teach english online

How to Teach English Online: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started (2018)

teach english onlineSince I started teaching English online in 2011, I’ve seen this space explode.

There are many reasons why online teaching is so appealing.

It opens up a lot of creative opportunities for you as a teacher, giving you the ability to go down your own teaching path and teach the way that you believe is best for your students.

Teaching English online takes away the geographical restrictions. You can access any English learning market in the world, which gives you more leverage to charge what you feel you deserve.

And of course, moving online allows you to teach from home or from anywhere.

If teaching online appeals to you, this article will give you the information you need to thrive in this space.

I focus on helping teachers or teachers-to-be do this independently.

Before I share my best tips, know that there are different options for you.

(Note: some of the resources I link to in this article are affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you sign up to a service at no extra cost to you.)

THE THREE OPTIONS: GET A JOB, FREELANCE, GO INDEPENDENT

There are three main ways that you can teach English (or any language!) online:

  1. You can find an online teaching job (check out VipKid – U.S. and Canadian residents only)
  2. You can post your profile on freelancing websites
  3. You can find your own paying students

I’ve never done number one. I’ve had experience with number two. And I’m all in on number three.

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I got started teaching English through a platform for teachers. I created my profile, made a video, and set my prices.

I soon got a lot of new students and received positive reviews.

When I started, I didn’t have any training or prior teaching experience. I had just got back from traveling and needed something that I could do from anywhere so that I could spend time visiting my girlfriend (now wife) in America.

I believe there are two main reasons why I was successful on this platform:

  1. I spent time crafting my teaching profile
  2. I got in early

The biggest problem with teaching through an online platform is the sheer number of teachers there. Once people find out about new platforms, they get bombarded with new teachers.

If you advertise your services on these platforms, make sure you stand out.

Be clear on who would benefit from your lessons and why. State what you can offer (your teaching niche) and use the platform to get in front as many potential students as you can.

Going independent was the best professional decision I have made. I’ll tell you how this happened…

After finishing college, my wife got a scholarship to teach English in Spain. I enjoyed my initial teaching experience, so I got certified and we moved to Spain together.

I got a job teaching in two companies and in my second year, in a language school. I also offered private lessons during this time. Here is how I attracted private students:

  • I designed website that highlighted what I offered
  • I put up fliers around the city and posted on local classified websites
  • People got in contact with me and I taught them privately

Why Going Independent Might Be for You

Doing your own thing online gives you control over the following:

  • your business
  • what you teach
  • how you teach
  • your earning potential

One of the reasons why I left the original platform was because they changed a few policies. I didn’t have any control over this. If you are investing time and effort into offering value for your learners, it’s wise to do this on a platform you own (more about this later).

Going independent means that you can decide to teach what you want to teach. When moving online, all barriers are broken down. You can target any learning market in the world. If you want to focus on IELTS preparation, then you can. You aren’t restricted by your location.

It also gives you control over how you teach.

I enjoyed my time teaching in Spain, but I had to follow specific lesson plans and use methods that my bosses wanted me to use. When you are your own boss, you can follow your own teaching path and decide how you want to deliver your lessons.

It’s worth stating at this point that this isn’t for everyone. You will need to put in the work if you want the rewards. Additionally, it comes with extra stress and you have to research taxes and everything else.

If you want an online job, check out VipKid (if you’re based in the U.S. or Canada).

But if you want to go independent, then read on to learn more!

WHAT YOU NEED TO TEACH ENGLISH ONLINE (THE BASICS)

You will have to include the following in your initial setup: a VOIP service, a payment gateway, a cancellation policy, and although not a requirement, a headset.

Let’s start with the software we need to have to be able to connect with English learners from anywhere in the world.

Connecting with Your Students

teach English online using ZoomFirstly, make sure that your computer and internet are fast enough and working as they should be.

There is nothing more frustrating than having a bad connection when teaching.

To be able to connect with students online, the best two options available are Zoom and Google Hangouts.

I have moved my students from Skype to Zoom as the connection is better and it has fewer problems.

Google Hangouts has many features, including a whiteboard (through a third party app).

Both allow you to connect with anyone in the world for free.

