Before the pandemic hit, people used to go to fitness and cooking classes in person. Nowadays, such contact is unfathomable, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t still host classes and make money.
Thanks to a new feature on Facebook — and also on Zoom — anyone can offer their services virtually and charge admission.
How to host a class on Zoom or Facebook
Zoom rolled out a separate platform on Oct. 14 for online hosted events called . What sets OnZoom apart from regular Zoom is the ability to discover events you want to attend and the ability to monetize your own. According to the company’s , the new platform allows businesses and creators to schedule and host a variety of events, list and sell tickets, and promote their events through social media and email.
To host a paid class on Zoom, you must be a This means you have to hold a Pro ($149/year), Business ($199/year), Enterprise ($199/year), or Education ($1800/year for 20 hosts) account, or be a regular Zoom user under one of these accounts with the approval of its owner. You then have to through Zoom to become an official Host, which is approved “at Zoom’s sole discretion.” If you aren’t approved for whatever reason, you’re put on a waiting list for future reevaluation.
Once you’re in, the OnZoom platform provides you with the settings to create a free or paid Event Card and promote your class on social media. Some hosts that have already been approved include California State Parks at Home, which offers a free event simulating a walk through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and fitness instructor Alex Cooley, who is hosting a Halloween-themed paid workout class.
Facebook’s paid events feature was launched in August and has similar standards, as it was also developed with businesses in mind. To host a paid event on Facebook’s platform, users must be a Page owner who meet the company’s . If you qualify, you should be able to host a class the same way you would an in-person event via Facebook, with event details, ticket pricing, and event promotion all in the same space. Some existing paid events include cooking classes, workout classes, and even online fundraisers.
While Facebook didn’t roll out a separate platform for this feature, Head of Facebook App Fidji Simo said via that the company is working to improve its existing Live platform for larger paid events, and is testing live hosting via Messenger for smaller ones.
How to charge for Zoom and Facebook classes
Actually getting the cash for your classes follows a different procedure on each app. For Zoom, you must have a PayPal Business account connected to your OnZoom account. Make sure your email address on your PayPal Business account matches the one you use on Zoom and OnZoom.
According to Zoom’s Help Center, payouts should be sent to the connected PayPal account about one day after the event, and the per-transaction cut taken from your revenue is decided by your own agreement with PayPal. Generally, PayPal’s is 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per sale.
Zoom stated that it will not be taking an additional platform fee through the rest of 2020. In the new year, it will evaluate when to introduce a platform fee and what the percentage may be.
On , you only receive your payouts once a month after you’ve crossed the $100 minimum balance. If the balance is below $100 at the end of the month, the amount carries over to the next month until it passes the threshold. The payments are made to the bank account that you provide when setting up payments for your Page.
Facebook has also committed to not collecting fees from paid events for the remainder of the year for all creators, provided they use Facebook Pay. However, the same can’t be said for Apple. using Facebook on an iOS device will only receive 70 percent of their revenue, as the App Store will take a 30 percent cut.
Can you host paid, pre-recorded events on Zoom or Facebook?
While pre-recording events could make event hosts’ lives easier, both platforms primarily intend for your paid events to be live experiences.
“Event creators can show short, pre-recorded videos during their paid online events for things that are not easily done live or for educational reasons,” Facebook Communications Manager Maria Cubeta told Mashable in a written statement. “If the Page uses Facebook Live for the paid online event, people can buy access to the event recording after the Live is over.”
Over on OnZoom, events are encouraged to be live, but the company has stated that the platform can support pre-recorded events should the host decide to do so.
How to make your online class look good
Of course, if you’re going to charge for your classes, you better make sure your attendees are getting their money’s worth.
Cameras and camera accessories
If you aren’t sure your computer or phone camera will cut it, you can try this Logitech 4K webcam ($199.95). There is also a version specifically for Apple’s Pro Display XDR display that uses a magnetic mount for the same price.
If you don’t want to spring for a camera, lighting accessories can be used with your laptop or phone camera to up your video quality. Some useful gadgets include:
Elgato Ring Light ($199.99): This ring light can hold any type of camera via its ball mount. You can control your light intensity with the onboard buttons or connect it via WiFi to your phone or computer, so you can adjust lighting from a distance.
t ($9.99): A smaller ring light that clips around your camera only, so you can be more mobile during your event.
($46.99): In case you need both lighting and a stand, this ring light comes with both.
Microphones can also give you more free range of motion, so you can move around while instructing something like a fitness class without feeling like you’re too far from your device to capture what you’re saying.
($39.99): This one plugs directly into iPhones with a Lightning connector, no adapter needed.
($129.99): A trusted brand for vloggers and podcasters, this Yeti mic plugs directly into most laptops. If you’re not going to be moving around too much, but don’t think your laptop mic will cut it, try this out.
($19.95): If you can’t make up your mind, this mic attaches to phones and laptops. Its main cord is a 3.5mm jack though, so if your iPhone uses a Lightning port, you’ll need an adapter.
Bietrun Wireless Lavalier Lapel Microphone ($39.99): For true range of motion, nothing beats a wireless mic. This one lets you move up to 65 feet away from the transmitter, which plugs into devices via the headphone jack.
If you’re using your online classes to build your own personal brand, it could be useful to make sure your background matches your class vibe. This can be accomplished with a couple of accessories:
A scenic or clever ($19-$59): They can be huge, so they’ll cover up a big chunk of boring wall for you in one fell swoop.
($30.50): Don’t know what you want behind you? Want to be able to change it every day? Green screens don’t have to be just for photographers and filmmakers.
A big piece of (price varies): Nothing screams tasteful and artsy like the perfect piece on the wall. Consider this if you’re teaching a crafting or art class, or just want to look like you could.
Online classes and events are the best way for instructors and small businesses to make connections in the pandemic era. Plus, it’s nice to see actual human faces again.