Categories
Interviews

How I Was Inspired to Build a $50k/month Online Coaching Agency for IELTS Test Prep

Learn how Lynn started her $50k/month IELTS test prep business.

1. Hello! Who are you and what is your business?

In December 2014 ( at the age of 26 😀), I graduated from Melbourne University with a Masters in Teaching – the best education program in Australia. Top 10 in the world. 

I was trained as an early childhood educator during the 2 years of study. 

Before I graduated, 2014 June, I experienced something life-changing. 

Within 1 week: 

  • I ended a very excruciatingly painful relationship and “that man “ told me that “Asians are stupid”  (I am a Chinese). 
  • My mum told me she would stop paying for my tuition fee because I did not spend enough time with her when she was in Melbourne visiting me.
  • I was “invited” to a course unsatisfactory meeting, because I  did not pass one component of one subject. 

To earn money to support myself and approve “Asians are NOT stupid”, I started to look up information online, stumbling across the 4 Hour Work Week book by Tim Ferriss.  

Inspired by the book, I decided to start an IELTS online course business to live the 4 hours of work-life, with the goal of building a million-dollar profit business. 

Then I started to look for strategies and mentors. I joined Noah Kagan (from App sumo) online course – monthly 1K and Lewis Howes School of Greatness mastermind. Due to their help, and my own hustling, my business managed to profit from Day 1, with zero debt. The 1st-month profit was about 5K USD, enough to pay for my rent. Moving from there, since month 2, our average net profit/month has always been more than 10K.  

The problem we are solving: 

Chinese students located in Canada, want to migrate there but they need to obtain a very high score in an English test called “IELTS”.

Chinese students located in Australia that also need an IELTS test score to apply for skill assessment as social workers or teachers in order to migrate there. 

Chinese students in other parts of the world may also need a high score for studying or working abroad. 

The products I am selling now / solution I am providing:
IELTS English test preparation 1 on 1 coaching – results guarantee program  (80%profit -most popular course is the most expensive one – 4200 USD ).

IELTS English test preparation self-study – results guarantee program (20% profit).

Product page  (you can check the price here: https://kissielts.school.invanto.com/

I have a small team of 4: 3 coaches to coach 1 on 1 and 1 admin guy. 

About the profit : 

I only take 2 students maximum/month. 

The money I am making today:  500 USD/ hour for my own coaching. 

Company net profit after tax: 30-40 K / month.

Noted that I only have 33 customers. It is a very high-end course only suitable for a very small number of students.  

Below is 2 months’ revenue by USD.

(I paid the coaches working for me about 20K )

What caused revenue / (I prefer using net profit after tax ) to fall or drop : 

  1. Whenever I get distracted from my personal life 

E.g. feeling stressed about which country I should settle down, or migrate to 

E.g. competed bikini model competition but ended up overtraining and becoming stressed.

  1.  During the 6 months of creating this current 1 on 1  coaching course, we stopped selling the old version course.  ONLY focusing on creating the most effective solution in the niche/industry.  But, in return, we had our first 6 figure launch in late July. (screenshot below ). I think different entrepreneurs have different styles of running their businesses. For me, I prefer, focusing on one thing at a time, even though it means I need to sacrifice some short term $. 

At the end of June, revenue was only about 10K. 

At then by the end of July, revenue skyrocketed to 100K + (8.5% tax + 20K paid to employee/coach)

2. How do you attract and retain your customers?

I got my first user by talking with all Chinese students in the library of my university, asking them whether they want to come to my online webinar or not. I gave them a flyer and added them on WeChat. I also put up flyers everywhere in the university, especially at the back of doors in restrooms. 

I had no choice at that time, there was one day, I only had 50$ in my bank account, I had to hustle a LOT at the beginning. 

My marketing techniques: YouTube videos -educating my students about our “skill-based” learning approach.

I used to post one free daily lesson/day-use the video to promote a free online course and paid course. Pre-order link of 1 on 1 course is placed below all youtube videos and the free course. 

Now I post less frequently than before. 

