Career Resources

Virtual Groups

How to work less and earn more without leaving your office!

Are you looking for ways to better meet your clients’ needs, grow your business, enter new markets, acquire business and marketing skills, or start your own business?

IMAGINE: Spending 5 hours a week discussing nutrition, diet, and lifestyle on the telephone and earning a monthly income of $6,000! Do the math. It is possible. 5 groups x 10 people each x paying $120/month. If you want to multiply your profit – work less and earn more – then consider e-learning virtual groups.

E-Learning, in the form of teleclasses, teleseminars, distance learning, virtual groups, and virtual classrooms from K to college, is exploding in popularity. There are many different terms describing this emerging business opportunity. One definition of e- learning is from the Utah Education Network: “E -learning is a term covering a wide set of applications and processes, such as web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration.”

Virtual Groups:

Definition: A virtual group is one form of e-learning. A virtual group is simply a group without a geographical boundary or face-to-face/in person meetings. The group is united virtually via technology, such as interactive audio-teleconference. A virtual group can be conducted simply by using the telephone and the internet. Groups may use additional technology, such as webinars, chat, list serves, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other Web 2.0 tools.

Benefits: E-learning virtual groups are a natural for the nutrition and health industry. We live in a virtual world and people turn to the Internet to get their medical and nutrition information already. Virtual groups are simple, cost effective, convenient, and green (no venue, no travel, etc.). With virtual groups your market is the globe! Don’t be left behind with the e-learning explosion. There are a lot of your competitors (non-RD’s) running groups already on a variety of food, nutrition, and fitness topics.

Distinction: Although the terms are related, an important distinction between a virtual group and teleconference, or teleclass, is the latter is often a one time event versus a virtual group that meets many times over weeks, months or even years.

Very different dynamics are in play in a virtual group and leaders have to do things differently. In a well functioning virtual group the group itself takes on a life of its own.

Leader Skills: Leading a face-to-face group is similar to leading a virtual group. However, running a great virtual group requires some special skills. You don’t have your physical presence and body language to convey competence so your voice, including your words, tone, and tempo, take on additional significance. You want to assure your voice communicates your expertise and your passion and also connects with the group. This is more challenging when there is no face-to-face communication. It is OK for the leader to “sit” in the background and be invisible at times and allow the group interaction to thrive.

A closing word for those who may be aspiring entrepreneurs. This is a great way to get started while keeping your day job. Offer a virtual group in the evening.

Checklist to guide your planning.

Virtual Group Checklist (Timing – prior to launching group)

  1. Identify Target market, Title, Topic (6-8 weeks)
  2. Develop content, syllabus, tools, enrollment tools, handouts, payment methodology (6 weeks)
  3. Secure/ prep guest speakers (6 weeks)
  4. Confirm Logistics: Dates; time, technology (6 weeks)
  5. Develop marketing and pricing strategy, tactics, tools. (6 weeks)
  6. Begin to market and enroll participants. Social media is an ideal way to find customers and market virtual programs. (4-6 weeks)
  7. Begin pre-program communication with participants (2-3 weeks)
  8. Conduct the program (ongoing)
  9. Graduate participants or re-invigorate group (varies)
  10. Post group communication (2 days – 2 weeks)
  11. Leverage and repeat (ongoing)

For more information on learning how to start and run an E-Learning Virtual Group, contact Jean Caton at New E-learning virtual group training are starting all the time. Remember, if you looking for ways to better meet your clients’ needs, grow your business, enter new markets, acquire business and marketing skills, or start your own business, this could be for you.

The Coach for Professional Women Career, Business, Life Coach and Marketing Strategist

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