Archive

January 2017

Browsing

I’ve suddenly started thinking a lot about travel recently. It could be the fact that it only got light a few hours ago and it’s already dark again (ie. It’s winter and it’s grim). It might also be the fact that one of my friends is currently planning the trip of a lifetime and I’m hella jealous. But either way, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reading travel blogs and giving myself serious travel envy. Here are a few of the blogs I’ve been reading recently when I should have been doing my job:

Solo Sophie

Sophie Nadeau is a student living in London. She has a lot of love for Paris (and who doesn’t?) as well as writing about destinations all over the world. She started her blog by travelling solo all over the world and therefore is also a great example to hold up to your family when they start worrying about whether terrible things will happen when you go on holiday on your own.

Our Wild Abandon

Jill and Kyla from Our Wild Abandon are basically in the world to make everybody feel jealous of all of their awesome, aesthetically-perfect adventures. They travel around in a caravan full-time, and in the process they give us all something to look at on Instagram every morning when we’re on the train on the way to work. Jealous? Me? Of course not. I’ll work on it.

Travelling Weasels

Fun fact I learned from reading Travelling Weasels: You can find free accommodation in new places by house sitting. It (obviously) saves money, and means that you get to explore parts of cities that you otherwise might not. And yes, this is my way of telling the rest of Team HowNow that I’m leaving to become a house sitter as of right now. Bye guys.

Polka Dot Passport

Polka Dot Passport is a fantastic blog that teams inspiring posts about the destinations you’ve always wanted to visit with practical guidance about how to, y’know, actually do that. You’ll find everything from how to keep your money safe, to the Singaporean wildlife reserves you need to visit.

Just One Way Ticket

Just One Way Ticket combines practical things like reviews of the travel services we all might need one day, with envy-inducing pictures and posts from all around the world. Wherever you might want to go, the chances are Sab has been there first.

Port Lockroy

The inhabitants of Port Lockroy in Antarctica aren’t your typical travel bloggers, but that doesn’t mean their blog is any less fascinating. The site documents the lives of the people who staff the Port Lockroy post office (which is a thing) for a four month period each year. That’s a thing anybody can do and it sounds like an amazing experience and I desperately want it to be my turn one day. Just putting that out into the universe.

Van Dog Traveller

Van Dog Traveller is the tale of a man who gave up his day job, converted a white van into a super-cool living space, and drove around Europe, as well as exploring closer to home. One of the best things about this blog is that Mike makes the whole things seem so easy. I’ve never built a thing in my life, and I’m still convinced I’m about to follow in his footsteps. In a non-creepy way, of course.

Adventurous Kate

Adventurous Kate travelled full time for nearly five years. She visited over sixty countries. In fact, there’s a very impressive map which shows exactly where she’s been. She’s now dialled back on the constant travelling, but she’s still sharing tips, debunking myths, and offering all kinds of advice on her blog.

Don’t forget, there are tons of language classes on HowNow which could help you wherever you end up travelling. And if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and want to make money on the road, how about teaching classes on the go? Where are you heading next?

 

So, you have your class up and running, and it’s looking great. But how can you get the word out and start to increase your booking numbers?

Add a Call to Action button on Facebook

If you have a Facebook page, you have everything you need to add a Call to Action button. This is a way to send people directly to your classes. You have the option of seven different CTAs (that’s right, we’re abbreviating) and one of them is, conveniently, ‘Book Now’. All you have to do is enter the link for your class and you’re away! Additionally, since you have your Facebook page set up and looking awesome, you could also consider paid ads or promoted posts on Facebook too. They’re a great way to increase the numbers of people seeing your content.

Get Tweeting

If you have Twitter, start tweeting about your classes. The key to remember with Twitter is that you can’t just do it once. There’s an average of just under 10,000 tweets published every second, so you’ve got a lot of competition. Once your tweet has been out there for 18 minutes, the likelihood is that its been buried on everybody’s newsfeed. What that means is you really need to be tweeting about your classes at least once a day. Now, that sounds like a lot, but don’t panic – there are awesome sites like Buffer, Tweetdeck, and Sprout that allow you to schedule your tweets. Just line ’em up, and these services will send ’em out. There’s also the option of promoted tweets, but if you’re a paid advertising virgin you might prefer to do that on Facebook – it’s much easier to pick the right audience.

Add a link to your site

If you have your own website, add a linked image to your sidebar to say ‘hey, I teach online classes’. That way, whatever page a potential student is on, they’ll always see the option to book. If your site gets a lot of traffic from people who aren’t local to your in-person classes, this is a great way to increase bookings from that audience. In fact, feel free to use the embed codes below for a stylish way of linking your website visitors to your classes.

For a navy blue background:

<a href=http://learnhownow.com><img src=http://imgur.com/ttg7zrWtitle=”Learn With Me on HowNow” width=”270″ height=”290″ /></a>

For a white background:

<a href=http://learnhownow.com><img src=http://imgur.com/4dNCkzRtitle=”Learn With Me on HowNow” width=”270″ height=”290″ /></a>
These can be pasted anywhere on your site. Don’t forget to change the URL in the code to the URL of your class, and get in touch if you have any issues!

