Learn How to Sell

Independent Teachers: Why You Need to Learn How to Sell

My thoughts on selling have changed dramatically over the past 2-3 years.

At first, I held back. I didn’t feel comfortable selling what I offered. I guess this is because most people think about the worst type of used car salesmen when they see the word ‘sales’. Or Alec Baldwin in Glenn Garry Glenross (warning: strong language).

Selling isn’t something we’re taught in school. It’s not something that we are taught in language schools. But as an online teacher, you’ll have to sell.

What’s interesting is that we’re constantly selling. When I put the case forward for going to my favourite restaurant (an Indian restaurant here in Asheville, in case you were wondering) I’m selling my wife on the experience we’re going to have.

You sell yourself in job interviews.

Kids sell their parents on staying out later.

I read a comment on the Guardian recently that was arguing against selling. He/she did a good job at selling their point of view.

The good news is that there are ways to do this in way where you don’t feel terrible about it. But first, let’s talk about why you need to sell.

Why You Need to Sell

You need to sell because no one is going to do it for you.

Having great lessons or a course that is going to change the world isn’t enough. You need to let people know how valuable your lessons are and why they should sign up.

I know this can be frustrating as the majority of teachers I talk to want to focus on teaching. But the reality is that you need to convince people to buy what you offer.

You need to sell because if you don’t, your learners won’t have confidence in your product or service.

They need to see that you believe in your product (more on this later). If you don’t talk about how amazing you are, no one will think that you can help them. If you don’t get excited about your lessons, your learners won’t. Show enthusiasm for your product/service and don’t hold back.

You need to sell because you need to earn an income.

This is obvious, but worth stating. If you want a full schedule or to have people buy your course, you need to make an effort. You need to get people fired up about what you offer. You need to make sales in order to earn a good living.

And…. you need to sell all the time.

It’s not just our lessons that we need to sell.

Want people to click a link? Sell them on it.

Want people to sign up to your email newsletter? Sell them on it.

Want people to share your post? Well, you get the picture.

Here’s one more example: I get many emails from teachers or business owners wanting me to take a look at their new app, their new site, or their product.

Nine times out of ten the email is generic and doesn’t even include my name. When I get these emails, I delete them. The person isn’t making an effort to sell me on their offering or them as a person.

But someone who has taken the time to learn about me and modifies their message gets my attention. I immediately have more faith in this person and what they have to offer.

Different Ways to Sell

Last night, I watched a live ‘scope’* from someone who I was unsure about.

He is an online entrepreneur who has become successful over the past couple of years. During the live session, I was blown away by how valuable he was – he answered so many specific questions and helped me solve a problem that I had been struggling with.

That ‘scope’ changed my mind about him as a person and the brand he represents.

There was no sales pitch during the stream. But I am more likely to buy a product from him in the future. He was connecting with his audience and selling himself through providing lots of valuable information.

This is an example offering something for free in order to build your brand.

The same entrepreneur also sells hard during a promotion. As do I. But most teachers don’t execute when it comes to getting people inside their lessons.

When I launched my course for English learners, I sent out five emails over four days. On the last day, I sent one in the morning and one just before the course closed.

It was hard to do this because I didn’t want to come across as too pushy. However, I was surprised at the amount of emails I received from those who didn’t sign up but still thanked me for the opportunity.

People procrastinate on buying stuff. It’s your job to convince learners that what you offer can help them. And you need to remind them consistently.

40% of those who signed up for my course made the purchase on the last day. 5 emails over 4 days might sound like a lot, but you’re missing out on a lot of income if you don’t push this.

How hard you sell depends on you, your audience, your product, and how much you believe in what you’re selling.

That last point is key: in order to have the confidence to sell, you need to have confidence in what you’re selling.

I am very proud of the products I have – they have helped change people’s lives. And I think this confidence shines through in my sales pages and emails.

The good news is that you can always improve upon what you have. You can improve your lessons, course, YouTube videos etc. For example, I have just added 21 new videos to my course for English learners. I plan on adding more next month too.

