Teaching Blog



Teaching English Online,should I have my own business?

The Pros and Cons

Have you ever considered teaching English online?You have probably heard the stories about how you can travel around the world whilst making money teaching English online,and yes this is true but there are many other advantages to it too. More on this shortly.

So what’s my story?

After having been an English teacher in Thailand for over 15 years I was stuck in a rut.I had taken on just about every type of English teaching job in the area I was living in,giving English language lessons at hotels,schools,at businesses and privately.I realised that things were not going to get any more interesting.In short the living in Thailand was great but the job prospects were not.

The Game Changer.

Then about 6 years ago I heard about how you can teach English online and I realised that this would be the way to reach a much wider audience and possibly enable me to have more job security and in turn independence.

One of my main considerations at the time was whether I should work for an existing online school or if I should set up my own business to teach English lessons online.I had previously had a kitesurfing school and I really liked the idea of having my own business again.

Fastforward to 6 years later

To make a long story short,in the end I decided to first work for an existing online English teaching company so that I could get a hang of it all,and whilst working there I set up my own online English teaching business.I have been teaching ESL with my own small business for 5 years now.

Here are what I found to be some of the pros and cons of having my own business.

The Pros

Job security – the online teaching business is huge and is growing every year,online is the future of many           types  of education.Via the internet you can get students from all over the world,it’s the proverbial “the world is at your feet”,especially the Asian markets are growing like crazy.It’s also to a large degree “recession proof”,whilst most businesses struggle at a time of economic recession a teaching business can survive or even thrive .This is because at a time of lay offs people are looking to add skills to their resume in order to improve their job prospects.

Judged on your abilities – one thing that I have always liked about the teaching profession is that your personal skills are what makes you successful.In some businesses you need to have all sorts of hardware in order to impress customers, like for example a fancy car or a shop full of equipment.This was the case with the kitesurfing business that I owned previously,you needed to have the latest equipment and a big shop or you wouldn’t be able to compete with the guy down the road,it was a lot about appearances.

Long term – build retirement value,for example by selling the business when you retire.

Discovery – put your own ideas into practise and see what works.

Higher Income – It gives you a chance to make more money than if you were employed by someone else.

Autonomy – be your own boss and make all the decisions.You can make the business as big or small as you feel comfortable with.

Unreasonable Schools – you don’t need to deal with them.

Experience – learn about every aspect of your business and gain knowledge in a variety of disciplines.

Very reasonable investment costs – to set up a small business to teach esl online requires relatively little money.You probably already have a computer.A lot of things – such as many forms of marketing and skype, can be done for free.

Freedom to be selective – you can choose the students who you think are suitable for the curriculum(niche) you are teaching.This way you are getting the right students who are motivated and enjoy your lessons,leading to happy students which in turn means more work coming to you.

Lifestyle – because you are in charge,you decide when and where you want to work.You can basically work anywhere that has a good internet connection.Do however take into account the worldwide time differences.

Satisfaction – you have created this business and you are in control,this is very satisfying.



Setting it up – like with any business setting it up is not easy,there are many new skills to be learned,this can be very time consuming and frustrating.You can do many things yourself but my advice is to delegate certain  tasks to the experts,for example at the beginning I was not very technology savvy so I had someone build my website.Something like this is a one off extra cost but it will not break the bank and it is definitely worth it,a website is one of the most important parts of your business.

Inconsistency – sometimes,especially at the beginning, your income may not be steady,however if you have already been teaching then  you will already have some contacts.Let everybody know what you are doing!,this can often lead to 50% or more of your students right from the start.

Stress – as a business owner you are the business and you are responsible for everything,this can be stressful.If you want to make it big then start it small and build it up from there.


And what about the pros and cons for being an employee at an online teaching business?


Acquire knowledge – Some schools give some training and you can learn about how to use their online courses.Everything you have learned you can use for the rest of your career and can be very beneficial for you.

Reduced levels of uncertainty – schools usually have good connections and a big budget for marketing which should ensure that you will have steady work.

Everything is ready to go – you don’t have to set anything up.

No investment costs.

Freedom– you can live anywhere where there is a good internet connection and a reasonable time difference.



Lower pay – language schools take a percentage of what you earn and at some schools an ESL teacher salary can be quite low.There are however schools where the pay is ok so be sure to shop around.

Little room for creativity – usually you have to follow a school’s lesson plans and you are not allowed to diverge from that.

Hiring can be competitive – schools can be quite demanding about the qualifications a teacher must have and there are many people looking for teaching jobs.

Job uncertainty – most schools don’t offer long contracts.

Bad practices – the internet forums are full of messages about how teachers had a bad experience at a certain school.Anywhere you go and with any type of business there are always going to be a few bad apples,do your homework well before you sign up,you can easily check things out on the internet.


Online : that’s the way to go.

Whichever way you decide to teach English Online the online teaching market is looking very good.According

to analysts the global online education market is set to grow yearly by 10%.By 2023 the market size is expected to be double the size it is now.

This offers teachers a great opportunity to have a better lifestyle with more freedom and higher wages.