If you’re looking for a simple solution – something that everyone has heard of – check out Skype. You are limited by what you can do, but the connection has improved a lot over the years and most students have experience using this.

Note: if you want to teach your lessons using your phone, this is possible. Here is a video I made on this:

Receiving Payment for Your Online Lessons

PayPal is the obvious choice for receiving payments; it has been around for a long time and most online teachers use it as their tool of choice.

I have used PayPal for years now, and after researching other options, I still use it.

(Note: if you’re going to create and sell online courses, you might want to use something else in addition to PayPal.)

Getting started is really simple: after signing up, you can easily place payment buttons on your website (more about your website later), and send invoices directly to your students through email.

When you send invoices, your students will receive a link where they can enter their payment details. This money is then transferred to your PayPal account, which in turn can be withdrawn to your bank account.

PayPal typically charges around 2.9% + $0.30 for every transaction, but withdrawing to your bank account is free. (These fees may vary depending on your country.)

A drawback of using PayPal is that it isn’t available in all countries. This link has information about the countries where it is accepted.

A Strong Cancelation Policy

Writing up a cancellation policy is something that every teacher needs to do.

Keep it simple and stick to it. This will cover your back when students cancel or don’t show to your arranged lesson.

Just having a policy isn’t enough; you have to clearly explain this policy to your students, and make sure that they understand what the consequences are when a lesson is canceled, or if they don’t show.

Good Audio

A headset isn’t obligatory, but it certainly helps. Instead of a regular headset, I use the following: these earphones and this microphone.

The value you get from these items is fantastic; the earphones, although very cheap, are really comfortable and they have great audio. The quality of the microphone is incredible, and many professional podcasters use this for their shows.

If you prefer a headset, I’ve heard great things about this one.

In most cases, Apple earphones (or the equivalent) will be sufficient.

When I first meet with my students, I suggest that they use earphones or an external microphone too.

This increases the effectiveness of my teaching, and also my enjoyment of the lessons.

Tax Implications

I’m not a legal or tax expert.

Talk to a professional and ask about legal and tax implications where you live.

Here is a video on this:

TO TEACH ENGLISH ONLINE INDEPENDENTLY, YOU’LL NEED TO GET STUDENTS

Being an independent teacher means bringing in students yourself.

In this section, I’m going to break this down and give you some short and long-term strategies.

There are many things to consider; let’s start with the question of who you are going to teach and what lessons you are going to give.

Your Teaching Niche

Being clear on your teaching niche is the key to thriving to bringing in new students.

It’s not just good enough to say that you teach English online.

Get clear on the following:

  • who you teach
  • how you teach
  • what area of English you teach

Let’s say you want to focus on teaching conversational English. Great! But how are you going to teach these lessons? What type of learners do you want to teach? What materials are you going to use?

Having clarity on this helps you give the best lessons you can and it helps you attract the types of learners you want to target.

Having said all that, don’t let this stage put you off from getting started.

Your niche will evolve over time and it’s impossible to know what type of teacher you’re going to be without any teaching experience.

There are many reasons to work towards becoming specialized in teaching a certain niche (more about this here), but one of the key reasons is making sure that you are targeting students who can and will pay you what you want to be paid.

This brings us nicely to the next point…

A Pricing Structure

pricing online lessonsThere are two different questions to answer when coming up with your pricing structure: how much do you WANT to earn? And, how much CAN you charge for students in a certain niche?

The answer to the first question will vary depending on your circumstances, expectations, and earning goals. Answering the second question helps you find the niche that fits your income needs.

The going rate for many established online schools is anywhere between $20 and $50 an hour (charging more is possible).

To charge these sort of prices will involve you having to think about what type of students you should target, knowing where to find them, and then converting them into paying students.

As well as having your base rate, you should also offer packages at discounted rates. Offering an incentive will bring in more students, and having students sign up for more than one class improves your retention rate and makes things easier for you.

You should also think about how you want to approach giving a trial lesson. When starting out, I recommend giving away free trials.

Implement paid trials once you have more experience and higher demand for your lessons.

For more about pricing, click here.

Sell Courses Too!

At this stage, it’s worth noting that there are various ways that you can bring in an income when you teach online.

