Many years ago I started my first business venture, ISDTemplates.com. The premise behind the site was to provide easy to use graphic templates for eLearning courses. The plan was simple...help people to create engaging education by letting them focus on their content and not worry about the design. I had that covered!
My thought was that by creating an engaging series of templates and reselling them hundreds or thousands of time at a low price I would make some money while also helping Instructional Designers to improve their courses. Providing great customer service was important so I provided implementation guides as part of the purchase along with tutorials on my site to help get users started.
In the end I didn't break even but I was able to purchase some great tools, maintain my site, and get some great experience running my own business.
Here are a few of the lessons I learned:
As I write this post I'm in the process of backing up ISDTemplates for the last time. I haven't updated the site in four years, since I started at Accolade, and it's time to let it go. I'll be releasing all of the content developed for the site as free downloads to support the development of elearning courses and curiosity of my fellow Instructional Designers and educators.
Instead I'll be working on my blog, exploring ideas, and sharing my leadership and instructional design experience with the instructional design and technology community.
Thanks to Raj Palat for helping me to understand the hosting side of the business. Thanks to Jim Malloy for helping me to think through my template designs and developing some of the templates and buttons for the site. As always, thanks to my wife Jessica Parsell for supporting me as I worked nights and weekends to build out my idea and make it a reality.