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So far Minji Xu has created 25 blog entries.

How to Market Myself as an Online English Teacher?

Summary

Whether you are an independent tutor or teaching for a company or teaching on a marketplace, marketing is an essential way to make you stand out, attract, and recruit the right students. However, some teachers find marketing unfamiliar or even dreadful.  This blog answers a few questions: what’s good marketing, how does marketing work, how to effectively market myself as an online English teacher, what to put out there and how to choose the right marketing channel. By the end of the blog, I hope you will enjoy marketing. The key concept behind marketing is so like teaching – take your audience (students) on a learning journey.

What’s good marketing?

Good marketing isn’t about being aggressive or pushy. Good marketing is about a generous act to support and help your audience (who can be your potential student or client). That act to help your audience can come in two ways:

  • Help them solve a problem: for example, a student who does not know what a good essay is.
  • Help them achieve an aspiration: for example, a student who wants to prepare for a pathway to study abroad.

In summary, marketing is helping, supporting, caring, and empowering. It is not just selling.

What do marketing and teaching have in common?

 

When we are teaching, we help our students to attain a learning goal. To do that, we need to assess a student’s current level, and his or her goals so that we can design lesson plans to guide the student.

(Good) marketing has the same approach. We start by understanding our audience’s goals, current circumstances, and challenges. Afterward, we design a user journey that helps them to arrive at their desired destination. We guide our audience with our empathy, knowledge, and expertise.

When we are teaching, we help our students to attain a learning goal. To do that, we need to assess a student’s current level, his or her goals so that we can design lesson plans to guide the student.

(Good) marketing has the same approach. We start by understanding our audience’s goals, current circumstances, and challenges. Afterwards, we design a user journey that help them to arrive at their desired destination. We guide our audience to arrive at where they want to arrive.

How does marketing work?

 

Marketing takes time and there are four stages of marketing typically. These are (1) awareness stage (2) consideration stage (3) purchase stage and (4) retention stage.

Four stages of Marketing

Let’s take an example. If you specialise in teaching teenagers English essay writing skills, this is a customer journey you can design for your marketing messages:

  1. Awareness: you have a way to make your audience aware of your tutoring service. This can be a web page or a social media account or a leaflet. This makes your audience start noticing you.
  2. Consideration: this step gives your audience a chance to compare your service to alternatives before choosing your service (or others). This process can go on for a while as it takes time to build trust and credibility.
  • What does it take for a parent to trust you? Let us reverse the situation and ask: the last time when you meet a strange, what and how long did it take you to trust that stranger and purchase from him/her? Does the stranger have a nice shop or website? Is he/she working for a well-established and trustworthy brand? Does the stranger lend you help several times generously? Is his/her personality very approachable and open? Is he/she recommended by a friend or family member you trust?
  • Ask these questions and write down what has worked for you. Try to see if you can apply these in your own marketing.

Understand trust building

  1. Purchase: Congratulations, you have worked patiently and persistently on marketing. Now some of your audience made a purchase decision. You really deserve a celebration.
  2. Retention: Getting new students takes hard work and keeping them requires smart design.
  • Build rapport: think about ways to support your audience inside and outside teaching hours. For example, some YouTube videos for language games so that students can keep practicing a foreign language at home with their families.
  • Build feedback: design ways to constantly get feedback from students and/or their parents.
  • Track progress: regularly communicate progress students have made
  • Help learners form a healthy learning habit: you can read a separate blog on this topic.
  • Do you have other ideas, feel free to share them in the comment box.

How to effectively market myself as an online English teacher?

The most important thing in effective marketing is audience understanding. Try your best to acquire their mindset and see things through their eyes. It is usually more effective if you can use the vocabulary they understand and can relate to. While doing marketing, try to solve a problem they deeply care about.

A user profile helps you to describe your audience. While creating marketing messages, you can look at these profiles to keep focused. Please read a separate blog on how to create a user profile.

But it is not always easy. If you are teaching English online, most likely your students live in another country, speak another language, and are surrounded by a very different culture. I will write a separate blog on how to understand intercultural clients/audiences/students.

What kind of content should I put out there? 

The easiest and most practical way is to start with what helps your audience or follower. Write down questions your students or their parents ask you or the challenges they are facing. Keep a notebook and research how to best answer these questions or overcome these challenges. This is a good way to begin generating content.

Which social media channel should I choose?

There are digital channels and non-digital channels. Even under digital channels, you still face so many different platforms. Do I use Pinterest or Instagram, do I use YouTube or Tiktok? Shall I install WeChat? Shall I still use email marketing?

There isn’t a simple answer, and my suggestion is ‘It depends!’ And I will write a separate blog just on that topic.

Team up to stand out – rethink competition

Last but not the least, change competition to collaboration. Teachers have busy schedules. Independent teachers have insane schedules and limited resources in marketing. If you know teachers you trust and share the same teaching philosophy or approach, team up so you can share resources and energy. You may be teaching independently but you are not alone.

Next Step

Join our digital course ‘From Good to Great, Level Up Your Teaching Business’ to empower you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Read our course page to find out more.

Having obstacles launching your independent teaching path? Book my 1-1 business coaching via the link.

Wanting language and culture translation services? Contact admin@improveyourbooking.com for details.

By |2022-08-05T07:06:15+01:00August 4th, 2022|0 Comments

Helping Students Form Healthy Learning Habits – a Most Rewarding Way to Keep Students

Introduction: why you should read this

There are two ways for you to enhance your earnings as a private teacher:  increase your hourly rate and/or extend your teaching hours. If you already have your own students, the most effective way is to develop a long-term relationship with the students, so they keep coming back to your classes.

This article suggests a Trigger, Action, Reward, Track framework to help you continuously engage with your students. It starts with parents and when you get students involved, the model starts to work. While your students learn to form a healthy learning habit, you continue to engage them with learning. Win-win! This framework is based on the Hook model developed by Nir Eyal.

The HOOK Model

The Hook Model was developed by Nir Eyal who worked in the video gaming and advertising industries . Based on his experience with these industries, he wrote ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products ‘. The Hook Model describes a user’s interactions with a product during four phases:

• Trigger: a trigger to begin using the product

• Action: an action to satisfy the trigger

• Reward: a variable reward for the action,

• Investment: and some type of investment that, ultimately, makes the product more valuable to the user.

As the users go through these phases, they build habits in the process.

I have modified the model to suit the learning and teaching context while minimising the potential addictive downside of this model.

Modified Hook Model for Educators

1. Trigger

Concept:

Let’s start by understanding what triggers your student to take your lessons.

It’s most likely induced by an external trigger. Maybe the child’s language exam result isn’t ideal, or the parents want the child to speak a language as well as a neighbouring child, or a friend recommended your teaching to his/her parent, or the parents saw an advertisement about learning a new language.