The differences between these three courses (I find this very useful and never seen this approach elsewhere):


Free Daily lesson – youtube video 10-20 mins  long Free Course 7 days = 7 lessons = 2-3 hours 

 
Paid 1 on 1 guarantee course 
Customised learning strategies designed for you 
Help any one to  pass the test in 3 months 
Learning Objective of the video / Lesson To help students 
Understand  the mastery of one   “skill” can be applied to any test questions 


All skills required to get their desired score are shared for free 
Each lesson includes : Skill 
How to apply the skill in any  questions -3 questions 

One question for them, to practice applying the skill  
They leave comment below my video – I give them feedback 

E.g. one story line that can be used to answer all speaking test questions 
To help students
 Decide whether they have already mastered the  skills skills mentioned in the free lessons 

I provide them real test questions 5-10 questions 
Ask them to apply skills and write down answers themselves 
I will explain answers 
To help students 
Master all skills required in less than 3 months, 2 hours studying / day . In a very relaxing, engaging way 

Coach will help them 
Design  a studying lifestyle that helps them study smart not hard -work life balance (most of them students have a job)
Before each coaching , they will watch videos explaining how skills are applied in different situations e.g. some skills can only be used in one type of question 

During the 1 on 1 coaching, a coach will give them  a random question to test whether they can use the skills correctly or not 
Coach will identify what “sub-skills” they need to improve to master this skill and assign customised homework 
What students will feel (I focus on FEELING )Falling in love with skill-based learning approach : 



Wow  This works like magic ! It is soooo simple ! 
I am very confident !  I know after I master all the skills, I can definitely pass the test ! 
This approach can save me sooo much time because  I no longer need to memorise prepared answers e.g. prepared articles for the writing test 
The need for help 
I know this method can guarantee my score (demonstrated in the daily lessons already) 
However, after these practices, by using them myself, I realised that I am unable to use them correctly 
I need more help 
Trust that we are capable of helping them pass 

As long as I sign up the course, follow teachers instructions, there is  impossible for me to fail the test  
So many testimonials out there – I have video testimonials from previous students 
Due to daily lessons and free courses, I have already believed this approach is the best for me and I know I am not able to gaurantee myself a pass 

My lessons on customer retention: Consistently put out educational and engaging content = daily lesson explained before.

The lesson has to give students something unique that they have never experienced before, target their pain point (my students’ pain point is “time” – how to pass in only 1 attempt). 

I like posting daily because it shows how much I care about them and the creative process is also therapeutic and reflective to me. 

I like creating lessons for the sake of creating. It has become less about money but more about figuring out short-cut to a problem and sharing it with others. 

3. What were your challenges and obstacles of growing your business?

Challenges : 

It was very challenging to design a product while growing the leads/students at the same time. 

Overcoming strategies: 

We found the minimum viable task/flywheel/the one task that can make other tasks unnecessary or 10 times simpler.

For us, during the 6 months almost zero profit period, I focused on sharing the 1 on 1 student experience – problems they encountered and strategies worked for them – then, sharing them in daily lessons.  As most students face similar problems, they can resonate with my content. This domino effect has saved me a lot of time on brainstorming daily lesson content. And giving me the faith that the finished course would definitely attract students to buy. 

Also, I wrote a company mindmap – very simple one below, based on Seth Godin’s This is Marketing. As long as I follow his approach, there is no way for me to fail.

Right now, due to too many pre-orders, we are still at the stage of delivering the purple cow, meaning that we had been forced to sell the course to students before we had time to allocate to “spread the idea” – growing youtube channel.

The current organic traffic, only 400 subscribers on youtube/month is enough to generate 30K-40K net profit/month.

Mistakes I made:  

I wasted almost 800K USD (including the time measured by $)  in developing a very “fancy” but complicated online learning platform. 

Lessons I learned: 

What students think is important may not be what they really need. 

Before we planned to create the platform, we asked them whether having online quizzes would be helpful. They answered yes. So we invested a lot of money and time on it, having no time to spend on marketing. 

Obviously, we asked the wrong question. 

At the beginning of 2019, I noticed that a complicated system is not something I want to build. The students who get the best results are 1 on 1 students. I asked those students why they upgraded from a basic course to  1 on 1 course even though it is 8 times more expensive (2K USD at that time). They said: it gives me very simple strategies to help me pass ASAP

This helped me understand all they want are simple strategies , which has nothing to do with how fancy a platform is. 

I also learnt that I should not copy what my competitors do. I’ve seen a few online learning websites having fancy quizzes. But I never questioned myself, do our customers have anything in common? The answer is NO! 

So, never studying  what competitors do, only focus on what MY customers/students care about and what made them buy. 

4. What has been helpful to help you to grow your business?

4 Hour Work Week 
Jab Jab Right Hook 
The One Thing 
Gary V’s Youtube Channel 
Noah Kagan’s Monthly 1K from AppSumo 
Noah Kagan Podcast 
Nevil Kopywriting Kourse – My previous kopywriting coach 

He helped me get the result below and inspired me to launch the 1 on 1 course

Some good decisions I made:

  1. Skill-based approach 

 I learnt this from Derek Sivers: https://sivers.org/

Whenever I want to accomplish something, ask myself “What are the skills I need to learn” instead of focusing on “How can I get XYZ amount of money in … month”.

