Lani on Life

Teaching Online: VIPKID

Teaching online had become a movement, to say the least. VIPKID is one of the major online ESL companies (I’m sure you’ve heard of it), boasting tens of thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students. Classroom teachers are using online teaching to supplement and replace their income. Stay at home parents are teaching online to bring in the extra dough. And professionals in all fields are looking for online teaching to help them in some way or another. If you’re not sure if you have what it takes to teach online, check this out before you proceed.

If you’ve already decided that teaching online is for you, and you want to try VIPKID then you are in the right place. So many people ask me questions about teaching with this company, and now all of your FAQ’s are here in one place.

Teach Online with VIPKID

Things I’ve “heard” about VIPKID

I hear booking are slow with VIPKID…

VIPKID is a great platform to work for. You have the potential to earn lots of money. There are a ton of teachers on the platform (about 60,000), so it may take you some time to see the booking come in (and it may not). Once you pass your interview, the best thing to do is to position yourself to attract parents and students to book classes with you. Having a mentor or coach to help you through the process seems to make all the difference.

Additionally, every company has both peak and off-peak times of the year. You can’t have all things at all times, but if you can build a strong base of regulars you will be less affected by these shifts.

I hear you have to be TESOL certified to teach …

This is true! But, if you do not have a TESOL certificate VIPKID now offers a certification course as a part of the onboarding process. If you wish to play on the online teaching field as an English teacher, you will need a certificate no matter which company you choose to work for. Certificates can be earned online at a reasonable price.

I heard it’s hard to get hired with VIPKID…

As one of the leaders in the online ESL industry, VIPKID does not take its hiring practices lightly. It is very possible to get hired, but you must be prepared and have the willingness to make it through the ever-evolving hiring process.

If you’re convinced that you have what it takes to educate the children of the world, I am here to help you! Fill out your application and send me an e-mail so I can coach you to online teaching success. I look forward to working with you and sharing your stories of success!

Keeping doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

Organizing your home office, if you work from home can be a task. But, if you work from home you also know how important it is to have a dedicated space for your work. If you’ve been following the blog, you know I quit my job a few months ago and went full time making money teaching online. 
Fortunately, my home has a dedicated office so organizing is just a TAD bit easier. But, if yours does not you still need a space that is organized and conducive to a positive work environment. 
 
Here is a quick peek at how I organize the work area of my home office. 
 
Quick and easy tips to organize your online classroom. Home office solutions made easy| Lani on Life

Rolling Organizer

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

The first step to organizing your work area is finding a place to hold all (or most) of your things. This is the holy grail of organizers. Every teacher on earth has this and if you don’t…get one! I simply organized it in order from most used to rarely used. My labels are just hand written sentence strips so that I can easily move and reorganize as necessary.

Photo Boxes

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

Inside my rolling organizer, I have photo boxes to store 2-D props. I have lots of flash cards for topics that come up frequently when working with students. Not all of the drawers have these inside, because some items need larger containers. These help my smaller props to stay nice and organized. I leave these containers unlatched so I can quickly get to the items I need and quickly put them back in place.

Oil Drip Pan

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

This is one of the best things in my classroom that allows me to stay organized. It is an oil drip pan (yes the kind used to change car oil). It allows me to store magnetic items like magnetic letters and numbers. Students don’t see this and I can easily reach over and grab a letter or the photo of my family without much effort. My teaching backdrop is also an oil drip pan (see the pic below) so I can stick up tons of props and rewards that my students can see throughout the class.

Alpha Chart

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

Target dollar spot helps me to spend all of my money and keep my online classroom in my home office organized. This alphabet chart has a prop for every letter of the alphabet and is a nice way to organize it all. The bottom has two pockets. I keep alphabet flashcards there, but of course, you can keep whatever you need in there.

So there you have it, these are some of the simple ways I keep my online classroom and home office organized. My final tip for organizing your home office is to make sure you are not keeping things for the sake of keeping them. Clean out your space every couple of months to ensure you have a nice and productive working environment. If you are going to work from home you may as well make it space you love to be in.

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office
Oil pan (covered with wrapping paper).

If you are thinking about teaching online with VIPKID or QKIDS and need help or advice getting through the process feel free to email me or reach out via social media.

Until next time, Happy organizing!

