Tips on how to start an online English teaching business

online English teaching business

With the exponential growth of the information age, more and more people have reverted to self-employment. “Working from home” and “digital nomad” are the 2 hottest phrases on the job market these days, but how do you find your feet in this new market?

The online English teaching market has evolved over the last few years and with the shut-down of many large companies in China, a new opportunity has arisen. Online English teachers are able to start up their own businesses, dictate their hours, and set their own rates, joining the new generation of online workers.

Here are some tips on how to start your own online English teaching business and be the master of your own fate.

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Get Qualified

It is important to have the right qualifications, not only for legal reasons but to ensure you give students the best possible education. There are companies that let you teach English online without a degree but a TEFL certification is essential.

Complete a TEFL course from a reputable company to learn valuable skills regarding lesson planning, classroom management, and pedagogical approaches. Having the right qualifications will give students confidence that their teacher is capable and knowledgeable.

Gain Experience

If you are a first-time teacher, it will be wise to apply to an official company to gain experience before you try and work on your own. Online teaching platforms set the curriculum for students and you can get used to the pace that students follow and what outcomes are expected.

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If you are a new teacher but want to start working for yourself from the get-go, you can! There are enough online resources available to ensure that you are capable of heading into an online classroom, prepared as can be.

Have the Right Equipment

Having good equipment is essential to making success of your own online English teaching business. A capable laptop with a good quality webcam is the bare minimum but a ring light adds a whole extra level of professionalism to your setup. You can also get a green screen backdrop if you want to use digital backdrops or filters but a plain white background is also acceptable and more diverse. A reliable headset with a microphone is also a must as it helps drown out external noises, making your class environment more enjoyable.

You should make sure you have a fast and reliable internet connection too. If you have your own business, you will have to invest in the right software. Most private teachers choose to work on Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams, but there is also software for noise cancelling, backgrounds, file sharing, and video recording.

Set Your Prices

The pricing structure for your own teaching company works differently than when you work for a company. Companies often offer teachers bonuses for signups or targets, but if you have your own business, you set a steady rate. Depending on your niche, you could be charging anything from $10 to $50 an hour.

Teachers working in specialty fields like business English or IELTS test prep can charge more while teachers who work with younger children are at the lower end of the pay scale. Do thorough research on what the market standard is to make sure you get paid what you are worth.


You should also set up a trusted payment platform that you know your students have access to. PayPal, Wise, and Payoneer are among the most popular.

Focus on marketing

Gaining students as a freelancer might just be the hardest part of getting started. Online teaching companies send students to you if you are contracted, but where do you find students if you work for yourself?

Set up a website and social media pages to show students who you are and what you provide. You should also join online groups for freelancers and expats. These groups are an invaluable resource for teachers looking to gain private students.

Gather Teaching Resources

When you teach for an online English company, you are given all the coursework and curriculum to teach your students. Once you move on to your own business, you will need to supply that yourself. You don’t need to create a whole course from scratch but you should start with a good filing system where you can save lessons to use later.

You can use textbooks, online course material, and various online games and videos to add dimension to your lessons. But being prepared will be your biggest asset. Have enough material on hand to fill lessons and then some. Once you get used to the pace and the rhythm of your students, you will streamline the lesson planning process and see what students want more or less. 

Other things to consider

  • Pre-determine what your schedule will be. Advertise your classes as 30-minute, 45-minute, or 1-hour lessons and make time for breaks in-between classes. You should also make sure to set aside rest days as you can quickly fall into the trap of working all the time when you are your own boss.
  • Finding a niche can help you better target students. If you have expertise in a specific field, you will want to make that known as students would be drawn to someone with knowledge on a subject matter.
  • Know what your students want from your online classroom. Set up a creative workspace with some props and a fun background if you are teaching young students. Older students and adults prefer a neutral environment with fewer distractions.

Becoming an independent online English teacher might seem like a mammoth undertaking at first but following the right plan of action can make it a much easier process. The freedom that comes with successfully owning and operating your own business, on the other hand, is priceless.

About mitrobe

NGSUP is a Digital tech company that amplifies the best innovations out of the internet through its Education, resources, signals, Investment advise, data, News, events and tech focused platforms. NGSUP Network Connects everyone and anything to a system of endless possibilities.

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