Digital Nomad and Language Learning Curriculum Entrepreneur David Cole Uses LifterLMS to Make Money Online
Non Profits Harness Course Development as a Vehicle For Change
Not everyone gets to merge their dream lifestyle with a sustainable growing business, but David Cole, a world traveler, and dedicated educator combined his two passions.
David and his wife, Brodi, are self-described “Digital Nomads,” leading a globetrotting lifestyle, taking them and their son through Asia, Mexico, and Central America. A specialist in English language teaching curricula, David created a LifterLMS-powered website, thetutorresource.com, and when they travel, he takes his business along.
A key incentive for thetutorresource.com is China’s 2021 ban on foreign ESL teachers working with online education companies who are still allowed to work as private tutors. The site provides an all-in-one tutor administrative solution for private tutors of English as a second language, providing curricula, courses, and resources, most of which target younger learners. The site’s clients primarily teach in China and can now connect with parents and students directly and teach using the courses and resources available at thetutorsresource.com. However, while most of the tutors focus on teaching English to students in China, teachers focus on other areas, and a few teach other languages like Spanish or French.
The switch from corporate schools to private teaching is not necessarily a change for the worse, as private tutors can make more money than they did previously. In addition, since the market focuses mainly on kids, it makes for an enjoyable option in the TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) space. The connection between tutor and child allows the instructor to watch the child grow as they learn, and each can learn about one other’s culture.
Unlike most LifterLMS users who sell courses directly to their end user, David is instead selling to a “middleman,” the teacher, giving them course material to screen share. To do so, tutors can embed the material from LifterLMS into Google Slides and present it via Zoom or the Chinese meeting app VooV.
Expanding the Platform for Other Creators
David is not the only curriculum creator on his site. Currently, some twenty other creators contribute to the body of curricula and resources. To accommodate this setup, David installed WC Vendors, a multi-vendor plugin that integrates with WooCommerce, to allow for marketplace functionality.
David has also taken advantage of LifterLMS to set up his courses to guide these creators, some of whom are either not very tech-savvy or are not familiar with the platform, so that they, too, can learn to create on LifterLMS.
My favorite part of Lifter… I like the outline feature (course builder.) It's great! It’s simple and I can move it around, it’s really visually appealing.
David’s Tech Stack
To run a site with so much flexibility and interactivity, David’s tech stack is understandably replete with an impressive variety of apps. He gives special consideration to apps that handle multiple business needs and those designed to engage and motivate young learners.
Among the latter, Genially and EdPuzzle stand out as apps that allow for creative interactive uses: Genially provides the means to design interactive, animated content, such as lessons, presentations, homework, and the like. EdPuzzle, on the other hand, provides a video quiz platform where students can take an active role in their learning with interactive video lessons.
Dave’s tech stack includes the following:
- WordPress - as the primary CMS
- LifterLMS - as the eLearning content management system
- Bluehost - as hosting service
- Kadence theme
- Elementor - page builder and design tool
- WooCommerce - eCommerce and payment engine
- WCVendors - for vendor sales management
- Perfmatters - WordPress performance optimization plugin
- WPvivid – as a backup tool
- EdPuzzle – for interactive video quizzes
- Genially – for interactive presentations
- Amelia – for scheduling 1-on-1 meetings
- Gravity Forms for CRM
- ClassIn – for video meetings
Marketing ESL Tutoring
Considering the relatively new site, it has been amassing an impressive number of users and clocked over 200 visitors only three months after launching. David has utilized his existing ESL business relationships to market the site, leveraging social media marketing and participation in TESL groups. Word of mouth has also brought him people interested in marketing their curricula.
Finally, he also pays close attention to SEO, and while he has been able to do this without any expense, he knows that once he wants to widen his reach or change markets, he may have to consider new marketing tools.
Supporting the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
On the table is another educational website in the making to support a “world school” concept. This project will involve David and Brodi sharing tips for enjoying a travel-centric lifestyle to experience the world while running a successful business to maintain a comfortable income.
The Cole family has been traveling the world since just before the pandemic, after saving up for a year and selling their home. Their first stop was in Asia, where they spent time in Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia. The unanticipated COVID-19 lockdown meant they had to stay in Malaysia longer than they’d planned. Still, they headed to Mexico and Central and South America once they could travel freely.
Along the way, they’ve met other “world schooler” families. Dave and Brodi realized they could expand beyond ESL and add another educational tool to support nomadic families like their own. With the flexibility and integration strengths of LifterLMS and WordPress, they can look forward to not only adding math, science, history, and other lessons but also to adding additional tutors who want to develop their courses and create residual income. Dave optimistically sees infinite possibilities ahead.
You name it, I’ve probably done it. I’ve failed, and I’ve succeeded. But every failure teaches you to grow! As long as you learn from your mistakes and you grow from those mistakes, you can continue to find success in many different areas. So don't give up!
Would-be global nomads can look forward to the new lifestyle course when it launches. In the meantime, however, they can gain valuable insights and find helpful suggestions at Coles’ travel site ouroffbeatlife.com.