Donegal to Dubai – My Amazing Virtual Business Trip!

Donegal to Dubai – My Amazing Virtual Business Trip!



My name is Elaine Lingard and May 2016 was a month to mark for me.  It was when I became an entrepreneur and started my own business.  I opened Emerald Education Centre in Bundoran and kept my fingers crossed that my new venture would be a success.

Fast forward one year and I was celebrating surviving my first year in business.  I had so much to learn and boy, did I learn! Running a business, it became apparently clear, was a steep learning curve and I decided to join the Donegal Women in Business Network.  I knew from posts online and from word of mouth that the group was good at training and supporting small set-ups just like mine.

I attended my first Network meeting in May 2017 and soon started to learn tricks and tips about marketing, growing my business and improving my online presence.  I often thought about expanding the business but, being a tutor, there is only scope to work with students after school, meaning I was generally free during the day.  I dared to dream about online tutoring and working across different time zones.  I made it my goal to promote myself, improve my SEO and grow my online presence.

With the help of different workshops, such as those run my Evelyn McGlynn from Evelyn McMarketing, I soon found out about different ways to promote what I do.  I started planning my social media more effectively.  I became more vocal on groups online for tutors.  I made my own promotional videos and learned how to edit them. In other words, I promoted myself as an expert in my field.

Over the course of the next year, my business grew steadily. I held different community events both at my centre and through visiting local establishments like the preschools near me to run free workshops. This, along with word-of-mouth, helped to establish me as a local expert.  My face-to-face Maths and English lessons at my Donegal centre were really taking off.  Now I had the confidence to dare to revisit the dream of tutoring online.

With the marketing elements in place, I joined another tutor network online, a Facebook group called The Ultimate Support Group for Online Tutors. I learned where and how to target my ideal customers. Soon I started to receive enquiries from students outside of the area.  I had parents from different places across England contact me and I started ‘learning the ropes’. I used video conferencing and online interactive whiteboards to share content in lessons.  It worked. I knew this was a winning formula.

Within the last year, my dream of online tutoring has gone global. I have taught children online from all over England, Ireland, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Japan, China and Indonesia. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would tap into the Middle East or the Far East.  But it is a reality. And the time zones mean these kids have finished their school day just as I am doing the morning school runs, so I can work with students during the day when my own children are at school.  This, in turn, has meant that I now only work a four-day week and spend a longer weekend with my family.

None of this would be possible if I had not had that initial push and inspiration from Evelyn McGlynn to dare to dream big. I continue to be inspired by the wonderful women in The Donegal Women In Business Network.  This is how they have changed my story.  How could they change yours?

Want to know more about Emerald Education Centre?

Email: elaine@emeraldeducationcentrebundoran.com

Phone: (+353) 083 8550210