There are many popular freelance platforms for teaching online classes. Before you log in to any of them, you’ll want to read this.
You are not doing yourself any long-term favors by dumping your time, energy, and skills into a freelance platform.
Many teachers jump at the opportunity to join a freelance platform mainly because they don’t understand the far-greater potential they have to reach their goals by building their own business.
What is Outschool?
Outschool is a freelance platform that connects teachers with students.
You can offer classes for kids ages 3-18. There are 1000s of Outschool teachers teaching a wide variety of classes.
These could be interactive classes for individuals or engaging, small-group classes.
There are a few benefits to joining a freelance platform.
- It is easy to get started since everything is done for you.
- It feels safe.
- They have the students.
- You can just focus on the teaching.
I doubt I need to go into detail on these since you’re probably already thinking of them.
Of far more importance in this article…
…are the many drawbacks to joining a freelance platform that many teachers have not considered.
Let’s check out those below.
There are actually a couple of secret benefits from freelance platforms that I’ll tell you at the end of this article, so be sure to read to the end.
There are so many drawbacks to joining a freelance platform.
- They take a big chunk of the money you make.
- They own the relationship you have with your audience.
- Hourly pay on freelance platforms always end up being a race to the bottom.
- Their customer is the student, not you.
1. They take a big chunk of the money you make.
Freelance platforms take a large chunk of the money you make on the platform. This can vary from 15-30%.
Even at the lower end of 15%, if you make $4000/month—which on a freelance platform is already extremely difficult—comes to $600!
You’re paying $600/month basically to use some software. That’s $7200/year.
Outschool takes a whopping 30%!
If you’re paying 30%, it comes to a grand total of $14,400/year.
Please don’t pay them that much for basically offering you something that you can get yourself for far, far less.
The Independent Teachers Membership comes with everything you need to go independent and costs nothing compared to what freelance platforms charge.
2. The platform owns the relationship you have with your audience.
Very often this means that it is difficult to contact students outside the platform. Obviously, it can still be done, but the platforms discourage it, saying that it is for your own safety.
They play on your fear of being taken advantage of.
When you go independent, you realize quite quickly that the number of people out there who would or even could take advantage of you is extremely small.
This also diverts your attention from the one entity that will take advantage of you: the platform itself.
You take payment upfront for classes before teaching when you go independent, so there really isn’t any reason to fear being taken advantage of.
3. Hourly pay on freelance platforms always end up being a race to the bottom.
Another huge issue that you will run into with freelance platforms is that the more people who join, the more they are tempted to lower their prices in order to attract students or clients.
Their thinking—and maybe yours—is that, in order to get students or clients, I need to set my prices lower than everyone else.
Teachers notoriously undervalue themselves. They do not realize the value of what they are offering or the time that goes into doing it well.
The platform does, but they will not let you know that.
They benefit enormously when there are more teachers available on the platform competing on price because their actual audience, the students, will show up in droves in order to take advantage of the deals.
This leads us to our next point.
4. Their customer is the student, not you.
Unfortunately, you are not the audience the platform cares about most. The students are.
The platform will happily sacrifice your job, your pay, your connection for whatever makes the students happy.
That means, even if you do well on the platform, it can be taken away from you at the drop of a hat. You do not own the business.
Furthermore, since most of these companies now rely heavily on algorithms, you can make a mistake that gets you kicked off a platform without really even understanding why.
Why Don’t More Teachers Decide to Go Independent?
They don’t understand:
- The value they provide online
- How much more financially successful they could be
- How much happier they could be
- How much more secure in their jobs they could be
- How relatively easy it is to build your own business
…if they were to go independent.
The only thing a freelance platform has that you don’t is:
- an online platform
- and an audience.
An Online Platform
Considering it is easier than ever to create your own online platform for taking payments, scheduling, and teaching online, even if you’re not techy, you really shouldn’t be frightened off by doing this yourself.
You can get the platform, payment processing, scheduling, training, and more included with the Independent Teachers Membership.
The second thing freelance platforms have is an audience.
This is the big one. You need students, and the platforms have them.
You don’t know where to find them yourself.
This is definitely an issue.
Finding your own students takes time and effort.
There is no way around it. This is probably the biggest drawback to starting your own business. It can take time to find your own students.
You can be up and running on a freelance platform and getting a few students in a short period of time. Starting your own business is going to likely take more than a year, depending on your financial goals and how much time you put into it.
The long-term benefits of finding your own students though far outweigh the short-term benefits of joining a freelance platform.
The advantages and disadvantages of going independent
Going independent is not all cake and ice cream.
There are definitely challenges.
Probably the biggest challenge is facing yourself and your ability to second guess everything.
There are a number of disadvantages to going independent.
- Not knowing the future can make you feel nervous
- The sheer volume of options available to you
- Don’t know how to start
- Takes time to become financially successful
- More work up front
These drawbacks can be intimidating, to be sure.
That is why I created the Independent Teachers Membership. I provide you with:
- Payment Processing (no extra fees)
- Scheduling Software
- Step-by-step Training
- Swipe Files & Downloadable Resources
- Personalized Support
- A Wonderful Community
You don’t have to feel nervous or overwhelmed. I will show you exactly how to start and the steps you need to take. All you need to do is put in the front-end work to build your own meaningful and successful online teaching business.
There are so many advantages to making this decision and following through now.
Advantages of Going Independent
- You can make a LOT more money
- Everything you make you keep – save for basic expenses which are incredibly low for an online business
- Far more long-term security. Your business is yours and can’t be taken from you.
- If you put the work in now, you can work far fewer hours a week in the future than you thought possible.
- You can make much closer connections with your clients or students
Secret Benefits of Freelance Platforms
As mentioned previously, there are a couple of special benefits we can gain from freelance platforms, but they aren’t benefits the platform wants you to consider.
First, a freelance platform can be a great way to research what online teaching business you’d like to start. You may join a freelance platform as a stepping stone in order to bring in some money while you continue building your own online teaching business.
Second, you can make some connections with potential clients and students. Be careful to abide by the rules of the platform you are using, but, usually, there is nothing restricting you from connecting with students outside of the platform as long as you are not actively promoting a competing program or platform, like your own.
But making those connections now in order to take advantage of them at a later time when you are no longer associated with the platform you are on is not usually
4 thoughts on “Before Your Outschool Login, You May Want to Read This”
This is extremely helpful. I really like the balanced analysis.
Hey Stephanie, I’m really glad you found it helpful! Thanks for the note.
I’m currently giving away 25% to a platform, and working for peanuts at another one. I do believe that creating my own platform is the way to go, and I have begun researching that avenue. However, there is an issue with ‘finding clients’ because all of the clients who would be interested in my services are those who I am already teaching on these other platforms. I’m of the mindset that you should ‘dance with the one who brought you’. It is a conundrum for me and I’m not sure how to navigate it. Do you have any suggestions?
Your clients definitely exist in other places other than the platform and it can definitely be challenging at first to start building an audience of those people on your own without the help of the platform, but you can definitely do it. You just need to have a long-term perspective on it. You can get up and running on a platform very quickly whereas building your own audience takes time. The benefits though are so worth it and the best time to start is now.
If you haven’t checked out the free course, that is a good place to start: https://independent-teacher.com/start-an-online-teaching-business/