OK, so in my previous articles I've outlined the reasons to work for Palfish, and how much you can get paid, now it's time to outline the keys to building your Palfish profile in order to gain traction and ultimately become a successful tutor on the platform.
So let's go into more detail on the three most important keys to succeeding as a Palfish Freetalker!
1. Be energetic and positive – highlight your passions and interests
Once you press the ‘Start Tutoring' button on your Palfish homepage, you are immediately made available to receive calls from Palfish students.
And that's great! But gradually and ultimately, you naturally want to attract students who share your interests and life passions, because this is much more conducive to building deep and flowing conversations; what I like to call ‘Palfish Podcasts'…
…yes that's correct: when the chemistry and dynamic is nicely synchronized between you and your student, you can seamlessly enter that ‘podcast' dimension, where you take the conversation in differing directions, from history to sociology, somehow making neat segways into sport, music and popular culture.
The feeling you get from these podcast conversations is really special; and when the call is over and you're subsequently presented with a student with whom you have little in common, you realize just how wonderful it is to engage in those deep and meaningful ‘Palfish Podcast calls'…
…to the extent that you can often forget that this is technically ‘work'!
The aim is for all of your calls to reach ‘podcast' level.
How to do that? By promoting your lifestyle and interests through PalFish Moments!
What are Moments?
OK, so it's a bit of a clunky word, but that nomenclature aside, Moments are essentially the equivalent of an Instagram Story or Facebook post.
It's your way to show yourself to the Palfish world, gain followers and ultimately attract students.
There are three Moment Features: Pictures (the most popular), Videos, and Audio.
I use all 3, and essentially reproduce my Instagram lifestyle through pictures and video (albeit in a more PG style; remember students of all ages can see your Moments!),
I also use the Audio feature to show students my Mandarin Chinese progress – which brings me neatly onto the next Key!
2. Show interest in Chinese Culture, Geography and Language
Although Palfish is first and foremost a place for Chinese people to learn and practice English with Westerners (primarily), the App is actually like a commune where East meets West, and there is plenty of enjoyable cross cultural exchange, and cross-fertilization of ideas and philosophies.
This tip ties in with the first: showing genuine interest in Chinese culture, geography, language and even sociology will really endear you to regular and prospective students.
Not only will this attract students to you, but these themes can serve as excellent conversation topics and feed nicely into the podcast length.
“Oh it's Qingming Festival? I've heard this is a festival to pay respects to deceased relatives, please tell me more about this.”
“Oh you're from Outer Mongolia? Mongolia was an ancient Empire, right? Please tell me about this.”
“Wow, you're my first Hong Kong student! How much does the Hong Kong lifestyle and culture differ from the mainland? And how about the differences between Cantonese and Mandarin? When you go to a coffee shop in Hong Kong, which language do you usually speak in? I guess it depends on the particular context?”
You can also talk about food!
And speaking of language: this is the most important element of this key: Learn Mandarin! It is a truly fascinating language, and by the next century, it could well be on a par with English – or who knows, even overtake it! That doesn't seem implausible given the inexorable growth and development of 21st Century China, so beyond your work with Palfish, learning a decent level of Chinese will certainly serve you well.
In fact this is so important, that there will be another separate article on the 5 key phrases you must learn and use with your students.
3. Make Packages
Although you can succeed perfectly well as an ‘off the cuff, spontaneous' Freetalker, you will have more success and land more students if you present yourself as a structured and serious tutor, as well as being a fun and engaging one – you can be both, they are not mutually exclusive attributes!
While most Freetalk students are cool with a laissez-faire approach, others are more goal and structure driven, and appreciate seeing Class Packages on your Tutor Profile.
These can be very simple and basic: Business English Package, accompanied by slides demonstrating what content and material the student will learn through this Course Package.
Also, a Package is a financially mutually beneficial concept for both tutor and student: the student earns a discount through economies of scale, while the tutor gets a lump sum up front; everyone wins.
For example: Let's say you normally bank 100 RMB for an hour of Freetalk, then you would offer a Package of say 6-7 hours for the value of 500 RMB, offering a small discount in return for the lump sum up front.
So, there you have it: the Three keys to becoming a successful Palfish Freetalker and emulating the success of Palfish Paul!
If you're not yet a PalFish Teacher, you can do so by using my referral link below: