Sarah Von Bargen of Yes and Yes: TGBTS Featured Teacher


Don’t you just love them?

I know I do.

There are those that inspire me and those that make me laugh. Some help me solve problems in my classroom and others that help me solve problems in my life.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite teachers here.

Teachers in studios, classrooms and in the world at large. These are the folks you will see featured in my series of interviews here at Teacher Goes Back to School.

I hope you enjoy these teachers as much as I do!


Have you met Sarah? She’s the writer of one of my favorite blogs Yes and Yes as well as her small business blog

tgbts featured teacher sarah von bargen of yes and yes

1. You used to teach English – tell me about your experience. What brought you to teaching and what made you want to change professions?

My first experience was teaching English in Brazil through my university’s ELTAP program. I loved it, but when I got back to America I accepted a job as an event planner at a Super Fancy event planning firm. I burned out, had a quarter life crisis, moved to Taiwan to teach ESL, and then spent the next six years teaching ESL and earning my MA in Applied Linguistics.

Why did I change careers from teaching to blogging? There were a lot of reasons. The non-profit where I taught ran classes 50 weeks a year, so I never got a real break. My salary was less-than-inspiring. Also, I’ve always been the personality type to show up early, stay late, and give 120%. When you’re a teacher, you’re never, ever financially rewarded for hard work or creative ideas (though obviously, none of us get into teaching for the money) and I wanted to make more money if I was working harder and helping my students get better test scores than others.

2. How did you make the move from world-traveling ESL teacher to small business internet awesomer?

Slowly but surely! I blogged and freelanced for 2.5 years before I quit my teaching job. I should also point out that I’ve been getting paid to write since I was 20 and I have a background in marketing/pr/advertising so I came to blogging (and teaching) with that skill set. I didn’t have to learn those things from scratch :)

3. What kinds of stuff do you teach now? Who is your ideal client and what is your ideal work?

I teach small businesses and entrepreneurs how to make a name for themselves on the internet. Whether that’s through blogging, social media, creating e-books, or pitching bloggers who will then promote their products, I teach all things internet-related.

My ideal client is a small, lifestyle business that has built social responsibility into their business model. I particularly love helping my clients create blogging editorial plans, brainstorming clever promotion ideas, and nailing down their social media.

4. What are your Top 5 self-care must do’s?

Self Care Must Do #1. Step away from your screen!

After 7 pm, close your laptop, stop answering emails, and get off of social media. Go live your life, forpetessake!

Self Care Must Do #2. Know your limits

I have a suuuuuper active social life, but I top out after about four hours of conversation/mingling/partying. If I stay much longer than that I can feel the light inside me turn off. So I take myself home! Know when you’re ready to stop – whether it’s eating, drinking, socializing, exercising, know when you’re done.

Self Care Must Do #3. Edit your friends

Take note of how you feel after you hang out with someone. If they’re constantly complaining and waxing negative, maybe you should limit your time together.

Self Care Must Do #4. Stop feeling guilty about your ‘guilty pleasures’

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures – I just like what I like. And if my self-care is eating popcorn for dinner while watching MTV’s True Life, I’m not going to apologize for that.

Self Care Must Do #5. If you want something in your life, make it part of your life

If you want a more active social life, plan a party. If you need more alone time, turn down some of those invitations. If you need more energy, go to bed earlier, eat more vegetables, get more exercise. You’re the only one who can take care of you!

5. How do you manage working from home without driving yourself bonkers?

Honestly, it’s not a problem! Even though I’m super friendly and outgoing, I’m actually an introvert. Also: my apartment is gorgeous. And as previously mentioned, I have a really, really active social life, so I have lunch or dinner with someone or go out almost every day – sometimes twice a day!

6. Do you have a yoga practice? Are you still transitioning from work to home with legs-up-the-wall? What about meditation/quiet contemplation?

I don’t really. When I remember, I transition with legs-up-the-wall. My most yogi-esque activity is probably going for long walks in the morning through quiet neighborhoods and writing in my gratitude journal before I go to sleep. I’m not really sure if my personality lends itself to yoga – I’m more of a hip hop dance class type of person ;)

7. You write a lot. How do you produce so much engaging content? What’s your writing secret? I’d love to shadow you for a week to see your processes, so any and all tips/tricks for editorial calendar, idea generating and/or actually writing excellent content will be greatly appreciated.

Oh thanks so much! I’m not really sure that I have any secrets! I’ve been writing for a long time (and writing with deadlines) so it comes relatively easily to me. I rarely do more than one draft and a proof read, so I’m sure that makes me a faster writer than some.

Most of my ideas come from conversations with friends or reading other stuff or my everyday life. I have a lot of notes in my phone and drafted posts on my dashboard of posts I’d like to write. Also, if you look at Yes and Yes, you’ll see that I do True Story and Real Life Style Icon interviews, Mini Travel Guides, and I have two contributors who help with food-related posts. On my small business blog, I host guest posts once a month. So all of that is content I don’t write myself. I’m not an expert at everything but I wanted my blog to cover lots of topics, so I brought in some help ;)

8. How do you manage stress of running a successful small business, wildly popular blog and active social/travel life?

This is a deeply unhelpful answer, but I’m not a particularly stressed out person. I love 95% of the work I do, so it simply doesn’t stress me out. When I do get stressed out, I have a 4-part foolproof (for me) plan:

1. Work out for an hour
2. Take a shower or go swimming
3. Take a nap
4. Drink some coffee

Everything seems brighter when you’re clean, rested, and caffeinated!

9. How do you handle self-doubt?

While I have demons just like anyone else (I self-medicate through cleaning, dancing, and eating cheese) self-doubt isn’t really something I struggle with. When I’m worried about something, I usually make a list of the things I’m worried about and write down all the possible ways I can deal with it. Maybe those aren’t things I actually want to do (‘move back in my with family’ ‘get a roommate’ ‘incur $15,000 credit card debt’) but they are things I could do if need be. Just seeing all those options makes me feel better.

10. How do you maintain your optimistic Yes and Yes outlook on life?

I pretty firmly believe that nothing has any meaning other than the one that you assign to it. So when I lose a big client, I choose to believe that loss is making space for an even bigger, better project. When I break up with someone, I choose to believe that relationship served a purpose and I’ll meet someone who’s a better fit for me. I make a very active effort to find the silver lining in just about everything.

Do you have any questions or comments for Sarah?

Are you a rock star teacher (or know one)? Would you like to be a TGBTS Featured Teacher? Send me a message or leave me comment here.

1 thought on “Sarah Von Bargen of Yes and Yes: TGBTS Featured Teacher

  1. Pingback: Books I Love: Steal Like An Artist | Teacher Goes Back to School

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