The Digital Creator Getting Paid to Teach People How to Speak English

#CreatorStories showcases the honest personal experiences of digital creators who monetize their knowledge of a skill and sell it on Selar. We share these stories every week to inspire you to create and sell a product out of your wealth of knowledge and be a part of the digital creator economy.

This week, we turn the lights on Samuel Anene, popularly known as Oraltastic, online.

Let’s get to know him, shall we?

Can we meet Samuel Anene?

My name is Samuel Ncheta Anene. I am from Imo State, and I live in Lagos. For over 8 years, I have been helping individuals improve the quality of their spoken English. I teach non-native English speakers to communicate with clarity and distinction. 

What was your career journey like before becoming a speaking coach? 

I started working in a barber’s shop as a barber. Afterward, I began fixing computers. At one point, I was working on becoming an ethical hacker but plans changed and I began teaching. 

What made you switch from being an ethical hacker to a teacher? 

The reason I didn’t continue in my hacking course was a lack of funds. I was supposed to write a course but there wasn’t money for it, and that made me change plans. A friend of mine then decided to train me in pronunciation. This was how I started teaching.

How did you get the idea to turn your knowledge about speaking to income?

I worked with a friend for about a year as his staff member. After a year, I felt the need to scale because my earnings were meager at the time.

While I worked with him, I taught at schools that were part of his clientele. Eventually, I began to hunt for schools to teach the children pronunciation.

I worked extremely hard to get into at least one school. I would tell school owners, “Well, I can train your teachers, I can train them to speak well, if I train your teachers, your teachers can train your students and if you feel like your teachers do not have the ability to train your students, then I will be available to train your students”. 

Getting a client was arduous, but I didn’t give up till I got one after I’d combed several areas of Lagos state. And that was how we started working with the school, and we worked with them until this moment. It took a few months to get at least one school. So it was quite difficult.

How can Nigerians get better at speaking and pronunciation?

Speaking correctly boosts one’s confidence. If you speak good English, your confidence improves but in Nigeria, nobody send you– that’s the expression they use (lol).

This mindset hinders a lot of speakers. Many people neither understand the benefits of speaking well nor do they understand what it takes until they hear you speak well and they feel that you are forming an accent. Yes, we have a lot of people who try to form an accent, but that is not the case for good speakers. 

A good speaker realizes the need to be natural when speaking even though he has the need to pronounce the words correctly, he also realizes as well that he has to maintain that ‘nigerianess‘ – he has to be Nigerian, but speak correctly. 

So a great way for Nigerians to improve their speaking is to attend training/coaching programs that would help improve their speaking.

You can get better at speaking by watching programs on television or listening to podcasts, radio, and so on. 

One thing that can never be underestimated is receiving training – it is one way to get better at speaking and it’s not the number of training programs that matters, what matters is your ability to put into practice the things that you are learning from those training programs otherwise it would be like chasing rainbows.

Would you say you have achieved career satisfaction being a speaking coach?

Not at all. I still want to pursue a career in fitness and writing. Until then, we’re still hungry for more. I enjoy writing.

That’s one thing I know how to do properly because I have developed myself so much in that aspect of communication which is crucial but I do not know how to teach people to write.

It’s one thing to be skilled at something, but it’s a different thing to teach others how to do that thing. In regards to fitness, I train a number of friends at the gym so I see myself training people to be healthy.

I see myself helping people to live a better life through fitness to gain muscles, to also lose fat, and become strong. I am working towards that.

What’s a major challenge you have in your career as an educationist? 

One challenge we face as teachers is getting the student to do the tasks, getting them to do their assignments is difficult. 

They come to you saying “oh Samuel I really need to improve in the way I speak, the way I speak is horrible, at my workplace, nobody understands what I say and because of this, I am unable to get a promotion at work and so much more.” 

I say okay that’s fine let’s get started. Once we begin and the tasks come, you have to be present in class, you have to learn. It’s easy to sit in class and absorb all the things that are being learned but it’s a different kettle of fish to practice on your own those things you have learned in class – that’s the difficulty. 

