If you’re a native speaker of English who wants to escape the rat race and start your own business, you should consider TESOL entrepreneurship. Whether you want to start your own English-language school, teach English online full- or part-time or tutor students in person, TESOL entrepreneurship could be for you.
As a TESOL entrepreneur, you’ll be able to teach the way you want. Are you craving more freedom to plan your lessons or curriculum your way? Would you like to work from home or tutor only the best students?
TESOL entrepreneurship puts you in charge of your own professional destiny, eliminating the educational hierarchy that can seem so stifling to so many teachers. Here’s what you need to do to get started.
TESOL entrepreneurship can include all kinds of different career paths. You could start your own language school, become an independent tutor or prepare educational materials for English-language learners. No matter what you want to do professionally, you need to get qualified first.
For most TESOL professionals, this means getting some kind of certification. You’ll need a diploma in teaching English as a second language, but many professionals eventually choose to earn an advanced degree, such as an online TESOL masters. A masters is a good choice, especially if you want to start a virtual or brick-and-mortar language school, write books on TESOL or produce instructional materials.
Plot Your Course
Once you have your teaching qualifications under your belt, it’s time to think seriously about what you want to do with your TESOL career and what you hope TESOL entrepreneurship will do for you personally and professionally. If you’re looking for a lucrative career that allows you to work from home, have a flexible schedule, travel while working or all of the above, freelance TESOL tutoring or educational materials creation might be for you. If you want to ascend the ranks of the TESOL educational hierarchy but still win the freedom to do things your own way, starting your own language school might be just what you need.
Nail Down the Details
Whether you want to work independently or start your own school, you’ll need to hammer out most of the details before you take on your first student. Here are some of the questions you’ll need to answer if you aspire to be a freelance tutor or other professional:
- What services do you want to provide? Do you want to tutor students one-on-one? Start a brick-and-mortar school? Start an online school? Write books on TESOL, produce educational materials or something else? Think about what you’re naturally good at when you make this decision.
- How much do you want to charge for these services? Consider the going rate for tutoring and other services in your area.
- Where do you want to offer them? Would you like to work from home? Meet with students in person? Found a brick-and-mortar school abroad? Each of these possibilities comes with its own requirements, both practical and legal. For example, as a freelancer working from home or meeting with students in person, you’ll need to know how to deal with self-employment taxes; if you want to start a language school abroad, you’ll need to jump through that country’s legal hoops first. However, an online language school could offer the best of both worlds.
- Who will you be working with? As a freelance tutor, you’ll want to work with only the best students. If you’re starting a language school, you’ll need to choose qualified teachers and administrators to help you establish the organization. If you want to write books or produce other educational materials, you’re going to need to find co-authors, tech people or other professionals to help you out.
You’ll also need a teaching website, including your own domain name; video conferencing tools like Skype or Google Hangout with which to connect with your students (assuming you’re not meeting with them in person); and a means of collecting payment, such as PayPal, a mobile card reader or both. To find your first students – and your subsequent students, for that matter – you’ll need to get the word out with a website, word-of-mouth promotion, networking with friends and colleagues, advertising in online classifieds and participating in local ESL discussion groups, where you’ll meet potential students.
If you’re passionate about teaching English as a second language but want the freedom and flexibility of self-employment, TESOL entrepreneurship might be for you. There’s never been a better time to be an English teacher, so don’t wait – start your journey towards independence today.