In this week’s episode, Josh chats with Lindsey Dang, CEO of Lindsey’s VCE Tutoring who was the Winner of the Strategic Alliance Network Small Business Award in the Community Award at the 2023 7News Young Achiever Awards Victoria.
Linsey Dang founded Lindsey’s VCE Tutoring at the age of 19 after developing her skills from the ground up in her personal studies. She moved to Australia by herself before turning 16, and immediately fell in love with English Literature and the Humanities (despite that English was not her first language) – subjects that are not ordinarily prioritized in the Vietnamese STEM-centric curriculum. Lindsey’s VCE Tutoring is a boutique VCE English tutoring company that focuses on ensuring that their students don’t study for the sake of studying, but to be critical thinkers, to grow through reading writing, and creating; the essential skills to keep up with an ever-changing world. We believe in specialist tutoring and advocate for personalized education.
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To find out more connect with Lindsey Dang on Instagram and Facebook or visit the website https://www.lindseyenglishtutoring.com/tutor/lindsey-dang
Transcript[00:00:08] Inspiring Australians Podcast [00:03:11] Is Tutoring Something You’ve Always wanted to Do? [00:03:46] The Easiest Way to Learn [00:05:02] You Like Sitting on the Floor With All These Books and Like Drawing the Map of What is the One Job That Leads to This And That? [00:06:18] My Parents Could Not Mentor Me [00:09:25] Scholarships – I Did Not Go To A Public School [00:11:38] Is it Enough to Just Study? [00:12:10] School Is Amazing [00:12:41] You’ve Been Mentoring in Vietnam? [00:17:05] You’re Studying Starting Your Own Business [00:19:08] Did My Own Logo? [00:21:17] Entrepreneurs – Two Great Pieces of Advice For Young Entrepreneurs [00:22:17] How to Build a Passion Project [00:23:02] Victorian Education – The First Fifty Students [00:25:47] Lindsay’s a Shooter! [00:27:02] Do You Still Have the Chance to Do Some Tutoring? [00:28:27] VC Students vs Students Who Are Already Very Intelligent [00:30:46] How to Be a Great English Teacher [00:33:59] How Many Books Should Your Child Be Reading Before Preschool? [00:36:24] Alice in Wonderland – Why Did Alice Drink? [00:37:40] Gen Z’s Biggest Challenge [00:40:35] Gen Z [00:41:47] Is There a Clear Benchmark For Self-actualization? [00:43:04] Shakespeare Isn’t Relevant Anymore [00:46:04] Do You Want to Expand Your Business to Other States? [00:47:02] Finalists in the Seven Years and Achievement Awards [00:48:46] Nominations From Big Businesses [00:50:03] What Was Going Through Your Head When You Heard Your Name Call Out As The Winner? [00:51:28] How to Measure Impact in a Business [00:53:25] I’ve Never Seen Her Dressed Like And Never Saw Her Make Any Excuses About Her Life [00:55:45] The Inspirational Australian’s Podcast
START OF TRANSCRIPT
Welcome to inspirational Australians, where we share stories of Australians making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. We at inspirational Australians acknowledge the will, one dry and vulnerable people of the poor nation as their traditional owners and custodians of the lands and waterways on which this podcast is produced. We pay our respect to elders, past and present, and those who are emerging and extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and inspirational Australians. We are inspired by the world’s oldest living culture and pay homage to their rich storytelling history. When we share stories on our podcast.
Thank you, Chrissy. Really excited to be chatting with Lindsay today on the inspirational strains podcast. But before we do a quick bit of housekeeping, as always, just want to remind everyone who’s listening that we would love and be super appreciative of your review on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, five stars only, of course, but it goes without saying what that does is it helps us to get the word out about this podcast. So it’s a few more people and the hope is that leads by a few people along the way with these great stories of amazing Australians. The other thing you can do is head to our Instagram, inspirational Australians, and check out our post about guests that we’ve had. We’ve got little clips there as well. So check that out, give us a follow and always engage with us. You know, please reach out to us and suggest if you’ve got someone you think you should be a guest. I’d say Instagram is the easiest way to get in touch with us. But as I said, today’s to back to today’s guest, Lindsay. So Lindsey dang is a very recent winner in our seven years young achievements for Victoria. Lindsey won the strategic alliance network small business award. Because Lindsay founded lindsay’s BCE tutoring, a boutique tutoring company, aimed at unlocking students academic potential in English and humanities. Lindsey bootstrapped the business from zero dollars in capital to more six figure annual revenue within a year. While completing her bachelor of law and arts at Monash. Many of their high achieving students and scholarship recipients, inspired by their tutors, became mentors themselves to help the next generation of talents. So Lindsey that sounds so awesome, welcome today. How are you going?
I’m good. How are you, Josh?
