7 Reasons you Need Multiple Online ESL Companies
As the online ESL (English as a Second Language) industry has grown dramatically over the last five years, more and more companies have popped up in the field. As independent contractors, teachers are no longer limited to only working for one company. There are many reasons teachers decide to add an additional company into their schedules. I have listed seven reasons below that you NEED to add additional companies in the current state of this industry. I have seen more than one ESL teacher be burned by believing they needed to be "loyal" to a company only to find themselves unexpectedly without income down the road.
1. Increase your scheduling options: When first starting out your schedule is likely to be slower than you want. It can take awhile to build up a solid base of regular students and a name for yourself at a new company. Having multiple companies allow you the ability to get more classes when first starting. Different companies offer different time slots of availability, by choosing companies that have various available teaching hours you can increase your scheduling options. For example, VIPKID offers two time slots that Gogokid does not have available. Companies like Cambly or Itutor are open 24/7!
2. Maximize your earning potential: By having multiple companies you will be able to maximize your earning potential. Many companies offer periodic incentives or promotions for opening classes or certain time slots. You can build your schedule off of which company will pay the most for which spot. You can also utilize features like short notice bookings to fill in slots that don't book or cancel at another company. For example I recently had a 24 hour cancellation at VIPKID. This means the student cancelled class within 24 hours of class time, you get full pay for that time slot. I was then able to head over to Gogokid and open a short notice slot, which was booked with a trial student. Not only did I get full pay for the VIPKID slot, I got full pay AND a trial sign up bonus for the Gogokid time slot. That one slot netted me $10.50+$12.50+$10.00=$33.00!! Not bad for a half hour of work!
3. Prepare for seasonal ups and downs: Every company will go through seasonal ups and downs around holidays and summer vacations. Having a regular base of students at two companies allows you the option to potentially book more classes during the slower months. If one company is slow you can open more slots at the other company. Companies will also offer different promotions on the students side, with two companies you can take advantage of the influx of students one company might have coming in during typically slower times.
4. Prepare for Losing Contract or a Change in Policies: Many of these companies have strict cancellation policies. Although none of us ever plan to cancel, sometimes life hits you with a curve ball. If you accumulate too many cancellations the company may fire you or not renew your contract. If you receive too many complaints from parents or violate the companies policies or bottom line you can be let go with no notice. Although this is something you can avoid by being careful not to cancel classes or violate policies, there are some situations where it may have been unintentional and unavoidable on your part. Most of these companies are operating outside of North America and have different cultural norms then you may be used to, it is not anything to them to change policies or contracts with little to no notice. You may decide you no longer want to work under the new contract or policies and feel the need to leave unexpectedly. Having another company as a back up makes that decision easier and ensures you are still receiving income.
5. Prepare for Company Closing, Down-sizing, or Never Taking Off: The reality of this business is that there are now hundreds of companies competing for students. Some will not make it. Many are "fly by night" companies that will open up shop, close, and reopen with a new name. You want to try and avoid these companies. However, even bigger more established companies will change direction. For example, 51 talk recently laid off many of their employees and begin hiring more teachers in the Philippines who they can pay significantly less. A company called Naativ came on to the scene with a ton of hype and offering teachers a high base pay, only to never take off and leave many teachers hanging. Dadaabc recently went through some managerial changes which left many teachers without a job with little notice.
6. Give yourself a Change of Pace: As much as you may love one company, after teaching the same lessons and in the same platform class after class it can get very monotonous. Sometimes you just hit a limit of how many classes you can teach in a day before going crazy. Having multiple companies breaks it up. I have found I can teach far more classes in a day by breaking it up with different companies. This was my main reason for looking for another company two years ago. I was getting bored. I was seeing the same students, teaching the same lessons, and felt I was no longer being as good of a teacher as I once was when I was filled with excitement over a new job. Adding in another company gave me back that spark and allowed me the ability to change it up enough that I didn't feel I was stuck in a rut each morning when I went to the computer!
7. Better yourself as a Teacher: Each company has their own culture and own preferred teaching style and skills they want to see used. Most companies offer a variety of training and workshops that teachers can attend. For those of us that are always looking to improve and add to out bag of tricks, having multiple companies allows us the opportunity to learn and put into practice what we learn even more.
Are you ready to add another company? I highly recommend Gogokid and Vipkid as companies since they are flexible and do not require a minimum amount of classes each week. Feel free to apply using my referral links or code so I can help you through the process and provide access to my resources. You can also check out my post HERE on 8 of the most popular companies out there in 2019 and how they compare.
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