Guest Post by Po Tim King.
5 years ago I never dreamed of being a trilingual homeschooling mother. Let alone being a mother of four, a blogger, and a Chinese printable creator. Providing resources, encouragement, and tips for teaching language at home has been enriching. I have helped thousands of families around the world through my blog Fortune Cookie Mom.
Within three years of starting, I received invitations to speak at notable conferences. I spoke at the “Multi-Ethnic Homeschool Moms Conference”, and the “Homeschooling Online Conference.” I was also interviewed by the “I’m Homeschooling My Kids Podcast”, and by the tv station RTHK in Hong Kong. I am a member of iHomeschool Network and Multicultural Kids Blogs as well.
In this blog post, I share my experience and tips on blogging, and how blogging saved my sanity. Through blogging, I have gained self-confidence as a non-native English speaker. Blogging has blessed my family and others.
And it can bless yours too!
How my blog, Fortune Cookie Mom, started
In 2014, our family with two girls and a boy on the way sold everything and moved to my hometown in Hong Kong. It was insane. We want our children to experience Chinese culture and get to know my family. We didn’t know we would end up staying for a total of 6 years.
We decided against putting our children in local Hong Kong schools. Instead, we planned on homeschooling. I had my reservations about homeschooling. I missed work and missed having conversations with other adults. Staying home and talking to children all day was exhausting. I started looking into different part-time jobs I could do from home. I wanted to stay home with my three young children. That is when I came across the blogging idea.
I didn’t know anything about being a blogger. I knew I didn’t have the best English, I tried to find another solution. We tried to start a clothing company to sell clothes from China to the U.S. since we were in Hong Kong. But the upfront investment was too much, so we had to give that up.
Then one day, as I was preparing homeschooling materials for my oldest. I was looking for Chinese teaching materials for her. There weren’t very many out there. Only very plain, and not kid-friendly printables were available. Most of the printables were for adults and not for kids. I decided to create some simple Chinese booklets and flashcards for my child.
The handmade Chinese booklets weren’t bad, but my girls didn’t take them seriously. After seeing all the Pinterest pins and homeschooling blogs inspiration struck. I found free clipart and made my first printable.
From there I created my first and now signature product– Chinese Theme Packs. They contain over 40 pages of hands-on activities. They include writing, math, literacy, coloring pages, and more.
The next step was building a TPT store. We had a need and saw more and more people were looking for the same thing so we decided to start a blog.
How I make money with my blog
Creating Chinese Printable
As I became serious about making printables, looked to improve my skills. I sought out other bloggers and learned from them. I found them through Pinterest and other social media. I knew I was new, so I balanced blogging time which was during my children’s nap and after they had gone to bed. I learned a skill or read an article about blogging every week, to continue learning and to stay current.
I started making earning a little from my TpT store within 2 months of blogging. It was amazing to be able to cover the annual fee to TpT already. And then, I tried to write blog posts about these Chinese Theme Packs and how my kids used them. Of course, I kept making more themes even and expanded to simple books and posters. Also due to the complexity of Chinese and its dialects, I created a total of 9 different versions of each pack. This was to learners and their parents. I wanted people all over the world to use them even if they aren’t Chinese speakers.
After the first 2 months, we hired one of my childhood friends. He is an excellent artist and creates Asian-style clipart for me. With his clipart and drawings, my printables look better and are unique. It made a huge difference and helped me to stand out from the crowds.
The first year, I earned about $100 per month. It was from my TpT store which I promoted through Pinterest, my Facebook page, and Facebook groups.
From this point, I started to grow my subscriber base. To do so I started to give Chinese Theme Packs as freebies. My goal was to get people who bought my stuff on TpT to my blog.
In my third year of blogging, I earned about $200-300 USD per month from selling printables. During months with special Chinese festivals, I would earn up to $500 a month.
Creating my First Online Course
Through all my reading I heard so many good things about creating online courses. I learned how to blog from online courses! I took a few from different bloggers and they were very helpful to me. It inspired me to create one for my audience.
In year 3, I started to feel exhausted. I didn’t massive results like what other bloggers talked about. I worked very hard and gave up all my time.
Then, I found Suzi, at Start a Mom Blog.
She was different from other bloggers teaching about blogging. I related because she is also a mother.
She knows the pain points and struggles of being a mother, and I love how she teaches simply. I knew that it is what I needed.
I attended and re-watched all her Facebook LIVE videos. I even joined the challenges she held. The most rewarding one was when I joined a mastermind group with other mom bloggers. I also bought Suzi’s Course by Number course. The course and the mastermind group helped and pushed me to create my first online course. I launched it in 5 months.
Introducing Chinese at home was my first online course. I focus on helping parents prepare their children to learn Chinese using 3 steps. It helps children create a better relationship with the Chinese language and culture. It builds a foundation of experiences for learning Chinese.
I first earned $76 from having four beta-students right before my course launched. And then, I hosted a 5-day challenge with over 200 people.
After my 14-day launch, I have earned a total of $2093 with 35 students.
It was unbelievable and terrifying at the same time. It was the first time I knew people were following me. They wanted to learn from me, and they looked to my experience and my methods as well.
I know it’s not normal, but after two months I re-launched the course. It was because of COVID. I saw an opportunity where people were stuck at home with nothing to do. I thought it would be a great time to immerse and introduce Chinese at home. I even gave 2 scholarships out to help a few followers.
After a 6-day email-only launch and a Facebook Live, I earned almost $1000.
I even set up a very simple evergreen funnel Suzi taught. so I have a total of 50 students right now.
All about Growing the Email List & Getting Traffic
I didn’t have a large email list because of my niche. I have 2500 subscribers.
