Building A Teaching Business To Fit The Life You Want — Luna Checchini

Bryn Bonino
6 min readMar 9, 2021

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After Luna wrote the below blog post, we followed up in this video interview. We dove deeper into what it’s like teaching a language that’s not your own and how Luna’s been able to grow an online business.

Intro:

Luna Checchini set up an online teaching business to fit the lifestyle that she wanted to have. In this blog post, she describes the steps she took while building her teaching business and what her business looks like now.

Hi Luna, with that introduction, I’m super interested in knowing more about your journey. Tell us a bit about your backstory. How did you first get started teaching English?

I decided at 8 years old that I was going to study Italian literature, to graduate in humanities and arts, and I was going to become a teacher of… Italian. I would study anything I could in the encyclopedia and I would then line up my stuffed animals to teach them too.

Growing up in a hotel (which my parents owned), I was exposed to other cultures and languages on a daily basis. I didn’t study English until I was in middle school, but before then I started opening the dictionary to look up words from Celine Dion’s and Mariah Carey’s songs. I still have piles of translated songs from those days — they make no sense at all, but they keep reminding me of when it all started.

Years later, after graduating in humanities and arts and on my way to becoming a teacher of Italian as a foreign language, my private English tutor suggested that I start the CELTA. The following year, I quit my job and left for Toronto to do just that!

My private English tutor suggested that I start the CELTA. The following year, I quit my job and left for Toronto to do just that!

You’ve got quite an interesting backstory of how you got your start with languages. I know that you’ve pivoted a bit from those early days. What are you doing now?

I have indeed! I’ve worked for many different schools, and I have even founded and managed my own language school with two colleagues. After six years of that, I decided to quit for a number of reasons: I was burnt out from years of work managing the business in addition to teaching; I was overwhelmed with anxiety for the financial and mental well-being of the teachers working for the school; last but not least, I was dating my partner, who lives in the US, and I needed a new lifestyle which would allow me to travel more often.

I needed a new lifestyle which would allow me to travel more often.

I’ve been an online language teacher for a year and a half now, and it’s the best choice I could have made! I’ve set up my website and produced content for my course, which is directed to Italian high-school students who need tutoring for English language and literature. I’m also collaborating with an online network and teaching adult students who need English for work, but my main focus is my work with teenagers.

The way you’ve set up your current business sounds so creative. I like how you talk about building a teaching business that fits with what you wanted your life to look like. What have you found to be the best way to build a book of steady business for Literature Coach?

As far as my niche is concerned, word-of-mouth is still the main referral tool. Keep in mind that, when I take on a student, there’s a good chance that I will tutor them for several years, until the end of their high-school path. Their parents need reassurance that the tutor they choose is reliable and will get along with them. Therefore, they ask for referrals to other parents and friends.

As far as my niche is concerned, word-of-mouth is still the main referral tool.

Other reliable tools are social networks, YouTube and TikTok in particular. I don’t post often, but I have enough of an online presence for parents to go and check my attitude and style before contacting me.

I’ve then created a strict procedure that I follow whenever someone contacts me:

(1) ask for their email address and schedule a 30-min intro call;

(2) after the free intro call, send an email with the agreed details and a form to fill in to collect invoicing info and repeat payment terms and conditions;

(3) send a reminder to complete the payment at least 48 hours before the scheduled class.

Thank you so much for sharing what the initial contact looks like for you. I have found set procedures to be very helpful for my business as well. I’m interested in knowing more about the online materials you have for your students. How did you think of what content to use and how did you decide to sequence the material?

I find that making it so “official” is the most efficient way to, on the one hand, show the parents that I’m organized and professional, and on the other hand to discourage those parents who are not committed to enrolling their children.

My choice of focusing on the literature (in addition to the grammar and language) stemmed from the observation that many of the high-school students I was tutoring had issues with literature, and they were all studying the same authors in the same order, no matter what school they were attending. Therefore, I created my content based on the national guidelines and syllabus. I’m now uploading add-ons based on what my students are studying — some of them are studying Shakespeare’s tragedies, others are studying his sonnets, for example.

Okay, so it sounds like you noticed a recurring trend and responded to that. That’s something that talked about in her interview with me too. You’ve also been featured as a LinkedIn author. How has that helped you to build your authority as a language and culture educator?

I created my content based on the national guidelines and syllabus, and I’m now uploading add-ons based on what my students are studying.

With such a big brand endorsing you with those courses, I can imagine that the trust people have in you is a natural next step. If you could go back in time, is there anything you would change about your language teaching career?

The experience with LinkedIn Learning was an absolute blast. Furthermore, it helped me expand my network and meet a lot of professionals in several fields — a few of my Business English students came from those courses, in fact! Regarding my niche specifically, these courses definitely added a layer of credibility to my profile as a language and culture educator. Gaining the parents’ trust is paramount for me, and being able to do so remotely is really hard, so every project helps build up that trust.

That’s such an important reminder that bad experiences are opportunities for growth. I talked about that with too in her video interview. Is there anything else that you’d like to share about yourself?

Gaining the parents’ trust is paramount for me, and being able to do so remotely is really hard, so every project helps build up that trust.

I honestly wouldn’t. Every experience, good or bad, is a learning experience. If I am where I am today, I owe it to all the experiences that got me here.

As teachers, we often need to remind ourselves to take care of our mental health and well-being: let’s not forget to take time off and cut ourselves some slack!

As teachers, we often need to remind ourselves to take care of our mental health and well-being: let’s not forget to take time off and cut ourselves some slack!

Oh, thank you so much for the reminder. That’s a lesson I learned very early on in my teaching career after being more stressed than I’d ever felt before. Okay, so if others want to connect with you online, how can they do that?

Website: https://ripetizioni-inglese.it

Email: luna [ at ] ripetizioni-inglese [ dot ] it

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lunachecchini/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/finartemis

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

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@lc_lunachecchini

YouTube: Luna C

Originally published at https://makealeap.co/ on March 9, 2021.

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