5 Steps to Getting Private Clients
by Bryn Elizabeth Bonino,
founder of Teach English In Rome and Bryn Elizabeth Co.
Does a visit to Italy leave you awe-inspired? Do you want to live in il Bel Paese for a while and financially support yourself while you do? If you are TEFL certified, you are on the right path. In Rome alone there are over 100 English language schools. But the longer you teach in Italy, you’ll notice that the teachers who stay in the game the longest have a healthy book of private English students.
How can you do this too?
This post is designed to give you a few pointers to get you started with personally branding yourself as a boss of an English teacher so you will be more memorable to potential students and so can build your own healthy book of private clients.
Step #1: Get In The Business Mindset
Don’t think of yourself as an English teacher where students easily come to you. Think of yourself as a business that has to stand apart from other English teachers. Think of what you can offer your potential students that others can’t.
This may be because you live in a particular area and can serve that region more easily. Maybe you have gamified a curriculum and students have more fun while learning with you. Or maybe you leverage technology to teach online, so students can meet with you at work or from their own living room.
However you differentiate, figure out how to communicate this value to your prospective students wherever you communicate who you are.
Step #2: Look For Opportunity Everywhere
Tourism is a sizable and growing percentage of the Italian economy, and English is the lingua franca among many tourists. Additionally, a lot of technical and medical information heavily relies on English vocabulary.
This means that opportunities for private students exists in areas that will not advertise job postings.
You strike up a conversation with a waiter and she starts using her English with you, then says she wishes she spoke better. There’s your opportunity. If you meet someone at the gym and he mentions that he works for an international corporation, get more information. You may find that he needs an English teacher too.
What do you do when you recognize these opportunities? That’s when you leverage your professional image.
Step #3: Leverage Your Professional Image
Make it easy for someone to get your information to follow up with you.
Print professional business cards with your contact info and your headshot on it. You can get a JPG of your business card and text it to your potential students, this way you get their contact info too.
Either way, make sure you have a captivating image of you on your card. Why? Because 55 percent of all communication is visual. That’s why it’s worth hiring a professional photographer to make a flattering photo of you in beautiful Rembrandt lighting. You’ll be differentiated and memorable if you do.
Step #4: Keep A Contact List
Once you identify your opportunity and you have interested prospective students, make sure that you follow up with them.
As mentioned above, you can get their phone number to text them. Also ask for their email address. This way you can share with them information about what it would be like to work with you. Be sure to communicate your unique value and share with them the services you offer.
If they don’t sign up right away, check back in with them periodically. Maybe you can offer them helpful resources or a special deal that will keep you top of mind for when they are ready to make a purchase decision.
Step #5: Create A Digital Homebase
You’ll need a landing page or simple website that you can call all yours. Make sure this platform is where you only have information about you as an English teacher. This way you’ll brand yourself better.
Have your unique value and professional photo front and center. I recommend that below this you have a call to action button so people can get in touch with you.
Also be sure to share content that tells a bit about what you do. You can use this content to get more people to give you their email address so you can follow up to see if they are interested in working with you.
Living in Italy really can be a dream. I personally don’t know who I would be if Italy weren’t in my life. To make this dream last longer, remember that you are not solely an English teacher but you are also a business entrepreneur.
Elevate your teaching to a business and you’ll be able to earn more for your time. You’ll also be able to prolong the time that you spend following your passion in a country that has art, history, and culture around every corner.