If you’re looking for second career inspiration because you’re ready to switch tracks, and make your mark in a whole new way.
Then you’ll love finding out how one woman turned a pause in her career caused by sickness, into the start of a second career and her own training business.
This is for you if you:
- Have years of experience in a previous industry or marketplace
- Know you’ve got a lot more career runway ahead of you to make the impact you want to make
- Want to share your wisdom, and help others succeed
- Are curious about creating a training business or offering online courses
Let’s take a look at this case study, and get some second career inspiration - shall we?
Table of Contents
- Use What You’ve Got To Reinvent Your Career
- Choosing The Right Software To Run Online Courses
Use What You’ve Got To Reinvent Your Career
When embarking on a second career it can be tempting to throw out all of your past experience to start fresh.
However, it’s much easier to use your past career as a jumping-off point. See how a very successful woman did it, and you can too.
Meet Sigrun Gudjonsdottir, an ambitious woman who hails from Iceland and lives part of the year in Switzerland.
Sigrun’s career aspirations first appeared when she was 10 years old, and she worked for her parents’ family business… learning each aspect of the work over the next few years, until she was able to run the company when they went away on vacation.
Sigrun pursued her love of business and computers and garnered four Masters’ degrees in architecture, computer-aided architectural design, computer science, and business.
She then rose to the ranks of CEO at a software company and became the #4 female CEO in Iceland.
In her first career she was a CEO for 10 years, where she worked on turnarounds, mergers, and fast growing small businesses - helping boost employee satisfaction thanks to her love of personal development.
But at this point, Sigrun got sick and she couldn’t work for 7 months. That was a turning point in her career, and she realized that she couldn’t return to work… instead she wanted to start her own business.
At first, she didn’t know what her “big business idea” would be, so she started off her second career as a consultant.
After finding out more about the online business space, she decided to embark on sharing her MBA and real-world business knowledge to the online industry.
Today Sigrun has designed a digital training business that helps her prioritize her health and family. Keep reading to find out how she did it!
The benefits of starting an expertise training business
Starting any business can feel like a daunting experience, but going with an expertise training business that offers online courses can cut through the uncertainty.
Here are just a few reasons to consider starting a digital training business:
- Start up costs are low, when compared to brick and mortar businesses
- Selling online courses is a great business model for introverts who enjoy working from home
- Plenty of people have already tested what it takes to sell online training, and there are plenty of resources to help you get started
- Once you've created your online courses, you can sell training to companies (and leverage existing connections)
If you want to see more examples of people using online learning to build businesses, check out these membership based case studies for more inspiration.
Building a second career business around your lifestyle goals
One thing that stands out about Sigrun’s business is her focus on having a location independent career, so she can split her time between her two home countries.
This type of lifestyle business design is something she achieved by leveraging selling digital products and online courses.
Here’s how Sigrun explains it:
“My goal was always to have a scalable business and online courses enable business owners like myself to scale their business and impact more people at the same time.
In the first three years of my business I offered only smaller online courses and a membership site, and then I created a 12-month online program called SOMBA, Sigrun’s Online MBA.
With the creation of SOMBA I now have a signature course that enables me to help thousands of women (and men) create their lifestyle businesses.
After an initial 12-month period SOMBA becomes a monthly membership site.
I still offer smaller online courses so potential SOMBA clients can get to know the framework of the 7 Stages of a Profitable Online Business and can find their true passion and the right business idea.
Ultimately all roads lead to SOMBA and after they’ve finished the SOMBA curriculum they can join one of my Mastermind Programs or my Mastermind Retreat Iceland.”
Testing the market with small online courses
She didn’t set out to create her big signature program SOMBA until she had some success under her belt.
Even though she knew she wanted to create a scalable business, she also knew that doing one on one consulting first would help her identify gaps in the marketplace and where she could bring her unique gifts.
That’s the kind of thing you’ll want to do as you explore your second career inspiration, too.
This type of “minimum viable product” testing helps you earn some money along the way, so you can also re-invest into your business foundation, marketing, and tech systems.
That’s exactly what Sigrun did, when she was ready to invest in setting up her online course platform.
Choosing The Right Software To Run Online Courses
Whether you’re a technical person starting a second career or not, you’ll need to consider which tech stack you’ll use to run your online course business.
I asked Sigrun what made her choose AccessAlly as her Learning Management System (LMS), and here’s what she said:
“My team and compared LMS platforms to see what would work with our existing systems.
For us, flexibility is key and most online teaching platforms do not have the flexibility that a multi-million dollar online business needs.
We chose AccessAlly because of Nathalie’s excellent reputation but also the fact that the system is the most flexible one we found on the market.
After watching Nathalie since the day I started my business I knew she understands what online business courses and memberships need and AccessAlly includes all the functionality we were looking for.
My team also knew from our experience with PopupAlly Pro that the tutorials and customer service were excellent.
I am happy to share that we made the right choice!
My favorite thing about AccessAlly is that it’s easy to use.
The AccessAlly shortcodes are great for customizing the experience for customers.
The tutorials and knowledge base are also very helpful when adding customization or new features within the site. Also knowing that we now have the right system that can grow with us is comforting.”
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing your online course systems.
Another important thing is the final "look and feel" and customer experience that you're trying to achieve.
If you want more inspiration for how to design your membership and course website, you'll find more examples right below.
Overcoming the challenges of a new business
As any business starts to scale and grow, there are going to be bumps and challenges. After launching an online course, you've got a number of different things to consider.
One thing Sigrun was aware of thanks to her previous corporate experience, was the focus on customer service.
In her words:
“More customers means we need more administration and support.
Customer service, in particular, is something we want to ensure scales with the membership site.
Even when the platform works well, with more people using the membership site, there will be questions and there is potential for more issues.
My team and I planned for this with a dedicated community manager, help desk service and weekly updates over email and inside the community.”
When you're just getting started, you'll be the one handling each client's questions... So having a good understanding of what your clients need and how you can help them is key.
Over time, as you grow your training business, you'll be able to hire freelancers to help you build your membership site, handle questions, and so much more.
Getting the support to start your training business
One thing is for sure: Sigrun didn't build a successful 7 figure business on her own.
In fact, her top recommendation is to “work with a trusted partner to set up a new site and pay attention to what AccessAlly and others are doing in their membership sites to guide you in planning or improving your own.”
If you'd like to start your second career and embark on the business building journey, Sigrun might be able to help.
Her mission is to achieve gender equality through female entrepreneurship.
Now that's a mission we can get behind here at AccessAlly, too!
If you want to see how AccessAlly works and whether it will help you in designing and creating your own online courses, go ahead and book a free no-obligation demo now.
I hope these inspiring career change stories help you on your journey!