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Brief Guide to Starting Your Career as a Freelance Language Tutor

The best thing about any freelance job is that you can choose and change your load yourself, you can choose the projects you like, and can even combine it with your full-time job. Here are our ten steps to begin tutoring as a freelancer.

  1. Pick the language you want to teach. Think carefully about your strengths. It can be your native language, or you might want to choose TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). You might even want to choose more than one. Being at C1 level or above is typically a pre-requisite here.
  2. Plan ahead. Think about the way you want to deliver lessons, whether it has to be online or offline or both. By having a clear understanding, you make it easier for yourself to plan all the materials and equipment later. Also, choose the types of students you want to teach, whether children or adults. Again, get an idea in your mind. You can always change your plans along the way.
  3. Start teaching for free or exchanging languages to gain valuable experiences. Ask your friends if you can try teaching them for free. For language exchanges, the university is really helpful. Get involved with language exchange programs. Such programs provide a chance to meet other people and learn or teach foreign languages.
  4. Get qualified. To be able to teach English as a foreign language, you must have at least the Cambridge CELTA teaching qualification. As for other languages, all you need is a bachelor’s degree and at least a C1 level of the language.
  5. Get organized. At this stage, you have to decide how much to charge, how to accept payments, and what is your cancellation policy. Figure out how much other tutors are charging to get an idea of how much you can charge. Do not forget that it is necessary to value yourself. Keep in mind that you are offering a professional service. Charging what you are worth is the first step to success. If you are going to teach online, consider investing in a quality camera and a quality microphone for your computer. It is important to stand out as a quality teacher.
  6. Sign up for tutoring marketplaces. You can find numerous possibilities with a quick Google search for your language + tutor + your area. Create your tutoring profile on these sites. Make sure to add such valuable information as your photo, bio, experience, and qualifications, video (if there is an option), reviews.
  7. Teach. You need experience. And to get it, you need to work. It is important to teach as much as you can in the beginning. More than 80% of teacher profiles on various marketplaces do not have any reviews. And students are not willing to cooperate with teachers with no reviews. So, teach and mine your students for reviews on the platform.
  8. Ask for reviews and respond to them. You will look less new if you have reviews. The more reviews you get, the better! It is also crucial to ask students personally to leave the review instead of emailing them. If the website allows responses to reviews, then respond to them. People looking at your profile will see that you care about your students to take the time to respond to their reviews.
  9. Rinse and repeat. The secret to success in anything is to just keep going. Consider each lesson as a chance to improve on the previous one. Keep teaching, keep improving your work, and keep asking for reviews. With patience and persistence, you will achieve success.
  10. Widen your net. After about one year of tutoring, you will understand if this job is for you. If yes, consider other places to pitch your services to. For example, you could try reaching out to institutions/agencies that hire freelance teachers/trainers. But! Before doing this, make sure to make a flawless, up-to-date, relevant CV. Although agencies will take a cut of your earnings, their courses are usually long-term, and they pay quickly, dealing with pretty much all the admin of the courses.
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So there you have it — a short guide on getting started as a language teacher. We wish you good luck!