Why it’s Time You Started Teaching Online

Updated to Business on January 22, 2023.

I was in a car the other day with a radiologist and a neurosurgeon talking about hypertension. 

This conversation is actually not as unusual as it might sound. I volunteer for a local society that does trail clearing in a popular hiking and mountain bike park and many of the volunteers happen to be recently retired doctors. 

Back in the car, one of the doctors happened to mention that recently his medical partner, who is in his early 60’s, had a mild stroke. As we wound our way further up the dirt road to our work site my education continued. 

I learned that strokes are the second biggest cause of mortality worldwide and the third most common cause of disability. The scary statistics get worse. As you age your chance of a stroke doubles every 10 years after 55

There’s a checklist of health conditions that make you more susceptible to a stroke, like obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes. But the biggest culprit – six times out of ten – is hypertension or high blood pressure. In my books, that’s worth paying attention to.

What’s interesting is that stress, in itself, is not the direct cause of high blood pressure. It’s what we do when under stress that leads to nasty results. We eat too much, drink too much, and move too little. Basically, we deal with stress by making unhealthy choices.

For me, stress starts with worry.

Ngoc Son Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

I’ve had a lot of worries

There is a world of problems you can worry about – take your pick. You can worry that Ukraine will be pummeled into a tiny province of rubble, or that we’ve passed the tipping point with global warming, or the tiny spot on your chin is cancer. 

Or not.

“I’ve had a lot of worries,” quipped Mark Twain “most of which never happened.” Our mind loves a good worry. Like a dog chewing a bone, we want to turn our worry around, looking from all angles, poking and prodding until it swells up into something bigger than it really is.

I used to worry incessantly before every keynote speech. I’d worry I’d miss my flight or wasn’t prepared enough, or I would be greeted by the “audience from hell.” Trust me, when you have 60 minutes to educate, entertain, inspire, motivate, and get laughs from an audience you’ve never met before, any sane person would invent a long list of worries.

It was at one of those events when a fellow speaker opened an exit door for my worries. He suggested that audiences don’t want you to fail – in fact, they want you to succeed. “They want to see you having fun—enjoying yourself. That way,” he explained, “they can enjoy the ride with you.”

When I accepted the long list of what I could never control – my flights, the audience, the speaker before me going overtime – I was free to focus on what I could control.

Enjoying the moment. 

What your life will have been

In her book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön tells the story of delighting in the preciousness of every single moment.

A woman is running from lions. She runs and she runs, and the lions are getting closer. She comes to the edge of a cliff. She sees a vine there, so she climbs down and holds onto it. Then she looks down and sees that there are lions below her as well. At the same time, she notices a little mouse gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries emerging from a nearby clump of grass. She looks up, she looks down, and she looks a the mouse. Then she picks a strawberry, pops it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Learning what to focus on, and what to ignore, seems to be the ultimate secret to living a healthy, stress-free life. “Whatever compelled your attention from moment to moment,” writes Oliver Burkeman in Four Thousand Weeks (a must-read for anyone over 50), “is simply what your life will have been.”

So, what are you focussing on?

What to focus on

You can learn a lot when you’re the dumbest one in a car full of doctors. I learned that strokes are a silent pandemic. And that hypertension is the leading cause of that pandemic. And I learned the leading cause of hypertension is stress. 

I was also reminded that stress is a choice.

We all have lions and tigers in our life. Maybe even a mouse or two gnawing away at something we value. Meanwhile, we have the moment.

Choosing what to focus on (and what not to) might just be the healthiest choice you can make.

Got this far? You might also like these posts:

Photo of eggs by Nik on Unsplash
Photo of Ngoc Son Temple by author
Photo of tigers by author

I grew up with a pretty limited view on the world.

Men went to work, women raised our children and businesses were run from offices.

Safe to say I was wrong on all three accounts.

When I entered the world of teaching, first at a university, then later with corporate staff, I assumed teaching happened in the classroom, meeting room, or conference facility.

Wrong again.

Today you can teach thousands of people from your spare bedroom. Meanwhile, remote offices and home-based employees can easily tap into a conference broadcast and enjoy your message live. And it’s simple and cheap to archive any video-based lesson to be viewed 24/7. In fact it’s a $100 billion industry.

This is good news.

If you are in a business, high-speed Internet and cheap data storage means you can build a virtual training resource for staff at very little cost.

If you are an entrepreneur who sells their expertise the options are even more enticing. Below is an infographic from Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing with the results of a survey asking entrepreneurs how they are or will use online learning in their business.

firepole infographic


A webinar is a live lesson, delivered over the Internet. It’s simpler to get started with webinars than you might think. First, what’s the big deal with webinars?

Imagine how hard it would be to get 100 of your prospects in a rented hotel room. First you have to advertise the event, explain why it’s worth their travel cost, time away from the office/home, and justify the fee you will have to charge to cover your costs. Ugh.

With a webinar, you send the invitation, people choose to register, automatically they are sent a reminder to sign-in, and presto, they are online enjoying the endlessness of your wisdom. No expensive catering, cold coffee, or over-heated hotel rooms. And for you, no risk.

Online courses

An online course is similar to a webinar, but it’s prerecorded and usually delivered in multiple sections. Think of it like a series of videos you watch sequentially, often with matching handouts and support from the instructor.

Your online course could be as simple as three videos on mindfulness or a full-blown program, like BOSS that runs over eight weeks.

Here are some more examples of online courses:

staff training. The sky’s the limit here, from site safety, to floral design, to leadership training. The incentives are lower cost of delivery, better attendance tracking and ability for students to review the course.

on-boarding new staff. Lots of benefits here, ranging from ease of updating, cost, and better tracking.

instruction manuals. Many manufactures are embracing online training to help consumers learn how to use their products.

distant learning for colleges. A recent study found that all most all of the enrolment growth in two-year institutions was from online learning. The trick is to keep student attendance from falling off the cliff after the first two weeks.

Standard Operating Procedures

We love Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and use them to instruct staff for repetitive tasks, like: posting my blog, setting up new clients on SOS, and creating an email sequence in InfusionSoft (our CRM system). We create and store our SOP’s in Google Docs because it’s a great platform for quickly sharing documents within your team.

You can also create a short video demonstrating your SOP. I do this to teach staff parts of the SOS process – they can learn in just a few minutes what would take a half for me to teach.

Getting Started with Online Training

So far, so good, you want to leap into online training and start reaping the benefits of the new technology. Woah Silver!  Not so fast. First you have to do your homework. Here are some basic questions:

  1. What outcomes do you want? Sounds simple, but there’s a big difference between helpful information and, say someone taking a safety course to get a certificate.
  2. Is this blended learning? Blended learning incorporates online learning with face to face time.
  3. Who are the learners? Are they: experienced with technology, what’s their attention-span, how old are they, what location they will learn from?
  4. How will they take the course? Will they be using smartphones, laptops, or be using a desktop in their office? Each venue represents an opportunity and potential challenge.
  5. What’s the incentive to completing the course? Enrollment is great – completion is better. Some courses have completion quizzes after each module. Some use certificates. Our BOSS program includes a live call with the instructor every Friday – that gives us a chance to check in with students and they are more motivated to get their homework done before the call.

Ten years ago, when I dipped my toe into online learning I not only had to market my course, I had to explain what online learning was. No longer.

Just like the smartphone, GPS, and a Caffè Latte – we know what they are. Now we just need you to do it better.