You have to chase and chase and sometimes even do these tasks because they seem difficult. Life in general is not so easy, nothing comes easy. You have to put in the work and that’s what the challenge is – getting them to put in the desired work to get the desired result.

How have you managed this challenge?

I try to strike a balance. For instance, I say  “go home, read this and write this and send it to me as a voice note and I notice that the difficulty is having to write down these things” – writing is another aspect of communication that they might need to work on but they might not see at the moment.

So I just try to relieve them of that stress of having to write and then I record my voice and tell them okay, you can just read after me.

For some it’s quite easy, it works and there are some that don’t even attempt. Others get discouraged, some can’t even keep up with work and it just ends that way. 

When was the first time you told people digitally to pay you to teach them how to speak? What was it like? 

It all started in 2020, during COVID when everyone was home. We all wanted to learn something new because it was a free period. It wasn’t easy but seeing that I started in 2019, it wasn’t so difficult. I just had this fear – I wanted to be perfect and that hindered my progress. 

I felt that I needed to get to a point before putting out content, or telling people to trust me with their money to teach them to speak properly. But that was just a lie, I was deceiving myself. The moment I conquered that fear and started, I just had to keep up with it. 

In 2019, I organized two in-person training programs. In 2020, everything became intense because I had to work on a lot of things and invite people to come. It wasn’t easy. I organized a free program and had about 20 people who showed up. Then, I organized another one for children and had about 15 kids. 

Afterward, I decided to turn it into a paid service, guess what? Only one person showed up. I was discouraged. Then I spoke to a friend who encouraged me to continue and reminded me that it was a success even if it was just one person. 

Fast forward to later, people started to trust me in late 2020, and early part of 2021. In fact, I must say that success became possible in 2021. 

I took a break as a result of the pushback I was getting and sometime in March 2021, during that break, I was building my website and company, and training people who joined my team. 

Sometimes, failure is important for progress. So during that period of failure, I was building something that would help me when I achieve some level of success.

It was later in 2021 after I had done my sales pages, website, and other things that I decided that it was time. I organized the first program and 7 people signed up. I organized a program for children and 15 people signed up.

That was how I kept doing it and didn’t stop. Yes, there were times I got discouraged but no way, I was already determined that things were going to get better. And today, I am teaching people to speak online.  

What are 3 tips for pronouncing words correctly? 

Firstly is to learn to make good use of a dictionary. A good dictionary shows you the sound of English. The stress pattern of the word has more than one part. A word can have two parts, and a dictionary shows you that. Taking note of these things helps your rhythm of speech. 

It is a different thing if you are trying to sound like you are singing a song which I do not recommend but it is important that when you are speaking, you take note of the stress pattern of words and the stress pattern of sentences. 

Secondly, listen to good speakers of English. We have them everywhere. Listen to them and try to compare the way they speak to the way you speak and see areas you can make adjustments.

Lastly, get a good friend who speaks well. They will help you improve your use of English. So if you have a passage to read, maybe at the office or even a presentation and you have a good friend who speaks well, tell them to correct your mistakes, mistakes will help you grow.

One can call you the digital age teacher. How did you get the idea to leverage the internet to sell your skills?

I didn’t have any motivation to do that, I just felt the need to come online. Naturally, I am a private person, I didn’t want people to get into my business but I just felt the need to. I don’t know what motivated me to, I just can’t at the moment think of anything that said Samuel this is the reason why you went online. I was just playing around on social media and trying out new things. Nothing special really made me do it.

How have you benefited from the creator economy? 

People want to get to know you when they see you constantly sharing valuable information online. This includes brands too. I think that’s one of the benefits I’ve gained.

What advice would you give to other creators who are inspired by you?

It is easy to say that you can do something but it’s equally important to work towards doing it. As I said, I had the challenge of wanting to be perfect so I have creators who come to me and ask me if they can copy my style and all. I tell them to just start. 

As I said it was a challenge for me because I have always wanted to be perfect but you can’t be perfect. You can only gain clarity once you start. 

So start from where you are and with what you have in time, along the line, you’ll gain clarity and become a better person. 

Turn your knowledge to income today. Get paid to teach what you know and hit your financial goals faster.