As you get better, improve your offerings, and see positive results, your confidence in what you offer will increase. And when someone who would benefit from your course gets in touch, you’ll have no qualms about telling them how much it will help them.

One last thing: be yourself when you’re selling. Use words you normally use and do it in a way that feels right to you.

Because as an online teacher, you’re selling people on you as a person in addition to the products you offer.

Over to You

Has the way you sell changed over time? How do you feel about selling what you offer?

Let us know below!

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


How to Build First Website

Creating Your First Website: The Tools to Use and What to Include

The first website I put up there for English learners was ugly. The colors didn’t work. The icons were generic. And the copy didn’t excite.

But it worked.

And over time, my website evolved into what it is now. I’ve made lots of small and big changes along the way. It will never be ‘finished’.

I see some teachers get put off getting started because they want perfection right from the start.

But the smarter move is to get something up there as soon as possible. Make it as good as you can make it now – but know that you can always improve it over time.

In this video, I talk about three tools you can use to design your site. Below, I have resources for you and some extra advice about what to include in your first design.

WordPress (The All-in-One solution)

My first recommendation is WordPress.

This gives you the greatest customization moving forward. The good news is that there are so many themes that you can use for your website, including one-page designs (perfect for throwing something up there quickly).

This has the steepest learning curve out of the three. But following my guide and choosing a simple template (you can change this later) will make things easier.

Here is a free tutorial on how to get started with WordPress.

LeadPages (The Easiest Way to Get Started)

Click here to check out LeadPages (affiliate link)

I use LeadPages on this site and for To Fluency. Mainly, I utilize it for landing pages, thank you pages, webinar pages etc.

However, you can use it to have your first online presence. You don’t need to buy hosting for this (although, you could host it on your site) as you can put it on LeadPage’s server. It will look like this: yourname.leadpages.net.

Once your main website is ready, you can redirect traffic from LeadPages to your site.

This is for those who want a good-looking site with minimal effort.

A Website Builder (The Middle Option)

I created my first site using Yola.

This is a website builder that is really easy to use.

Other options include Weebly (aff link), Wix (aff link), and SquareSpace.

The upside of using one of these services is that you don’t need to worry about the technical side of things.

The downside is that you give up some control and it usually ends up being more expensive.

You could always start with this option or LeadPages, and then move over to WordPress when you’re ready.

What to Include on Your First Website

In the video, I talked about having a one-page site that will give you an online presence straight away. You don’t need to worry about having a blog, a contact us page, a pricing page etc. at this stage.

You want people landing on this site to do one thing. This might be to contact you, sign up for your email list, or request a trial lesson.

Once you have your site ready, you can go through your contacts, advertise, and post in the relevant places to drive people to your new site.

This won’t take long at all.

It’s all about getting something up there, getting learners into your lessons, and then taking things from there.

(Note: I go through this process in-depth inside The Teach English Online Course)

Over to You

Do you have any questions about this process? If so, leave them in the comment section below.

If you already have a website, share your experience with getting started.

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


Build Teaching Business on the Side

How to Transition into Online Teaching while Working a Full-Time Job

Build Teaching Business on the Side

Each month, I speak to dozens of teachers about making the transition into online teaching.

While some are able to work full-time on their new business, others have other things – jobs, young children, university, travel etc. – that get in the way.

I often get asked questions like, “Should I quit my job and just go for it?”

In most situations, I don’t recommend doing this. I believe the better option is to build your online teaching business on the side and then make the transition when the time is right.

Before I talk about how to do this, I want to start with a story.

How I Transitioned into Online Teaching

When I was in Bilbao, I created a website called Inglés Bilbao. Although I was teaching in a language school at the time, I wanted to get some private students to earn extra money on the side.

I stuck up fliers throughout the city, posted on classified websites, and invested about $50 in Google Adwords.

After a few weeks, I had a group class of three (earning $50 an hour), and 3-4 other private students ($32 an hour – but usually 90-minute lessons).

