Video chat a boon for service providers and consumers alike

Ashly Smith
Ashly Smith

When Ashly Smith, a Los Angeles-based aesthetician, decided to establish a formal business to advance her career, she knew she needed help. There was complex paperwork to sift though, documents to file and fees to pay. But she also knew she didn't have the time to squeeze in a traditional college class, and she doubted she'd get the kind of feedback and interaction she craved from an online tutorial.

Then she happened across Beth Andrus's eight-week business course, which used the platform WebEx to mix traditional distance-learning tools with video chat that lets the student see and talk to the instructor as well as the other participants in the course. "It's more connected and more personal," said Smith (pictured at right). She's halfway through the class and says it's been a great investment so far. "If I went to a local college, it wouldn't be as impactful," she says.