Tell your mailing list

Do you have a list of customer emails? Let them know about your classes! If you want to increase the quality of the emails you send you could try using a service like Mailchimp to make them look super-slick. You can even add a button to your email which takes a user straight to your class booking page. After all, you want to make the process as quick and easy as possible. You could also try sending out promotional codes to get the ball rolling with your bookings. We send them out in the newsletter all the time, or we could always help you by

Use word of mouth

Got a student who’s mentioned going away or moving? Remind them that they can keep up their classes with you!

Mention your classes in other professional profiles

Do you write a column in a newspaper? Speak at events? Make TV appearances? If you have to provide a profile about yourself, mention that you teach on HowNow. If your work is being seen you might well be attracting people who are interested in learning from you. Letting them know that they can find you on HowNow is a great way to capitalise on interest, especially if the geography won’t work.

Extra special bonus suggestion!

If you’re looking to increase your mailing list or your social media following, a giveaway is a great way to do it. There are great applications like Gleam or Rafflecopter which make it super-easy to set up a prize draw where a user gives their email address or follows you on social media in order to be entered into a draw. An online class is a great option for a prize because it doesn’t depend on location and there’s no financial outlay for you. You’d just need to contact the winner afterwards to give them a prize code (contact us if you ever need this) and voila! You’ve run a competition!

Please note that we do not advise waving your profits around willy-nilly, no matter how much this stylish photo may suggest otherwise.

Don’t forget, if you do need any more advice, it’s always worth getting in touch to ask – we might just be able to help.

Reader, I am obsessed with homes. Maybe it’s because I’ve been saving up to buy one for what feels like a million years (in reality it is two, but two years feels like a million when you have to cut back on takeaway coffees and all fun), or maybe it’s because I really like getting a sneak peek into other peoples’ houses (read: Staring into my neighbours’ windows on the way home). I could also be that they sometimes have free copies of Good Homes magazine available in the lobby of HowNow HQ. Either way, I bloody love a good home. And, since I’m feeling nice, I’ve put together a list of my favourite places to find home inspiration (Hinspiration? Homespo? I’ll work on it.):

Unfuck Your Habitat

Fun fact: I have paid for one app in my entire life, and it is Unfuck Your Habitat. There’s now also a book. And let’s never forget the original blog. Rachel Hoffman was sent by the gods to get everybody to clean up their spaces using a mixture of tough talk and practical advice. It definitely works. Give it a try, and you’ll be talking about 20/10s before you know it.

Apartment Therapy

A combination of home inspiration and practical advice, as well as articles about other subjects, Apartment Therapy is the kind of place you could get lost for hours. You might want to get a sneaky look at some super-stylish apartments. Maybe you want help buying a new mattress. You might just want to know how to fit more into your kitchen cupboards. The answers are all here.

Dear Designer

Dear Designer is place where visitors can find tips and tricks to use in their homes. We also get the chance to see how other people design their interiors. For the truly dedicated there’s even the chance to rent out a holiday cottage where some of that inspiration has been put into effect.

Cabin Porn

This blog (and also book, now) covers all of of the weird and wonderful homes you never realised would be possible. There are floating domes, converted containers, and even real-life hobbit holes. They’re all blended in with more traditional tiny houses which are no less fun to look at for hours. It’s a particularly great site for anybody staring down the barrel of buying a tiny flat in London and wondering what to do with a small space.

French By Design

French By Design focuses on interior design and gives practical advice, as well as featuring images that’d make anybody jealous. Tips range from working with colours to displaying art without making holes in your walls to… Well, pretty much anything. There are also the ever-necessary home tours, so you can get your fix of how the other half live.

My Scandinavian Home

Luckily, this blog veers more towards the ‘hygge’ side of Scandinavian culture than grim crime dramas. My Scandinavian Home opens the door to loads of apartments whose owners are doing the kind of cosy, stylish design schemes we can only dream of.

Now. A very important question. Where else can I look to find homespiration (still working on it)? Because, y’know, I have a lot of hours in my day that need filling up and it’s not like I work for an awesome online learning platform or anything…

January 16th is Blue Monday. For the uninitiated, that means it’s the most miserable day of the year. And even if you weren’t already aware that it had a name, you might well have felt its effects. The holidays are over, it’s getting dark early, the weather is terrible… I could go on, but it’s just really bloody depressing. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s easy to bypass the Blue Monday feels, and we have a few ideas for how to do just that:

Plan a trip

What’s the best thing to do when it’s miserable, and dark, and everybody’s in a bad mood? Get away from it all! Whether you set off on a month-long European odyssey, or just spend a day exploring a nearby city, a change of scene can be just the thing to give you a new perspective. Even just booking a trip and getting yourself prepared ahead of time can blow away the Blue Monday blues.

