Categories
career expectations

Priorities

It’s so easy to get pulled off course

The waves crashed between the towering cliff of Scylla and the jagged rocks of Charybdis

I thought I had my priorities fairly sorted out. You may have seen my now page. I was really enthusiastic about Derek Sivers’ hell yeah or no manifesto.

Normally this works pretty well, but unexpected opportunities can put you on tilt.

Last week I had one of those opportunities. I was offered a chance to work on a prestigious project. It didn’t align with my goals 100%, but paid well and might have led to further similar projects.

This week I am planning to turn it down. If I took it it would prevent me from focusing on the really important things.

It’s not hard to say no to boring or unpleasant work. It is really hard to say no to interesting work with lots of potential.

But maybe that’s the key to success.

Categories
expectations goals new year

New (Academic) Year’s Resolutions

A plan for the 2016 academic year

calendar2

Here in Japan the academic year runs from April until March, so we are coming up to the start of the 2016 one.

I have a few projects and plans:

  1. New ‘high-level’ classes at Tohoku University
    From this year the university has introduced new high-level classes that students can choose to join instead of their regular English classes. This is a new system so we are not sure what it is going to look like. Assuming I get some students (it’s not certain, particularly for my Friday evening class!) I will be teaching advanced extensive reading classes and an advanced discussion class on the topic of personal finance. Very much looking forward to both of these.
  2. PELLT (practical English language learning and teaching) website
    This is a new website aimed at bringing together all our content, from self-produced work such as the ER@TU manual and the about-to-be-released PDR discussion method handbook, to curated links for learners and teachers. I’m very excited about PELLT and look forward to sharing more as it develops.
  3. A few writing projects that I can’t talk about yet 🙂
    I’ll post more about these if progress happens (certainly not a sure thing based on looking at my to-do list).
  4. More on sendaiben.org and retirejapan.info
    I’m planning to write more regularly for my two remaining blogs. Please share any content you enjoyed on social media -it really helps me to reach more people.
  5. Year two at the Cambridge Academy
    The other teachers at Cambridge just reorganized the reading classroom and it looks great. Looking forward to seeing the program develop as it goes into its second year. I’m particularly interested in how students progress -having students going into the second year of the program is uncharted territory.
  6. Doing less
    I am hoping to cut down on the number of things I do, so I can put more time into the remaining ones. If all goes to plan I’ll be teaching fewer classes and taking on fewer projects. This is something I struggle with but after fifteen years working flat out I need to find a bit of balance in my life.

How about you? Anything interesting on the horizon?

Categories
blogging expectations

Doing Stuff: the Art of Productivity

Cross-posting!

IMG_6849

I wrote a long post about productivity on my personal finance blog today. Wasn’t really sure which blog to put it on (it kind of fits both) so cross-posting here.

Check it out!

 

Categories
blogging expectations

Blogging

time

Today is a Leap Day so I am going to write a retrospective post.

I started this blog over ten years ago, on Blogger. Since then I have moved it to my own domain using WordPress and written 359 posts. This will be post 360.

It’s not the most successful blog, mainly because I haven’t been consistent in putting time and effort into it, and also because the teacher blog space is a little bit crowded. Lots of teachers with things to share and time on their hands out there 🙂

The main achievement is the longevity, I guess. Eleven years and counting.

I’ve enjoyed sharing ideas with people and reading their comments. The blog has 941 comments (although at least half of those are probably mine).

WordPress tells me the blog has had 137,448 views.

My most popular post by far is the throwaway one I wrote about bungee jumping. By a factor of at least ten.

There is also a sendaiben Youtube channel, with 7,390 views so far. It mainly has videos of my presentations, but I am thinking of putting more effort into it by making some shorter videos on teaching topics.

Looking back, there is a fair amount of good content on here, but it’s hard to find. I should probably go back and curate old posts, either putting them into ebook format or making better categories. Another project for the to-do list? I’m actually writing a post about to-do lists and productivity at the moment.

So there you go. More than you wanted to know about sendaiben.org.

How about you? How do you see this site? What would you like to see more of?

Categories
business eikaiwa expectations

Selling a Language School in Japan

But what’s it worth?

house for sale

Many people in Japan think about opening their own English school. Some people actually do so. But what is the end game? What happens when you no longer want to operate your school?

One option is to sell it.

There are many things to consider when selling a school. I’ve been doing a bit of research on this recently, and it’s been interesting and a bit discouraging 🙂

Valuation

This is probably the hardest aspect of the whole thing. There is no easy way to decide how much a business is worth. Ultimately it comes down to how much someone is willing to pay for it, and whether the owner decides to accept that price.

Some metrics I have heard about are a price per current student, or a multiple of net annual profit (2-5 times seems possible).

Whether the school is a company or just privately run by an individual would appear to make a difference (it’s more valuable as a stand-along company).

Having the owners involved in teaching or admin roles makes the school less attractive, as the students may be there because of the personal connection and may leave when the owners do.

Any assets held by the school may be added to the purchase price, but most teaching materials or furniture probably aren’t worth very much second-hand.

Taxation

Now even if you manage to sell your school for an acceptable price, the government is going to want its share of the proceeds.

There appear to be two possibilities here. If the school is incorporated and was bought then capital gains tax might be payable.

If the school was privately held then income tax would be payable. Looking at national income tax, the brackets seem to be:
-under 1,950,000 yen 5%
1,950,000-3,300,000 yen 10%
3,300,000-6,950,000 yen 20%
6,950,000-9,000,000 yen 23%
9,000,000-18,000,000 yen 33%
18,000,000-40,000,000 yen 40%
Over 40,000,000 yen 45%

You would also have to add inhabitants tax of around 10%.

What this means for us

Well, my wife runs a small English school. We are considering a number of options for when we are no longer willing or able to run it, including selling or giving it to a family or staff member, selling it to a third party, or closing it down (and donating resources to local schools or organizations).

My research indicates that most schools seem to be bought and sold as fire, or forced, sales, when an owner needs to sell quickly as they are leaving the country. This results in low prices paid for schools.

For us, selling for three times net annual income doesn’t sound like a great deal, particularly if we do the work to make the school run without our day-to-day input. Once you consider the impact of taxes on the sale price, we’d be better off running it for another couple of years and would be able to save more than we would get in a sale price.

It’s not even much of a jump from a hands-off business to one that you could monitor remotely.

I guess if we ever reached the point where we didn’t want anything to do with the school I guess we could sell, but even in that situation I think I would rather sell to an owner operator and amortize the purchase price over a number of years, possibly by securing an advisory role. This would probably reduce taxes and increase the eventual gain from the sale.

Anyone have any advice/experience on this topic? Am I completely wrong on anything?

Edit: Steven N. posted this great article by Dean Rogers (who is a really approachable and helpful person) on the Facebook page. Well worth a look.