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October 2016

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HowNow lets you teach what you love from anywhere in the world. Our video platform allows you to interact and communicate with your students face to face and engage with people from anywhere, at any time. We’ve put together a list so that you can pick the right webcam for you:

Best webcam: Logitech C920

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Logitech have been making webcams for a long time and have the most options of any manufacturer. The Logitech C920 captures pictures and video at 1080p which means video calls and HowNow classes are at the highest quality from your end. With its sharp image and wide FOV (field of view), the C920 is the best quality webcam compared to other offerings.

Even in low light, the C920 has great visibility and, instead of a pink blob of pixels you’ll find in cheaper webcams, details are still clearly visible.

The C920 gets the HowNow seal of approval for being the best webcam, working well in not just optimal conditions but in all situations.

Best budget webcam: Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000

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The quality of the C920 does come at a premium. High fidelity cameras are expensive to make and generic off-brand webcams are available for £5 on Amazon and eBay. So while Microsoft’s Lifecam HD-3000 may not be a fiver, at £20, it’s the best quality at that price.

The HD-3000 is a ‘plug and play’ device, in its truest form. You can put the device right on top of your monitor, plug straight into your USB port and you’re good to go.

If you’re looking for a webcam with great quality that doesn’t break the bank, the Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000 is the best choice for anyone using HowNow.

Most versatile webcam: Logitech C525

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Though the Logitech C525 doesn’t have the same quality that the C920 offers, it has a lot of features not found in other webcams. The c525 has a huge range of motion, a much more adaptable base, and can fold flat to protect the lens during transport.

If you’re looking for a webcam that offers a wide range of motion, where you can point the camera to a different location on the fly, the Logitech C525 is the best camera of choice in this regard,

Honorable Mention: Your laptop webcam

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Every new laptop in the last 5-8 years has come with a webcam by default. Though not all are created equal, the beauty of HowNow is that you’re able to get started teaching straight away. Simply logging into HowNow on your laptop and joining your class is all you need to do.

Not all classes need a fancy setup with adjustable, high fidelity cameras. In conclusion, your students being able to share in your expertise and seeing you face to face is the most important part of delivering an engaging and successful class.

Facebook ads are a great way to promote your HowNow classes. If you have a Facebook page you have everything you need to set up adverts and make sure as many people as possible see what you can do. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a campaign:

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Visit your ‘Adverts Manager’ account on Facebook. If you have a Facebook page for your company, you’ll see this in the menu on the left-hand side of your Newsfeed. If you don’t yet have a Facebook page set up, you’ll need to do that first. Click on the green ‘create advert’ button in the top right-hand corner.

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Pick what you want your ad to achieve. There’s a load of options to choose from, but to promote your HowNow class specifically, you might want to try selecting ‘send people to your website’.

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Give your campaign a name to help you track its success and click ‘continue’.

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Now you’ll create your audience. You can target your add to people in, or even just visiting, specific locations if that’s what you want to do. However, do keep in mind that because your class is online it can be taken from anywhere.

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You can also choose the ages, gender, and language of the people you want to reach.

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After that, it gets interesting. You can choose people depending on their specific interests. If it’s possible to ‘like’ something on Facebook, it’s possible to target an ad to reach fans of that subject. If you’re a yoga or guitar teacher, that’s a good place to start. If you’re teaching business, you could target people who like The Apprentice. This is where a good knowledge of your demographic comes into play. You can save your audiences to use again, or create a new one each time if you’re feeling experimental.screenshot-129

Using the ‘Connections’ drop-down menu you can then choose if you want to target just the people who like your page or people who’ve never heard of you.

Step 5

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Once you’ve got your audience it’s time to decide on a budget. This can be per day or for the lifetime of the ad so make sure you’ve checked this over before you let your ad go live. You could spend as little as a fiver or as much as you like, really. It’s totally up to you. Facebook will never charge more than the budget you set, so there’s no need to worry about it going rogue.

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Decide what you want Facebook to charge you for. This can be either link clicks or impressions. When you get to this part of the Advert Manager it’s wise to work with Facebook’s recommendations if you’re not familiar with the process. As you get more comfortable you can play around more.

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Choose your image. If you have a high quality image, that’s great.

