Secrets to getting VIPKID Bookings Fast
I was fully booked within a month of being hired by VIPKID using these simple tips and tricks.
One of the biggest questions a new ESL teacher has is, “Will I get enough bookings?”
Most ESL companies make sure their independent contractors know that they are not to be considered for full-time employment. But the truth is that if the passion for teaching and the drive for self-employment is there, some teachers want to make it a full-time position, and they do.
It can be done.
A word of caution though, if full-time ESL teaching is your goal:
I recommend working for a handful of your favorite companies so that you can fill gaps in your workday if your go-to company cannot fill your slots. For one of the better reviews I’ve seen, check out Annie Analaigh’s article The Best Online ESL Company to Work With.
If you want to make this your full-time gig, here are a few pointers that helped me get fully booked within a month of starting with VIPKid.
Create an Attractive Profile
Make sure you put your qualifications are at the forefront of your profile. This is one of the most important aspects of your teacher bio. Don’t skimp here.
If you’re an educator with a license, make sure to highlight this information!
Ask How You’ve Been Labeled
Parents can sort through teachers based on education and teaching tags.
These tags might be things like: patient, encouraging, funny, conversation-focused.
You can request to see how you have been tagged and ask for adjustments if needed through the support center.
You are usually given your tags by your interviewer or a Learning Partner. Make sure you feel that they describe your teaching style accurately.
Open All of Your Slots…and TEACH!
This is super painful at first, I’ll admit, but there are so many students that you are bound to get new students fast if you’re schedule is wide open!
If you are free to open up all of the hot “peak time” slots, then do it! I opened my first weekend up entirely. I only got 3 classes, but those three quickly turned into regulars, and those regulars left me 5-Apples, and then the students came pouring in!
This was awesome at the time, but what if you get slammed with bookings? Being brand new and having 8 hours of back to back classes would crush your career before it even starts!
So, I suggest taking your first week and opening just a few slots, and not back to back just to make sure you don’t have an insane rush of bookings that you cannot handle.
Open the peak time slots, and see what happens during week one. If it’s slow, open up your first Friday night….and stagger the slots (give yourself a half hour between each lesson).
Do the same for Saturday.
A lot of veteran teachers prefer to take their weekends off, but that’s when students are available during their daytime for classes. So, you might have a better chance of getting the students whose regular teacher takes off on the weekend. Try it!
The important thing to understand is that you might have to teach some uncomfortable hours to start, but once you start getting bookings, and good feedback, you will be able to cherry pick your hours!
Personalize Your Feedback
It can be hard to take the time to personalize your feedback if you are taking on too many classes too soon, but this is extremely important if you want to build a regular student base. Your teaching job is your freelancing business…your students and their parents are your clients and they want to be treated as though they are special to you.
Feedback Panda is a great way to get through feedback quickly (it’s a paid platform that provides pre-filled templates for each lesson’s feedback). It makes life easy, but even if you use it, you should still make sure to leave personalized feedback from your lesson.
For example, “Sofia and I had so much fun talking about the stinky red shoe! We laughed a lot!”
Use the Gift System
This is my BIGGEST secret to getting recurring bookings and driving the regulars I want back to me. VIPKID has implemented a way to communicate directly with your students through the ability to send a “gift.” This is basically an e-card. You can choose from free ecards or pay for special ones with tokens you earn through challenges, and 5-apple rewards (among other things).
When I saw this, I immediately created my own CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. It’s a simple spreadsheet with each student’s name, ID, and other pertinent information that I don’t want to forget.
I send new students an e-card, and follow up with another later on, preferably on Sunday afternoon, before the frenzy so I am fresh in their mind when they log in to book.
I will spend tokens on special cards for my regulars during the holidays, if they are ill, or if I know they have a special event coming up. It’s a simple, and compliant, way to keep track of your students and show them you care.
Bonus: You will often receive sweet e-cards in return.
While I cannot guarantee that you will be fully booked within a month, this is the path that I followed and I’ve had great success in getting bookings and returning students. It’s also a nice way to be able to target the students you really want to see coming back every week.
Let’s be honest, not all students fit with every teacher. Sending e-cards to your favorites makes them feel special!
Have questions? Want to chat about teaching ESL online? Book a call!