FAQs About Brazil

Brazil, Travel By September 14, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Hey Guys,

I decided to write this post because I’ve received so many questions about Brazil and my experience since I decided to “move” here. So, here are some answers to questions I’ve been asked frequently (or that I think you might like to know the answer to):

1. Why did you move to Brazil?

I could tell you a long story but the short answer is that I’ve always wanted to travel to Brazil. I had a friend who is from here and invited me to travel with her here, I jumped at the opportunity because I was itching to travel and didn’t want to stay in Canada anymore. For me, it was a chance for a new adventure!

2. How long have you been there? How long are you staying?

I got here at the beginning of April. Originally I only planned to stay for just a few months but I’m enjoying my time here and I feel like it’s a good environment for me to stay in for a while so I’m going to stay longer but I don’t know for how long. Probably until the winter passes in Canada.

3. What are you doing there?

I live in São Paulo and work part time teaching English to professionals. I also do some social media management and am building a new company helping people get more followers and engagement on Instagram which you can check out here. The rest of my time is spent enjoying Brazilian food and drinks, hanging out with friends and desperately trying to improve my portuguese.

4. What’s it like there?

Brazil is awesome. I haven’t been to so many places in the world (yet) or even to many places in Brazil but I think it’s a great place and would definitely recommend for people to come visit! It has such a unique interesting, culture that is a fusion of so many things. The people are nice, the food is good and so is the weather ;).

5. Is it dangerous?

So far I haven’t had any issues and I don’t feel any more unsafe here than in other big cities like New York or Chicago. Buuuut, I think it’s always wise to take precautions wherever you go.

6. How’s your Portuguese?

Eu falo um poucinho, learning more everyday. I’m doing my best to keep learning and improving so hopefully I will be functionally fluent by the time I leave. 🙂

That’s it for my top questions, if you have anymore you can leave a comment below, tchau!


My Honest Thoughts On MLM/Network Marketing

Business, Inspiration/Motivation By September 11, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Hey My Friends!

If you’ve read older posts on my blog or you’ve been following me online for a while, then you would know that my first real experience making money online was with an online MLM company.

I’m no longer promoting any MLMs but that doesn’t mean I’m against the industry. On the contrary, I owe a lot of the knowledge I have about internet marketing and brand building as a result of MLM and I won’t hesitate to recommend that people join an MLM not just to make money but because it can be a valuable skill-building experience.

For the purpose of this article, i’m going to use the terms MLM (multi-level-marketing) and network marketing interchangeably.

My Story

My history with MLM is long and varied. I’ve had experiences with both online and offline MLM and for a while, I was very anti-MLM.

Like many people, especially women, my first experiences with MLM were with friends or family members selling makeup or cleaning products.

Later, I joined my first MLM which was a high ticket, personal development opportunity online. I was 18 at the time and had no credit or money to invest in the high ticket products and I also had limited knowledge on how to promote myself and build a business online. This lead me down a path to discover how people actually become successful in MLM, especially online, and I came across some of the top MLM trainers at the time: Mike Klingler, Jonathan Budd, Katie Freiling, Mike Dillard, and more.

I remember reading “Magnetic Sponsoring” when Mike Dillard was still offering it as a free lead magnet (at the time I didn’t even know what a “lead magnet was, lol).

Because I didn’t have a lot of money at the time, I was consuming all the free information and training I could. I learned a lot but there were still gaps.

I never made any money.

Not long after, I joined an offline MLM company with an ex and some friends and I made my first few hundred dollars in the industry.

That experience taught me a lot. First, it taught me that recruiting and selling offline is a hard grind that I am not interested in. Prospecting friends and family and trying to “sell” any and everyone you meet was not exactly my cup of tea, nor was it what I envisioned as a long term business or lifestyle. But, I can’t deny that there are many people who find success with this model and it transforms many people’s lives.

After that business venture ended, I decided that I was never going to be involved in network marketing again. I thought it was annoying and a waste of time and wanted to focus my time and energy into building my own businesses.

