HeatSpring is an expert-led platform for professionals in solar, cleantech, and many other forward thinking industries. Any expert can build free or paid classes on the platform at no cost and start right away. Listen in as HeatSpring Co-Founder Brian Hayden discusses how HeatSpring works and why it may be time for you to consider teaching. 

Brit: I wanted to get you on today, because after working at HeatSpring close to a year now, I’ve noticed that so many people don’t really know how HeatSpring operates. I was just wanting to chat with you today on this recording so that we could explain a little bit more about how the platform works.

Brian: Yeah, that sounds great. I think one of the most important things to know is when we started HeatSpring, we did it because we wanted to learn about all these technologies. It wasn’t because we were experts. It was because we were curious about what do the smartest people in the industry think about this.

And so really for the last 15 years, we’ve just tried to find a way to give a platform to the smartest people in the industry, because we feel like all the best ideas are out there already. We know how to do things smarter. So the question is – how quickly can we disseminate that information and get it out there to people who are actually in the field doing the work?

We’ve never been the experts ourselves. We’ve always just worked with experts. Our job is to make the best platform for them to get their knowledge out there. 

Brit: Nice. And working on a platform like this, can anybody teach on HeatSpring or could people build a class at their leisure?

Brian: Yeah, you can jump on right now and just go to HeatSpring.com/teach and start building your class. People do that all the time. For the most part, those are just classes that they want to teach for a small group. But occasionally those become big selling classes for us. And those are great ways to kind of start.

Actually, an example of that is Andy Nyce’s class. What’s the name of Andy Nyce’s class?

Brit: It’s Utility Scale Construction and Project Management. 

Brian: Yeah. Andy Nyce just started building that class. Then we started talking to him, we realized he was a really talented teacher, somebody who has deep expertise in something that’s pretty rare – large scale construction and project management.

And so that class turned into a course that lots of companies use for their onboarding for new employees. And so that’s an example of somebody who just kind of found the teach link and just started going. 

There are a whole bunch of other examples of people who have built smaller classes, private classes and that is available to you right now. You can literally just go and start. 

Brit: That’s awesome. One thing that I think really sets HeatSpring apart is that there’s no cost to do that. And that’s also, I think, pretty rare for these teaching platforms. 

Brian: Yeah. I mean, there’s no cost to start teaching. What we can’t do is promise you that you’re going to get paid a lot of money to do it.

Most classes are pretty niche and so there’s small audiences for them. But if you do have a topic that becomes really popular, you can make good money teaching. We’ve paid people anywhere from a couple thousand dollars a year up to half a million dollars a year.

It really just varies based on the popularity of your class, how good our marketing is, your marketing is – just a lot of factors.

But the thing that I like about teaching – and I teach myself an entrepreneurship class – the thing I like about it most is it’s sort of a platform on which I can kind of organize my knowledge a little bit, like writing a book would be.

Then you can use that organized set of knowledge to then do consulting work, to connect with people that you want to meet. It’s a great excuse to reach out to other experts and get them to weigh in on your class. So I view teaching as kind of like this platform that generates not only money, but a lot of relationships and a legacy.

Brit: Yeah, there’s a lot of great reasons, it seems like, to teach. I’ve heard you say this before, but what do people always bug you about? Like you might be a good teacher if people are just constantly asking you questions about certain topics. 

If people are getting excited by the thought of teaching, what are some other bits of advice for those folks who maybe aren’t totally sure but are kind of excited?

Brian: I always ask people when they get to a certain part of their career. I ask: have you ever thought about teaching? Because most people have. I think it really appeals to people. They get that, it’s a great way to give back a little bit. It’s a great way to meet younger, fresh people.

And a lot of times you get a little bit bored doing the same thing over and over, even if you’re really good at it. And so teaching is a way to step outside of, and kind of gain a little bit of perspective on your own career and your own set of knowledge. 

So the questions they have are just… I think a lot of times people feel like imposter syndrome. I think you feel that sometimes in the courses you build. What you have to remember is it’s not that, you know so much. It’s that the rest of the world knows so little.

A lot of the things you take for granted can be really important learning for other people. And so just not taking any of that for granted and really starting with the end in mind, like where are we trying to get people with this course? And then working backward into the content that people need to be exposed to, in order to get to those learning objectives. 

So you can really Google how to be a good teacher. And there are some really great basic pieces of information. The class that you build should have a point and you should articulate what that point is, and then give people the pieces of information and the exercises that they need to get to those learning objectives. 

It’s really basic stuff. But once you start going down that road, it’s really fun and exciting. And you start to wonder, like, how did I never do this before? 

Brit: Great. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for sharing about teaching. And if folks are interested in teaching, like Brian said, you can go to heatspring.com/teach or you could reach out to either of us.

Brian’s email is on the screen [bhayden@heatspring.com] and mine is Brit@HeatSpring.com. Thanks!