Are you looking for a home-based business that you can start on the fly and that will allow you to make a lot of money? If so, then maybe you should consider teaching languages. All you really need if you want to get paid to teach languages online is a computer and an internet connection.

Becoming an online teacher or tutor can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but have no fear. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds. I sat down with Léa, one of my own former online French teachers, to discuss how she got started, what challenges she faced, and how others can become successful language teachers — part-time or full-time.

Get Paid to Chat With Strangers

Have you ever gone into a chat room and spent time communicating with a multitude of random strangers? You’d exchange a few sentences with someone before signing off and going to the next one. If so, maybe you met Léa.

She spent a lot of time chatting online with foreigners from all over the world.

Léa didn’t even speak English when she began, but over time, she gradually picked up the basics of the language.

Léa eventually moved on to take formal English lessons in school. The experience of talking with hundreds of real people from across the world — in a completely different language — from the comfort of her own home stuck with her.

Eventually, she decided to try her hand at creating a job for herself by teaching people online. “I realized that the classroom environment was, well, it’s not very productive. The best way to learn was through immersion, and you can do immersion on the internet,” Léa says. She decided that she wanted to get paid to teach languages online.

She headed to one of the best language-learning websites she knew of — Italki — and launched her business. “I created a profile on the site when it was quite small, and that’s how I started. Then made myself available to work from seven in the morning to midnight. I also set it at a low rate. I started at $5, if I remember well.”

The Challenges of Teaching Online

Things have gone pretty smoothly for Léa since launching her business, with a couple of exceptions. First off, she had to register herself as a business with French authorities. It wasn’t easy and took quite a while to accomplish. But that’s over with now, and she can focus on teaching online full-time.

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There are alternatives to teaching a language if you think starting a business is too troublesome:

  1. Coursera: Record lessons and teach students from all over the world on this online platform.
  2. Teachable: Create your own lesson plans and sell them to over 4 million students worldwide.
  3. Udemy: Make your courses, promote them, and earn money from student tuition charges. This website is aimed at professional adults.

Now Léa is facing a potentially bigger problem. Namely, she has become so popular that there isn’t enough of her to go around to meet demand. It’s great for business because she doesn’t have to worry about filling her schedule with students anymore, and she’s gradually crept her rates upward so that, for some teaching sessions, she charges up to $32 an hour. She now has her own platform — The Staircase.

Learn a New Language Online for Free

You don’t have to spend hundreds to learn a new tongue. Let these sites and apps guide you through a new culture and way of thinking.

Duolingo

  • Price: Free, but if you want to remove the ads, you need to pay $6.99-plus for Duolinguo Plus.
  • Number of languages: 68 different courses for 28 languages.
  • Features: The app uses easy-to-read text, colorful pictures, and quality audio.
  • Tech Compatibility: The app works for Android, Apple, and Windows phones. You can also learn online at its site, where there is a discussion forum for users to ask questions and a lab to listen to podcasts in different languages.

Babbel

  • Price: $6.95 to $12.95 per month, depending on your plan.
  • Number of languages: 14 languages, excluding those from Asia or Africa.
  • Features: You can choose between beginner and advanced. There are grammar courses and vocabulary lessons, as well as courses with tongue-twisters, idioms, colloquialisms, and sayings.
  • Tech Compatibility: The app works for Android and Apple phones and the web.

Busuu

  • Price: Free and premium plans ($5.41 to $8.33 per month) are available.
  • Number of languages: 12 languages.
  • Features: The free version includes only flashcards. The premium version has quizzes, certificates, and full access to all the languages and conversations with native speakers. With more than 80 million users, the app has over 1,000 lessons created by expert linguists and customized study plans. It also offers GSET (Global Scale of English Tests) certification.
  • Tech Compatibility: The app works for Android and Apple phones and the web.

Rosetta Stone

  • Price: Free demo, or $10.38 to $16.99 per month, depending on your plan.
  • Number of languages: 24 languages.
  • Features: Unlike other language apps, Rosetta Stone doesn’t use direct translation to teach new languages. Instead, it uses Dynamic Immersion, which teaches learners as it would children learning a new language. Colorful pictures are tied to common phrases, and users repeat the word back to perfect their pronunciation. There are downloadable offline lessons and phrase books with basic words related to restaurants and traveling. You can buy more phrase books.
  • Tech Compatibility: The app works for Android and Apple phones and the web.

Memrise

  • Price: Free and pro versions (starting at $5 per month) are available.
  • Features: Both free and pro versions have access to 200 language combinations, but the pro offers learning statistics, video mode, difficult words mode, a grammarbot, and more.
  • Tech Compatibility: The app works for Android and Apple phones and the web.

How to Teach Languages Online: Building an Empire

You can create your own language-learning empire, too. All you really need to get started is a bright personality, a good computer (with a built-in webcam), and an internet connection to create a profile on any of the major language-learning sites.

You don’t even really need to know a second language. Plenty of teachers just help advanced speakers practice English.

If you want to earn money by teaching languages online, there are some easy tips to get started. There are a lot of online language teachers out there, and Léa has a secret for standing out: Test everything in your profile.

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How to Teach Languages Online and Get Paid. Are you multilingual? Want to earn some extra cash? The internet makes it easier than ever. Learn how to teach languages online and get paid. #teachlanguagesonline #teachlanguage #makemoney #extramoney #sidehustleDo regular A/B tests in which you change one thing for a couple of weeks  — such as your photo or description — and see how that affects your bookings. Whatever works, stick with it, but keep tweaking your profile.

  1. Decide on the variable and the duration of the testing. Let’s say you want to change your description and test it for a week. You quantify how many students you have taught in your description. For example, you might say, “I have taught 30-plus students who went on to excel in their languages.” After a period of time, take that number out and see if it makes a difference.
  2. Compare results. Keeping every other aspect of your profile the same, record how many bookings you get with a quantified description versus without a quantified description.
  3. Decide which one is better and keep it. Then start testing other variables on your profile. Remember to alter only one aspect of your profile while keeping the rest the same.

Finally, Léa’s top tip is this: Be devoted to your students.

“I want my students to be productive in their learning with me,” she says. “Every lesson is precious. Not a single lesson is the same. [There are] always extraordinary people I meet every day. My students have become the most inspiring people in my life. They inspire me every day. I love my job.”

Additional reporting by Peiyi Mei.