Daphne Gomez: Helping Teachers Transition to Non-Teaching Careers
If your audience has imposter syndrome and can’t see themselves as a software engineer because they are a third grade teacher, reading a blog about someone else who’s a software engineer is not going to resonate with them until they hear the voice of someone that sounds like them saying words they thought they would never be able to learn. I’ve had former teachers who went into becoming software engineers for huge companies talking about how third grade teaching was much harder.
Who is Daphne Gomez?
Daphne Gomez is Founder and CEO at Teacher Career Coach, a company that helps teachers find new roles and supports the businesses looking to hire talent. She leverages multiple social media platforms to serve her audience. Her podcast, the Teacher Career Coach Podcast, averages around 75,000 downloads per month and is currently one of Apple’s Top 50 Podcasts in the Education category.
Teacher Career Coach has 77,000 Instagram followers. Daphne is a former teacher and has a bachelor of arts in liberal arts and sciences as well as a master of arts in curriculum and instruction, both from the California State University, Bakersfield. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Daphne Gomez started out as a teacher in her late twenties. After three years of teaching, she was struggling mentally, battling burnout and contending with a toxic work environment. She left the classroom environment and landed a role as a professional development trainer at a Fortune 500 edtech company.
“I would find myself speaking in front of this large room of teachers and talking about how I’m a former teacher and giving a professional development seminar on that subject. Teachers would come up afterwards and whisper ‘You’re a former teacher. How did you do it?’ And I decided that I wanted to create something for other people who are feeling the same way.”
She opened an Instagram account in 2018 and noticed a keen interest in her content. Daphne was getting the same type of curiosity and questions from teachers that she had encountered on the road as a trainer. It was apparent that a sizable number were looking to move away from teaching but didn’t know where to start. She decided to change her Instagram handle to Teacher Career Coach.
Teacher Career Coach
The Instagram page marked the start of Teacher Career Coach. Daphne began to develop a course and free resources. She hired a human resources consultant to help in crafting hiring and resume writing best practices, areas she was not a subject matter expert on.
“Together, we created this comprehensive passive income course while I focused on creating free content, search engine optimization and all the other things that go along with it. So the website and the course were the first resources in addition to building an email list.”
Her product targets teachers feeling stagnant in their career, struggling with burning out, or who want to explore other opportunities utilizing strengths forged by a career in education. Teachers can pay for the course or buy an ebook.
She does not offer direct one-on-one consultation due to staffing constraints — Teacher Career Coach has about 80,000 contacts on its email list but just three full-time and a couple of part-time employees. There is however a private community within the course itself where Daphne regularly answers questions.
Daphne started the podcast in October of 2020 in part due to her husband, a sound engineer, being laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. They thought of a way he could make use of the time and his skills to help support and educate the Teacher Career Coach’s audience. She also believed podcasts would communicate differently from how a blog would.
“If your audience has imposter syndrome and can’t see themselves as a software engineer because they are a third grade teacher, reading a blog about someone else who’s a software engineer is not going to resonate with them until they hear the voice of someone that sounds like them saying words they thought they would never be able to learn. I’ve had former teachers who went into becoming software engineers for huge companies talking about how third grade teaching was much harder.”
She does different types of content for the podcast. Apart from interviewing former teachers who have moved to a variety of other careers, Daphne covers career coaching tips, trending topics as well as the course, useful templates and helpful resources.
Brands can advertise on the podcast through paid sponsorships. She also features guest speakers that want to engage her audience such as those looking for specific talent like teachers focused on coding or social-emotional learning who could become customer success staff, SDRs, BDRs or content creators.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has been central to driving traffic to her site. She had noticed that hardly anything came up when she searched online for ‘other jobs for teachers’ and similar phrases. Daphne hired an SEO expert to research and analyze these keywords and phrases. This became the foundation for a robust SEO campaign for her website in 2018 and 2019 whose momentum still brings in visitor traffic and email sign ups.
That said, she takes a multipronged approach to digital marketing.
“We are getting over 40,000 clicks per month on search engine results. Our Instagram’s grown since I hired the marketing director last year to focus full-time on social media growth. We went from I think 30,000 in September-October to 75,000. One of the best lead magnets we have is a free career quiz.”
Getting online marketing right has meant tweaking techniques. For instance, she initially used Facebook ads but dropped it on realizing she was addressing the wrong audience. In the context of the broader teacher community, there’s only a small proportion of teachers that would be interested in her product. Facebook ads made it harder to narrow down to this demographic and instead broadcast it to almost every teacher.
Daphne believes that ultimately, it is the quality of content that does the conversion. This is why Teacher Career Coach positions itself as a one-stop-shop for valuable information, courses, templates and other time-saving resources.
“All of our testimonials that come in are people saying ‘I took the Teacher Career Coach course and it helped me get from point A to point Z a lot quicker than when I was trying to figure it out on my own’. That speaks for itself.”
Cross Promotion with Other Education Influencers
Daphne partners with other education influencers through mutually beneficial cross promotion. These are often creators focused on other areas of education such as sustainable teaching practices, preventing teacher burnout, driving mindset change and encouraging mindfulness. Within their audiences, there will be teachers weighing the pros and cons of a career change though not all are necessarily going to leave teaching.
For this reason, when teachers first come to Daphne, she assesses whether they are better off with her or if she should instead refer them to another education influencer.
“I like to say, ‘Think about changing grade levels, changing school districts, or what you can do in your environment. Because leaving teaching is not the easiest answer’. And if I tell you to make these changes and you automatically hate that, I’m the solution for you. But if I’m not the solution for you, I’ll direct you to other types of education influencers and resources. Those education influencers do the same thing; if they are not the solution for you, they send you to me.”
Working with Brands
Teacher Career Coach routinely works with brands. It is a means of diversifying revenue streams in order to have the income needed to pay the team and continue creating supportive resources. It is a symbiotic relationship where the brands she partners must also be a great fit for her audience.
Upskilling courses have proven to be popular with teachers keen on learning user experience design in order to become an edtech salesperson. Online mental health platforms have also been a great resource for teachers who want to find therapists that can accomodate their working hours.
Getting brands to cede creative control in collaborations has been a pain point sometimes.
“Being able to work with brands that understand there are some audiences that need different messaging and trusting the experts that are in charge of those audiences. There have been some misses when it comes to brands not giving a lot of creative control and wanting something that’s not going to be authentic coming from my mouth.”
Through her experiences working with brands, she offers advice for creators and influencers that are just starting out. First, have a strategic plan. Second, embark on research and due diligence before creating any product or content if you want it to pay off long term. Third, pick a social media platform of choice and make it your focus area for social media marketing. Fourth, know what you can rank for on search engines and if there are adequate searches on it.
Daphne is launching a Teacher Career Coach jobs board. The jobs listed will not be in the edtech space alone but also for brands looking for customer support staff, implementation teams or support for e-learning resources.
Whereas Teacher Career Coach does not currently offer one-on-one consultation, she’s thinking of changing that by building a small team of coaches that can provide personalized support.
“There’s definitely people who are willing to pay a little bit extra, to have more hand holding, guidance and immediate feedback.”
Daphne wants to better monetize the podcast.
“We’re at almost 9,000 downloads per episode but we don’t actively reach out to monetize the podcast itself. That’s something we want to focus on for Q2 and Q3 of this year. I’ve also been considering joining a podcast network, the simplest way I can earn revenue without doing all of the legwork myself.”
She’s currently writing a book though does not have a timeline of how long it will take to be completed.