It’s important to notice that at this stage, the trigger is external, which works as a stimulus leading to step 2 – action

Hook model for educators - trigger

Example:

Some teachers share their examples below (these examples are provided by members of an ESL teacher Facebook community); do you find these familiar?

• ‘My student came to my class because she wants to attend a foreign university. (external trigger: educational goal)’

• ‘My student came to my class because his mother was unhappy with his English assessment results. (external triggers: bad grade, maternal consequence.)’

• ‘My student came to class because he wants to improve his understanding of the material in his IB world school. Internal trigger: learning makes him feel excited and happy external: improves overall scores in school’

Exercise:

This is a simple exercise you can do: write down answers to this question and share them in the comment box if you’d like:

My student _______ came to my class because ______________

2. Action

Concept:

If parents feel enough motivation, they will take the next action. If you are teaching independently, there is a lot you can design to make their actions easy and valuable.

Hook model for educators - action

Here are three aspects to make things easy for the parents:

  • Time effort: can you make the action straightforward?
  • Money effort: perhaps you can offer free add-ons?
  • Technology effort: choose a technology the parent is familiar with (email, WeChat, Facebook, WhatsApp)

To make the action valuable, you could offer

  1. A 10-minute free language assessment session
  2. An invitation for an open class to ‘taste’ your teaching and interact with other children and parents
  3.  A free group Q&A session to answer some common questions on language learning
  4. You can show detailed examples of how your teaching brought results.

These interactive sessions will help you understand your future students and achieve step 3 – reward

Exercise:

This is a simple exercise you can do: Write down some ideas about what actions you can offer parents when their motivation is ready.

3. Reward

Concept:

Now you have an opportunity to make learning rewarding for your students.

Reward means different things for children: some of them like animals such as dinosaurs; some like songs or quizzes. You can make some props and show these props every time you see a desirable behaviour.

By finding out what interests your students, you can design the right rewards for a ‘right’ behaviour. These behaviours can be being willing to make mistakes or being willing to talk or listen.

Hook model for educator - reward

Giving rewards is a great way to engage students. To educate students, we need to help them track progress which I will address in step 4.

Exercise:

This is a simple exercise you can do: write down answers to this question and share in the comment box if you’d like:

My student ______ likes ______________ so I can make a reward such as ______________

4. Track

Concept:

Are you familiar with the reward cards from Starbucks/McCafe? Or the loyalty cards from airlines? These are ways designed to encourage and reward repeated behaviours.

We can put on our teaching hats and reward students for repeated learning.

Design a learning journey for your students and help them to set personal goals and track progress. The more they invest in their own learning, the more rewarding the while process becomes for them.

You can make learning trackable by encouraging students to have a learning journal. You can make learning visible by giving out progress stickers for their learning journals. You can make learning fun by giving students personalised stickers (their favourite food, favourite animal)

Hook model for educator - track

Exercise:

This is a simple exercise you can do: write down answers to this question and share in the comment box if you’d like:

The learning goal for student ______ is ______________ , ______________ and ______________

Conclusion

Gamification is a popular approach for K-12 education. One example is Duolingo which did a superb design job in making language learning fun. As someone who also works in the cultural tourism industry, I often feel we educators can benefit from interacting with people in the gaming, entertainment, and tourism industry and apply user engagement methods in an educational setting.

The beauty of this HOOK model is that through step-by-step design, we can (hopefully) manage to convert a student’s external motivation into internal motivation so the incentive becomes intrinsic, and learning becomes a habit.

Hook model for educator - cycle

Action

  • To make some exercises and help YOUR students form healthy learning habits, you can submit a request for the Hook model for educator exercise book below.
  • To read the book in full details, you can purchase the book via the link.
  • To invest in your independent teaching career, you can join our digital course ‘From Good to Great, Level Up Your Teaching Business’ to empower you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career.
By |2022-05-04T08:47:20+01:00May 4th, 2022|0 Comments

How to Win Students and Influence Parents – Power of Storytelling

Introduction: why you should read this

If you are teaching students from another culture and would like to get more students for your independent teaching business, this series ‘How to win students and influence parents’ is for you.

Many independent tutors try to recruit new students by selling a website and a teaching package. This often doesn’t work, especially interacting with someone for the first time. The process of selling starts from understanding and influencing, particularly with students and clients from a different culture.

This blog shares a powerful way to win and influence clients – authentic storytelling. The example quoted here is based on my collaboration with a parent influencer in China. Through that particular storytelling event, I grew my network, doubled my event enrolment, and gained feedback such as ‘I am so touched’, ‘thanks for connecting us’, ‘now I see the real family stories which I thought only existed in western movies’.

Understand Audience

A Chinese mom influencer invited me to interact with her community via WeChat text chat for one hour (similar to Twitter chat). The topic was on the cultural differences of parenting styles. I knew that to make a real impact, it is important not to say what I wanted to say but to tell what mattered to the audience. Therefore, I needed to do audience research.

The community is a group of 40 mothers who aspire to raise their pre-school children as global citizens. They are based mostly in 3rd or 4th tier cities in China which enjoy lower quality educational resources and have limited exposure to other cultures. Through internet and social media, they had heard about the concept of ‘global citizen’ but didn’t know what it means to them and their children. They had watched Hollywood movies but probably didn’t have experience of living in another country.

Think About User Journey

With that audience profile in mind, my next task is to design a pleasant user journey for them. I wanted the whole journey to be an experience for them instead of being a lecture. An experience that is joyful, fun and engaging. Meanwhile, by delivering value to them I hoped to achieve my objective to grow my network and client base.

They were curious about the education and parenting styles of other cultures. At the same time, they had heard slogans such as ‘global citizen’, ‘well-rounded child’, ‘grow empathy’.

Why should they listen to me? What makes my story deserve their time, attention, and action afterward? What positive impact can this bring? I decided to tell five real stories, using the power of storytelling, to bring a rather broad concept home.

Think about user journey

Make it Real

I chose four parenting and education stories from friends and colleagues I work with. These are daily life stories from Australian, French, British and American families. These are stories about how parents interact with children, spend time with them, support them to be loving, caring, and responsible individuals.

For example, instead of pushing her daughter to study hard, a mom took the girl for university campus visits so that she could see what college life would be like and what she was working for.

Behind these real-life moments are some major cultural differences. But first, I needed to make it fun and interactive so that audience could warm to these stories.

Make it Fun, Make it Interactive

Before I told each story, I made an interactive quiz for the audience. It was fun and at times quite silly. For example, before I told the Australian family story, I asked the quiz question “Is Australia famous for having kangaroos or having pandas?”

Of course, everyone laughed and chose kangaroos. With their laughter, I could start telling the story.

There are many reasons to start storytelling with an interactive (sometimes silly ice-breaker) question.