Yeah, I’m really good. Thank you. Thanks for asking. I’m someone who received some VC tutoring back in the day many years ago. Now, when I discovered that, you know, I don’t want to be too disparaging here, but that I wasn’t really vibing and connecting with my teacher in information technologies wasn’t learning that much from his style of teaching. And I just also wasn’t that good at the subject, cut some tutoring, and managed to get a pretty decent end score one that I didn’t think I was going to get that’s for sure with that subject. So being on the recipient end, what you do is very powerful, is tutoring something you’ve always wanted to do. Is that something that popped out of nowhere? Yeah, I’d love to hear from you How you first started lindsay’s, basically tutoring.
Well, thank you for having me here. And I think I started my first year of university, but before that I actually did some mentoring myself. So I mentored some of the debaters at school and before moving to Australia, I also mentored some young students as well for English and humanities. So I like learning, and I feel like the easiest way to learn is actually to teach that way you can articulate and I find myself learning so much more from a students. And I feel that you know, that diversity of voices is so important for anyone’s experience. So I’ve always been into Education, but I never knew that it would be a viable path for me because I wanted something exciting for my career. At the same time, I want to always learn so where different hats and do a million things at the same time I want to teach, I want to write books. I also want to organise things I like to draw. I want to learn coding. I want to do what development. So I feel like cheering. Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher or tutor, but the other side of things, the entrepreneurial side, I was really surprised by how my journey turns out. And so. Yep. Short answer. Yes, I’ve always been into cheering and Education.
It sounds like you really designed, you know, a business around, you know, you’re listing all those things that you’re interested in and that you wanted to pursue. And I’m just picturing, know, sometimes I’m visual. You like sitting on the floor with like all these books and like drawing the map of what is the one job that leads to this and that Yeah, sounds like you’ve designed it really, really well.
Which I actually did, I was sitting on the floor by the way, because at the beginning of my journey a friend walked in and he was like, why are you doing? ? Which is like literally on the floor would paper those around me trying to map everything out for the business. And actually, I was the one who stitched all the labels on top of the little mailers to send to my students. Because what we do is we actually sent the resources and notes directly to the students houses to be geographically inclusive, because we believe that everyone deserves the same access to mentorship and resources. So what we do is we individually mails out all of our resources. So yes, I set the floor a lot because it’s much more space down there. But yeah, I find everything just to deliver great value for students and parents. And that means understanding what they’re looking for. Because when I started my journey, I felt that I was really disadvantaged because I had no idea what’s going on. My parents could not mentor me or help me what they say because of course they were overseas. So it was very, I guess empowering to do it in the first place and very empowering to I guess, achieve a few things in year twelve with that sort of unconventional story. So yeah, I think that was the. Yeah, the main bit.
So you had moved to Australia, you know, I’ve got a few questions here. You know, firstly, where did you move from? And secondly, at what age?
So I moved to Australia by myself before turning sixteen. So actually a few months before my sixteenth birthday. Well, only at nine. So I learned as much as I could within a very Short period of time, whether it be like Shakespearean literature or like canonical novels, or even like random things like psychology and politics and history and all of that stuff. So I’d move there and move to Australia because I thought I wanted a fresh start. First of all, why not in a dramatic way, but like a fresh start as in something that where I could build myself from the ground up and to really discover what I am actually capable of. Which is, I think was a very important part of my life. So yeah, which is why I think I have what some people call the immigrants mindset. So I internalize a lot of that style of status and have different perceptions and believe that because I was not conventionally smart or had the unconventional background. I just have to work ten times as hard.
Well, yeah. So yeah, you must have had that thought even before that age of fifteen, to put that plan into place. What were your parents like when you know you were telling them you wanted to move overseas?
My parents were a bit surprised. I think before I plans everything I was in year ten and I was just applying to random school scholarships by myself. My parents said no, you will never be ready to be alone or like to be by yourself until you’re in university. So I want to prove my parents wrong and I was so I applied to everything and show, look, I can get, this is what I can get. That’s what even if you don’t want me to get it done. So my parents were really surprised, so they decide to support my decisions in the end. Because one thing that parents, I guess that one thing that would really reassure parents is proactivity. And I think a lot of children at that age are very shy and passive and waiting for things to happen to them. And because my parents saw me going out of my way to apply for things and prepare myself, talk to alumni, that sort of stuff. They thought I might be ready, and then the bullies supported my decision and just did whatever they could to help me prepare for the journey ahead.
Wow, that’s really cool. So you applied for scholarships and you were able to obtain one.
It was really interesting because scholarships are only available at private schools. I actually went to a public school, so I applied for that, but I did not actually go to a private school. I went to high school, which is not far from my house now.
But so I went to where, sorry,
Q high School.
Yeah. Right. So at that age, moving over there and living, you know, with a family or just by yourself.
