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Online Business Idea: Online English Tutoring

online business idea

Online English tutoring: Lucrative online business idea?

Whether you like it or not, English is the language you need to master when you want to have a conversation with people from any countries. Either for business purposes or personal endeavours, mastering English as your second language is essential, indeed.

Despite the tough competition, there are always needs to learn English as a second language, especially for students and business people dealing with International business. Yes, the market is there. That being said, here is an online business idea we want to explore today: Online English tutoring.

The first question would be: Why Online English tutoring?

Attending class is a hassle for many of us. While learning from installed software or web apps is a typical step taken by many, the truth is tutoring with real teacher will always work best.

Now think about it: How about starting a website facilitating students to learn English from a real online tutor – in private? I’m sure the demand is quite big.

Earning potential

I have talked with a US-based online English tutoring business owner a couple of years ago. The owner mentioned that the demand is high.

Despite the admittedly lack of marketing efforts (his marketing strategy: Words of mouth) he managed to make semi-passive 4-digit monthly revenue (about $4,000 in revenue a month, with more than 50% net profit, to be exact.) Not huge, but lucrative, indeed.

Dig deeper into the online English tutoring online business idea

Now let’s explore the online business idea deeper…

How things work

The idea is to assign an online Engish tutor to a student, and course fees are charged on per-hour basis. Think of the online business idea as the online version of an English language learning center.

This kind of business requires minimal work hours as your job as an owner is to overseer everything… and marketing, marketing, marketing. That being said, you should expect working 2-3 hours a day doing what’s necessary. However, if you are willing to outsource site management in exchange for reduced net profits, you might only need to work on weekends for a total of 4 hours a week or so.

Technical overview

Technically speaking, one-on-one tutoring is made possible by Skype, plus an app that logs time for payment/billing. The online English tutoring website is for registration purposes, as well as a meeting place if you use forums and add a blog to it. All in all, the real action is in the Skype.

How about the online tutors?

English tutors are paid a portion of the online tutoring hourly rate. The key success factor in this kind of online business model is the availability of qualitifed online English tutors. It’s best for you to source for the tutors from an agencies to minimise the possibilities of lack of tutors.

Marketing and promotion

“Build it and they will come” just don’t work with any online businesses. No matter how powerful is your backend system or how professional looking is your website, if you can’t get people to visit your website, you will fail sooner or later.

It’s essential for you to use search engine marketing and social media marketing campaigns to build up buzz and bring in targeted traffic: People looking to learn conversational English in private session, online.

Also, don’t forget your off line marketing efforts – attend trade shows, cross-marketing with complementing businesses, and so on – again, the key is to bring in targeted traffic.

So – are you in or not?

So, are you interested and ready to get started? If so, I have one, last tip; the first and foremost thing you should do is to choose the right business name and domain name, as easy, memorable, brandable domain name is crucial in your success.

If you want to, grab premium domain names to get that catchy, brandable domain names. It’s quite an investment up front (can be in the thousands of dollar if the name is really brandable) but it pays off quickly, in my opinion.

Good luck!

Ivan Widjaya
Online English tutor business idea

About author

Ivan Widjaya
Ivan Widjaya 2594 posts

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.

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  • Daniel,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Indeed, I agree that one-on-one tutoring works the best…

    Regarding the connection and interaction issues with online tutoring, I personally think that with the advent of social media today, students are more receptive about the idea of interacting via online tools, instead of face-to-face. But I agree that face-to-face tutoring is still as important as ever. Online tutoring is, I think, just another way to learn more in convenient manners, especially when they have to work around their tight schedule… just like people studying for online degrees.


  • Great article Ivan! I certainly agree about the necessity and benefits of learning English in today’s world. I’ve had a lot of experience myself in teaching English. I’ve taught immigrants in the US through a federal literacy program, students in Thailand in 3-day live-away English camps, and am currently teaching in Quito, Ecuador through a private institution. And through my experiences, I have learned one thing for sure: the more personal the teaching environment, the better the results. In this way, one-on-one tutoring will almost certainly produce better results than a large classroom environment. However, don’t you think that moving the classroom online, via skype or other tools, will remove some of the personal feel, and maybe even advantageous results, of private instruction? I ask this because I think part of the advantage of teaching one-on-one is the connection and interaction available for the student. Teaching digitally, even while using video chat tools, adds a barrier between the student and instructor that might hinder results. What do you think?

  • Bay State Tutoring,

    Thanks – any tips to share with our readers?