Kat Norton (aka Miss Excel) has become a sensation online by teaching Microsoft Excel tricks while dancing to pop songs on TikTok and Instagram. Analysts estimate she’s earning 7+ figures a year with her unique approach to online courses, and she does all this with just one virtual assistant.
Miss Excel is a standout example of the burgeoning ‘creator economy’. If you have specific expertise in your niche, then there’s never been a better time to sell your expertise.
Miss Excel has built up a cult following with her short viral videos, and now is monetising this attention through her range of online courses in Excel and other office software platforms – all in her unique style.
So what lessons can other subject experts learn from Miss Excel’s success?
Well, Miss Excel isn’t teaching anything new. There are literally thousands of courses on Excel – just search Udemy and you’ll be overwhelmed with the choice.
What is different is her approach to the content. It’s short, sharp, snappy and viral. She’s taken a very dry subject and put a creative spin on the delivery. Miss Excel has broken the rules and is hugely successful as a result.
She also understands that content creation is an ongoing, never-ending process. Many subject experts fall into the trap of the publishing model – that they create once, and then aim to maximise customer numbers. She’s constantly pushing out new content to build her new audience.
Miss Excel understands too that her unique selling point isn’t content. Buy one of her courses and you’ll get access to shortcut guides, templates, workbooks and access to her in a private Facebook group. Community is at the heart of her product and this is very difficult for her competitors to replicate.
What does the creator economy mean for training providers?
Subject experts have a distinct advantage over training providers in that they can experiment and be more creative in their approach to commercialising their expertise. Running a training business and managing corporate clients can mean that time and opportunity for innovation are limited – particularly when you need to satisfy the individual needs of each client.
But there are opportunities that come with a strong understanding of your clients:
1.Help your clients implement their training
Corporate clients may be tempted to purchase an off-the-shelf solution, like from Miss Excel, for their organization. While you can provide a similar training course, there is a big opportunity for you to help a client’s employees implement their new skills and knowledge into the workplace. Creators aren’t able to do this, so if you can support employees in making their training actionable – and ensure it has a big impact on performance – then you’ll be in a prime position for the sale.
2. Have regular conversations about your client’s performance issues and opportunities
One of the key assets in many training providers’ businesses is the relationships they have with their clients. Ask the right questions and you can help identify and unblock the real performance issues that are holding back their success. An off-the-shelf solution simply won’t do this. Lean into your clients’ issues and support them.
3. Provide a flexible solution that meets your client’s needs
An off-the-shelf training package may help upskill a client’s team but is unlikely to meet their specific requirements. As a training provider, you can offer training in different formats, provide support and coaching services and be with them for the long-term – adapting to meet their needs as you develop a stronger understanding of their organization.
In short, training providers can learn from the creator economy to ‘up their game’, especially in terms of their creative approach to content and how to deliver this. But training providers have a distinct advantage too – the relationship with their client. This should be continually nurtured and recognised to help you make a real difference and retain your client’s business.
(You can learn more about Miss Excel’s approach to content creation here and how she teaches here.)
Andy loves helping subject experts, authors, speakers, coaches and key persons of influence to monetise their expertise with online learning. When not on his laptop, he'll usually be found up a mountain!