Teaching online lessons is a great way to earn a flexible and location-independent income. This is also why online education has exploded in recent years. From full-length courses to personalised lessons, there are few topics for which you can’t find a teacher online. But that also means that if you’re looking to get into the field now, there is a lot of competition waiting for you. So, before you get started, read our guide to find out what it takes to make money teaching online to make sure you’ll succeed in your new career.
1 – Play to your strengths
Since the online teaching business is a competitive field, the best way to give yourself a leg up is to stand out from the crowd. For example, if you’re a language teacher, focus on teaching the language you’re native in or highlight any other skills you might have to stick out. Also, be sure to beat your own drum as much as you can in all of your online presence. It goes a long way if students can verify your qualifications and previous experience. Also consider getting a few ex-students to either write you a reference or, better yet, be willing to convince prospective students that you’re the teacher they want.
Additionally, it pays to have a narrow specialisation instead of a broad expertise, so you might consider spending some time finding yours. For example, if you have previous work experience in marketing or engineering fields, there are a lot of ways you can use that. From teaching public speaking to specialised language skills, just figure out what your strengths are and work hard at highlighting them.
2 – Create a website
These days, a professional website is a necessary addition to any online teacher’s arsenal. It’s a vital start to showcasing your teaching skills. On your website, you can publish references from your previous students, provide contact details (so that students can get a hold of you directly), and provide concrete information about your services. There can be a lot of time wasted talking to potential students who found your details but are looking for services that you don’t provide. So, the more info you put out there about what you do and how you do it, the less confusion there is going forward.
Essentially, a good-looking website is an excellent calling card that will help you stand apart from your competition. If you’re willing to put the work in with creating some content for your site and working on your SEO, your website can provide you with students without you having to pay for ads or lead-generation services in the long term.
And the best part – creating your own website is easy and quick in this day and age. You can choose a website builder that works for your needs and budget.
3 – Be proactive
Even with the best website, however, it’ll take a while before it starts paying your bills. In the meantime, you need to be proactive in looking for students.
You can sign up to use the various services that connect online teachers with students. For example, Take Lessons and Teacher Finder. Remember, though, that those services charge you for finding students. For a free option, you should post your ads to the major classifieds sites, such as Craigslist or Gumtree. Remember that, as an online teacher, you can post your ad to several geographical locations (both Craigslist and Gumtree have distinct websites for different locations). Joining various Facebook groups is another easy way to increase your visibility.
Another great idea is to reverse-engineer your online presence to maximise your chances of finding students. Think about what type of students you’re looking for, figure out how they look for teachers, and make sure you’re easy to find accordingly. Say, for example, that you’re looking to give online Mandarin lessons to professionals. In that case, your first step would be to google “online Mandarin teacher”, see what sites pop up, and make sure you have a profile there. Additionally, customise your profile on LinkedIn and write a few posts about teaching Mandarin to attract direct traffic.
4 – Learn to use every tool at your disposal
What separates the great online teachers from the good ones is that the great ones know how to make modern technology work for them. Instead of carrying out their lessons in much the same way the would if they were teaching face-to-face, they utilise the chances provided by the Internet.
Don’t just get your students to buy a textbook and go through it with them, use the best of the available educational technology to make your lessons efficient and fun for your students. In the end, the best way to guarantee success as an online teacher is to have a lot of happy students recommend your services to their friends.
Conclusion – Customise your teaching for the Internet to succeed
Online teaching is a flexible but competitive field for earning your income. Getting started requires you to put in the effort to start reaping the rewards down the line. Start by creating a website that stands out and highlights your strengths. Provide contact information and a clear description of your services. After you’ve created your website, it’s also a good idea to chase down potential students on various classifieds sites or use professional services to find leads. And, lastly, don’t forget to make use of every technological tool at your disposal to provide a great service to your students.