Relax

Another thing that makes Blue Monday the beast that it is is the fact that you’re probably still catching up on work. Things pile up over the Christmas break and it’s almost enough to make you wish you’d never been away. But no more thinking like that, please. Take some time out, practice some breathing, even try some meditation. Even twenty minutes can be enough to remind you that there’s life beyond your overloaded in tray.

Get moving

Exercise has loads of benefits, one of the main ones being the ability to make you feel happier. You gotta love those endorphins. Make sure you get your fix on Blue Monday and you’ll sail through the day. The good news is you don’t even have to drag yourself to the gym if it’s cold out. Try anything from yoga to belly dance right from the comfort of your own home.

Express yourself

There’s nothing to be gained by keeping your feelings bottled up. It’ll just make you more likely to want to punch someone in the back of the head when they’re walking too slowly in front of you on the way home and- Ahem. OK, maybe that’s my personal issue. But the point still stands. It’s easy to let your emotions get the better of you if you don’t find a way to release them. So we recommend doing that.

Do something creative

As well as being a way to express yourself, getting creative can help you let go of Blue Monday by making you feel productive. Because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing in the world better than feeling productive. You might choose to learn to draw, or to sew, or any number of other creative pursuits, but whatever you choose it’ll help you to forget about feeling stressed.

Take action

At the heart of all of this Blue Monday talk is one question. Why is it so depressing? If it’s more than just the weather, and you’ve found yourself surrounded by work you no longer care about, maybe it’s time to do something drastic. How about starting your own business? Even becoming your own boss full time? It’s a way to bring back the passion to your life which should, in turn, help to banish the blues.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that we’ve covered the Monday blues before, but Blue Monday is like a regular Monday on speed. How will you be showing the demons who’s boss on January 16th?

You may not have noticed, because it’s hardly been mentioned at all, but it is now a new year. As such, everybody’s making resolutions and planning on becoming better people. We’re not that into making tough resolutions that make January a more unpleasant month than it already is. However, we definitely agree with making little changes that make life way more awesome. So, whatever positive change you’re making this month, we’ve probably got a class that can help you.

Change No. 1: Have a go at Veganuary

Veganuary is a thing now. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and involves eating vegan in January. It’s healthy, and it’s also good for the environment. If you can stand to be away from the bacon for a full weeks, you might find you can do it forever. There are HowNow teachers who can guide you through the process of cooking a whole host of delicious, vegan recipes, so you’ll never run out of inspiration.

Change No. 2: Get Fit

It’s not the most original, but after several weeks eating nothing but sausages in bacon and quality street, and washing it all down with wine (just me?) lots of people use the momentum of a new year to improve their fitness. It can be really hard to drag yourself to the gym, so imagine if you could exercise with a trainer in the comfort of your own home. As it so happens, we can totally help you to do that.

Change No. 3: More ‘me’ time

Modern life, guys, am I right? We’re forever running around, commuting for hours, getting work emails at all times of the day and night… It’s a juggling act, and it shouldn’t be. One of the easiest ways to start the new year feeling less stressed is to set aside some time every day that’s just for you. For example, you could try meditation. Close the door for a while, switch off your phone, and focus on yourself. Bliss.

Change No. 4: Learn a new language

Maybe you can’t wait to do some travelling in 2017. You might want to try living in a new country. Maybe you just want a new challenge, or to earn some bragging rights. These are all perfectly valid reasons to start learning a new language. The easiest way to start is to talk to people in the language you’re learning, and we know a whole load of awesome folks who can help with that.

Change No. 5: Be my own boss

Picture the scene: You have to go to work. You get out of bed, get dressed, and walk ten paces to your sofa. Because that is your office. Because you work for yourself. It’s the dream but, when you’re running around at the beck and call of your boss, it can feel totally unattainable. Maybe 2017 will be the year that changes. Start learning how to put your plans into action today, and thank us later. Maybe you want to turn your passion into profit and teach your own classes – we could even help you with that.

Change No. 6: Take more pictures

Maybe you’re about to start a new phase in your life and you want to remember everything. Maybe you got a flashy new camera for Christmas and you need to know how to use it. The best way to make sure you’re creating memories in 2017 is to start now. And a great place to start is by making sure you know what you’re doing.

Change No. 7: Learn to cook

Are you sick of microwave meals and cereal dinners? Do you feel like you might be getting judged by the people who run your local takeaway? It’s time to learn how to cook. Whether you’ve got delicate baking or hearty meals in mind, there are professionals out there who can talk you through the whole process in your own kitchen. Just remember to send us some when you’re done.

Change No. 8: Manage my money better

Oh, money. Some people think it makes the world go round and, whether or not you agree with that sentiment, most people would probably agree that there’s never enough of it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by bills, it might be time to get somebody else to help you. You could chat about budgets and how to manage your cash better. Just remember to send us some when you’re done. (LOL, JK. Unless you’re feeling generous.)

So, what changes, if any, are you planning on making in 2017? Whatever they are, remember to keep it positive rather than punishing. The new year is a great opportunity to do new things, but no man (or anyone else, for that matter) is an island – if you need help, let someone else step in and lend a hand. It just so happens we know a few.