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Freelance English Teacher, Carla, Growing Her Business Through Social Media

Skills You Need to Launch a Freelance Online English Tutoring Business

Connecting with language learners on social media has helped Bridge IDELTOnline graduate Carla Martinez, an online English teacher and translator from Brazil, build a client base and grow her business. For the last two years, she has been giving English language tips to her fellow Brazilians through YouTube, Instagram, and her own website. Are you curious about how she did it? Read on to find out!

Hi Carla! How did you start marketing your English classes online?

Well, I’d been studying a little about digital marketing when I started my blog in December 2018. My goal was to talk about the hardships of learning English that most Brazilian students face but no one really talked about, such as the fear of speaking and how to overcome it.

Carla in her home office, which also serves as her studio for filming video content for social media

Carla in her home office, which also serves as her studio for filming video content for social media

How did you expand your marketing techniques to various social media platforms?

Soon after I created my blog, I started my YouTube channel in Brazilian Portuguese with the purpose of discussing such topics but also answering students’ questions about both grammar and studying.

One of Carla's YouTube videos on learning English

One of Carla’s YouTube videos on learning English.

Also, I started producing content for Instagram and Facebook, with English tips that everyone could use. At this point, I worked as a private teacher but didn’t have a full schedule yet.

Last year, I wrote an e-book and launched an online course, both to help people tackle learners’ fear of speaking English.

Then, earlier this year, I started another Instagram profile, The Simple Grammar, exclusively about English grammar for speakers of Brazilian Portuguese.

Carla's second Instagram page, which focuses on English grammar tips

Carla’s second Instagram page, which exclusively focuses on English grammar tips

Also, I’ve recently started to make videos 100% in English to my YouTube channel so people have the opportunity to practice their listening skills with a non-native speaker. And this week I’m launching a course on English for job interviews. None of that would’ve been possible if I wasn’t willing to dedicate some time to getting out of my comfort zone.

Where do you get inspiration for the content you share on social media?

There are so many brilliant English teachers who produce incredible content – it would be unfair to name only a few. But I’m highly inspired by my peers and their passion for teaching, by my own students who share their questions and expectations with me, and of course by the online users who take their time to send me questions, feedback, etc. Those are the people who inspire me the most because they are the ones I want to help. My main goal is to make English learning as democratic as possible.

How has social media helped you become closer to your potential students?

Giving people space to ask whatever questions they want has been a great way of creating trust and listening to what they actually need.

How has marketing on social media helped you in growing your own English teaching business?

After a couple of months of marketing online, all my free slots were taken because people started to listen to me and trust me. Now, more prospects look for me than I can teach.

How has your knowledge of digital marketing helped you in developing your social media marketing strategies?

Studying digital marketing has been vital to accomplish everything I have so far. It taught me the best ways to edit material and the differences between social media platforms, how to interact with followers, and how to use Instagram professionally.

Carla in one of her YouTube videos

Carla in one of her YouTube videos. Credits: Teacher Carla Martinez YouTube channel

What do you enjoy about producing English language-related content and marketing on social media?

The technical part of producing content is quite exciting and new for me, such as learning how to edit videos, use Canva to make posts, and study new marketing techniques. But nothing beats being able to connect to people we can help. Answering their questions, helping them study more effectively, encouraging them – mainly adults who thought they could never learn another language – to try harder and not give up. People want to be heard, and this interaction is simply priceless.

On the other hand, what are the challenges of marketing through social media?

Digital marketing can be very disappointing if you let yourself be diminished by famous peers and content producers who have been doing it for much longer than you, and if you only focus on numbers. Being a one-person company is also incredibly challenging with all the new things you need to learn, so the thought of giving up crosses your mind more often than not. However, you need to focus on the lives you’re helping change and believe in the long-term results your hard work will bring. Nothing happens overnight. Patience, hard work, and keeping your feet on the ground will allow you to do the best work you can.

Do you have any tips for freelance English teachers who want to market themselves online?

What I’d like to highlight about promoting your work online is that it’s a never-ending job. One needs to be persistent because results don’t come overnight. Sometimes you feel like you’re going nowhere, but then you get this one reply saying, “Thank you for your post” and it’s all worth it.

It’s also about creativity, curiosity, and most of all, the love for teaching and serving. In other words, being willing to make a difference in people’s lives.

I see a lot of people obsessed with the number of followers they have, when they should strive to connect and better communicate with people who want to listen to them, so they can help change the world one person at a time.

This has undoubtedly been the biggest challenge in my career, mainly because there’s no finish line. Putting ourselves in a position where we always have something to learn allows us to be better and more reliable teachers.

Are you hoping to get more online English students? Check out our tips on how you can use social media to market yourself as a freelance ESL teacher.

Back in her hometown in the Philippines, Krzl worked as a writer at a TV station before moving to Chile. After she completed her TESOL certification, she worked for language institutes and then decided to become an independent English teacher to business professionals. When she’s not giving classes, she’s either surfing along Chile’s long stretch of coastline, traveling, or practicing photography by the beach.