At the end of 2014 when my first successful online tutoring business fell apart due to economic and political troubles in Russia and Ukraine (2 main countries I worked with), I had to start from scratch. That was when I first heard that one can work less and make more


Such concept sounded too good to be true, as the only conventional framework of an online teaching business available at the time was teaching skype lessons. I did create a course at the time and was able to supplement my income, but I was still juggling 1:1 teaching with product creation. I was spreading myself too thin and getting little traction with courses and e-books.


That went on until the beginning of this year when I decided to stop teaching 1:1 lessons and focus on list building. Though ditching skype lessons completely, focusing on list building and product creation within my niche was scary and lonely initially I can confidently say that this entire year has changed my mindset, and I can now say with confidence that working less and making more is possible.


I found list building and product creation liberating, and my clients’ stories confirm once again that skype lessons aren’t the only way to teach online – you can set up something solid and easy-to-grow. It does take grit, passion and some sweat. But it’s worth it in the end.


In today’s post I share 2 stories of online teachers who have gone through my Express Email List Builder course (EELB) and have seen benefits within the 5 weeks of the program. I’ve asked them to share what exactly they found helpful, and here’re their stories.


****[updated July 2018]: EELB is no longer offered as a stand-alone program, but you can access its materials inside our Smart Teacher’s Library.


Alexandra & Alberto: "We have learnt the power of e-mail marketing..."


We are Alexandra y Alberto, creators of We have been in business since 2015 and we do listening training. We help people understand conversational Spanish.



9 weeks ago we decided to contact Elena. It was a meditated decision. At that time (seems like ages ago…) we were a couple of online teachers of Spanish that felt lost and frustrated, with little hope of being able to succeed.


We had been running our online business for about two years. As many other websites we were offering Spanish language courses, Conversation lessons and Exams preparation courses. The website was in Spanish, English and Chinese, we had a free guide on how to roll the Spanish “r” as an incentive to sign up and we had about 200 subscribers.


We used Mailchimp (free plan) to send our newsletter and some offers to our subscribers from time to time. We had also set up our Facebook page, YouTube channel and we used to create new content to post it for our subscribers.


We had some loyal students but we found it hard to find new ones and we could not make ends meet most months. We knew that we had made some mistakes that had prevented us from getting more clients, and we were determined to overcome them.


We had been following Elena’s blog for some time, we thought – and we still think- it was a source of invaluable information and advice. Her post “Will you rely on luck or strategy to work smarter?” was a real eye opener, it really resonated with us. At that time we did not have a niche, we knew very little about email marketing and we did not have a clue about how to sell our products.


That blog post made us realize that we needed help really badly. We exchanged a couple of emails and Elena recommended us to begin with the EELB course. We bought her course immediately, we knew we could trust her expertise.


How to work less - make more: 2 stories of smart online teaching. #teacherpreneur #emailmarketingClick To Tweet


9 weeks later, we have found our (first?) niche, have got a new sign-up incentive ready, our small product is almost ready, and we have got a few ideas about our next product.


Most importantly, we know where we are going to. We have learnt the power of e-mail marketing, how to use Mailchimp effectively, and how to write better e-mails having our ideal client in mind all the time. We feel reinvigorated and more motivated to work on our business.


For all the above we strongly recommend this course. If we had to choose one feature of the course, it would be how to build a relationship with subscribers using Mailchimp.


We have also enjoyed learning how to improve our e-mail and blog post writing skills. Her comments have been really valuable because she doesn’t only point out your mistakes, but she makes you think about them and pushes you to go the extra mile.


Please learn more about Alberto and Alexandra on their Spanish website or connect with them in our Facebook community of teachers who “opted out” of the traditional classroom.

Luciana: "I needed something to cut down the overwhelm and help me focus."


Hi, I’m Luciana Fernandes. I help English learners overcome the intermediate plateau by teaching them the best strategy to work with the most powerful language learning tools of all: podcasts and audiobooks.


I’ve been teaching English for five years after quitting a career in Engineering. I’ve been teaching online for one year, dreaming of opting out of the traditional classroom and becoming a full-time teacherpreneur.

When it finally dawned on me that the way to get students is by growing your mailing list, I became very dispirited. “How on Earth will I ever be able to create interesting, unique content on such a regular basis?


I decided to invest into EELB because I knew I needed something to cut down the overwhelm and help me focus. Technology isn’t a significant obstacle for me, but it isn’t a piece of cake either. The tutorials on email marketing automation are to the point and help you save a lot of time  I learned the tricks of email automation systems, but also (and most important) the strategy behind their use.


Content creation is my greatest challenge, so I needed to tame the other aspects of the business so I could concentrate better on writing for my niche. During the course, I was also challenged to think about putting into action strategies to grow my audience I wouldn’t have dared consider before. Some of them still scare me but now I don’t see them as impossible anymore.


Before I bought the course, I wasn’t sure that was the right moment. “Should I focus on automation now?” “How can I implement an automated series of emails, if I don’t have the content to share yet?” “Will I be able to take full advantage of the course now?” But I needed something to push me to take action.


How to work less - make more: 2 stories of smart online teaching. #teacherpreneur #emailmarketingClick To Tweet


I suppose the best thing about EELB is that it will help you whether you’re new to the email marketing world or not, whether you’ve narrowed down your niche or not, whether you’re a tech-savvy or not.


It gives us guidelines to deal with all these issues. Some things I learned during the course I implemented right away, others I didn’t. But I feel much more confident about implementing them in the future.


I went from “I need some guidance to get my business running,  hope I get somewhere by the end of this course” to “I will create my first small paid product by March”.


I’d gained much confidence from a coaching session I had with Elena before I took the course (where she helped my narrow down my niche), but it was EELB that set me on track.


Check out Luciana’s website Sounds Like English to learn more about her work.

If you would like to learn more about working smarter, keep reading this blog and don’t forget to join our Facebook group — Opted Out. Have questions? Please share them in the comments.

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