Over the past few years, I’ve focused on selling my online courses

Here are six ways to earn money as an online English teacher:

A Teaching Website

teach-english-online-post-website-example

My website is at the center of everything I do

Having a website is a must for the long-term.

This online presence will become the center of all of your marketing efforts.

There are a host of options when it comes to getting your own teaching site. From my experience, and after doing a lot of research, I have whittled it down to three:

1. Have someone to build a website for you.

2. Use a drag-and-drop template based website builder (my recommendation is Weebly), and create your own site.

3. Use WordPress, and again, build the site yourself (see our free step-by-step guide on getting started)

If you want to reduce the starting costs, options two and three are the best. Both of these options will cost you between $3-10 a month if you keep things simple, and you’ll need to buy your domain name separately (use Godaddy for this).

Weebly is great for starting out. I used a similar website builder for my first site but moved it over to WordPress in 2012.

WordPress has become the platform of choice for web designers, and I can’t recommend it enough. There are certain things that you have to learn, but using our guide will help you get started.

For more information on building a website, see this post.

Create a System that Will Convert Learners

teach online system

A system that works

A big mistake I see teachers make is that they create their website without any type of sales system in mind.

A learner will land on their site, take a look around, and then leave.

What we want to do is to create a system that will convert learners into paying students.

We can do this by setting up our site so that our visitors take action by:

  • requesting a trial lesson
  • downloading something for free (and adding learners to our email list)

Choose one of those options and create your site so that this is what they do.

For example, when a learn visits my site I tell them to download my free book.

Once they download this book, they get added to my email list. I send them useful content and information about my lessons and courses.

If you focus on giving one-to-one lessons, you can tell your learners to request a trial lesson with you.

Put a big CTA (call-to-action) on your homepage, about page, blog posts… any page that you create.

Once you have this system set up, you’re ready to bring learners on to your website.

How to Find Students and Build Awareness

I always get asked the following question by teachers who want to teach online: “How do I get students?”

There are certain things that you can do to attract students now, while other strategies will bring in students over the long-term.

The most important thing is to know who your target market is and where to find them.

Being able to define your audience is the first step.

This is often overlooked, but knowing as much as you can about potential students will help you bring them to your website and convince them that they will benefit from taking lessons with you.

Most marketing strategies that are effective in this field can be grouped into two different groups: short-term and long-term.

Short-term strategies include things like advertising and bring immediate results.

This is perfect for when first starting out, or whenever you need to quickly fill your schedule.

Some of these methods cost a little money, but there are many ways that you can do this for free. For example, you can post on sites like Craigslist and offer your services.

Long-term strategies don’t have such an immediate effect, but once you have these established, your initial work will bring in students for the months and years ahead.

These strategies include creating content on your site, improving your site’s search rankings, uploading videos, and using social media.

youtube teach english online image

I love creating videos on YouTube

For example, I create videos for my YouTube channel. At the end of every video, I tell my learners to download the book that I mentioned before.

There are some videos that I made back in 2014 that still bring in a constant stream of students.

How much content you create to help you build up a passive system depends on your goals, where you currently are with your online teaching journey, and what you offer.

You may only want to use short-term methods. That’s fine. But be open to new ways further down the line.

I can’t talk about getting new students without mentioning referrals.

Referrals are the most efficient way to fill your schedule. You should concentrate your efforts on trying to get as many as you can.

Just ask your current learners if they know anyone who would also benefit from your lessons.

Connections and Community

When I started teaching online, I initially had the mentality of being a lone-wolf; I tried to do everything on my own, worked in isolation, and hardly ever asked for help.

But, I have recently changed my approach and have connected with many fellow ESL/EFL teachers. This has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me. 

Since I have connected with others, it feels more like a group effort. I can now bounce ideas off others and ask for advice when I need it.

And, my long-term goal for this website is to create a space where online teachers can connect and work together to succeed in online teaching.

To find other teachers, use Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. Put yourself out there and start creating relationships.

(Click here to follow me on Facebook)

Materials and Resources for Online Lessons

The type of materials that you will use in class very much depends on your niche and teaching style. There are some online courses that you have to pay an initial fee to have access to. However,

There are some online courses that you have to pay an initial fee to have access to. However, there are many great free resources that I have found through my contacts.

