Starting an ESL Tutoring Business Online: A helpful guide!

Starting an ESL Tutoring Business Online
A Person Giving Online Presentation

I have been teaching ESL for many years due to my passion for this subject, so I have sound tutoring knowledge. You can get a job at a reputable institute to earn as a teacher or start your own online tutoring business. 

The demand for the latter option has increased with time because of the current economic situation and other factors.

Is it worth it to start an ESL tutoring business online? Starting an ESL tutoring business online provides excellent opportunities to earn a good salary part-time or full-time. In addition, it offers tremendous flexibility and convenience, including the ability to make money from the comfort of your living room while positively changing the lives of others.

You’re in the right place if you want more information about starting an ESL tutoring business online. This post will allow you to understand the steps to start your business and the costs involved.

You might also enjoy reading: How To Be an ESL Teacher with Skyeng: a helpful guide!

Starting an ESL Tutoring Business Online: A helpful guide!

Here are the steps that you must follow when starting an ESL tutoring business online:

1- Buy The Correct Equipment

Online classes cannot be conducted smoothly without the essential tools. These include:

  • Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Microphone
  • High-quality webcam
  • Stable internet connection
  • Quiet space

These basic tech tools are necessary for taking all online classes, regardless of the subject. You may also use an iPad instead of a laptop for conducting lessons. If you buy this tool, you must also have an Apple Pen to write on the screen easily.

2- Get The Right Certifications

Every job requires you to get a certification in a specific field to show your skills and competency. You must also have a suitable educational background to help you get more students. For ESL, the minimum requirement is a high school diploma.

You must also be proficient in speaking and writing English. Correct grammar usage and knowledge are also necessary for attracting students to your online business. A certification will also go a long way in helping your venture thrive.

A TEFL certification is a must-have credential for ESL teachers. You can also master the TESOL certification to show your competency to parents and students.

3- Select Your Niche

You may think the niche is unimportant when starting an online ESL tutoring business. However, that is not the case. I know from experience that selecting a niche can be your make-and-break factor.

This is because it is better to be good at one thing and teach that stuff instead of tiptoeing around various ESL aspects. Choosing the niche here means deciding the classes you want to give. For instance, do you want to teach basic English to kids or train college students for exams such as IELTS?

Deciding the classes you want to give will also help you advertise your business better. Parents can know what to expect from your tutoring service and decide whether your lessons suit their children or themselves.

4- Choose Your Teaching Platform

The top feature of online classes is that you can take them from anywhere in the world. You only have to ensure you’re using a robust teaching platform. Because of the pandemic, the number of apps allowing tutoring has increased significantly.

Zoom is one of the top platforms for taking classes without getting a premium subscription. Of course, you can get a paid version to conduct lessons without a time limit. Another robust platform is Google Meet, which allows you to connect with students easily.

You must also consider whether you want a paid teaching platform or a free app. Some platforms allow you to take a class multiple times daily as long as each lesson is within 45 minutes. So you can use these factors to determine whether or not you should get paid service.

5- Make A Pricing Plan

A key aspect of every ESL tutoring business is setting class prices. You may encounter some institutes that have fixed fees for different lessons. Meanwhile, some online schools charge students using a fixed hourly rate.

You must understand your budget and needs to determine which option will be best for you. I would advise you to start your business by charging the students an hourly rate in the initial stages. This will allow you to enjoy more flexibility with the pricing.

You may set a fixed price for every lesson to increase the demand if you offer specialized classes. Another key aspect to think about is whether you will offer students a free trial. As a beginner, it will be helpful to provide this option so that new customers can trust your service better.

6- Decide The Payment Options

You must also determine how to take payments from your students, as the business will be online. Your various options include credit card deposit, bank transfer, debit card payment, PayPal, Apple Pay, and other digital wallets.

PayPal is a must-have option on your payment methods list because it is the top service that international students use for payments. Compatibility with Mastercard and Visa payments will also help you. These are the two famous networks that people use to pay fees.

Of course, you must also ensure that you have an account for receiving the funds on a suitable payment network. Offering high security is essential for this action because many parents and adults are wary of online transactions.

7- Set Up Your Classroom

Setting up your classroom before the lessons can be time-consuming or a fast process. This depends on how you will teach the kids. You can use a stylus pen with your laptop to work on your screen and use it as a board.

It will allow you to avoid getting a physical board, markers, and other supplies for teaching. Remember, if you teach on a physical board, your camera must be good enough to capture the written stuff without ruining the pixels.

You should also check if the room’s lighting is good and if the internet connection is stable in that part of the house. Testing these things before classes is necessary to ensure you don’t lose students.

Another thing you must prepare is a schedule to ensure the prospective students can allocate time easily. It is best to be consistent and punctual with the timings. You should also avoid canceling lessons frequently.

8- Advertise Your Business

The final step to starting an ESL tutoring business online is advertising yourself. You may create a website for your service to offer customers a platform where they can get all the information. This will prevent people from wasting time on various platforms to gather class details.

You may also create social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to promote your classes. Joining online groups on these sites will also allow you to spread the word. It may also help you get more teachers if you decide to expand your business later.

How Much Does Starting An ESL Tutoring Business Online Cost?

The best thing about starting an ESL tutoring business online is that it will not cost you much. You will most likely have the basic tech tools at home already. If you don’t have a laptop, you can get a suitable device for $600 to $750.

Meanwhile, you can easily get good headphones for $100 to $400. If you get a paid teaching platform, the budget will increase. However, you can easily start your online tutoring business for $2000 to $3000.

What to read next:

Closing Thoughts

This is your ultimate guide to starting an ESL tutoring business online. If you have the skills and tech tools for the job, you can easily start your lessons after advertising on different platforms.

You may also attract more students by starting a YouTube channel and uploading snippets of your lessons. This will help the customers to see what you have to offer.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Project English Mastery. I am from Toronto, Canada. I graduated with a Master in International Economics and Finance from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. After working a few years in the banking industry and completing my 120 TEFL from the University Of Toronto, I decided to teach English in China. Project English Mastery is a blog that provides helpful resources for English Teachers and Learners: vocabulary and grammar, exercises, and class activities ideas and tips.

Recent Posts