This week I caught up with Andrea from ESL Basics for a chat about juggling a day job, managing an online business while travelling, and the importance of community. They’ve also got a very smart idea for a 404 error page that you’ll love!
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Andrea Giordano, an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher/administrator and creator of ESL Basics.
With ESL Basics, we work to provide useful content for English language learners around the globe to improve their English. Much of our site is video-driven, but we also produce and sell ebooks and articles that are useful for both English learners and teachers.
I also travel and speak (29 countries and counting), as well as work on special projects with ESL Basics such as recording audio for others’ ESL resources. A typical day for me starts and ends with my adorable 2-year-old boy, North. In the middle of each day, I teach and help run a flourishing ESL program of about 70 international students at Campbellsville University.
Outside of my day job as a teacher, I produce content for ESL Basics (videos, blogs, etc…) and keep in touch with our few thousand followers and fans on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. What I get to do on a daily basis – raising a son, teaching the world, connecting with followers – is truly magical.
Tell us about how social media has helped you grow your business.
Social media has been our primary way to teach the world. Each day, we reach out to followers, trying to find out what each individual needs. I’m active on Twitter (@eslbasics), Facebook (facebook.com/eslbasics) and Youtube (youtube.com/eslbasics), and personally respond to every person who writes. Our goal through social media is to show that not only can we produce valuable content, but that we actually care about the people we’re teaching. It’s what makes the difference nowadays. Anyone can produce content – but do they care?
How have you incorporated Selz into your business?
Selz has been such a pleasant surprise for us! We use Selz as a platform to give away and sell ebooks and plan to add video packages, services, and more in the near future. We also include our products that are listed on Selz within our e-mails. This way, our subscribers can have access to our premium content. Right now we feature our products in the sidebar and footer as well as on our resources page (http://www.eslbasics.com/free-english-learning-and-teaching-resources/) and our 404 error page (http://www.eslbasics.com/404.php). Since the widget code won’t work in some emails platforms, we simply saved the images and “Buy Now” buttons, coded them into the email, and link to our Selz page.
What do you find to be a challenge of running an online business?
The hardest part about running a business online is being consistent in our content generation. We’ve had seasons of life when we create massive amounts of content, but there are also seasons when it’s difficult to keep plugging away with new posts and video. We’re finding that developing a passionate community online takes consistency more than anything else.
What online resources do you find useful? Are there blogs that you follow, or communities that you’re part of?
I’m a member of TESOL (tesol.org), as well as some other professional organizations. I enjoy connecting with other teachers and students through social media. My brother Josh, who handles all of the technical aspects of ESL basics, follows blogs like ThinkTraffic.com and VandelayDesign.com.
What’s next for you?
I’m happy to say that we have so much ahead on the horizon. We’re looking to release several more e-books over the next year. We’re also working on English language radio vignettes for international radio stations as well as audio resources for a partner in Turkey. And I’m having a baby in the next couple weeks. Did I mention how wonderfully busy life is?
Want to find out more about ESL Basics? Check out their website at www.eslbasics.com