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Whether you are already a freelance ESL teacher with years of experience on your back, or you are just peering your head inside the Pandora’s Box that is TEFL, this article is written for you. We know that the past two or three years have been tough on everyone – losing jobs and struggling with mental health. Many people turned to finding jobs online, which they could mold around their schedule and work when they preferred. This led people to find TEFL.

Teaching English online has been a savior to those who needed a more flexible work schedule. However, finding TEFL jobs that suit your time schedule and also pay well can be difficult. Because so many TEFL teachers will complete a standard 120hr course, they may find it difficult to acquire higher paying jobs. Luckily, we have someone we would like to introduce to you who can help any TEFL teacher earn more money for the work they do.

Meet James Liu:

James Liu

James Liu is a freelance ESL Teacher himself, who became a consultant and now teaches and coaches other ESL teachers. James says that his own ESL teachers inspired him to become the teacher and coach he is today. Helping ESL teachers to understand their worth is at the heart of James’ coaching sessions and materials. James has experienced life as an ESL teacher himself, so he understands the trials and tribulations faced by teachers just to find a job.  James overcame these difficulties and realized the importance of niching down.

What is ‘niching’?

A niche refers to a small group that lives within a market. This group shares a common interest, hobby or characteristic that sets the group apart from the rest of the market. An example of this might be people who play the flute with their dominant hand being their left hand. Flute producers will solve the problem faced by these people by creating a different type of flute which suits their playing style. This is a niche market as it is a small group of people within a market. So how does this tie in with teaching English?

Even within the community of people wanting to learn English, there are different niches. These niche groups stem from the needs of the students. For example, there are people who specifically want to learn Business English. Meanwhile, there are others that are studying for their TOEIC or IELTS exams who are in need of a coach who specializes in these areas. Choosing one of these niches to focus on and target will make it easier for TEFL and ESL teachers to find clients – as both the teacher and the student know exactly what they want.

How can niching help?

You may be thinking: “How can narrowing my market of students help me to earn more money?”. Although you are limiting the amount of students you will be able to work with, you are also reducing the amount of people that you will want to see your advertising. Aiming for a niche market allows you to target them more cost-effectively online. Without a niche, it is like you are throwing a ball at a crowd of people and hoping one person will catch it. When you find a niche market and work towards their needs, it is more like you are calling out a person’s name and then throwing the ball – so they will know that they are supposed to catch it.

How niching can earn you more money:

Niche teachers tend to charge more per lesson. Why is that? Well, people within a niche are looking for a specific thing, whatever it may be. For example, students who are studying for their IELTS exam have a specific need. They need help from a coach or teacher that can guide them towards their goal: passing the exam. So, when a student has a problem which needs solving, they will search for the best person to assist them.

As niche markets involve a smaller group of people, this is reflected in the pool of people that can cater to their needs. It would be much more difficult to find an IELTS tutor as opposed to a regular ESL teacher. Therefore, students will be willing to pay more for the services offered. This is how supply and demand works. If there is more prevalence of a product or service, the cheaper it will be. However, when a product or service becomes scarce, the cost will increase. This is a key factor in earning more money as an ESL teacher.

James goes into far more detail in his downloadable guide – available HERE.

Become a Freelance ESL Teacher:

So, you are thinking of becoming a freelance ESL teacher. That’s amazing! Although this is no simple feat, the journey is certainly worth the reward. “How do I become a freelance ESL teacher?” you may ask. Lucky for you, we have some tips.

Define your niche

To start, it is best to find and define your niche. As mentioned above, this is the best way for you to earn more money as a freelance teacher. We suggest finding a characteristic or skill that you already possess (or can learn easily) which can set you apart from a generic ESL teacher. Perhaps you have a degree in Business – so you know all the terms related to the topic, which you could help an English student to learn. Maybe you come from a country where English is not a native or first language, yet you know both. Then, you could help students from that country to learn English easier, with no language barriers. Whatever you choose your niche to be, be sure it is something that an English student will find helpful. This is to ensure that you will be guaranteed a market of students.

Create a program

Next, you will need to create your program. As you will no longer be working for a company or school who prepares curriculums for you, you will need to create your own teaching materials. These programs should be flexible and malleable to suit different students – this will provide a more well-rounded learning and teaching experience. Once you have discovered your niche, it should be relatively easy to create a program. James offers amazing tips on how to create a complete and thorough program that will benefit both the student and the teacher.

Target that audience

Now that you have your niche down and your program created, it’s time to put yourself out there. Working as a niche freelance ESL teacher will allow you to market yourself a lot easier. You will be able to target and direct towards your target audience much more easily. Understanding what it is that the student is looking for as well as where they would be searching for that assistance is key in securing customers. It is entirely up to you how you wish to market yourself. You could aim for a mass market and hope to find some students who are interested. On the other hand, you could directly target you audience with a specific message that will be more likely to attract customers.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

The final step to becoming a more successful (and higher earning) freelance ESL teacher is to sell your service. And we aren’t just talking about what happens at the checkout. We are talking about having a message that you stand by, which will convince an potential customers to become one of your students. One key thing to remember is that you are not just trying to earn sales. At the end of the day, your goal is to help your students to learn and grow. Remaining focused and true to that goal will almost guarantee success in every regard.

Teacher Entrepreneurship Challenge - James Liu

The right mindset

Now that you are ready to launch your new adventure, you must first create the ideal mindset. Becoming a freelance ESL teacher is not a quick overnight process. You must prepare to face and endure the long journey ahead. Luckily, you are not alone. There are people out there who have gone through, are going through and will go through the same experience as you. James has created a challenge for this community, which he runs every month.

This 21 day challenge will encourage you to challenge yourself and shift your mindset, allowing you to charge students over $100 per session. Everything is laid out step-by-step – you will just need 30mins every day to complete the work. Get motivated to start your business venture now – Sign Up HERE.

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    30 Hour Teach English Online Course – 6 Months Study Time
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