Andy Healy

Managing Director at The TEFL Org

Andy Healy is Managing Director at The TEFL Org, the Market-Leading Provider of Courses to Teach English as a Foreign Language. Andy has served as Managing Director of market-leading, multi-format, global brands with a successful track record of building scale and driving growth in consumer revenues and profit, advertising, podcasts, ecommerce, digital transformation and innovation.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

I’m a morning person and I can get through a lot of work first thing. Ideally it starts off with meditation and a workout to boost my energy and help me feel focused. We all work from home at The TEFL Org which I love. It means I can get involved in whatever’s going on in the house, do the school run, take the dog for a walk. And then it’s down to business!

How do you bring ideas to life?

That’s where the real work lies. Ideas come thick and fast but realizing
them takes coordinated effort and drive. I think stakeholder buy-in is essential to ensure you have broad feedback and give the idea its best chance of thriving. I’ll spend a lot of time viewing it with my team from all angles and probing for weakness before it gets invested in.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Online learning has reached new heights post pandemic and as an education provider it won’t surprise you to hear that excites us! The rise in making courses more accessible for people with learning difficulties is something we’re very interested in. The door should be open to all, and we need to work hard to support that ideal.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

A walk! For me productivity always comes from having the time and space to breath deep and plan.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I guess the closest I come to that is teaching my kids. Something I always say to them is a quote from the author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, ‘Pay attention to what you pay attention to’. It’s a great piece of advice for discerning who you are and what you want to do with your life.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

Wow that’s a toughie. I’m pretty sure in this ultra-connected global society you can find an ally for any opinion. That being said, I get a lot of pushback for believing I’m a good dancer!

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Two things: protect the liver, feed the gut. It’s astonishing how different the output is when you’re in a healthy state versus a poor one. Always start with your health.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

I stop! Big ambitions and goals naturally bring challenges, so I’m very used to seeing ‘overwhelm’ on the horizon. It’s a thin line between stretch and chaos so it’s important to be familiar with what it looks and feels like so you can find ways of cutting it off at the pass. Personally, I like to walk in a forest, it’s instantly calming and clears my head.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

I’m a big believer in starting with people. A dysfunctional team can cause mayhem for months, years if you don’t grapple with the issues. Sharing a goal and empowering teams unlocks exponential levels of collaborative effort. You develop a sense of when things are working well, and it’s not just based on performance metrics.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

When I started out, I was pretty gung-ho about work, always trying to get jobs done fast. It meant I was never fully prepared and missed the big picture. After a few failures left me with unhappy clients and missed targets I stumbled upon Stephen Covey’s advice ‘Sharpen the saw…’. It taught me to slow down, avoid burnout and take time to understand the breadth of what can be achieved before starting out.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I like the idea of sports equipment which stores energy from user sessions. That way your run drives the electricity which powers the next person’s run. I have no idea how to make this.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Definitely Slack. At The TEFL Org we run a global operation with people based all over the world working remotely. Having slack channels for different comms is so useful and integrating other software makes it easier for me to view reports, get reminders and be inspired!

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

I bought a ticket to Brighton SEO, the largest conference for digital marketing in the UK. There were dozens of great speakers covering everything from how content design impacts SEO through to how and what to think about AI. I went with a few of the team, and we came out energized and bursting with ideas.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

Our podcast, I Taught English Abroad, is excellent value. The host, Euan, is funny and does great interviews, always pulling out the crazy stories from TEFL teachers around the world. It’s got wanderlust, passion and odd things that students do! Also, it’s handy for learning about cultural norms and faux pas in other countries. For example, a thumbs up in Greece is as rude as the middle finger gesture. Good to know…

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

That has to be Succession. Extraordinary script writing and character development. Just when you think one of them might actually be nice, they do something really awful and it keeps you on your toes.

Key learnings:

  • Consume knowledge like it’s nectar. Read the books, listen to the podcasts. Amongst the mundane advice you’ll always pick up nuggets of brilliance which will help you on your journey. Plus, the constant endeavor means you’re establishing a vital culture of learning for yourself and those around you.
  • Make your business “people-centered.” Easier said than done! It takes work and an honest shift in priorities but it’s worth it.
  • Understanding why you should get out of bed, why you should go to work, why you should try to perform – that’s the key to long term success. Work out your true ‘why’ and the rest will follow.