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Working for oneself is not new, but it was brought to prominence during the pandemic. People are compelled to work from home and discover how much they appreciate the lifestyle and flexibility it provides. Of course, you don’t have to work for yourself to work from home, but starting a business gives you the most independence and decision-making power. With your TEFL qualification, you can create your own business. We have compiled this guide to assist you if you are considering doing so.

The TEFL World 

Teaching English as a foreign language can be done in person or online in any country. This entails teaching English via the Internet, a computer, a tablet, or even your phone. Lessons are delivered via video platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. There is the option of leading groups of pupils or tutoring one-on-one. Other abilities, such as test English, medical English, or business English, are also available in different classes. It is safe to state that this is a rapidly growing industry. It has the potential to be an extremely profitable way to make money from the comfort of your own home.

2010, the sector was worth around $32 billion before we even heard of COVID-19. By 2015, this figure had risen to $108 billion. It is now estimated that by 2025, the online instruction of English will be a $325 billion industry. If you want to work from home (or anyplace with internet access), it makes sense as a business choice.

The Benefits of Working for Yourself 

As a Side Hustle

Many people use TEFL as a second source of income. Living expenses continue to rise, and doing two jobs can be soul-destroying and exhausting. However, suppose you can locate a second job that you can do from home that will supplement your income and is available to fit your schedule. It can be pleasurable and gratifying in that scenario. TEFL may be the ideal solution; for some, as the business has established, it may become a full-time primary profession.

Setting Your Hours

No matter your employment, management will most likely control your hours. Most regular job offers minimal flexibility, whether you have to be in the office from 9 to 5, work a night shift, or work nights and weekends. You have ultimate control over your schedule when you operate your firm. Some people believe working in the evenings is more productive than working first thing in the morning. It’s ideal as a side hustle because you never have to plan work at your primary job.

Working from Home 

As previously stated, many people had the opportunity to work from home throughout the pandemic and lockdown. For some, it was a tremendous eye-opener to realize how wonderful it is not to cope with the daily commute. Although some appreciate the social component of working in an office, many people find working from home handy. You can travel and work from anywhere as an online English instructor with a reliable Internet connection.

What Qualification Do You Need?

There are two factors to consider while starting your own business and teaching English online. To begin, much relies on whether you have prior experience running your firm or are embarking on this venture for the first time. Being self-employed requires no qualifications. However, remember that you will need to complete tax returns and record your revenues accurately. This necessitates some planning and record-keeping. Regarding TEFL, you must have a qualification that is recognized and regulated by one of the recognized regulating bodies. This could be enough to start your firm, but experience could make or break your venture into self-employment. You are often advised to work some teaching hours for a well-known organization.

Many online English teachers will work for someone else to obtain significant experience. It is not only the classroom experience that is crucial; working for an organization that provides English courses online allows you to see how things are set up. It teaches you how to organize lessons, interact with students, and many other skills to make the transition to being self-employed and running your own business much more accessible.

A degree is not required, but it demonstrates that you have been educated to higher levels. You must consider what qualifications you would look for in a teacher. Even if you do not have a bachelor’s degree, it is worthwhile to establish your own business if you are confident and understand the technology required to teach English online. Being extroverted and energetic might help you establish a connection with others. Making personal interactions through video platforms is more complex but not impossible. Students who develop a favourable rapport with their professors are likelier to learn. Finally, understanding marketing is highly beneficial. Promoting yourself is essential for attracting students, improving your experience, and, ultimately, ensuring the success of your business.

Young Asian businesswoman work at home and virtual video conference meeting with colleagues business people, online working, video call due to social distancing at home office

Taking the Plunge

Once you start your own business teaching English online, you must set everything up. Here’s a quick rundown of what you will need to do next.

Create Your Brand

Every business needs a brand; we’re discussing a logo and how you position yourself as a professional teacher online. This entails creating social media accounts in your company’s name. Many online instructors use their real names. However, if you want to distinguish yourself from your social media and job profiles, it can be a good idea to develop a business name, such as ‘Jane English Teacher’; it doesn’t have to be anything complicated. The good news is that this is a relatively inexpensive exercise. There are no fees for creating social media pages on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These platforms make money through advertising but don’t go there until you’ve established yourself and tried free lead development tactics.

Find Your Teaching Platform 

English classes could be taught using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or other video conferencing services. Choose one and ensure you understand how it works and all its options. Do a few practice calls with friends and family to verify you know how to start and terminate calls, share your screen, and do everything else necessary to teach English and appear professional. Keep your screen name compatible with your company’s identity.

Create a Dedicated Email 

A dedicated email address is far more professional than filtering possible pupils through your primary email address. Setting up email accounts with services such as Google is also free. Set up a distinct email address, such as [email protected], to be consistent with your brand. You might also look into whether your company’s name is available as a domain name, as many English teachers choose to set up a website at some point.

This comes at a cost. Therefore, it’s best to get established first, but before you brand yourself, make sure the domain name is available. Consider creating a website once you’ve identified yourself and have your first few pupils on your books. Again, this can be done cheaply and does not have to be expensive. WordPress and Wix are excellent options for low-cost website design and hosting.

Start Selling Yourself

Marketing Materials

The next phase does necessitate some outlay on your part. Again, there’s no need to overdo it. Locally, business cards or fliers are an excellent method to get your name out there. Vistaprint and other websites provide a reasonable, low-cost solution for printing 500 business cards. If you are attending any TEFL-related events, this is a terrific method for people to reach you quickly and easily.

man on laptop
Advertise Your Services

Job board websites are also a great approach to find potential students. Fiverr and Upwork are useful because you can build a service and upload it to the web so that anyone looking for English tutoring online may see it. The main disadvantage of the sites is that they charge a commission, which means you won’t make as much as you would like. If you charge too much for your work, you’re unlikely to attract pupils. However, it is a beautiful method to discover those crucial initial pupils.

Create a Referral Scheme

You should also implement a student recommendation program to incentivize them to introduce you to others. For example, if someone suggests books for a block of six classes, they can get a free lesson.

Avoid Isolation

Suppose you will be working from home and will not have direct access to coworkers. Joining communities of like-minded people is an excellent way to prevent alienating oneself. There are numerous forums and organizations on social media where you can meet like-minded people and brainstorm. It’s also an ideal location to learn and practice group discussion skills. There are also many Facebook groups for online English teachers where you can discuss ideas and get free resources and materials to make your classes more creative and entertaining.

Register as Self Employed

Your tax reporting needs will vary depending on where you live. In the United Kingdom, you must register as self-employed with the government and file a self-assessment tax return at the end of each year. Most countries have a similar system, and you will be charged for whatever taxes you owe. It’s important to remember this when running your firm. Make sure to set aside money for taxes so that the bill doesn’t surprise you.


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