How to help teachers and build a successful online business with Marnie Ginsberg

Wondering how Marnie Ginsberg is helping teachers to help children learn how to read and building a successful online business at the same time?

If yes, then you’re about to find out.

Now finding your passion is special. Finding your passion and making money from it is even more special.

But Marnie Ginsberg will tell you it’s not impossible.

With over 15 years of experience as Tutor, Teacher, and educational program designer, Marnie Ginsberg has found her passion take shape as an online brand. And her brand resources are helping teachers help children across the globe learn how to read.

Today Marnie has a loyal brand following, a growing online community, and a recurring membership-based revenue.

Care to know how she did it? Silly question – of course you do.

Marnie Ginsberg shares her experiences and secrets into a world of profitable passion online.

Marnie Ginsberg teaching a student how to read

Feeling the Problem, Finding the Solution: Reading Simplified

Marnie’s story is one of feeling. She’s worked for many years, with many minds, and has seen many obstacles faced by teachers on a daily basis.

One in particular caught her interest, and this was teaching reading. Some kids were always just a little behind the rest of the class, and Marnie wanted to help them. What’s more, Marnie wanted to help other teachers who wanted to help them.  

So, over the years she worked with teachers in university research settings and teacher conferences, continually refining and streamlining her approach.

She created the brand Reading Simplified to meet the needs of English reading teachers all over the world. A brand that cuts out the noise and clutter of the reading education field, and offers a simple path for both teacher and student to learn through practice.

More recently (less than 4 months ago) Marnie created the Reading Simplified Academy, a subscription-based membership that offers teachers resources, community and expert advice.

Being Better Than Perfect

Marnie’s entire approach (and secret to her success) is to be better than perfect. Confused?

Well, perfect is often unrealistic, unattainable, and a step or two beyond your current location. And then there’s the fact that perfect really is in the eye of the beholder, ain’t it?

So if you’ve got a business idea (that you think is “perfect”), and you wait until you’ve got everything ‘just so’ before launching into the market… don’t you risk the market not liking it as much as you do? Maybe your perfect is not their perfect? Hmmm…

“It’s much more important to get started and get feedback from the market as soon as possible as opposed to building and building something for months or years until it looks really good and only then getting feedback.”

Teacherpreneur Secret #1: Start with a simple blog

This is why Marnie suggests starting with a simple blog, an acceptable logo, and attractive (not amazing) photos. Write every day, and improve as you go along. Ask your audience what they think, what they need. Over time, this cycle of feedback will help you zero in on a clear message that resonates with your audience.

But starting an online business can feel overwhelming, you say. We know. There’s setting up your domain, creating a brand look and feel, opening a bank account, learning WordPress…

A natural reaction would be avoidance. But instead of quitting, or floundering for months, create an appointment with yourself to track realistic milestones.

“Early on I spent a lot of time ‘learning more’ instead of ticking off small tasks every day. But daily, small wins build so much more confidence—so much momentum.”

Teacherpreneur Secret #2: Block off set times with yourself each week in your calendar

Create a shortlist of 5-10 tasks you need to do, and knock 1 out every day or week. With these small wins you’ll gain motivation. You may even find hidden windows of time to get stuff done.

“For instance, what really got my momentum going was a 1-page calendar from about how to start a website in 30 days. I was so motivated to get that list knocked out.”

Guidance from the ‘Almost Expert’

Okay, another strange title, granted. But once again, Marnie Ginsburg has a point.

Expert advice is available everywhere online. Paid and unpaid webinars, blogs, podcasts, courses and other resources are so readily available, that the trick isn’t finding information, it’s selecting the most relevant information.

“They’re so much further down the path in online business that it’s easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged if you try to implement all of the processes that they utilize.”

Teacherpreneur Secret #3: In some ways, “experts” aren’t the best models for beginners.

Sometimes it’s better to find someone who’s recently begun their online business, just a few successes ahead of you, and model your first steps after them. Once you’ve grown to a more stable place in your business, then find those experts again!

Currently, Marnie listens to the Flipped Lifestyle, Amy Porterfield, and Smart Passive Income podcasts. She also patterns her 5-day challenges after Zach Spuckler’s system which was vital to her membership growth.

“I’ve learned so much from online marketing experts! I think I’ve gained more than the value of an MBA about online business. I’m excited to add the Teacherpreneur podcast to my repertoire, too, since I just found it!”

Marnie is also mindful of the resources she chooses to spend time on. She’s careful to filter out the noise and stay focused on her priorities.

“I’m seeing tons of free videos and podcasts about building an audience on Instagram. Would I love to have followers there? Sure. But at this point in time, I need to focus on email funnels, Facebook ads, Pinterest, and webinars.”

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

So, how did Marnie Ginsberg manage to get the attention and loyalty of thousands of online followers? Well, believe it or not, she too started at zero.

“Initially, I, like every other beginner, had no traffic. So I joined several Facebook groups that fitted my target market. I read each group’s guidelines very carefully and followed them carefully.”

She started slow and careful with a strong base, and built her way up, one social media brick at a time. And her base was a crazy-helpful blog featuring relevant content upgrades for each post.

For example, on a post about how to teach ‘letter-sounds’ to beginner readers, she offered a PDF of letter-sound cards for teachers to print, cut, and use for the activity she taught. For other posts where she teaches a specific activity, she offers PDF’s of free procedures, word lists, or student materials.

“When a person visits my blog, about 40% of the time, they’ll end up on my email list because of these content upgrades. When I see a teacher’s [Facebook] question, I specifically address their question and link back to a blog activity that fits their need.”

Since Marnie’s blog posts include content upgrades, many of those teachers end up on her email list. Not only is this process free, and not only has it led to her email list gaining 1,000 subscribers, but it’s also helped her learn a lot about her market’s concerns.

“Tracking from Facebook isn’t easy, but generally, I can expect to see 5-10 new subscribers after every 2-3 Facebook post comments I make.”

Once she learnt more about her audience, she started to add Facebook ads, either to a blog post with a content upgrade, or to a 5-day challenge.

“Through these ads, I’ve added another 1,000 subscribers. Together I now have greater organic traffic to my blog.”

Teacherpreneur Secret #4: Choose 1 or 2 areas of focus to start with

You could start with something like Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) products or a blog. THEN when you’ve learnt the technology and understand more about your audience, gradually start to add other tools for outreach.

“I began with just a blog and occasional Facebook and Pinterest posts. Then I focused on email marketing. Finally, I developed my main product, the Reading Simplified Academy. Now I’m preparing to utilize YouTube and Pinterest more fully. But I just couldn’t have accomplished all of that a year ago when my blog was in its earliest stages.”

It’s Time to Turn Your Passion Into Profit

If you’ve developed a process or achieved an unusual outcome, then Marnie believes you could develop an online product or service.

“If you’ve worked 1-on-1 or with groups of teachers and have seen success with them adopting your process or system, then that’s a good foundation on which to build an online business.”

Go ahead and write down some ideas now on how you might be able to make money. Let us know in the comments below, and share with your teacher-friends!

If you’d like to surround yourself with an intermediate to advanced community for teacherpreneurs, including some of the teachers mentioned in this blog post, join the Teacherpreneur Academy Facebook Group to take your Education Business to the next level.