How can I monetize training people in excel?
July 15, 2021 3:07 PM   Subscribe

I Love helping people in excel. I notice, two years into my current job, that about 30 people ask me for help in excel in the regular, and I'm formally training about 50/year in hour long sessions. I just love it. But how can I /should I monetize it?

My fondest memories of working with other coworkers 10+ years ago is taking someone who knew nothing and was struggling, and building up their excel skills, until they left the job and got triple the salary as a data scientist.

Lately, someone asking for help venmo'd me $10 for the trouble. I really appreciated that gift. Then, someone I didn't know existed, reached out from my company in some remote seattle office, and asked for my training. They were on a totally separate team, but word got around. I was delighted.

I've worked my training to be interactive, useful, and awesome. It's a fun little class. I'd love to help other people in groups or one-on-one for free, but I recently realized how valuable it is for people to be confident and fast at excel.

I don't need money at all. I could help people for free. I wouldn't be supporting myself off the money at all, but for total strangers some kind of compensation feels more appropriate? But also, I just really like helping beginners at things, and helping with excel?

I'm happy with my job, which is not a training job, and I would not be leaving it regardless of how much excel training I end up doing.

So - the question:

Is this a real thing I could monetize? How would I go about doing it? What value would be appropriate? I don't think I would charge my coworkers ever, but then, how would I get publicity and word-of-mouth help out to other people?
posted by bbqturtle to Work & Money (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You can propose free classes through your local library.

If you do end up starting a business doing this, you then have a source for publicity, and you also get to feel good about knowing that people who can't afford to pay are still having access to your classes.
posted by aniola at 3:35 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]

Hooray for your awesome capacity-building skills! I also love spreading the love of spreadsheets, and so this question makes me smile a real big smile.

There's a Google Sheets guy named Ben Collins whose online courses might be helpful for visualizing how some other people do this - he even had a post a short while back on creating online learning experiences, though I'm having trouble finding it. I have to run to another call, but here is his page on tools he uses to create online courses.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 4:02 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]

Teach Excel classes at Adult Ed; won't pay a lot, will be fun and pay a little. I taught Adult Ed. full time, nearly starved, but really enjoyed it.
Learn the basic differences between Excel and Google Sheets, Libre Office, etc., as many students won't have Excel at home.
Teach 1-time courses for Adult Ed or anybody on specific topics, like charts, pivot tables, using Excel as a database, printing.
This could lead you into some consulting.
posted by theora55 at 4:48 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]

I love the library idea, and I would add other such institutions: YMCAs, community colleges, etc. One town I used to live in offered adult ed classes through the Parks and Rec department.

Also note that the business model here is such that your client is the institution, not your students. That greatly simplifies your billing.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:48 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]

Make cheat sheets and sell them online. Videos, too.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:35 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]

I think you'll find some great answers in the teaching section of SideHusl. Of the many teaching platforms mentioned, the one my kid has used a lot to take all kinds of classes (including Excel) is Outschool. I think it's very kid oriented, so if your target is adults, it might not be the best choice for you, but as I said, there are many others listed and reviewed there.
posted by Dansaman at 7:51 PM on July 15

Dare I say it, but short videos with hints and tricks on TikTok might also be another good way to do this....
posted by ryanbryan at 7:56 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - to clarify, I'm looking for ways to potentially sell individual classes on a one-on-one or small group setting to businesspeople who stand to benefit the most from excel training.

In my head, the 1.5 hour class would cost about $100. That sounds like a lot for a class, but the value the people have received from the class for the companies easily doubles their productivity and jumpstarts their career.

So, to demonstrate that the class is "worth it" it would be nice to have something slightly better than word of mouth, maybe with some testimonials, an easy system for payment, etc.

I'm not really looking for a way to do this for free. I already do that.

So, my question is: Is this a real thing I could monetize? How would I go about doing it? What cost would be appropriate?
posted by bbqturtle at 6:36 AM on July 16

I would start a blog and/or youtube with some specific use cases people might google - like how to find if a value is in a list in excel. You could simply write up every problem you help someone with. Then, use a service live fiverr to list your specific services (e.g. 1 hour of live excel help) and link to it from your blog - somewhere permanent as well as the bottom of each post ("need more help?")
posted by beyond_pink at 6:38 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]

I also taught at a local training company. You might want to get MSoft certified; that will boost your credibility and ability to charge for your expertise. You might be able to teach for a company that gives MSoft-approved courses. Certification is a bit of a racket; classes and exams are not cheap, but many employers love them. Teaching at Adult Ed. gave me credibility; I'd used standard courses, developed exercises, etc. Many companies bring trainers in. search for trainers in your area, look at what they do, how they do it.
posted by theora55 at 9:10 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]

Lots of online course hosting platforms out there. A quick Google search turned up this comparison, though a longer search may turn up better comparisons.
posted by commander_fancypants at 11:46 AM on July 16

In addition to the SideHusl info I provided, these resources might be helpful too:
posted by Dansaman at 6:21 PM on July 16

It's attractive to a company when they can pay a flat rate for you and fill a conference room with students. Set a maximum (10? 12?) but let them fill it up.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:34 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]

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