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A little disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. These are at no cost to you, but I might earn a slight commission off of them. As always, I only talk about products or services I love. Thanks for your support! xo

I’ve written before about my ‘personally tested side hustles’, and it’s safe to say I’ve tried a LOT of them.

First, lets back-track.

There came a time in my radio career where I was beginning to feel a bit “burnt out”. The 3AM alarms were starting to get the best of me, and I would makes jokes about wanting to become a “stay-at-home-dog-mom”. I think we’ve all been there.

It became a joke so much so that Laura and I would constantly tell ourselves that even if we had no back-up plan, we could always turn to teaching Chinese kids English. We had heard it paid well, so every time the going got rough, I would ask her if we could just start teaching Chinese students yet.

WELLLLL….fast forward to December 2018 and in the greatest ironic twist OF ALL TIME…here I am, resigned from my job, and teaching English to Chinese students online.

You really can’t write this stuff.

So how exactly did I make that jump? Great question.

Well, it began with my parents deciding to house a Chinese exchange student for a few weeks. My dad saw a post on the “NextDoor” app asking if any local families would be interested in allowing a foreign exchange student to stay with them, while the students immersed themselves in American culture. They were more than happy to, and immediately set up an interview with the exchange program.

The director came to our home to explain the program, and found out I was currently unemployed. She then (COMPLETELY UNPROMPTED) told me about a program called VIPKid that she used on the side to teach English to Chinese students.



Once I regained composure, she told me the pay was excellent and the job was super rewarding. She said the students were ADORABLE and that she could make her own schedule. I was sold.

Within about 4 days I had completed the application, interview, and mock lessons required to get my “certification”. After that I submitted some paperwork for the hiring process and I was ready to start teaching!

I swear if I hadn’t spoken to someone who was currently doing it I would have thought it was a scam. It seemed wayyyy too good to be true.

A FEW THINGS: Throughout the process I learned a few things…you do NOT have to have a teaching certification through the state, only through their program, but you do have to have a Bachelor’s degree (in any subject). I was certain there was no way I would be qualified to teach anything, but found the lessons are incredibly easy. The students I am teaching are around 5 years old, so they are learning phrases like, “She throws a ball. I am happy. He flies a kite.” etc. You don’t have to prepare ANY materials, VIPKid prepares them for you. You are simply reading the slides and having the student repeat them back to you!

I’m going to divide the rest of the details into sections to help break it down a bit farther. I promise it’s incredibly easy though…


Directly from their site: “VIPKID provides an international learning experience to children in China between the ages 4-12. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by highly qualified teachers. The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills.”

Basically, you are in a “virtual” classrooom one-on-one with a Chinese student for a 25 minute lesson. You each have a web cam, microphone, and the lesson slides in front of you. Using LOTS of hand motions, puppets, props, etc. you begin teaching English fundamentals. Here is a look at the setup…


I loveeeee their platform. It is SUPER easy to use, and aside from one audio technical issue (my fault), I haven’t had any trouble using it.

NOTE: I’ll be honest…as someone who has never officially taught in an elementary-level classroom, I was a bit overwhelmed by how much energy this job took. In the teaching world, they call it TPR (total physical response) which is short for using lots of hand motions, facial expressions, and excitement. If this isn’t your thing…then this role won’t be for you.


Desktop, Laptop, MAC, Surface

HD External camera or HD integrated camera (Most laptops have it)

Headset with a microphone, stable output and input


1.  A Bachelor’s degree in any field

2.  One school year of traditional teaching experience or the equivalent in mentoring, tutoring, or alternative education

3.  Eligibility to work in the US or Canada

A teaching license or qualification is not essential so long as you have the experience.

NOTE: I’m talking -any- experience with kids. My interviewer went as far as to count dance coaching, gymnastics teaching, mentoring neighborhood kids, babysitting, etc. Think wayyy back if you have to and don’t count anything out!


1.  Fill out a form/ application

2.  Do your first interview, teaching a ten minute demo class (KEEP READING FOR RESOURCES ON PASSING THIS!)

3.  Teach a mock class

4. Sign your contract (more on that later)

—-> If you are planning on signing up, I kindly ask that you throw in my referral code MARIS0172 when applying . You’ll want someone to do the same for you later ;) <———

PAY $$$$$

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As you can see, the base rate is normally $7 - $9 per class (25 minute class, with 5 minutes of completing a recap for the parent). They then add on an incentive for starting on time, and for how many classes you teach per month. They offered me $8.00/ class base. Here is the exact breakdown of my offer from my interview…

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So I am looking at $20 per hour (2 classes), with the option to make another $2/ hr for agreeing to teach “last minute classes” (which actually have a 24 hour notice window) and another $2/ hour for “trial classes” (students who are trying out VIPKid for the first time). Teachers are paid through direct bank deposits between the 10th and 15th of each month.