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If not, Facebook also have a library of stock images you can use. Beware of images with too much text. Facebook used to ban any images with more than 20% text. That’s not the case any more but they do warn that ads that have images with too much text will be shared less.

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If you’re advertising your class, the ‘website URL’ box is the place to share your class link. That way, when people click on your ad they’ll be taken straight there. After that you’ll fill in a headline and the text for your ad. Your headline and text character limits will vary depending on the kind of ad you’re producing.

After that, you’ll have the option to preview your ads, and then once you’ve confirmed you’ll be away! It’s great fun to see what kind of results you can get for different kinds of ads.

The other kind of Facebook ad that’s super-easy to create and doesn’t even require you to spend time in the Advert Manager is a promoted post. If you’ve created a post and think more people should be able to see it, this is the option for you. Facebook’s algorithms work in such a way that this is basically the only way to guarantee that your content gets the attention it deserves.

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Find the post you want to boost and click the ‘Boost post’ button.You’ll choose and audience and a budget just like you did when setting up a full Facebook ad.

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While your boosted post is still being promoted, and after your campaign has finished, you’ll be able to see exactly how many people you reached. When you view your results you’ll see more details about exactly who engaged and how, which can be vital information to use when planning future ads and deciding who should be in your audiences.

So there you have it! Promoted posts on Facebook are great to advertise your classes, and you can create campaigns to suit any budget. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

There’s a whole host of social media accounts and blogs dedicated to healthy lifestyles, whether that be fitness, nutrition, or a combination of the two. With so many out there, who should you be following? We recommend some of these people:

Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley is awesome. She started documenting her yoga journey on Instagram in order to check her alignment, and has quickly become an inspiration to women everywhere. She now teaches all over the world, and is also a body positivity advocate. Jessamyn encourages people to think ‘how does this feel?’ instead of ‘how does this look?’ while practising yoga.

Chocolate Covered Katie

You know how desserts are the best? Well, Chocolate Covered Katie does. She has loads of recipes for all kinds of sweet treats. The best, though, is that they’ve all been given a healthy twist. Sugar and syrup are replaced by healthy alternatives, and everything is still bloody delicious.

Minimalist Baker

Dana Shultz shares recipes for healthy food which is usually plant-based of gluten-free. So far, so standard. However, the best part about The Minimalist Baker is that she really does mean ‘minimalist’. Every recipe uses 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, or less than 30 minutes of your time, so you can make nutritious food without a lot of faff.

Fit Bottomed Girls

Erin Whitehead and Jenipher Walters have a website with everything from recipes to awesome playlists to get you fired up. Their Instagram is funny and full of motivation. They also have a podcast. There’s even an Anti-diet book. Basically, whatever you’re looking for in terms of motivation, you’ll find it thanks to Fit Bottomed Girls.

Deliciously Ella

You’ve probably seen her own brand of healthy energy balls in the shops. If not, you might have seen one of her three healthy eating cookbooks. Or perhaps you’ve seen the deli she’s been able to open in London because of her huge following. There’s no denying that Deliciously Ella is everywhere, and she’s great at what she does.

Fully Raw Kristina

If you like your healthy food looking bright and cheery, there’s nobody better than Kristina Carillo-Bucaran. Her Instagram feed and Youtube channel are super-bright and some of her recipes are super-tasty. She even has her own organic co-op, if you happen to be based around Texas.

Kayla Itsines

Kayla Itsines has a following of 10,000,000 women, and she has that for a very good reason. Users who are signed up to take part in her various programs are given targeted exercises to incorporate into theirworkouts, as well as a selection of recipes to cook every day. It’s like having someone hold your hand and guide you.

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If any of these guys have inspired you, don’t forget that you can find personalised advice on healthy eating and fitness from our awesome HowNow experts. Happy health-ing!

Once you’ve decided to teach classes on HowNow, and you’ve planned what your lessons will be like, it’s time to post your class listing. This is what students will see when they make their bookings, so a great listing is crucial. Luckily, we put together a guide for how to complete each section.

