7 Marketing Tips for Freelance TEFL Teachers

By Altiné Mni

So you have completed your TEFL and are ready to launch your ESL teaching career. You basically have two options:

  • look for an employer to teach for exclusively
  • teach independently as a freelance

Becoming a freelance TEFL teacher is a very rewarding career. But to succeed as a freelance TEFL teacher you will need to learn how to market yourself and attract students. Start implementing these seven proven marketing tips and reap the amazing benefits of freelance TEFL teaching.

1. Increase your online presence

Ensure that all your online profiles, major social media sites and professional networks are up to date. Then, pick one social media site and focus all your effort there. Next, share free content, free grammar lessons, and daily vocabulary discovery. This will help people discover you, and eventually ask you for private classes. You can also join Facebook groups related to TEFL teaching and answer people’s questions. People in Facebook groups are real people looking for real help. If you provide that help, you will be viewed as an expert, which will help you with referrals and landing clients.

2. Get your first TEFL students

You can do this by volunteering at your local library or community center. Some governments offer ESL courses for immigrants; you can start by volunteering there and build some experience. The YMCA and public libraries are great places to start volunteering as a TEFL teacher. Before students graduate from your volunteer TEFL classes, ask them to write reviews and testimonials on your website. If possible, take pictures and videos and share them on your social media and website. Your first TEFL students will be your ambassadors to help you start as a freelance TEFL teacher.

3. Start a TEFL blog/website

A blog or website is an excellent way to market yourself as a freelance TEFL teacher and get discovered by potential clients. You can share worksheets and ideas, grammar and vocabulary lessons, or a group project with students on your blog. One important tip: Ensure that your blog is professional-looking and constantly updated to show how serious you are about TEFL teaching. Before people hire you as a freelance TEFL teacher, they will Google you. And if you have a professionally designed website with a lot of valuable and updated information, well, people will not hesitate to hire you.

4. Start a podcast

Podcasting is an easy way to market yourself by creating content. All you need to start a podcast is your smartphone, and if you have a lot of thoughts you want to get out, then a podcast is an excellent way to get started. You can also invite other TEFL teachers as guests to your podcast or be a guest to other podcasters. On your podcast, you can discuss any topics related to TEFL teaching.

5. Offer excellent customer service

Keep in mind that the best marketing tool is word-of-mouth, and when people are satisfied with your service they will recommend you to their friends and family. And the more trust you build with your students, the more likely they will recommend your service. Offering excellent customer service includes:

  • Being punctual
  • Having a customer-focused policy
  • Responding promptly to your students

6. Offer free trial lessons

Offering free trial lessons is an effective tool to market yourself as a freelance TEFL teacher because it is low-risk for your prospective student. And it shows that you are confident in your ability as a TEFL teacher. The good news is that you will have more trial students and more converted students if they enjoy your risk-free trial lessons. Just ensure your free trial lessons are shorter than your regular lessons to help create a pleasant experience for your students.

7. Pick a niche and become an expert

To successfully market yourself as a freelance TEFL teacher, you will need to stand out from the crowd. And picking a niche is an excellent way to do it. Whether it is teaching adults, digital technology in the classroom, or teaching children in China, pick an area that interests you, make it your thing, and become known for it. Millions of ESL teachers share generic TEFL content and ideas but being unique is the key to standing out and becoming a successful freelance TEFL teacher.

Written by Altiné Mni for TEFL.net June 2021
Altiné is from Toronto, Canada, and currently teaches mathematics at a high school in Guangzhou, China. He has a master's degree in International Economics and Finance from Ryerson University in Canada and is passionate about helping people worldwide through his blogs. He writes about TEFL Teaching and Health and Fitness. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, running, traveling, and anything that allows him to experience the beauty of nature. You can find him at altinify.com.

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