Here are three examples: Film English (lesson plans based on films), Breaking News English (lesson plans based on news articles), and for something a little different, ESL Hip Hop.

I’ve used the above sites and many others for my general English lessons.

What’s the best way to find these resources? Go on Twitter or the other networking sites and connect with teachers.

Tools You’ll Need to Teach Online and Other Considerations

I use Google calendar to keep my lessons organized, and several spreadsheets to record what I have done with my students and for other admin tasks.

I save my lesson plans to Evernote.

I use WaveApps to track the financial side of things.

I run my email list through Active Campaign

… I could go on and on. To me, this is the fun part. These tools make our life easier and make teaching online fun.

A quick note on getting started:

This is often the hardest part.

My best advice is this: don’t wait to be perfect because that will never happen.

Teach to get experience. Create videos to learn how to make better videos. Start marketing your lessons now.

And read this if you want to learn more about making this transition.

Thanks for reading. Please share if you found it useful!

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Private Students Facebook

How to Get Private Students through Facebook

I receive numerous messages every week similar to this:

“I set up a business page on Facebook and managed to get people liking my page. However, hardly anyone is seeing my posts or taking any action.”

If you want to learn how to better use Facebook to get private students or customers, watch this video:

The biggest problem is this: the type of posts that you want your audience to see (offers, trial lessons, new courses) aren’t shown to your audience because they are not engaging posts.

Facebook wants to put engaging posts in newsfeeds so people spend more time on Facebook.

Creating engaging posts (videos, polls, images) that are engaging is great. More people see your posts. But no one is taking the action you want them to take.

Here is what I recommend…

Making Engaging Content with CTAs

A CTA stands for a call-to-action. Here is how it works…

… you create an engaging 3-minute video that helps your audience. At the end of the video, you tell people to do something. This could be to sign up for a trial lesson, download your free PDF, or to check out your latest course.

You’re giving people content but also telling them what to do next.

Be sure to leave a link in the description and in the comments. To make this even more powerful, make the call-to-action relevant to the content.

I’ve given away audio phrases related to the video. The conversion rate is much higher when you do this.

If you are teaching one-to-one lessons, post a video of you teaching and tell people that they can learn with you too.

Use Messenger

Not your personal messenger, but Messenger for pages.

Most teachers shy away from this because it sounds like a lot of work.

But you get out what you put in. Even though I have online courses, I spend a lot of time within the Messenger app. I see an actual return on this through course sales but also through people feeling good about me and my brand and sharing what I create with others.

Having conversations on a one-to-one basis builds trust with your audience.

Quick tip: when someone leaves a comment, click the “send message” option and thank them.

Advertise

People don’t like spending money.

I do!

When I know that I’m going to get a return on my investment, why wouldn’t I want to advertise?

Here is how I do it:

I target learners who have already interacted with my content and send them an offer. This is usually something free that sends learners through my sales funnel.

Do you see what I’m doing here?

I’m putting the CTA in front of people who have already seen my content. This leads to higher conversion rates.

What’s more, I can decide exactly who sees this ad so that I’m not spending money on those who would never pay for what I offer.

In Conclusion

Give Facebook what it wants but also make the platform work for you.

Which of these three tips are you going to implement? Let me know below!

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teach online

A Day in the Life of an Online Teacher (and Tips for Teaching Online)

This video has been a long time in the making.

I’m pleased to say that it’s finally here! Follow me around for the day as I take you to the woods, my office, and the parking lot (haha!) and show you what I do on a daily basis.

I also share my best tips that will help you get more private students into your lessons and courses.

Resources Mentioned in the Video

I mentioned a lot of different things in this video. Let’s start with my gear:

Free Mini-Course for Teaching Online: get an overview of what online teaching is like and how you can get started.

Email marketing software: this is what I use and highly recommend it.

Email marketing overview: get my best tips on how to use email marketing to grow your teaching business

Different ways to earn as an online teacher: I list 6 ways that you can bring in an income by teaching online

First online course numbers: learn how much I made from my first course.

