You’re going to love this one…
Olly and I first connected a couple of years ago. I love his writing style and his story, so I had been trying to get him do a guest post for a while.
Instead, we went all in and did an hour-long interview. We discussed how he got started learning languages, how he grew his blog and monetizes it, his podcast, and his approach to teaching languages.
We recorded this interview live on YouTube. It was a lot fun doing this – and I enjoyed asking Olly questions from those who joined us live.
If you want to skip to specific sections, you can do so by reading the notes below. But I think this will be an hour of your time well spent.
Here is the interview:
Subscribe to my channel here. And then, read on below to read a summary of our conversation.
Olly learned languages at school, but it wasn’t until he started working in a local cafe that he got the bug. He wanted to be able to speak to his workmates in their native languages.
He started using self-study books but didn’t have any idea of what it actually took. Like he said, you don’t know what to expect if you haven’t done it before.
Creating his Blog and Podcast
Olly started his blog in 2013. This is where he helps others learn languages. At this point, he didn’t know what an online business looked like. He committed to writing one post per week and saw steady growth. Like he said, if you start writing and commit to it, you will get better.
He wrote guest posts for other blogs to help him grow his audience. And he gets ideas for his posts from forums and from his audience.
One year ago, Olly started his podcast. He kept it simple as he knew he wouldn’t be able to sustain a complicated format. Check out his podcast here.
We broke down two ways of creating videos:
There is, obviously, some middle ground here. But I think it’s good to think about what you want to get out of making videos and how you are going to do this over the long-term.
(Jack’s note: here is a post I wrote on making videos – I include the equipment you’ll need)
How He Does All of This
I asked Olly how is he was able to build a popular blog, learn languages, and work a full-time job at the same time. His quick answer? Hard work. He went on to elaborate saying that he worked evenings, weekends, and over his lunch-breaks, and that everything was sequential.
(Jack’s note: To learn more about how to build a teaching business on the side, check out my post here.)
Monetizing and Selling Products
We then moved on to how he monetizes his blog. Olly has multiple income streams: online courses, books, audiobooks, other products, sponsors and affiliate marketing.
His advice here is simple: know what problems your audience have and solve them.
We then went on to talk about free vs paid. As Olly said, if you invest in a course, you are investing in yourself. I added that there are three types of people:
- Those who never pay for anything
- Those who are on the fence
- Those who are ready to buy what you offer
Don’t worry about the first group – you’re not going to change their mind easily. Focus on helping those in group two and three instead.
(Jack’s note: if you want to build a successful online teaching business, check out my course and community here.)
How to Teach for Fluency
Finally, I asked Olly about how he incorporates his knowledge and experience of second language acquisition into language lessons.
He started off by saying that traditional classroom lessons are an unnatural construct. Students see you (the teacher) as the solution. But language isn’t imparted, it’s learned. With this in mind, we need to think about how best to spend out time with the learner. We can teach the language, strategize with our learners, or spend time using the language in class.
This is what we need to work out as teachers and work through with our learners. A lot depends on what the learner is willing to do outside of the lesson. There is no easy answer here.
Over to You
We covered a LOT of ground. A common theme, if you want to build your teaching brand online, is to get started and stay consistent.
What did you think about the interview? Do you agree with Olly that we need to be learning a language ourselves to become better teachers? How do you help your learners outside of the classroom?
What other thoughts do you have on starting a blog, monetizing etc.?
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below!