As the year progressed, my website started to show up in the rankings and I got more and more requests. I received plenty of referrals, too. If we had stayed in Bilbao, I would have gone full-time with this. But we moved to Valencia and I started the process again.

In Valencia, I added a page for Skype lessons and expanded my reach to other cities in Spain and Italy.

To finish the story: I realized the potential for online lessons and started a new site that wasn’t restricted to Valencia. I built this up while I was living in Spain and then started full-time when my wife and I moved to the U.S.

I managed to build these sites and build up my online presence while working a regular teaching job.

And you can do this too.

How to Transition into Online Teaching

Hopefully, my story highlights that there are ways to get into online teaching without having to quit what you’re doing now.

Although there will be situations where ‘just going for it’ might be the best approach, I feel that for most cases, building something on the side and transitioning when the time is right is the safest option.

Here are some tips to make this process work for you:

Set a Date When You Want to Make the Transition

When I knew I was going leave Spain and move to the U.S., I had a specific goal (20 hours of online teaching) with a specific deadline (January 2011).

If you have something going on at the moment, it can be very easy to have a ‘someday’ mentality and keep putting things back..

For example, after reaching my initial goal, I had plans to expand my online business (products, courses etc.) but I kept putting this off.

It wasn’t until I started setting deadlines again for my specific goals that I actually made progress.

Write down when you want to make the transition and set a deadline for this. Create breakthrough goals too. This helps you break things down so that you can build momentum.

Use Project Management Software

Getting things down on paper (yes, I know, software isn’t technically paper!) takes the pressure off trying to rely what’s in your head.

I use Asana for every new project I embark upon. To give you an example, I’m writing a free ebook for English learners that will fit into my email responder. There is a lot to do here. However, all the tasks, ideas, files etc. are organized inside this app.

I highly recommend using Asana or a similar app to help you stay organized and on top of things. After going through your plan of action, create separate projects in your software and give deadlines for each one.

Build Your Online Presence and Your Audience

You will need an online presence if you teach online. The earlier you start building this, the better.

Don’t get overwhelmed with having to create a Facebook page, YouTube channel, Instagram account etc. right from the get-go. Instead focus on the basics: get a website/web page up there, a business email account (this will come with your hosting), and an email marketing account.

Start bringing people onto your site and into your audience and write for this audience on a consistent basis through email and/or a blog post.

What you write about will ultimately come down to the type of English you want to teach and who you want to target. Understand the problems your audience has and be valuable by solving these problems.

Get Teaching

Write down times during the week when you are available to take lessons. Then, get teaching.

You will learn so much from giving lessons online, even if it’s only one hour per week.

It makes everything real. It helps you practice what to say in a trial lesson. It will make you a better online teacher.

Use the methods that I used in Spain (I go into much more depth with this inside TEOC) and bring in your first learners as soon as possible.

Find Time to Work on This

A job, partner, kids, friends, hobbies, TV, sports… there is a lot going on in our lives that make it hard to work on building your business.

That is why I recommend taking a look at your schedule to find slots during the week that you reserve for this project.

For most, this will be mornings, lunchtimes, evenings, and weekends. You might find time during your working hours too – for example, if your student cancels, get to work. But I recommend setting boundaries, otherwise, your work could suffer.

There might be weekends when you spend hours working but, over the long-term, you will want to make it sustainable.

Beware of Legal Implications

I receive messages from teachers working for certain companies telling me that their contract states that they can’t do their own thing while working for these companies.

In fact, I heard from a teacher that one company bans anyone doing their own thing one or two years after leaving. Crazy!

You don’t want to find yourself in trouble further down the line. Therefore, know if you are legally allowed to do this while working your current job.

In most cases, it’s fine. But it’s worth checking.

Enjoy it and Celebrate Your Successes

There are times when I do get stressed about my online business. When I do, I just ask myself, “How can I do this while having fun?”

Switching off from it all helps too. Turn off notifications and set boundaries for when you do your work.

Celebrate your successes no matter how small. And enjoy it. This is a lot of fun and I’ll never take the freedom that comes with having my own online business for granted.