The video I was editing: check out the finished product and my other YouTube channel

The To Fluency Program: my course for those learning English

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teach online using phone english

Can You Teach Online & Build a Teaching Business on Your Phone?

Things are changing fast.

Online teaching has become mainstream and the ways in which we teach and promote our lessons are constantly changing.

But what about if we only have a phone?

Is it possible to teach and promote our lessons just using one device?

Find out in this video:

There are two things to focus on here:

  1. How to teach lessons using our phone
  2. How to promote our lessons using our phone

Teaching Using Your Phone

The majority of people who video chat do this on their phone these days.

We can use Facebook Messenger, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and a host of different messaging apps to teach lessons online.

Doing it this way is convenient and a lot of learners prefer to do it this way.

One drawback is that it’s harder to introduce interactive elements to our lessons such as text chat, embedding videos, and using other tools to help us teach effectively.

I feel that mobile teaching lends itself to conversational language lessons. If you teach something else (like business coaching) it won’t be an issue at all.

Let me know your tips if you have taught using your mobile device in the past.

Promoting Your Teaching Business through Your Phone

Here is my 3-step plan for getting more students/clients:

  1. Be clear on what your lessons are about and who you help
  2. Create a system that converts browsers into buyers
  3. Build awareness and send more people through step two

I have written about the more sophisticated ways of doing this here.

Let’s instead focus on what this might look like using a phone.

BONUS TIP: You don’t have to just offer one-to-one lessons. You can:

  • Create a paid group on Facebook where learners pay a subscription fee to access your premium lessons
  • Offer writing feedback through Facebook Messenger
  • Offer speaking feedback through Facebook Messenger

Use PayPal or another payment app to set up subscriptions.

I made a video on this here.

Get Students Just by Using Facebook

Assume that you have step one down.

Step two might be to tell learners that you offer free trial lessons and, if they’re interested, to send you a message on Facebook.

Simple, right?

You can use your personal profile to do this or a Facebook page that you create.

You respond to these messages and set up a time when you can both meet.

It’s your job to convince the learner that your lessons are worth paying for during the trial.

This is a simple system and it works.

But how do you build awareness using your phone?

You make videos, share pictures, create mini-lessons and post them on your page or in groups.

Include a call-to-action (CTA) every time you do this.

Your CTA is very simple: you tell people to send you a message if they want a free trial lesson.

This strategy works on Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, LinkedIn or any other social media site.

What Mobile Has Done and Where it is Going

The mobile revolution has dramatically changed the way we consume content and interact with each other.

Business have responded to this by making websites and applications simple.

This restriction helps us focus on what matters…

… connecting with potential customers/students/clients in a real way.

I can only see this becoming more important moving forward.

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teach english online

Teaching English Online: Thoughts on a Teaching Niche 4 Years On and Saying NO!!!

One of my earlier posts on this blog was about teaching niches.

This and other similar posts gained a lot of traction.

I argued that in order to stand out and build a teaching business, it’s wise to choose a niche.

This is still true, however, the way that I recommend going about choosing one has changed. Watch the video to get my best tips on this and why saying NO is liberating.

Defining a Teaching Niche and Getting Started

I believe the best way to look at a teaching niche is by focusing on:

  1. What you teach
  2. Who you teach
  3. How you teach

For example, you can offer general lessons to anyone in the world. But the way you stand out is by doing in your own specific way.

My niche has evolved since 2011.

I used to teach anyone who wanted lessons. This included beginners, kids, and people wanting exam preparation.

I then decided to focus on conversational lessons for adults.

The way I taught changed too.

Instead of offering one-to-one lessons, I offered video courses.

Key Takeaway: think about your teaching niche but allow it to evolve. If in doubt, just get teaching.

Saying NO!!!

My niche for this website has changed too.

I used to try and help anyone who had questions related to online teaching.

For example, people ask me all the time about online jobs.

Past Jack would have spent time researching this and responding to emails.

Current Jack says, “Sorry, I’m not the best person to ask about this.”

The same goes for blended learning in universities, how to pay taxes, and lesson plans.

I stick with what I know and find people who need help with this.

Over to You

There is a balance when first starting.

You might not be in a position financially to say no.