Fast forward to 2015 and I had finally graduated uni and was ready to take on the world. I knew that once I finished school I could finally pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. I had been doing some freelance writing while in school and felt that since I already had somewhat of a business I could just put some more work in to making it a full time gig. So, I printed business cards, flyers, made a website and set out to become a full-time entrepreneur.

In the back of my mind, I knew writing wasn’t something I wanted to do forever but I also knew that working my way up the corporate ladder wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of my life either. I figured I could write to support myself and figure out my next move after that. I had always wanted to do something online and had a lot of ideas but wasn’t exactly sure how to execute them.

Then it happened.

Randomly one night while I was scrolling through Instagram before going to bed, I was checking out the page of this guy who had followed me. “Wow!”, I thought. This guy was living my dream life. Working online, travelling, making money.. living the “good life”. From my previous exposure to internet marketing and MLM, I knew he was promoting an MLM opportunity but his style of marketing was so different from what I’d seen before, I loved it.

I went through his funnel, reached out to him on Facebook and started asking him for more information about what he was doing online. After we talked and I did some research, I decided that joining his opportunity would be a good way for me to achieve my lifestyle goals and transition into other online ventures. This was how I got back into MLM. Once again, I found myself in a high-ticket, online opportunity but this time, I had a mentor and a great marketing system and I was able to come up with the funds to invest in the products.

I devoured all of the marketing training I had access to and applied everything I was learning. I really hit the ground running with this business and was determined to make this work at all costs. after about a month of consistent work, I finally made my first sale! I was so excited and it renewed my belief in myself as an entrepreneur and my ability to make money online.

About 3 months into my business, the company I was promoting merged with another company that was providing the front end sales funnel I was using at the time. I thought it was going to be great, WRONG. At this point, everything changed and the company slowly started going down hill. With the merger came a new compensation plan and a lot of angry leaders who jumped ship and moved on to other deals.

In the interest of protecting my investment, I was determined to stick with things and keep working the business. I still made sales but I wasn’t making anywhere near what I could have and would have been making had these changes not taken place in the company. Eventually things got to a point where not even my mentor was able to make sales anymore with the business. The offer was no longer converting in internet marketer speak.

I decided to cut my losses and stopped promoting the company as well. But, instead of joining another opportunity I decided that I was going to make an effort to use the marketing knowledge I gathered to do other things which is where I find myself today (I’m just about to launch a new business venture as I write this post).

What This Experience Taught Me

  1. First, there are two different kinds of MLM, online and offline. At their core, they’re both the same and function by recruiting people in order to sell products but they require some different skill sets. I’m not really a fan of “traditional” or offline MLM, I think it’s kind of corny and doesn’t allow you to really be free and have a normal social life because everyone you meet is a prospect in your head. Online MLM requires you to be a bit more tech savvy and learn about different ways to market and generate leads online. To me, these skills are more valuable in modern times and you can translate them to other things.
  2. MLM is not a “real” business. What I mean by this is that when you are making money with Network Marketing/ MLM, you’re actually more like a sales rep selling products on behalf of a company. You might have to treat your position as your own business in order to succeed but it’s not your business because if the company changes their policies, this impacts you and is beyond your control, you don’t have any say and your income can very easily be taken away without warning.
  3. You can meet a lot of great people and make valuable connections through MLM. This goes for both online and offline MLM. I’ve heard of people meeting their spouses through events, forming new business partnerships, etc. Don’t think only about the money when you get involved in these businesses. More than anything, MLM is about building connections with PEOPLE. This can turn out to be your biggest asset if you are open and build mutually beneficial relationships with people. Even though i’m no longer promoting any opportunities, I still have so many great friends and valuable business contacts that I made through my involvement in the industry.
  4. MLM can teach you how to sell and build a real business. As I mentioned above, if you join an online MLM opportunity and you have a good mentor and access to good marketing training, you can learn A LOT. I had been exposed to online marketing strategies before meeting my mentor but I was mostly consuming free content and that left me with a lot of gaps in the strategies I was learning. When you actually invest in a program and have an involved mentor, you learn how marketing and selling online really works and basically you are developing money making skills that can be applied to other industries. The marketing strategies you’ll learn from network marketing are always going to be on the cutting edge because it’s such a competitive industry that the leaders are always looking for the next wave of lead generation strategies. If you tap into this and you learn how to apply it to non-mlm/marketing industries, you can do well in them because you’ll have sales and marketing skills that other people don’t have.