It makes the atmosphere light and helps me to assess the audience’s knowledge and interest in a fun way. Usually, the parents get it right. This makes them happy and gives them the confidence to continue to explore and engage. In the area of cross-cultural communication, confidence is such an important foundation. When you make people smile, that builds a stronger basis for everyone to learn and share.

Also, it allows them to respond without losing face by getting a wrong answer. A simple true or false or multiple choice question creates a low requirement for participation, as students or parents will not be embarrassed if they don’t have confidence in their English language level.

Make an Impact

I chose these stories as I knew they would make an impact.

Due to cultural and structural reasons, Chinese parents are highly involved in their children’s school performance. But these stories will make them ponder, reflect, and think.

I didn’t choose stories of revolutionary ideas, about how one changed an education system or an education culture overnight. Rather I chose stories to encourage small incremental changes.

A good story influences people by allowing them to change their ways of thinking, seeing, and acting. The power of storytelling comes from its immediate effect, does it make an impact, what can you do after hearing this story?

Show not Tell

I was invited for a one-hour interactive text chat with the mom’s group via social media. However, I didn’t want to limit the communication just to text. Pictures and videos are powerful ways to communicate ideas and messages. This is especially true if you are using English, a language non-native to many parents and clients.

So, for each story, I prepared pictures and videos to support the storytelling.

This is one video example I shared even before my sharing started. The video has Chinese and English subtitles to set the tone and help the audience to hear authentic voices with language help.

I also highly recommend you find a language and cultural partner to help everyone navigate and overcome the language barrier. This person can be your existing client or a volunteer or a paid help. This is essential.

Conclusion

The process of influencing takes time, patience, and empathy.

Imagine that you just moved into a new neighbourhood. It’s probably a good idea to listen, observe and give before you try to sell anything to your new neighbours. Do give people time and opportunity to know who you are and what you represent. Telling authentic stories is a great way to build your connection, influence potential clients, grow your network and eventually recruit more students.

win students and influence parents

Actions

Our cross-cultural parent educator networking events connect parents and educators. They get together for an online panel discussion, to share and exchange perspectives on education and parenting. Would you like to participate and share? Read our events page to find out more.

Join our digital course ‘From Good to Great, Level Up Your Teaching Business’ to empower you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Read our course page to find out more.

By |2022-05-02T09:44:02+01:00January 27th, 2022|0 Comments

Independent Tutoring Online – 2022 Trend Analysis

Understand ESL Trends, Make Better Decisions

2020 global pandemic increases the demand for online coaching/tutoring; 2021 Chinese education policy accelerates the supply of independent teachers; 2022 offers rising opportunities to go independent to address a growing demand.

Read this trend analysis to gain an overview of trends in online ESL tutoring to help you become a successful independent tutor.

Online ESL Tutoring Market

The global private tutoring industry has a revenue of US$93 billion, close to the GDP of Kenya. 85% of this is spent on children. 20% of the tutoring is done online. Online tutoring is growing twice as fast as in-person tutoring.

Global private tutoring market almost equals to Kenya’s national income
Before the Chinese Double Reduction Policy, the size of the Chinese online ESL tutoring market for children was similar to the rest of the world combined.

Pandemic and Policy Impacts

The global pandemic and the 2021 Chinese education policy have created a rising opportunity for independent teaching.

The pandemic has impacted education for 1.6 billion families. Parents and students have struggled. But the pandemic’s negative impacts have been offset, to some extent, by online coaching and tutoring.

Pandemic’s negative impact was offset by online coaching opportunities

In 2021, the Chinese Double Reduction policy shook up the entire Chinese children’s tutoring industry including online ESL. Both demand and supply went through re-adjustment. This has accelerated the process for teachers to move into independent tutoring.

The policy shook up the entire Chinese children’s online ESL industry

Challenges for Independent Teachers

Teachers need to address broader issues beyond their teaching roles. One of the biggest challenges is to find one’s own students.

It is estimated that for every independent ESL tutor (native speaker), there are 52 students for tutoring. Why is it so hard to find them?

Chinese education policy has caused an unmet demand for ESL tutors

Some common barriers to recruiting students are

  • Lack of networks: not enough potential clients to start with
  • Lack of understanding: try to sell before listening
  • Lack of focus: say yes to every student/client
  • Lack of client perspective: put one’s own needs before client’s needs
  • Fail to communicate: unable to articulate value clearly to target clients

Level Up Independent Teaching Business

In order to run a successful teaching business, you need to make long term decisions on

  • How do I build my business in the long term?
  • What should I teach and how do I teach?
  • How do I get new students consistently?
  • How much do I charge my students?

Our digital course ‘From Good to Great – Level Up Your Teaching Business‘ combines strategy with pedagogy and shares the methods to help you build your business success for independent teaching.

Actions

Read full report ‘2022 Online Independent Tutoring Trends

Register for our digital course ‘From Good to Great – Level Up Your Teaching Business

By |2022-01-28T07:52:53+00:00January 2nd, 2022|0 Comments

WeChat Etiquette – How to Best Use Chinese Social Media?

Summary

This blog is for people who use WeChat to engage with their clients and students. I will start by discussing the differences between WeChat and Western social media and the benefits of using WeChat. Then I’ll share my ‘4R’ WeChat etiquette – Respect, Relevance, Readability, and Reachability – with some good examples.

Source of picture: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43283690

What is your social media relationship with online students/clients?

I launched a LinkedIn survey asking this question and the result is shown below. Although the sample size is small, it suggests how teachers connect, communicate and engage with their students via social media platforms.

Social media relatiionship with students - linkedIn survey result

What are some differences between WeChat and Western social media?

WeChat’s e-commerce ecosystem: WeChat integrates its convenient payment function into e-commerce. A WeChat user can buy or sell with a WeChat shop, in just a few clicks. This is unfortunately not available for those without a WeChat Pay (i.e. most people outside China).

WeChat’s personal Moments: any user can write a short post using photos, videos or texts. This can be seen by their WeChat contacts, an equivalent to a Facebook post.

WeChat’s content publishing system: A WeChat article or video can be published and be seen beyond family and friends. WeChat is also promoting its live-streaming service. Any WeCat user can view articles and videos, but publishing is restricted to people who have Chinese phone numbers.

WeChat as a content search engine: WeChat has a search button to allow text or video content search. This is a very useful research tool – but only if you can write and read Chinese.

WeChat has many apps, for shopping, booking tickets, hailing a taxi, playing games and much more.But these need either a Chinese phone number or bank account, or both. You get the picture: WeChat is a powerful and ubiquitous system within China, but to people in the West, it’s seems more like a Chinese version of WhatsApp and Facebook.

For more details about WeChat’s ecosystem, you can read my previous blog – How online English teachers use WeChat.

What are some benefits of using WeChat?

