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You may still be wondering – why would anyone pick you as their teacher if there are so many other offering the same thing(s) that you do.

You may still think that when you offer your services to lots of different people, more people will come.

You may also think that the more you’ve got on offer, the more people you can help.

In this episode, I’m debunking those MYTHS and telling you exactly what to do if you want to stand out as a language teacher online. Listen now!

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Now, it’s time to go get richer, teacher!

Podcast transcription

Hey, hey, hey, and welcome to the third and final episode in that series of episodes for teachers who are only just thinking about setting up their own businesses or are starting or thinking of transitioning from teaching for schools to teaching for themselves fully.

Today we’re talking about how to stand out as a language teacher – especially online. The reason why I’m talking about this is because I hear one sentence so often and I think there is such a simple solution to that and a simple mindset shift that many more teachers need to understand, that I’ve decided to create this episode.

And, also, before I even start, I wanted to remind you that tonight there is a webinar. There is a fantastic webinar for teachers-beginners who are starting their teaching journey, or for teachers who are thinking of fully transitioning from working for schools to working for themselves. And you are invited, if you still haven’t signed up, the link is in the description of the video. I cannot wait to see you there. 

All right, so, the sentence… What do I hear most teachers say? “Why would anyone want to work with me if there are so many other teachers?” Such a good question, right? I bet you wondered that at least once in your teaching career.

Why would people choose you? Exactly. Why would they? And there is an answer to that. You might also be thinking: the more I’ve got on offer or the more people I tell that I can help, the more people I will actually attract. Or maybe you want to help everybody and you don’t want to leave anyone out – which is absolutely natural – you’re caring, you’re a teacher, you wanna help as many people as possible. So, now, let’s take those all apart.

[1] Number one: The fact that there are so many teachers and some people say – and I even say that – that the market of language teachers, especially English language teachers, is very saturated, is a fact. It is a fact. That, still, by the way, doesn’t mean that there is more supply than demand because there are billions of people who need to learn languages – and especially English, I would say – there aren’t enough teachers to help all of them. And, especially if you’re thinking that everybody wants native speakers – the big, big, big ESL myth – then you’re wrong. Not everybody wants that. And, also, there aren’t enough native speakers to cover all of that. So there is space for all of us out there, but you need to know how you stand out. So how do you stand out, dear teacher? What is so unique about you that makes people want to work with you? What are your strengths? What have you always been so good at that people always commented on it? What have you always received amazing feedback on? What is on demand as well? So these are the questions that you will have to answer, which form the little diagram of how you are gonna make sure that you stand out, which is choosing your own niche.

So when you know what your strengths and passions are, you will see that there is no other person like you in the world. You might be good at teaching vocabulary in English and be very interested in that, but you might also have certain hobbies and interests, and personality traits that make you completely different from your colleague who likes the same things but is more introverted and likes books, for example, compared to you who likes fitness, right?

Stupid examples, very shallow – I’m very sorry – but you get the point. There will always be something about you personally that makes you stand out, and that’s enough. That’s enough. 

Number two: the social proof. Remind yourself what’s always been that thing that people commented on or the group of people that you’ve always loved working with.

What did they always say? Why was it so pleasurable? Or why was it so special for you? And dig that out of your memory box. Maybe you’ve saved their testimonials somewhere (Why not? I would’ve and I definitely do now.) and remind yourself, because that will be the second element. So, not only your strengths, but the external proof that you are good, particularly good at something. 

Number three: And the next thing is the market demand. That’s the completely external thing, not really related to what your passions are and what people have always given you good feedback on, but the market demand. This is something that you will have to research. You’ll have to check what people need, what there is demand for. It’s not enough to just pick something that you like because you might wanna teach people and your niche might be too narrow based on your passions or hobbies – which is actually very rare – but it’s also important that there are people who would be potentially interested in paying for your services. So, market demand will be really, really important. 

Remember three factors that will be deciding factors on why would anyone want to work with you if there are so many other teachers: your strengths and passions, your social proof and market demand. 

[2] Now let’s move on to the second one: you might be thinking that if you’ve got more, you offer more services, more people will join. That’s actually very counterproductive, counterintuitive, the effect of that is actually quite opposite because if people cannot identify themselves with what you offer, then it’s hard for them to see you as a solution.

So the easiest path for teachers – especially those who are solopreneurs, who are starting on their own – is to specialize, is to become the go-to person in one field or for one group of people. It’s a much easier path to becoming an authority as someone that others trust and want to recommend further because they see the value in that.

