“I started to call all my friends, and no one was doing anything. This was born from the need to do something. My entire team lost their jobs.”
Forced to lock down during the pandemic, Nelson turned to his immediate family -- including his son Jonell Díaz, 23, and his wife Yesenia Vázquez -- and came up with the idea of subscription-based online instruction where users pay an “affordable” $19.99 per month that allows them to access dozens of lessons, ranging in length from 5 to 20 minutes.
Nelson began filming the lessons back in March and now has amassed literally hundreds of hours of instruction.
“Times changed and it was necessary to find new ways to connect and teach. I want to help those who want to grow and improve and make their dreams come true,” says Nelson. "I have cooking classes with [celebrity] chef Enrique Piñeiros; I have Pro Tools and Fruity Loops classes; braiding classes; classes on how to put on fake eyelashes.”
Classes go from the very basic to the advanced; Piñeiros’ first lessons, for example, were as elemental as “how to make rice.”
Originally, says Nelson, he called on 22 friends (including Piñeiros), each of them in a different area of expertise, and asked them to contribute classes in exchange for making a profit down the line. Now, he has over 150 “ambassadors.” All, he says, will receive some form of compensation, and all have different deals in place.
Ambassadors provide the expertise, and Nelson and his team film and edit the clips and post them on the platform. At this point, there are 30-40 courses online, and another 200 produced courses ready to be uploaded.
Subscribers will be able to access all posted courses, plus an additional five to 10 new, original courses to be added every month.
Nelson’s objective is to grow to 200,000 monthly subscribers, each paying those $19.99 per month. Growth will be fueled with captioning in multiple languages, plus sign language, and social media promotion, including Google Ads and YouTube and Facebook ads.
“I’ve been in the music industry for 30 years, and I’ve done very well,” says Nelson. “But this is huge. This is the biggest project I’ve done in my life.”