It’s an extra communication channel to communicate with your clients or students outside the live teaching sessions.

It helps you and your clients/students gain a better understanding of each other, by sharing and engaging with each other’s personal Moments.

It can be a way to deliver your value and therefore promote your service and brand, for example by posting about Western customs and culture.

The 4R WeChat Etiquette

 

I am asked by a few teachers about WeChat social media etiquette. I reflected on these and came up with the 4R WeChat etiquette – Respect, Relevance, Readability, and Reachability. Here, I’ll explain each one and give some examples.

WeChat What works and what doesn't Etiquette

Respect

Do I respond to my student’s WeChat Moments?

Sometimes students share their personal stories and emotions as Moments on WeChat which are visible to teachers. This can give you contextual understanding of your students. If you feel you have built enough trust and a safe relationship with your students, you can choose to respond or engage with these posts. But if you are still at an early stage of building trust and relationships with your students or your clients, maybe you can wait a bit before taking the plunge.

Can I promote myself on WeChat?

There is nothing wrong with sharing who you are and what do you do on social media. If people value your services, it is then up to them to take the steps to contact you for details. However, an effective way is always to listen first and discover your target audience. What do they want and need? What does your message mean to them? How would they feel about non-stop self-promotion? What will really benefit them?

Relevance

What should I put on my WeChat Moments?

My suggestion is that this is a perfect platform for you to demonstrate your unique value. What is expertise? What are some advice and opinions you can share? What are some problem-solving tips that will be practical and helpful to your target clients? What are some common questions your students or clients ask you again and again and again? If you deliver and demonstrate your value here, you will be surprised how this will shape your personal brand over time.

Should I share my daily life on WeChat Moments?

WeChat Moments offer us a way to share our cultures and daily lives with people living in other continents and areas. This is fantastic. Be authentic. It’s a cool way to show how much we have in common, despite our differences.

Below is an example from teacher Cheri who shares her daughter’s volleyball team. This will definitely speak to the moms who are proud of their children.

Readability

Should I share text or photos or videos on WeChat Moments?

This is a great question that is probably relevant to all social media channels. From my own experience, people’s attention span is increasingly short, so I find pictures or videos achieve better engagement results. Remember, a (relevant) picture is worth a thousand words.

Do I write in English or Chinese on WeChat Moments?

Again, this is an important but tricky one. How to overcome language and cultural barriers and communicate effectively with your clients or students is a constant challenge. If your clients have a basic understanding of English, then they will understand your WeChat message in English using the App’s translation function. A brief message will work better. If it is an important message, you might want it to be translated into Chinese by someone you trust.

Reachability

How can people find me?

Sometimes, I see awesome infographics, great videos, and helpful tips but there is no contact information, no brand. That’s a pity, as maybe a potential client really likes what you says and agrees with your approach but there is no way to follow up.

While working with her online students, teacher Cavy realised the importance of showing parents on how to create a safe, fun, and healthy learning environment. In November 2021, Cavy and Lenka De Villiers-van Zyl spoke at our parent-teacher networking event about co-regulating emotions with children.

During the event Q&A session, parents asked dozens of questions. As they didn’t have enough time to address each of them, they created several infographics as post-event support.

This is a classic example to demonstrate the 4 Rs of using social media with your students and clients:

Respect – They really listened to the parents(clients)

Relevance – They created content that is valuable to the audience

Readability – Its graphic format makes it fun and easy to read

Reachability – There is an email address and logo at the end of each one.


Next Step

Join our digital course ‘Build a Successful Independent Teaching Path’ empowers you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Please register your interest.

Are you having difficulties launching your independent teaching path? Book my 1-1 business coaching via this link.

Teachers, Be Fearless!

By |2021-12-09T09:25:28+00:00December 7th, 2021|0 Comments

How Much Should I Charge For My Online Classes?

Summary

As an independent teacher, you need to set your own learning product and its price. How much should I charge my students? Should I raise the price every year? Have I set the right price for my teaching? Answers to these questions can impact your teaching business directly. In this blog, we will look at

  • Three ways of thinking to set your teaching price.
  • Two models to structure your online lessons.
  • How much do platforms like VIPKid charge?
  • Price package and trends.
  • How to figure out an optimal price.

At the end of this blog, I offer independent teachers a few steps to consider in order to reach an optimal price over long term.

Three ways of thinking to set your teaching price

As an independent teacher, you have the complete flexibility to structure your class duration, teaching format, package etc. You don’t necessarily need to follow what platforms did. Instead, you can work out what suits you and your client.

There are a lot of factors to consider when you price your lesson, for example: what is the cost of living where you live, what is the economic situation of your client, how long you expect the student to stay with you, how you package your lesson, etc.

In general, there are three ways to price a product or a service:

  • Cost-based – you set the price of the product based on how much it costs to provide it;
  • Market-based – you set the price of the product based on similar products on the market;
  • Value-based – you set the price of the product based on perceived value from the client’s perspective.

It may be best to use a value-based approach, which our digital course ‘Build a Successful Independent Teaching Path’ addresses.

This blog uses the second approach – market-based pricing. We will look at what some well-known online ESL platforms charge their students. The eight companies we have collected pricing information from are VIPKid, GogoKid, DaDaABC, Whales English, PalFish, SayABC, Magic Ear and Qkids.

By looking at their price ranges, you can understand how clients have set their budgets for a similar learning experience. Information like this can help you set a reasonable (if not optimal) price for your lessons.

Source of image: https://www.behance.net/gallery/120786715/Bold-line-style

Two models to structure your online lessons

 

Before we look at prices, let’s look at two ways to organise your online classes: a 1-1 format or a group format. You can choose a model where you and your students feel more comfortable, balancing quality and affordability.

Platforms such as VIPKid, GogoKid, DadaABC and PalFish follow a 1-1 class format.

For group lesson format, we have Whales English which has 1-2 (1 teacher, 2 students) classes and a few others that run a 1-4 (1 teacher, 4 students) class format such as SayABC, Magic Ear and Qkids.

Their students are between kindergarten age and secondary school age. DaDaABC covers a wide age range (from 4-year-old to 16-year-old) while Magic Ears serves the narrowest age range (from 5-12 years old).

ESL students age range by platforms

The general impression is that education can be most personalised through a 1-1 teaching/learning approach, but the group format offers a more affordable price for students and their families.

How much do platforms like VIPKid charge?

 

Here I have collected pricing information from eight Chinese online ESL platforms which you can use as a reference point. This is what you can do as a generalist. However, if you have become a specialist, delivering unique value to your clients, you can have much more room to set your own price. (This will be addressed in our digital course ‘Build a Successful Independent Teaching Path’.)

As each platform structures its learning package and lesson differently, I have used the formula of ‘Price per minute’ and ‘Price per year’ to keep things consistent and comparable.

