I’ve read so many articles about how to make money while traveling or living abroad, but many options include being tech savvy which I most definitely am not. And with past and ever accumulating debt (mostly past credit card debt with high interest) it is essential for me to make money outside of my normal job teaching English. Yes, maybe I should budget and manage my money better (which I am learning how to do) but I refuse to change my lifestyle and give up the things I love most because of mistakes I made when I was much younger and just coming out of Uni (in 2009, when it was tough to find any type of job). Experiencing new cultures and foods and meeting new people makes me happy, so I take on different jobs outside of my normal every day job in Spain.

My most profitable side hustle is being an online English teacher.

Being a native English speaker definitely has its advantages, and I am sure that most of you have heard about the opportunities to teach English abroad. But…what if you love traveling, but you just aren’t ready to make the move to another country?? What if you are always on the go and can’t settle down to one place or country for too long.  GREAT NEWS: There are a slew of online companies that pay top dollar for native English speakers to teach English to Chinese children, ages 3-16! So you don’t have to move in order to make some extra cash. You don’t even have to leave your house. Or, if you are someone on the go, you can always buy a hotspot or tether your phone and teach from anywhere (I literally watched a video of a couple who is on a “semi-permanent” road trip and they set up a “classroom” in the back of their van, and while the husband drove the wife taught her classes).

To be hired you usually need a university degree (from any field or major, but obviously a teaching degree will get you more pay) and experience with children (any experience is good to list on your resume even if it is just childcare). Some companies are a bit more strict, and they require that their teachers be from North America or have experience teaching English as a second language. Other companies may even look past the uni degree but require a 120-hr TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification. Most companies will pay extra for certified teachers.

I do not have a TEFL or TESOL certification, but, when I was applying to teach English online, I did have experience teaching english as a second language and I cited this previous experience in my resume. If you do not have any experience teaching English, but you have experience in a classroom, babysitting, or even regular tutoring cite these jobs in your resume. If you do not have a university degree, or a teaching degree, or if you want to rev-up your resume to get more money, you can easily get a TEFL or TESOL certification online. Most online teaching companies that I will mention below will accept any type of accredited certification. Right now there is a Groupon for a 120-hr TESOL certification for only $19. Click HERE to check it out. If you can’t find it from this link, just go to Groupon and search for “TESOL” in the search box and plenty of options will pop up. I wanted hire pay, so I am currently in the process of getting my certification with the Groupon from International Open Academy . My Groupon was only $5 when I bought it!! **Make sure that if you ever want to use your certification in an actual classroom setting, that the TESOL certification you sign-up for is accredited from legit organizations. Usually accredited online TEFL/TESOL certifications run around $200-400. If a program you find costs less than this, I would be weary about its validity to teach abroad. One online TEFL/TESOL company that seems to be pretty reputable is ittt; it offers at 120-hr certification for around $200, and from my research, it will be transferrable to an in-classroom setting if you ever think you might want to teach in-classroom abroad!

Once you are ready to apply and have your resume updated and suited for teaching English, check out some of these companies that I suggest:


About the Company: VIPKID is probably the most well-known online English company. They ONLY hire North Americans from US or Canada. They are SUPER organized and they have grown tremendously since I started working for them two years ago. Teachers teach one-on-one classes that are 25-minutes long. All of the materials and the teaching slideshows are given to the teacher and are available before each class. The teacher is required to write feedback for every student after each class. The feedback should take around 5 minutes to complete, so the total working time of each lesson is 30-minutes (25min in class + 5min for feedback). The company pays $14-22/hr. Applicants should have a university degree and be native English speakers (from US/Canada). Contracts are for 6 months.

What I Love: VIPKID does not require a minimum amount of hours. Teachers can choose their own availability. The company now has interactive classrooms where the kids can move objects on the screen, teachers can use online stickers to reward the student, and the portal is super user-friendly. This helps keep the student engaged and helps you keep their focus. VIPKID also gives a lot of support to their teachers; they have ongoing certifications and training, they offer workshops, and sometimes they even offer bonuses like TEFL certifications. The company has been reliable and very very organized. The company has come a long way since I started; they now have tens of thousands of students, information is streamlined, the scheduler is idiot proof so you don’t accidentally get booked outside of your availability, and the company offers fun online games and forums for the teachers to earn points towards prizes (today I “bought” printable puppets and a $5 Amazon gift card).

