The idea of being self-employed

It can seem scary to go from working for someone else to working for yourself. I always had this vision of self-employed teachers being some sort of driven Branson or Musk types who were in control of every part of their life; until I became self-employed myself. It wasn’t the complicated process I had imagined. It really was just a case of deciding it was better suited to me. Self-employed teaching was a great move. I haven’t looked back since.

I work in Spain and the idea of having to get my head round arcane tax laws and find which forms to fill in was anathema. So, like all the self-employed people I know, I hired a professional administrator. Pointless paperwork is one of Spain’s national pastimes. With someone to help, for a very reasonable fee, all that nightmare disappeared in one stroke. Once every three months all I have to do is send a copy of my invoices and receipts by email to my admin and they do all the rest.

Finding students

Finding students is the name of the game for self-employed teachers. We can’t just turn up and expect students to be there. Social media is useful for getting the word out. So is LinkedIn. I have found that word of mouth from satisfied current or ex-students is the best publicity. If you can get a human resources department interested in your classes, you can build a very mutually beneficial relationship. Best of all, joining MyCoolClass lets you take advantage of its international reach and find a supportive community of other freelance teachers.  You can read more about the other benefits of MyCoolClass here.

Finding Materials

The Internet makes finding material much easier for teachers nowadays. I teach English and make use of the excellent materials produced by Nick Peachy. There are other well-priced material providers such as Teacher Pay Teachers and of course, you can make your own materials and sell them to other teachers too. That, again, is something MyCoolClass can help you with. The secret with materials, whatever you teach, is to be organized. If you can have everything in the same place in the cloud or on a pendrive you can save yourself a lot of time in the future. If you teach a language, make sure you have a good selection of activities for speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Planning low seasons

Self-employed teaching is cyclical.  September and January are, in Spain, boom times when people want to sign up for classes. But in July and August Spain is closed for business. With all these gorgeous beaches and delicious food, who can blame the Spanish if they forget their studies while the sun shines?  Well, teachers need some rest and relaxation too! Use this time to recharge your batteries and organize yourself. MyCoolClass has a system which helps teachers take paid time off. No other online platform offers this. Maybe the ‘off-season’ is a good time to see what more value you can offer your clients. YouTube videos? Podcasts?

The Difference

Self-employed teaching helps you evolve an opportunity radar. It’s a change of attitude. From being a passive receiver of work, you now go out to hunt it down. Today’s ceiling is tomorrow’s floor. It is so much more invigorating than working to make somebody else rich. You get to make all the decisions and you decide on the type of business you want to run. Will you be a super-sleek digital based business English provider? Or will you take a more human-to-human approach? Will you promise to help people pass their official exams or concentrate on a niche like English for hotels.

When I became self-employed, I was working as a consultant for a publisher. One day the department head tried to impose a timetable on me. I pointed out that she couldn’t do that.

“I’m your boss,” she said.

“No,” I replied, “You’re my client.

Big difference.

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