The price per minute helps you as an independent teacher to estimate how much you can charge for each class you deliver. (See infographic ‘Price range of ESL online classes by platforms’).

1-1 Class format

  • VIPKid: RMB5.6/minute (US$0.9/minute)
  • GogoKid: RMB5.4/minute (US$0.83/minute)
  • DaDaABC: RMB4.0/minute (US$0.64/minute)
  • PalFish: RMB3.2/minute (US$0.51/minute)

1-2 Class format

  • Whales English: RMB4.0/minute (US$0.64/minute)

1-4 Class format

  • QKids: RMB1.2/minute (US$0.19/minute)
  • Magic Ear: RMB2.4/minute (US$0.38/minute)
  • SayABC: RMB3.2/minute (US$0.48/minute)

The price per year helps you understand the perspective of your client – how much they must take from their annual budget to get an educational experience from the platform. (See infographic ‘ESL annual package cost by platforms’.)

The Whales English platform charges a low price per minute. But as their classes are 50 minutes instead of 25 minutes, their annual package cost is almost on a par with what VIPKid charges.

1-1 Class format

  • VIPKid: RMB24,000/year (US$3,840/year)
  • GogoKid: RMB20,480/year (US$3,277/year)
  • DaDaABC: RMB20,680/year (US$3,309/year)
  • PalFish: RMB8,320/year (US$1,331/year)

1-2 Class format

  • Whales English: RMB20,800/year (US$3,328/year)

1-4 Class format

  • QKids: RMB3,744/year (US$599/year)
  • Magic Ear: RMB6,240/year (US$998/year)
  • SayABC: RMB12,480/year (US$1,997/year)

However, I would like to point out that this annual figure does not fall into an independent teacher’s pocket automatically. There is a shift of consumer spending behaviour changed which I will address in the ‘2021/2022 Chinese K-12 Education Trends’ report. This gives a base for you to set a reasonable price now.

Figure out an optimal price

 

Here I would like to emphasise that what this blog does is to give an independent teacher a reference price point. But this is different from getting an optimal price. Pricing discovery is a dynamic process: the more you understand your clients, the better you can shape your lesson (learning product) and the better your pricing structure.

To discover an optimal price, it is very valuable to see things from a client’s perspective. This is an interesting example of how teacher Paige learns from her parenting experience and uses that perspective to decide her own online teaching pricing.

Lessons form a learning unit. Units complete a learning level. Levels accomplish a learning path. The infographic below – ‘learning progress & curriculum choice by platforms’ – can inform you how platforms structure their students’ learning journeys and sell their learning packages. 

Learning progress & curriculum choice by platforms

Can you increase your lesson price every year? Yes, some platforms do, some don’t. So again, this will be an interesting decision to make.

VIPKid and Whales English had an almost 20% increase if you compare their 2020 price to the 2019 price. That was partly to cover their loss from massive sales and marketing costs. So when you make your annual price adjustment decision, it is probably a good idea to check your financial record for your business and forecast your future financial numbers.

ESL package price growth rate by platforms

Next Step

Setting your optimal price as an independent teacher is a process. To conclude I suggest a few questions independent teachers consider:

1. What kind of teaching you will be doing: 1-1, or group?

2. How your teaching compares to a similar platform product in terms of price per minute and price per year?

3. How you may change your pricing over time?

4. What is your reference price in short term?

5. How to determine an optimal price, by looking also from the client’s perspective, in long term?

Join our digital course ‘From Good to Great, Level Up Your Teaching Business’ to empower you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Read our course page to find out more.

Having obstacles launching your independent teaching path? Book my 1-1 business coaching via the link.

Teachers, Be Fearless!

By |2022-06-14T11:04:48+01:00November 27th, 2021|0 Comments

Build a Successful Independent Teaching Path: Figure Out Your Best-Suited Niche

Summary

We often hear the statement “choose your teaching niche”. But to build a successful teaching business, we need to go beyond that. We need to make sure we are the best person to address a particular and essential problem for our clients at the right time. It also must be profitable so that it is a sustainable career.

To do that, we need to (1) Have a thorough understanding of our unique strength (2) Have a thorough understanding of our client’s essential needs. (3) Match our strength with clients’ needs to figure out our best niche.

In this article, I will start by addressing why ‘choose your niche isn’t enough. Afterward, I will explain how locating your best niche helps your long-term success and elaborate on the three-step process to facilitate you to figure out your best-suited teaching niche.

Source of image: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-white-puzzle-piece-yellow-background-three-pieces-image39279102

Why ‘Your niche’ doesn’t work?

“Choosing your niche” should be a great idea for an online educator but why often than not, it does not work for your teaching business? These are some examples I heard

Example 1: “I help my student to improve their accents, but I can’t find students.”

Issue: this is still quite broad and not specific enough. There is still a lack of client understanding – which kind of students in which condition will seek to improve their accents and what is their motivation.

Example 2: “I help actors to have an English accent, but I am not paid.”

Issue: if your students don’t have the means or budget to pay for your teaching, you are teaching but not running a business.  This does not create a sustainable business.

Example 3: “I have been a university lecturer in history for 20 years, but I got into teaching toddler English with online platforms due to the 2020 global pandemic. Now I want to go independent. “

Issue: there is a potential mismatch between your strength and your clients’ needs. It is a niche but not the right match.

In summary, to build your success, you need to find a niche that suits your professional life strategically and a career opportunity that suits your lifestyle sustainably.

How to make ‘’Your niche’ work for you?

 

While making the choice, you need to position yourself to be suitable (to solve your student’s needs), irreplaceable (you are the best one to help with their problem), and make this path sustainable.

Suitable

When you make the right choice, you are suitable to help your clients/students to solve a problem and to meet their learning goals. Due to your experience and passion, you will already have the right subject knowledge, curriculum, personal skills to serve the need.

This compatibility makes your transition from working with platforms to working independently much easier. We will make all sorts of mistakes when we launch our own business. But your clients are much more likely to stay with you and tolerate glitches if they find your skills compatible with their needs. That will make your independent teaching journey so much smoother and enjoyable.

The further you develop the right skill and network in the area, the better reputation you will enjoy. So instead of committing a huge amount of time and money in sales and marketing, you will attract the right clients much more effectively.

Irreplaceable

Let us take this example.

A Brazilian businessman is trying to relocate this family to live in the US for a year. He is in the export-import trading business, and he has a daughter who is 10 years old. The purpose of moving to the US is really to give his daughter language and culture exposure.

You are an ESL tutor based in the US who speaks English and Portuguese. You have taught English in Brazil and therefore have a decent understanding of their culture. Your family runs a trading business, so you understand the basic language of business. You have a good understanding of the US education system as you have worked with public schools.