Over to You

Have you made the transition into online teaching? Are you currently making this transition?

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


How to Teach Phrasal Verbs

How to Teach Phrasal Verbs by James Heywood

This is a guest post from James Heywood at Off2Class. Take it away James…

Teaching phrasal verbs is an inevitable step as students gain proficiency and aim for a more natural speaking style. Native speakers use phrasal verbs frequently and it is likely that your students will have already asked about the meaning of common phrasal verbs, such as get out, fall off and break down, even before you make them a specific lesson topic.

The challenge with phrasal verbs is that it is often just as challenging for the teacher as for the student… Today I’m going to lay out the general attack plan I use to tackle phrasal verbs with my own students.

Disclaimer #1: I focus on teaching one-on-one lessons online and have developed a set of my own phrasal verbs resources that I use to teach online, though most of my strategy (and resources) can be adapted for an in-person or group teaching approach.

Disclaimer #2: Teaching your student phrasal verbs is not a skill that you can cover in one lesson! You’ll need a series of sessions with your student before they feel comfortable weaving even basic phrasal verbs into their everyday speech. We suggest introducing one grammar concept at a time then return regularly to lessons focused on phrasal verbs.

Disclaimer #3: You must introduce the necessary grammar with your students so that they can make sense of constructions. Many teachers feel awkward answering students’ questions about phrasal verbs, and it’s generally because many teachers do not possess the knowledge of the grammar to answer the question.

Additionally, teachers don’t agree on the grammatical terminology (I actually prefer multiword verbs to phrasal verbs but I won’t get into that here). Whatever you call this area of grammar, just be sure to know your terminology. You need to pick a set of resources that you are comfortable with and stick with it!

Without covering some grammar you will have difficulty eventually explaining that these sentences are correct:

– I completed my assignment and handed it in on time.
– The policeman let him off.
– The children picked on me.

While the following are incorrect:

– I completed my assignment and handed in it on time.
– The policeman let off him.*
– The children picked me on.

My Approach to Teaching Phrasal Verbs

First, multiword verbs can belong to three main groups:

  • Phrasal Verbs – verb + particle

look up, call off, run into, take off

  • Prepositional Verbs – verb + preposition

decide on, apply for, stand for, depend on

  • Prepositional Phrasal Verbs – verb + particle + preposition

put up with, look forward to, run up against

A particle is not an adverb or a preposition, but yet, has the same form!

I prefer the grammar terms used by Cowan in ‘The Teacher’s Grammar of English’, which define groups such as:

Transitive or intransitive (transitive phrasal verbs require a direct object intransitive do not)

Transitive Phrasal Verbs

Separable Transitive Phrasal Verbs
Separable or inseparable (for separable phrasal verbs, the direct object can come between the verb and the particle)

Separable and inseparable phrasal verbs

At times, the grammar can feel a little intense!

I like to introduce one grammatical concept to a student at a time, such as the properties of separable transitive phrasal verbs, and introduce some common phrasal verbs definitions and examples in context. We then take a break from the topic, and come back to attack the next section of grammar and common phrasal verbs definitions and examples.

At Off2Class, in addition to covering all the grammar, you’ll find 19 phrasal verbs lessons that contain no grammar at all – they introduce common phrasal verbs and provide examples and context for each verb introduced:

Back Down Phrasal Verb

Teaching Phrasal Verbs

A note on dictionaries: A good dictionary is vital to understand and use phrasal verbs for your students. This can be either an online resource or a regular hardcopy dictionary.

Phrasal Verbs in Dictionaries

So as a summary: You must introduce grammatical terminology to allow a student to reach high proficiency with phrasal verbs. However, go slowly. Introduce the grammatical properties one at a time, and then introduce a number of common phrasal verbs that possess the property. Move from controlled to free activities slowly. And most importantly, return again and again to the previous grammatical terms and properties covered.

*In no time at all your student will understand that let someone off is a permanently separated transitive phrasal verb!