Title and description

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The first thing you’ll need to come up with for your class listing is a title and a one-line description. These appear on the browse pages so they need to be compelling to attract users to click. Try to avoid having a one-word class title, or using the words ‘one-to-one’, ‘group’, or anything like ‘class’ or ‘lesson’. Students will already know that it’s a class by the fact that it’s on HowNow, and you’ll use your tags to let them know if it’s one-to-one or for groups. Try to make your one-line description long enough to fill the space available – so about 100 characters.

Header image or video

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You have the choice between adding a video introduction to your class or adding a header image. These appear within the class listing itself. If you add a video, make sure you introduce yourself and what students will learn in the class. However, avoid going into so much detail that people no longer feel the need to make a booking. If you decide to add an image instead, make sure it’s a high quality one. Avoid images with a white background, and images which are actually a lot of text. If you want to use a logo, the place to do that is as your profile picture rather than as a header image.

Overview

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This is the section where you can give users an idea of what your class offers without going into specifics. This overview needs to apply to people who are visiting your class listing to book their tenth session just as much as it applies to total beginners, so keep it general and use lots of keywords because those will help your SEO. You might choose to give a bit of information about your teaching technique, or what a student will gain from a series of sessions with you.

What you need

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The next section you’ll come to when writing your class listing is ‘what you need’. This lets the student know what they’ll need to have access to before they take your session. You need to give them the best possible opportunity to get prepared before the day, so list everything. You might have a long list or a very short one. It may be that you don’t require your students to have anything. All of these are fine, just make sure you’re transparent in your listing.

Pricing, keywords, etc.

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This part of your class listing will actually appear at the top of the page next to your header. This is where you can let people know what levels you can teach, what languages you teach in, and how much you charge. You should also add keywords, but definitely avoid using words like ‘lessons’, ‘classes’ and ‘online’. Everything on the site is an online class so these won’t help you to stand out. Make sure your keywords refer to the content of the class.

What to expect

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Make sure that your class listing lets people know what to expect in your sessions. If you are teaching both one-to-one and group classes, try to let people know what the differences between the formats will be. Once you’ve done that people will be able to decide which type of class they’ll be happier taking part in and a comfortable student is a goof student.

Availability

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It’s vital that you connect your Google calendar to HowNow. This is the easiest way for you to let us know when you’re available. A great class listing will give potential students a lot of time options. By having as much free time in your calendar as possible you maximise your chances of getting bookings.

Ultimately, your HowNow class listing is the place to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to brag, but don’t forget that you also need to appeal to total beginners who might not know what you’re talking about. That’ll soon change after your first session, though.

Musical instruments are often something we quit while we were at school. After all, we thought we were cool back then. What we didn’t realise is that musical instruments, which were once the bane of our lives, would seem cool again one day. Plus, there’s great benefits to learning them. But which one should you pick up if you want to start learning now?

Guitar

The guitar is probably one of the most common musical instruments adults decide to learn. After all, who hasn’t had a fantasy about taking the stage at a rock gig at one point in their life? The great thing about learning to play the guitar is that you don’t necessarily need to learn to read music to go along with your new skill. It’s a bonus, but not necessary, which makes guitar seem more accessible to complete newbies.

Ukulele

As musical instruments go, this one is one of the most beginner-friendly. Take a guitar, subtract two strings, make it smaller, and imbue it with the ability to create mental images of Hawaii and you basically have a ukulele. It has the same benefits as a guitar in that it’s relatively easy to learn and doesn’t need the ability to read music. It’s also a lot more portable. However, you will probably find yourself talking about George Formby more than you expected.

Piano/Keyboard

We’re willing to bet that this is one of the musical instruments most commonly given up while people were still at school. It is, after all, quite big and generally requires the ability to read music. Luckily keyboards, at least, have come a long way since then. They’re now very portable in many cases. They’ll even guide you through playing a simple song using light-up keys. You could be the next Elton John before you know it.

Drums

Do you love a good rhythm? Do you hate your neighbours? The drums are the musical instruments for you. They come in various forms, from the full-on kit to individual ones like the tabla. You’ll be surprised by just how many different sounds you can get out of one piece of kit. As will your neighbours. This is not the instrument for those living very close to other people, unfortunately.

