Are you a Native English Speaker with a TEFL / TESOL certificate but no degree? PalFish might be worth checking out.
PalFish could perhaps be considered the leading app in the online ESL space, because of the range of functions within it, the levels of interaction available with students and other teachers, and the different ways you can earn money on the app. The first thing you will notice when you join, is that there is a constant stream of communication going on across the app.
One teacher has reported earning US$38,000 on PalFish in 2018, including US$6,000 in one month (apparently due to a backlog of student assessments at the time).
The ‘kids class’ has a tiered remuneration structure, with the top level being 25 hours or more per week. It is possible to earn US$25 per hour at this level, with incentives.
Another way to earn income is to set a per-minute rate for students to voice-call or video-call you on your smartphone (via the PalFish app, fully recorded), so they can simply practice their oral English by chatting with you informally.
Group classes are another way to earn money on the app, not only with students but with other teachers, ‘train the trainer’ style. One teacher has reported 150 plus teacher registrations in a webinar series for teachers. Multiply that by, say, US$10 per teacher registered, and the earnings potential is clear.
Another thing about PalFish is that they pay using Payoneer, so no PayPal fees!
Passive Income Streams
You can create your own content, and have income from monetized live streaming. The teacher simply creates a class using the system within the app, e.g., a 30 minute oral English lesson, sets a fee per registration, and then streams the class. The content is also available as a monetized replay, with the teacher being paid for each subsequent registration.
Thus, you can create a content pool which is available to students – providing passive income streams.
The potential can easily be verified by going to ‘Live Hall’ within the app, and viewing the content available, the pricing and number of enrollments. There are examples of hundreds of dollars and more being generated from content created by a teacher, e.g., a one hour class. Not a bad return for say a couple of hours work including prep.
I whipped up a 15 minute free conversation class on the topic of the things I like to do, using pics from my iPhone as slides and talking points. I gave them two hours notice, and had 47 enrollments at the time. When I check, I see more students have viewed the replay since.
Key Success Factors / Tips
There are thousands of kids registered with PalFish. You as a teacher join the app and are at that point unknown to the rest of the PalFish community. You then raise your profile by putting out some free content, such as a 15 minute oral English session streamed free. If you put out say one or two per week for a few months you will build up a pool of searchable content and have a profile with the students.
By putting out content you are ‘warming them up’ (to use a sales analogy), building trust and eventually converting them to your monetized offerings. This is a process, wherein you bring them to a certain point where they are happy to pay for your offerings, and will even seek them out.
Doing thumbnails – the static image that is your storefront for your content offering – that appeal to kids aesthetically will help you get registrations. Using some Mandarin on your thumbnail may also be savvy – use Google Translate. Your pic should be ‘kidsy’. PhotoGrid is a free app that will get you started – you can put rabbit ears on yourself, etc.
If you put your name or some sort of unique identifier in your content title, such as a phrase, the students can find your stuff more easily in the system when they later search for your replays.
When you start out teaching the kids class, you will get trial classes. Students do a 25 minute lesson with you, and if they like you they may become your regular students. The kids course is all pre-packaged so there is virtually no prep needed.
Note: while it is a requirement to be a native English speaker if you want to teach the official kids course, you don’t have to be a native English speaker to be active on PalFish, building up your profile and putting out monetized content.
All You Need is a Smartphone or Tablet
A notable feature is that you can do everything on your smartphone (see video) or tablet, including live group classes. For the kids course you need to have a few props, and a laminated A4 sized PalFish logo to display behind you when teaching. But if you are a digital nomad and want to keep moving, PalFish is ideal.
Click here to see video, and the option to join*.
Paul – Teacher Freelancer
*Feel free to use the invite link if you are joining PalFish, as it helps to make it possible to bring you reviews of online Teaching apps. I hope I have provided some useful information for you. Thanks!