What do you need in order to teach a language online, as a self-employed language teacher? In this article, I’ll take you through some of my favourite tools that I use every week when I run my online teaching business, and that make my life so much easier.
If you want to grab a full Tools and Resources Guide with all the tools and programmes that I use, click here.
This is the booking system that I switched to early 2018, after nearly crying with frustration over my previous system, and I have not looked back once.
Here are the reasons for why I love them:
· It is so easy to use, the design is really intuitive and simple to set up.
· They allow for you to block out time between appointments (so you could for example offer 50 min lessons — 10:00–10:50 — so you can have a toilet/tea break in between)
· They offer packages. This was one of the major reasons for why I switched to them. I sell a lot of packages of 10 lessons (for a discounted price), and it is really easy to do this.
· They allow for Intake Forms, so you can ask your students some questions when they book their first lesson (for ex what level they are on, what their Skype ID is, and other relevant things). This saves you time, so you don’t have to separately email a new student to ask for these things.
· Their system for sending out automatic email reminders before lessons is great.
· Their time zone feature is great too, so your students can book in their own time zone but it will show the times in your time zone for you.
· Their support is just fabulous, friendly and fun. Some of the articles in their support archive have make me laugh out loud.
2 Paypal business
You can use the free Paypal version to take payments, but then you can only accept payments from students who also have Paypal, so this can be quite limiting.
It is, in my opinion, better to sign up for a Paypal Business account as this allows you to also take payments via credit card. Paypal Business adds a small transaction fee to each transaction, so take this into account when you price your lessons, and make sure this you add this cost to the cost of a lesson.
You receive the money into your Paypal Business account and can transfer it for free, anytime you want, to your bank account.
This is the programme I use to create social media posts. There is a free version that is a little limited in terms of dimensions you can use, but it is pretty good too.
I first used the free version, but later upgraded to the paid one (it’s about £10 per month) when I realised that you can get all the dimensions you want as templates (so if you want to create a Facebook post, you just click on that template, if you want an Instagram post, you choose that one). For me it was worth it. But the free one is a good start as well.
The programme itself (it’s web-based) is really fun to work in, you can use free templates/designs/icons/pictures, and you can also upload your own.
I have in other blog posts written about why you should have an email list, so if you haven’t read these, go on and do that now. Mailchimp is one of the major programmes for list building.
There are other ones too (Convertkit, which I am currently testing out too, Drip, Constant Contact, Active Campaign, and more), but I have gone for Mailchimp for my own language teaching email list, as they have a free version for up to 2,000 subscribers. So it’s pretty sufficient for a small business. And they have all the things you will need to grow your list, design landing pages, newsletters and even set up free email courses.
Buffer is a tool I use to schedule my social media posts. It’s basically a software that you can use to input pictures and captions (and hashtags of course) and then schedule when you want Buffer to post them to your social media channels. You can queue up to 10 posts at any one time in up to 3 social media channels (for ex Facebook, Instagram and Titter) in their free version.
The thing you can’t do is to schedule Buffer to post videos (it’s apparently not allowed), but you can add them still and Buffer will then send you a reminder when you need to post your video. But it posts pictures automatically. This is a great tool as you can batch your posts and put them all in the queue. No more “oh what should I post today”.
If you want my full Tools and Resources List, including website domains, web hosts, organising tools, measuring tools, social media platforms, teaching tools and more, click here to download the full list.