Yeah. I was living with a host family. So not with my parents, it was a different experience still, and it’s sort of the experience where no one is there to hold your hand. Which I think was really good for me because there are a lot of things that I felt that I needed to learn throughout year eleven and twelve. So of course, for all the things that were happening, you know, on top of school and the academics. So I think that also were very character building
so there’s a lot of, you know, parents or even anyone who’s been fifteen, sixteen themselves Thinking they probably didn’t even want to go to school at that time. And here you are looking to you know, you were just so intentional about the way that you were trying to finish off your schooling and then propel your career. So I’m yeah, blown away by that. That’s so impressive. When you moved to Australia, what was the biggest challenge for you? Do you think at that time? Um,
I think the main thing is understanding that people are different across the world. I was not struggling with English. I don’t think I was struggling with the language itself, but I think that understanding, for example, in a developed country like Vietnam or China or China, probably not China, Vietnam, and Southeast Asian countries. Everyone is obsessed with things that are, I suppose, not say, external validation. But there are things that countries that are not as wealthy look for in everyone. So things like academic achievement. All. So a lot of people in Vietnam believe that it is enough to just get your studies done. So is it enough to just excel in school? It is enough to know the right things and read the books. But I found that in Australia is completely different. You have to be well-rounded, you have to, you have to be, you have to know everything, you need to be socially very competent. You need to be empathetic. You need to be very aware of your surroundings. You have to be perceptive. You need to be. So I think I feel like the expectations were different. Yeah. And adapting or understand those expectations was the first step for me. That Yeah, school is amazing. Education is important, but there are a million other things that are also just as important or maybe even more important. So learning those other things like soft skills, I think was quite difficult. And, but I think it was good that I expanded my horizon for that.
Yeah, so that thing you mentioned is that you’d already there, correct me if I’m wrong, you’ve been keeping the mentorship already in Vietnam before you moved to Australia?
Yes, yes. Yeah. You did a lot of peer mentoring and when I was in year ten, I went to American bilingual school and I was holding a couple of leadership positions and that meant talking and helping other students out and organizing charity events, or concerts, or just working with a school to advance a lot of the social activities or like impacts. So I did a little bit of that and in year eleven and twelve of Q high School, I did a bit of debating mentoring for international students who really wanted to, as I suppose, you know, upskill and just be involved with something quite amazing.
Yeah, that’s really cool. So fast forward a little bit, you know, you’ve gone, you come to Australia and you’re doing your UBC. And then you’ve gone on to university, right? And enrolled into a law degree. So at that time, were you Thinking, you know, cutting yourself back that you were going to be heading towards a law career
That’s always been a little bit ambivalent with that I, I knew a similar to how I perceived Education, really like I knew that I liked the field Education, but I believe that it was not important because it was Education or because of the schools or achieve and I thought education’s important because it builds discipline. It is a very good, I suppose, you know, playground for students to test the skills or if it’s just like a mini version of life, really. And for law I thought the same thing as well. I did not want to be a lawyer back then. I someone taught me that I was too Short to be a lawyer. What I had no idea what that it was meant to be a parrot, maybe. But I did not mind. I wanted to be in law because knowing how the world works is so important. The laws govern everything knowing how people work, knowing how the system works. I think that is power and is not in terms of you want to be the big guys, but I believe that law allows me to protect my own interest in these fields where we have the giants and the sharks. So I knew that I would always always need my legal knowledge knowing how corporations work, how the tax system works. So yes, I’m there for the skills the knowledge. I’ve never wanted to be a lawyer to be in court or to be a barrister. I don’t think it fits me very well. Not because of my height, but it’s because I think it’s a different personality. Like there are other areas where my skills are better deployed.
Yeah. So yeah, on the surface it seems like you’re taking a very, you know, you said this to me yourself before we started that a conventional path looking like heading down a law path and then turn that into an unconventional career.
Yes. Yeah, I’m conventional now, but I don’t think it will be that unconventional and maybe twenty years time, where every Gen Z student would want to become an entrepreneur. I think the barriers to entry now for entrepreneurship are much lower than before. But I think it’s unconventional because the parents would not expect their children to just go out of university, let alone start a business when they’re still studying. But I think it’s very, very disruptive. And it is empowering because I work with other young people in my business, we have a team of twenty people who are very empowered, academically, talented and empathetic people who also want to mentor and nurture, other talents as well. So through cheering, we can do a lot of that despite our young age. And I think that’s the only field where our youth and, and the J are really, really valued and I suppose the ascended.
Yeah. So yeah, that is pretty unconventional, I think too. And you said, as you said, it may not be down the track, but to be whilst you’re studying starting your own business. And you know, really rapidly growing it. Because I assume when you started it, was it just you provided you tutoring and no other people at that point?
Yeah, I think it went from just me and I was, I had a lot students who had the same background. So we’re Thinking students who came from maybe like top fifty to one hundred public Schools and they will come to me and they’ll ask for tutoring, full English and email, and I would just be there, okay, I’ll walk you through everything. And I think I got around like fifty students at the very beginning on my own. And it was so much. So I started grouping students in like smaller groups, which is I guess a very yeah to, to just organize my life a little bit better. I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time writing analysis and study guides for every single text and book that they study. So that a lot of writing for me. And I realized that it doesn’t make sense. I’m so passionate about this and doing all this work to help fifty students. So I’ve got my friends from law and we’ve got other friends coming in. Amazingly in B.C.. And we started sharing more students and I, it was essentially bootstrapped. It was something zero. I used my own touring income to fund the website, which I built myself. The first one was horrendous, but I was really it was not great. It was not great. It was a website, but it was not great. And then I learned everything from knowing how to do low code in low code development and Learning how to do graphic design. Did my own logo. So yeah, it started from just me. And I’m so glad because now there are so many different university students who found themselves in our company and wanting to create an impact. And we have a lot students as well who graduated top of the class and they want to stay to be become tutors themselves. So I know there, there is that social impact. Great.
