Daria Storozhilova - EFL Teacher, Digital Product Designer

Find out why Daria Storozhilova decided to develop a digital product.  Read what she has to say about perfectionism in business and the benefits of being a non-native speaker.  Daria also took time out of her busy day to record a podcast with me.  Go to https://soundcloud.com/user-819463124/interview-with-daria-storozhilova

Daria, thank you for taking time out from your busy day for this interview.  Can you start off by telling us where you teach?

I have two contracts with IT companies as their corporate English teacher. I teach the staff of these companies online. I also have a couple of students from italki.com and some private students. So, it's about 20 teaching hours a week, all of them online.

How long have you been teaching?

It's been 16 years now. The number increases every year and scares me. I got my first student in my last year at university, and have been teaching non-stop since that time. I worked in two language schools, then became an Academic Director for one of them, and later, when I moved, continued working in this role for another school. At the same time, I started cooperating with big companies to teach and consult on English usage for their business. I worked as a consultant for a while helping accountants, auditors, and financial directors find their way around English. Six years later, I opened my own language school, and I managed this project for two years. It was my first business experience. I created products intended to help students overcome their language barriers, and this idea worked well. I also learnt a lot about managing teams, organizing the business and financial planning. It was extremely difficult, but I believe it was the most important point of my career. 

Can you describe a typical teaching day?

It's very different from a day to as day. Now, I have teaching days and writing days. On a teaching day, I teach from 4 to 7 classes from around 9 in the morning up to 5 pm. I read a lot in between classes, and my evenings are mostly dedicated to content curation for social media. On my writing days, I write my blog, make videos and some visuals, schedule social media posts and study marketing. On weekends I study. Most of the time I work on my English vocabulary or do some online courses related to language and marketing skills.

What do you do in your spare time to relax? 

I spend a lot of my free time on learning languages, at the moment, German. I also like cooking, knitting and crocheting. I travel and walk a lot with my boyfriend. Occasionally we go dancing or just have a glass of wine at a small winery - there are plenty of them in Europe.

Where can people find you on social media?

My website is www.stordar.com. All the main information is there, and the website is regularly updated.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/smartlanguagelearning/?ref=bookmarks

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/smartlanguagelearning

Twitter accounts: stordar (for business-related content - https://twitter.com/stordar 

stordarlearn (for teaching and English learning content - https://twitter.com/StordarLearn

I also have a podcast 'Find Your English Voice' https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/find-your-english-voice-podcast/id1128963190?mt=2. I haven't recorded new episodes for a while, but I am planning to keep developing it.

What have you had to do outside of your comfort zone as a teacherpreneur?

I hate recording videos of myself. I understand they are a valuable marketing tool and I am learning to deal with them, but they still feel terribly uncomfortable.

What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that have allowed you to excel as a teacherpreneur?

  • patience; understanding that learning takes and time, and that it's ok to make mistakes
  • communication with clients about organisational questions is easy because we do it on a regular basis with our students

What advice would you give to teachers who are considering having a company?

Business is best learnt through practice. No book will ever teach you how to do it properly. Everybody who you have heard of in business started as a beginner and everybody failed at some stage. And also, perfectionism doesn't work in business. It's better to do something than to do nothing. Once you've done a lot, you start analysing the data and you correct and improve. There is just no correct way - everybody is unique. The main thing is to find where your customer is and to connect with them. They are the reason you are doing this, so always start with the customer, and forget about your personal fears.

Unfortunately in our field, there has been discrimination against "non-native" speakers of English. What advice would you give to non-native speakers of English who would like to use their skills to become teacherpreneurs?

Don't try to replace native speakers, you have your own strong sides. You have a learning experience which inspires students. What you can do in this second language looks like a miracle for a regular English learner, so they will appreciate your story. An online business is all about good stories, and you have one.

Do you do everything yourself or do you get help with technical stuff?

I do everything myself, with some help from my boyfriend. I am trying not to spend too much money in my business as I am just starting. I think it's really important to figure out what you want to do and find an audience for it. For that purpose, any simple webpage will do. You just need to find the best way to communicate with your audience. It can be anything YOU feel comfortable about: a social media channel, a simple website, a blog, whatever feel right for you. Once you get noticed, and you start selling and getting income from it, you can invest in better tools or in developing your brand. But to do that, you find need an audience which loves your product.

Thank you for sharing your expertise as a teacherpreneur Daria.  

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 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. Check out my Teacher to Teacherpreneur Toolkit 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. Connect with other teacherpreneurs by joining my LinkedIn group  https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7060976

7. 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.

Twitter     https://twitter.com/teacherpreneur2

LinkedIn   https://ca.linkedin.com/in/patricepalmer1

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/teacherpreneur2

About Me

My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., TESL and I reside in Canada. I have 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer including 7 amazing years 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 courses, blogging, sharing teaching materials, instructional coaching for new teachers and coaching teacherpreneurs. Having a flexible schedule allows me to conduct short-term training around the world at any time of the year.  

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