I had become so frustrated by mid-2018 that I could barely stand walking into the building where I founded my small language program in downtown São Paulo. I had been living in Brazil for just over seven years at the time and expanded my school into this particular area after seeing success in another state in late 2015. Even though our operations were a local success and everyone enjoyed the classes very much, I still couldn’t help but think my professional life was beginning to fall apart!
Stepping out of the elevator meant facing 52-stories of long, dark, narrow, creepy hallways with no natural lighting as if it were the set of an 80s horror flick.
The building I chose for the school wasn’t helping to make great first impressions. It wasn’t exactly the most welcoming environment or go-to place with strange people standing around the front soliciting and harassing pedestrians. I was working around the clock on corporate contracts and wanted to invite my students to the new location’s daily conversation classes. But many just politely refused, saying it was too out of the way. I felt stuck in a 24-month lease that had become my nightmare.
I ended up deciding to rent that particular office space online just by viewing photos online without actually going to view it. We put a lot of effort into making the schools look amazing, so moving in and seeing that dilapidating building was utterly disheartening.
I know most of you may think this was my biggest mistake and that I shouldn’t have ever done it that way. But since it’s such a normal thing for people to do in São Paulo and since I had done the very same thing to rent my apartment the year before, I thought it would’ve worked just as well.
Boy, oh boy, was I wrong.
Finding a Way Out
I knew I had to get out of there, but I had just invested way too much money renovating that location and had very little left to invest anywhere else.
I was becoming more and more upset by the day. Investment capital was becoming harder and harder to come by, and I was more desperate each day when it finally hit me! I could actually redirect my profits if I had some other way of supporting myself. I had discovered Cambly a few months before when talking to one of my university students on campus about different ways of keeping in contact with the language.
Even though I kind of knew I could easily earn money on Cambly, I was skeptical.
She told me how people could connect to tutors at any moment. She also explained you can always find someone online since there are tutors from all around the globe on Cambly. I hadn’t heard of anything like this and just had to check it out for myself.
I’m the type of guy who prefers walking into an actual building or at least having the possibility of doing so if I need to speak to someone. The idea of a company operating entirely online was just unimaginable, and I thought I would just get scammed. The possibility of working and not being paid completely horrified me! However, despite all my reservations, I still signed up, thinking it was a waste of time. But once again, I was wrong.
Help From An Unlikely Source
I’ve heard of people labeling Cambly as some kind of side hustle they resort to when other sources of income have dried up, but it really did the job when I needed it the most. After getting approved to become a tutor, I began taking calls. After a week or two of tutoring, I started gaining regulars and opening up times for students to make reservations.
As I said, I didn’t know what activities to use or what to expect. The thought of students from all across the globe judging my teaching didn’t exactly encourage me to begin either. I wanted to start with one of the old conversation activities I had on file, but I couldn’t decide which one. “I just need to try it out and see how it goes,” I would tell myself.
Believe it or not, Cambly quickly grew on me.
Before I got used to Cambly, I would sit in front of my computer glaring at the screen as if I were waiting for the little red toucan to begin dancing. I was so hesitant I could feel my palms start to sweat. “You’ve done this countless times, Andy,” I would tell myself. I didn’t know what was happening to me. My imagination was running wild, and I was letting it all get to me.
The first couple of classes were the hardest. I always reserved a few minutes before tutoring to find the courage before logging into my account and waiting for that distinct piano to begin playing. Getting ready to answer, I would shift my weight from one side of my chair to the other. By that time, I just wanted to rip the bandaid off and go for it! I knew I had prepared as much as possible and was ready to face whatever would come my way.
Who knows how long it would’ve taken me to find another way to quickly raise money.
I received my first payment on December 24, 2018, for a cool hundred and fifty bucks. I was so glad I had discovered a way to make a little extra income at that moment. I could never have imagined this online platform would save myself and my company.
The age-old saying of “never judge a book by its cover” applies. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that Cambly would become a guardian angel for me – an angel investor. Tutoring on Cambly helped me get through one of the most challenging moments I’ve had in the last five years.
Some students have asked the question, “what is your real job?” when tutoring. I like to proudly tell whoever asks that this is my real job, and I love what I do very much. Many people don’t realize how great a tool Cambly is or fail to make the most of its potential. But I can genuinely say that the platform was just what I needed.
Hindsight is 20/20
For me, I can’t help remembering how quickly I was able to support myself using Cambly and how easy it was to get started. I reminisce on the feelings I had when I first signed up and began tutoring.
I now have so many students that I can’t even find available time to fit all of them on my schedule! I share life experiences with my students and give them a comfortable space to share theirs without being judged.
We discuss important things and come up with solutions to problems we are both facing. Sometimes, my students can give me great pointers and recommendations in the city I live, and I’ve also been able to do the same.
Cambly is such a wonderful exchange of information. It’s a breath of fresh air when I log onto Cambly to start my daily reservations.
I know that if I’m not 100% up for teaching an in-depth lesson, I can have a light conversation with my student, and that’s okay!
I know they will be happy and grow in their language learning as long as I make corrections and help my students expand their vocabulary while providing them with a judgment-free space to be themselves and learn. I later discovered that I hadn’t only found a great source of very reliable income on Cambly, I had also found something like a second family.
How has Cambly helped or been a joy to you? I would love to hear your unique story in the comment section below.
Thank you for reading my story & happy tutoring, CamFam!
About the Writer
Andy is an English teacher from South Florida, currently residing in Sao Paulo. He’s been teaching for 12 years, managing language programs in South America. He began teaching in the offshore oil industry and slowly migrated to working onshore and then online.