You go into work, day and day out unsatisfied with your living. The salary is good, but you feel like a slave: you are constantly looking over your shoulder to ensure you do not say the wrong thing. The office politics are out of control, and you are not sure who you can trust when you feel the need to vent about your superiors, which you want to do often. You find yourself looking through job postings often, trying decide if you leave this place of corporate slavery and subject yourself to a possibly less soul crushing organization.
This type of thinking is very common among people drudging through a 9- 5 job. It becomes hard to look forward to new horizons, when the small amount of control you had over your life was been relinquished to your employer who holds a salary over your head. This has pushed many people to look for less conventional types of work, especially online businesses to break from the day-to-day grind of corporate life.
With all the different ways to start working online , it is hard to figure out which ones are legitimate, and which are scams. Since beginning my online journey I have discovered one type of online business that is real and in demand – teaching languages.
I have been teaching English online with various customers and companies for over three years, and have been doing it as a full time business for 6 months, with no signs of slowing down.
The fastest way to start teaching English online is by using established websites and companies. There are freelance websites, such as italki.com, and verbaling. There are also many Asian based companies that hire teacher as contractors, and provide teaching materials, however the pay will be capped, and negotiated or stipulated in a 6 month to 1 year contract. On the freelance platforms you can charge what ever you want, and can make changes freely.
If you are thinking about getting started, and do not have a plethora of English Teaching experience, I recommend starting with one of the more prominent Asian/ Chinese based companies: such as DadaAbc, VIPkid, 51talk, Hujiang, Magic Ears, or USKid -these companies will provide the customers and lesson materials so you can learn how to teach, or just improve your skills.
In order to get started with these companies, you’ll usually need a certificate, such as a CELTA, TEFL, or TESOL certificate, which can be obtained through any company that provides a certification. They also like to see prior teaching experience, or a degree, but these are not always required if you have some type of teaching certificate.
While getting started it’s extremely important to be patient, as you will likely have very few customers for the first few months on any platform, so do not quit your day job until you have a substantial savings, or you’ve already started making money from teaching. As you build up a reputation and teaching experience on a platform, I highly recommend adding at least one other platform, this will make you more resilient to changes in the market and within companies.
Different platforms may cater to different customers. Some companies focus on child-hood to adolescent education, others teach all ages, and some primarily serve adults. Keep this in mind as you look for companies to work with.
While teaching English online as a full-time business is not for everyone, some of the benefits are that you manage your own schedule, and you are interacting with people. I typically schedule my lesson times two weeks in advance, some platform require that, but you can also take vacation( on some platforms) whenever you want, you just need to give them a heads up. However, since you only get paid when you are teaching, remember that non- work time does not add to your income.
Teaching English online can be a great opportunity, but as with any freelance, contract, or entrepreneurial venture, you should prepare for the risks involved.