That’s awesome. So you said that, you know, had your friends and your law degree and things like that was it, was it quite literally just asking some friends, hey, would you help me with this? ? And you know, you can get paid for it.
Yeah. Yeah. Literally. I think like a lot of people really like a lot of people think that, you know, starting a business or getting people involved is very complicated. Like people overcomplicate the process a lot. I think a lot of times for me to just literally ask the question, everything I’ve got it in. I guess you know this journey was just because I ask questions. I just will call up a friend. I’ll call up a teacher, I’ll call up maybe like the CEO of a company. It comes from knowing how to ask for help when you need the help. And no one can do this kind of things alone. So I ask for help a lot. I was never scared to go out of my way and go, hey, can you teach me how to do this simple or how can you teach me how to, I suppose, you know, draw a logo on Adobe Illustrator. So I think asking for help because most people like helping I think I’m like helping others as well. So getting over that sort of psychological barrier was very important for me and it was the catalyst, I think, in this journey.
And I suppose asking for help and then depending on their answer, probably tells you a lot about that kind of contact anyway. I be a, well, maybe not someone I want is a close contact moving forward if they’re not willing to give a bit of assistance.
Yes, in my journey like I’ve always learned this from my mom, but to always quantify the risk and qualify the game. So it’s how I do something, I just think about it. Okay, if I call up this friend of mine, what is the game? ? Well, it’s qualitatively, it’s going to be amazing. I might actually have a business. What would the risk be? ? Well, actually the, the phrase was a little bit awkward interactions, a little bit awkward. I can bear with the risk I’ll do it. So I think me was just a lot of that assessment internally.
Yeah. Weighing it up. So yeah, two really great pieces of advice for young entrepreneurs out there. Yeah. Seek help and don’t be afraid to ask for it. And I think very crucially don’t overcomplicate things. I think that’s so true often we make something so much harder than it has to be. Or as you said, think about it too much and just sometimes just need to go simple.
Yes. Especially with the grand narratives out there about startups and venture capital build funding. And all of that we think that in order to build a business, we need funding and millions of dollars and the right connections and venture capitalist and all of that. But I believe that many people, if, if we want to build something pure and good for ourselves and like a passion project, we can just start now. Yeah.
So yeah, on that point I think some people spend so much time on the product or the offering. And then they realize, oh right now I need to go find some customers. You know, that’s why when you had the customers. Yeah. So how did you gain those customers? You know, you said you had fifty odd students right at the start. How did you manage to find fifty students?
I think again, I’m very customers obsessed. I focus on the group of people first. I believe that I can help and then I start to sort of iterating my, my products or my offering. So the first fifty students came from, I suppose, little communities where I sometimes volunteer, for example, when I started university and having I suppose you are that connection with just one person. So for example, it was a student who works at an Education company who wants to promote Victorian Education to as opposed to international students, for example. So that person asked me, hey, can you help me out? Can you go and talk to the students about your experience and how you, I suppose you know how, how you got admitted to law school. So I just went and there was like a hundred students there already. And I do know that there will be like that many people talking
attending the talk.
And how many did you think would be there?
Looks like ten or twenty?
That’s a huge increase, isn’t it?
Yeah, and I was just there and candidly sharing my experience and a lot of people stay back and asking for help. So I was literally just not Thinking about building a business or anything like that. I was literally trying to help those who were in my shoes, and I did a number of those talks. I did a few talks for different communities and not for profit. And after that, students would reach out to me and ask for help. And I usually just go, like, I’m quite happy to just look at your work and review your essays. But then after a while they keep asking their friends to come with them. Yeah, they start building a group for me like I did not do much back then in terms of getting students, it was just either like lower classmen or students bringing their friends and they would ask, can you like actually cheat us throughout the whole year? And I said okay, I’ll do it. And I let them set the price. I was just like, well I know you guys are struggling with like everything as well, like literally just set the price. And they set a fair price for me. So it was a, it allowed me to just keep moving with it and more friends come in. So I think I believe in delivering great value for everyone I work with. And I think everything just turns out to be okay if that is the main focus, the primary focus, deliver value. And yet, so from ten students, east of the ten students would tell their friends twenty, thirty, forty fifty. Wow. And of course there are community groups on Facebook as well, and they were just happy and if they see something like, oh my God, this is the best shooter ever. So I started from there. Yeah.
It started so organically and you know, it started from such a beautiful place of just wanting to help and give back. And I think that’s probably why they were so you know, They latched on to it so quickly and wanted to bring their friends in because they say, hey, Lindsay just wants to help us out. And of course, they’re willing to pay for it because it was so valuable as you said, you focused on the value.