But drive demand for your lessons so that you can.

How?

Well, that is where I can help you.

Jump right in by joining TEOC today and I’ll show you how to create a stream of students who want to pay you for what you offer.

Or if you’d like to dip your toe in the water first, check out my free video training below.

Thanks for reading!

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bulb-40701_1280

New Ideas for My Online Teaching Business

In the book, The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth, James Altucher talks about the power of coming up with new ideas.

I’m constantly thinking about new projects, ideas to generate sales, and ideas to make my life better.

In my latest Facebook video, I went through 7 ideas that I’ve had recently.

I also talked about how to execute an idea and whether you should act on an idea or not.

Check it out!

My Latest Ideas

1. Create a recurring subscription for feedback on speaking and/or writing. Hire others to give this feedback

2. Create a secondary email series based on the answers given on a survey at the end of the first series. So, if someone tells me that they can’t afford the course, I could send another course and ask these people to share my content for access.

3. Create a subdomain (courses.mysite.com) where teachers can create courses. Learners take these courses and leave reviews. Some type of profit sharing agreement would be needed.

4. Give every learner who signs up to my course the opportunity to join the affiliate program.

5. Hire someone to take longer videos and create content (smaller videos, articles, pictures) from this.

6. Create a viral competition

7. Hire someone to create viral quizzes and pump them out!

What am I Going to Do?

My two courses, TEOC and TFP are my two main income streams.

I want to keep doubling down on these while spending 10-20% of my time growing other revenue streams.

There are so many ways that I can improve what I already have. For example, I’m looking to double the amount of learners going through my email funnel. With all being equal, this will double sales. The viral quizzes, advertising, and my affiliate program will help with this.

My question for you is this: what ideas have you had recently? Are you going to act on them?

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earn more online

Online Teachers: What’s Stopping You from Earning More?

One of my first posts talked about how starting your own teaching business gives you the potential to earn more.

The reason is simple: you are in control of all aspects of your teaching business.

You can set your own prices. You can teach more lessons. You can create online courses.

However, many never earn what they set out to earn.

I wanted to know more so I asked the following question on my Facebook page:

The answers were fascinating. I decided to make a video to explore this further. Here it is:

NOTES

  • Think about your priorities. Is this really important to you? Are you making it enough of a priority?
  • If you’re not getting enough students, look at your conversion funnel, how you get the benefits of your lessons across, and what you’re doing to bring in more learners.
  • If you’re hesitant about raising your prices, know that they can be flexible.
  • If you’re against earning more because you think it will affect your work/life balance or your happiness, know that I have an amazing work/life balance, I’m happy, and I’m earning more. These things aren’t mutually exclusive.
  • If you want to earn more, get started, enjoy the process, keep improving, and be grateful for what you have.

Don’t just read these notes. Watch the video. I think you’ll get a lot out of it.

Prefer to watch it on YouTube? Click here.

And then, get my free training here. Or my premium training here.

Thanks for reading!

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3 Tips creating online courses

3 Lessons I’ve Learned Creating My New Online Course | Read or Watch This Before You Create Your Own

Since 2015, I have focused solely on creating and selling online courses.

The main reason is this: I can help people at scale and grow my teaching business.

I created my first course for learners back in March 2014. It was a 5-week course that involved live lessons. I ran it again in May using the same format.

In November 2014, I put this course on my own site using prerecorded lessons.

I’m currently in the middle of rewriting it.

Here are three lessons I’ve learned during this process.

#1: Battle Through It (There Will Be Obstacles)

To get your course ready, you have to put in the work.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone to check the weather while writing slides or editing videos.

The two main obstacles you’ll face are when:

  • something just isn’t going right
  • you have to make a tough decision

The other day, my audio recorder unexplainable crashed when filming three videos.

I had spent 45 minutes recording them.

But it was all wasted and I had to start again.

I thought about just packing it in for the day but I battled on instead. Things go wrong and you have to keep going.

Making decisions can stop you in your tracks too. For example, you’ll ask yourself:

What should I call it?
What should I include?
How much should I make it?

Don’t procrastinate on decisions. Go through the process of making tough decisions. Sleep on it if you need to. But hash it out now.

