The Age of the Edupreneuer

September 23, 2021

Twenty years ago, my family immigrated to North America. My parents, despite both having graduates degrees, started off in low-level jobs.

My mom bagged groceries; meanwhile, my dad sold printers over the phone.

It was only through sheer perseverance and grit did they work their way up to what they're doing today:

My mom is an engineering team at a health IT company, and my dad is head of global marketing at a pharmaceutical company.

Neither had the skills to be doing what they’re doing today, but they learned through reading, networking, and learning online.

Both my mom and I started to learn to code from online YouTube tutorials. Eventually, those tutorials would set me on a path to becoming a software engineer at Facebook and earning over 6-figures right out of college.

School played a small part in that journey.

They say that a college degree is the one thing that can never be taken away from you. In fact, it’s education, and it can come in many forms.

When people talk about how broken the education system is, they never talk about adult education.

Often adults- like single moms, high schools dropouts, or even immigrants, are the ones who need access to education the most.

However, adult education has been limited to night classes at the community college or self-paced online courses in the past two decades.

Neither provides high-quality coaching or mentorships.

There was a time where a college degree was sufficient education for the entirety of your career- but since the dawn of the internet, this is no longer true.

Information exchange is happening so quickly that almost every industry is disrupted within 3-5 years.

Today, if you want to progress in your career, you need to upskill and reskill continuously. However, you won’t be able to do this at a standard institution.

Instead, you need to learn from the industry experts of the world—people working on the cutting edge who can teach you more than any textbook or college class could.

Take these internet careers, for example:

  • YouTuber
  • Crypto Consultant
  • Course Creator
  • Social Media Manager
  • Growth Marketing

You can’t get a college degree for any of these professions because they didn’t even classify as real jobs ten years ago.

A college curriculum can’t keep up with the needs of the industry.

To learn relevant skills, we need to turn to the teachers of tomorrow- those who 1) have a specific set of domain expertise and 2) have a passion for teaching.

The tide is already changing. Individuals like David Perell, Marie Poulin, and Ali Abdaal run online academies that train individuals to take on new world careers.

But there’s not nearly enough of them.

We like to call them “education entrepreneurs” or “Edupreneurs.”

These online educators create lightweight programs from 6 weeks to 6 months long that help you learn the relevant skills to today’s industry.

We need more “edupreneurs.”

Since leaving my job at Facebook 2.5 years ago, I’ve been on a mission to empower more people to teach online.

I’ve been able to do this primarily in two ways:

  1. Building a suite of tools for online educators through my company, Virtually
  2. Creating educational content through the podcast to inspire the next wave of online educators.

Today, I’m announcing the next step in that journey.

On September 29th, we’ll be launching what we’re calling the Edpreneur community.

The community will be the premier location for anyone building a cohort-based course, bootcamps, or any other live learning experience.

It’ll be a space to connect with other edupreneuers and learn about the fundamentals of building and growing an online education business.

Will Mannon and I will also be hosting regular live podcast recordings and workshops to teach you the fundamentals of teaching online.

Think you or someone you know could be a good fit? Head on over here to apply.

Ish Baid

Ish is the Founder & CEO of Virtually (YC S20).