Phrasal Verb Webinar

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

About the Author

James is an online ESL teacher and co-founder of Off2Class. He has a background in language and linguistics and has logged over 4500 hours of online ESL tutoring in the last 3 years. You can read more about him here. He is head of content creation at Off2Class and has recently released our Phrasal Verbs category, which includes 32 lessons designed to get you teaching Phrasal Verbs to your ESL students.

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


Batching Tasks

Batching Tasks when Teaching Online

There is so much to do as an online teacher.

This includes the teaching, planning, admin, responding to emails, creating content, website setup etc. And with all this comes a lot of distractions.

In this video, I talk about how batching tasks will help you become more productive and focused.

Useful Links

How to Organize Your Time

How to Become More Productive (there is a link to the project management software I use)

Over to You

Do you batch tasks? If so, how do you do it?

Thanks for watching!

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


Useful WordPress Plugins

Three Useful WordPress Plugins for Your Teaching Website

Useful WordPress Plugins

It’s easy to go plugin-crazy after installing WordPress.

Plugins add functionality to your site and a lot of them do really cool things.

But my criteria for a plugin is that it has to be useful and it has to be secure.

If it doesn’t help your site do what you want it to do, don’t add it. And be sure to only download plugins from trusted developers. Look at the reviews and ensure that the plugin you’re getting is up to date.

The bottom line is: think quality, not quantity.

And with that in mind, I want to share three plugins that I love, starting with one that will help your site be found in the search engines.

WordPress SEO

(Click here to check out SEO WordPress)

I wrote a post a few months back on how I suggest online teachers approach SEO.

In a nutshell: write articles that are valuable for those in your niche and customize your site for the search engines without going overboard.

Write for humans, not for Google.

The easiest way to customize your site (onsite SEO) is to use this plugin.

I use it to modify the title, description, and keywords of a page or post. There is so much more that you can use it for and things can get technical very quickly. Luckily, the kind folks over at Yoast have written a getting started guide to make things easier.

One feature that I particularly like about the plugin is you can change the way your posts look on social media. Here is a screenshot of what you can change:

Facebook Social Share

This means that you can create click bait headlines inside Facebook – “You will not believe the plugins that this English teacher is using! Number 3 changed my life!” – while keeping your original headline on your website!

Just kidding.

I use this to change the description on some posts and ensure that the picture is optimized for the Facebook news feed. This optimal size keeps changing (right now it is 470 x 246 – I usually double it) but it’s worth keeping up with this to make your images look great on Facebook.

SkimLinks

(Click here to learn more about Skimlinks)

Let’s see if you can follow along with this…

This link is an affiliate link that will take you to a site where you can add affiliate links on your site – just like this link. If you decide to start using this plugin and make money from it, I will get a small commission.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Affiliate marketing is where you promote products or services that you haven’t created yourself. If someone makes a purchase through your link, you receive a commission.

I have affiliate links throughout this site. For example, in my tutorial on WordPress, there are affiliate links for hosting, themes, and domain name purchases.

One problem you’ll face if you promote multiple products on your site is that you’ll have to go through the process of signing up with each merchant. Sometimes, the payment thresholds for these merchants are quite high meaning that it might take you a while to get paid. And it can be a pain to go into your account to find your affiliate link every time you need to add it.

Skimlinks has solved these problems.

It works like this: you get an account, install the plugin, and then all you need to do is type the merchant link directly onto your site. Skimlinks automatically turns the links on your blog into affiliate links.

Another benefit is that because they are dealing with high sales numbers, the company often negotiates higher commissions. And they allow those who can’t sign up to Amazon Affiliates due to geographical restrictions the ability to market Amazon products.

It’s difficult to make a living from affiliate marketing, but I certainly don’t complain about the extra income it brings in. And Skimlinks simplifies this for you.

Disqus

This picture below – taken from this article – made me laugh.

blog comments

Source: priconomics.com

I haven’t found this to be the case on my sites; I’m actually quite surprised at how many thoughtful comments are left (thank you!).

