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I know I’ve spent a lot of time following links from Google and Pinterest promising me ways to make money online that end up being absolutely worthless. They don’t give enough information, are outdated, require way too much work for the return (I’m looking at you, survey sites), and on and on. This is not one of those posts! I currently work as an independent contractor for 2 companies that pay me $20 or more per hour. Let me tell you how!

how to make $20 an hour as an independent contractor

You may or may not be familiar with online ESL companies. There is a big trend in China and many other Eastern countries to hire North American teachers to teach their children English. Most Chinese children learn English in school but from Chinese teachers, so they often speak English with a strong accent and not always with correct grammar. With how difficult the transition from Chinese to English is (and vice versa!), it is totally understandable. But, since the goal for many of these children is to study in America or work for American and international companies, speaking English without an accent is desirable.

That’s where you come in! You can be hired to teach ESL to children in China (and, depending on the company, other countries in Asia). There are a few basic requirements.

  • You do NOT have to have a degree in teaching or education,
  • You do NOT have to have previous ESL experience or certification,
  • You do NOT have to have a special teaching or ESL license.

You DO have to:

  • Be a native, North American English speaker
  • Have a bachelor’s degree (in any field)
  • Have some sort of experience teaching children (can be as basic as babysitting or leading a Bible study).

There are dozens of companies out there. If you use my referral link, I will get a one time bonus and will guide you through the entire process! The two companies that I can personally recommend are:

How to make $20 an hour as an independent contractor


VIPKID is the big name company in this field. It has been very successful and has thousands of teachers and students. Pay is per 25 minute class and you will be offered a base pay between $7-10 a class during your interview. You can also earn up to $2 more PER CLASS if you 1) show up to class on time =$1 (easy!) and 2) teach more than 45 classes a month =$1. This brings up your potential HOURLY pay to $18-24 per hour.

You are free to set your schedule how you want. All lesson plans are provided by the company. Parents book for their children. You might open slots that do not get filled (some teachers struggle more with this than others). Peak class times are from 6am-8am CST. You can open slots anywhere from 7:30pm-8:30am CST.

How to make $20 an hour as an independent contractor


GogoKid is a very new company on the online ESL field. A big draw of GogoKid is that teachers have generally been offered higher pay than at VIPKID. GogoKid is also currently offering a $300 bonus to new teachers who complete 3 classes in their first month. Base pay is the same, but you are more likely to be offered more than at VIPKID. There is also a credit system that can bump up your pay up to 1.25x your base pay.

I think GogoKid’s interface is nicer looking than VIPKID’s and their lessons look more modern. That being said, it is a startup and has had some growing pains. I would recommend GogoKid for a seasoned teacher or someone who is able to roll with the punches and not get extremely worked up about slow communication and policy changes. The benefit, though, is that you would be entering into a much newer company with fewer teachers, which is why I chose to join.

make $20 an hour as an independent contractor from home

If you are reading this and thinking, “This sounds great, but I’m not a teacher!” do not worry! I have heard from MANY brick and mortar teachers that the skills they use in the classroom are NOT the same skills that are required to teach one on one English classes. My degree is not in teaching and I have no formal classroom experience, but I have excellent feedback from parents. With VIPKID in particular, there is plenty of support and training to assist you in teaching. And, like I mentioned before, you are not creating lesson content. You just teach the material that is given to you.

If neither of these companies sound like a fit for you, there are dozens of others that I could suggest though not recommend from personal experience (I was hired with a third company but haven’t moved forward with it because I’ve been busy with my 2 current companies).

Honestly, I am passionate about helping people find ways to make money at home, so I would be more than happy to help you find the company that is right for you! If you do want to apply for GogoKid or VIPKID, I would be honored and thrilled if you used my referral links. Let me know before you apply so that I can offer you personalized assistance with your application, getting through the interview process, and getting hired! You can contact me by leaving a comment, using the contact form, or DM on Instagram. Instagram is the fastest way to get in touch with me because I’ll receive an instant notification.

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You also may be interested in this post for creative ways to make money with your art!

make $20 an hour as an independent contractor from home

make $20 an hour as an independent contractor from home – perfect for stay at home moms and teachers. A great sidehustle.

make $20 an hour as an independent contractor from home

make $20 an hour as an independent contractor from home