How I Work From Home WITHOUT Selling Anything – VIPKID
In April of this year, we moved from CA to OH right after my husband became a journeyman electrician in the state of CA. He was in a wonderful program where he worked and went to school for 4 years to become a licensed electrician. The program was a blessing, but we sure went through some hard times financially during the program.
As is the case in a lot of jobs, he started out at the bottom. The pay started low, but we really felt it because taken from his weekly paycheck, in addition to taxes and health insurance costs, they also automatically deducted his school tuition.
On top of starting out with a low pay, he also didn’t get the best jobs. Because all of the apprentices were in school, the ones who were new obviously knew less than those who had been in the program for a while already. Because the companies had to pay the apprentices in addition to the rest of the crew, a lot of the jobs chose apprentices who had more OTJ experience so they could get the job finished quicker.
For a 3 month period of time, the only job available was 100 miles away, and because the laws differ per county, the pay in Riverside County was less than it was in San Diego County, so his per hour pay was less, and they refused to compensate for gas, which had previously been their policy if the job was 50 or more miles away.
My exhausted husband would have to be clocked in on-site in Riverside by 6 am, meaning he would have to leave by 4:30 am. Because traffic was so horrible coming back into San Diego every day, he wouldn’t get home until around 6:30 pm or later and then still have responsibilities for the church most evenings.
Of course, we had to pay more for gas each week because he was driving 200 miles a day round trip. I was still working during this time, but my hours had just been cut.
Times were tough. We knew we were in the will of God though, so we did the best we could.
Our grocery budget was around $20 a week. Yes, you read that right. $20! During that time I learned to coupon and got a lot our everyday items (laundry detergent, toilet paper, shampoo & conditioner, etc) for free, which helped me be able to spend every spare dime on food. This time of our lives was before kids, so I only had 2 mouths to feed thankfully!
While I enjoyed the challenge of planning meals and snacks on such a tiny budget, if VIPKID had been around at the time, I would have enjoyed that opportunity a little more!
What is VIPKID?
First of all, I want to be upfront with you. If you sign up using my referral link I will get a referral bonus.
I’m not going to beg anyone to sign up, I just want to share my real life experience with the company.
VIPKID is an online company based in Beijing, China. It is an interactive program to teach Chinese kids English. A friend told me about it over a year ago, but I knew I couldn’t add anything else to my schedule at the time.
The company started about 4 years ago and has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. It’s been featured as Number 5 out of the Top 100 Work From Home Jobs in Forbes magazine in January of this year. Bloomberg.com also featured an informative article on VIPKID earlier this month.
Here’s a lowdown on how it works:
Parents in China buy lessons or packages of lessons for their children to learn English via a live teacher across the world. Instead of watching a video and hoping they’re repeating correctly, a native English speaker guides the child through age and level appropriate powerpoint slides. The student does a computer test prior to their first class, and that will place them at an approximate level. The teacher will use the computer-suggested lesson for a trial student, but while in the live classroom, is free to make lesson adjustments based on the student’s responses.
Each lesson is 25-28 minutes long. There are 6 different levels and within each level are 12 units, and within each unit are 12 lessons. (Level 1, the pre-school age, is the exception in that there are only 8 lessons per unit.)
The teachers do not speak Chinese at all. The students are immersed in the English language through the teacher speaking, pictures, short video clips, songs, and body language.
The relationships that teachers build with both the students and their parents is truly amazing!
Sounds great…how do I get hired?
You must have a Bachelor’s degree in order to be hired. It doesn’t have to be in education. Mine is in Theology. You do need to have some teaching experience. Teaching Sunday School, tutoring, nannying, daycare worker, homeschooling and of course working in a public or private classroom are acceptable experiences.
You first submit an application and they will let you know whether or not you’re eligible to proceed to the interview process.
You will either do a live interview or be asked to record a demo. As of now, the interview processes are chosen at random.
For me, back in September, I was sent material for a short lesson when I booked my interview. I had a 30-minute video interview with an interviewee in the office in Beijing. She asked me normal interview questions and then I had to teach her a 10-minute lesson on the prepared material while she pretended to be a 5-year-old girl.
