In this episode, we’re talking to Christina from ‘Speak English with Christina’. She used to work for a language training company but today she runs a highly profitable online teaching business, mainly driven by her YouTube channel.
In this interview you will learn:
– How Christina built her YouTube channel
– How we went about hiring people
– What products and services she offers
– Christina’s best advice for other Langpreneurs
How ‘Speak English with Christina’ was born
Christina, originally from the US, has been living in France for about 15 years. She studied for her master’s degree in France and got a student job where she taught English at the local chamber of commerce in France. After she graduated, she started working for a language training company in France. The company would send her to three of four different companies each day where she would teach English. It was in 2014 when she had the idea of starting a blog so that she could provide her students with additional resources. After a few months, she had a few hundred subscribers and she surveyed them to see if they preferred blog articles or videos. They overwhelmingly voted for videos and that was how Christina’s YouTube channel ‘’Speak English with Christina’’ was born.
From side project to a business
In the beginning, Christina didn’t really have the aim of turning her side project into a business, but soon after she started she received her first requests from people who asked if she also taught online. More and more people started to contact her and that’s how her side project turned into a business. It took Christina about three years to build a following big enough to live off the business. Today she has 425K subscribers on YouTube and about 30K people on her mailing list. She offers all kinds of different courses and materials that include ebooks (7 EUR), a conversation groups membership programme (47 per month), online courses (129 – 297 EUR), private lessons with some of the teachers she works with (1200 EUR), a 3-month virtual immersion program (2000 EUR), 3-month business communication coaching (3000 EUR), and neo-language coaching with herself (4500 EUR).
When did you hire your first ‘employee’?
The idea came when one of Christina’s coaching clients asked for additional conversation practice. Christina wanted to focus on coaching, so she asked Cara from Leo-listening if she wanted to teach her students. Today, Christina works with six coaches and teachers in her business. In total there are about 15 people working on the business at any given time. Christina first hired a video editor and a virtual assistant. She then started working with other teachers and assistants. All of the people Christina works with are freelancers she has found on Upwork through word of mouth.
Christina hires someone when she’s feeling that she isn’t doing a good job on something, or when a certain task is too painful to do or takes too much time, and can be done better by someone else.
How Christina built her YouTube channel
The YouTube videos take a lot of preparation; what you see is really just the tip of the iceberg. She thinks that the success of her channel comes down to two things: First of all, consistency. Christina has published one video per week for the past five years.
Secondly, she finds it very important to interact with her students and really learn what they’re struggling with and what they want to learn. Once you understand that, you can create videos on those topics. So it’s really the process of creating videos on a consistent basis, asking for feedback, giving the audience what they want, and repeating that cycle.
‘’Don’t lose touch with the people who buy your products. Only if you understand your customers’ needs will you be able to create amazing products’’
What’s the business?
Although Christina makes some money with AdSense, she sees AdSense revenue more like a tipping jar. Her courses, on the other hand, are much more profitable. With some course launches, she has generated between 20 and 30 thousand euros in revenue.
The importance of getting a coach
Christina has invested heavily in coaching. She says that coaching is an expensive investment in general, but it’s definitely been one of the most worthwhile investments that she has made.
‘’You’re so deep in your business, it’s almost impossible to see what you need to see. Without a coach, I would be like navigating around blindly. It would have slowed the process of growing the business and made it a lot more frustrating’’
Software Christina uses in her business
For communication among the team members, they use Basecamp. With Basecamp you can organize teams by project, store documents, create message boards and to-do lists, and assign certain people to certain tasks. The students book their lessons directly with the teachers, so there is no central scheduling tool. The teachers have freedom in the way they teach. There isn’t a certain system that they have to follow. The idea is that the teachers focus on the students’ needs.
Why not just sell digital courses?
Most Langpreneurs seem to be selling digital courses. Christina is very big on selling live programs, but why? Christina says that, especially for English, there are already so many free materials available on the internet. So instead of offering learning materials, she offers a clear cut path to get learners from A to B, which involves speaking practice as well. For each of their programs, Christina always offers an online course, plus the option to participate in a live program. Many people go for live programs.
‘’It doesn’t matter where you are with your business, you always see people who are doing better. Don’t compare yourself to others, focus on yourself and take it step by step’’ ‘’Focus, don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick one thing to work on in your business and focus on it until you feel that you’re good enough before moving on’’