After listening to an audio book on business, my theory on working less than 4 hrs a day was somewhat validated. I found it interesting because my rationale is very different than what I found in the book. I believe you should be teaching less than 4 hrs a day because doing more makes it difficult to deliver consistent quality. However, this book discussed tactics for earning more as a salesperson. Advanced English conversation teachers have to sell and so it would behoove you to listen up.
There are two main reasons for setting this cap:
– doing more hours is risky
– limiting your hours increases your earning potential
How is it risky? Well, imagine that you have 2 lessons booked back to back in the morning and also 2 more back to back in the evening. When those evening lessons come around, you may be tired and subsequently deliver a subpar lesson. Compromising on quality is a great way of hurting your reputation and your whole business. A client may have one bad experience and that’s all they need to leave.
Like anything else, there is a start up cost and a tear down cost to teaching. Although clever teachers can minimize these costs, they still exist to some extent. Therefore, an hour of teaching isn’t just an hour. It is an hour plus whatever time you need to prepare the human body for teaching. There is also an opportunity cost when teaching. For example, there may be a networking opportunity and you won’t be able to make it because you need to teach. Maybe the weather is beautiful today but you need to forego exercise in the sun because you need to teach. Maybe you had to sleep less because you have a lesson in the morning. When you start doing a lot of lessons, you may run into a situation where you start compromising quality. One of the riskiest things you can do is compromise quality because that is a great way of losing dedicated clients.
Now here’s the interesting part, setting this bottleneck can also increase your earning potential. Essentially, you can use this as a selling point in that when a new client requests a lot of your time, you can mention that you’re doing more hours than you’ve allocated and this they would have to pay an “overtime” rate. You can also use it to induce scarcity by telling a new potential client that you’re about to reach your limit and they should sign up now because then they may have to pay that overtime rate.
In fact, my packages reflect this time scarcity principle. When I present a package to a new client, I offer two options; meetings once a week or twice a week. Although both packages have 20 meetings in total, the only difference is that one is more frequent. I charge a premium for my students to have meetings with me twice a week rather than once a week. If they want results even faster, I may even offer three meetings a week for even more of a premium price.
Whether you limit your hours for financial reasons or personal ones, I’ve found that the ceiling for me is 4 hours per day. Doing any more than that takes away from the many other activities that I like to do. Sometimes you lose out on other opportunities because you have to teach. I’ve noticed that just one hour a day is the minimum for maintaining my teaching skills. As a result, I teach about 3 hours a day and spend my other time investing in myself, creating content, and living my life. If, of course, your expenses are higher than your income you’ll be tempted to teach more. Trading more time for money is not a good long term solution. In these situations, I recommend lowering your cost of living through minimalism, geoarbitrage, or a lifestyle change. None of these will be comfortable.
I teach because of the lifestyle and many other teachers do so for the same exact reason. Passionate teachers who are dedicated to this profession will not hesitate to make some of those uncomfortable changes that are required to be “successful” in this industry. The harsh reality is that working in education in this way is simply not as profitable as other professions and we as teachers need to understand that and identify workarounds. I continue to teach because teaching brings a lot of intrinsic satisfaction to me and I’ve found it difficult to find good alternatives. Until technology completely replaces us, I will continue to teach till the day I die. I made a decision long ago to become a master in teaching and thus I will never give up teaching. I will always teach at least a few hours a day while working on other projects with my other time. One of these projects is LessonSpeak.
I teach this specific niche because this niche exposes me to a certain type of person. It’s crazy because at this point I have a constant influx of new and interesting people who have a lot to offer me. Yes, I am talking about my students. These people are people who are taking action in regards to self development and these people usually have certain traits in common. The simple fact that they are doing this qualifies them in a certain way. After being part of a fraternity, I found immense value in qualifying the people that you expose yourself to. Teaching advanced English conversation lessons online is a fantastic way of qualifying people in your life while also getting paid. Students love it when I show personality and veer off in tangents because they don’t get that often enough. As a digital nomad, teaching brings me bth a sort of consistency and a fresh perspective on life. I am exposed to new people regularly. A certain type of person that I end up interacting with once or twice a week for the next 3 months, usually more. I feel selfish when I say this next part but exposing myself to people in this way fulfills a personal need of mine. Teaching advanced English conversation lessons online literally brings meaning to my life.
Not everyone is qualified to teach but I’ve made it easier for you. I created LessonSpeak to help other teachers like me save time on curriculum development and spend it instead with the people that they love. I’ve specialized in the art of curriculum development for learners of spoken English long ago. It takes a lot of time, expertise, and dedication to become a master in this type of work. Trust me when I say that most people just don’t “get it”. Be realistic, teachers simply can’t do it all… If you like to teach you can focus just on that but you have to be willing to pay for help in areas that you can’t do, like curriculum development. With LessonSpeak, you will confidently guarantee conversational fluency to your adult learners within 3 months. If you teach one-on-one advanced English conversation lessons online, try out some LessonSpeak samples in your next lesson!