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.

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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.

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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!


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