7 Non-Teaching Skills You Need to Launch a Freelance Online English Tutoring BusinessBy Krzl Light Nuñes
November 10, 2020
From finding students and creating lessons, to scheduling classes and collecting payments, starting a freelance ESL career may make you feel like you need to be a jack-of-all-trades. But there’s no need to panic! You probably already possess the essential teaching skills and technical equipment to get started and, fortunately, the other skills you need to launch a freelance online tutoring business can be learned. Let’s dive in to learn more.
First, what does it mean to be a freelance online English teacher?
A lot of new online English teachers opt to work with online English teaching companies like PalFish, VIPKid, or GoGoKid since working with a company offers training and structure for new teachers, and lesson plans are provided. While working for companies often promises a steady income stream and student bookings, the other side of the coin is that you may not have much freedom when it comes to choosing your learners, your hourly rate, and your teaching methods.
However, if you’re looking for greater flexibility as an English teacher, working for yourself as a freelance online English teacher is the way to go! As a freelancer, you don’t work for anyone, so you get to call the shots about every single aspect of your business, including the age and level of students you’ll teach, your teaching rates, how you’ll organize class schedules, and the curriculum and materials you’ll develop to use in your classes.
Who teaches English online as a freelancer?
As freelance online ESL teaching offers plenty of perks and demand for English educators continues to grow, it’s not surprising that more and more teachers are jumping into this career path. Some examples of who is teaching English online as a freelancer are:
For many TEFL teachers, going freelance has also been a way to thrive during a global pandemic. As Sheyla, a Brazilian ESL teacher giving private online classes in the U.S., affirmed, “Little by little my online classes took over my other part-time jobs and now, during the quarantine, I am so happy that I have so many classes every day to keep me busy and allow me to still make money.”
What are the benefits of going freelance as an online ESL teacher?
So, what non-teaching skills do you need to launch a freelance online English tutoring business?
Whether you want to make freelance online English teaching a full-time job or do it as a side gig, it’s key to have these core skills in order to kickstart and successfully run your own online ESL business:
1. Marketing skills
Before you can start teaching English online as a freelancer, you have to get as many potential students as possible or let them find you by increasing your online (and even offline) presence. But how do you do that, exactly?
Carla, from Brazil, is a virtual EFL teacher who has successfully built her client base through social media. “Promoting your work online is a never-ending job. One needs to be persistent because results don’t come overnight,” she shared.
2. Operational skills
As an online English teacher running your own business, all the decision-making and processes will be in your hands. These include:
3. Creative skills
Creative skills will be very handy for marketing yourself as a freelance online ESL teacher if you want to use social media to get online students or drive people to your website. Sometimes, you may have to think outside the box to grab potential students’ attention.
4. Time management and organizational skills
While being your own boss means that no one can tell you what to do with your time, your ability to manage your schedule and balance activities effectively is crucial to running your online English teaching business smoothly.
5. Business development skills
Unless you intend to freelance teach for only a short period of time, you’ll want to grow your business in the long run. As planning to succeed is what differentiates good from great independent online ESL teachers, you have to decide which direction you want your business to go and how you can get there.
Consider the following ideas for scaling your online English school:
6. Communication and relationship management skills
Although having excellent communication skills is vital for teaching English online, you will need it even outside class hours.
7. Persistency and motivation
The last of the non-teaching skills you need to launch a freelance online English tutoring business are ones that can’t be found in any course.
Your family and friends may have your back as you stand on your own two feet as an online English tutor, but you’ll also need to have the drive to achieve your goals and never give up, despite the hurdles that may come your way. Be confident about your abilities, and your potential students will believe in you too.
How can I develop the business and marketing skills I’ll need as a freelancer?
You don’t need to have a degree nor experience in business to acquire the skills listed above. Chances are, you’ve already got a lot of them! Nevertheless, here are some ways to hone the most important skills for successfully kicking off your freelance online English teaching venture:
No matter where you are in the process of launching your freelance online ESL career, there’s no doubt that you can succeed on your own as long as you’ve got the skills necessary to market yourself and manage your business.