To review the bidding (previous installments of this article are listed above) we have been talking about how anyone, with or without a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate or a formal teaching degree, can make themselves a business out of conversational English instruction, coaching or tutoring (pick the phrase you want to use if you are convinced only a degreed person can be a teacher … already had that argument, don’t care to go there any more.
Actually you don’t have to confine yourself to English, either. Although the world-wide demand for English is high, many other languages are always in demand as well. Friend and blogging colleague Ellen opened my eyes in a comment to one of the earlier sections of this series, when she talked about a school for the Finnish language in Davao she recently came across. You mean you can make money teaching Finnish to Filipinos in a (modern, but still provincial city) like Davao? Yes, indeed. And think this through for a minute. If Koreans come to the Philippines and pay not only tuition but living expanses to learn English, if Filipinos who want jobs in Finland pay to go to formal classes in Davao, how many more people, around the world, would be interested in learning one-on-one with a native English, (or German or Finnish or whatever language you know well) expert? No travel costs, no away from home living costs, no need to quit their current job to go off to school … the benefits really stack up.
And here’s the point it of ten seems many of my readers miss … you can provide this training anywhere in the world you happen to be. This is especially interesting to the majority of job-seekers, business side researchers who come here with the thought of finding some sort of income when once they move to the Philippines. Don’t wait until your calendar says it’s now time to move … start now. If your business grows and you like it, you can just make the move and virtually nothing changes except the time zone. If, for whatever reason, things don’t work out, you will have invested virtually nothing and you won’t find yourself stranded in a foreign land, money running low and wondering how to get yourself out of your dilemma.
OK, so how would a person go about something like this virtual language training? That’s the beauty if the Web. It’s like having the resources of several major universities at your finger tips. Here’s what I’d do to get something off the ground … remember this is just a rough outline, it’s up to you to get professional advice when you need it and do your own due diligence before you invest in anything. (by the way, nothing at all in this article is a sales pitch for anything, I am not selling anything you see mentioned here.
- Set up a business with a US address. Most professionals agree this is a smart first move. You can incorporate a small business online in 15 minutes for less than $75 dollars. (I’ve used these guys in the past, they are fantastic … not an affiliate link) http://www.smallbiz.com/) One reason to do this for the future, aside from all the other business reasons is when you are living in the Philippines you want to make sure your income is not Philippine sourced and if you are the owner of a US business entirety, this ought to be a safe strategy.
- Put together simple course materials. You can buy study guides, lesson plans, etc., you can find a huge amount of free materials (make sure it is licensed for your use, public domain, Creative Commons, etc>, or you can go to a site like elance and find degreed teachers looking for part time work who will build or edit materials for you for a small fee … you decide how much to spend.
- Put up a website, essentially a blog … you can even start it by telling the story of all the research and decisions that went into your prep work. There are dozens of free blog sources, Blogger, WordPress, MSN Live, Google Sites, the list goers on.
- Do searches to find other language teachers and courses. Note what they are doing, their terms of service, prices, etc., and how they have their business structured (Hint: Competition is not a problem, indeed if you don’t see any competition for what you are trying to set up you should take warning … competition means there is an active market and people are making money.)
- Find a delivery system. Here’s a great one I came across recently, it’s free to try and less than $5 a month per student later with the whole ball of wax … they serve your videos, your slide presentations, track attendance measure progress, alert you to students who have gone dormant, etc.
- Get a PayPal account so your students can pay you, anywhere in the world
- Go to forms, Twitter, FaceBook, Multiply and other social sites and talk to people. Focus on your preferred target country of choice. For example, if you want Japanese clients, ‘talk yourself up’ on Japanese forms and social networks. Remember you don’t have to speak their language, you only want the people there who are interested in English. Believe me, people in Japan, China, etc. want English speaking friends.
- Perhaps one of the most powerful and least understood “drivers” of business on the Internet is Google AdWords. You can open an AdWords account, write some ads that will send people to your blog or home page … where you offer your “for pay” services, and target those ads only at countries you want them to appear in … and you pay nothing at all unless someone clicks on the ad and comes to your sales page … fantastically powerful tool.
OK, that ought to be enough for this “Pony”. Remember this is an idea factory, not a textbook. Based on what I know to be true, and what I pay taxes on, I really can not see any reason a person would settle for a “hard labor” job in a school when they could have the whole ball of wax for themselves. Or so Dave opines.