Idea #2 – Elance for Private Instruction

by Byron on January 3, 2012

Elance for Private Instruction

The Problem: There is not a central hub for finding someone to teach you something.  I want to learn cricket – or at least have someone explain it to me.  I want someone to teach me the piano.  I want someone to give me private yoga instruction.  Kite surfing.  Bass fishing.  Geometry.  The proverbial basket weaving.  Whatever.

The Business: A website where anyone who wants to learn anything can find someone, whom they can pay, who can teach them.  It hooks up those who know with those who don’t know.  It’s elance for teachers.

There are some sites out there who do this for certain specific genres of knowledge.  Takelessons for music lessons.  Elance and Odesk for computer professionals.  Care for tutoring.  There is also Craigslist which does the basic hooking up.  But this idea would have ratings/scores, would transact the $, would provide guarantees, etc.

If branding was done properly, you could even have the site shift people’s thinking from the subject matter to the learning.  For instance, “I want to learn geometry” makes the seeker go after geometry resources.  Instead, they could think, “I want to learn…” and stop there, knowing that whatever they want to learn they can learn via your website.

Doableness: You could have the website built for relatively little.  You could even do it on elance.  But what I’m talking about requires a massive branding effort.  I think the team can be small, the marketing time and budget needs to be substantial.  Also, it doesn’t spread perfectly.  Each new customer, from either the student or teacher side, will be hard fought.  And without some scale from jump, you have a classic chicken and egg problem.

The best way to go about it might be to buy up different verticals (a la takelessons.com) and put the backends together, allowing the sites to function on their own from a customer facing standpoint, or simultaneously as part of a large online marketplace.  This makes doableness more difficult financially, but easier conceptually and marketingwise.

Market: Large.  Picture all those tutors, music teachers, golf swing coaches, cooking instructors, yoga teachers, and kite surfing gurus who would be all over this.  We’re all teachers and we’re all students.  Also, many private instructors don’t like the money part.

My Thoughts: As I was writing this, I came up with the cobble the verticals together concept.  That’s the way to go.  Also, it’s fitting I came up with this idea at the end of my yoga class last evening.  Namaste

 

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