If you’re thinking of starting an online EFL teaching business, then you’re in luck. Out of the many ways you can make money online, this is one of the best out there, because there are always going to be students interested in learning from you. There are businesses around the world that pay for their employees to take courses, and parents are always looking for fluent English speakers to improve their kids’, willing to pay a reasonable fee for lessons taught over Skype. But just like any business, starting an EFL teaching business of your own takes some work. You need to show that you’ve got what it takes to teach and that you’re the best teacher out there
Luckily, there are some great strategies you can use to make your teaching business well-known and reputable. It’s all about demonstrating your skills, improving your online presence, and connecting with the right people. Here’s how.
Get certified–and get the experience you need, too
If you want to be taken seriously as an EFL teacher, being fluent in English isn’t enough. You need to have a certification, and whether it’s the world-famous CELTA offered by Cambridge or a cheaper alternative, this shows to customers that you take teaching seriously. In addition to learning all about the pedagogy of teaching English as a foreign language, you’ll also get teaching practice with sample students, and gain access to teaching syllabi and books.
Once you have the certification, get some experience under your belt. Tutoring and teaching in person are fine, but you also need to demonstrate that you can teach remotely. After all, there’s an additional challenge to keeping your students’ attention when they’re in a different time zone and speaking with you over video. Explaining the answer to a business student’s question of, “What does drop shipping mean?” is more challenging without the use of a whiteboard and other students to discuss it.
Luckily, there are many companies out there you can work with to get experience before you’re doing it for your own business. Take VIPKID, for example, where you can make $14-22 per hour depending on your certifications and teaching experience.
Set up a great website
Once you have the experience and certifications necessary to be taken seriously by clients, it’s time to set up your virtual office: your website. It should be sleek, minimalist, and show off your skills, so in addition to a simple main page, have some information about your teaching pedagogy, certifications and education, and sample lessons. Having a blog where you explain solutions to issues with English grammar and expressions will help you, too, because it will boost your SEO and get more customers finding your website in the first place.
Don’t forget to make your site mobile-friendly. Worldwide, 26 percent of people spend over seven hours a day on their phones, and 29 spend three to six hours doing it. That’s over half of the global population. Chances are, customers will find you not on a laptop or desktop but their small phone screen, and if pictures don’t load quickly enough or your content isn’t readable, no one will have the patience to visit your site. If you aren’t sure how to optimize your site for mobile, check out these tips.
Up your presence on Youtube and social media
Finally, one of the best ways to connect with potential clients–especially when you’re first starting out–is by having a powerful online presence. The first you should think about is Youtube. Even though it started off as a website for posting music videos and sharing experiences in video form, one of the most popular reasons why people visit it now is to learn. Sometimes, the fame gained from posting lessons online can be huge: think about John Green, who started posting educational videos there and then using that fame to get books like The Fault In Our Stars published.
Even just a few lessons up on Youtube will both show how great you are at teaching and give viewers access to social media buttons and your website. Which brings us to our next point, which is that you also need to be active on social media. Think about it: as of November 2, 2017, Instagram had over 800 million monthly active users. Create a social media calendar, vamp up your social media profiles, and join Facebook groups for people teaching English online.
Once you’ve taken these steps, you’ll start getting clients and building up your customer base–which will inevitably bring you even more clients, and more success. Soon, your online EFL teaching business can be your primary source of income!
Why have you decided to start an online EFL teaching business? Do you love to teach? Do you love to travel?