TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 213 What You Need to Teach Art Online


Speaker 1:
It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place podcast, an art world insider a podcast, full artist, by an artist where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.

Miriam Schulman:
Hey there, my friend. It’s Miriam Schulman here, your curator of inspiration, and I’m bringing you a roundup of the very best Artpreneur flash briefings for the week. And this week, we’re talking all about you guessed it, creating online art classes. I 100% believe in online art classes because of the way it’s completely recession proved my art business.

Before I started teaching online, my business was a hundred percent doing commission portraits and selling my originals and selling my prints. And if I didn’t have an online class in the mix, I definitely would’ve been screwed in 2020 when people didn’t want to meet for portrait shoots anymore, because that was the main focus of my business before I started teaching online.

However, when 2020 came, I did not feel hurt at all because more people than ever were turning to online class learning and I can continue to offer that online. Now even with the pandemic aside, what I really loved about having an online class is that I no longer felt desperate about accepting every commission that came my way.

I could say yes to the commissions that truly lit me up and no to the ones which I figured would be pain in the ass clients. So it really not only provides financial freedom, but also creative freedom. And I want the same for you. So that’s why we’re talking about it.

Most artists who think about teaching art classes online have too many ideas as opposed to not enough. I mean, you’re a creative after all. I’m sure you have lots of ideas and it can be really hard to choose what to start with and very tempting to want to teach everything you know.

Now there’s a strategy that you can use to narrow down your ideas to the one that will be most successful. So here are the key questions that you should keep in mind to clarify your course focus. The first thing that you can do, the first exercise you can do rather is you can journal. And I want you to journal without judgment, write down all those ideas, all those creative whispers.

Now if you already have a list of fans on social media or an email list or followers or even people who take your classes in person, ask them, ask them what they would want to learn. Narrow down your ideas with a poll. So that is one of my favorite ways and it’s a great way also to get really good engagement over on social media and a good way to draw attention to people who may be interested in learning from you.

They’ll start paying more attention if they know you’re thinking about creating an online class. So the way I like to do that, and the way that works best now on Instagram is with a carousel post. So let them know to swipe through. Don’t give them too many choices.

Three is definitely enough. And you can tell them just they can type one, two or three in the comment section. Don’t make them type out the whole name of the course. So that will give you some really good feedback on what they think of your top three ideas.

And then like I said already, if you’re already teaching in person, you probably already know what’s been the most popular. Usually, what people want to learn in person is the same thing that they want to learn online. Of course, you can check in with yourself, what lights you up and what’s the thing that you talk about all day even if nobody was paying you?

That’s one of the reasons, by the way, I started the artist incubator program. I was just coaching too many of my friends for free because I couldn’t help myself. I love talking about the marketing side and it always breaks my heart when I see when artists are not selling all the art that they could be.

I also want to caution you that you don’t have to worry if somebody’s already done it. So you don’t have to worry, oh, Miriam already has a watercolor class or somebody else already has a watercolor class or a portrait class or whatever it is that you think somebody else already has.

Our classes are very much like restaurants. If people like Mexican food, they’re going to want to try out yours. They want to eat in all the Mexican restaurants. And there’s always something that you can learn because you put your own special twist on it. Artists are all different.

You think about Picasso or Georgia O’Keeffe, the way they paint a flower is going to be very different than let’s say Andy Warhol. So everyone can put their own spin on it. Now choosing your course topic is just one decision you need to make before you start building your first online class or your second or your 30th. There are four key decisions you need to make.

So number one, choose a topic. Number two, how much do you charge? Number three, what type of course is best? And number four, how to grow your audience now. Of course, if you want help with this, I got some great news, my pal and go to marketing mentor, Amy Porterfield is running a bootcamp.

It starts August 30th so you’re going to want to jump on that right away if you’re listening to this live. It includes step by step training workbooks for each of those four decisions to keep you out of analysis paralysis. So no more procrastalearning for you, my friend.

Cross off all these action steps off your list one at a time until you have the makings of a beautiful online art class to sell. And if you happen to be listening to this after August 30th, don’t worry. It is a limited time, but she has included access to these strategic trainings through September six.

So whether you’re still in a nine to five job, or maybe you’re sneaking away for the Labor Day weekend, don’t worry, you’ll absolutely be able to do this. And this training does not cost thousands of, or even hundreds of dollars. Go to to learn more.

Now if you’ve been thinking about creating your own online class but you’re worried that the market is already oversaturated, let me tell you, nothing can be further than the truth. The data shows that the number of people signing up for classes grows by the millions every year.

And the industry is projected to rise by the [inaudible] billions by 2025. Also, our classes tend to be the most popular of all classes available online. So according to Skillshare, seven out of 10 of their most popular classes are all art related and they range from everything from calligraphy to watercolor to everything in between.

And some of the ones I didn’t designate as art classes per se, they are also very creative, so they’re on blogging and video editing. So if you’re creative, people want to learn from you. Now according to World Economic Forum, there’s over 200 million people looking to enroll in online learning right now.

And they’re looking for you. Because more than ever people want to be creative, they want to escape the chaos of the world. And many are looking to learn from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Now if you want to dive further into this topic, you want to be sure to check out my podcast interview with Amy Porterfield that dropped on Tuesday, August 30th.

So if you haven’t listened to it yet, head on over to You want to be sure to listen to the very end when we discuss the common mistakes that first time course creators make. I’ve been talking a lot about building an online class and you may be worried that it’s complicated. Well, it doesn’t have to be.

There’s actually three different ways you can produce an online class from the very low tech to a little more techy. The first way is by far the lowest tech solution. But that doesn’t mean that your content will be less valuable. The first way is basically create a series of PDFs.