Overall, I think that getting involved in an online business opportunity is never a bad thing. Every experience in life is an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s only a waste of time and money if you don’t learn or grow from the experience. If you have no experience making money online or running your own business, I think it can be very worthwhile to find a mentor and join an online opportunity. You will learn a lot about how to market and sell online and it’s basically like “entrepreneurship on training wheels”!

What do you think about network marketing and MLM? Have you ever been involved in an online or offline opportunity?

Thanks as always for reading and supporting my blog, see you in the next post!




What I Learned From A Month Of Teaching English In São Paulo

Brazil By June 28, 2016 Tags: , , , 1 Comment

Greetings Friends, AJ here again.

If you’ve read previous posts about My life so far in Brazil, you’ll know that at the moment I’m working part time as an English Teacher in São Paulo.

So far, the experience has been interesting and rewarding and I’m learning a lot about how the industry works and how to make the most of it. So, if you’re looking to come to Brazil to teach English or you are just curious to know more about my experience, keep reading.

I started teaching at the beginning of last month (May, 2016). At first, I took some advice I read on the Brazilian Gringo Blog and Googled “English Schools in São Paulo” and then proceeded to call around and ask if they were hiring. After getting a few emails and struggling to get information from receptionists who didn’t speak English, I decided it would be more efficient to apply to job postings I found online.

I didn’t bother going door to door to apply at schools because I wasn’t yet in São Paulo when I first started applying and by the time I got there, I had some prospects that looked promising based on e-mail and Skype conversations.

I don’t know how many schools I applied to, but I had a handful of interviews and was immediately offered positions with 2 schools. This leads me to the first thing I learned:

English Teaching Jobs in São Paulo are easy to come by. There are TONS of schools in São Paulo and every school wants to have native english speaking teachers. If you present yourself well, you WILL get a job. São Paulo is the financial and business centre of Brazil and to a larger extent, a major business hub of Latin America so, in a globalized world, everyone needs to know the lingua franca of business–English.

Since Brazil isn’t normally on the top of the list for most people who want to go abroad to teach English, demand is high for teachers and the supply can sometimes be low. Once again, leading me to my next point:

You don’t need any special qualifications to teach english in Brazil. Nor do you need any “real” teaching experience. As mentioned above, Brazilians really want to learn english from native speakers so the schools are happy to bring you on board if they know you’re a native english speaker and you seem capable of teaching. There seems to be a preference for American English so if you’re from Canada or the US that’s a plus. But, there are people from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and other European countries who work in Brazil as english teachers.

Teach with schools first, get private students later.  I’m sure some people will have a different opinion on this and that’s fine; but, if it’s your first time teaching abroad or your first time teaching in Brazil/ São Paulo, it might be better for you to gain some experience teaching with schools and then slowly build up your private student list. Teaching with schools helps you get a feel for the market and build up your skills if you have limited teaching experience. Also, if you teach semi-private classes like I do, you can use the opportunity of teaching with a school to learn the best ways to move around the city and get used to your new environment. Teaching privately is essentially like running your own small business so while you’re adjusting to your new environment, you’ll have less to worry about if you teach with a school.

And now on to my last point after a month of teaching english in São Paulo:

Theres lots of money to be made.  Ok well maybe not toooons of money, but depending on whether you teach classes in a stationary school, semi-private students in-company or private students, you can make $500-1000USD/month on the low end and $3,000+/month on the higher end. I’m sure there are people who really hustle and make more.  On average, you will probably make something between these two incomes working 20-30ish hours/week. Although living in São Paulo can be quite expensive, if you’re making this kind of income here you’ll be just fine. It’s important to note that these kinds of salaries probably don’t exist outside São Paulo so if you’re thinking about going somewhere else to teach, keep that in mind.

