“Look! We’re Learning!”: How to Sell Digital Goods for Homeschooling
Posted Sep 21, 2017 by Kristen Pinkman, Ecwid Team

“Look! We’re Learning!”: How to Sell Digital Goods for Homeschooling

Is it even possible to run a business and homeschool four kids at the same time?

Selena Robinson found a surprisingly smooth way: she creates digital educational materials to homeschool her kids and sells those resources on her website.

Selena Robinson

Selena Robinson, founder of “Look! We’re Learning!”

“Look! We’re Learning!” started as a personal blog where Selena shared tips for homeschooling kids with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

She learned the ins and outs of how to do it best after her daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. Upon beginning treatment, Selena realized that both she and her husband, as well as two of their sons, had attention issues as well. Selena shared on her blog:

That was easily one of the biggest “Aha!” moments of my life. I remember looking back on my many (and varied) careers and thinking, “That’s why I do something for two years and then quit!”

Selena didn’t take her blog seriously as a business until several years later, when she got a chance to meet several successful homeschooling bloggers that motivated her to develop her blog into an actual business.

If you have ever thought of starting a business like that, this post can be your motivational meet-up with a successful blogger. Why wait?

Homeschooling

Selena was home schooled herself, which resulted in her early and successful graduation. However, she admits having hard times during her education: “I knew that if I ever got the chance to homeschool my children, I’d do things differently”.

So she did — when they were expecting their first child, Selena and her husband Jay decided to homeschool their children.

US Homeschooling facts:
 — There are now more than two million children being homeschooled.
 — Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and in many foreign countries.
 — In almost all areas of the country, parents do not need an education degree to homeschool.

“Homeschooling gives parents more flexibility in teaching their children, especially if the children have special learning needs. It’s also a wonderful way to share more time together as a family,” Selena highlighted.

From her experience, the biggest challenges of homeschooling are usually related to time and planning. When kids have special needs, adapting to their way of learning can be difficult. If you have several children, it can be tough to structure the learning day.

I don’t think that homeschooling is good for everyone. It definitely takes good planning, consistency, and follow-through to make it a success.

It takes so much courage to be responsible for your kid’s knowledge and skills. Not only does Selena make them stick to local educational standards and regulations. The mother of four has managed to take control of ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition with symptoms such as inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The symptoms differ from person to person. Both children and adults can have ADHD, but the symptoms always begin in childhood. Adults with ADHD may have trouble managing time, being organized, setting goals, and holding down a job. Many reports estimate that anywhere from 5% to 8% of school-aged kids have the disorder.

ADHD symptoms can pose real problems when it’s time to cover a school lesson. “We’ve found it helpful to watch our kids to gauge when they’re starting to lose focus. As that happens, we’ll change the lesson to incorporate more movement, interaction, and hands-on projects,” Selena shared.

Look! We’re Learning!

Selena’s website exists to give parents and educators ideas to make elementary learning as fun and interactive as possible. It has a variety of resources, such as printables, ebooks and blog posts, on homeschooling kids with ADHD.

Look We're Learning resources

Let’s rewind to see how it came to be what it is today.

“Look! We’re Learning!” was initially built on Blogger with a simple standard template. Then Selena moved to WordPress and used the popular Twenty-Twelve theme. It took some time to get to know things, and Selena was happy to discover Genesis (one of the most popular frameworks for WordPress bloggers).

When asked about her three biggest launch challenges, Selena mentioned networking, promotion, and know-how: “I’m a pretty private person, especially with people I don’t know, so networking was difficult for me. I also don’t like to feel spammy, which made it tough to get my site out there.”

I didn’t think I’d ever have my own business, much less create and sell products, so learning how to do those things has been a continual work-in-progress.

So how do you create an educational product? First, Selena refers to educational standards to learn what’s required for kids to learn in each grade. Then she comes up with a fun theme and creates resources.

From time to time, Selena makes a product based on her personal interests or on what she has successfully learned with her own kids.

Selena's book

Since Selena’s online business is mostly DIY, she needed an online store that could be operated without extra pain. Ecwid fit that need: “I didn’t want to have to create a separate store and manage it myself, and Ecwid lets me focus on creating rather than store management”.

The business owner finds Ecwid’s analytics of great help:

The reports are wonderful. I can see what’s selling, what’s not, how long someone is on my site before they make a purchase, how they’re reaching my site, and more. That kind of detailed reporting is excellent for refining current products and generating new product ideas.

Learn more: Online Store Analytics: Managing Reports and Sales Stats in Ecwid

Selling digital products has many benefits: no shipping, no inventory, easily adjusted content, plenty of formats and more. That’s why it is popular among Ecwid merchants. In fact, almost every assortment has digital potential.

The main issue with e-goods is protecting them from piracy. Selena confirms that unauthorized file-sharing is a huge problem for digital content creators. Eventually, the most perseverant will find a way to copy them anyways, but you can (and should) take some measures to secure your files.

Selena does the following:

I use Adobe Acrobat Pro to flatten and password-protect my products so that they can’t be altered without consent. Some of my products are available through a password-protected page on my site. Customers receive the password, which changes often, in their welcome email.

Welcome email look we are learning

The welcome email offers plenty of freebies and the access to an exclusive page with learning activities

Learn more: How to Protect Your Digital Goods From Piracy

Promoting Digital Goods

Getting e-goods in front of customers’ eyes works in the same way as promoting physical products online. You can use social media, blogging, affiliate marketing, improve SEO, and collect reviews. However, the marketing mix can have a different focus.

Selena’s #1 tool for promotion is Pinterest. It accounts for 90% of her social media traffic.

“Look! We’re Learning!” on Pinterest

She also blogs intensively and promotes her products in blog posts:

When I create something new, I write a blog post showing how to use the product with kids. Within the post, I share the link to the product in my Ecwid store and explain how customers can download it.

The content is optimized for search engines: Selena researches keywords and creates posts around them. “A good ranking for selected terms on Google is responsible for a lot of site traffic,” she said.

Related: Manual Meta Tags: a Simple Way to Better SEO Now in Your Store

As Selena’s products are educational, she runs a closed Facebook group to form a community of ADHD homeschooling parents and teachers. There she provides support and shares her knowledge on homeschooling children with ADHD.

ADHD Support group on Facebook

In her email newsletter, Selena highlights a different product each week. Occasionally, she offers a limited-time coupon code for the subscribers to get a special discount in the store.

All in all, if you are going to promote digital products like Selena does, your to-do list will include:

  • Blogging
  • A newsletter with limited offers and links to private website pages with resources
  • Building keywords for SEO
  • Downloadable freebies
  • Social share buttons on product pages
  • A closed Facebook group
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Twitter

What’s Next?

At the moment, Selena enjoys selling e-goods so much that she doesn’t plan to expand to physical ones.

My goal is to branch out and create a full curriculum for elementary grades, and to make it available by the resource or as a complete bundle.

It may take a while to create a number of digital products and make them profitable. But it’s great that you can grow steadily without thinking of dusted inventory, delivery issues, or irresponsible suppliers. Even if you have four kids, you can still manage to run a successful online business.

“I hope that everyone who’s selling with Ecwid genuinely loves the businesses they’re building and has the time to stick with them and make them successful,” Selena said.