The process of mastering one skill can be applied to the next skill. 

The more skills I master, the more confident I am.  

  1. One thing at a time  – The one thing approach 

What is the one thing that can make things 10 times easier? 

  1. Role model 

Find an entrepreneur I truly love, not only their business but also their lifestyle, and copy their strategies. 

I like “happy + rich” entrepreneurs with a good work-life balance. 

So Noah Kagan and Nevil are my go-to “virtual mentors“.

Hiring:  hiring a person with empathy, not the skill 

It took me 2 years to train one of the coaches working for me. 

She grew from a virtual assistant, getting paid only 10 $ / hour to a coach getting paid 60$ / hour in 3 years’ time. 

She is very empathetic, making it very easy for us to communicate 

Habits that have helped me:

Get up 4.00-4.45 AM 
5.00-6.30 daily lesson writing + recording 
6.30-7.00 goal setting with my roomie 😀
– Having a roomie helps a lot. We have a similar business and life goals. 
7.00-8.00 workout  – weights 
8.00-4.00 hard work – I only eat a little bit of protein and carb after a workout so that I can stay very focused at work.
Usually 1 -2 hours during the 8-4 window, I will do something else for a friend. 
4.00-7.00 helping my roomie with growing his content marketing company. It is fun to mentor/coach/help another person growing a business. In the process of helping him, the suggestions I give to him help me reflect on my practices as an entrepreneur.
7.00-8.00 beach walk + sleep 

My roomie and I have the same goals but different personalities; it took us almost 2 months to figure out how to communicate with each other effectively. 

So in the last 2 months, I was a bit off track from my business. But as I mentioned above, I focus on one thing at a time. 

Now, we have a pretty solid communication system. Things are starting to flow. 

His business and life have been making significant changes.

He’s also holding me accountable to my goals. 

5. What is your advice for those that are starting productized services?

Focus on one thing at a time. I suggest following this sequence:

  1. Validate business idea in 2 days/ sell a product/service before creating it = have a person to pay you in 48 hours otherwise change an idea; can be pre-order.

I sold my first version video course before I recorded it.

  1. Once you validate an idea,  repeat step 1 to sell more copies. At least 10 paid customers;  create a Facebook group/ forum to communicate with them daily- build a product FOR  them. 

Never build anything before you know others will buy = this is known by asking them to PAY you before you create.

  1. While creating the product, testing different marketing platforms youtube/affiliate/etc – ONE at a time – find the 20/80 platforms – dominate it; the goal is to attract more audiences similar to step 2 clients. 
  2. Launch the finalized product/service to your audience. Due to step 3,  your audience will 100% buy your product 😀 

For each step, your goal should be to build an extremely simple system that allows all staff to reflect their performance themselves without you motivating them or without using $ to motivate them = self-empowered system.

  • Reflect each step 
  • Hire coaches that resonate with you,
  • Find an accountability partner 

Have a balanced personal life: connecting with friends;  fitness habits; sleep well.

Mistakes I see others making: wasting a lot of time creating a product that no one would buy. Before they get a paid client, they spend a lot of time on creating a product or building a fancy system – recommend book – rework: 

Be careful of the company structure. There are many ways to reduce tax. 

Our first 3 years, as a foreigner  living in Australia, we paid 35% tax + 10% GST 

Year 4, we registered a Singapore company: 8.2 % tax 

6. What are your plans for the future?

  • Product:  reducing students time spent on preparing for the test 
  • Traffic:  10 times more
  • Revenue: 150K / month Net profit after tax  = hiring 3 more full-time coaches 
  • Personal goals : 

After the above goals are achieved, buying a house in Portugal, get the European golden visa. 

  • Start my dream business: (actually, planning to start next week 😀 )

My true passion is to help coaches earn more money – at least, double their company profitability in 3 months.

How I plan to achieve these goals:

Master youtube marketing – the last skill I want to learn. 

7. Where can we learn more about you?

Facebook :  Lynn Yang 

Question for the community:

If you were to increase 10x your product price and spend 50% less time on business, what would do you differently? 

How to change ONLY one step to achieve it. (I revised the question from Seth Godin, for me, I created a 1 on 1 result guarantee course by offering a promise that no one offers my audience. This simple one step change that gave us 3  times monthly profit and helped us save time spent on customer service as well as sales = at leasts 80% less time investment in the business. Each staff member works less than 6 hours/day except me – I love working 😀)

1 reply on “How I Was Inspired to Build a $50k/month Online Coaching Agency for IELTS Test Prep”

Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what theme you’re using?
(and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme slows
(!) the site down quite a bit.

In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google
(would appreciate any feedback) – it’s still in the works.

Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *