Teach English Online as a Freelancer
You may have noticed that it is getting harder to get online work, especially if you don’t have a degree. The changes from the Chinese government in 2018 and the coronavirus outbreak haven’t helped things either. And even if you get a job with an online school, there’s no guarantee you will get the hours and salary you want. So maybe now is the time to consider taking things into your own hands and teach English online as a freelancer.
Just to clarify, when I say “freelance” it could mean 2 things. Either you find the students, handle payments and teach or you use freelance platforms like www.tutorme.com to connect with students and they will handle the payments and recruit the students. This is the one I want to talk about in this blog.
How does it work?
Firstly, you need to create a profile on one or several of these websites and get approved by them. This means that you need to have some sort of teaching certification like the TEFL, preferably some experience, a good CV and an introduction video that “sells” you to potential students.
Once your profile is approved, you will then be listed on the website and students can view it and decide whether or not to study with you.
The website will take a percentage of your earnings as a fee for recruiting the students and handling payments. You can set your own hourly rate so make sure to work this commission into it.
In most cases, you will also need to create your own materials. Unless you only want to offer conversational classes.
Finding a “niche”.
Whether you teach English online as a freelancer on these platforms or want to be a truly independent online teacher with your own business, you will need to focus on a niche.
By niche, I mean a specific group of students who are looking for English lessons for a specific purpose. This could be anything from IELTS exam preparation, real estate jargon to teaching specific accents for voiceover work. It could literally be anything.
This allows you to stand out from all the other teachers who offer general English classes and charge more per hour. Some freelance English teachers charge upwards of $100 per hour!
For example, if you have experience in real estate, market real estate lessons to realtors who want to move to an English speaking country for work or who have many English-speaking clients.
If you don’t have any professional experience, you can consider taking a course in IELTS or Cambridge exam preparation and target students preparing for these exams. There’s a massive market for this.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
In my opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. You can set your own hourly rate, choose your own hours and who you teach. You have more flexibility and no boss to answer to. There are no ridiculous penalties for missing a class or getting a low rating from students. (This is the norm with online schools)
The only real disadvantage is that it takes longer to start earning a steady income than with online schools. This is because you need to build up a regular client base and this takes time. For some of you creating your own materials may seem like a disadvantage but as you get more experience, you will see it as an advantage. You get to teach whatever you want and here at eTefl Online, we include a set of editable pre-made lesson plans with our Freelance Teacher Package or Freelance Upgrade Package (for teachers who already have a TEFL).
How do I get started?
Like I said, the first step is to get certified and set up your profiles. We can help with this by providing new teachers with our Freelance Teacher Package that includes:
- The 120-hour online TEFL course
- A Professional ESL Resume (to help you get selected by the company to get listed on their platform)
- A Professional Bio for your teacher profile which can be used on multiple platforms? – 100-150 words long
- A Student Introduction Video Script (so students can listen to you speak and you can ‘sell’ yourself effectively to them) – 60-90 seconds long
- A Professional LinkedIn Profile (so students can see that you’re a professional on other platforms as well)
- Set up instructions and links to all the major freelance platforms
- A set of 20 premade lesson plans to help you get started
- Access to our teacher’s resource centre
- Lifetime Support
- 10 hours of practical online teaching experience with a letter of recommendation from EWF.
- Application links to all the online schools that don’t require a degree
We also have a Freelance Upgrade Package for those of you who are already certified that includes all of the above except the TEFL course.