In these new ‘COVID19 online’ times, a lot of people are looking to convert their service into either live online training or an automated online course - a great idea! For the past year I have been working on my new e-learning platform smartfoxtraining.com (the first recording day was in the first week of April 2019!). And I have converted all of my LinkedIn for Jobseekers training and LinkedIn for Sales training that I deliver in-person through workshops, talks and seminars into easy to use, step-by-step videos.
However, in hindsight, I did things the hard way. So, if you are thinking of creating your own online course, I’m going to be covering all of the things that I wish I had known, and everything that I had learned the hard way!
You have obligations to your trainees from a finance, tax, data and legal perspective.
Yes, the serious stuff.
We could talk about videos, storyboards and scripts all day long, but when launching an online course, you are dealing with customers (hopefully to scale and growing in volume!). So getting your finance, data and legal elements correct from the start, is essential.
As these elements were completely outside my comfort zone (especially anything to do with Revenue), I ended up leaving them to the very end of the project - just before launch. But I would encourage you to start teasing these out at the start.
I was very lucky as I know experts in each area and they gave great guidance, support, helped me decipher complex terminology and put in place strong policies and procedures. And I can honestly say that once I had these elements all signed off, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. It also gave me great confidence and made sure that I adhered to the core elements of my brand - trustworthy, reliability and doing the right thing.
*Note - I am not an expert in any of these areas! Below are some factors and terminology for you to be aware. Always refer to an expert when it comes to finance, tax, data, and legal.
Are you an electronically supplied service?
In Ireland, I had to figure out if my new online training platform was an electronically supplied service or not, as this had knock on effects. See more here: www.revenue.ie/en/vat/vat-on-services/vat-and-electronically-supplied-services
VAT / B2B / B2C
Are you familiar with the rules around vat for sales B2B and B2C in the EU and outside of the EU? If not, you need to check this out with your accountant or tax adviser and read up on it on Revenue’s website
VAT on your checkout page
I was also very anxious about the checkout page on my site and incorporating vat / sale tax when relevant. I’m currently using the Kajabi platform (more on that later….). As they are a Canadian based company, they are not set up to deal with vat - which was a source of huge worry for me.
But the good news is, that there is a very handy online invoicing tool called Quaderno that can plug into most sites. It asks the user to select their location from a list of countries automatically adjusts the price accordingly. It also cross checks that selected location with the location of the credit card used, and will email you if it spots any irregularities. For example, when testing the payment gateway, I used my Irish credit card but selected the country as the US and then got an email informing me of a potential issue.
Quaderno is not free and costs a fee per month (currently €50 a month).
From a data point of view, you will be collecting email addresses, names and other information.
Naturally, you will be focusing on your training material, video elements, scripts, storyboarding, what you are going to wear, what learning management system to use etc. But you cannot, and must not, ignore revenue's rules, vat, finance and legal elements. You will spend days and weeks of your life working on your course. It would be a pity for the 'business' elements of it to be your undoing....!
p.s. Want a free LinkedIn lesson? Just check out my new e-learning platform www.smartfoxtraining.com and look for 'free lesson' in the main menu at the top of the site.