What is a sustainable online teaching business?
Written by James Liu on April 19th 2019
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

What does sustainable mean to you? What does a sustainable business mean to you?

I have written two articles to help ESL teachers better understand what an online teaching business looks like when it is profitable and scalable.

Now let’s talk about being sustainable.

If you’ve already read my articles on being profitable (read here) and scalable (read here), you know how important it is to have a business that can generate revenue now and has the potential to generate even more in the future. But to me, it is even more important to have a business that can generate consistent revenue and that you can stick with for years to come.

That is sustainability.

A sustainable teaching business should be a business under your control.

In a sustainable business, you’re in the driver’s seat.

You decide who you teach, what you teach, and how you teach. You ensure high quality instruction to keep your business running—your students are satisfied and they’re willing to give testimonials and referrals.

Teaching with online ESL companies is not sustainable because you don’t have control. You don’t decide who you teach, what you teach, or how you teach. You do your best to maintain the quality, but it slips from all the constraints.

You don’t even control how long you teach with these companies because the real nightmare starts when the company you worked with for years goes out of business and there’s nothing left for you. You don’t get to keep your student contacts or the good reviews you’ve been developing for years.

When the company goes down, you lose everything and have to start all over again. However, with your own business, every penny you invest and every minute you spend generate a return and add value to your business.

A sustainable teaching business should focus on the people you enjoy teaching.

It can get overwhelming when teachers try to decide on their niche because there are so many things to consider.

Does the niche have enough students? Can they afford to pay a higher rate? What’s the competition like for this niche?

I always stop nervous teachers there and ask them who they most enjoy teaching—the most important factor to me. If you don’t enjoy who you teach, how can your business be sustainable?

With your own teaching business, you will be teaching, talking to, and otherwise dealing with people from your niche for hours and hours every single day. If you don’t enjoy working with them, even if you have the largest and richest market with the least competition, you’ll call it quits one day. This is exactly why it is important to search deep in your heart for what you really want and who you enjoy having as your students. Only then can you have a sustainable business that you can stick with for years to come.

A sustainable teaching business should allow for a pleasant teaching experience.

There are two types of teaching, session-based teaching and program-based teaching (read more here).

In session-based teaching, sessions are independent from each other. The focus is determined by students and varies between sessions. What you teach and how you teach in each session are modified to meet the specific needs of the student for that particular session. You have to customize each session with a tailored lesson plan for the student. It is manageable with only a few students but won’t be sustainable when you start growing your business with more and more students.

In program-based teaching, sessions are integrated as a whole. The focus of each session is predetermined by you to serve the goals of the program. What and how you teach in each session are systematically designed to maximize the results of the program. At least 80% of what you teach and how you teach it in the program will be consistent across students, as they are from the same niche (read more here). You get better at teaching the program as you progress. The teaching experience is more enjoyable since you repeat the same processes with a consistent structure you can follow again and again.

To summarize, a sustainable online teaching business should be your own business focused on a niche you enjoy, which offers program-based teaching that provides a more pleasant teaching experience.

Watch the video here to learn more about how to start and grow your profitable, sustainable, and scalable business TODAY.

James Liu

James Liu helps online teachers start and grow profitable and scalable online businesses. He is an expert at helping online teachers develop business skills and premium services that allow them to get students on demand and at a higher rate. 
If you're interested in growing your online teaching business, then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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