Today will be my 2 year anniversary at TeachStreet. I don’t really pay attention to these milestones, but a couple of my friends reminded me. I have to admit, this has been one of the quickest 2 years of my life. A lot of things have happened, and I wanted to share 5 important lessons I’ve learned during my time here:
1. Make moves, son!
You got to make it happen. If you want to help start an e-mail campaign, Premium Partners Program, or Featured Blogger Program: make the necessary moves to do so. Make the necessary calls / emails, close the deals, get buy-in from your team, etc. You have to do what it takes to have your company succeed. A great tip would be to try new ideas you can implement that doesn’t need much developer help initially. If it works, you’ll have more reason to get more developers and grow the idea. Remember, a successful idea can always grow.
2. Learn how to work with developers / designers
In the startup world, I’m on the business side of things (i.e. sales, marketing, product management) and we all know that developers / designers are the ones who make your ideas into reality. It’s magic. Get to know your developer team and understand how they work, whether it’s learning the type of specs they’re looking for or the support they’ll need during the process. The better you know how they like to work, the better you can compromise and even adjust to get your projects done more efficiently. There’s still so much room to grow, so I continue to learn and try to be a better team player.
3. Don’t be afraid to fail
During my time at TeachStreet, I’ve definitely had my share of ideas that have failed (i.e. TeachStreet Teams, Forums, etc.), but I’ve learned from every one of them. Every failure I’ve had has always made me a better person, which has led me to the successes I’ve had. You can’t be afraid to fail, there’s a sense of risk taking one must have to be successful at a startup. I’ve been lucky to have a team that has been collaborative / supportive along the way.
4. It’s important to be a net native at a startup
It’s important to understand what’s happening in the startup world — trends, opportunities, and new ideas. Whether it be signing up for all the new web startups to see how they work, taking screenshots of signup pages or 404 pages, or even just reading up on tech startups — it’s important to be connected. I’ve also found that building an online brand in the startup world can be very beneficial. I’ve become more involved in the startup scene and have been loving every minute of it.
5. Shape your company culture and have fun!
Be happy and have fun. Don’t forget to shape the culture you’re working in. Working at a startup, you have a chance to help mold the company culture — so do it! You have to enjoy what you’re doing and the people around you because working in a positive environment does wonders in building a great company culture. You’re in a startup and more likely than not, you’re trying to move mountains — might as well love every minute of it.
I know there’s much more to learn and lessons to be had — I can’t wait!
“Since day one, we’ve provided our customers with the best tools and services we could, and offered most of them for free. In order to build on the TeachStreet products and services, produce increasing revenue (so that our business will continue to expand), and attract even more students for our teachers, we’re making the following changes in the coming weeks” - News from our Founder, Dave Schappell
Tonight we announced a major shift for the TeachStreet platform. Beginning in a few weeks, teachers will have to pay listing fees, or a monthly subscription, in order to promote their classes on the site (an action that is currently free).
This wasn’t an easy decision to make. We always thought we’d be able to sustain free listings via transaction fees and other revenue streams, but after months of observing usage patterns and conducting teacher surveys, we determined that an up-front advertising fee was best both for our users and for the business.
It’s definitely a little scary taking away something that people have had for so long, and we know we will lose a ton of classes, but we’re excited for what we think is a great deal for everyone involved, and which will allow us to continue to accelerate on our path to becoming the best resource for connecting teachers and schools with students.
Dave goes into greater detail about the changes on the TeachStreet Blog, but we’re trying to be as transparent as we can with these changes, so please comment/reblog and share your thoughts, whether good or bad. We’ve already gotten a bunch of great feedback from our teachers tonight, and with such an abundance of smart entrepreneurs and industry folks on tumblr, I’m looking forward to what you have to say.