CREATED: 07.03.2024UPDATED: 18.03.2024

How to Start an Online Teaching Business

How to Start an Online Teaching Business

Find out how to start an online teaching business. You’ll learn how to select your niche and where to post your lessons to maximize success.

Gone are the days when teaching was only done face-to-face. The Internet enables you to set up a home-based classroom and reap the benefits of being an online instructor. One of which is the ability to earn nearly $70,000 per year.

The key lies in choosing an appropriate course, targeting the right audience, and posting your lessons on a suitable platform, among many other factors.

In this guide on how to start an online teaching business, we’ll give you a detailed breakdown of how to succeed in this job.

Why Should You Become an Online Teacher?

Before discussing how to start an online teaching business, you should understand why this business is such a great option.

The number of traditional teachers has increased slightly over the past decade, but their salaries have stagnated at around $61,000. That’s because educational institutions often don’t value their hard-working employees as much as they should.

If you’ve experienced an unrewarding work environment, switching to an online classroom makes sense. Here are a few more reasons why that’s the case:

  • Total control. Public schools need to abide by government regulations when rolling out courses, but that’s not the case with online teaching. You’re in the driver’s seat of your curriculum, enabling you to choose suitable topics yourself. 
  • Flexibility. The standard eight-hour work shift doesn’t apply to online teaching. You get to decide how much you want to spend polishing your courses and assigning homework. This unprecedented flexibility also means you can make online teaching your full-time job or just a side gig, fitting it into your schedule as per your preferences and commitments.
  • Global audience. Rather than limit yourself to three or four classes in a public school, consider a career in online teaching to reach worldwide audiences. You can market your lectures to anyone with a reliable internet connection.
  • Low initial investment. Unlike a physical school, launching an online teaching business requires minimal upfront costs. With just a computer, a reliable internet connection, and relatively affordable software, you can set up your virtual classroom without the financial burden of a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment. Even better, choose software like BlurBay, and you’ll have no cost whatsoever, as this innovative platform doesn’t charge you to use it.
  • Impressive revenue potential. There’s no doubt about it – online teaching is significantly more lucrative than any traditional teaching method. With this approach, you can attract a larger number of students and diversify your income streams, both excellent ways to earn more money. As far as the latter option goes, you can offer personalized tutoring, share premium content, or host one-time niche workshops to increase your overall revenue from online teaching.

How to Start an Online Teaching Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Although online teaching is flexible, this doesn’t mean you should rush with onboarding new students. Instead, take your time researching how to start an online teaching business and getting your company off the ground. Follow this checklist, and you’ll be more likely to stay afloat in this competitive industry:

Step 1 – Select Your Niche and Target Audience

How to Start an Online Teaching Business

One of the most important aspects of setting up an online teaching business is to choose a niche. In other words, you need to decide what you’ll be teaching your audiences.

This depends entirely on your skillset. If you have an English degree, consider giving online lectures to foreign learners. If you’re an experienced gym-goer with a few certifications, an internet fitness course is perfectly fine. Likewise, if you have a knack for cooking, a culinary tutorial is the right pick.

Once you’ve dialed in your niche, it’s time to zero in on your target audience, which will be directly related to the niche selected. However, there’s some leeway here. Check out a few examples:

  • Online English teaching – You’ll find no shortage of people with a basic or intermediate level of English who need English lessons to improve their grasp of the language itself. By contrast, providing business-oriented English instructions is great for targeting learners who work in a particular industry.
  • Online fitness coaching – Busy parents in their 40s, aspiring bodybuilders, professional athletes, and people recovering from an injury are just some of your potential target groups if you want to be an online fitness coach.
  • Online cooking lessons – From Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Asian, and Mediterranean cuisines to focusing on specific dietary plans such as vegetarian, keto, or vegan, you can take many different routes when teaching cooking online.

Step 2 – Obtain Additional Qualifications

A great way to attract more people to your lessons is to demonstrate your experience. And what better way to showcase your knowledge than to obtain additional qualifications?

For instance, if you want to become an online English teacher, certifications like TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) make you more credible in the eyes of non-native audiences.

If you’re into data science, consider expanding your horizons with a course on machine learning or natural language processing. The more qualified you are, the greater your chances of earning the trust that you can teach others.

Step 3 – Create a Curriculum and Lesson Plans

You might have a general idea of how you want to teach, but now it’s time to solidify your approach. Without creating a detailed curriculum and lesson plans, you won’t know how to effectively convey your content or guide your students. You also won’t know how to price or promote your course, which means that many of the subsequent steps in this guide hinge on the foundation you build during Step 3.

Of course, the actual execution of this step is entirely up to you. Remember – one of the biggest perks of online teaching is that you get to be in control. So, design a curriculum that aligns with your teaching style and expertise. However, always keep your niche audience in mind to ensure the lesson plans will cater to their needs and keep them engaged throughout the course.

Some key aspects to consider when devising your curriculum and crafting individual lesson plans include the following:

  • Sequencing of topics
  • Materials, resources, and tools needed for each lesson
  • Specific and measurable learning objectives
  • Assessment options

If you struggle with this step, don’t fret. You don’t have to craft a comprehensive course curriculum in one sitting. You don’t even have to do it in order. Start by defining the most crucial aspect of your course and build upon it gradually. In no time, you’ll know precisely what your introductory lesson should be and where the course should end.

