Learn a Language in 30 days with an iPad 

As I said briefly on the last post the challenge for May is to learn as much of a language in 30 days using just an iPad. This is something that many people want to do and yet often have a lot of issues with which hold them back. Personally, I have some very strong reasons for wanting to get better at learning a language. My wife is Polish so I want to get better at communicating with her (and her family) and I am a teacher of English as a second language so it would be great to be a better student myself.

To make this challenge as fair as possible I decided to choose a new language (as this is what you might want to do), one which I don’t have a strong reason to learn (like my wife speaks it) and one that should be pretty difficult to find resources for but one which I find interesting. I came down to a couple of choices, Arabic or Welsh. Arabic appealed because I think that the Middle East is a very important region right now but unfortunately Arabic is a very diverse language. There are many regional variations in Arabic and it’s not so simple to just learn one version (even though there is “modern Arabic” which almost no one speaks) So I decided to go for Welsh, partially as a tribute to my late grandfather.

I’m going to try and do as much as possible on the iPad but I’m allowing myself the option to use my iPhone for some learning on the go with this challenge. For a final assessment, I’d love to try and have a chat with someone who speaks Welsh and to record it to share. I think that would be a good way to show people the effects but I don’t know how easy that will be. [if you know anyone who speaks Welsh, let me know!]

Why this isn’t actually that difficult

Here are a couple of things that people don’t know about languages that actually mean this is a lot easier than you’d think.

  1. Beginning is difficult but you make a lot of progress quickly
  2. Finding resource to learn any language is easier than you think
  3. It’s easy to impress people with your level in a foreign language

Breaking that down a bit. The beginning of a language is always difficult because all the words are new, you’re not used to hearing the sounds, you don’t know what to listen out for and so on. It feels very uncomfortable and you’re bound to make mistakes. However, the 1000 most common words make up something like 90% of communication (it depends on the language obviously) then the next 1000 (up to 2000) make up to 95% (again language depending). Learning 1000 might sound difficult at first but 1000 words in a month works out at 33 words a day or so. That’s actually not that hard and gets easier as time goes on. The there is the power of learning the most common phrases which helps you overcome lots of other barriers.

With the Internet, it’s really easy to find example of people speaking and writing in a language you want to learn. Even greater, there are often resources on a topic you really like. Tim Ferris learnt judo and Japanese at the same time because he was interested in both. If you love something, it can be a great naturally motive to take in some of the language you want to learn. Whatsmore, if you want to practice speaking with someone, there are ways to connect with a native speaker and practice with them via language exchange sites and similar.

The final point is that it doesn’t take much to impress people with your language level. If you can cope with basic introductions, tell a bit about yourself and then ask someone a few questions, they’ll be impressed. You can make all sorts of vocab or grammar mistakes and as long as you get your meaning across, people don’t care. I’ve been amazed how many times I’ve been terrible at a language.

Next time I’m going to look at some useful apps at tactics I’m using to learn Welsh. Maybe you’ll like to join in and learn a language.

What language are you going to learn?

Make a T-Shirt on an iPad Challenge Summary

So the month is drawing to a close and I thought it would be great to do a roundup post of how the first 30 day iPad challenge went, some takeaways and possible action points for future challenges and ideas (as well as a sneak peak of the next challenge).

Yes, you can make and sell tshirts online using just an iPad

Despite some early technical limitations (Teespring isn’t our friend yet.) it’s actually pretty easy to get vector graphics onto your iPad and upload them to a site so that you can sell on demand tshirt and other apparel. I didn’t try a whole host of options because Zazzle has a decent reputation and worked well. I think it only took me about three days of investigating and searching for ideas to find out that I could create a tshirt and sell it online. The real challenge (as I said at the start) was the marketing side and generating interest. Yup, that’s right technical limitations are the issue.

