Did you also dream about having a side job, that allows you to earn extra income flexibly? I definitely did and think that I found a great opportunity of earning extra income through teaching languages online. It’s not a job that will help you get rich, but for me as a student it is an easy job to do on the side.
There are several advantages to being an online language teacher. You can not only work from anywhere, but also at anytime and you are your own boss. For me its all the things I could wish for combined in one job. I furthermore do have a passion for languages and travelling, making this a perfect fit for me.
Your job as a language teacher on Italki
Until some months ago I did actually not know that it was possible to earn a side income that easily. Then I discovered the platform Italki.com. It is a platform that connects language learners around the world and provides tools to help them learning. Basic functions such as finding a language partner are free (so if you like learning languages definitely check out it out). As a premium option you can also take paid language lessons online. These paid lessons are what you will be offering as a language teacher.
Teaching is a simple way of earning income on the side
As teacher you get paid for each language lesson you are giving. Depending on the language you speak, your skill and experience the price for a one hour lesson is around 7$ to 30$.
Language classes work as follows: After you set up your profile on Italki, you can schedule your availability in an online calendar. Students will then start sending you requests for language lessons. You can decide whether you want to accept or decline the request. At the time of the lesson you call your student through Skype and give them the lesson. Once the lesson is over, you get paid directly through Italki. Your student can write feedback on the lesson which will be displayed publicly on your profile. By receiving positive feedback on your lessons you will soon build a good reputation on Italki, get more students and can demand a higher lesson price. Being a language teacher is simple, you do not need any special technical skills except for being able to use Skype and upload a video on YouTube.
This is almost everything there is too it. Italki takes care of everything else: They market your lessons, take care of payments and also do customer support. For all of these services they will charge a commission of 10% on your earnings. The commission has the advantage that you are in a partnership with Italki. Italki will want you to make as much money as possible, as the more you earn the higher their earnings will be as well.
While you will start with a small amount of students and a small income you can quickly raise your lesson price and also the amount of students. That’s what I did as well and how I got started.
How I got started and quickly established myself on the platform
When I started teaching on Italki I did not have any experience as a language teacher before. I literally never gave any language class before and had never tutored any friends. All I did was that I had learned foreign languages before, so I knew a bit about the challenges of learning a new language. After registering on Italki, I researched what other successful teachers were doing on Italki. Then I wrote a text for my profile and shot a video to introduce myself.
For the video I placed my camera on a staple of books, stood up straight and introduced myself in English and in German (the language I was teaching). Just one day after uploading the video I received first requests for language classes, despite having no experience at all and also no ratings on the platform. You might wonder why people chose me over other more experienced teachers.
I made use of a marketing strategy that Italki recommends: When giving your first lessons, you offer a discount (such as -50% off) on the price you would usually charge students for your classes. This way people will start taking lessons with you because you are cheaper than other teachers. After your first say five lessons you can raise your price again. Now you will have your first ratings and established some trust on the platform, so you can justify a higher price.
My Extra Income Earned After One Month
To show you this is a real opportunity and give you an impression of what is possible here are my earnings after my first month of giving lessons on Italki. I earned roughly about 150€ (~160US$) and gave 25 lessons. This is not a lot, but I feel it was easily earned money and I had fun talking with my students. I practised German with dentists, hedge fund consultants, students, pupils or PhD candidates from over 10 different countries.
After getting all this practise in giving lessons, I became a much better language teacher. As I was starting to get more requests for lessons than I can comfortably handle, I increased the price for a one hour lesson to 10.76€ (~12US$).
Making Progress and Growing Your Experience as a Language Teacher
I have to admit that my first language lessons were likely not my best lessons. I never gave any lessons before and needed to get used to it. Still I gave my best to deliver a good language for my students and help them advance their German. For the first lesson I actually spend close to one hour just preparing for it. Because I did not have any experience, I did not charge much and my students were happy with the value they received. Now I learned more about being a language teacher and the quality of my lessons improved, so I can also charge more. When you give more and add more value, you can also ask back a little more.
I did not only improve my lessons, but also changed my profile text on Italki and made it more specific. At first I had a very general description of my classes. Now it is a detailed description of what students can expect during my classes. I also limited myself to giving classes for conversational practise. These classes are a great fit for me because I like to talk. Your job as a teacher is to have a conversation with the student and correct them on the go, so they will sound more like a native speaker.
Another possible option is to give classes with a language book and guide your students through the book or help them with the exercises. So there are different options to exactly what kind of class you could offer. Go for what you feel is best for you.
5 Steps to get started on Italki
As I said, I do think that being a language teacher is a great opportunity for anyone to earn some extra income on the side. I found especially for me as a student it is a great side job, as I am able to work from anywhere at anytime. So why not give it a shot?
Here is a summary of five steps you need to take to become a teacher in Italki.
- Sign-up to Italki and get to know the platform
- Research profiles, prices, descriptions of other teachers teaching the same language as you
- Create your own profile description and record an introduction video
- Set a discounted price for your first lessons
- Give your first classes and get good reviews
Let me know what you think and if you run into any issues!