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Mar 8, 2017
Beijing, China
Hi, I'm a 30 year old Canadian originally from southern Ontario. After a semester of university, it became obvious to me that I wasn't going to learn the skills I would need to know to be competitive in real life by spending time inside a classroom. So, although I finished up the degree (eventually) for my own sense of satisfaction, I focused on ensuring that I got a real life education in addition to the time spent listening to lectures.

I took frequent breaks from university to gain work experience and study language. I spent several years in China and learned to speak Mandarin. For work, I took advantage of a variety of opportunities including teaching, working as a residence director, campus safety officer and customer service rep. All these jobs really helped to develop me as a person, increased my maturity level and taught me much need people and communication skills.

After graduating several years ago, once I decided that my foundational education was complete and it was time to get serious about my career, I moved back to Beijing and did the thing that I knew would make me money fastest, teaching ESL. The hourly rate of $30-50 / hr was better than the money I would make in Canada, provided that I could get enough work freelancing and doing part-time work at various schools.

My plan was to work for a while to save up enough money to fund an entrepreneurial venture. I had a ton of ideas, but it was hard to follow through with ideas without having at least a reasonable amount of money to use to speed of the progression. For example, paying $1000 to have some coding done, rather than spending two years trying to do it myself.

After a year in Beijing, I became seriously annoyed with the quality of language learning curriculum used by virtually all of the schools I worked for part-time. Once I realized that I could develop my better systems (than those that currently existed) for teaching language, I set to work creating a line of solutions.

The last two years have been spent creating ideas, testing them out and working towards launching professional quality products in several categories. I love what I do and I'm excited about the future.

Taking my time to give myself a solid education before jumping into a major project was one of the best choices I ever made. For example, being able to speak Chinese is huge and learning people skills means that I was able to jump into a sales role with ease (to market and sell my service offerings, which pay my rent and fund the development of my products).

This has given me the unique opportunity to be able to earn money while doing product testing and development. I simply offer classes where I try out educational innovations with real students to see how effective and well received they are.

Happy to help with any questions anyone in the FL forum have about life in China, learning Chinese or the language learning industry. Private messages welcomed. If you are visiting Beijing, be sure to look me up.
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