When you start searching “VipKid” online, you’ll find loads of reviews from high-pitched, high-energy soccer moms.
You know, the kind of people that smile way too big and talk to you like you’re 5 years old?
But what if that’s not you?
What if you don’t want to act like a marionette or make a bunch of arts and crafts to use in your classes?
What if you’re a guy? Or perhaps just somebody that wants to make location independent income, without all the fuss?
Relax. You don’t have to be on Prozac or have a black belt in scrapbooking to be a Vip Kid teacher (shocking, I know!). What’s more, you really don’t even have to have any formal “teaching” experience.
My name is Dan. For the last year and a half, my wife and I (and our 2 kids) have been traveling the world teaching English online with VipKid. We’ve spent time in Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Cuba, and made cross-country road trips across the United States and Canada.
Here’s the thing–our English teaching has (and always will be) simply a means to an end.
It’s not our career. It’s not our life’s calling. We don’t stay up late at night thinking about our students, or worry about coming up with additional teaching helps or ways to go above and beyond.
In fact, I don’t even do a lot of the things that are recommended (or straight up asked) of teachers.
I never look at the lesson ahead of time, I use almost no props during the lesson, and I don’t have some cutesy background. Oftentimes I don’t even have headphones, and just use the internal mic on my laptop.
I improvise, I skip slides, I go off topic, and I make up my own songs on the spot (most of which are terrible). I’ve taught on hotel room bathroom floors, in parks, in the middle of thunderstorms and more.
And you know what…..? I still have a perfect 5.0 star rating! (at least I do as I write this…. don’t wanna jinx myself)
With over 350 reviews, I get awesome feedback from parents and students, my class openings book quickly (even on short notice), my students make great progress, and most importantly, I make the money I need to keep traveling.
Check out some of the reviews and ratings I’ve gotten from parents:
My point in telling you all this isn’t to encourage you to be a horrible teacher. The point is that there is definitely an 80/20 of what is important as a VIP Kid teacher (20% of the things that make 80% of the difference). And the reason I set up this website was to share my experience of exactly what that 80/20 is.
Because when you first learn about VipKid, everybody says everything is important.
You’ve probably heard things like:
“…. but if anything, you really want to _________.”
“Oh yeah, but remember, if you do _________ they could fire you.”
“If you don’t _________, parents will give you bad ratings.”
It can get overwhelming. And if you’re like me, you didn’t get into this to be overwhelmed.
The good news is–it really doesn’t have to be. Like I say, I’ve been doing this since February of 2017, and have done extremely well, all while ignoring a majority of the “shoulds” out there.
After getting asked about my experience so many times, I put together a brief cheat sheet of all the survival tips and hacks I’ve learned since I started doing this. If you want it, it’s yours for free. Simply input the email address that you want me to send it to, and you’ll receive my online English teaching hacks in your inbox.
- How I nailed the interview (and how you can too)
- The one thing that most people don’t do in their feedback (but makes a HUGE difference in getting re-bookings and high ratings)
- How to optimize your teaching schedule for maximum earnings (and minimum work)
- How to deal with crappy internet connections in 3rd world countries
- The backpackers guide to minimal props and teaching aids
- many more like these!
These are the exact same tips and tools that I use to consistently get 5 apple reviews, keep a full schedule, and travel the world with my wife and kids.
I’ll also forward you payment screenshots from my first year of working with VipKid, to help you see how the pay is broken down, and exactly how much my monthly earnings were.
So, enter your email here, and I’ll shoot the tip sheet over to you right away.
So, What’s My Story? (My Personal VipKid Review)
Ever since I read the 4 Hour Workweek in 2007, I’ve wanted to find a way to make location independent income, so I could travel abroad. We’re talking “level 10” case of wanderlust.
I spent all my waking hours and a lot of my money trying to figure out how I was going to do it. I tried to build a bunch of websites and make money selling products online, but nothing ever really panned out the way I was hoping it would.
Some of the more sad/humorous attempts include:
- I designed a self-watering indoor vegetable garden that nobody wanted (or I just really sucked at marketing it)
- I spent months creating a course on budgeting that only made me $700 total
- I wrote 9/10’s of an ebook about door-to-door sales that I never finished
- I bought 2 websites and built several more, in hopes of getting sponsorship or making affiliate commissions.
- I had a go at YouTube, at one point earning about a hundred dollars a month, but never really getting beyond that point.
Is this sounding familiar at all?
In early 2017, my wife and I found VipKid. Although it honestly wasn’t my life’s ambition to be an online English teacher, I instantly recognized that it provided at least the potential for the location independent income that I’d always wanted.
