How to find students for freelance teaching English online – TeacherTee’s Guide
Teaching ESL online really doesn’t require much. Going freelance, even a TEFL certification is optional (although having completed an online TEFL course always looks good in your resumé). The only thing that is definitely not optional is, well, finding students to teach! So if you are looking for the best way to find students, TeacherTee as always has your back. In this blog, we will tell you everything there is to know about how to prepare, how to build a website and blog, which social media to use and how to advertise your business.
Just as with everything else in life, preparation is key. It might sound ridiculously simple, but before you can start becoming an online English tutor, you will have to precisely consider what, whom, when and where you want to teach: Look for your niche and decide on what you are really good at (maybe you are a pro in business English or in grammar). “I am teaching English” is a great start, but it is a little bit too vague for possible students to get an idea of what they can expect of you. Also decide on which age groups you want to teach. Do you want to teach adults, or do you prefer working with school children? Once you know whom you want to teach, think about where your students are possibly located and what they might possibly require to be able to cater to their needs. This will already play a role in deciding when you want to offer lessons. With school children, lessons in the afternoon might work best, whilst adults might prefer lessons in the evening or even in the morning when their kids are at school. Another important aspect of freelance teaching English online is the “where” (and no, “online” is not the answer to that question!). Do you want to go for a specific teaching platform that you like, or are you open to using a variety of platforms? And what will your work space look like? Make sure you have a decent internet connection, a quality camera and microphone and nice lighting. There are thousands of options to choose from, just be sure you make an informed decision and plan accordingly. All of this detailed information will come in very handy once you start designing your profile and creating advertisements for your business, as we will see in a second.
Building a website and blog
Now, most of us probably have never designed a website before, but trust us when we say that having one will appear to be way more professional to possible students than solely having them turn to your Tinder bio for information. Create a profile of yourself and your services using all of the details that you’ve collected in the first step to provide possible students with a clear and structured overview over why you are the perfect teacher for them. Add pictures of yourself and a self-introduction video to help students and parents connect to you on a personal level. In addition, you might want to take a look into SEO, that is, Search Engine Optimisation (yes, it is a little complex, but it is definitely worth the effort). Coming up with a handful of keywords that you want to mention on your website to help people find it on Google really does the magic. On your website, consider starting a blog. Blogging definitely is a long-term project, but it comes with three major benefits: Your articles may lead people interested in your topic to visit the rest of your website, you will rank for a lot more keywords (helping you with that SEO) and you will have quality content to link to on your social media accounts, providing your followers with valuable and interesting information. When blogging, you can write about anything related to your topic – just go for quality over quantity.
A great blog post will make people curious for the rest of your website! Photo by Jennifer Bonauer on Unsplash
Using social media platforms to reach a wider audience to advertise your business is always a good idea. Again, the information from step one plays an important role when deciding on which social media platforms you want to use. Keep in mind that while school children are more likely to turn to TikTok or Instagram, parents/ adults are more prone to use Facebook. Thus, depending on your target audience, you might want to join Facebook groups related to teaching English online, or go for a couple of often-used hashtags on Instagram, create funny videos for TikTok… you get what we mean. On your social media, try to keep your community engaged by regularly posting beautiful pictures, funny stories, or valuable content (for example a link to your latest blog post…). The better your content, the more people are going to share it with their friends! By the way, asking friends to share your content to reach a wider audience also always comes in handy. Next to using social media, coming up with a LinkedIn account is also helpful. You’d be surprised how many people actually turn to LinkedIn when looking for a specific business or service, so don’t miss out on this one.
You heard us: Spending more time on Insta can fuel your career! Photo by Merakist on Unsplash
The last thing we want to discuss is advertising. We all know that for a certain amount of money, you can have your ad shown all over any social media platform. But even if you do not want to spend a lot of money on ads, there are a couple of really helpful resources out there. First, you might want to have your website listed in tutoring directories. When searching for tutoring directories, go for the ones looking the most professional and trustworthy (hint: always ask yourself: “If I was a student, would I turn to this site to find a tutor?”). It’s also a great idea to go for free classified ads like Ebay or Craigslist. Free classified ads often work based on location, so list yourself in several areas to reach a wider audience and update your ads often to have your ads shown at the top of the page. And lastly: A thing people often tend to underestimate is the so-called “word of mouth”. Don’t forget: if you’re really great at teaching English online, your students and your students’ parents will automatically start to recommend you to their friends and family. In addition to that, you might ask students to leave a great review on your website if they are happy with what you are doing. Individual feedback from happy students always leaves a good impression with your students-to-be!
As you can see, there is a lot you can actively do to find new students online. Employ the techniques above, have just a little patience, and you will see your star rise within no time! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (Yeah, we employ these techniques as well!) for more tips and tricks and please feel free to contact us directly in case you have any further questions. Happy teaching!
Written by Johanna Brand