I do clean my list quite often, so I only have those who open and read my emails. Also, by getting rid of people who don’t even open my emails it costs less.
I have a pretty good list. Right now the open rate is 43%, and I send emails weekly in my raw imperfect English writing.
What helped my email list grow?
These are the things that help my email list grow the most:
- free challenge
- SEO friendly blog posts
Having attractive Freebies
We all know the importance and power of having attractive freebies. Mine is a Chinese Resource Library. It contains FREE Chinese Theme Packs, booklets, posters, pretend-play sets, and coloring pages. You guessed it! It’s only for my subscribers to download and use.
Whenever I promote new free Chinese printables on social media a surge of subscribers follows.
Hosting Free Challenges
Hosting a free 5-day challenge is an excellent way to build a community, teach others, and build my email list.
I have hosted three free challenges, each time I have had about 200 new subscribers as participants. My community is very active during these challenges. There are a lot of posts, we share our results from the challenge, discuss challenges and more. It is a large increase in traffic and exposure.
SEO Friendly Blog Post
This is the hardest one for me since it involves writing in English, but it does pay off.
Since I have a small niche, it’s not difficult for me to rank high in SEO under popular topics. Also, I learned from Suzi how to find and where to put keywords in my blog posts. After implementing her techniques, more people began finding me each month.
During Chinese festivals and homeschooling season, I double or triple traffic from SEO.
I don’t like to write in English because I doubt my ability. So, I’m grateful my husband proofreads for me and helps my SEO and readability.
Favorite Blogging Tools
Here are my favorite blogging tools.
- Pinterest & Tailwind
- Relay That & Canva
- A survey in the welcome email
The first three you should be pretty familiar with, and Suzi talks about them a lot as well. I’m going to talk about the last two tools.
Rawpixel is a stock photo site. My husband loves lifetime deals. He joined them early on and got a lifetime access account years ago, and we love this company a lot.
They have clean and high-quality photos and are easy to use in any blog post or printable.
They also have tons of mock-ups, clipart, and images as well.
We love it so much. We don’t have to pay for stock photo companies ever again.
I felt bad. I didn’t get many comments from my blog or hardly ever got any feedback. I wanted to know if my content is the things my audience was looking for. I wanted to know how and where to improve. After some thought, I decided to put a survey in my welcome email. People would tell me anything they thought my blog is missing. They would also tell me what they wanted more of. It was nice to see my followers open up and tell me their struggles and how I could help them.
When I wanted to create a new printable, write a new blog post, or when I was brainstorming my first online course topic, I turned to my survey results.
I have had over 200 people tell me what they want. I organized all the responses on a Google sheet. I group and divide their problems and needs. It has made it easier when I need data about myself, my products, or my blog. I recommend you create a survey.
Time Saving Tips
When I started my blog, I had a 6-month-old, 2-year-old, and a 4-year-old, and now I am going to have my fifth child. homeschooling was not easy let alone, managing the house, taking care of myself.
I have used these many years juggling all these tasks, and I can’t it’s been perfect. But I have some tips to make my life easier and less stressful.
Do not compare yourself with others, everyone has their own season of life
It’s so much easier to look at others’ life and feel terrible about our own.
In my case, since we have a young family, there is no way for me to work a full-time schedule. I can only work on my blog during nap times and after they go to bed. I only have about 3-5 hours per day.
But, taking care of and teaching my children also benefits my blog. It increasing my own experience and knowledge of teaching kids Chinese at home.
Right now my season of life is to experience, observe, and record my own experience and method. I hope when my children grow a bit, and when I have extra time, I can use what I learn to help my audience.
Use Time Wisely
I only have about 3 -5 hours per day on my computer to work on my blog, and I try to work only the weekdays. I have no more than 25 hours per week to write blog posts, update my blog, create printable, promote, create pins, etc.
I must use my time wisely and not waste these hours.
For example during the day when teaching and playing with my kids, if I have a new idea to share with my audience, I write it down. Then during blogging time, I can work on it.
Another example is when I am cooking, my children play with toys or watch educational shows. I use this time to listen to Suzi’s courses, Facebook live, or other homeschooling podcasts. This allows me to keep up to date on my blogging skills. I usually only have about 30 minutes, and often I can’t finish a whole lesson, but that’s ok! I try to sneak in learning time wherever possible.
Also, I keep a to-do list for blogging. So once I have time to blog, I have a list of things to do. It keeps me from getting distracted and drifting into the social media rabbit hole.
Choose your Weapons
No matter how much we want, we can’t have everything. It’s the truth.
I wish my Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram would grow as well as my blog. But it hasn’t happened to me.
My advice is to pick and choose your weapons, not to own all the weapons. It’s only going to drive you mad and make you feel guilty and disappointed.
From the data of my Google Analytics, I noticed Facebook, Pinterest, and SEO are my top traffic sources. So I should spend my time on them instead of trying to famous on other platforms.
My audience loves my Chinese printables, and I know they are unique as well. So I try to focus on making more of them than trying other things that I’m not good at.
My ultimate goal is to earn a full-time income and retire my husband with my blog, like Suzi.
I know there are so many things I can teach and create for my audience. There aren’t many blogs and sites providing affordable Chinese resources. So I would like to keep creating many Chinese printables and online courses.
I hope through my blog, I can support people who have no idea how or what to do to start teaching Chinese at home. I want them to know it’s possible.
If you are considering teaching and introducing your child to Chinese, you are in the right place.
I would like to share with you my FREE Chinese Resource Library. It contains downloadable Chinese printables and so much more. You can click HERE to sign up for free, and you will have access right away.