Yeah, it was the same like, it was really organic with the kids as well. And I think that was also important part of it because we know there are hunters in the market and messaging a lot of shooters and high achievers. But for us, a lot of the cheaters heard about the company from our past students. Yeah. And because of that, we do not struggle getting the chance to work with those either. And there are also a lot of companies in the market that charge a commission for I guess, you know, giving the cheaters the student is what we don’t, we don’t do commission. What we do is we have a little bit of a gap between the extra revenue and what we pay the cheaters, but not a lot as literally it is more than an average agency. But with that gap we give them an unlimited mentorship. Ten thousand pages worth of analysis and PowerPoints prebuilt for them. An office space. All the students would do all that anyway. So I think a lot of things, every cent I take from the tutor, I have to justify it really well. I think yes, I am very student obsessed, but at this point I feel like I’m also very like child obsessed as well because I don’t believe in educators not being nurtured and being able to deliver great value.
So running this business that’s rapidly grown. Do you still have the the chance to, to do some tutoring yourself or do you do mainly just organizing everyone?
I actually promised myself that I would never be able to empathize with my tutors unless I teach a little bit every year. So I’m incredibly busy having to do a million things at the same time. I promised myself that I would still teach even just a couple of students per year. It’s not that much time is two hours per week max. And because I’ve done all the work to mentor my shooters, I know the books, I know the curriculum, and I think it’s just about a lot people think that being CEO of found is about vanity. I think it’s about being the position to empathize and actually make an impact. So I promised myself I’d never stop teaching even as just a half an hour per week.
Yeah. Well that’s really good. So, E raised something interesting to me. Again, when we were chatting just before we got started about, you know, private school educated versus students who are already, you know, very intelligent. How do you feel that plays in, you know, because you would say VC students, obviously from all range of the audience, say the Spectrum is not the right word, but from each kind of background and that kind of thing. What do you see is that that makes a good student?
I think In terms of background or context, I think a good student, or maybe a streamer, who is at advantage is someone who is raised in an environment where they’re surrounded with that cultural capital. All that information because I think the reason why we always think it’s English is because it is the one subject that is, that segregates students who are at advantage socio economically and students who are not. Because with maths one plus one equals two. But with English one plus one equals feminism, a one goes with something else and that a very good upbringing, good books and like parents teaching their children about values and morality, all of that and the religion. It is impossible to have an equal playing field. So I think every student is really capable of being good English students, myself included, I was not raised here and I learned everything quite quickly as well. But I think the one things that we try to do is recreate that kind of habitus or that environment that created so many good well-spoken well-versed students. And that usually comes from students with parents who are politicians or lawyers, or doctors, or people who are just surrounding themselves with books. And students who came from First generation immigrants background. My parents get A’s and the books. Yeah. But the books when I was growing up, they were in Vietnamese. So it was impossible for me to be that great English. It’s literally impossible. So I think, and if I could learn everything myself, I think any student could, it’s just about the environment that they’re in. So what the company we try to recreate that and with intensity as well. So if I work with a student, or if I choose work with a student, we try to give the news articles or like newspaper articles and information about the world that they would not have learned from their parents. But some students from really high achieving private schools might have learned already. And I think that separates a lot of the students who might do well easily in those who can’t. But this time, I think everyone can actually do really well. English is meant to be human in its language, it’s human. So
that’s really interesting. So would you say that that approach you have, you know, recreating that kind of environment is something that would set lindsay’s basically true doing apart from potentially other tutors?
Yes, I think that is something that is that we focus on a lot and it is one of our unique selling point. I think translating that very abstract mission to what we are actually doing would make it a little bit clearer. But what we try to do is so at school, each school in Victoria does a different set of books. So you can’t teach a student who’s doing Shakespeare. Jane Austen, that’s what most children companies are doing. Is that because there are forty different books they have to learn, asked companies. They do not have the time to invest themselves actually to, to learn all forty different books. So they have these more generic programs and teach students who are learning Shakespeare’s at school. Maybe Jane Austen. So what we do is we spend maybe four months every year, just writing analysis of every single book that is on the contact list. And when we do that, we surround ourselves with information about each of the different texts in great details. So when we test students, we have not just when we look book in front of us, but we have maybe like a hundred different journal articles, newspaper sources, all of that to kind of back ourselves up. So when we teach, we are able to deliver that and create that environment with more information. So if you learn about, say, Shakespeare and every day you see a little bit of Shakespeare in everything, it’s so much easier for you to remember.
Then I guess you are learning about Shakespeare, but everything you see is just the tale structure essays, introductions, that is a little bit harder to apply because you need to learn the actual materials first.
Yeah, I can honestly say, I’ve never thought about it that way. Seeing Shakespeare in, you know, journalism and, and things like that, that’s so interesting and your passion for it is so evident and clear. Yeah. But it’s funny, it’s so interesting. Thinking about that, that’s reminding me of, of my, you know, English in Vichy and things like that. As well, and one thing I wanted to mention, you’re talking about the upbringing and parents surrounding them, their kids with books and things like that. Again, that’s so relevant for me with a six year old and a four year old myself. And the messaging that we’ve been receiving from the primary school around this is how many books, you know, they should have been reading before they start prep. And I can’t remember the number out of my head, but it was very low. That they were saying this is what you should be aiming for. And Thinking, well, if you read your kids every night, you know, you just smashed that number anyway. But then understanding that, I guess that’s not always the case that as you said so yourself that if kids are being surrounded by books and then that would be a big number. So is that I’m guessing that’s one of the challenges that you face with students who haven’t been exposed to that kind of upbringing.