A part of this is down to me using Disqus. With most other commenting systems, you leave your name, email, and URL. Your name links to the URL you left. This gets spammers excited.

With Disqus, you can sign in with a native Disqus account (when you click someone’s name, it pops up with a bio), through your social accounts, or as a guest (just your name and email).

This reduces the amount of spam you get.

It looks a lot better than the native WordPress commenting system and there is a really cool thing about it too…

When someone leaves a comment on your blog, you are sent an email notification. Hit reply, type in your response, and your comment will show up on your blog. This saves you from having to go to the blog post each time you reply.

Over to You

Are you going to start using one of the above plugins? Already doing so? Please leave your thoughts below.

And please share any plugins that you find useful.

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


Free vs Paid

Free vs Paid: How to Find the Right Balance as an Online Teacher

Free vs Paid

If you are an online teacher, you will already know the importance of giving things away for free.

This includes articles/ebooks you have written, videos you have made, trial lessons, and your time.

But how much should you offer for free? How much time should you spend helping others without payment? And what content should you reserve for paying clients?

This post lays out some guidelines on how to strike the right balance between free vs paid content/lessons. But first, I explain the importance of helping learners for free.

Why Offer Content and Your Time for Free?

The reason behind creating free content and helping learners is simple: it helps you grow your teaching business.

For example, my YouTube channel has nearly 50 videos now. A percentage of those who come across one of my videos will take further action by either signing up to my email list or by purchasing my course.

This is called content marketing and if you do it right, it can be very powerful.

Although the content you create is free, it still has to be high quality. Creating things that are valuable will help you reach more people, show your value to prospective clients, and ultimately result in more sign-ups.

In addition to free content, you can also help learners directly.

One of my earliest posts on this blog talked about charging for a trial lesson. If you are just starting out, you will most likely offer this for free. You can also help learners directly by answering questions on social media and through email.

Again, this is showing that you’re a real person, that you’re there to help, and it offers a glimpse into the value you offer.

Starting conversations with learners in your niche is one of the most powerful ways to sell something. That is why I have systems in place so that I can start as many conversations as possible (more on this later).

A good example to highlight all of this is the free samples on offer at Farmers Markets. These samples attract you to the stall, let you know how good the product tastes, and you soon enter a conversation with the seller.

And as you’ve been given something for free, you feel guilty about walking away without buying something. This is the reciprocity principle and it applies in the ESL/EFL industry too.

I hope you can see how important it is to help learners for free. But….

Nobody Wants to Be Taken Advantage Of

There are learners who will take a trial lesson without any intention to pay for future lessons.

There are learners who will ask you a thousand questions but will never buy anything from you.

There are learners who will read every article you have but will never send money your way.

And when the above happens, it can be discouraging, especially when you’re first starting out. You’ve just given your time to help someone and you get nothing in return.

Another concern is finding the balance between free and paid content. If you give away too much, won’t learners just take the free over the paid?

If you struggle in this area, the following will help…

Filter Learners

Filtering learners helps you spend most of your time on those who are able and willing to pay for what you offer.

This starts with your niche. For example, if you advertise in countries where credit card ownership is non-existent, you won’t get anything back in return. Therefore, targeting learners who are able and willing to pay is the first step.

You can also filter after the fact. For instance, you don’t have to administer all trial lesson requests – you can filter out those who you know won’t be able to pay for lessons.

There is a limit to how much you can filter – search engines, for example, will show your site in different countries – and the filters that you put in place will ultimately come down to you and where you currently are with your teaching business.

Create Rules

I receive so many emails and messages from learners who want to chat on Skype or elsewhere. If you have an online presence, I’m sure you get this too.

What I do in these situations is reply stating that I don’t have conversations with learners on Skype and send them a link to my landing page to get a free ebook. I let them know that they can ask me questions through email after signing up.

(Note: I use TextExpander to make this process much quicker.)

Think about rules that you can apply for the different situations you face.

Find the Balance Between Free and Paid

If you offer one-to-one or group lessons, you don’t need to worry too much about how much content you give away –  live lessons involve much more than what content offers alone.

