Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in training & education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elena Mutonono, Founder of Mutonono Training and Coaching, located in New Orleans, LA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business helps online language teachers transition from working exclusively 1:1 to more innovative online language teaching formats that save time and increase their income.

Tell us about yourself

I began as an online English teacher who helped Russian-speaking students improve their English fluency. Over time, I moved into coaching online language teachers because I felt like I could share my business journey lessons with them. In the online language teaching industry, many online teachers are primarily invisible as individuals, grossly overworked, and severely underpaid, squashed by highly competitive websites where they are forced to lower their already low rates to take more students.

They're afraid to let students go. They're scared to raise their rates, and they're afraid to take a vacation. If they do, the comeback will be harder, the algorithm will not show their profile, and they will need to start from the bottom up again. I dream that online language teachers can reverse that. I do that through books, online courses, workshops, my community of competent online language teachers (aka the Smart Teacher's Library), and coaching.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I started a community for online language teachers called the Smart Teachers Library 5 years ago. I've helped hundreds of online language teachers reduce their workload, break free from large language learning sites, and start independently. Many clients have written books, created courses, and built the confidence to charge above-average industry rates.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Like many of my online language teachers, the hardest thing for me is to stay visible, spread the message further, and make it more available. I've been doing that through workshops, books, webinars, my OnlineBound podcast, and my newsletter. But it's not easy to reach more people and make the message compelling because making a few bucks fast right now is still quite prevalent and frankly appealing to anyone starting and who wants to avoid diving into the complexities of online language teaching.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Have a part-time job that helps you generate an income. You may have an inheritance or move to a country with a lower cost of living. Having a part-time job that pays the bills takes enormous pressure off your shoulders. It allows you to experiment and try out different strategies for your business.
  2. Invest money in coaching in a community, 1:1, or a mastermind. Getting some clarity on what needs to be done without the overwhelming thousands of voices on YouTube is essential. Even if you can't invest a lot, try to stick with fewer people's resources, and don't jump from one course to the next because overwhelm leads to inaction.
  3. Begin creating content and growing your list. If you want to avoid getting bogged down with social media, start your podcast, a blog, or a YouTube channel. Something that can be called "yours," something that you can later turn into products or services. Something that gives you a connection with people who are interested in you.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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