Earlier today, I was watching my husband-to-be as he tried on his wedding suit. The very friendly tailor and I shared a little bit of smalltalk - where do you live, where are you from, that kind of stuff. And then he asked "and where will your future home together be?". I thought about it, and then I said that I would love to live in more countries and discover the world. He agreed that this sounds like a wonderful idea, and added:
"..but it's not that easy to just give up your job and go travelling, is it?"
At that moment, I realised once again what an advantage it is to be able to work online. No matter whether I teach German or I consult and help other teachers, my job is mobile. As long as there's internet and a working computer my students are able to join me. I also told him about the many amazing people I get to teach:
- Someone who's run the Boston Marathon - three times!
- Someone who's been to Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic - in the 70s!
- A hot young entrepreneur admired by thousands
- A guy who has a doctorate - in Statistics!
Online teaching is an enriching and wonderful addition to your life. It opens lots of doors. And for a language lover like you are if you read Fluent, it's even better. Travel plus income? Okay then!
Getting Started in Online Teaching
If you've read this far, I hope you're feeling an itch to get involved. I already shared my own online teaching story with you, and in today's post I have a few questions that will help you set up a profitable teaching brand a little bit quicker.
1) What is your subject and niche?
Do you speak English? Brilliant! Teaching that one will always be in demand. Most other major languages benefit from the same popularity. But beware. Why do I say you have to know your subject? Because it's not quite that easy. Languages and lessons come in many different guises and perspectives, and without a true personal brand you are standing in your own way.
The language teaching market is in a race to the bottom for unremarkable teachers. Unless you want to fight off students looking for $9/hr lessons, you have to build a clear identity. What's your teaching flavour? Who are you? What are you truly good at?
Niche is more than just "I teach English to people from Korea." It's about the exact situation your student is in, so think carefully about how you help. In the Savvy Brand Toolkit, teachers are guided through four stages of finding their strengths and ideal students before the advertising efforts can start. With this in your pocket, you'll never worry about getting lost in the crowd again.
2) How much will you charge?
Don't stand there going "oh..uh..20?" when the moment comes and someone wants to pay you to help them. This person deserves a professional response, so you owe it to yourself to be organised. Think about your pricing structure before you get going - what's your base rate, what is your best rate? What do you offer? The more confident you are in your prices and your services, the less time you waste saying "umm...".
3) Where will you find your students?
I have a secret for you: Finding online students is not that difficult if you share a genuine passion for what you do. But that does not mean you can just open your heart in your bedroom and wait for students to arrive. Instead, share your best work. Blog your heart out or create YouTube videos. After all, this is how Fluent got started!
The key to finding great students is to make it super easy for them to find you. You should build a little marketing strategy and think about how you want to talk to people. Flyering, websites, Twitter, writing, filming, Soundcloud? What's your style?
4) How will you structure your lessons?
Teaching is about so much more than just deciding which textbook page you're going to read out this week. As a 1-to-1 teacher, I pride myself on making sure that I learn more about how each of my students works best. I try to source real language content they will find relevant, and I coach them through the difficult parts. For me, the lesson structure is always something we create together. But what will you choose? Group coaching, Q&As, demonstrations, drills? It's all part of your personal brand and your style. This is why I created the Five Step Booking Process you can learn about in my new video course over on Udemy.
5) What kind of equipment have you got?
Before teaching online, know your software. Make sure your internet is fast. Decide if you do video. Decide if you use textbooks. Decide if you use headphones. Work out each detail and run a test, and continue with the methods that are most comfortable for you and for your student. For aspiring video course leaders, the software question may be even more important as you delve into online business, membership sites and plugins. Just like with pricing, allow yourself a little time to work it all out before you rush to the gold.
Resources to help you answer these questions
If you have questions about software, business practices and lesson structure, don't hesitate to join my brand new video course for a 75% discount using the code FLUENT. If you want to develop a brilliant personal brand, try my Savvy Brand Toolkit, a self-paced course taking you through step-by-step through the process of creating a true teacher brand.
And if you want to ask me which one you should choose, I'm happy to help and guide you. Send me a message and I will be happy to guide you further. Until then, good luck out there in the online teaching world!