I find the best way to do this is to write things down.

And know that it won’t be easier to make a tough decision next week. Don’t let decisions hold you up.

#2: Get Organized (And Use This Tool)

As someone who relies on Apple products, I love Apple Notes and iCloud.

I keep all ideas, plans, and thoughts inside Notes.

The course videos, audio files, and artwork sit inside iCloud.

I can access all of this on any device.

Here are some of the documents I keep inside Notes:

  • An overview of the course
  • pricing and course schedule
  • bullet points on each lesson
  • all the drills that I’m going to include
  • a checklist of what needs to be done

I used to use Google Drive and Asana for this in the past. However, I find the browser based applications are too slow.

I stick to a clear labeling system for my files.

For example: TFPC – P1 – 001

This tells me what this video is and it keeps things organized.

I back up all my files on an external drive and in the cloud.

#3: Share Your Journey and Build Up Some Buzz

I’ve been sharing pictures, videos, and stories about building this course on my social media accounts.

I’ve done this for my accounts for teachers and for learners.

Sharing what you’re working on helps you talk things through so that you have a clearer understanding of what you’re going to teach.

Equally as important, it builds buzz for your new course.

They see the effort you’re putting in.

They see the journey and want to be part of it.

I’ve taught mini-lessons based on the new lessons inside my course. I don’t mind giving away some for free as I know it’s only going to benefit me long-term.

I’m also going to share some outtakes next week.

Want to Create Your Own Online Course?

Here are some resources for you.

1: In this video, I share three tips to help you create and sell your own course.

2: And in this article, I share the numbers behind my first course.

If you want to jump right in, join TEOC and get the 11-video tutorial on how to create and sell your own online course.

This is just a small part of the overall course and community.

Check it out here.

Thanks for reading. Leave any questions you have below!

SEO strategy

A Long-Term SEO Strategy for Online Teachers

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way that we can attract learners into our lessons and courses.

For example, if your website shows on the first page of Google for the search term online English teacher, then imagine the amount of people that will find you.

This is organic traffic. Free traffic.

However, to get your website featured on the first page of Google isn’t easy. It takes time.

Luckily, I have a long-terms strategy that not only helps you boost your rankings in the search results, but it also brings in learners today.

Your SEO Strategy

Here is what to do:

1. Create free content that is useful
2. Promote it

Without valuable articles/videos, your site isn’t going to rank in the search engines. Users will click onto the article, skim, and leave.

Having content that people read gives a signal to Google that it’s worth featuring. Plus, a learner will want to know more about you if you help them.

Once you have useful content, you need to promote it.

Do this by:

  • sharing it on social media
  • asking others to share it
  • boosting your post on Facebook
  • sharing it with your email list

Guess what?

By doing this, you will be attracting people to your site. That is our goal. Once they are on our site, get them to take action.

This strategy is simple but it will take time to work.

What we’re doing to get it to work is what we do anyway – helping people and promoting our stuff.

The key is making sure that we get learners to do what we want them to do once they land on our site.

This is where your landing page and email marketing strategy come in.

Quick SEO Tips

Create Content Based on What People Are Searching For

Use the Google Keyword Tool to find out what people are searching for. Long-tail keywords (long phrases) are easier to rank for.

Keep in mind the following: buying (English lessons on Skype) and browsing (Present Perfect Rules) keywords. It’s easier to convert learners who are actively looking for what we offer.

Download This Plugin

If you use WordPress, I highly recommend this plugin. Their free training is useful and it makes everything much easier.

Write your Articles With the User in Mind

To help your rankings, you should include your keywords in the article and headline.

However, don’t force this. Write with the reader in mind.

Have a CTA on Every Article

Traffic is worthless if people don’t take action.

Include a call-to-action at the end of every article/video. This will help you get this right.

Interlink and Link Out

When you write a post, link to other articles you write. Update older posts with newer links.

Link to other sites too.

Over to You

Have you had success with SEO? What tips do you have?

Please leave any questions you have below.

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teaching online 2017

Teaching Online in 2017: What’s Changed, What’s the Same, and What You Need to Focus On

In 2013, I wrote various posts on how we can market ourselves as online teachers and sell our lessons and courses.