In fact, the two can supplement each other: you can take the lessons plans you used with your learners in class and repackage them as articles, videos etc. It’s what I did for a long time on my old teaching site.

If you sell products, then you will no doubt have thought about exactly what you should give away for free and what you should reserve for your paid product.

You will probably have thought, “If I give away too much, nobody will buy my course.” But you also know that you need to create valuable content specific to your niche to grow your business.

Tricky, right?

One thing to note is that people buy for convenience and structure. For example, I came across a really useful video on photography and decided to buy the book they offered straight away. I did this knowing that I could have found most of the information on their YouTube channel for free. The book was laid out in a logical way, gave me exactly what I wanted to know, and saved me a lot of time.

This also shows how important it is to create valuable content: I bought the book because I was really impressed with the initial video.

Additionally, the course/product you offer can include support and feedback just for those who sign up. There is so much that you can add to a product than what you can include in an article on your blog.

Finding the balance between free and paid can be difficult, but don’t be scared of putting out free content that will help those in your niche. In my experience, the more you give, the more you receive.

Two Types of Learners and Finding Your Balance

There are two types of learners: those who will potentially buy your lessons/courses and those who won’t. And as I talked about earlier, you can filter learners in various ways so that you are spending your time more efficiently.

However, there is a lot to be gained from helping learners who will never buy anything from you.

Giving away free content and responding to emails from those who can’t afford what you offer just seems like the right thing to do.

And when you do this, those who you help are more likely to share your stuff which, in turn, helps build your brand.

——–

Providing free content and interacting with your learners is vital if you want to build your brand. How much free stuff you put out there depends on you and what you’re trying to build.

My own take on this, as I have talked about before, is to give as much as you can. This not only helps you sell more of what you have to offer, but it also helps you learn more about those who are in your niche. However, I do this on my own terms and think about ways that I can scale the free content and advice that I put out there.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave any comments you have below.

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


Interview Shayna

Shayna Oliveira Shares Her Story of How She Built Espresso English in Her Spare Time

One of the biggest challenges for teachers moving online is finding the time to get things moving.

Shayna, from Espresso English, shares how she built an online business while working in other positions in this latest interview.

In addition to sharing how she made the transition into going full-time with her business, I ask Shayna about how she built her brand into one of the most popular sites for English learners, what products she sells, how she markets her courses, and her plans for the future.

Watch in HD!

What We Discussed

Shayna started her website after one of her learners asked if she could send daily lessons by email. She soon realized that she could reach a lot more people this way and published the lessons on her new website.

The first stage of her online business lasted around 6 months. She posted consistently (nearly every day) taking inspiration from her offline classes. She then launched her first ebook “100 Common Errors in English”, and the feedback and sales from this encouraged her to keep moving forward.

While Shayna was building her brand, she was teaching in her local area and working 10+ hours per week for a web development client in the U.S. She waited for the right time to go full-time with her business, and her offline teaching was the first to go. After “chickening out” once, she quit her other job in 2014.

As of today, Espresso English offers 3 books, 9 online courses, and a monthly subscription program. There are 40,000 learners subscribed to her email newsletter and her site brings in 300,000 visitors a month.

Shayna puts her growth down to consistently giving away free content. In addition to her blog, she also posts videos on YouTube and has a popular podcast.

Shayna has used an email newsletter right from the start. In every email, she links to a relevant product. Her motto is, “Always present, never pushy.”

Shayna plans to go back and improve the courses she currently has. This will be based on the feedback she receives from those inside her courses.

Over to You

I really enjoyed interviewing Shayna and I have learned a lot from her during out mastermind meetings.

Her transition into online teaching is a perfect example of someone building something on the side and going full-time when the time is right. Additionally, the way she has consistently posted free content shows just how far you can take things if you stick at it.

I hope you enjoyed the interview. Please leave any comments or questions you have below!

You can connect with Shayna through the contact form on the Espresso English website.