Yes, definitely. I think, I think I benefit from the fact that my mom read to me every night when I was brought up as well. And sometimes she was reading to me bilingually.
also changed things as well. But I think with a lot of parents who have children and maybe like kindergarten or primary school, it’s about making sure they have everything they need. But a lot of times it doesn’t really focus on I suppose, you know, the psychological or maybe like the actual did the actual psychological well-being of the students. So giving the, giving the child maybe everything they need in terms of food and nutrition is important in getting them to do sports. But what about, how do we create an environment where the child is brought up to be critical thinkers, to see the world and empathize with others? That’s the difficult challenge. I suppose, you know, this generation is, there is so much information out there and the parents play a great role in being able to filter that out. Sometimes not just filter, but give meaning to everything that’s around because there’s a clutter of digital information. And if children are raised with iPads and playing games, all of that, maybe even looking on the game, the parent to instruct, look, this game teaches you this or look at this game. It makes it competitive, but also it teaches you strategy just little that to give meaning to things around children. And I think that helps as well. It’s not just about the number of books that we read. It’s about why did Alice in Wonderland drink? Because she’s taught to drink. Why don’t you say what’s in here? Yeah. It’s like
ask a question Alice. Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s interesting. That’s a. Yeah, it’s a good point as well. And I agree with what you’re saying there. One hundred percent. And you know, that’s kind of from what I’ve been reading, you know, during my research on Lindsay, basically tutoring is a, is core of what you’re doing about being critical thinkers and things like that as well. So what have you found with, you know, speaking of Gen Z, you mentioned earlier and I imagine you are part of Gen Z.
Yep. I call myself an animal sometimes.
Oh yeah. Are you on the fringe? Are you?
I’m two thousand. So I was one, two thousand so it’s not, I’m basically Gen Z, but because most of the people that I work with, like my business partners of millennials. Yeah. So it’s just, I don’t feel the Gen Z as much as I should. And sometimes I interact with actual, like my students or like Gen Z people, I’m like, I don’t know this, so I don’t know this trend. So I said Y in the middle, but yes.
Yeah. Well I guess my question was going to be, you know, what are you seeing as Gen z’s kind of biggest challenge as they you know, moving through school into completing daca and getting out into the world.
I think something that I see in a lot of Gen Z students or people is just that they had this sort of existential crisis all the time about who they are and what they’re meant to do. The problem with it is that, of course, there is that disparity between the beliefs of the parents who were going through things like recession or all of that. So a very tough time, economically and materially. And the people who are believed to be privileged. So I think that is quite problematic and it formed a lot of the issues that the younger students are dealing with is because they they, it’s, there’s a duality there as well that they believe that they are lucky. But at the same time, because of that, they are incredibly unlucky. Because in the past, people are struggling with things like not having fruit in the pool, no tables know and not having enough money. And that because a lot of parents or a lot of the older generation thinks that because there’s food on the table and they have money, they are lucky. So that breaks up repression in all of the students as well. Nobody voices their opinions about whether they are struggling because they’re meant to be lucky. So I think that is a toxic culture in itself. Because I believe that once we have so in the past we have that sort of like scarcity. And with Gen Z we have abundance, and there is the issue with abundance as well. They’re constantly bombarded with things like achievements of others. These people raise a million dollars. The other guy got nine, nine, five, eight Ha. In the past was just like, oh you have food, that’s amazing. We have a good life. But now you have to be everything and just everything all at once. And I think that’s very overwhelming for generation Z. And that creates really repressed people who are inherently very talented. I’ve never heard of a Gen Z student who is really, really full of themselves and exactly what they want. It’s very difficult to be like that because every time they believe that they know what they want, they see something on the Internet that tell them that No, this is not what you want. And I think they are also amazing social warriors. And they’re all amazing creative critical thinkers that I believe that are generally sometimes the anti-establishment line here. They very subversive sometimes. But it’s just about like, because there’s so much information out there. I think it’s incredibly hard to be Gen Z. Are we meant to let go against capitalism or are we meant to go like to be feminist? Or are we meant to just enjoy life? Like, what’s the problem with enjoying life? Like are we taking it for granted? Is it, are we being privileged by just taking things for granted or things like that? It’s just very overwhelming for them.
Yeah, that’s a really good point. And you know, it’s interesting because obviously with what would we do at a, what Australian run the seven years and achieve what you know, you’re a winner yourself is we’re all about promoting positivity. But sometimes that can be a little bit not misconstrued, but potentially seen as were only promoting high achievement, absolute people top of their fields. But really the aim is more about just sharing positive stories to sharing positive role models for the community. But I can completely understand what you’re saying, that it makes so much sense that people are so much more benchmarking these days just with what people are saying in their social media feeds at the very least.
