Tired of spending too much time teaching and making the same hourly rate?
There’s one thing you’re not doing to make money and spend fewer hours in the classroom teaching online.
It has to do with the way you’re thinking about your job.
And it has to do with this picture (check the repeated payment day):
In this blog post, I’ll help you change your mentality when it comes to being an online teacher.
Plus, I’ll show you how you can make more money teaching online, too.
Let’s get started!
Online Teaching: Side Hustle, Part-Time, or Full-Time Job?
If you’re looking to earn money teaching online, there are a number of ways you can do it.
But giving one-to-one online classes is the furthest thing from a passive income stream, and it’s going to require long hours to add extra money to your PayPal or bank account.
To earn money while you’re sipping mojitos on the beach instead of in front of the camera, you’ve got to start teaching differently.
And it starts by changing how you think about what you provide.
The common way to define online education:
If I asked you what you do, what would you tell me?
Probably some variation of the following:
I teach _____ to students online.
Sure, you do. And so do 1934746 other people.
Differentiate yourself by realizing you sell a desired outcome and a shift in your student’s emotional state.
A Better Way to Teach Online.
It’s not just about having a better internet connection.
Here’s the one thing you’re not doing to make more money teaching online:
You don’t productize and package your service.
I’ll explain how I did it.
But if you’d prefer to hear an audio explanation, Pat Flynn did a podcast episode with Brian Casel that’ll give you the gist of how to productize your teaching business. Just replace their service business ideas with online teaching.
So, how can you do the same?
It starts with what you choose to teach.
I’ll describe this in the context of teaching English as a Second Language since it’s what I know, but you can apply this to any subject.
If you say you teach English and someone comes to you looking to learn English, there is a wide range of things you can teach them.
This is vague, open-ended, and stressful.
Sure, you can use lesson plans from Off2Class to figure out their level and crush general one-to-one lessons.
But you’re still stuck in the classroom with a ton of topics you could cover and no specific end goal in sight.
Narrow it down.
You might be thinking:
Jason, if I narrow down what I say I teach, I’ll lose students!
Forget the number of students you think you need to appeal to.
You’ll change the quality of students by narrowing down your topic to what I’m about to suggest because they are focused, determined, and their future depends on their results. Plus, you’ll build a solid reputation as an online teacher that helps students with this specific problem:
- There are limits to what you’ll need to know and teach which limits preparation time.
- There are tons of resources already made.
- There is an end goal.
Don’t Be Afraid to Niche Down
When I started teaching online, I tried teaching everything under the sun.
But teaching focusing on IELTS preparation allowed me to set boundaries on the knowledge and skills I needed to know. I could then deliver better lessons because I only had to focus on the exam for my students.
Don’t get me wrong:
You still should point out mistakes in general English-language use.
But they hired you to prepare them for the exam, and this takes specific skills on its own.
They’ve got to:
- Understand the format of the exam
- Recognize the different question types, and
- Deliver relevant answers.
Plus, you can now reframe what you offer:
You don’t teach English, you help your students get better educational or professional opportunities abroad.
You help them provide a better life for their family.
You help them reduce their anxiety and feel confident and in control taking the exam.
People buy based on emotion not reason.
Here’s how I did it.
Make Money Teaching Online with Online Courses as the Foundation
Think about it:
Packaging your services is like a small business version of what VIPKID does so well.
They offer a complete package to students including videos, text books, and an online platform for learning.
If you are a VIPKID teacher, your short one-to-one lessons are just one component of a larger package students pay for.
Those resoures do not need to get remade for each specific student.
Sure, they get updated.
But the textbooks, lessons, and videos remain largely the same over the course of the program.
You can make your own online course.
This is what I began doing…
…before I realized I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.
You can white label a course to save yourself a ton of time.
White label means you pay to use someone else’s materials as your own.
I offered this full IELTS online learning course with 2 writing critiques and 3 30-minute speaking lessons since the speaking section for the exam runs about 14 minutes.
I had examples of high-scoring essays to use for grading through the white label course, so I didn’t have to spend time thinking about how to improve them. I simply compared the students’ essays to the prompts.
Using the speaking lesson examples from the course, my own training and knowledge of the exam, and common sense, I helped them improve their responses.
This means I earned $131 for an hour and a half of in-class time and grading 2 essays using examples I already had.
Remember that seven were paid on the same day up front, while the other three were paid after each speaking session.
If we switch back to ‘one-to-one talk’, I was making about $75 an hour.
And you can, too.
If You Teach Online, Do This.
Fill in this phrase with a specific new skill you want to teach:
I teach _____ for ______.
I’ve seen online teachers complete this sentence in many ways:
I teach English to students who want to obtain their B1.
I teach math for the SAT.
I teach professional skills for students taking the Praxis exam.
Then, Google ‘white label course for x’, where x is your specific topic.
If you can’t find one, there are usually other options.
For example, math tutors might use Sumdog.
The idea is to have a course or resource the student accesses on their own time which forms the foundation of the package you offer.
Your one-to-one lessons or assignment feedback can be used to supplement these materials and fill in your students’ gaps. You’ll schedule them on your own time.
The last resort is to find a resource created by someone else and use it to make your own.
This is more time consuming, and you can’t copy the materials word for word, but it will pay off when you’ve made them and can use them over and over again going forward.
If You Teach English, Switch to This.
If you’d like to switch to IELTS preparation using the same resources I did, just enter your email below to receive some more info from me.
And here’s how to find more students online.
Using social media and other free marketing efforts described in this post, you’ll be able to find students (no matter what you teach) right now.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments below!