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Teaching English online as a freelancer is an attractive career path with several advantages. The main perks of freelance teaching online are that it’s fun and rewarding, as well as profitable. Plus, you get to be an independent online teacher.

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 start Teaching English online as a freelancer.

Just to clarify, when I say teaching “freelance” it could mean two things. Either you find your own English students, handle payments and teach online. Or you use freelance platforms like www.tutorme.com to connect with students. With the latter, they will handle the payments and recruit the students. This is the freelance teaching option I want to talk about in this blog post.

How does teaching English online as a freelancer work?

Firstly, you need to create a profile on one or several of the freelance teaching 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 online teaching profile is approved, you will then be listed on the website and students can view it and decide whether or not to study English 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 teaching materials. Unless you only want to offer conversational classes.

Finding a teaching “niche” online.

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 teaching 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 really be anything.

This allows you to stand out from all the other online English 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 so it will help you Teaching English Online as a Freelancer successfully.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of freelance online teaching?

In my opinion, the advantages of freelance teaching online 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 when you teach freelance online. There are no ridiculous penalties for missing a class or getting a low rating from students (This is the norm with online English schools).

The only real disadvantage of freelance teaching 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 gain 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 online teacher training for freelancers. These are the Freelance Teacher Package or Freelance Upgrade Package (for teachers who already have a TEFL).

How do I start Teaching English Online as a Freelancer?

Like I said, the first step is to get TEFL certified and set up your online teaching profiles. We can help with this by providing new teachers with our freelance online teacher training.

Our Freelance Teacher Package 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 Teacher Upgrade Package for those of you who are already TEFL certified but want to Teaching English Online as a Freelancer. This freelance online teacher training includes all of the above except the TEFL course.

Hopefully, you have a clearer idea of what Teaching English Online as a Freelancer is about and how you can do it. For professional advice about teaching English online and accredited online teacher training – get in touch with us at eTEFL Online.