Side hustling online is a great way to make money while your DrSpouse is in training.
This is a guest post (meaning no money was exchanged) by my friend Liz. She shares about how she makes money teaching English online to kids in China with VIPKID while her husband is spending fifteen years training to become a cardiac surgeon.
(Did you get that? FIFTEEN! The medical journey is long, hard, and not for the faint of heart, folks!)
To apply to VIPKID and side hustle as she does, use her link and she will get a small referral bonus.
If you have any questions, reach out to her at the contact at the end of the article.
Take it away, Liz!
How I Made $2000 Per Month Teaching With VIPKID Without Childcare Costs
Training for a career as a doctor certainly has its own financial challenges.
After medical school, many medical families encounter frequent moves to areas with high cost of living. Unfortunately, these opportunities rarely compensate with appropriate salaries. As a wife of a cardiac surgery fellow, I know first-hand what it’s like to resign from a great job, load a Uhaul and follow my spouse to a new, usually EXPENSIVE, city. Not only can this be emotionally taxing, but it can cause immense financial stress.
The Medical Journey Comes with a Cost
Currently, my husband is in his ELEVENTH year of training. No that is not a typo. When I add in his four years of medical school, he has been working towards his goal of becoming a cardiac surgeon for a whopping fifteen years.
The first six years, I was a public school teacher. After having our second child, it made more sense for me to stay home with our children as opposed to paying for double childcare. But as we entered our final year of his training, our bank account was depleting fast—too fast.
As I realized we were not going to have enough money to make it to the end, I turned to my local Facebook page asking for job opportunities.
I figured I could substitute teach and keep us afloat. But wait, I would still have to pay for daycare. Substitute teachers in my area make around $100 per day. After I deduct taxes AND childcare, I would take home about $20. Womp, womp.
Then a local woman mentioned a company called VIPKID—which would allow me to teach from home while my children were asleep. Finally, a way to earn money and not pay for childcare. After researching and confirming the company was not a scam, I applied the very next day!
What Is VIPKID?
They use a similar format to Skype. To apply, you must:
- Be a native English speaker
- Have a bachelors degree of ANY kind (it does not have to be a teaching degree)
- Have experience with children/teaching (such as coaching, tutoring, substitute teaching, babysitting, teaching Sunday school etc.)
- Have a clear speaking voice that does not have a strong accent
The application process begins with an online form that you submit as your application. If accepted, you will be invited for a brief ten-minute online interview.
Next, candidates that are chosen to move on in the process teach two “mock” classes. You are provided with a power point for both lessons and you may add your own personality and props to make it unique.
What are the pros and cons of teaching for VIPKID?
*Set Your Own Schedule–You can teach as much or as little as you like. My schedule varies from week to week and I take vacation or block off days as needed.
*Competitive Pay—VIPKID pay ranges from $14-$22 per hour. Average pay is $18-$20 per hour (For reference–I make $20-$22 per hour or $10-$11 per class. Each class is 25-28 minutes long.)
*Time Zone: Due to the time difference between China and the USA, I can teach classes at night or in the early morning while my children are sleeping—which means NO CHILDCARE COST.
*Free to Apply: There is no cost to apply and no fee to become at VIPKID teacher.
*Bonuses: Teachers can earn a small bonus (usually $50) for referring a friend who gets hired by the company—though making referrals is NOT required. To be clear, VIPKID is not a MLM (multi-level marketing) type company. They also offer incentives for working holidays and periodically offer contests to win prizes and trips.
*FUN: This job is fun and low stress. Teachers instruct one student at a time and VIPKID provides every lesson via a power point—you can use toys and puppets as props.
*Attire: You can teach while wearing pajama pants! (seriously, it’s amazing)
*Learning to Rise and Shine: Waking up early to teach is an adjustment (I typically teach from 5:00AM-7:30AM during the weekdays). Here is a sample of my schedule from last summer:
*Independent Contractor: VIPKID gives each employee a 1099 for tax purposes….so you track your own taxes. Being an independent contractor isn’t really a CON but something you might not be familiar with. This is the first year I paid taxes for VIPKID. It did not affect our federal return, but I owed a small amount to my state. After taxes, I still earned over $5,000 in under 6 months.
*Limited Cancellations: VIPKID allows 6 absences per 6 months—canceling 3 back-to-back classes for a sick child would equal 1 absence.
Prepare and Apply
If you decide to apply, here is a simple list of things you may want to purchase/acquire prior to your interview:
- Reliable computer with strong internet (if possible, use an ethernet cord to maintain a stable connection).
- Add a mouse if you’re using a laptop (it makes teaching easier/faster as you will circle and underline items on the screen for your students) $6.99 options on Amazon.
- Wear a solid orange t-shirt for your interview. This is the signature color for VIPKID. While not required, it will help you “look the part.” You can find very inexpensive orange shirts at Walmart and Target. Any solid color shirt that does not have a logo is also acceptable. There are $7.00 options on Amazon.
- Get a headset with a microphone and a mute button. I use a Logitech headset with noise canceling and volume control which can be found on Amazon for under $30.00.
- A dry erase board, dry erase marker, play food, dolls, ABC flashcards and a puppet are also helpful items. (items you may already have around the house).
- Set up a mini “classroom”—an area with a kid-friendly background.
My total start-up cost for items was around $40.
Give it a Try
I wish I had known about VIPKID sooner during our medical journey. It really is a perfect fit for a spouse who needs to bring in extra money from home.
So far this year, my best month was September when I earned almost $2000 between teaching classes and successful referrals.
Relocating for residency or fellowship? No problem!
Another advantage of working for VIPKID is that relocating to new places does not affect your employment because can teach from anywhere. Some VIPKID teachers even teach while they are on vacation (though you can block time off whenever you like).
To submit your free application, you can follow this link where I will earn a small referral bonus.
And if you have questions or need help with the hiring process, feel free to contact me at: Elizabeth_Kunkle@yahoo.com