Brian Cullen is a multi-talented teacher, writer and trainer living in Japan. Brian believes that you don’t need to invest a lot of money to get started as a teacherpreneur but just start small and ignore people who tell you that your idea is impossible.
Can you start off by telling us where you teach?
I teach at Nagoya Institute of Technology, an engineering university in Japan.
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching about 23 years.
Can you describe a typical teaching day?
My typical day involves teaching my classes, doing preparation (most of my preparation has been done because I write textbooks for my own courses), working on research projects, keeping a light eye on part-time teachers and admin stuff (way too much of that).
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
I play music, take walks, do tai chi, talk to the cats, brew beer, and read.
You took on the tremendous task of writing a book, developing teaching resource and starting a company. Can you talk a bit about all of these teacherpreneur ventures?
I wrote my first textbook years ago because I was tired of photocopying my materials and figured it would be easier to put it all together. I put together about 6 weeks of materials and suddenly discovered that I had started a textbook. Another motivation was that I was involved in a committee for materials design. Most committees are pretty dreadful at getting any real work done, so I volunteered to do all the work and present it to the committee. That saved everyone (including me!) time.
After writing a couple of books, I set up a small publishing company with a business partner and wrote/edited about 25 textbooks over a few years. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to do other things and the publishing company was taking up all my spare time, so I sold my share out to my business partner.
Since then, I have re-established a very small publishing company but have no intentions of publishing a large number of books. It is simply a platform for my own work.
I also run a training company (www.standinginspirit.com). We provide trainings for individuals, schools, and companies. Next month, we are running a workshop for teachers called From Burnout to Brilliance (www.standinginspirit.com/burnout)
How long did it take you to get all of these projects going?
Too long 😉 And of course, it never really finishes.
Where can teachers and students purchase your books/resources and training?
Standing in Spirit www.standinginspirit.com is my current company. We have some textbooks available and offer trainings in NLP, communication skills, stress management, and other areas.
Do you have any plans for more books or other resources?
They just keep coming 😉 Last year, I was musical director for a rock and roll musical that I started writing about 25 years. Finally, it got out of my head and onto the stage. Lots of fun, and lots of work.
How do you promote or market your books, resources and company?
Online mainly – through website, email, social media. I used to go to a lot of conferences as a publisher. Now I generally keep a lower profile.
Where can people find you on social media?
What have you had to do outside of your comfort zone as a teacherpreneur?
Take chances – run the risk of looking like a fool. Ignoring people who say that my goal is impossible.
What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that have allowed you to excel as a teacherpreneur?
Managing my own state, dealing with whatever arises even when it is unexpected, organizational skills, and writing skills.
What advice would you give to teachers who are considering starting a company?
Start small and continue to have fun. When you stop enjoying it over an extended period of time, it is probably time to change your approach.
Also, ignore the voices that tell you it can’t be done. You have got to be realistic, but people are capable of a whole lot more than they think they are. Actually, check out this story in an online story collection that I maintain: http://briancullen.net/1/always-be-a-deaf-frog
I talk to many teachers about their fear or doubt in trying something new or "putting themselves out there". What advice would you give to these teachers?
Read the frog story 😉 Start small. Use NLP or any other techniques such as self-hypnosis or meditation to control your own state and to help you be more confident. Then take some concrete steps. You don’t need to invest much money. Just start small in a realistic way.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
Teachers can get in touch with me at [email protected].
Your work sounds useful Patrice. All the best.
Thank you Brian. You have been involved in so many great projects! Thanks for your time.
Interested in learning more about transitioning from a teacher to teacherpreneur but don’t know how to get started? Here are some ways:
1. Read more inspiring teacherpreneur interviews at www.teacherpreneur.ca/blog
2. If you are a TESL Ontario member, watch a recording of my webinar Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://tutela.ca/GroupFiles?organicgroup=8594&cat=518
3. Download The Essential Teacher to Teacherpreneur Toolkit - 50 pages packed with information to get you started as a teacherpreneur at http://www.teacherpreneur.ca
4. Sign up for my 4-week online course with iTDi.pro - Teacher to Teacherpreneur http://itdi.pro/itdihome/teacherpreneur.php
5. Download 10 Tips to Transition from Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/p/10-tips-to-transition-from-teacher-to-teachepreneur
6. Download The Social Media Make-over Checklist for Teacherpreneurs at www.teacherpreneur.ca
7. Connect with other teacherpreneurs by joining my LinkedIn group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7060976
8. Set up a private coaching call with me https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/pages/book-a-coaching-session-with-me
Connect with me on social media. Teacherpreneurs must be on social media.
My name is Patrice Palmer, OCELT, M.Ed., M.A. I have more than 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer. Seven of those years were spent in Hong Kong. I have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs such as ESP, EAP, Business English, and language programs for new immigrants in Canada. I'm now a teacherpreneur doing the things that I love such as writing books, courses and teaching materials; blogging, conducting instructional coaching for new teachers, coaching teacherpreneurs and travelling at any time of the year. Contact me at [email protected]
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