The last almost 6 months have been an incredible journey for Mondays @ the Museum!
The plan for the Mondays @ the Museum side-gig experiment has always been a temporary one with the hope that the product(s) would have “legs” enough to provide adequate short-term funds in addition to opportunity to grow and learn and expand my networks professionally. I intended that once our Monday furloughs were over, I would be able to drop the Monday classes and return to work at 100%. My goal is still to return back to work at 100% when the furlough is lifted, but the plan has altered slightly, as all plans tend to do. This furlough looks like it will last at least through the school year at this point and supplemental funds are still much needed.
The initial idea was to offer live-virtual classes with students where we explored and learned together via online museum collections. The idea was to fill hour-long slots with 5 -10 students throughout my Mondays, as one would offer piano or voice or violin lessons, to supplement a 20% loss of income. (This was then followed by my husband’s job loss, so the stakes got extra high to start pulling in cash for food.)
Then, when I only got 2 registrations out of the 20 I had hoped for, I reconsidered my plan. I was out about $500 in marketing costs and was looking at an income of a little over $200. So, I began experimenting with e-learning videos. Instead of just offering the live classes, I would also record a version of each class that teachers could present to their classes, or parents could watch with their children, without being held to a specific date or time. I learned about screen-catching video software, reached out to YouTubers to request use of their videos in my own, and dipped my toes into the broader world of virtual education. With a new Teachers Pay Teachers account in hand, I now had a sales platform from which I could offer my product.
Again, I was out more in marketing costs and only bringing in one or two sales a month via Teachers Pay Teachers (a whopping $35 per paycheck). Thankfully my taxes will show a loss this year which will make April less stressful, but it wasn’t helping the bottom line.
While I pondered tabling the whole idea, my place of work was approached by Varsity Tutors. With the skills I had developed and the lessons I had already learned in “phase 1” of Mondays @ the Museum, I was able to take advantage of an opportunity for my museum to reach up to double the numbers with our exhibition than we would via in-person visitors. We worked together with them to produce two courses about King Tut, which was an incredible boost to confidence levels in addition to a great source of professional development in what works in e-learning. Now with even more skills my team at the museum is now considering a re-invention of our future virtual offerings and build on this new platform for education.
For an un-known, like myself, starting any kind of business experiment is bound to be extremely difficult. Now, 6 months into my LLC, and with the partnership of a reputable, international, e-learning platform, I feel re-invigorated to give this another full go and see how far this can take me.
So, with that, I re-built the “Live-Virtual Classes” page on my website and plan to continue this experiment, continuing to use any setbacks as stepping stones to reach a level of success that provides me joy, and hopefully the supplemental income I set out to make in the first place.
Thank you everyone for sticking with me on this journey! I appreciate your support and hope you can join me at our next two Varsity Tutors classes this February and spread the word to families and friends to register for our upcoming live-zoom courses starting in March.