Lots of instructors embrace this approach, including Laura Belgray, Lilla Rogers and Victoria Johnson. [inaudible] all three of their courses by the way. Lilla Rogers and Victoria Johnson, they teach artists how to create art for the licensing market. Laura Belgray teaches copywriting. And they have hundreds of happy students, happily investing 175 all the way up to 500 dollars for this type of learning experience.

Sometimes this type of group class includes a Facebook group and perhaps some live class meetings, but it doesn’t have to. You can easily create these PDFs using Canva. So that’s it for the easy, peasy, fancy PDF method. Number two is Zoom. We all learned how to use Zoom in 2020.

Now personally, I prefer live Zoom classes to deliver my coaching based classes because it allows for the most interaction. So Zoom classes are the best kind of classes for interactive classes. However, I do know artists who do use them for teaching art classes as well. However, my favorite way to teach art classes is method number three, which is prerecorded videos.

This is my favorite way to teach art techniques step by step. Unlike Zoom, you can tightly edit the session so students don’t have to watch the paint dry, you can pause, you can get a glass of water and best of all, you don’t have to be there live. And this is the best solution when students want to learn from you who live all over the world.

So you don’t have to worry about time zones. Just imagine how it’ll feel when you create a profitable art class that you can promote over and over again. Once you record it, you only have to do it once and you can continue to sell it. Students can log into their devices at their own convenience while you enjoy dinner with your loved ones.

Now just because it’s online does not mean the tech needs to be overwhelming. Like I said, I’ve seen lots of professional artists create runaway success with an art class created with the PDFs, art classes over Zoom, and then there are the ones who do what I do, which are recorded videos.

Now if you’re looking to record your class and you want to know which tools I use, you can get my shoppable PDF for free. Just go to as in T-E-C-H and you can download that PDF right away. Okay. So how do you choose a course title? All right. I’ve given you a seven point checklist and here it is.

Number one, is your name easy to remember? Number two, is the course name easy to say out loud? Number three, are there any keywords that your audience will immediately recognize? So for example, I have a class that’s watercolor portrait academy. Just by listening to that name, it’s easy to remember, it’s easy to say out loud.

And just by hearing it, people know that I teach watercolor portraits. Now number four, is the name interesting? So it does need to be interesting because boring won’t sell, but I do have to caution you because number five, is it too creative? Meaning you have to explain what it is. So I have two classes that are very creative.

One of them is mixed media madness. I think you can guess that that’s how to do mixed media. I have another class though called painting with words. And sometimes I wonder if that class was a little too creative. Maybe people don’t quite understand what it is, but that’s okay because if you have a creative title like that, you can always use a subtitle to really explain what the course is about.

And that brings us to number six, does the name tell my potential prospect what it’s all about? So you can communicate that in the main title like watercolor portrait academy, or you can communicate that in the subtitle. And finally, number seven, will the name resonate with art students?

Now if you’re looking for additional free training and free video training, I’ve got you covered. Here’s what you’ll learn in this video training. You’ll find the three types of classes you can create, what’s working now on Instagram and the best ways to promote an art class that’s not on Instagram.

Plus, you’ll discover the most popular online art classes available today and what people are charging for them. I did this with my buddy, Amy Porterfield. It is a video training and you’re going to love it. So those of you who need that visual learning style head on over to

So do you think your email list is too small to promote an online class? Let me tell you, when I first got started, I had a very small email list and it was mostly our collectors, not people who would be interested in learning how to do it themselves. But that sounds like you. The good news is whenever you promote a class, you will be building your email list.

So I don’t want the perfectionism or fear of failure, keep you from moving forward. Everybody starts somewhere. When I first started, I decided to invest a small amount into Facebook ads. Lucky us, artists can get leads. In other words, prospects for about a dollar each. In fact, many of my… They’re called lead magnets, many of my freebees that I promote or lead magnets, I can actually get for 70 cents or 80 cents or 50 cents.

So if you invest $300, that’s at least 300 people that you can add to your email list, who would be interested in your art class. To get these initial people interested I suggest you create a supply list. So if you’re a photographer, that might be your equipment guide. If you teach calligraphy, that would be what pen and inks you recommend. So it’s a complete list.

You’re going to give the supply list away for free in exchange for their email address. This freebie is also called a lead magnet. When you do start promoting your class, you won’t need to use paid advertising to sell the actual class because you’ll have added those people to your email list and now you can email those people who have already signed up for the freebie. After all, now that they have the supplies, they’ll want to know how to use them.

That’s where your course comes in. Now you can expect about 3% of this list to sign up for your class. So for example, if you have 300 people, that would be nine new art students. Let’s pretend you price your class at $300 each, that means you’ll earn nine times 300, $2,700 for your class. And after the $300, that’s $2,400 in profits.

Now this doesn’t just work for me, it’s worked for so many others. Like Aggie Armstrong who made $2,000 from her very first online class. Or Ciara Gilmore who made 16,000 pounds on her first art class. Aggie’s was about teaching watercolor. Ciara’s was abstract art. Now I’ve been dropping a lot of goodies this week that will help you get started with your online class creation journey.

And I wanted to highlight all the freebies for you. First one, This is my exact list of things I use to create my online art classes. You’ll get a ton of value by downloading this list and seeing what works for me. The next freebie was

So this is a guide for course creators to get started, what the first action steps you need to take and what’s working now. And finally, I invite you to go check out the video training I did with Amy Porterfield. You’ll want to go to to get that training now while it’s still available.

The first two will always be available no matter when you listen to this podcast, but that last one is a limited time only. So if you’re listening to this while it goes live, don’t wait. Head on over. You’ll find the links to all these things and so much more over at the show notes at All right. Well, that’s it until next time. Until then, stay inspired.

Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening to the Inspiration Place podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at, on Instagram @SchulmanArt, and of course, on

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