Who: Kerstin Cable
Are you looking to grow your blogging business by teaching your unique skills to others?
Have you ever wondered what it takes to set up teaching courses online?
How do you make your business stand out?
In this episode, Kerstin Cable gives you the tools you need to expand your business by teaching online.
Kerstin Cable launched her blog Fluent Language in 2012 when starting up as an online language tutor.
Over the past 4 years, her blog has grown to incorporate several online courses, a podcast, two ebooks and a coaching practice for experts who want to teach online.
She's passionate about improving the online learning landscape and helping you choose the right way to build more freedom by teaching what you know to others.
Kerstin had been working in international admissions for UK universities for over five years when her office environment became toxic and her workload started becoming too much to handle.
After battling depression and taking some time off, she started what she calls a slow transition towards building Fluent Language.
She knew she did not want to return to the hierarchical structure at her previous job, and so she thought, “If I don’t want to do this job anymore, where on earth am I going to get a job from?”
Kerstin started visiting the library and reading lots of books. It was there that she got the idea to start her own business.
As a native German speaker with two degrees in Modern Languages, she decided that teaching German was a logical move.
Kerstin says she was always frustrated by the reasons people give for why they can’t learn a new language:
“I haven’t got the brain for that.”
“I’m too old for that.”
“Only children learn well.”
“Grammar is so hard.”
“German is such a hard language.”
She’d heard people give a thousand and one reasons why they couldn’t learn a new language, and she knew that none of them were true.
When her husband suggested starting a blog to help promote her language tutoring business, she created posts that debunked each of these excuses.
The blog has been running since 2012, and she hasn’t run out of ideas yet!
Kerstin is all about adding fun and passion and humor to her business. You might notice that her website doesn’t have flags on it to show you which languages she teaches.
Why? They’re boring! Everybody does that! She’s constantly asking how to make her site stand out, how to make it a little bit different.
Sometimes people want to make their site look professional, but they go too far and end up using generic-looking stock photos.
If you remember one quote from this episode, make it this one:
Don’t worry about making it look so professional at the expense of looking anonymous!
Kerstin’s personality shines through in every aspect of her business, and she now advises others about how to bring that personal touch to their teaching, too!
For example, her second ebook is called The Vocab Cookbook. Her first video series was called French on a Windowsill. Not the kinds of titles you’d expect.
It’s scary to put something a little bit different out there.
It’s really tempting to just go with what everyone else has done, but it’s worth it to put your own spin on it. It makes people sit up and pay attention!
Kerstin’s formula for success is all about trial and error.
When Kerstin made French on a Windowsill, she didn’t have a fancy camera.
Her cat made guest appearances. And, she says, the lighting was terrible. You’ve got to work with what you’ve got at the time.
French on a Windowsill grew into Kerstin’s first full video course, Easy French Grammar for Beginners.
She looked to French textbooks to see where the gaps in her first videos were, and she learned a little bit more about lighting.
Repeat the process until you’ve got something you’re happy with.
Kerstin’s tried lots of different online platforms to disseminate her lessons. Sites such as Udemy, Gumroad, and Teachable all have different benefits and limitations, depending on what kind of content you’re delivering. Experiment until you find what works best for you!
Kerstin says that Udemy is one to pay attention to right now because they just changed their pricing structure.
It offers good support for instructors to offer content that learners can purchase online. There’s a ready-made audience of millions of students, so it can be a great starting point.
If you want to launch a course with Udemy, you should know that they have certain quality standards you’ll have to meet.
You can’t email students or direct them to a landing page, but you can find ways of connecting with them outside the platform through Facebook, for example.
Another platform that Kerstin uses is Gumroad. She says it’s great for selling ebooks (and both of hers are available here). It’s really good at delivering content.
It’s easy to use, reliable and friendly. But because students can’t track their progress, it’s not as good for online courses.
Kerstin also uses Teachable. Students really like that this platform lets them track their progress and see the whole curriculum.
Plus, she says, it makes your content look really good! But you will have to pay a monthly fee, and the site won’t do any marketing for you.
When I asked Kerstin what advice she’d give to bloggers who want to teach, here’s what she said:
People sometimes think that all of their problems will be solved once they build an online course, but that’s just not the case.
It’s a process, an on-going journey, a part of your development. It’s a skill that needs to be learned, and you need a lot of planning to make it successful.
Kerstin prefers to teach using a hybrid style, where some content is pre-delivered, and then she follows up with live content.
This helps her to check that her students have understood everything and gives them the opportunity to ask questions. You can also write an ebook or do some coaching—it all counts as educating!
There’s way more to online education than just after-school tutoring. Work out how you want to teach and then go for it!
Take the course!
If you want to take your business to the next level, click here to sign up for Kerstin’s email course!
This will help you set out business goals, navigate common roadblocks, and figure out your market fit. You’ll get amazing tools to help you build your business!