BONUS–a few other anecdotes about my first month teaching english in São Paulo:

Initially, I was offered jobs almost immediately by two schools both targeted towards english for business professionals and both offering in-company private classes. This means the teachers go to the student’s home or office and teach them there.

The first school was really impressed with me during the selection process so they decided to offer me a more senior level position that of course meant a higher salary. But, there was a catch. In order to qualify for this position, I had to block out all my prime teaching hours for them and keep these time slots open for them regardless of whether they filled those slots or not. Even though the second school immediately offered me a class that would pay even more than what the first school was offering, the regular starting rate for all the rest of their classes was much lower so I thought it would be better for me to work only with the first school especially since I also had to fit in shifts from the hostel.

So, I started working with them and it turned out to be a learning experience of what NOT to look for when it comes to teaching english.

Firstly, I assumed that since I was given a higher level position and I had blocked off all my time for them, they would be filling my schedule right up, not so. Most of their classes are 1 hour long and in São Paulo, depending on where you live, it can take you 30 mintutes to 1 hour+ to get to these classes especially with traffic (most of my classes were an hour away). So, I was running all over the city for their students with nothing close to the amount of hours I expected to be getting and that’s not all…

The school didn’t have a physical office so I had nowhere to print materials I needed for my classes. Although they have a virtual drive of teaching materials and I have an ipad, printed materials are important and printing materials for my classes cut into my income and shouldn’t be my responsibility as an employee.

The school also has a “convenient” 4 hour cancellation policy, meaning that the students can cancel their classes and reschedule them as long as they give the school at least 4 hours notice. This is good for the students but very bad for the teachers because it makes it much easier for the students to cancel their classes last minute. For example, say you have a class scheduled for 6PM but your student goes for lunch at 12 and decides “aah, today, I don’t feel like having my english class”–CANCELLED. Since there was more than four hours notice, the student keeps the credits they paid to the school, you don’t teach and you don’t get paid. I found this policy to be extremely demotivating and often struggled to find the motivation to go to my classes even when the students didn’t cancel because they cancelled all-the-time. Furthermore, I felt that this sort of policy was a major selling point for the school and it attracted students who were lazy and not very serious about learning. There were other other weaknesses I realized in terms of teaching with this school but I won’t keep going so it doesn’t sound like I’m bitter lol.

After a month of teaching with this school, I contacted the second school that offered me a position and explained to them that I had slots in my schedule. They were glad to hear from me and I started adding classes from them right away. What a world of a difference! This school has a much more fair cancellation policy–24 hours and students can only cancel/reschedule 25% of their classes which gives a lot more income stability to the teachers. The students must also commit to at least 1, 2 hour class per week or 2, 1.5 hour classes which is much more time efficient for the teachers. They also keep the students with the same teacher consistently unless the student complains or the teacher leaves. Overall, the second school offers a much better teaching environment and I think this is beneficial for both the students and the teachers. The students are more serious and eager to learn so it helps you stay sharp and keep your game up and the school ensures they always support you and offer you whatever materials you need for your classes. Lastly, I will mention that they even agreed to match my rate from the old school so it was a no-brainer. I quickly phased out classes from my old school (the students kept cancelling anyways) and now I have a pretty full schedule with my new school and will start building up my private students soon too.

These are all little details that I wasn’t aware of and didn’t realize how important they were when I first started teaching but they matter and they’ll make a difference to your teaching experience.

Lastly, I haven’t had any experience teaching at any of the major chain schools in a classroom environment so I can’t offer any feedback or advice on that style of teaching or working for those schools. From what I know though, they usually pay less but it can be easier to convert those students into private classes if you approach the situation correctly.

There it is, lessons from a month’s worth of teaching in São Paulo.

Any questions/ comments, drop them below!

See y’all in the next post,