Another ESL tutor is a generalist with the right qualification. But between you and the generalist, who do you trust this Brazilian businessman would choose to work with? To serve that Portuguese-speaking business owner who is considering giving his child a language and cultural experience in the US, you are irreplaceable. Due to your previous background, you become indispensable.

Sustainable

For everything to be sustainable, you need to make sure your niche represents a profitable business opportunity, an opportunity that fits your own lifestyle.

If your students love your lessons but they don’t have the means to pay for it, it is a hobby, a social mission rather than a business proposition. Therefore, it is useful to reach your clients when they have budgeted their time and financial resources to learn.

If it takes so much of your time that you get burned out or you don’t have time to spend with your own family and friends, that won’t work long term. Therefore, it is very reasonable to ring fence the time and resources you can commit to building this business, this career path.

Focusing on the right niche helps you to build your teaching business effectively. Because instead of throwing your time and resources everywhere, you have a goal to aim at.

How to figure out the best niche for your online teaching path?

 

The key to figuring out the best niche is to find where your unique strength and client’s essential needs match. There are three steps: (1) understand your strength (2) understand your client’s essential need (3) match your strength with your client’s need

Step 1 – Understand your strength

This is the step to do your own inventory check, to review and reflect on your experience and celebrate your achievements. We will go through a process to pack your teaching treasure bag so you can step back and realise your unique strengths and assets. Please read a separate blog ‘A step-by-step guide: how to create a treasure bag for your independent teaching’.

Step 2 – Understand your client’s needs

This is the step to understand your client’s needs and make a judgment on what are some essential needs and what are some nice-to-have wants. We will go through a process to create user profiles for your clients. Please read a separate blog ‘A step-by-step guide: how to create user profiles for your independent teaching

Step 3 – Match your strength with your client’s needs

This is the step to put your treasure bag and your client’s user profiles alongside each other, to make a judgment, a choice of who do you serve, and what problems you choose to solve for your clients. Our digital course ‘ Build a Successful Online Teaching Path’ will go through the process with you, by listing three criteria to make that decision.

Next Step

Join our digital course ‘From Good to Great, Level Up Your Teaching Business’ to empower you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Read our course page to find out more.

Having obstacles launching your independent teaching path? Book my 1-1 business coaching via the link.

Teachers, Be Fearless!

By |2022-06-14T11:05:59+01:00November 10th, 2021|0 Comments

A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Create a Treasure Bag for Your Independent Teaching

Summary

You have been teaching students online via platforms. Now you are ready to teach independently. One of the key success factors to be an independent teacher is your thorough understanding of your own strength and assets. In this blog, I will share how to pack your teaching treasure bag – a systematic way for you to do an inventory check, to celebrate your assets and achievements.  This will be a solid foundation to build your success in independent teaching. I will also give some concrete examples so that you can create your own.

What is a teaching treasure bag?

Your teaching treasure bag collects the qualification, skills and networks accumulated from your personal background and professional experience. Each element in the bag might look disconnected at times. But the real magic comes when you connect and combine these elements and come up with suitable solutions to serve your target clients.

Your teaching treasure bag shows your expertise and passion. It is one important way to guide your future direction, to build your independent teaching path. Please look at the treasure bag template. We will get to details of the template in the ‘How to pack your teaching treasure bag’ part.

Treasure Bag Template

Why it is important to pack your teaching treasure bag?

 

It takes time to reflect on our achievements and review our strengths. So why do we do that instead of just jumping into the independent teaching trajectory? The reason is doing so helps us understand our value, our passion and helps us discover our best-suited niche.

  • Understand your value

When we are working with platforms or companies, we move from class to class, job to job without having the necessary time and space to step back and look at the unique path we have taken. Not having a holistic view of the knowledge, expertise, and network we have built in the past makes us undervalue ourselves and miss the right opportunity in the future.

  • Understand your passion

Packing our treasure bag also helps us to uncover our passion and motivation. Why did I choose to work with company A instead of company B, what was really driving my decisions? It is money or my desire to help others communicate, or my love for interacting with children, or my preference not to deal with administrative tasks? Understanding our decision-making mechanism in the past will be valuable in predicting what will motivate us in the future. When we know where our heart is, we will know how to use our heads.

  • Discover your best-suited niche

The key to figuring out the best niche is to find where your unique strength and client’s essential needs match. There are three steps: (1) understand your strength (2) understand your client’s essential need (3) match your strength with your client’s need. (Click to read the blog- Build a Successful Online Teaching Career/Business/Path – Figure Out Your Best Niche). So this is the first step to discovering your best-suited niche.

Source of image: https://www.behance.net/gallery/129154179/Hints-From-GradesFixer

How to pack your teaching treasure bag?

Now it is time for us to go through the teaching treasure bag template so you can create your own soon.

The row in the template captures your past experiences:

  • Personal background: Where did you grow up? Where have you lived? What is your first language? Where do you live now? Do you have parenting skills that are relevant in an educational environment?
  • Education: do you have qualifications in education or the subject area you are teaching? Do you have other educations that will help you in your teaching career, such as psychology, communication, etc?
  • Job: Have you worked with brick-and-mortar schools? What other online platforms you have worked with? What is your non-education-related work background? Don’t discount these as they can be very powerful if combined with your teaching experience.
  • Business: Have you had experience running your own business? This can be potentially very relevant in your teaching niche. For example, if you have set up your own business while teaching independently, this can be very valuable to entrepreneurs who want to improve their English for business.

The column in the template captures the assets and strengths you accumulated from your personal and professional background:

  • Qualification: Your certification or qualification to prove your training and credentials.
  • Skills: Skills are broken down into Language and Cultural skills (language one speaks and culture one is familiar with), education skills (content, teaching, parenting), business skills, and others.
  • Network: Networks are broken down into Clients, Colleagues (peers), and Collaborators (curriculum supplier, training institutes, influencer, mentor, mentee, etc.)  These networks can be sources of your client, curriculum supplier, knowledge, and further development. A good quality network empowers you to grow continuously.

Is there any example of a teaching’s treasure bag?

 

Please find the teaching treasure bag by teacher Paige. That was her first go with the template and I hope that gives you some good foundation to create a teaching treasure bag of your own.

Teacher P

Next Step

Our digital course ‘Build a Successful Independent Teaching Path’ empowers you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Please register your interest.

Having obstacles launching your independent teaching path? Book my 1-1 business coaching via the link.

Teachers, Be Fearless!

By |2021-11-11T16:56:21+00:00November 10th, 2021|0 Comments

A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Create User Profiles for Your Independent Teaching

Summary

You have been teaching students online via platforms. Now you are ready to teach independently. One of the key success factors to be an independent teacher is your thorough understanding of clients. In this blog, I will share an effective way to understand your clients – creating user profiles. After explaining what a user profile is, why it matters, how to create user profiles, I will give some concrete examples so that you can create your own.

Source of original image: https://www.behance.net/gallery/62820317/Vernel-Fabric-Softner

What determines the success of an independent teacher?

Working with platforms, a teacher only needs to teach.

Now as an independent teacher, you face the task to manage everything – getting new students, building a website, managing payment, managing customer service, doing accounting and budgeting. To be successful, you need to manage every aspect of the business adequately.

But all of these depends on one crucial foundation – your thorough understanding of target clients and your ability to attract more of them.

If you know who your target clients are, what they are looking for, you will be able to create the right marketing content, build an appealing website, and design a productive learning experience for them. Without this foundation, it is hard to channel your energy and resources for the most effective use.

This is where the exercise of creating a user profile comes in. It is a key process to help you further understand your target client and their essential needs.

Source of image: https://www.behance.net/gallery/122408979/Teacher-stickers-pack-for-Telegrams-and-Instagram

What is a user profile? Who are the users?

 

A user profile is a collection of settings and information associated with a user.

If you are teaching adults, then the user is the student.

If you are teaching children, then you have two types of users: (1) your teaching client: the student (2) your paying client: the career of the student, and most likely, the parent of your student.

User Profile Template

This is an example of Mom H’s user profile. This is based on a real interview done with a real VIPKid English user.

Why do we create user profiles?

 

Having a clear picture of your user can help you understand

  • What are some common characteristics they share:

For example, mom H is in her early forties living in Beijing. She had spent 10 years studying and living in the US. Now she is working full time as a college lecturer and is very involved in her boy G’s education.

  • What problem they would like you to help solve:

For example, mom H would like her son to learn English and she is particularly keen on his pronunciation at this stage. Also, she said her son is not very interested in in-person English classes as he feels these classes are too long and too boring.

As an educator herself, she sees how important it is to develop an effective habit of learning and understanding, rather than just repeating.

  • How you can identify, discover, and connect with more of them

For example, three times a week, mom H listens to an English podcast when walks to her office. When she is cooking, she listens to some stand-up comedy show radio program (with English tutoring service advertisement). She is in a few moms’ social media groups that organise sports activities for families in Beijing during weekends. Every Saturday she takes her son to a swimming club nearby.

  • What solutions best suit them in terms of a learning plan, lesson package, and price

For example, mom H and her son live in the campus area, so they are home from 5 pm in the afternoon. During the summer, winter holidays, she is traveling to visit her own family in other cities. She is very keen for her son to take online classes, so she does not need to drive in Beijing.  As she speaks English well, she like the idea of recorded materials outside teaching hours very much. She values education for her son and plans 20% of her monthly income on his education.

How to create user profiles?

 

The process of creating a user profile is covered in our digital course – Become a successful independent teacher.

You can send an email to be on the waiting list. Please register your interest.

Do you have some examples of user profiles?

Let’s take teacher Lucy as an example. Lucy is an American woman who lives in Paris, France with her French husband and two children. She worked with the publishing industry for children’s books and has been teaching Chinese children English online via some platforms. Now she is launching her independent teaching journey.

You can read more about Lucy’s case study from my previous blog: ‘Can’t Find Enough Students as an Independent Teacher? What To Do Next?

She formed a few hypotheses about who might be her potential target clients and went to talk to them, in order to draw user profiles for each group.

After numerous talks and conversations, in-person and online, Lucy discovered the following.

  • American moms living in the USA: there are some American moms (mom A) whose children are learning French for fun. It is more as a hobby rather than a serious investment. They mentioned also that they have many options to choose from. The free options are apps such as Duolingo, French/English exchange apps There are also French language schools nearby to which they are considering enrolling the children.

With these insights, Lucy developed the first user profile for mom A:

User Profile – Mom A

  • French moms who speak English and want their children to speak English: again, mom B shows interest. Actually, these families usually have relatives or friends in the UK so it would be nice if these children can have some conversational English when they go there to visit. Some French moms would prefer their children to spend a summer in the UK for a more immersive experience if they are serious about English language learning. Lucy developed the second user profile for mom B:

  • French moms of Chinese cultural heritage who want their children to enhance English literacy: Lucy had some highly engaging conversations with these moms. Their children lost interest in learning any foreign language as they were put to learn the Chinese language during weekends. They saw language as boring and lost interest in their own English classes at school. Some children are of a similar age to Lucy’s own children. These moms (for example, mom C) are very worried and texted Lucy quite often.

  • Chinese moms in China who want their children to speak English. It turns out that some moms didn’t get any refund when some platforms stopped live tutoring classes. As a safer option, they will purchase textbooks or recorded lessons as a replacement. But some moms (for example, mom D) are keen to have Lucy to be their private tutor teaching conversational English as they like her American accent.

Next Steps

This is the initial user profiles Lucy created for her potential clients. But she know it is a work in progress. As her understanding of her users improves, so will her user profiles.

Next, Lucy needs to choose her target user, how does she make the choice?

Join our digital course ‘From Good to Great, Level Up Your Teaching Business’ to empower you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Read our course page to find out more.

Having obstacles launching your independent teaching path? Book my 1-1 business coaching via the link.

Teachers, Be Fearless!

Fearless

Source of image: https://www.bhmpics.com/disney_cute_moana-wallpapers.html

By |2022-06-14T11:06:46+01:00November 4th, 2021|0 Comments

Can’t Find Enough Students as an Independent Teacher? What To Do Next?

Summary

You have been teaching with platforms for a while. Due to changes in circumstances, you want to go independent. You have built a website and sent many LinkedIn messages. But the response is lukewarm and the number of paying students is low.

Now it is time to pause and ask – why this happened and what do I do next?

why i cant find students

This blog lists common reasons why some teachers are having issues recruiting students for private tutoring, despite all their efforts. Then it explains a process for teachers to address the right problem for the right clients, at the right time. The process eventually leads you to be a global expert in your niche area. That positioning helps you attract the right clients rather than chase the wrong clients.

Source of image: https://www.behance.net/gallery/129154179/Hints-From-GradesFixer

Why I can’t find enough students as an independent teacher?

  • A key reason is a change in the macro environment, a major policy shift. One example is the ‘Double Reduction’ education policy issued by the Chinese government in July 2021. These policies restrict the time and opportunities for tutors based outside China to teach Chinese children through platforms. This caused a slowdown (in some cases, shutdown) of some big education companies’ K12 tutoring businesses. Consequently, some parents started to see tutoring by non-Chinese teachers as not essential or not approved by the government. Some went to look for alternatives. Another example is a drop in travel English during the slowdown of international tourism due to the 2020 pandemic. It is important to notice these general trends as it’s very hard to swim against the tide.
  • The second reason is an increase of options for your students or clients. After the double reduction education policy, many Chinese parents looked elsewhere for their children’s English language needs. The alternatives for them are books, audio, videos, local Chinese tutors (who speak fluent English if not at native level), and English native speakers who live in China. A better strategy may be to provide value to solve the right problem for the right clients with less competition. We will get into that process in the next part: ‘What to do if I can’t find enough students as an independent teacher?’