Yes, yes, and you know, there is so much benchmarking but also there are also so many different invisible forces in our pressures as well. I think. Yeah. And sometimes I wish that they were clear benchmarks that will make things very much easier like that goal. That’s fine. But that’s not just mark anymore. There are people who would be happy to get that top school, but now it’s all about like, I suppose, you know, self-actualization and what we’re meant to do with our lives and how do we know? How do we know that we’re not doing enough for ourselves? There’s no clear benchmark for that and I think that is very stressful for a lot of people.
Hmm. Can I guess that you’re quite into philosophy? No, but I really because you sound like a philosopher in some ways a very, a lot of big ideas. It’s fantastic.
No, I’m yeah, I’m doing a double degree. So the other side of my degree is arts and I do a lot of English literature in there and a little bit sociology.
I think it’s just I like like being able to talk to my students and analyze their problems and help like, I suppose, you know, help them serve them sometimes through books, sometimes actual conversations. I don’t have to make everything about Shakespeare, but yeah, that, Yeah, we do talk about things like this. Sometimes, especially when they graduate with a good school and they realize that they haven’t done nothing you know, in their lives for example, which is very, very heartbreaking.
So you mentioned Shakespeare a few times, do you have some of your students that you’re, you know, tutoring, kind of say, like, come on, Shakespeare isn’t relevant anymore.
Yes. And I don’t think it’s that relevant anymore. I hope I actually am not the biggest fan of Shakespeare, I usually say as the epitome of English literature as to, to kind of convey how impenetrable the meaning of it is. Because when we say Shakespeare is synonymous with random literature for a lot of our students, and I think it’s not super relevant in terms of the context. But I think all literature is relevant and everything is very universal. Things that they teach in Shakespeare about maybe like the like vanity and with power and all of that. Like in our world we might not have Macbeth but we have really this. Yeah. I think that quite similar translates. Yeah, it does translate. Yeah.
Yeah, that’s interesting. Another question I meant to ask earlier that skipped over it. I’m sorry, is how long has your business been operating for
I say I started torturing my students. Maybe in twenty, twenty, twenty nineteen. So like a full year. But the company was incorporated in twenty twenty once. Officially since I’ve for two years now.
Yeah. Was covered. Kind of do you think that kind of assisted in a way like in terms of, you know, it made school and study extremely hard for many students?
Yes, I think that was actually a very big year for us because a lot of schools realized that they wanted, I guess your direct interaction with teachers and with covid. And of course, that’s also really difficult for Teachers who have to adapt traditional teaching models to online learning as well. And the benefit of being young is that I adapted really quickly with everything change the whole system. The schools are not as fast because is more bulky so it’s not so it’s really hard to adapt everything to make it work for the students. So yeah, I think hope it really helped that. And again, I do like the idea of online learning being very geographically inclusive for students because we have students who live maybe like near the border of New South Wales and Victoria and New South Wales. And I’m sorry, South Australia. So they’re students who are in regional schools and they really want the same access to the support, the students in metropolitan Melbourne schools. So I think that really changed everything a level of the playing field
with obviously basically being different to not a country what it’s called, but the, you know, eleven twelve qualifications South Australia, post North Wales, West Queensland, so on and so on. Does that mean that your focus really has to be only on vca, or is that something that you could expand the business to, to include other states?
I think if I do want to expand, I would create New businesses. Because I, again, I do believe in having smaller companies and focus on actual niche markets. Just because I think smaller companies are actually quite well perceived by the Australian public these days. And also with Visa, we say I would love to just keep it as it is to just make sure that we do not compromise our quality. If we do want to expand to HSA, so the New South Wales version I want people to, I want to do everything from scratch as well. To make sure that I have the right people and we have the right clients first. So it’s not the same. I don’t think it’s about the people so it can’t be the same.
Yeah. Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. Another thing I want to ask you is because I can see it behind you. It is not a very, it’s not very good for the listeners of our audio only format, but I can see behind you the certificate that you would have received as a finalist in the seven years and achieve rewards. So you know, I want to ask you about your experience as well being part of the awards. What that was like, you know, initially being kind of going through nomination period and being announced as a finalist right through to the awards ceremony itself.
Yeah, I think it was a very, it was a very important part of my journey. I’ve always thought so again, maybe this is just me being a Gen Z, but I’ve always thought about awards as I think, maybe they’re just vanity metrics. I guess that was me at the time and I thought, you know, maybe I don’t want to go for it. But then when I read about the seven use young achievers awards, I thought, you know, because the awards are quite different from what I’ve seen before. It’s not about revenue, it’s not about just metrics and business success. And I felt that everything that I really value like community the people impact are actually celebrated by the seventeen years young achievers awards. That was why I applied because I wanted to be celebrated, not because I, I suppose, you know, achieve a certain revenue target or hit my KPIs. I want to it to be because of the journey. The experience, things that can’t be, I suppose quantified. And yeah, I think everything changed for us because now it sort of reminds everyone our students are cheat is our team that we are not just a number. And this is a marker of our mission as well. And I really love the fact. There was an awards celebrated just that.