Flute

If you can make a sound by blowing across the top of an empty bottle, you already have the basics of playing the flute down. It looks like a complicated object, but it’s really easy once you get the hang of it. It’s another instrument that will need you to learn how to read music, but that doesn’t have to be an obstacle – a great teacher will be able to get you started with that too.

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So, what musical instruments do you fancy having a go at? Don’t forget to keep an eye on HowNow for a chance to take great music classes with experts all over the globe.

We’ve all been there. You’re working on a creative project and suddenly inspiration runs dry. Or maybe you have every intention of starting a creative project but all that’s happening is that you keep flicking through Instagram to see what everyone else is up to. Once you’ve ground to a halt it can be difficult to get going again. Fortunately for you, we’ve come up with a list of ways you can get out of the rut and get the wheels turning again:

Try something different

Sometimes you just have to mix things up. If you get stuck while writing a novel, life drawing might be just the break you need. If you’re an arty type already you might be able to find a new lease of creative energy by trying cross stitching or knitting. Basically, you might benefit by doing something outside of your comfort zone for a bit.

Blow away the cobwebs

You might need to put whatever you’re doing down and get away for a while. An increase in endorphins and some time spent outside could be just what the doctor ordered. Whether you hit the gym, or try an at-home workout, a good workout could be enough to blow away the cobwebs and give you your creative groove back.

Widen your perspective

Yes. Your problems with your creative work are difficult. But there’s nothing like hearing about other peoples’ issues to put your problems into perspective. Getting involved with charity work or even just reading the news can help. Once you’ve had time to reflect your next sentence might not seem like the giant hurdle it once did.

Chill out

We’ve got so much going on these days. The chances are you’re jumping from work to commuting to trying to finish your own creative stuff, and it’s no wonder that sometimes you don’t know whether you’re coming or going. A quick session of meditation that teaches you how to be tension-free could be just what the creativity doctor ordered.

Have a drink

Ernest Hemingway famously said ‘write drunk, edit sober’, and we think it’s perfectly reasonable to extrapolate this to all kinds of creative people. We’re not actively encouraging hardcore alcoholism, but a glass of wine might help to lower your inhibitions and stop you getting caught up in worrying about the quality of what you’re doing, which is one of the biggest things that can put a person off. 

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Ultimately, getting over a creative block is really just a case of giving yourself a break. If you stop work altogether and try not to think about it you might find yourself unable to concentrate on anything else. Therefore it’s a good idea to think about something totally different for a while. You might even find something else to focus on at HowNow.

Tea is amazing. That much we’re aware of. Anyone reading this will undoubtedly agree with that sentiment and, if not, we humbly suggest that you might be reading the wrong post. Or maybe you’re looking for intel about how to better understand the tea drinkers in your life. Look no further:

1. We are automatically healthier.

There’s all kinds of news about how tea’s really good for you. That isn’t why we’re drinking it, but it’s still nice to know. We can sit and enjoy a steaming hot cup of health, and watch smugly while the cappuccino and hot chocolate fans of the world nurse their pretty much benefit-free beverages. Plus, all of those antioxidants are basically cancelling out the biscuits.

2. We have the power to fix basically any problem in the world.

Hungover? Tea. Dumped? Tea. Fired? Tea.

And, fine. After you’ve finished your tea there’s always the chance that your problems won’t be 100% gone. In fact, it’s quite likely. But you know what? Even if everything in the world is going all kinds of wrong, tea is still there. Tea is still warm. Tea is still comforting. That’s better.

3. There will always be people who basically just drink hot water, and it will always be weird.

“Oh, I take my tea really weak, thanks. If you just dip the bag in for a couple of seconds, that’s perfect.”

THEN WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING? Seriously. Enjoy your cup of tea-coloured boiling water, you strange person. A noble teabag died so that you could have that. We hope you’re pleased with yourself.

4. There’ll always be time for one last cuppa.

Whatever time you get home on a Friday night, you can still put the kettle on. If you’re on the verge of running late for work, you’ll stick the kettle on quickly. If you have 5 minutes before you need to leave the house to catch a flight? Yup. Kettle on. Priorities.