Step 4 – Be Sure You Have the Necessary Equipment and Materials

Another great thing about online teaching is that you need not invest in dozens of computers, desks, chairs, and blackboards. Still, this doesn’t mean you should cut corners when setting up your virtual classrooms.

The bare minimum is an internet connection and a smartphone. Technically, you can give your lectures from your phone directly, but the experience for your learners will be sub-optimal. 

A larger screen of a laptop or desktop computer is much more suitable. It allows you to multitask and organize your course materials more efficiently. More importantly, it eliminates interruptions due to phone calls, texts, and app notifications.

Other than a computer, you should also purchase a high-quality camera, headphones, and microphone. Look for noise-canceling headphones and a high-resolution camera to make sure your students can see and hear you properly. Remember – visual instructions are just as important as verbal instructions.

How to Start an Online Teaching Business

Once you have all the hardware, turn your attention to software. The good news is that you don’t have to buy a bunch of different programs. The only platform you might need is a cloud-based solution. Here, you can post additional course materials and assign homework. Also, it should enable your learners to access the materials on the fly.

Step 5 – Set Your Price

Teaching is one of the noblest professions out there. The sense of accomplishment you get when helping others elevate their skills is hard to describe.

That said, you’re looking into how to start an online teaching business. And you can’t keep your business profitable if you lowball your courses.

At the same time, setting premium rates from day one may be counterproductive. Without a large audience and review, your teaching business is just an untested concept.

Therefore, keep the entry figure reasonable and consider offering free trials to select groups to raise your brand awareness.

Lastly, consider the following details to determine your teaching rate:

  • Expertise – Being an expert in a particular field puts you in a good position to value your tutorials slightly higher. By contrast, if you only have a Bachelor’s degree, don’t go overboard with your rates.
  • Demand – High-demand topics are worth more than low-demand ones. For instance, teaching a course about AI means you can charge higher rates than teaching something that’s not as popular right now.
  • Frequency and duration of lessons – The more often you teach, the higher the rate you’ll need to compensate for the time invested. Likewise, the duration of your tutorials plays a pivotal role. A 90-minute tutorial is more demanding than a 15-minute class, but it can contain a lot more content related to the topic at hand, making it more valuable.

Step 6 – Choose Your Teaching Platform

Choose Your Teaching Platform

You’ve chosen your niche and target audience. You’ve also purchased the right materials and negotiated a reasonable price. In the meantime, you might have structured and outlined your tutorials. The next step is to choose a publishing platform.

Many professionals flock to popular teaching platforms, but here’s the problem – they often behave like public institutions. This increases the risk of content moderation and lowers your flexibility, which undermines the very reason you’ve decided to teach online.

Some others create websites of their own. The flexibility is there, and there’s no content moderation, but the cost can be sky-high. If you want a stunning website with all the bells and whistles, it can set you back tens of thousands every year.

The solution is to find the best of both worlds. A platform that leaves your teaching lesson as is and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

That platform is BlurBay. This is the go-to place for many professionals who want to propel their businesses, including teachers. Once your curriculum is ready, simply create an account and send the content to BlurBay. There, your learners will be able to access it for a price.

Best of all, your audience doesn’t need to create an account. If they want to view your materials, all it takes is to provide their credit card info and email or Google/Apple Pay credentials, and the lesson will be shipped to their email address. This makes the whole experience smoother and can increase the number of return customers.

Another thing that can make your learners return for more is built-in cliffhangers. You can show snippets of your lessons and blur out the rest, grabbing your viewers’ attention and piquing their interest.

Best of all, you don’t have to cough up exorbitant figures for this service. BlurBay only takes 5% of course sales as commission, making it perfect for start-ups.

Step 7 – Create Course Content

After laying all the groundwork, there’s nothing left to do but to create the course(s) you’ve carefully planned out in previous steps. With proper preparation, this step should be easy to complete. However, this doesn’t mean you should rush through it. Quite the contrary. You should pay the most attention to this step, as this is the part your students will see.

Create high-quality and engaging course content that aligns with your curriculum, and you’ll keep your students glued to their screens.

But a course will only be engaging if you mix up your teaching style, add multimedia elements, and employ interactive features. But these are more advanced considerations. You shouldn’t even think about them before covering the basics.

No. 1 – Make sure you record your course in a quiet environment with minimal distractions in the background. You don’t want your students to be disrupted in any way while trying to focus, whether by noise or an odd sculpture in your background.

No.2 – Lighting matters. Your course(s) should be recorded in a well-lit room that enhances visibility. Even if you’ll mostly be speaking, you’ll want your students to see you clearly. Natural light is ideal, but if that’s not possible, soft artificial lighting will do.

No. 3 – Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Every student should be able to follow along your course, regardless of their existing knowledge of the topic at hand. Avoid using complex and specialized vocabulary that might require your students to pause the course and look the term(s) up.