Now, I have a degree in English, but math isn’t my thing…however, let’s say I get 50 lessons booked in a month (about 6.5 hours per week) and teach them all as scheduled on the $8 base rate, I’d earn $500 before taxes. Of course I could teach way more than that if I wanted, but not too shabby for a side hustle!




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If you get more than six ‘cancellations’ (i.e. 3-6 days of cancelled classes), your contract may be terminated. A cancellation is when you have to close a slot after a student has booked it. While it seems a bit harsh to TAKE pay away, I totally understand that the students’ parents are working around their schedule and they want to ensure you show up.


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As I mentioned earlier, there are other bonuses to increase your income on TOP of the $20/hr…which I think is pretty cool. During my interview they offered me $100 referral fee for anyone who uses my code to sign up.


At first it felt verrryyy MLM to me. BUT after doing some research, talking to the exchange student coordinator who is a current teacher, and reading articles like THIS and THIS…I realized it’s def not a scam. They legit have over 500,000 Chinese students (at time of this writing), and genuinely need more teachers.

I decided giving out my code felt more like affiliate marketing as opposed to MLM because I -actually- like the product, only earn a one-time fee if you sign up, and you don’t have to pay anything to “buy in”.

So…it’s actually a pretty great deal. If you were planning on joining anyways, just enter my referral code MARIS0172 into the site to help your girl out!


time difference.png

Ahh….so we finally found a down-side. Well, a downside for non-early risers or those living on the West Coast. I happen to be the ultimate morning person AND live on the East Coast so I got lucky.

As you can see in the chart, Beijing is 12 hours ahead of us, and most students use VIPKid after going to their regular school, which means early hours for us! The weekends have a bit more flexibility for the night owls, as students log on during their day Sat and Sun.

*A major plus though? You can leave those PJ pants on….no one will be able to see them! Suhweet.


You are considered an “independent contractor” through VIPKid, which means you will have to file taxes as such. Here is the info from their site…

“All teachers contracted with VIPKID who are U.S nationals/residents or required to pay US taxes.  US tax law requires VIPKID to provide Form 1099 MISC if the payment meets the threshold for the associated payment($600/year) on or before January 31, following the calendar year end. For US nationals, your Form W-9 is required which includes your US Social Security Number (“SSN”) or Taxpayer Identification Number (“TIN”).”


So according to the VIPKid site, they ask you to sign a 6-month “contract” as part of the hiring process.

“VIPKID signs 6-month contracts with applicants who pass their screening process. Please inform VIPKID 2 weeks in advance if you want to take time off during your contract.”

At first, I was like, “ok that’s a no-go.” BUT, from my understanding, there is no minimum hours you are required to teach. I believe the purpose of the “contract” is to..

1) Encourage teachers to continue keeping bookings open to teach

2) Give VIPKid the option to not-renew teachers who are unsuitable

3) Allow teachers to apply for a periodic raise/ review on salary

I have not read of a penalty if you do not fulfill your contract (other than probably not ever being re-hired).


Whew. Ok. I think that covers the basics.

So if this sounds as appealing to you as it did to me, I encourage you to give it a try! Seriously, after a little bit of hustle in the beginning to get hired, it could be a perfect side (or full time!) hustle.


—-> If you are planning on signing up, I kindly ask that you throw in my referral code MARIS0172 when applying . You’ll want someone to do the same for you later ;) <———

Exciting news! My e-Course “Victory to VIPKid” is now live! This course is completely free to my referrals and encompasses everything you need to navigate the hiring process.

I’ve gone ahead and put together a few more resources for you to help navigate the sign-up process. I hope they help you and save you some time!

LINK: How I Earn $20+/ Hr On The Side
LINK: My VIPKid Set Up
LINK: VIPKid Printables
LINK: How To Create Your VIPKid Intro Video and Profile
LINK: VIPKid New Hire Interview Tips
LINK: VIPKid Interactive Level 2 Mock Lesson Tips

APPLY HERE: Teach with VIPKid Application


If you have ANY questions at all, I am happy to help! Just shoot me an email at marissanclark91@gmail.com