Julia Atkinson balances her time teaching English online and is in the process of launching a company called Virtually101. Julia's experience in customer service plus online teaching gave her the confidence to start a company.
1. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview. Can you start off by telling us where you teach and how long have you been teaching?
I reside in Jamaica and I have been teaching English for a company called Bibo Global Opportunity for over 3 years. They have 2 websites, DMM Eikaiwa (for Japanese students) and Engoo (for other students). I also teach on italki and have been teaching there for more than 2 years.
2. Can you describe a typical day?
I work with Bibo 5 days a week, sometimes 7 days, if there are bonuses on the weekend. I usually work for 5 hours in the morning, 7 a.m. - 12 noon (GMT-5). Those hours are called cores hours, which means a lot of students usually book around that time. I usually get around 10 students for the morning and each lesson lasts 25 minutes.
On italki, my schedule is from Mondays to Thursdays, 12 pm - 4 p.m. My schedule is not as busy as my schedule on DMM Eikaiwa/Engoo. I usually have about 4 - 5 students a week but now I limit my time so I can focus
on other things.
3. Teacher self-care is so important. How do you relax?
I enjoy relaxing at home with my siblings either chatting up a storm, watching movies or bingeing my favorite tv shows. I find myself rarely going out, but when I do, I enjoy playing pool, going to the beach or eating out at restaurants.
4. You took on the tremendous task of starting a company. Can you talk a bit about it?
I decided to start my own company called ProVirtually101 and it will be launched soon. We will assign virtual assistants to businesses and individuals to complete various tasks in areas such as customer service, general administration, accounting, etc.
5. How did you come up with the idea for this service?
My first real job was working as a customer service representative for a call center. I bounced around from different call centers and within 2 years I had worked at 5 different call center companies. When I discovered Bibo Global Opportunity, I was probably in my
6th call center job. Working for Bibo was the best decision I've ever made and I realized I was relaxed and happier. I also wanted to do other jobs online that paid well and didn't require too much talking, like typing, data entry, and chat support. That's when I had an epiphany - why not just start a virtual company that can help people find online jobs with reliable companies to perform tasks that they are good at.
6. You managed to balance teaching and working on your company. What is your best productivity tip?
The best way to be productive is to make a reasonable to-do list of what you want to accomplish. Try not to overwhelm yourself. Some goals make take longer than others, and that's ok. Just try to focus on one goal at a time and take breaks! Taking regular breaks is especially important if your job involves creative work like writing, editing or designing because it helps improve creativity.
7. Do you have a website?
Yes, the website coming soon. The prelaunch website is
virtually101.wixsite.com/prelaunch. As soon as we launch, I will update you.
8. Where can we find you on social media?
9. What else are you working on now?
I'm also starting a business lifestyle blog. The aim of this blog is to share business tips, ideas, information and advice to help people reach their true potential and give them the push they need to become entrepreneurs themselves.
10. Is there anything that you would like to add?
11. You are most welcome. All the best Julie!
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My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., CPP. I have more than 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer. I spent seven amazing years teaching in Hong Kong and have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs. I now work as a teacherpreneur doing the things that I love such as writing books, courses and teaching materials; coaching teacherpreneurs, travelling at any time of the year and applying the science of positive psychology to all my work (www.patricepalmer.ca). Contact me at [email protected]
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