What Could be Better: Good for the company and students, bad news for applicants- The hiring process is long and extensive. Now that the company has made a name for itself, and employees thousands of American teachers, they are looking for teachers who are the best of the best. Applicants do not have to be certified teachers, but VIPKID definitely prefers it. In fact, many of my friends who have degrees in other areas and who have experience teaching English as a foreign language have not gotten through the VIPKID hiring process. And on top of the drawn out hiring process, new teachers are not getting booked because there is an over-saturation of teachers, and people who have more experience with the company seem to get booked by Chinese parents first. Plus, on top of it being more difficult to fill your availability, getting a raise is almost impossible. I have been with the company for two years, I have a very high rating from my students’ parents, and my stats within the company are above average, yet I still haven’t gotten a raise.

How to Apply: click HERE on my referral link and get to applying!

Dada ABC

About the Company: I do not personally work for Dada, but I have several friends who do, and they give the company two thumbs up. Dada ABC does not require that applicants are from North America; I have an Australian friend who works for this company. The only requirement is that teachers are native English speakers and have a Bachelor’s degree. I even watched a Youtube video of one teacher who is actually from Mexico, but since she had been speaking English most of her life and had a neutral accent she got the job. Classes are one-on-one and range from 14-60 minutes depending on the type of class. All of the materials and the teaching slideshows are given to the teacher and are available before each class. The company pays up to $25/hour based off of teacher’s qualifications, and skillset. Schedules are set by the company, and contracts are either 6months or 12 months, but the company prefers a 12 month contract.

What I Love: Native speakers from outside of the US and Canada can teach.

What Could be Better: I actually applied for Dada ABC and the company wanted to schedule an interview with me, but it was difficult for me to schedule an interview with the recruiter. She was either unavailable when I was, or I was unavailable when she was. The hiring process did not seem very organized to me. Aside from that, once you are actually hired, the company asks for times you are available and then THEY set your schedule. Dada ABC also requires teachers to teach at least 2 hours per day and 2 days per week and a consecutive two-day-minimum schedule is only allowed on weekends. They highly suggest having a 15hour work week but it is probably best to commit to less hours and add hours after you start. Trying to change your set-scheduled hours is discouraged so you should really be careful when committing.

How to Apply:  Click HERE

51 talk

About the Company: I do not personally work for this company (I have gone through the interview process but I have not taught a class), but again, I have friends who work for 51 talk (pronounced five-one talk) and they enjoy it. The main lessons are 45-minute small group lessons during Peak Hours (Monday to Friday, from 6AM to 10AM Eastern Standard Time). I have never taught in the online small group environment, but I am going through the training process right now and I can report back when I have made an opinion about this teaching methodology. 51talk offers one-on-one lessons outside of the peak times and these lessons are only 25 minutes, but the company still requires you to work the peak time hours in your contract. They pay $18/hour plus bonuses for the 45minute group sessions and contracts are for one year. You must have a BA degree (can be in any major), experience teaching or tutoring, and experience in the US or Canada school system. They also prefer that you have a TEFL/TESOL certification.

What I Love: The group classes sound intriguing. It may be easier to get a conversation rolling with four kids instead of coaxing one child through the lesson- they can learn by listening to others and may have more motivation or confidence to speak with kids their own age and from their own culture. 51talk also has regular opportunities for professional development and ongoing training…so you aren’t left in the dark.

What Could be Better: The company’s set schedules sound pretty strict and there is not as much flexibility as there is with VIPKID and gogokid. The hiring process also seems pretty long and kind of confusing. I have had an interview and an orientation class, and I still need to set up a group class training demo…the only problem is that I haven’t been able to choose my own group training time, so they keep sending me emails for classes that I can’t attend. In fact, this morning, I missed a group training class that I was scheduled for but didn’t know about.

How to Apply:  Click HERE

If none of these options are what you are looking for, click HERE to check out an index of online employers for teaching English online. This list compiles companies from all over the world, not just in Asia (the Asian companies just usually pay better). I’m going to check some out for myself!

And if teaching English online doesn’t seem the right fit for you, but you still want to make more money doing a side-hustle gig, keep checking back on our blog. A post with more side-hustle options is coming soon.

To find out more about how I am living and working in Spain, check out our The Girls page or our The Beginning of it All post.

Have questions about the companies mentioned in this post? Leave a comment below!


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