First, wow, your website is great. How did that all start? Were you a teacher or marketing/business person first?
Thanks! I was a teacher first and taught myself all the business and marketing side of things as I needed to, which I actually really enjoy!
Unlike most of our readers, you don’t teach for an online language school. Have you always worked for yourself?
I started Lindsay Does Languages in 2012 and have worked with various companies along the way but always contracted in as Lindsay Does Languages.
Before 2012, I worked in secondary schools, mainly in the language department, as a Learning Support Assistant. And before that? A whole lot of random jobs!
For new online teachers, do you suggest they first work for an established school or is it possible for them to open up their own shop right away?
It’s definitely possible to go it alone straight away if you’re prepared to work hard on the marketing side of things and give, give, give. The more free value you give to people, the more likely you are to become known in your niche and the more likely people are to come to you when they’re looking for a teacher. However, that said, I did dip my toes in the water teaching online via italki to begin with. (I have an online course called the Online Teaching Marketing Masterclass that you can link to here if you feel it’s relevant.)
Given that you handle all the management, marketing, and teaching, what is your typical day like?
Busy! Haha! But I am quite good at keeping a regular working pattern because you have to be or you’ll just work until 1am each day! The work is never done when you’re working solo. It’s probably easier to answer what a typical week is like…
Monday – final planning for my students’ lessons for the week; final preparations on this week’s blog, video and bonus content, lessons
Tuesday – writing the next blog post in line – sometimes this will be next week’s and sometimes I’ll be a little further ahead, which is always nice
Wednesday – publishing this week’s content and emailing my list. I tend to publish a collection of content – a blog post with a bonus download and a video if possible too but sometimes the video is left until Friday!
Thursday – filming if needed but I like to batch film so it’s not always a weekly task; creating and updating course content
Friday – finishing off anything that’s been hanging on all week! Social media scheduling hour. If I’m hosting a webinar in a week it tends to be on Friday or Saturday too.
And then every day also includes going live in my Facebook Group or on my Facebook Page on Fridays, checking emails, and working to the Pomodoro technique and listening to lots of inspiring podcasts and music!
But of course, this is always subject to change if something comes up…!
Do you have any advice for teachers looking to transition from online schools to their own business?
Yes, the first thing I recommend is to look at your resources, current students, and your teaching style – what makes you stand out? What makes you different? What’s your niche? It’s not always an easy question to answer straight away, so don’t worry. I wrote this blog post which will help you figure out where you fit in the online teaching space.
Do you remember your first student? How did they find you?
Absolutely! My first online student was a young lady in China who was great. She was so flexible with trying new resources and activities and a great self-studier too. I guess she liked me seeing as we worked together for some time!
What do you see online education looking like in 5 years? In 10 years? Will it overtake traditional classrooms in terms of popularity?
Online education is going through a huge boom right now. But I think what’s going to become crucial is the connection. Having a chance to still talk live to people whether online or in real life will be what people want in my opinion.
Outside of teaching, what is one skill a person must have if they are looking to start a teaching business for themselves?
One skill? Wow! Hmm…I’d have to say confidence in yourself and your abilities. As soon as you hit the internet there’ll be plenty of people sat in their basements ready to tear you down. But stay strong. You know how good you are, and your job with everything you do online is to show people that. Go get ’em!