Nearly four years later, some things have changed.

That’s why I have made this video and written the article below going through what you need to know about online teaching in 2017.

Watch the video / read on to stay ahead of the game.

Email Marketing

I’m still big on email marketing.

Why?

Because it’s the number one way that we can communicate with our audience. And like I said in this post, this is something we own.

Social media platforms come and go. Email stays with us.

And later on, you’ll learn how to combine the two.

Lesson Plans

When I first started, it was tough to find materials for my online lessons.

A lot has changed since then. The biggest indicator of this Off2Class.

This platform has ready-made lessons that are tailor made for the online world.

With a few simple searches, you will find a whole range of materials and lessons plans that you can use.

Teaching Niche

This focuses more on my outlook of a teaching niche.

I used to limit this to what area of English we can focus on. However, I now see a niche as:

  • what you teach
  • who you teach
  • and how you teach

For example, you can offer general conversation lessons. But you can deliver this in your own unique way. Or you can offer these to specific learners.

What’s more, I highly recommend being open to the evolution of your niche. Things change as you start teaching. You realize what works, what you enjoy, and which type of learners you prefer working with.

If you’re stuck at the niche stage, don’t let it stop you from teaching.

Get started and work it out as you go.

Online Courses

A few years back, it was difficult and, potentially expensive, to create and sell an online course.

These days, there are all-in-one solutions that makes it much easier to do.

That is why you see more teachers creating on-demand video courses and programs.

This has allowed teachers, including myself, to scale and reach more learners.

Learn more about how to do this here.

Live Video

2016 was the year of live video.

This was when Facebook opened this feature to everyone.

YouTube have been doing live video for a while, but they really started to push this in 2016 too.

Learners love live lessons. Teachers, on the whole, love them too.

They are raw, can be done a phone, and the interaction brings more to the lessons.

I predict that live video will consolidate in 2017 and that YouTube will push live mobile video.

Social Media

Back in 2011 – the year I started teaching online – business still saw social media as a fad.

They weren’t ready to use their marketing budget on platforms such as Facebook.

In 2017, it’s fairly clear that social media is here to stay. Platforms will come and go, but the idea of connecting with our audience on these sites will play a large role in our marketing efforts.

Like I said in the video, it’s wise to use each platform natively.

In the past, everyone just pasted links that pointed back to their website. That doesn’t work like it used to.

Now, we have to create specific content for each platform. Some people will feel overwhelmed by this, however, go all in on one or two platforms at the beginning. You don’t have to be everywhere.

Create useful mini-lessons with a call-to-action, preferably, sending people to join your email list.

Advertising

Advertising in 2011 meant Google Adwords.

In 2017, Facebook advertising is the most cost-effective way of growing your audience.

However, you need to:

  • Send the right message to the right person
  • Get people’s attention
  • Get people to take action

This means that you’ll need to have an offer that people want, get their attention through your ad (image and text), convince them to click your link, convince them to take action on your landing page, and create a follow-up process that converts learners into paying students.

Don’t just throw something up and then, if it doesn’t work, give up.

Start with a small budget and keep making changes to increase your conversions.

Google Ads still work. Again, you need to get this right to make it cost effective.

Technology

Things are so much easier now.

We can record a video on our phone.

We can create a website using templates

We can connect with learners through social media (for free!).

We can easily create online courses.

We can set up an email list without getting confused (the software I use).

And we have much better software that we can use to teach our lessons.

If you’re someone who tells yourself that you’re not good with technology, know that it is much easier to use these days AND you will get used to it.

How to Get Learners

The strategy remains the same:

  1. Get clear on how we can help and what we want to achieve
  2. Create an automated system that convinces learners to pay for our lessons
  3. Build awareness (send learners into this system)

We may do certain things differently now, for example, using Instagram to build awareness; or using LeadPages to build high-converting landing pages; or making courses instead of teaching one-to-one…

… but the principles behind the process of bringing learners into our lessons hasn’t changed.

Set up a system, build awareness, and keep improving as a marketer and a teacher.

Want to Teach Online?

A good place to start is by getting my guide: click here to do that.

If you want to jump right in, join our course and community.