By Bob Lee, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Learning Solutions, Citrix Online
April Showers, located in Twin Falls, ID, is a home-based business founded in 2008 by April Durham, a successful graphic designer. April Showers provides blog and Website design services and also offers a variety of training workshops for those who want to learn how to design their own blogs or start a professional blog design business. The company has a staff of six.
The challenge: Simplify management of fee-based training.
Durham got her start by designing blogs for friends and followers of her own blog. Her experience running a business from home showed her an opportunity to help other women in her “blogosphere” learn design skills to start their own home-based business or to create a personal blog. “Blog design is just booming,” she says. “Designers have six-month waiting lists for new customers who want to start a blog and make money from it. I wanted to give other women the chance to participate in this popular and fast-growing market sector. Also, I had always been interested in teaching.”
Durham continues, “I was looking for a solution that would enable students anywhere to share my screen and hear my voice.” On the recommendation of her assistant, she tried out Citrix GoToTrainingfrom Citrix Online and was sold immediately. “I found everything I needed in GoToTraining. Not only was it easy to use, but every day it seemed I found a new feature or benefit, such as recording the classes, posting tests and polls, creating a catalog, and much more.”
Using GoToTraining, Durham began offering online workshops and classes, including two-hour sessions on how to design your own blog, a four-part series on starting a blog design business, and graphic design skills training using tools such as Adobe Photoshop. Students are located all over the world, and classes typically attract up to 15 attendees. Durham records the classes with GoToTraining and makes the recordings available for purchase to people who can’t attend a live session.
Although her business was growing and she was happy with GoToTraining, Durham had one nagging problem: the complicated payment process. “I was using a third party to collect payment and accept registrations for the workshops. Attendees first had to visit my site to find a class and then go to the third party to pay for the training. I had to manually send out the registration confirmation and link to each attendee. It was tedious and time-consuming,” Durham says, “and bookkeeping is my least-favorite aspect of the business.”
The solution: Implement RevStream for fast, simple payment management.
One day, Durham went to the GoToTraining Website and saw a pop-up about RevStream, the new integrated payment feature, so she signed up. RevStream is tightly integrated with the PayPal payment processing system, enabling users to set a price for training classes, collect and process online payments via credit and debit cards or PayPal, and track income.
“I already had a PayPal account and it was really easy to set up RevStream,” Durham says. “I’ve been using it ever since.”
Once Durham linked her PayPal account to her GoToTraining account, students were able to register and pay for classes automatically. GoToTraining with RevStream processes payments via its integration with PayPal, sends a payment confirmation to each registrant,and credits Durham’saccount.
“I had been hoping for a capability like RevStream because I was doing all the accounting work myself and wanted to be less involved with the whole payment process. Now people register and pay for a class in one fluid motion and I don’t have to be an intermediary.”
The Results: Revenues triple with GoToTraining.
Since Durham began offering online classes and workshops with GoToTraining, she has seen a major jump in company revenues. “Training has tripled my income, and continues to be a huge revenue generator for the business. People really want to learn how to design their own blog rather than pay someone to do it for them. However, I also plan to continue my work as a designer to stay current with the latest technologies and tools so I can include them in my training catalog.”
The RevStream functionality is playing an important part in freeing Durham to pursue both of these facets of her business plan. “Previously, I was spending so much time worrying about all the different steps in the back-end process—sending out links, managing the students, wondering if they had paid or not. It took a lot of my time and effort. Now, with RevStream, I can focus on designing blogs, learning new skills, and developing new trainings to offer my students.”
Scalable Platform for Business Growth
GoToTraining with RevStream also gives Durham a scalable platform for expanding her catalog with additional instructors and new topics. “My long-term plans include offering workshops taught by subject matter experts. GoToTraining is so simple to use that a guest presenter will be able to learn it quickly.” Also, the tool makes it easy for her to attract new and repeat students. “Remote training is perfect for my target audience—moms with children—because they can learn from home in the evenings when it’s convenient or just purchase the recording and send me follow-up questions. It’s flexible.”
Finally, GoToTraining is helping Durham achieve key business objectives. One goal is to support and empower women who are working from home like she is. “GoToTraining enables me to share design skills that can open up new business opportunities or just allow them to create an attractive blog for social networking.”
The other goal is financial. “Now that RevStream has eliminated my least-favorite part of the business—bookkeeping and the back end—I have much more time to devote to designing, teaching, and earning money, which are my favorite parts!”
Bob Lee is senior product marketing manager, Learning Solutions, Citrix Online. With more than 25 years of experience in the learning and technology industries, Lee has served in a variety of roles, including that of director of education, curriculum developer and classroom instructor, software developer, consultant, and marketer. As Director of Education Services with Bank One, Lee was a founding board member of Bank One University and was instrumental in the adoption of virtual classroom technologies and programs to supplement the bank’s traditional learning methods. He also led the development and marketing of software products for companies focusing on the education and corporate training markets, including Computer Curriculum Corporation, Qarbon, and Cisco. Lee’s present role at Citrix Online focuses on the definition, development, delivery, and marketing of Citrix Online’s learning solutions. For more information, visit www.citrixonline.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.