What It's About
An education executive builds an empire—by giving away his core products for free.
Words of Wisdom
From Dave: “We would not be what we are today without always experimenting. On the flip side, persistence is key. Experimenting can drain you, so it’s important to keep faith that things will work out in the end if you try again.”
When he worked at GE, Dave worked on developing one of the first online services, GEnie. There he would regularly run into an intern named Sergey Brin, who would later go on to co-found Google.
Notes from Chris
Having worked in the education industry for more than a decade, Dave Evangelisti was familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of online learning. In particular, he knew how valuable tutoring and test-prep courses were—but many of these services cost nearly as much as college tuition. It gave Dave an idea that was genuinely rooted in service: he wanted to provide truly free resources for students who couldn’t afford to pay (or who just didn’t want to). Those resources would be based at Test-Guide.com. He began with the mindset of small, actionable objectives. As I said, his primary goal was to be helpful. Money-wise, he hoped to be able to earn enough to pay for his lunch everyday. Well, just you wait! This straight-forward model proved to be successful. Quickly, Dave was tasked with wearing a multitude of hats for the site to function. With a low overhead of just under $100—a domain name and web hosting—the site would live or die based on its ability to gain traffic. Dave would pay for his lunch by ad clicks that amounted to a couple cents from each user. By targeting an audience of students seeking free resources, the site went from making $5 a day to being on track as the leader in free practice tests, prep-course reviews and study materials all in just under four years. Test-Guide.com now provides more than 100 different practice tests including the MCAT, ACT, SAT, and others all completely free of charge. Dave hopes to build the brand to the point that people will automatically think of Test-Guide.com the way they think of using regular study material. With a full team of employees, it’s now a 7-figure business. That’s enough to buy a lot of lunch.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Looking to get schooled in education test prep materials? Check out Dave’s website, Test-Guide.com/.
- Stay-At-Home Mom Helps Immigrants Gain Citizenship with YouTube Tutorials: In Washington, DC, a stay-at-home mom and former teacher helps immigrants gain citizenship with YouTube tutorials.
- Peace Corps Alum Tutors U.S. Military Recruits: When a returned Peace Corps volunteer uses his teaching skills to help a friend, he discovers that many military recruits need help preparing for their entry test.
- Adjunct Professor Puts Course on YouTube for $100k Profit: An adjunct community college professor uploads his final course to YouTube, then converts it to a Udemy course. In just sixteen months, he reaches almost 35,000 students and makes over $100,000 in profits.
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