs for all the tutorials I was starting to upload, I signed up with the now defunct YouTube Paid Channels. I charged a couple of dollars a month for viewers to sign up to this private channel and hundreds of people signed up. This gave me my first experience of teaching online in the form of a membership channel.
I was devastated when YouTube announced they were discontinuing paid channels. I surveyed my audience as to whether they wanted me to continue my online teaching and was met with a resounding yes!
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With hardly any idea what I was doing, I started to look around the internet for a way I could continue. I looked at many class hosting websites (I didn’t even know what hosting was at this point!) and kept coming back to Teachable as the best option. Personally, I like the clean, professional look of Teachable schools. I liked that I could start out on low pricing, which meant low risk, and I loved the autonomy for me as the creator.
So I brought all my content from the paid YouTube channel across. I enable single class purchase, as well as access to the class library in the form of a membership. Also, I raised my prices—something I was terrified to do because I thought no one would buy. I chuckle at my initial prices now—they were so very low.
Five years later, my Online Weaving School continues to grow with over 1,300 memberships. Everyday, the school is buzzing with excited students of all different levels, eager to learn and succeed.
This business now supports my family of six. It has allowed us to achieve our dream of leaving the city and raising our kids in the country. My husband and I now work together, just as we always wanted. It has truly become something amazing and beyond my wildest dreams.
Now I want to share with you the most important things this business has taught me. I already mentioned that I run my business from the heart, but what do I actually mean by that?
I’ve discovered something really interesting and unexpected about my business over these years. And that is that it’s not about the teaching, or my strategy, or how much I know about marketing. It’s so much more than learning a new skill.
It’s about people. Relationships. Connections. Sharing and listening. Inspiring.
I have students from all over the world and from all walks of life. Some come to the school with little or no self confidence. Others are grieving the loss of a loved one. Some have escaped abusive relationships. Many have worked so hard for most of their lives that they now want to invest in their own wellbeing.
When a new student joins up to the school, regardless of whether they have bought a product or are accessing some of my free classes, I reach out to them and ask them to tell me about themselves. It is a simple action, but makes a person feel so valued. Some have told me that no one had ever asked them that before!
In these challenging times when mental health can be such an issue, I feel that if you have been given a place or platform on the internet, you also have a duty of care to your followers, outside of just providing a product and taking their money.
When you see your students or customers as real people with real lives and invest in them as individuals, your business will naturally grow.
I have never advertised my business. All of my new students have received value from my YouTube channel, blog, or free classes, or they have been recommended by a friend or someone they meet. Again, investing in your people means they will invest in you.
In the past, I used to think of myself as a weaving teacher, but now I prefer the term facilitator. I show my students how to use their looms and inspire them with ideas. Plus, I provide support if things aren’t going so well. I can take them through all the steps, but the prize that is so invaluable is confidence.
I love what I do because by working through a class, the students prove to themselves that they can do something they thought they couldn’t. They are proud of their accomplishment and happy with their efforts. They are eager to build on what they’ve learned because they now have the confidence to carry on. That is priceless!
I hope you enjoyed my story and that you feel inspired to create and run your business from the heart!