While learning English often costs money (courses, textbooks, audiotapes, trips abroad…) experts around the world agree that the money you spend learning English may be one of the best investments that you can make.
In almost every country and in every part of the economy, good English skills are one of the best ways to get a job. English not only helps you land a job but is often essential if you want to move up the corporate ladder (the structure of power that’s common in large companies). Employees with good English usually can expect to make 25-35% more money than those without, so you’ll recover your investment very quickly!
Today, we’ll talk about how learning English can make you money. Specifically, we’ll discuss why trying to improve your English is a good idea for your pocket!
1. Become a conversation buddy
If you studied a language at school, you’ll already be familiar with conversation practice: it involves chatting about everyday topics with a teacher or native speaker, and it’s a way to test out or improve what you’ve learned.
There are ways to get your conversation practice in for free, usually by swapping a language you know with someone who speaks the language you want to learn. So, if you want to get paid for talking, you need an angle!
• Advertise your strengths – If you’re a native speaker or have teaching experience, tell people!
• Go niche – Think essentials for business travelers, medical vocab, technical terms, phrases for students or sports fans.
• Use your accent – Regional differences can be the most challenging aspect of a language, so if you’ve got an accent, make the most of it!
Once you’ve got a hook, setting up an online ‘classroom’ is easy as pie using free online video messengers, such as Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and so on.
Most messaging apps let you vary your style of interaction: use video chat for role play and speaking practice, or stick to texting or emailing for writing skills (or if you’re camera shy!).
Alternatively, use notice boards, leaflet drops, and language clubs to get in touch with local learners.
2. Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
Whether you’re after a side hustle or a fully-fledged career, getting a qualification or work experience (through TEFL, for instance) can help you be a better teacher.
Some courses even cover the practical side of things beyond the teaching part, such as how to go freelance, find work, manage your taxes or teach online.
TEFL is a well-trodden teaching path with the chance to travel and work abroad once you’ve got your qualification. Courses can be pricey, and can take a bit of commitment – but neither are reasons to blow it off if you think it’ll pay for itself!
3. Expand Your Work Opportunities
In non-English countries, being bilingual puts you at an advantage. You have skill sets that help a business be international. Your mastery of English lets you deal with more clients than a monolingual speaker.
So you have better chances of finding employment. You also have better chances of finding higher-paying jobs. This is all with the mastery of a language that becomes easier over time!
When you learn English, you get the chance to work overseas. Why? Because you can adapt to overseas cultures better. You can work in foreign countries. It’s also a chance to travel often and gain international experience.
It’s good if you want a strong local resume. International experience guarantees you higher-paying jobs. It put you ahead of the competition.
Social Job Opportunities.
Mastering business English lets you work in many fields. You can work in the tourist industry. When you speak English, you can cater to as many travelers as possible. You can work in many tourism jobs, from hotel services to be a guide.
Solo Job Opportunities.
You can work as a translator. Many people require translations from English to another language. After all, English is one of the most used translation languages worldwide.
You can translate content from your local language to English, and vice-versa. Or, by mastering more than 1 language, you can do many translation projects!
4. Become a tour guide
If you like walking and the sound of your own voice, tour guiding could be your bread and butter. It’s also one of the few freelancing gigs that you don’t need qualifications or certificates to set up.
In fact, you don’t even need to start anything at all – you could find tour guides who already operate in your area and just offer to ride along as an interpreter.
That said, it’s fairly simple to go it alone: you just need a set of walking routes, excellent local knowledge, and some decent jokes. Obviously, you can lead tours in plain English if that’s all you speak, but a second or third language gives you an edge (and it’s likely you’ll be able to charge more for your services)!
5. Plan trips abroad for holidaymakers
Derek Low – a blogger who famously crossed the US by train for just $231 – now also offers abespoke travel planning service off the back of his master plan.
Basically, how it works it you use your travel experience and freakishly impressive organization skills to put together packages for holidaymakers or business travelers. That could include planning itineraries, researching transport options, suggesting sights or shows to catch en route, and then booking it all – for a fee.
You don’t need a second language to start your own travel booker biz, but it can definitely help. Not only could you reach more punters, but lingo skills can help you deal with overseas paperwork, visas and getting ahead without the faff.
6. Teach Business English to Others
English teachers are always in demand. Especially in local “non-English” environments. When you improve your English, there’s a chance to help others too. You can start classes, and help others improve. It’s a chance to establish yourself as proficient in the language.
Teach it Online & Offline.
You don’t have to provide physical classes. You can sell courses online too. There are websites like Udemy that help with that. You can make courses, sell them, helping others through your business.
You can sell everything, from English tips to English tools and instruction. You can provide that content on YouTube too.
Need an Example?
You should do research on teaching English online. There are many who sell courses, provide English tips, and make content for beginners. If you plan on turning your fluency into business, you must learn from the successful.
For that, we recommend doing some online research. Look for those who provide clarity and easy learning. See how they present their content. Take notes, ask questions, and engage! And don’t forget, adapt the English tips they provide into your own use of the language!
7. Work as a freelance translator
Translate may be freakin’ awesome but humans still have their uses – translation being one them.
Paid work can be tricky to pin down, especially if you’re up against experienced pros, but you’ve still got options! And here they are:
There’s a growing legion of DIY authors and publishers out there, and that means a growing demand for translated editions. Even better, it means someone else has already done most of the hard work…
Get involved by finding author hangouts and making yourself visible: set up a blog, join writer forums like Goodreads, or get vocal on social media. And don’t forget LinkedIn – where everyone and their gran seems to have a book to plug!
You may also find opportunities by approaching academic publishers or app developers (spotted a game you like? Check if they offer it in the language you speak. If not – drop ’em a line).
Other students can also be a prime source of work – just watch you don’t fall into plagiarism like this skint student (getting caught can be a stinker for both your business and your degree).
Reach out to businesses
From writing assembly instructions and ads for foreign markets to managing a Facebook page on the other side of the world – there’s tons of scope for translation with UK business and corporate clients.
If you’ve lived abroad, you could also hook into cultural awareness training i.e. teaching organizations which jokes, clichés or dinner table fails to avoid.
Closer to home, there may be local businesses that want tourist-friendly translations or councils who need to communicate with speakers of other languages. Whatever it is, keep your eyes peeled for job listings, or (even better) print off some flyers or business cards and do the rounds.
If you prefer your networking at arm’s length, a home-working site can bring the clients to you instead, but expect to sift the decent payers from the out-right exploitative! Try Upwork.com or the far stingier Amazon Mechanical Turk.
It’s tempting to just see translation apps as always from English to another language, but the reverse is just as valid.
Don’t forget about businesses, charities, and organizations based overseas who want to tap into UK markets: blogging, vlogging or getting in touch in your second language can help you get a foot in the door.