Yeah, that’s brilliant to hear and it is so interesting in hearing your take on that. And then from me, you know, being on the inside. We have had nominations from people who have, you know, huge businesses that they’ve founded and things like that. And they, the information they put into the award doesn’t really actually match with the awards about they just kind of say, yeah, you know, we’ve got this amount of turnover, this many staff, nothing about the impact, nothing about who in the community is benefiting how they are bringing people along on a journey with them. So yeah, it’s interesting to see to see that. And these awards are definitely aimed at celebrating people like Lindsay who, who do embody all those traits. So yeah, congratulations on your win
so much. It was a magical night for the whole team. We’ve got table ten and we were all sort of yeah, it was surreal for everyone in the team.
Yeah. So when you heard your name called out as the winner. What was kind of going through your head at that moment?
I was yeah, I was surprised because I don’t think I was the one with like, I suppose you know the highs revenue. And so I was never expecting it really. I was just there and I was quite happy that I was finalist in the first place because it was a great milestone already. So when I, you know, when my name was called, I just heard my friends just like yelling in the audience and yeah, I think some of like had a mental blackout for like a few minutes. I was not sure what was happening. I could not remember the song that was on when that happened. Yeah. Let’s just really, really. Oh, it was just yeah, it was really interesting because I walked down and I just asked my friends, I absolutely did not remember what song was being played. It was music even like that. So yeah, I guess that was my experience. Yeah.
That’s awesome. I can’t remember what song it was either actually. But that’s funny. Yeah, it’s interesting to find listener. There was, I’d say two of the other finalists, we had a higher revenue in their business, and one who was a lot more like a localized but was making a really great impact in that local community. And it’s interesting, you know, and hopefully Lindsay, you might be, know, we might be out to get your part of judging down the track one day. But can you see the conversations that happened and, you know, when you’re trying to measure impact, it’s not always It’s not always a simple number figure or metric, you know as to why you’d be so good at it because you’d be about the language and understand the impact and things like that. So yeah, it was an interesting one when you’re comparing businesses small businesses, but in the through the lens of Community benefit and social impact and things like that.
Yes, definitely. I would love to Well see if I have the opportunity to do so, but sounds really exciting.
So before we wrap up, Lindsey, I do have one more question I wanted to ask you. So you’ve been on the inspirational strains podcast, and I really do want to thank you for your time and I’ve found you inspirational for different ways than I thought I would to be honest. So I’ve really, really enjoyed just the ideologies and the, the commentary. You provided around your journey around setting up the business and the way that you view the world. And for me, I’m inspired by that because, you know, I’ve got two young kids and one day when they get through to Vicki, I hope that they have educators and teachers like you in their life who’s worried about their well-being more, more than just their results. So that was a really long lead up to my question. So I want to know, Lindsey, what is it, or who is it that inspires you whether that’s on a day to day basis or a bigger picture?
I think there were two people that really helped my journey. First is my mom who basically went from having nothing to being the most successful women that I know. She persevered so much and she is the embodiment of grit and hard work. I’ve never seen her dressed like and never seen her makes any excuses about her life. She would take care of us so well who I being amazing employer out there. So that was my mom and I think I learned so much from her. I was, I was raised hearing about things like investment banking and shareholders and all of that I that helped me with my journey. The second part is my teachers, especially my year eleven and twelve teachers because I came from Vietnam and I was never a stem oriented kid. I was never good admits I was absolutely horrible at meds. And when I read it, and I was led to think that I was extremely talented, because I could not do anything well that may maybe like in English, in literature, which is, I suppose that’s my strength. And when I moved to Australia, I’ve got amazing teachers and I cried after my first oral presentation because I was so nervous about doing a presentation in front of everyone. Just moving to a New country. I wasn’t sure if I was saying things right. And my teacher was so she was just so understanding and she helped me through everything and I got the top scores at the end of my journey, my English teacher. She was just absolutely amazing. And I ended up, I had an English teacher and an English teacher, and he would mock every single of my essay and he would just remind me that I can do whatever I want to do. So I think just having amazing educators and role models so important and I, I do hope that there are other young people out there who can find those role models as well. And someone to give them a life purpose and some inspiration. And I think it is a great way to pay for it through these sort of programs. Yeah. Hope to inspire some people one day.
I bet you have Lindsey, if there’s people listening to this, that are wanting to connect with you, how should they go about doing so?
I do have a LinkedIn page, so yeah. Slash my name up on LinkedIn or my website, so Lindsey English touring dot com. So you’ll be able to see my details and contact details in all those platforms.
Lovely. Well Lindsey, once again, I want to thank you for your time coming on to the inspiration for writing the podcast. And I’ve really, really enjoyed this chat and I bet that a lot of people would have gotten some really great business and kind of startup tips from this as well, which is another thing I wasn’t expecting. But some of your little nuggets of wisdom were fantastic.
Thank you so much for having me here. It was amazing and was a great honor to be able to talk about my experience this way.
Thank you, Lindsey.
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