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


Interview Jase

Jason R. Levine: Teaching English through Music, Travelling, and Helping Learners Do More in English

Jason R. Levine is an English teacher who travels the world performing songs he has written specifically for English learners.

In the interview, we talk about how he got started with making music, why he was nervous about putting his songs out there, what he likes most about doing workshops around the world, and how he uses social media to connect with and inspire English learners worldwide.

Watch in HD!

What We Discussed

After getting a masters in TESOL, Jase started teaching English in New York.

He started using music in the classroom right from the start to give learners more exposure to the language in a way that was fun and sustainable.

His first song, StickStuckStuck, has nearly three million views on YouTube. He talked about how he was a little nervous about putting this out there at first, but his learners persuaded him to do it. He didn’t have a plan for where he wanted things to go, but this song was the catalyst for his current success.

His first tour came about after a teacher in Morocco shared his video on Facebook. She pulled some strings and he headed over there to perform.

At this time, he also realized how powerful social media could be. He started using it as a way to get feedback from learners and teachers. We talked about how different online platforms have allowed him to expand his reach and help him inspire learners to do more in English.

It addition to the touring (Gallery Languages help with this), Jase has started creatings courses for learners and teachers. Here is a mini-course that he is going to teach in late June/early July.

Over to You

It is obvious from the interview that Jason is passionate about reaching English learners on a large scale. His work with teachers is incredibly inspiring too.

If you follow Jase on social media, you’ll realize that he enjoys sharing, commenting, collaborating, and working with other teachers. He is incredibly active and his success online is down to the work he puts in.

I would love to hear what you think about this interview, so please leave any comments you have below!

Follow Jason on Facebook here.

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online


Interview Andrea

Andrea Giordano on Teaching Online and Selling Products

Joining Teaching ESL Online in this latest interview is Andrea Giordano from ESL Basics.

Andrea and I recently collaborated on a video together and, after looking at her website and YouTube channel, I reached out to ask if she would like to share her online teaching story with us.

In the interview, we discuss how she got started, email marketing and social media, and her courses for English learners.

Watch in HD!

What We Discussed

Andrea started teaching English in 2006 while she was in the process of getting her TESOL. But after binge watching Food Network Star, she thought, “I can do this.” So, after bouncing ideas around with her brother, she decided to start teaching English through video.

She shot several hundred videos on her YouTube channel in the first couple of years and has continued uploading free content since then. Her biggest challenge in the beginning was working out who her audience was and how she was going to connect with them.

Most of her early videos were around 15-20 seconds long. As she became more comfortable and built up her experience teaching in the classroom, she started to make longer-form videos.

She regrets not starting an email list straight away but, when they did, it was a game-changer, and this is when they started to see their audience grow.

They have had ups and downs with YouTube – having your advertising cut off is never nice! – but it has helped them cast a wide net and bring more learners into their world.

Andrea interacts with learners through her various channels. She talked about how she reaches out to people through Twitter, not to sell them her courses, but to get the conversation going. As she mentioned, she really cares about helping learners improve their English.

They use Selz as their payment provider for their products. We both talked about how easy it is to set up and use, and Andrea mentioned how impressed she was with their customer service.

They have had much success with helping learners who need to take the Citizenship Test in the U.S. and have various products and videos in this area.

A new course (The Spoken Life) is going to be introduced soon (by the time you read this, it will most likely be live) and it is there to help English learners become more confident with their speaking.

You can reach out to Andrea by email or by contacting her through Twitter.

Over to You

I hope you enjoyed listening to Andrea’s story. Unfortunately, I messed up the recording of the video a little but we got to see her at the end!

One of the biggest takeaways for me was the amount of time she spends interacting with people online. Doing this shows that you care and helps you build trust with English learners.

Please let me know your thoughts on the interview in the comment section below!

WANT TO TEACH ONLINE? START HERE...

Well, hello there! I've been teaching online (independently) since 2011 and I'd LOVE to help you do this too. Curious about working from anywhere in the world and on your own terms? Just click the button below to get started!

how-to-teach-engish-online