It’s pretty awkward, but just do your best to imagine that the full-grown adult in your computer screen is actually 5, it helps.
A friend recently got hired and instead of the live video interview, she had to record a 10-minute demo lesson on the sample material and submit that as her interview.
If you pass your interview you’ll then schedule a “Mock Class.” Plan for your Mock Class to last about an hour. You will follow a link to a live classroom, where a Mock Class Mentor will be waiting for you. An MCM (mock class mentor) is a VIPKID teacher who also mentors (basically does part 2 of the interview process.) He/she will ask you some questions, give you an opportunity to ask questions, and then pretend to be a student in 2 shortened mock classes. One is for a younger level student, and one is for an older level student. Just like the initial interview, the material will have been previously sent to you to practice.
Your MCM will give you feedback on both lessons, and give you an opportunity for more questions. When it’s over they will send their assessment of you to the hiring staff, who will then determine if you’re a good fit for the company.
So…how much money will I make?
You get paid a base pay per class plus incentives.
After your interview, they will offer you a base pay. Now is the time to negotiate if you’re good at that sort of thing. Starting base pay is between $7-9 per class, depending on your experience and how you did on your demo.
You will also earn $1 extra per class as an incentive for being on time to class, and $1 extra per class if you teach 45 or more classes a month. If you start with a mid-range base pay, say $8/per class, are on time for all of your classes and teach 45+ classes a month, you will be earning $20 per hour. (2 classes in an hour at $8 base pay per class + $1 per class for being on time + $1 per class for teaching over 45 classes that month = $20 an hour.)
If you teach 30+ classes, you earn an extra .50 cents per class.
If you teach a trial class and the student signs up for the program after you taught them, you will earn $5 per conversion. Each month the company also offers various monthly incentives as opportunities to earn more money. Additionally, with every teacher you refer that gets hired, you will earn a referral incentive after they successfully teach their first class.
If you choose to teach a short notice class, you will earn an addition $2 per class on top of your base pay and other incentives.
There are more incentives and opportunities to earn more money, but this is just a general info post.
Pretty decent pay for a job where you literally can roll out of bed, sign on to your computer, and teach from your pajamas. (well, I’d recommend putting on actual clothing, at least from the waist up! 🙂 )
You will get paid once a month no later than the 15th.
When do I work?
Since your students are in China, your hours will be kind of crazy. During the school year, the peak time for classes is between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm M-F Beijing time. I am in Ohio, which is in the Eastern Time Zone, so that is 5:00 am – 9:00 am for me.
My husband also teaches for VIPKID, and he usually starts at 5:00 am and ends at 9:00 am. My hours vary, but I usually teach from 6:00 am – 7:30 am or 8:00 am because by that time the kids are awake and need tending to.
Friday and Saturday overnights (EST) are also peak time because a lot of students will take classes on the weekend during the day Saturday and Sunday. Some teachers pull all-nighters those nights. I am not one of those teachers!
The awesome thing is, you completely decided your schedule. Want to work 2 hours a day? Only open 4 slots! Want to work one day a week and then overnight on the weekend? Go for it! You set your own schedule!
We have a big family vacation coming up this month and my husband and I didn’t have to request time off, we just didn’t open slots on the days we will be gone. We do let our regular students know through parent feedback the reason why our normal slots are closed temporarily, but that’s it! So easy and stress-free!
There are pros and cons about the weird hours. For me the biggest con is I get less sleep. It is helping me get to bed earlier, which I’m a night owl who definitely needs a push in that direction anyway! The biggest pro is I can earn decent money while my kids are sleeping and don’t have a childcare bill.
During the summer, when students are not in school, there are a lot more weekday evening classes available because the children are home to take English classes during the day.
Have more questions?
This is just a basic overview, but if you have more specific questions, please feel free to e-mail me (on the home page there is a “Contact Me” drop down and you can email me from there. Or you can just copy and paste firstname.lastname@example.org into an email. This job has been such a blessing to our family, and I truly want to help other families, whether or not you use my referral link 😉
Here’s my referral link if you’re interested in applying! Again, I’m happy to answer any questions and walk you through the process! My Referral Link – If You Get Hired Through This Link I Will Get Paid