My List of VipKid Pros and Cons
As I became familiar with VipKid, I realized that like most things in life, it was a “mixed bag.” At a quick glance, here are a few of the more notable pros and cons.
- Work from anywhere with an internet connection
- Teach as many or few classes as you want
- Pretty good earning potential
- Lesson plans are already made up
- Ability to select the times you want to teach (within an 13-hour window)
- Very little accountability with students (many students will only ever have a few lessons with you, so in the overall picture, you really aren’t responsible for their entire English education)
- Some funny kids and fun moments
- Most of that 13-hour window just happens to be when the Western Hemisphere is asleep
- Extremely strict cancellation policy, if you need to reschedule or change a class after somebody has booked you
I weighed these out, and decided to apply. Though I was rejected the first time I applied (full story in my “hacks” email), I eventually scored an interview, and subsequently a job with their company, teaching English. My wife got a job with them as well, and boom, just like that, we were official!
A few short months (and a handful of late-night, “What if?” conversations) later, my wife and I put our location independent jobs to the test when we sold our house, and headed to live in Panama.
Our plan was simple–teach English online, and live off the income.
When we got to Panama, we realized that there were a handful of obstacles to navigate. Because we opted to live in fairly remote beachside village, one of the biggest challenges was internet reliability.
There were some moments when we couldn’t open up our teaching schedules for weeks, because we knew our internet wasn’t good enough to sustain classes. There were other moments when we were logging online to start our 4 hours of daily teaching, only to have our internet go out in the middle of a thunderstorm. There were a couple moments that we actually thought we were going to get fired (again, full story in the email hacks if interested).
With some consistent effort and a handful of critical ahas however, we were able to legitimately work our plan of action.
After a year of living in Panama, we decided to continue our journey. At this point we have visited several countries, and continue to teach English with VipKid.
While there have been obstacles and unforeseens, online teaching has provided us the means to experience our goal of extended travel abroad.
So, what’s your story?
While your goal may not necessarily international travel, VipKid can still be an incredible way to work and earn money from anywhere.
Maybe this enables you to go live closer to a loved one. Maybe you take a year to live simple and go write a book.
My message to you is that VipKid can be a great way to earn money on your terms. While it won’t get you “rich”, it can definitely provide the flexibility for a rich lifestyle.
And most importantly, you can be an online English teacher and still be yourself. You don’t have to invent some new persona to fit a specific mold.
I’m glad you’ve stopped by, and excited to help you on your journey.
Ready to Learn More?
If this sounds like the kind of job you’ve been looking for, take 5 minutes and apply for VipKid here (you don’t actually ever teach a class until you want to start opening up some time slots on your calendar). After you apply, you will receive a couple emails from the company, sharing more information, and outlining your personal road map for becoming a teacher.
If you want to take a look at my quick sheet of VipKid tips and hacks, you can enter your email below, and I’ll send it over.
So, What Is Online Teaching Really Like?
If you want to know what it’s like to teach English online with VipKid, you’ll really just have to do it. But since everybody hates that classic “dad” answer, I’ll tell you this: Every morning when I’m waking up at 4:00 a.m., I hate it. Then by about 6:30 when it’s starting to get a little bit light outside, I don’t hurt as much, and it seems pretty cool that I’ve already worked for two and a half hours. By 8:00 a.m., when I’m done for the day and thinking about the beach, my VipKid job seems absolutely brilliant.
Is VipKid Legit?
Absolutely. Thousands of teachers all over the world are making money teaching English online with VipKid. The demand for “native accent” English lessons is huge, and VipKid is busily trying to fill it. There’s no scam or ulterior motives (I love all the video reviews, that use “scam” in the title, only to tell you it’s not a scam in the video, and try to get you to sign up… haha!). It’s not a multi-level marketing company, they don’t swindle people into 7 years of servitude, or slaughter kittens in a back alley somewhere. It’s a genuine business, with genuine demand, that will earn you genuine money. It shows up in your account every payday like they say it will.
How Much Does VipKid Pay?
The short answer is, you will earn between $16-22 USD per hour. The long answer is, “it depends.” The VipKid salary is tiered, so they actually pay more per lesson, based on how many lessons you teach in a month. They also pay small bonuses for teaching classes during their “hot” hours. If you teach “trial” classes to students that are thinking about signing up with VipKid, you will earn a small bonus for each student that ends up converting after your lesson (right now it’s like $5 per student). You can also earn pay if you refer a friend that ends up working for VipKid as a teacher.
What Are the VipKid Hours?
