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What Is An Edupreneur?

Because of the massive shift technology has enabled in how we can connect with an audience and share our expertise in seemingly unlimited ways, edupreneurs are everywhere.

“An edupreneur is someone who creates a positive value shift with the specific economic resource of “learning.”

Jeff Cobb, Learning Revolution

 I see edupreneurs as one of the most important stewards of learning as an economic resource.

The difference between education and learning represents one of the greatest opportunities for edupreneurs. Yes, edupreneurs are well positioned to do things like create and sell online courses – a new generation of online course platforms makes that more possible than ever. But they are also well positioned to wield influence, build long-term relationships with their followers, cultivate learning communities and, in general, lead learning in the fields, industries, and areas of life they serve in ways that usually elude more traditional institutions and businesses.

Recognizing this difference opens up now opportunities and new ways to create value not just for teachers and trainers, but for consultants, coaches, authors, and speakers.

The edupreneurial shift

The positive value shift that all successful educators help to make happen is from bounded to unbounded.

As an economic resource, learning is often “bounded” in that is captured within a single person’s head, within a single organization, or within in some set of circumstances that constrains it from being shared and spreading.

Access to learning and the ability to capitalize on it may also be bounded by a lack of experience, prior knowledge, or other factors on the part of the learner. Even in a world where so much information is freely available, our abilities to make effective use of information can vary dramatically.

The successful educator helps break down the boundaries, opening up the movement of learning from one to many, from localized to global, from the past and present into the future.

Edupreneurs aim to make this shift in the context of a market that will recognize and reward them for the value they create. Learners who trust they will be transformed through new knowledge, skills, and behavior gladly compensate the edupreneur who can provide the transformation.

Keys to success as an edupreneur

How to become an edupreneur and thrive in the role is the whole focus of the Learning Revolution Web site, but there are a few imperatives for success. I’ll highlight four here.


If you are really going to make it as an edupreneur over the long term, though, you have to care about what you are doing and really care about creating positive impact for your learners.

Invest in teaching and learning.

Truth is, there’s a lot of junk out there. Successful edupreneurs often have deep subject matter expertise or access to others with deep expertise, but having expertise and knowing how to teach well are two different things.

Successful edupreneurs invest time and effort in understanding adult learning principles, developing their teaching skills, and working hard to engage and retain their learners. They also invest in “sharpening the saw,” making sure that they are continually learning and improving in their chosen subject areas.

Be strategic.

In my experience, edupreneurs are often convinced that they have really unique content that no one else can offer. As a result, I get a lot of questions about how to protect intellectual property, but the truth is that very few edupreneurs have anything all that new to say.

What’s new – and unique – is who’s saying it and how they position their offering to the world. Successful edupreneurs embrace strategy and learn how top stand themselves out in an increasingly  crowded market for education.

Understand it’s a business.

There are plenty of educators who see the opportunity in the global market for lifelong learning, but are either squeamish about mixing education and business or just don’t want to have to deal with the business side of the equation. Needless to say, these people won’t succeed as edupreneurs.

In the adult lifelong learning market, the exchange of money for valuable learning outcomes benefits both sides of the equation. The learner is positively impacted, and the educator is able to support herself and continue on to help other learners.

Of course, the only way this exchange of value happens is if the edupreneur puts ample time into business activities like assessing and validating the market, planning for launch, and putting in the necessary time and effort for promotion. Without these activities, you may still be a great educator, but you won’t be an edupreneur.



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