No. 4 – Just be yourself! You’re selling not only your course but your unique perspective on the subject as well. So, show off your personality and enthusiasm for the matter at hand to win over your audience.

Step 8 – Build Your Brand

At this point, the teaching aspect of starting an online tutor business is done. Now, it’s time for the marketing portion. Your first thought might be – “I’m a teacher, not a marketer!” And while this is a perfectly reasonable thought, we’ve got bad news – if you want to succeed in this competitive environment and start an online tutoring business that will go the distance, you have to be both.

So, pay equal attention to your brand as you did to your course content. Start by thinking about the name you’re going to operate under. Will it be just your first and last name, or a unique brand name that reflects your niche or teaching style?

Ideally, during this step, you should also think about a logo, brand colors, and any other graphic design element that can help create a unique brand identity.

Once you nail this identity, make sure to follow it to a tee. This means remaining consistent in branding your course(s) on your teaching platform of choice, social media sites, and any additional promotional materials.

Step 9 – Promote Your Courses 

Once you get the basic marketing concepts down, it’s time to move on to the next step – promoting your courses.

Again, it’s the same as with branding. Even if you have amazing courses, you can’t put your feet up and expect them to market themselves. It’s up to you to promote your lectures and spread the word about your online teaching business.

Some of the channels you can leverage include:

  • Social media – Whether your target group is teenagers or adults, they must use at least one social media. Figure out if they prefer TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or all of them and create an account on the particular network. Post regularly and join groups to boost your brand awareness.
  • Promotions and discounts – Early on, your priority should be to attract as many learners as possible. Promotional offers, such as course bundles, are a great way to achieve this. Group multiple lessons at an affordable price, and you may spark greater interest. Also, set a lower price for certain audiences (e.g., senior citizens and military members).
  • Email campaigns – Collect email addresses of your target learners through social media and send them emails. The messages should address their pain points and how your courses solve their problems.

Step 10 – Collect Valuable Feedback and Adapt

If you’re only here to learn how to start an online tutoring business, your job is technically done with Step 9. But if you want to start a successful and long-lasting online teaching business, you’ll also keep this step in mind.

You see, even with all the preparation, time, and effort invested in your course(s), you still can get some things wrong. One of the lessons might not be clear enough, a specific multimedia element might not resonate with your students, or a teaching approach might fail to fully engage them. That’s why Step 10 is crucial.

After your course is live, you should consistently monitor its success, seeking areas of improvement. If that course is underperforming compared to your other courses, there’s probably something wrong with it. Discovering what is the most important task, as many things can go wrong in the complex world of online teaching.

Does the course have low attendance rates? Perhaps the topic itself isn’t appealing to students. Or does the course have a low completion rate? If so, something in the content (or your delivery) may be causing disengagement. Though you can go on a personal mission to find out the specific pain points causing these issues, you can also take the easier route – simply ask your students.

Student feedback is an invaluable tool for improvement, as it will help you refine your content and teaching methods in a way self-assessment rarely can.

How to Start an Online Teaching Business: Tips for Success

The 10-step guide on how to start an online teaching business will equip you with all the necessary knowledge to be successful in this endeavor. The following tips will help you stand out among the competitors:

  • Collaborate with other experts in your field to create enticing master classes. This will help you attract more students and build your professional network.
  • Optimize your course title and descriptions for search engine optimization (SEO) to get your course to rank higher on Google and other search engines.
  • Offer a variety of pricing options to cater to different student preferences. You might introduce a basic course with essential content at a lower price and a comprehensive package for those seeking a deeper learning experience at a higher cost.
  • Keep up with the industry trends, emerging technologies, and best practices in education to continually enhance and refresh your course(s).
  • Seek testimonials from your students and proudly display success stories to build credibility and attract new enrollees.
  • Provide excellent customer support to promptly address any inquiries, concerns, and technical issues.

Lay the Groundwork for a Rewarding Career

How to Start an Online Teaching Business

Depending on your area of expertise, there are some variations when it comes to how to start an online teaching business. But it all starts with the 10 steps we’ve listed. From making your enterprise more focused with the right niche to helping you cut costs through BlurBay, they set the stage for a stable company.

From there, it’s all about providing your learners with value. Keep your lessons succinct, informative, and engaging. Do so consistently, and your students will come back for more.


Should you start an online teaching business?

Yes. By starting an online teaching business, you enjoy endless flexibility and control over your modules. It also allows you to teach broader audiences rather than just two or three classes.

How do I start an online teaching business?

To start an online teaching business, you need to choose a niche and target audience, buy various devices and course materials, set your rates, and post your content on the right publishing platform.

Do you need experience to start an online teaching business?

Technically, no. You don’t need teaching experience to start an online teaching business. However, if you can prove you’re well-versed in your topic via certifications, you can attract more people to your lectures.

How much should I charge to teach English online?

It all depends. It depends on your qualifications, course content, and the platform you choose. Generally speaking, you should charge at least $25 per hour per student to teach English online.

Can you make a living teaching online?

Absolutely! If you approach building an online tutor business properly, you can make a sustainable living from online teaching. Your earnings will come from live lessons, pre-recorded courses, and a variety of tie-in digital products (e.g., study guides and e-books).

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