On Thursday nights, I host #HandmadeChat, a weekly Twitter talk show about making, buying, selling handmade products. Last night’s night’s #HandmadeChat topic was How To Make Money Teaching Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Classes.
My guest was La Shonda Tyree, certified soapmaker and CEO of Handmade Soap Coach. La Shonda hosts soap, candle and body care product making classes throughout the northeast and will soon launch classes online. Here is a summary of the valuable tips La Shonda shared. At the bottom, you’ll find a link to the entire transcript and information about next week’s #HandmadeChat topic.
Indie Business: THERE ARE SO MANY DIY CLASSES TODAY. HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN A CROWDED MARKET?
La Shonda: Use pictures to promote classes and make sure your students know they can post photos on FaceBook, Twitter, etc. Let them know how to use the hash tag for your event, and how to tag you in a post. If you have guest teachers, make sure you work together to promote events and help spread the word.
Collaboration with others always makes you stand out. Really give your all in classes, and deliver what you promise — and then some. Doing that will always distinguish you from everyone else.
Indie Business: WHAT ARE YOUR BEST TIPS FOR STARTING TO TEACH DIY CLASSES WITHOUT BEING OVERWHELMED?
La Shonda: Simple – don’t try to be all things to all people. Don’t try to teach everything you know. Choose what you’re best at, stick to that and grow from there. Focus on your strengths. You can also survey your newsletter subscribers and followers and ask them what they want to learn, and then deliver that to them.
When you focus your efforts in this way, you can offer more relevant classes and do less guesswork. Everyone is happy.
Indie Business: WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES TO MAKING A PROFIT TEACHING #DIY CLASSES?
La Shonda: Many people teach classes for fun, but forget about the “making money” part, and they charge too little for classes. Charge a price that covers your time, costs, etc., and which reflects your expertise and the empowering information you are sharing. Finding a good location can be a challenge too. (See more on this below.)
Indie Business: IF YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR OWN LOCATION, WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR FINDING GOOD PLACES TO TEACH DIY CLASSES?
La Shonda: One way is to find local venues that have unused space. For example, I use unused space at a local boutique. Local recreation centers and community colleges are good options as well. They’ll often help you promote too, because they have course catalogs.
Indie Business: HOW DO YOU BEST DETERMINE WHAT TYPES OF DIY CLASSES WILL SELL BEST?
La Shonda: Well, what are you good at? Where do you excel? What do you love? Those classes will naturally sell best. use color too. People love colorful things and the more color you use, the more fun people will have. Their photos will be better too!
As you teach classes, weed out the ones that don’t sell well, increase offers of most popular classes.
Indie Business: HOW DO I DETERMINE WHAT TO CHARGE FOR CLASSES? SHOULD I CHARGE A MATERIALS FEE?
La Shonda: Yes, you should charge a materials fee. Add up the cost of supplies needed by each student, pass it on.
Indie Business: WHAT ARE YOUR BEST TIPS FOR PROMOTING DIY CLASSES?
La Shonda: Use social media, of course! Promote using your blog, newsletter, Twitter, FaceBook, etc. Create a single link and guide people there. Ask your friends and colleagues, and the event location host (if not you) to blog and calendar too. Schedule Tweets and FaceBook posts in advance so you are not bogged down with routine updates and can focus more on engaging with people.
Be sure to post photos during (if possible) and after. People love that! And don’t forget about offline options like direct mail, local newspapers, etc. Add your class schedules to the calendars of social networking sites where you target customers hang out.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Thursdays at 8pm ET and follow @HandmadeChat on Twitter.
Join us for the next #HandmadeChat, June 14, 8pm ET, when our topic will be How To Use Milk In Handmade Soap. See you there!