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Quick and easy tips to organize your online classroom. Home office solutions made easy| Lani on Life

Teaching Online: Make Money at Home

For the last year and a half, I have been teaching online to make money at home. This is the thing that allowed me to quit my job two months ago. Teaching online has provided me with freedom like no other. Not only do I get to still do what I love (teach), but I also get to be there for my family, and pursue other ventures as well. The online education industry is large, and so many people across the globe make money teaching online.

Want to try teaching online? Online teaching allowed me to quit my "day job". Get an overview of what it takes to be an online teacher part or full time.

At this point, most people have heard about the huge companies that employ hundreds of thousands of people and, I work for some of them. Yes, I said some (you can’t put all your eggs in one basket)! Two of my favorites are VIPKID and QKIDS. I’m not here to tell you to quit your job and become an online educator, I’m just here to share how I make money teaching online.

Be[come] A Morning Person

The first thing I had to work on as a teacher was becoming a “morning person”. Now let’s be clear, I am not the happiest woman in the morning but my eyes are open and I can function. Your version of a “morning person” may be different. Either way, you have to be able to get yourself up and moving early in the morning if you want to make money teaching online. Many of my clients are in a different time zone, therefore I must get up early to accommodate them. Now, if you absolutely cannot do it, there is still money to be made during “normal hours”, but just know it may not happen as quickly for you.

Schedule Accordingly

Want to try teaching online? Online teaching allowed me to quit my "day job". Get an overview of what it takes to be an online teacher part or full time.

Another thing that helped me transition to being an online educator and make money teaching on line was to schedule my life accordingly. You have to get really good at scheduling and balancing multiple schedules. As I shared earlier, I work for a few different companies, have private tutoring students, and have a family. So, I have to be pretty adept at ensuring all my schedules mesh well together. If you are working for a company that has great bookings in the early mornings, go for it. But, don’t forget to take that half hour off to take the kids to school (or whatever else you need to do). It’s very easy to get carried away and want to teach all the classes all the time, don’t do it! You will get burned out, be extremely tired, and unable to enjoy the important things in your life. It’s cool to set your own schedule but don’t get carried away.

Be A Bomb Teacher

Once you get hired as an independent contractor, now is your time to shine! From that point forth it is up to you to perfect your craft and become a bomb teacher. Both companies I mentioned above provide training and guidance to help you hone your teaching skills. If you are coming from the traditional classroom you will have a slight advantage, but online teaching is a different beast. One easy way to be a great teacher is to get yourself organized and ready before bookings start coming in. Students come in our traditional classroom without any effort on our parts. In the online world, you are selling your personality and your expertise, so be the best you can be.

Get Paid for Teaching Online

This is everyone’s favorite part of online teaching. But remember, you have to have your house in order before you reach this point. Most online ESL companies pay out once a month (some do have other options). Each company has its own payment system and pay varies based on several factors, including your education and teaching experience. Some people make a few hundred, while others make a few thousand. Just like any other business, you have the opportunity to earn more if you can give more time to your craft.

If you are thinking about teaching online with VIPKID or QKIDS and need help or advice getting through the process feel free to email me or reach out via social media.

Good luck on your teaching journey!

Want to try teaching online? Online teaching allowed me to quit my "day job". Get an overview of what it takes to be an online teacher part or full time.

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

How I Quit My Job

Last month, I quit my job.

I thought this was it. I thought I was living my dreams. Until I woke up and realized what I had been experiencing was a slow, soul-draining nightmare. No, it wasn’t my marriage (praise God). No, it wasn’t my kids or my friends. It was the one thing I had major control over, my career. After going back to school to earn a Master’s degree and making a conscious decision that this was my way to impact the world, I realized that public education may not be my calling. All the certifications, degrees, awesome teacher friends, and great students couldn’t change my mind. God helped me realize that that was not where I was meant to be. 

So many of us are faced with this heavy reality at some point in our lives. Especially us “millennials” who have no problem jumping ship if something doesn’t quite feel right. So the questions are, how did I figure it out? How did I know it was time to go? It was not an easy decision (and still is not), but I am thankful I knew when it was time to go, knowing when it’s time to quit. 