The hours open for teaching classes 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Beijing time (the last class starts at 9:30). You can open your schedule to teach anytime that you would like in that window. However, the peak hours are from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in Beijing. This is when the highest amount of kids are available to take lessons. They are home from school, have had dinner, and are winding down for the day. To get even more specific, the “ultra peak” hours are 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
What Are The VipKid Requirements?
Have a 4 year Bachelor Degree.
You degree can be in math, science, or underwater basket-weaving–doesn’t make a difference. But they want you to have a bachelor degree of some kind, be it of whatever flavor it may. And they will ask you to submit it, prior to letting you open up your teaching schedule.
Be a native English speaker.
They used to limit their teacher base to North American native (i.e. United States and Canada), although their position has relaxed on this.
Have a solid working computer, with a good camera and a microphone.
This should probably go without saying, but yes, if you’re going to be teaching video classes to kids online, you need to have a computer. Because you are technically an independent contractor, they don’t provide this, or any other supplies you purchase.
Have sufficient internet.
See above. They actually quantify the internet requirement as being a “wired DSL connection – at least 20 mbps”, although I have taught on WAAAAAY less than that. When I was living In Panama, the internet connection was lucky to be 3 mb download, and 1.5 mb upload. Not ideal, but a surprising amount of classes were taught using these speeds without issue.
How Do I Apply for VipKid Jobs?
If you know you are interested in teaching with VipKid, you should at least apply. Applying for a job with them doesn’t commit you to anything, and even if you get hired with them, you will only work if you open up your teaching schedule for classes (I was officially “hired” for several months, and only worked a few classes, because I kept my schedule closed). Using your email and a password, there is a really simple online application to fill out. Sections included are:
- Highest Level of Education
- Phone Number
- Languages You are Fluent In
- Teaching Experience
- How Much Teaching Experience (1 year, 2 years, etc)
What’s The VipKid Interview Like?
It happens via Skype, and it is fast. The whole interview is only 30 minutes, and that includes a mock teaching portion that they have you do to evaluate your aptitude for their system.
It will likely be conducted by a younger member of their staff. When I was interviewed, it was by a girl that might’ve been 23 years old… at the most! They will briefly explain their company and an overview of the teaching position, you will practice teaching a few slides, and then they will make you an offer (conditional upon you fulfilling a few requirements). They will likely tell you your “per class” rate, and explain a few other bonuses. For instance, maybe your “per class” rate is $7, and then the completion bonus is $1/class. This means that you are making $16 an hour, because each class is half an hour (So, 2 x $7, and 2 x $1). They will explain a couple other bonuses and next steps.
Any Interview Tips?
Be ready for the pace. Remember, the whole thing is only 30 minutes, so there is not a lot of dilly-dallying around. Don’t be alarmed if they aren’t spending time to build rapport with you. They will dive right in and start asking you about your education and experience. They are interviewing from a checklist, and the interviewer is probably doing 10-20 interviews a day.
Look over the teaching prep materials that they email you after your application, although I actually don’t recommend that you study them too hardcore. This tends to add to the jitters and come off less natural. Just understand that you will be trying to teach them a few slides, with the goal of being as simple and clear as you can.
In my experience, there really isn’t a lot of “negotiating” to be done with a VipKid teacher salary. They make their offer based on mostly objective criteria (i.e. how much teaching experience do you have, what’s your education level, etc). They say that teachers salaries are between $14 to $22 an hour, with a majority of those being in the $16-20 range.
Whatever experience you actually have, precursor it by saying “I have a lot of experience.” Then go on to tell them whatever experience you actually have. Saying you have a lot of experience isn’t a lie (no matter what your actual experience is). In fact, it’s a subjective statement that doesn’t really mean anything by itself. But what it does is paint a broad-brush stroke of confidence and positivity over whatever else you are going to say. Then follow it up by sharing your teaching experience, like it’s actually “a lot of teaching experience.” This makes it seem like you actually believe yourself. Nuanced, but important. 🙂
Have Another Question?
If you have a specific question about getting hired, optimizing the teaching/earning routine, or perhaps even something related to the travel potential of teaching online, shoot me a quick note: VipKidDude@gmail.com
I get a lot of emails, but I can usually at least fire back a quick message, and give you a few quick thoughts.
What’s In It for Me?
So… why would I take the time to share all this?
Simple. If you end up signing up to be a VipKid teacher through one of the links on this page, I get a bonus (what, you think I just did all this out of love? 😉 ).
I’ve also had a ton of people ask me “one-off” questions about teaching online over the last couple years, so I figured I could save myself a little hassle by consolidating everything into one place.