Building your Brand of One
TEFL Franchise - Tired of working for the Bossman?
How to get your own English Students in Japan
by Kevin R. Burns
I was tired of working for others so started my own English school in Japan. Maybe you have ambitions like this too?
You don`t need to start a full-fledged school like I did. But imagine being able to pay off your rent every month, take your sweetie out for nice dinners whenever you want, and be able to bank a lot of cash, all by working a little bit more each week.
I made so much money on the side that I could take my friend Doug to Boozer House. You can too!!! Strange, Doug didn`t look too happy about it, and never returns my calls anymore? Oh well, more time for teaching I guess.
This is not a get rich quick article. GRQ most often doesn`t work anyway. If you are a serious teacher, read on.
This article was inspired by conversation I had recently with some of my esteemed colleagues at Tokai University, including
Todd Rucynski. Todd is a film producer out of Kihei, Hawaii and offers: Writing/Directing/Editing educational materials for the Asian market. He also lives and produces films in Japan.
What an awesome group of teachers they are at Tokai U. I`m honored to be able to exchange ideas with them.
The advance of the internet and the services spawned by that has been a Godsend for independent English teachers in Japan.
TEFL Franchise - You can Compete!
Yes the playing field has been leveled between you and the BIG schools.
Perhaps this is yet another reason for the demise of some of the big schools and the bankruptcy then take over of others. Big is strong. But big is also unwieldy, tough to change, and inflexible. Big is sometimes sleazy and at times even corrupt.
You won`t be! You will treat students with integrity and expect the same. And you will gain more students because they are your greatest resource for gaining more students – their friends and colleagues. You will create an awesome website. A website that provides free information on how to study. Information that students are already looking for. You will be the provider, or let`s say: THE Expert.
TEFL Franchise - No Money Down
Don`t have any money? Not a problem. Facebook will give you a free mini site where you can advertise yourself. You can create a group or a page for your site. I recommend creating both.
Heard of Wordpress? You can create an awesome website (blog), which will be found by students if you study a little basic SEO (website optimization). Joomla is another free option. You can create a Yahoo Group. While a little aging, Yahoo Groups are popular in Japan.
But don`t just put up a website and expect to get students. You are building your own side business which may well become your main business (if you want it to). So put in some time and study SEO. It will pay off in spades later on!
TEFL Franchise - Mixi, provides more free advertising
Heard of Mixi? Get yourself a spot there. Create an English study group and offer pithy advice on how to improve grammar, vocabulary and more. Keep your Japanese friend busy by having them translate your advice into Japanese. Have your Facebook pages, Yahoo group, Mixi page and more link back to your Wordpress or Joomla site.
Count the Yen you have raked in this month, and laugh because soon you may be quitting Nova, Geos, or Aeon, and making more money than you ever did with them.
Dough! Visa worries?! What do I do about a sponsor if I quit Nova?
TEFL Franchise - Don`t get me started on Immigration!
Immigration doesn`t like to give up this information easily, but you can sponsor yourself for a “self-sponsored visa.”
How do you do this?
You have to show immigration that you can support yourself. Their main concern is that you will run out of money and perhaps resort to shady endeavors to eat. Homeless NJs (non-Japanese) is not something they can stomach. To show them you can support yourself, you have to be able to show them a tax form illustrating that you are making 250,000 per month or more. So you need to be above board with your side business, declare taxes, and keep that tax form to prove you can support yourself.
Or you can simply continue teaching with Nova, let them sponsor you, and rake in more yen with your nifty side business.
Also, keep your eyes open for entreprising NJs who have built up a sizeable school but want to go back home. I was recently offered a school of 80 students by a friend. She offered to let it go for 100,000 Yen. You would easily pay that off in a month and have change to take Aunt Martha to Bali. (Not that you want to or anything! You would probably like to take Masa or Sanae).
Be aware that some of your students may well have other objectives. If Mr. Suzuki repeatedly asks you out for beer and steak, either he finds you incredibly charming, or attractive, or he may well have a joint-venture offer up his starched sleeve. A journalist in Nagoya hoped I would go in with him on an English school after he got to know me. Keep your eyes and ears open, be polite, dress well.
TEFL Franchise - Improve your Appearance
Just by dressing well you will outdue many of the slobs that pass for English teachers in Japan. (Don`t mean to offend, just being honest.) Some of our fellow teachers could use a lesson from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Not sure if you are dressing well? Ask a good dresser you respect. Get a haircut! Would you want your children studying with some long-haired fellow you barely know?
Maybe it isn`t fair, but how you look makes a huge difference in Japan and even back home.
Wear a tie. Don`t dress too sexily. You are not on the make, you are a teacher. To be even more politically incorrect - lose some weight. You will look healthier and more energetic.
Some great free services that will help you find students in Japan:
Find a Teacher
Be sure to declare your taxes!
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