Start your own school tip 10: Block out your holidays first

When you start out, deciding your holidays is probably the furthest thing from your mind.

And if you live in certain countries you might be fooled into thinking that working “hard” all day every day is the only way to succeed.

Believe me, it’s not.

That’s the fastest way to uber stress, frazzled family life and total burn out.

So this isΒ definitelyΒ one of the “keeping you sane” tips.

Yes you want to be successful.

Yes you want to do amazing things for the kids.

And yes you want to earn a rock star salary,

But you also need your down time to chill, relax and reflect on how you can better your business.

So ….

Block out your (one month) Summer and (one month) Winter vacations before you start.

And – here’s the biggy – budget for only 10 months of income when deciding your prices!

Many of the most successful school owners I know do this.

And at first I was thinking – how on Earth can they afford to take the whole of August and a whole month off at Christmas?

It’s because they decided it at the very beginning and budgeted accordingly.

It’s quite simple to do.

But it will have a huge impact on your work life balance and your happiness levels.

Yes, I want you to be happy. πŸ™‚

Weekends off too?

You can even do this with weekends.

Just last week I was chatting with a great teacher in Kyushu and he was saying how he works like crazy during the week ( full time teaching job plus private students every evening in preparation for going full time with his own school.)

But he makes every weekend “going out into the country and doing fun stuff” time.

Again, if you plan before you can budget accordingly.

Smart not hard

It’s not Β “don’t work,” Β it’s “plan for your time off before you start.”

The key is working “smart” not “hard.”

By careful planning, using a great curriculum and always learning more yourself, you’ll be able to outsmart and outpassion every school in your neighbourhood.

And keep your vacations!

So, lesson of the day – plan your holidays now.

You’ve certainly earned them!

Be genki,


P.S. Β Do let me know what you think of these tips in the comments. Are they useful for you?Β Would you like more or less of them? Β More or less detailed etc. etc.?

If you like these tips you’re going to LOVE my new
online Genki Business Course

Hello, I’m Richard & I start teaching when I was 16.

Although I now have millions of students around the world, I’m just like everyone else and started with just 1 student and built things up from there.

Want to know how I did it?

In this new course I share with you *everything* I’ve learnt about starting a school, growing a school and making the business and lifestyle you want.

Check it out below or have a look at

—> Check out the Genki Business Course <–

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

19 Responses to “Start your own school tip 10: Block out your holidays first”

  1. Margit

    Definitely true!!!
    With a family where everyone is busy doing club activities or working “japanese style” it is lonely though to spend my holidays alone. No way to think of 2 month a year, ~~~!
    But 2 weeks in Summer 2 weeks in winter, and weekends , national holidays off, works great for me. Plus , I insist on 9 hours sleep per night. There is hardly any day that I enter bed later than 22 o’clock, and I love this moment of lying down, chatting to my daughter about the day and reading a book till I fall asleep. It is the most relaxing time of a full and busy day.

  2. Craig

    I am eating these tips up! Very informative and helpful in getting me ready to ‘take the plunge’. Please keep them coming!!

  3. Catherine Butler

    Just great, keep the comments coming.
    Is there anyone out there who is planning to open a school in France? Or even better in the Alsace region? It would be great to swap notes.

  4. Lucy Shearsmith

    I love receiving these tips. I am starting my own school in September so I really appreciate all the advice you give. I also love the details, please keep them coming.

  5. Carmen Escobar

    Well, we are going to have 5 years with our school and we have gone on vacation just once, and yes, here in Mexico we have that idea of working hard, now I think I’ll have to change it to working smart, and we have to plans vacations soon because it seems that this summer I’m working harder than ever and not resting much.

  6. anhloan

    it is very great, but i can’t do it, because in summer we have to attend many training courses for teachers. What’s a pity!

  7. Tony

    I work 3 days as a kindergarten teacher plus run my own centre.

    I work a full day Mon, Wed and Fri
    Half day Tue and Sat
    I’m free on Thu and Sun

    I don’t work at Easter/Christmas or Chinese New Year and I take the first and last weeks of summer vacation

    In my ‘spare’ time, I play with the kids, work on my various project – now I’m learning guitar and Mandarin….I have time to do more research into teaching methods…

    This time last year I was doing an 80 hour week… I now work around 30….but earn more!! I cut out low earning lessons and lessons that were causing me stress. I used the extra energy to refocus on my ‘good’ business and have gone from strength to strength!

    Thanks so much for your tips Richard!

  8. richard

    last year I was doing an 80 hour week… I now work around 30….but earn more!!

    – I just couldn’t help but highlight that sentence – well done!

  9. Carla Chazottes

    At the moment I work for a private Primary school in France and I have started my own lessons last year. I have more and more students. It’s a slow process but I’m confident. Thanks for all those tips, they are really helpful.

  10. Silvia

    I definitely like your tips. Please keep telling us.

  11. Gen

    Spot on advice as usual, Richard.

    I would definitely recommend thinking this aspect through before setting up as making changes to established routines can cause friction. I have been doing a 10 month year (and a 4 day-week, lucky girl) for four years now and, by working out how much I need to be earning to cover the other two months and charging accordingly, it all works out.
    I no longer try to justify my costs. My students come by word of mouth and I state my terms simply. Parents can then choose whether to accept or look elsewhere. Less stress makes for better teaching, so we all win.
    Thanks for these great tips Richard.

  12. Brent

    These tips are golden! Please keep them coming.

    I’m also starting up a school in Tokyo in the near future and you’ve brought up some great topics that never even crossed my mind.

    Thank you!

  13. Shawn

    I hire somebody else to teach my classes while I’m away… and keep a short list of retired folks who can teach on a moment’s notice if I’m feeling sick or lazy.

    It get’s even better though… if I’m going to hire somebody to teach my classes for a week or two, I build him up with the ss for a while first. We’ll have a very special GUEST tr coming in for a week! And set up the lessons so that the kids have questions for him/her and ideas for special projects. I get them pumped up and excited to meet somebody new… and I tell the parents how great it will be for the kids to be exposed to another native speaker with whom they can try out their English skills.
    (with the little kids, it’s best to bring in said substitute at least once to introduce him and show the kids that he’s safe…)

    I teach some very small classes of just 4 kids… when I have to be away, I combine/ cancel some classes so that I make better money on the class…

    10 months of income a year? That cuts 1/6 of your yearly revenue… If you can’t handle that, than “special guest” teachers might be worth trying.

  14. Dan Spark

    Tell me how it goes Brent, and if you would like a chat about your school in Tokyo contact me…and of course use Genki English in your school.

  15. Hachi

    Hello. I’m a Japanese woman. I think work life balance is important, too. But if you take a month off, it’s bad for students’ study. Japasense peoople don’t have much opportunity to speak English. They will be less able to speak English.If you don’t have a substitute teacher, you shouldn’t take one month vacation. I’d like you to care your students more.

  16. Martin

    I love the idea of one month vacations…though, I’ve found that it usually leaves me rusty. Glad to see someone concerned about the impact the long layoff would have on the kids. So far in my experience, parents are always begging the school for more chunk vacations during summer but the school doesn’t want to sacrifice that income. Student performance is usually not even mentioned.

  17. Debbie

    Very interesting and enlightening Richard !
    Keep it up !
    Thanks and God bless !

  18. Dani

    Hi Richard! I discovered your website today and have already spent well over an hour on it! Thank you for posting these tips. I am only looking to teach 4-6 private (adult) students, not open a whole school, but everything is still relevant and helpful. I appreciate you very much!

Comments are closed