Pray for guidance 

The first thing I began to do when the feeling crept in that this was not for me, was to Pray about the situation.  Before I allowed anyone else’s thoughts and feelings to cloud my decision making, I sought out God. It’s so important to build your relationship with God so that you are aware of his voice when he speaks. If I had to make this choice in y own strength, I likely would’ve continued the path of unhappiness for the sake of others. All of the “you could’ve just stuck it out” would’ve made me second guess myself had I not already consulted with God and made a decision for myself. Now my response is, “No, I couldn’t have” because I know through prayer that I had to quit my job. 

Count the Cost 

So you have to logical in your decisions, but especially when you are considering quitting your job.  I had to sit down and literally count the costs. How much money would I lose? How much money would I save? What will the effects of quitting do to my mental health? What will the effects of quitting do to my household? Going down the path of walking away from something that was a major financial contributor really forced me to look at my household budget and how it would be affected.  At the end of the day, you have to determine what is important to you and what things you can sacrifice.  Money wasn’t worth the level of stress and the amount of havoc being a full-time classroom teacher was causing in my home. So, I quit my job. 

Seek Advice 

Advice can come in many forms. I caution you here to be careful about who you allow to speak into your life. Seek out someone you trust, someone who doesn’t always agree with you just for the sake of agreeing with you, and someone who may have experience in the area in which you need advice.  For me, it was my husband. My husband is truly my friend and my sounding board. In all honesty, he is a lot more logical than I am and helped reinforce the decision to quit my job. I knew if he was on board that I was on to something here. 

Have a Plan 

Whenever you decide that your employer is not where you are meant to be, don’t get so excited to walk off of the job today. Make sure you have a plan that will sustain you. Don’t count on your business making millions the minute you launch your website and don’t think you’ll hit the lottery next week. Think carefully and practically about your exit plan and then do everything within your power to make it happen. For some, this may take a few weeks, for other a few years.  No matter the length, keep pressing towards your goals. 

My plan was online teaching. I am teaching online and loving it. I have the opportunity to continue to do what I love, without sacrificing myself or my family. There are so many options to choose from when considering an online teaching career. I work with several ESL companies as well as take on private online tutoring students. I am so blessed to do what I love from the comfort of my home. Figure out what you love, make a plan, and rock it!  

Quit: Exit stage left 

And finally, exit stage left! After all is said and done bow out as gracefully as you can. Don’t walk out cursing your supervisor or ruining everyone’s day.  Close up shop, say your goodbyes, and move on to the next stage in life. Make sure that part of your exit plan is talking to your boss about the situation (don’t burn bridges people). You never know when that person will come back into your life. 

All in all, if you feel that tug down in soul that your career choice is no longer lighting your fire, don’t be afraid to reevaluate and go for it! 

Keep doing (the best) you boo! 

xoxo Lani 

Budgeting 101: Budgeting for Kids

It is very important that we start implementing budgeting for kids at an early age. In my household, we have been overhauling our budget and getting more focused and dedicated to planning and properly utilizing our income. We all know kids don’t really care about budgets. They see things, they want them, they expect their parents to come through to make it happen. This is why I felt the need to focus on budgeting for kids. What if we challenged that paradigm and taught our children the value of budgeting and choosing what to allocate your money towards?

In the posts “How to get your Budget in Check” Part 1 and Part 2 we set the groundwork for gaining control of your finances through purposeful strategies. Here, we want to include the whole family in our budget endeavors. We want to focus on teaching our kids about budgeting. Because after all, the family who budgets together stays together…..(I totally just made that up).

teaching kids about budgeting, teaching kids about money

Set the example

Firsts things first, you have to be the change you want to see. Your kids look up to you for everything in their lives, budgeting should be no different. If you want to teach your kids good money habits, you should have good money habits. In no way am I saying you should be perfect, but you should have good habits and tips to share. More is caught than is taught. If your children see that you are not frivolously spending money, they are likely to follow in your footsteps. Be transparent about your money making decisions so they can see that managing money and a household takes both strategies and thought.

Provide Opportunity

The best way to learn is to do. Give your children ample opportunity to earn money and make budgeting decisions. Notice I said earn money (you should not just give them money, just because). When your child has completed their chores or whatever task you have set forth, they can be compensated for their work. This is how they will earn their money,

Allow them to set money goals and work towards it. For instance, If your son wants to buy a new remote control car, help him set a monetary goal and provide opportunities for him to work towards it. Once the goal is met, take him to reap the benefits of his hard work and set the next goal. Goal setting will provide your kids an area of focus for their budget.