5. The heartbreaking realisation that the person who just got up is not going to put the kettle on.

Picture the scene: You’re in your living room. You see some movement from the corner of your eye. Somebody’s getting up. They look like they could be about to go to the kitchen. Your heart rate picks up. You smile to yourself. And then at the last second that person takes a turn and heads to the front door, or to the bathroom, or out to the garden. Anywhere but the kitchen, basically. Your dreams are dashed. They don’t even realise.

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If you love a good brew don’t forget to check out HowNow for some top tips that’ll make you fall in love all over again.

It’s always difficult to decide whether we should take the leap and turn our passion into profit. Work takes up a lot of our time, but more often than not it’s the things we do in the spare hours before, after, and at weekends that really make us happy. You might be an accountant with a penchant for painting, a barista who hula hoops on the side, or maybe you work in sales and have colleagues queuing up for your cupcakes. But what if you don’t want to do it on the side any more?

The option that a lot of people choose when they decide to start turning their passion into profit is to teach. Teaching your hobby can be really rewarding. It’s a great way to meet new people who might be into the same kind of thing that you are, or to pass on what you know to total beginners who end up loving the thing you love too. It can be a daunting prospect, but we’ve put together a few tips to help you get started.

Think about how it could fit in

I’m not suggesting that you jack in your high-flying career in neurosurgery straight away. In fact, as a high-flying neurosurgeon, you’re probably smart enough to realise that. I’m sorry for insulting your intelligence. It might be that you don’t want to teach full time. You might just want a little Saturday gig to make a bit of pocket money. Or you might have a total career overhaul and world domination in your sights. Anything goes. Plus, if you decide to teach online you’ll have way less to organise before you can begin.

Do your research

Maybe you have a friend or acquaintance who’s already teaching something. Awesome. Take them for a coffee and have a chat. It’s amazing how good meeting an actual person who’s done the actual thing you actually want to do can make you feel. You might just realise that it’s a totally do-able thing for a person to manage. If you don’t have a useful friend, reach out to other people who run classes. It’s amazing how many people are willing to meet up if there’s a free coffee in it for them. If you can’t meet up with someone in person, we have this super-cool thing called ‘the internet’ now, and you’re bound to find people who are willing to share tips if you look hard enough.

Try holding a test workshop

Before you take to the internet, gather a group of your nicest, least sarcastic friends, and try out your ideas on them. If you want to teach a specific craft, for example, you can make sure you’re able to explain the stages as easily as possible. You can also use your willing volunteers to try out yoga routines, dance steps, or anything else. You’ll get feedback on what you could do better, as well as a chance to practice being in front of real people who view you as an authority figure.

Don’t be freaked out by practical considerations

Yes. You will need a plan. You’ll need a webcam. You’ll need to be able to stand in front of a camera and tell up to ten people what to do. The likelihood is that the people who already do this are no cleverer than you, and they all managed, so you know it’s possible. Make a list of everything you’ve found out in your research that you need to organise, and then work through it point by point. Try not to skip ahead or let yourself get overwhelmed. Point by point. That’s all you need to remember.

Take the plunge

Sometimes this is the hardest part. You’ve done all the legwork and you’re totally ready. You’ve got everything you need. You’re awesome, basically. You’re an organisational wizard. It would be so easy to stop at this point. If you stop now you’ll have a 100% success rate and never have to face failure. But this is the time to take a deep breath and dive in to actually teaching strangers how to do the thing that you love to do. After all, you’ve come this far. Every class you teach might not be perfect. You might have no-shows or uncooperative students. Those things happen, and they happen to everyone. We guarantee the good will outweigh the bad, though. You’ll feel the joy that only comes from sharing something you love with other people, and watching them fall in love with it too. You’ll meet new people. And most of all, you’ll be able to go to sleep at night knowing that, for once in your life, you put yourself out there and made it work.

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So. Real talk. Do you fancy sharing your passion whilst making money? check out HowNow and starting earning from the thing you love doing. All you need to do is bring your passion. Team HowNow can bring the organisation, and we’ll meet you on the internet.

We’ve already talked about how to create listing on HowNow so that it grabs as much attention as possible. But what about your profile? That can be just as important when it comes to selling your classes, but sometimes it’s the thing that gets overlooked. We write so many profiles these days that it’s easy to get blase about them. But resist the temptation to just write any old thing – it’s worth taking time over.

