Having established himself as an expert in flipped learning methods, Carl Condliffe has recently begun his entrepreneurial adventure. Due to launch in February 2017, Condliffe’s My Study Series aims to change the way physical education is taught in schools. It’s a big dream but Carl knows he is equal to the task – let’s investigate why!
Flipping up the classroom
Whilst it’s a new business, Condliffe has been testing his My Study Series methods for a long time. It’s based on the concept of ‘flipped learning’, an idea that suggests that basic lecture content be moved outside class time. In this way, students engage individually with the basic concepts at home before the class, freeing up the teacher to deliver more meaningful content face to face. This means higher levels of student engagement and better relationships in the classroom, instead of passive listening.
Condliffe is a big advocate of this type of learning, and realised his passion for it could be monetised as an excellent side hustle. Thus, My Study Series was born: it’s a platform with targeted video content for students, allowing them to set goals independently, and engage with a whole variety of content online. Each video has a quiz attached to test student understanding. In essence, it gamifies learning.
Beyond traditional learning: Solving the problem
With flipped learning, students do the basic work at home, allowing the teacher to repurpose the classroom time. Condliffe was always an advocate for the learning, but admits the targeted content is time consuming to produce. This has traditionally discouraged teachers from taking up this more innovative approach. Condliffe aimed to solve that problem, creating quality content on a subscription basis. In this way, teachers are freed up to focus on innovation within their lessons.
Condliffe has ensured that school clients don’t require as much planning and production themselves, but can still create a better classroom experience for students. It doesn’t replace the teacher, but certainly opens up options, solving the barrier to flipped learning methods.
Succeeding outside the 9 to 5
Carl admits that a lot of work has gone into paving the way for My Study Series to succeed. He worked for some time to build his authority within his niche, as both a physical education teacher and flipped learning expert. He has ensured that his personal brand was on point before monetising his ideas.
At present, his income comes from schools that purchase subscriptions to the My Study Series service. To ensure you succeed too (without facing burnout!), Carl has the following tips:
- Have high expectations of yourself and your product: Carl says it took time to realise just how valuable his knowledge could be – it’s common to underestimate just how valuable your own knowledge, experience and understanding can be. So it can take time to have the kind of expectations that match the real value of what you have to offer. Aim high, and expect the best from yourself and your product.
- Work hard: Though the product is launching in February 2017, Carl estimates that, “About 1000 hours will have gone into the product by then”. He works everyday until 1am to realise his dream, saying, “There are no shortcuts. Anyone who says there are is kidding themselves!” Make time for the things you have to do – it certainly can be tricky to achieve alongside a full time job, and discipline will be very important.
- Look after your family first: By the same token, if you have a side gig that demands you work very hard and long hours, your family will feel this the most. Carl says it’s important to make time for the people you love; don’t forget that hobbies and relationships will give you the strength to keep pushing through to achieve your dreams!
There are no shortcuts. Anyone who says there are is kidding themselves! @ateacherpreneur
Driving Traffic to Your Product
According to Carl, there are a few very important drivers of traffic to your product:
Have an email list – Carl said he offered a sample of the product and a call to action on his website, in order to help collect emails. A blossoming email list is a powerful tool for converting sales. In particular, he utilised scarcity/urgency tactics on his landing page, such as adding a countdown. This added to the scarcity methods used to drive people to sign up now rather than later.
Validate the product at presale – By creating a sample, a landing page and pre-selling the product, Carl says he gained a huge advantage ahead of the official product launch. He admits, “The product was just an idea at that stage.” This meant that pre-selling it seemed crazy. However, he was encouraged to go for it and encourage potential clients to sign up early. The pre-validation period over 6 weeks gave him the chance to grow that email list grew and communicate with schools that came on board early. This helped with capital required to set up the business.
Engage with customers – As a result of his pre-sale efforts, Carl says 45 schools signed up, and he was then able to send them out weekly updates about the product. They would then be invited to give input, and converse on the product. This ensured Carl was able to account for what his clients really needed.
Consider a podcast – Carl says creating a tie-in that further developed his status as an authority within a niche meant that he was able to grow his audience, add to his reputation, as well as utilising free marketing for the product.
Whilst Carl says that the advice he received along the way has been essential to the process, reading The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone was also a redefining moment. This, he says, reset his goals, causing him to re-evaluate the product goals and the future of the business. He started to see the bigger potential of his product, changing his approach accordingly.
All in all, Carl has been working long and hard to make his product a success, and there’s no doubt that all the pieces are in place for a product that redefines physical education teaching in New Zealand. Having only started to engage with entrepreneurship so recently, Carl is a testament to how your expertise and your passion can make anyone a successful entrepreneur – a passion for a particular topic being far more important than years of experience in business!
It will be hard work, he warns, but if you’re passionate about creating a quality product, you too should go for it and disrupt the status quo!
Want to hear more about what Carl is up to? Listen to Carl’s podcast interview on ConnectedPE.
Want to learn other ways that teachers can make money online? Grab our free guide “7 Ways Teachers Can Make Money Online”.