Making something worth buying is tough

Tshirt design is tough. It probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as there are so many poorly designed tshirts out there that you can find and when you finally do see a good tshirt it stands out. If I really wanted to make a great tshirt I think I’d have to keep experimenting with ideas and practicing (just like any skill it will get better over time) or hire someone (via a site like 99 designs) to come up with a good tshirt design for me.
I think I’ll continue to play around with ideas in Paper by 53 and see if anything sticks.

an iPad Pro might have made a few things easier

There were a couple of areas where I did have little issues that an iPad Pro (or even an Air 2) might have helped with. These include webpages reloading due to too little working RAM causing loss of some data. Then there is the advantage of having split screen at moments of organsing files from the web to the graphic design interface and uploading on to the web. Plus designing on a larger screen would have helped a bit. Still it wasn’t too bad on the iPad Air.

Marketing is really tough

To be honest I was a little lazy here due to some other writing commitments and also an increased workload at work (and starting the challenge late) but I did far too little marketing and reaching out. I hope that this post might strike a chord with people and draw a bit more attention to the project (getting a bit meta talking about how I hope this post will help with the project that this post is dissecting) but I’m also working on promoting the shirts individually as well with a focus on Facebook.

A breakdown of the project

Total number of shirts sold…0 (yup big fat zero so far)
Expenses. $0.99 for an icon that is also the site logo.

What’s next?

I’ve spent a while considering what project would be fun to pursue after this first one. While this was a great challenge to make something and make some money I though going in a big of a different direction for this second challenge could be good fun and I wanted something that would personally help me. So I’ve decided to do a language learning challenge. How much can I learn in 30 days using an iPad (and perhaps an iPhone occasionally.)

To make it completely fair I’m going to start a language from scratch but I hope that this project will help me with learning Polish which is useful for where I live. Keep an eye out for the first post coming soon.

Working Out A Marketing Campaign For A Tshirt Store on an iPad 

Now we’re into the hard graft and hustle time. It’s no longer a problem of technical difficulties in this tshirt idea. The issue comes down to two factors. Can I make a good enough product (I’m going with simplicity which may be a mistake, I might have to review this half way through the experiment to see if it is worth pivoting.) and marketing, getting people who might be interested to know about it.

This is something that many people write about and I’ve read tonnes of advice on how to do this sort of thing. However, the majority of people (I’d guess up to 95%) who read these things don’t really put them into action. They might take a simple tip or idea but they don’t put on the hard work you need to really put into action a difficult social media plan or content marketing plan.

So the next step is to find a good guide on how to market apparel and then violently put it into action. Luckily I have a great tool for researching articles and finding guides…the iPad.

Find a niche on a group site

The first tip I found is to go niche and wait for people to find you. Their advice is to see if there is some competition (to prove the validity of the market and interest) and then work out if your can do something better. If you can create the best thing in a niche, then you will attract people without even trying.
This sounds like a nice idea but also likely to lead to little revenue. You’re relying on other people just happening to find you, with a little bit of effort, I’m sure you could get a lot more returned.
Check out the full article here

Keep at it and keep adding ideas

A tip I found from Elke is that you need to keep adding new products to your page all the time. This helps keep your content fresh, provide more options and can lead to getting a few people to give you money multiple times. I know this as I’ve bought multiple tshirts from a couple of people.
This seems good long term advice but doesn’t help me in the short term for this challenge. Still it could be great to keep track of how this project goes in the long term and now I know how easy it is to set up a tshirt shop.
Click here to read Elke Clark’s advice

Target with Facebook ads

This is the advice from get busy living. He tried for a long time to get tshirts to sell (via tee spring) and nothing stuck. But after he had some success, he saw many more ideas work. It seemed that he devoted a lot of time to coming up with ideas and then targeting at the right people On Facebook. Of course, Facebook ads when done well work well. When they don’t, not so much.
Check out the article here

Putting it together

My plan is to try running some Facebook ads for the tshirts targeting Apple fans who are also creative professions. I’m also going to keep coming up with design ideas to add to my zazzle store (so keep an eye out). id love to try using tee spring for these, but as log as it doesn’t support iOS…I can do it for iPad guild.

In the mean time check out the shirts, feel free to share and keep an eye out for he final figures this month.