To give you my own example: when I first started my coaching business, I was considering doing more general coaching for all teachers, but I’ve decided to start with a narrow niche of English language teachers. And what that did to me is that I’ve become known in that field because there were no other coaches for English language teachers. There were people who were helping, but in completely different ways, or helping teachers in general. But I’ve gained authority and I’ve become known for what I did. Then I decided to expand that niche and now I help other language teachers, which was only possible because I started strong within a narrow niche.

So, again, if you’re still thinking: “Oh, but I don’t know how to decide”, unfortunately, that’s the thing I cannot help you with. Indecisiveness or not making a decision is also a decision. Remember that if you are trying to focus on too many things at once, you are not focusing on anything properly. You’re spreading yourself thin, which is making it difficult for you to actually connect with people who might be interested in your service, to create content for them, to create offers that they will be interested in, and that’s what it all comes down to. 

There might be another block that you may have, which is again because of the nature of who you are and why you went into teaching in the first place: you don’t wanna leave anyone out. You don’t want to just not work with some people because you might see it as unfair. I totally get that but, on the other hand, think about it. If we go back to the argument that there are so many teachers and the market is saturated, then think about it this way: you don’t have to help everybody. You can help a certain group of people who will totally appreciate your help because you’ve specialized so well that you can help them at a higher level. And then those people that you cannot help, will find somebody else. If everybody niched down and became specialists at something, then every student in the world would have their perfect teacher. Wouldn’t that be beautiful? Wouldn’t that be better than students having to study in generic courses that are not very effective? Wouldn’t it?

[3] And, finally: nicheing and specializing is a marketing strategy. It is a marketing strategy not only because you become known and you look more professional – which are all true – they are also absolutely crucial when you’re thinking about creating offers (whether they are one-to-one offers or maybe later teaching groups or other offers like selling materials, or whatever else you can think of) this is also absolutely crucial when it comes to marketing your business, for example on social media. Because when you know your people, when you know the people that you can help, it’s so much easier to come up with content ideas. It’s not gonna be word of the day content which you might see everywhere, it’s not gonna be just teaching people grammar in your posts – unless it’s relevant to your niche, because that could be the case as well – but you will have it much easier to come up with things that actually resonate with your audience, which we want. We will want to create that kind of effect. 

And, that is it, my dear teacher. I didn’t wanna spend too long talking about this because this is simple. There is a certain decision to be made here and it’s up to you how soon you make it.

If you have a few groups or a few types of courses that you are interested in teaching, pick one. Then you can always change; you can always expand, but it’s so much easier to focus on just one. Believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve tried three completely different niches and doing them all at once was exhausting and completely distracting for my audience and for my potential clients. It wasn’t effective: it hurt my marketing actually and it made me spread myself too thin. So, make that decision and make sure that you know how you stand out because it’s your job, it’s your job to figure out how you stand out. I’ve recently had to redo that activity and tell somebody how I stand out so that I could build new assets in my business and it’s an amazing activity because it also shows you that: “Hey, there is competition but I will always be okay. Some people will go to my competition, and that’s absolutely fine, that’s beautiful. Other people can help them, but there will be people who will always come to me, and I know the reasons why”.

Do you know your reasons? 

All righty! Thank you so much for being here, and my final reminder: if you’re interested in joining us in the Richer Teachers – the awesome community and membership for teachers building their own businesses, teachers at different levels (some beginners, some more advanced) people who wanna learn from each other, people who are there to support each other and create this online space, online staff room for teachers of languages – then make sure that you join us tonight for the webinar. The link is in the description of the episode. 

Also check out the page for Richer Teachers. I would love to have you there, and as I mentioned before, there is a completely new course dropping in that membership on the foundations of building your teaching business. It’s an amazing resource and I’m making it available only for the members of Richer Teachers so that people who have been doing it for a while can get reminded of the basics and the foundations. And you – a person who might only be thinking of starting – will know what to do, will get clarity and the steps to follow to build your sustainable and profitable teaching business. 

Let me know if there are any questions. I’m always happy to connect with you and I hope to see you tonight at the webinar, and I’ll also see you here next week in the next episode.

It’s not your fault that you don’t know how to make good money as a teacher or how to market your teaching. Nobody’s ever taught you. I’m on a mission to change that. Teachers make the world a better place and they can be excellent at business – they just need direction. That’s what I’m giving you here and on my YouTube channel under the same name. Make sure that you also follow me on Instagram at ola_coaches_teachers, and check out my website: www.olakowalska.com to see if any of my paid offers, including my one-to-one coaching, my business foundation course “The Rocket”, or my membership for teachers in business could be the right fit for you. 

I’ll see you soon in the next episode.