Encourage Giving

An important aspect of teaching kids about budgets is giving. Show your children that they should be givers. They shouldn’t keep all of their money to themselves, instead teach them the power and importance of giving. I really enjoy this part because you get a chance to see where your child’s heart is based on who they choose to help. A word of caution here is to not allow them to help mom or dad. Although this is very sweet, encourage your child to be a blessing to a person or organization outside of your household. Important lesson are learned when we are givers and children learn that we can work to earn and work to help others.

Allow Them To Make Mistakes

This one may be the most difficult! As parents, we naturally want to shield our kids from making mistakes. But, who learned to ride a bike because their parents stopped them from falling off? NO ONE! Let your kids make financial mistakes, let them purchase something that is priced too high, let them give away all of their money and have nothing left for themselves. Then, use it as an opportunity to help them learn and grow to make sound decisions in the future. It is better for kids to learn about money and make mistakes while the risks are low than to become an adult making high risk decions with little knowledge.

Dave Ramsey has a great list of how to teach kids about money at different ages. The learning should never stop and should get more complex as kids age. If we can get in the habit of teaching kids about budgeting and teaching kids about money, we can break cycles from the past. We can raise children who are money conscious and well equipped to financially navigate life.

teaching kids about budgeting, teaching kids about money

How do you teach your kids about budgeting?

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Part 2: How to Get Your Budget in Check

If you are ready and prepared to get your budget in check, you are in the right place. If you are landing here for the first time, I encourage you to check out Part 1: How to Get Your Budget in Check before continuing.

get your budget in check, budgeting | Lani on Life

In Part 1 we discussed the basics of getting your budget in order. Including, understanding your income, identifying your debt, and devising a plan to get your budget in order. In Part 2 we will take it a step further and discuss how to get your budget in check by identifying budget “killers”, executing your plan, and reassessing and readjusting your budget.

Let’s jump in.

Idenitfying Budget Killers

Once you have gotten a clear understanding of how much income is coming into your household, now is the time to identify the things that are killing your budget. We all have our vices and things we like to eat, drink, listen to or do at the expense of maintaining our budget. Automatic reloads on your Starbucks account could be killing your budget. $8.99 per month to an unknown subscription could be killing your budget. Stopping at Wawa every morning before work could be killing your budget.

Your responsibility here is to look over your bank statements with a fine tooth comb and identify the areas where you are spending excess. If you haven’t completed your free budget check up, it may be a little difficult to continue. If you have, it is safe to say your budget killers are the area in which you are spending in excess. Some of those factors we cannot change immediately (such as you rent or car payment), but others we can (entertainment, dining out). When you find the areas you are overspending in, you have successfully identified potential budget killers.

get your budget in check, budgeting | Lani on Life

Executing your Plan

Now that you have identified your income, analyzed your spending, and identified your budget killers, now comes the time to execute the plan. This is where things get rough! No one can make you follow through with your plan but you. What monetary goals have you set for yourself or your family? These are the things that will keep you pushing forward. To make it a little easier, put those goals up in a place where you will see them daily to help remind yourself of why you chose this path.

If you have allocated $20 a week to spend on coffee/breakfast items, I would encourage you to take that out as cash. This helps you to avoid going over in this budget category. We quickly forget how much we’ve spent when just slide that card! Measures like these are the things that you will need to put in to play to ensure you are executing your plan as effectively as possible. If you mess up one day, that is okay. Each day is a new day to get on and stay on the right track. Being in control of your budget does not occur over night.

Reassessing and Readjusting

At the end of each month (or as often as you’d like) you should reassess your budget and adjust as necessary. Many factors cause our budgets to fluctuate, that is why having a budget requires consistent assessing and adjusting. A budget is a living breathing document, not one and done.

To save your sanity, I’d only do this once a month. Reflect on your past month and see where things need to be altered. This does not mean increase categories where you are overspending! This means plan accordingly so you do not. For instance, if I am overspending in entertainment, I may preplan my outings with friends and not accept any additional invitations to events for the month. The power of “no” is your friend when it comes to keeping your budget intact. If you allotted much more to an area and ended with residual funds, you can move that to other areas of need. Neglecting to reassess and readjust your budget, will result in an unusable budget. One that will require you to start anew.

Now that you are all ready to get your budget in check, go out and dominate! Let me know what things you are doing to ensure you are keeping your budget in check and what tips you’d like to see to help you stay the course.

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani