Nov 15, 2016
If you make your living as an independent teacher, coach, or tutor you MUST develop a Growth Mindset. It’s a massively important step to build a thriving business.
The concept of a mindset was coined by Stanford researcher Carol Dweck. She identified two basic mindsets: Fixed and Growth.
If you have a Fixed Mindset, then you tend to feel innate talents and intelligence will dictate your fate and accomplishments. So, you sit back and wait for your life to start. Obviously, this is not the best attitude for success. Dweck found that successful individuals lean towards a different mindset: the Growth Mindset.
What is a Growth Mindset?
Those with a Growth Mindset believe development and prosperity come through hard work, patience, and the ability to withstand failure.Your talents are just the springboard to achieve greatness.
This concept is very helpful in a range of scenarios and sectors, from education to arts, sports, and business. I want to speak directly to you about developing a Growth Mindset for your teaching business. And, if you want to find out more about mindsets, check out Dweck’s book here.
So, what does a Growth Mindset in your teaching business look like? Let’s look at three areas where you can use this principle to help your teaching business right now.
1. Believe in Yourself
There is an awesome song from the Sesame Street back catalogue that has been reproduced and performed by no less than four different artists from 1973 to 2014, it’s called Believe In Yourself.
It’s such an important message but one that so many teachers do not embrace. Why? Well, you may not understand how important your work is, how unique your skill set is and how important it is to pass this on to future generations.
I can see why. When you work as an independent teacher, there’s no boss or team telling you that you did a great job. Sure, your students may sprinkle the odd bit of praise in your direction, but sometimes it can feel like a thankless task.
Then there’s the admin and the other tasks you really don’t enjoy doing. They may be a necessity for your teaching business’s survival, but sometimes it feels like they’re sucking the life out of you!
Now’s the time to turn to Elmo and “Believe in Yourself”.
I’m not saying you have to listen to Sesame Street every time you start to feel your confidence lagging. But you must do something. It’s part of the Growth Mindset mentality.
So, develop an infrastructure to keep your motivation and confidence levels high. Remind yourself that there is no one else on Earth who can impart your skill the way you do. Teach with a full heart.
2. Embrace Abundance
OK, I’m going to be cruel to be kind here.
There is no excuse for you not to have a full quota of students. The internet is not killing your business. Your market is not saturated.
There are 7.5 billion humans on the planet. Is each one an expert in your field? No. Is each one a potential student? Yes.
I sense you’re rolling your eyes now, but it’s true.
First up, there is your local community. The people who want a personal relationship with a teacher, sitting in a room, learning something. Nothing can compete with a real teacher, no matter how fancy technology gets.
Second, the internet can help your business go beyond your zip code. You could set up online tutorials, Skype classes or get yourself teaching on a YouTube channel. The possibilities are endless to extend your reach.
So, get a marketing plan in place and see what works. If something doesn’t work, pivot and try another idea.
Think about doing a lesson tour around the country sponsored by a company that’s relevant to your trade and who would relish the advertising opportunity. Reinvest in the community with an event. Tell your students to recommend you.
Those around you will soon pick up on your passion and commitment, and they’ll want to be part of it. If you understand that, you can get as many students as you want or need. There’s plenty to go around.
3. Recognize and Love Your Community
You must understand that your clients want you to succeed and this means that you must charge a fair wage for your services.
I know this is something a lot of teachers struggle with. You love what you do, so it feels wrong to charge, right? Well, the community that have supported you and helped build your business could not disagree more!
I had a hard time coming round to the fact that my students wanted to pay me a fair wage for my services. But we care for each other. I take great care in teaching them music, and they feel grateful and want to pay me. They understand that teaching is how I pay my mortgage and feed my family. They understand the importance of my work and want my business to survive and thrive in the years ahead.
People are generally good. Developing a thriving studio means having respectful, caring clients.
It’s also a two-way street. Skilled and passionate teachers are essential to a thriving community. You teach my kids to swim, learn a new language or play baseball. You are a guide, a role model, an immediate example of hard work and community involvement.
Your students want you to thrive, not simply survive, they want you to have a great life because by passing on your skills you are helping them have a great life.
You get what you give. And, as a teacher, you are giving them the greatest gift of all.
I hope you’ve found these points helpful. We’d love to hear about the successes and challenges you face in maintaining a Growth Mindset as a teaching professional.
If you love your craft, care deeply about furthering it, and are willing to work at it… teaching is the most awesome gig!