Do some bragging

Have you ever won an award? Do you have ten degrees? Have you been featured in the press? Details like this are great as they help to cement the impression that you’re an expert in your field, so mention them in your profile. That’s not to say that if you don’t have paper qualifications your classes will be worth less. Whatever makes you confident that you’re a great teacher, that’s the thing you should be bragging about.

Sell yourself, not your class

There’s a very good chance that you’re not the only person in the world teaching your subject. You might not even be the only person on HowNow teaching your subject. So why should a student choose you to be their teacher? Remember that your profile will appear on each of your class listings so don’t go too in-depth about any subject. Just give a general overview of why you’re great.  If you have any feedback from former students, that’s a brilliant thing to include too.

Give a sense of your personality

Your profile on the website will give students a chance to get to know you better. They’ll be much more comfortable taking classes with someone they feel familiar with, rather than a total stranger. Are you a fan of anything? Do you do anything interesting in your spare time? Were you Coney Island Hotdog Eating Champion in 1998? It might not seem relevant to making people sign up to your class, but people are much more likely to want to work with someone they’re able to warm to.

Have a great profile picture

You’ve used your profile to give potential students an idea of why you’re qualified and what you’re like as a person. You’ve given them a really positive impression. Now you need to cement that positive impression by adding a great profile picture. This should be a picture of yourself, and preferably just your head and shoulders. The profile picture field is a bit tight for full-body shots. You can take a photo using a selfie stick and a phone – it doesn’t have to a work of art. Users are much more likely to sign up to classes where they can see the teacher because it creates a subconscious trust. After all, if there’s just a logo, or a picture of a plant pot, how do they know their teacher won’t be a robot.

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Once you’ve got your profile set up and you’ve listed your first classes, don’t forget to spread the word among your following and encourage them to get booking. We can’t wait to watch your classes develop.

Some people might look at an online class and wonder what’s so appealing about talking to people over a computer screen. We don’t mind that, but we do think it’s a bit sad that those people haven’t yet come to realise exactly how awesome online classes can be. We put together a preliminary list to help them out.

You can learn in your PJs

The last thing you want to do after a long day is go out and do something else. Or, at least, not if you have to stay in your work clothes. Honestly, would it kill them to put a bit of elastic in there somewhere? Online classes mean that you have a legitimate excuse to run straight home and PJ up. Everybody knows you learn best when your comfortable, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t get told off for turning up at night school in your nightie.

You can learn from people all over the place

If you go somewhere local to learn, there’s a limited sample of people available to teach you. That gets reduced further depending on the availability and level of both sides of the equation. By taking to the internet for online classes, you widen your pool significantly. If the best violin teacher in the world is in Chicago, then you can learn from Chicago. Sure, it might take more research then just going to the closest person, but you virtuoso career will thank you.

You always get the best seat

You remember when you were at school and there were a couple of seats that people always fought over? You’re not at school any more! Plus you don’t even have to that thing people do when they’re adults where they all pretend not to care about where they sit, but they all end up hating each other anyway. You can have the best seat in your house. Cover it with cushions and blankets. Delight in your own comfort. Put your feet up, look back on your school days, and laugh.

Online classes can be booked when it suits you

There are lots of classes to take just after work, and that’s fine for a lot of people. But how about if you work best between the hours of 10pm and 1am? Online classes are your friends. There’s also no need to give up other plans. Because you can work with people all over the world, it doesn’t matter if you only have time in the early afternoon, or if you only like to learn after dark. Whatever your quirk, there’s someone out there who’ll be able to work with it.

You only have to tidy up part of your room

If you found a tutor who would visit your home, you’d have to make a bit of an effort for them. It wouldn’t even be for them as much as it would be to help you save face. But guess what? Sometimes busy people don’t have time to pick up their floordrobe every time their maths teacher comes over. With online classes all you have to do is kick everything to the side so it’s just out of view of the camera and voila! You’ll look like a domestic god and/or goddess and nobody will be any the wiser.

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Have you found any benefits to taking online classes that we’ve missed out on here? Don’t forget to let us know. And don’t forget to check out HowNow so that you, too, can start living the dream.