  • The third reason is the perceived risk when clients compare platforms and independent tutors. Big platforms enjoy the advantage of having better branding, better supporting systems (eg. payment), a more expensive (hence perceived as more valuable) curriculum, and a dedicated sales team. An independent teacher might not have these resources, to begin with. Therefore, from a student/client’s perspective, the perceived risk of seeking a private tutor can be higher. To compensate for that perceived risk, an independent tutor has to offer something unique, something different, something a platform can’t offer. We will get into that process in the next part.
  • The fourth and most common reason is the mismatch between what your clients/students want and what you offer. Your tutoring may not be the most effective way to solve an essential problem they face. Or your tutoring may be excellent, but it solves a non-essential problem they have. For example, let’s say, you are teaching English to a child who shows disruptive behaviour during learning. You quickly recognise the core issue and communicate it with his parents. You work out a solution to help this child with the learning behaviour issue. You have recognised and solved the right problem before your clients were even aware of it.

If your potential clients don’t respond to you warmly, or you have built a website that fails to attract paying clients, don’t be annoyed, be curious. Understanding why some clients don’t come to you helps you move closer to those who do arrive.

This is a great starting point as an independent teacher. When you embrace a mindset of curiosity and resilience, you have won half of the battle.

What to do if I can’t find enough students as an independent teacher?

This is my suggested process. It all boils down to finding the right clients, at the right time, and solving the right problem for them. After (and only after) you nail this down, it is time to build a website or send messages to promote your teaching.

Step 1: Pack your treasure bag

Step 2: Ask who might like the bag

Step 3: Test your treasure bag

Step 4: Create your user profiles

Step 5: Choose your strategic positioning

Step 6: Design your pedagogy

Step 7: Test your pedagogy

Step 8: Write your business plan

Step 9: Build a website

Step 10: Review and replenish your bag

Step 11: Be a global expert

I will walk through steps 1-3 in this blog.

Step 1 – Pack Your Treasure Bag

The first step is to recognise your value and celebrate your success by doing a personal inventory check.

You have a passion for education and have accumulated knowledge, expertise, and network relating to it. Now it is time to examine the value and strength you have gained from the past, to prepare for the future.

Your teaching treasure bag template

Each of them might look disconnected and random. The real magic begins when you mix and match your individual assets to achieve a collective synergy. This is your unique treasure bag, something only you have.

In my treasure bag, I can mix and match my language (Chinese and English), cultural (Chinese and English, cross-cultural communication) and professional (business strategy, start-up business, learning design and in-person/online experience design) skills. The choice I made is to serve online English-speaking teachers to support and grow their independent teaching business.

Actions

Click the link for the PDF template, do an inventory check and create your own teaching treasure bag.

Step 2 – Ask Who Might Like Your Bag

Your treasure bag is extremely powerful with the right client, and you know how to mix and match the ingredients, to solve the right problem.

However, it doesn’t work with everyone and that is perfectly fine. Our job is to find out who will absolutely love your bag and grow the likes of these. Let us take your treasure bag and continue the journey to ask, “Who might love this treasure bag?”

Usually, we start with our existing clients, those who are happy with us, who stayed with us for a long time, who always respond very quickly and warmly towards us. If you feel you have found the one who loves your bag and only yours, jump to step 4 – create your user profiles.

If you don’t have such fans from your existing client pool, we can form a few hypotheses who might love your treasure bag and test each one out.

Let’s take Lucy as an example. Lucy (a hypothetical person based on a few real clients I interacted with) is an American woman who married a French man and lives in Paris. She adores reading and had worked in the children’s book publishing business before she became a full-time mom. Three years ago, she began to teach Chinese children English online via platforms and now she would like to launch her independent teaching path.

In her treasure bag, she has language and cultural skills (English and French). Her professional skills include book publishing and online teaching. Also, she has extensive experience interacting with children, in person (with her own children) and online (with her platform students). Most importantly, she loves reading, with her children and her students.

Lucy formed several interesting theories about who might love her treasure bag:

  1. American moms living in the USA who want their children to learn French
  2. French moms who speak English and want their children to speak English
  3. French moms of Chinese cultural heritage who want their children to enhance English literacy
  4. Chinese moms in China who want their children to speak English: Lucky is teaching them via existing platforms, and she wonders if they would become her own students when she teaches independently.

Lucy has a few hunches but she doesn’t have a precise idea yet who her right client is. Before she invests in getting a website or getting a curriculum, she decides to communicate. There is one way (usually the best way) to find out: having a conversation with them to test the magic of her treasure bag.

Source of image: https://www.behance.net/gallery/129154179/Hints-From-GradesFixer

Step 3 – Test Your Treasure Bag

First, Lucy needs to find some of her potential clients. There are at least four ways to do that:

  • Personal network:

Lucy has her family, friends, and colleagues in the US and France. So, she sent messages to them, telling them her plan to go independent and describing the potential clients she hopes to work with.

  • Local network:

To connect with (2) English speaking French moms and (3) Chinese speaking French moms, Lucy explored shops, communities, clubs, and organisations around Paris when they frequently hang out. She discovered that every Wednesday in arrondissement 13, there is a French/English language exchange meet-up. She went to the Chinatown in Paris and checked the bookstores there. From talking to the shop assistant, she learned that there are three Chinese language schools for French children, many of whom come from families with Chinese heritage.

  • Social media network:

Lucy posted on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and she asked her Chinese clients to help her with WeChat.

  • Platform network:

There are a few clients she really trusts as friends, so she shared a message with them too. They helped her with WeChat communication as well.

Four ways to find your clients

Via these channels, Lucy does not intend to sell. She is looking for people who potentially fit the profiles and asks if they have time to chat. She knows it’s not the time to open the bag yet. At this stage, she intends to learn and understand what the right problem is for her to solve. After having a clear understanding of that, she can do mix and match, working the charm of her treasure bag.

After numerous talks and conversations, in-person and online, Lucy gained enough insights so that she can start step 4 – create a user profile.

Next Steps

Please read my next blog ‘A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Create User Profiles for Your Independent Teaching‘ and continue the case study of Lucy.

Join our digital course ‘From Good to Great, Level Up Your Teaching Business’ to empower you to develop a sustainable and successful independent teaching career. Read our course page to find out more.

Having obstacles launching your independent teaching path? Book my 1-1 business coaching via the link.

Teachers, Be Fearless!

Fearless

Source of image: https://www.bhmpics.com/disney_cute_moana-wallpapers.html

By |2022-06-14T11:07:52+01:00October 27th, 2021|0 Comments