Insights on Online Education Careers from Howard Pinsky

Howard Pinsky in an Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom educator and Adobe Community Professional based in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to offering gorgeous tutorials through his website IceFlowStudios.com, Howard maintains a YouTube channel with over 220,000 subscribers.

Below you will find the inspiration behind Howard’s numerous tutorials, the elements of his competitive edge, his reasoning behind the decision to provide free materials, and a behind-the-scenes peek at building a career in the online education industry.

What initially motivated you to share Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials on YouTube?

Howard PinskyI started sharing tutorials in 2007 after finding myself with more knowledge of Photoshop than my college professor.

Many people offer Photoshop tutorials, but few are as successful as you are- what would you say gives your work an edge?

I feel my energetic presentations and my ‘easy to follow’ techniques give my tutorials an edge over other creators.

Why did you decide to provide your tutorials for free (given that so many people charge for them)? Would you recommend that aspiring online professionals give away a certain amount of content to build a reputation and demonstrate their skills, then use that reputation to find clients and work?

The nature of content on the Internet is moving towards the ad supported model. I’ve learned that many people are simply not willing to pay for anything these days. That being said, I’ve been lucky to capture a large audience, which helps ad revenue. Anyone just starting out won’t see a dime for quite some time.

Are there many professional opportunities for those in the online education/tutorial field, and is it feasible to make a sustainable, full-time career as an online educator?

Just like many industries, you need to be ‘different’ in order to succeed. Do a search for “Photoshop Tutorial” on YouTube and look at how many there are. Most of which have little to no views. Unless you’re content is unique, or you have a lot of money to spend on advertising, this is a very difficult industry to break in to.

How do you manage to maintain active profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram while also updating your IceFlowStudios.com and regularly releasing new videos?

Managing all my profiles has become second nature to me. I don’t see it as a hassle, but part of the job.

What are the primary benefits of maintaining an active presence across so many social media channels? Are there any concrete ways in which your social media activity impacts your career (in terms of earnings, traffic, new opportunities, etc.)?

Most of my traffic is driven by social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc). Without these networks, my business would fail quickly.

Does IceFlowStudios generate much income for you, or does most of your income as an online educator come through your work as an educational contractor for Adobe and a content creator for Envato?

The content I release through IceflowStudio generates enough to pay my bills, but most of my income comes from the contracting work I do for Envator/Adobe.

What are your long-term ambitions with IceFlowStudios (or other ventures)?

I’m still trying to figure out my long-term goals for IceflowStudios. The Internet and online education is changing so quickly, I keep having to backtrack and look in a new direction. Time will tell.