Lindsay is the creator of ‘Lindsay Does Languages’. She helps language learners to learn better on their own, and helps teachers create a sustainable online teaching business.
These days, she’s best known for her blog and YouTube channel, but she also hosts a podcast. In this interview we’re going to learn: – How to start teaching online
– Which platform you should pick (YouTube, IG, podcast or other)
– How to teach languages in a smarter way and grow your business
How Lindsay got into teaching languages
Lindsay started teaching when she was about 16 or 17 years old. At school, she had to do what was called ‘community service’, and hers involved going along to a language class once a week, teaching11 year-old children. That was her first experience of teaching languages. Later, she went to Costa Rica for three months to teach English. She loved the experience as a teacher, so when she returned to the UK she found a job as a teaching assistant for children with additional needs, in the language department.
Unfortunately, it was a low paid job, so Lindsay had to look for opportunities to teach students after she had finished her work. She started the same job at a second school and hated it. In 2012, she went full-time teaching on her own and in 2014 she started teaching online. These days she doesn’t teach anymore, but instead she develops courses and programmes that help students to better learn by themselves, and for teachers to teach online and make a good living from it.
The joy of working for yourself
Lindsay loves her work because it gives her the freedom she wants, while she can still continue working directly with people.
‘’If you teach languages at school you need to follow the school programmes. I’m now in charge of what direction we take things in and that’s what I love about it.’’
Can you really make a full-time living on platforms like iTalki and Verbling?
Probably not anymore, according to Lindsay. There is too much competition these days, and depending on which country you live you could actually make less than the minimum wage. These platforms are a good place to build confidence and gain experience, but if you want to build a sustainable business you should build your platform on the side.
Building an online following
Lindsay already had a website, so she came up with the idea to add a blog to it so that people who were searching online for language learning-related topics could find her. The first YouTube video she created was the introduction video for her iTalki profile. Her husband is a video creator, so he helped her with the recording and they gave it a creative spin. While editing the video her husband realized that Lindsay was actually very good on camera. ‘You should do YouTube!’ he said. Lindsay thought; ‘what harm could it do to just have a couple of videos up?’, and so she gave it a try. She created videos on topics like; ‘What is Language?’, ‘9 Reasons to Learn a Language’, ‘9 Reasons to Learn Spanish’, etc. She received many positive reactions from viewers and her channel grew much faster than she expected.
Which platform should you pick, YouTube, Instagram, or a podcast?
Ask yourself what you are good at and play to your strengths. Don’t follow what’s trendy but instead pick a medium that fits your personality well and that comes easy to you.
Don’t think that you need to be on all social media platforms. Especially in the beginning, focus on one thing that you know you can do really well, and do it really well – you can always add another platform later if you already have the traction.
Setting realistic goals
If you want to build a platform, set realistic goals. Ask yourself what you can do every single week. Building an audience takes time and you need to be consistent, so set realistic goals. Create quality content on a consistent basis; that’s how you build a sustainable online business.
How to teach languages in a smarter way and grow your business.
Lindsay suggests you ask yourself the following question: ‘’How can I help people best in the most effective way, and how can I help more people in the same amount of time?’ The key is not to teach more hours but package what you offer in a smarter way. For example:
If you offer one-on-one teaching, instead of charging by the hour, offer packages. Let your students pay beforehand, that way they will be more likely to show up.
Sell subscription-based programmes. Offer group lessons so that you can help more people at the same time. Use scheduling tools like Acuity scheduling and Calendry. Offer replays to the students who can’t make it to your lessons. Sell digital products like ebooks, courses, learning materials, membership programmes, and live training sessions.
Lindsay’s final tip: be unique! Why should someone take lessons with you? Develop a certain approach toward learning the languages that you teach and make it clear what you’re about. Stand out from the crowd!
What kind of courses should you create?
Ask yourself the following questions: – What do your students want? – What are you good at? – What knowledge do you already have? If you can find something that touches on all of them, you’ve found the sweet spot!