From PalFish to Independent Teacherpreneur: Liam’s story

Liam is originally from the UK but now lives in southern China. He is an experienced teacher who previously taught with PalFish before going independent in 2020.

Liam is now earning a stable full time income just from teaching his own private students, using the Abridge Academy curriculum.

In today’s teacher success story, let’s invite Liam to share his experiences and top tips for growing your independent online ESL teaching business!

Tell us about your online teaching background…

I began my online teaching journey before the pandemic during the online ESL boom in China. I was looking for additional income to top-up my main teaching job.

Palfish was a steady and fast-growing platform I discovered on the Chinese app store by chance in 2015. I was quickly thrown into an online classroom singing songs to children miles away from my living room.

The company grew from strength to strength and my schedule grew larger and larger with the seemingly endless population of young Chinese learners. Online teaching quickly became my bread and butter and the following years quickly became a blur of experience, exploration and learning in which I developed my personal teaching style.

When did it all change?

In 2019 the pandemic hit us, bringing the fall of the Chinese ESL empire when new regulations were released in summer 2020. The student pool started to dry up and teachers online quickly realised that traditional means of sourcing students using companies would no longer be viable.

Like most, I felt lost and confused as I was definitely out of my depth having to go it solo – going independent seemed like an impossible mountain to climb. I would need a curriculum, some means of communicating with the students and a marketing plan.

How did you come across Abridge Academy?

As time progressed I became a member of more and more online communities dedicated to helping newly started independent teachers and gathered all of the tricks of the trade.

I heard about the Abridge Academy curriculum membership which answered all of my prayers – placing me straight back into my comfort zone. I was able to get everything I needed available anywhere, and at the click of a button on any device. Both my online and offline private students were able to benefit from a single subscription to Abridge Academy’s professional, attractive and fun content. All of my customers have commented on how the children enjoy the slides and even regularly share print screens from the classes on their social media – great for bringing in new students.

How has your independent teaching business grown?

I have now amassed more than 15 private students since 2020.

This is bringing me an income of around 20,000 RMB ($3000) per month – just from teaching each student once or twice a week!

Wow! What top tips do you have for new independent online ESL teachers?

Recommendations are one of the strongest forms of marketing.

If I can give one piece of advice to any aspiring or growing teacher, it would be to cherish every single student you get and see them through to the end no matter the hardship they may cause you on their learning journey.

Each customer is potentially worth 100 more in today’s connected society. Your customers are your best marketing tool and best of all they are free!

I also cannot stress enough to my colleagues the importance of great content alongside their teaching. A successful business needs both the key and the lock to open the door.

To this day, I have never had to use any form of advertising due to how well my existing students have recommended me. I credit this to a combination of my teaching style and the great lesson content. Abridge Academy has been my conduit for success on my journey and thank you so much to the team for their contributions to our community!

Have you been inspired?

Thank you so much Liam for sharing your insights! Have you been inspired? Check out our Abridge Academy curriculum for professional teaching materials, and the Teaching the Chinese ESL Market course for actionable advice to market your online teaching business in China!

1 thought on “From PalFish to Independent Teacherpreneur: Liam’s story”

  1. Fantastic Liam!!! Your story is very Inspiring and you have obviously worked very hard and have a lot of dedication. It sounds like a great pa lave. I’m going to have a look!

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