From finding students and creating lessons to scheduling classes and collecting payments, establishing your own ESL business 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 an online tutoring business can be learned. Let’s dive in to learn more.
First, what does it mean to work for yourself as an online English teacher?
A lot of new online English teachers opt to work with online English teaching companies since working with a company offers training and structure for new teachers and lesson plans are provided. While working with 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 a teacher, starting your own business or working via an ESL marketplace as a freelance online English teacher is the way to go! As your own boss, you get to call the shots about every single aspect of your business, including the age and level of the 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 starts an online English tutoring business?
As being an online ESL teacherpreneur offers plenty of perks and allows English educators to continue to grow, it’s not surprising that more and more teachers are jumping onto this career path. Here are some examples of who is teaching English online for themselves:
For many EFL teachers, it just takes patience to get your business off the ground. 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, 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 starting your own online ESL business?
So, what non-teaching skills do you need to launch an online English tutoring business?
Whether you want to make your online English teaching venture 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 your online English teaching business, 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 your online ESL business 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.
- Pro Tip: Running out of creative juices? Ask other people for ideas (such as in the Bridge Teaching English Online Facebook Group), or get inspiration by looking at other successful online English teachers’ marketing tactics.
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.
- Pro Tip: Use online apps like Google Calendar or Calendly to help organize your work schedule more easily.
5. Business development skills
Unless you intend to teach online 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 these even outside of class hours.
7. Persistency and motivation
The last two non-teaching skills you need to launch an 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 in your abilities, and students will also believe in you as a teacher.
How can I develop the business and marketing skills I need to start my own online ESL school?
You don’t need to have a degree or 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 online English teaching venture:
No matter where you are in the process of launching your 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.