The Business of Homeschooling: Tips from an Educator & Pro
It is no secret that Rocket City Mom has a handle on homeschooling. From our Ultimate Homeschool Guide to our series of posts on all things homeschooling, we strive to provide our community with all the resources they need to homeschool as effectively as possible. Readers appreciate these tools, but, what about local companies who hope to venture into the business of homeschooling? We’ve got some tips for you too!
Hit the Books Yourself
As with any venture, DO YOUR RESEARCH. First, explore what other businesses are doing. Start by asking these questions: Is there a gap that you can fill that no one else can? Where have your colleagues found success? How are other businesses approaching the homeschool community, for better or for worse?
Second, poll your prospective clients. Ask homeschool families what they want and need. Form a study/focus group, and hold a meeting to uncover class wishes. You might immediately have interest, and you can start to respond to needs right away.
A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish
MAKE A PLAN. Write a micro-business plan for your homeschool platform. Now that you have uncovered the homeschool community’s needs and wishes and have gotten success tips from your colleagues, write down your ideal plan. Create a budget (don’t forget marketing and advertising), and get ready to have some fun.
Be Willing to Mix It Up
BE FLEXIBLE. You have families ready to have fun, but will they be repeat clients? Many homeschoolers take a class for a semester or year and then move on to other programs. Keep your conversations open with your clients and be willing to hold a study/focus group on needs once per semester or year. Families’ wishes may change from semester to semester or year to year. Be willing to roll with those changes.
Look Ahead… Like, WAY Ahead
PLAN AHEAD. Let me repeat that one PLAN AHEAD. If you want to offer homeschool classes during the Fall Semester of 2018, you should hold your study/focus sometime between January and March of 2018 and should plan to promote the Fall programs March – May, June, July of 2018. Homeschool families plan in advance and you should as well.
Go Tell It on the Mountain
PROMOTE. PROMOTE. PROMOTE. The question I get most often is, “How can my business reach homeschool families?” The truth is, we are a prolific community, but are all out here in segments and fragments. Yes, there are Facebook groups dedicated to local homeschoolers, but those platforms serve to discuss our internal classes, field trips, cover schools, etc. My personal observation has been that advertising within those groups is frowned upon. There are some parents who homeschool and who own businesses who get a pass because they are so well known in the community, but, realistically, those boards are not intended for advertising. Also, you really need to be homeschooling your child to join them.
So, how do you promote classes?
- Start by tapping into our free Homeschool Guide resource. Let us know you want to be listed by email us here.
- Be sure to be a vendor at our annual Learning Expo! This is a free community event we host at Earlyworks Children’s Museum every January. It is not expensive and is a superb way to reach the community.
- Advertise! Yes, advertise those classes. The more ubiquitous you can be with your offerings, the better.
We are a superb platform for reaching the homeschool community. With over 200,000 impressions on the site each month from about 55,000 unique visitors, we reach our homeschool community month after month after month. For information on advertising programs, contact email me.
A couple of us Rocket City Moms have/are homeschooling ourselves, so we know a thing or two about what makes homeschoolers tick. I am embarking on my 4th year as a homeschool educator, and I can attest to the fluidity of the community, needs, and programs. We are contacted frequently with questions, and hope that this resource will help you light the way on your journey.
Stepping into the homeschool world is no different from when you embarked on your own business. It will be micro-level, but your planning, preparing, and implementation should follow the same path. We appreciate you turning to us and look forward to being a part of your educational journey. Happy homeschooling!
Christa Landingham and her husband are Madison County natives and life-long residents. They have boy/girl twins and two crazy puppers. She loves all things teaching, organizing, and supporting local small businesses. In her “free-time” she loves to garden, travel with her family, volunteer, and comb local thrift stores. Pearl Jam is her jam.