Teach English Online!

Can you speak English at a native level? Then you can teach English online!

An excellent way for English speakers to save money for travel–or to make money while you travel–is teaching online!  This is my main source of income as I take time off from having a “real” job. Presently, I teach English online about 10-15 hours per week. Because I’m mainly surfing couches and staying with family at the time being, this is more than enough to cover my basic monthly expenses so I don’t need to dip into the money I saved while teaching English in Korea.  However, there are many people who do this “full time” (20-40+ hours/week)to earn income while they travel or live abroad long term!

Why is there such a demand for online English teachers?

In China, competition for getting into the best universities and eventually landing good jobs is intense. Because of this, a lot of Chinese parents choose to enroll their children in extra classes to help their child get ahead. Traditionally, this meant that students would go to a physical academy after school for various subjects. Thanks to modern technology, however, these students can connect directly with a native English speaker from the comfort of their own homes.

These students face a tremendous amount of pressure in their lives from a young age when it comes to their academics. Teaching English online gives you a great opportunity to connect with these students. Not only can you teach them correct grammar and pronunciation, but you can help them have fun and let loose a bit while they learn.

Where can I find a job teaching English online?

I currently teach for two Chinese companies, VIPKID and 17zuoye, though many similar companies do exist. While the application process with VIPKID can be tedious, it is the best company to get started with. They have excellent training, and there are a ton of VIPKID teachers due to the size of the company. Because of this, you can find an answer to most questions with a simple Google search. Several Facebook groups specific to VIPKID  also exist.

I also teach for Cambly on the side, which isn’t a Chinese company and focuses on free-talk sessions with students from all over the world. This might be a better fit for you if you prefer teaching adults. Although the pay is significantly lower, you can choose to log in whenever you want. You’re also guaranteed 15 minutes of pay for every Priority Hour you sign up for. You never know who you’re going to end up talking to and it can be a lot of fun!

To find more information on other companies out there, you can visit the OETjobs website or Dave’s ESL Cafe International Job Board.

The flexibility and fun make teaching English online the best way to earn extra money. The cuteness of the kiddos makes you forget you’re even trying to pay off debt in the first place!

 

What Do You Need to Get Started?

You likely already have a laptop or desktop computer, but if not here are two that come highly recommended. You’ll also need a good headset or a solid pair of earbuds. You can find some props around your house to start out



Teaching English online isn’t the right fit for you?

Check out these other side gigs you can do from home to earn a bit more money to pay your debts and travel the world.

10 Side Gigs to Help You Save Money for Travel

Finding room in your budget for adventures at home or abroad can be difficult, especially if you’re already working hard to repay your debt. Here are 10 side gigs you can do to help you save money for travel.

1. Teach English Online

An excellent way for English speakers to save money for travel or to make money while you travel is teaching online!  This is my presently my main source of income as I take time off from having a “real” job. Presently, I’m only working 10-15 hours per week, though I do plan to increase this in the next couple of months to save for my fall/winter travels. While it doesn’t give me the chance to stockpile extra savings, it covers all of my expenses in a month (which has mostly been plane and train tickets since I came back to the US from Korea, oops!) However, there are many people who do this “full time” (20-40+ hours/week) income while they travel or live abroad long term!

You can read more about my experience with teaching English online here. I currently teach for two Chinese companies, 17zuoye and VIPKID, though many similar companies exist. I also teach for Cambly on the side. The flexibility and fun of this job make it the best side gig on this list.


2. Freelance Your Skills

If you have an art, design, tech or other skill to share, you can do freelance work to save money for travel! Maybe you are good with photography and editing software like the Adobe suite. Excellent with social media? Look into social media management for businesses that don’t have the time. Proficient in more than one language? Design a website and course or create a YouTube channel to teach others and eventually earn passive income. That’s easier said than done, of course. But if you put the work into it in the beginning, you’ll likely thank yourself a year from now. If you have any kind of tech skill, you should have no problem finding freelance work. You can promote yourself on websites like fiverr or search for gigs on Upwork.


3. Babysit Some Kiddos

Love hanging out with kids? Post your services in your local newspaper or Facebook group, or create a professional profile on childcare service websites like Care.com or Sittercity. It will be good to gather a few references and become first aid certified to distinguish yourself among caregivers.


4. Sell Your Creations

Are you a creator of physical or digital goods? Sell your work on etsy, or create and promote your own website for it! This is best for someone with a more permanent space, as you’ll need to house your materials and inventory, and have a good shipping system.


5. Transcription

This won’t make you a ton of money, but it can likely cover a few cafe visits in Bangkok or a Sunday brunch in NYC! You might even learn something interesting in the clips you transcribe. Check out Rev, TranscribeMe or Scribie and choose your favorite platform. I like doing this between teaching classes online to make the most of my working hours.


6. Sharing Economy Apps

If you live in a larger city and own a car, this may be the choice for you. Check with Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Food Dudes and others for their vehicle and personal requirements. In some cities, car rental may be available if you don’t have your own.


7. A Good old Food Service Job

Don’t forget about this trusty old trick! You can often get a pretty flexible schedule to work around whatever it is that you’re already doing and make some cash. Bartending, serving, making coffee and delivery driving are all good options. Put your tips in a jar or put your paycheck in a separate savings account meant just for travel. I worked a very part time bartending job for about four months and it paid for my trip to Sri Lanka entirely!


8. Tutor Kids or Adults

If you have a degree in STEM or another subject that’s in high demand in your area and you are good with kids, tutoring during after-school or weekend hours could be a great way to help in your community and earn some extra cash for travel. Many parents are willing to pay good money if you can help their kid become proficient in and even enjoy a difficult subject. Think about advertising on community Facebook groups and set up a basic website outlining your offerings.


9. Sell Your Things (…and don’t buy more)

You probably have a lot of stuff. You probably don’t use all of it. If you have good quality items that are just collecting dust, list them on Facebook marketplace, Craigslist or Ebay. Your space will feel more clear and organized, someone will get some use out of something you aren’t using anymore and as a result, you’ll get some cash for your adventure jar. Feeling a little more old school? Host a garage or yard sale.


10. Start a Blog

Do what I’ve done here and start a blog! It will take a lot of time, passion and dedication…not to mention patience. There won’t be heavy cashflow in the beginning. You may fail the first time around. But, if you are passionate about your subject, the work will flow out of you, and you could be doing as well as this couple in a few years! (Special thanks to Anna and Tom at Adventure In You. I took their basic blogging course and it encouraged me to get started!)

Honorable Mention: Paid Surveys

Surveys are not exactly my cup of tea; however, if you enjoy participating in market research studies, you can make a little change here and there. A lot of survey sites and apps will pay you via PayPal or Amazon gift card. It might take a few months to reach your cash-out point, but if you have a few extra minutes in your day you can use this avenue to save money for travel, too! Check out Google Surveys or iPoll.

 

Happy traveling, loves.