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Formula 1 drivers have at least one formula to win the race. Successful freelance teachers use it, too. New freelance teachers can learn from them. Yet is the Formula 1 success formula ethical? Is it right or wrong? Likewise, do teachers become freelance teachers for all the right reasons? Or for all the wrong ones?

Have you ever wondered why freelancers do what they do? Why they are freelancers? Why they choose to be freelancers?

What about you?

What are the “wrong” reasons?

There are many who mistakenly believe that freelancers are able to earn a lot of money – with very little effort involved. If quick money is your goal, then you’re going to be disappointed. Chasing and catching a will-o’-the-wisp is easier.

Freelancing is a fulltime job. It is not for the faint of heart. It costs your time and demands your full attention.  Freelance teaching demands your heart.

If the sole reason is money (and lots of it), than freelancing is not going to work out for you. You’ll need to double your effort to camouflage your ultimate aim plus being a freelance teacher.

However, if we accept all the noble reasons a freelance teacher does his job (passion, ethics, the will to persist to give some good into the world, etc.) the way opens for success. Which brings us back to what reasons motivate teachers to become professional freelancers? And where does the Formula 1 formel for success come into it?

What are the “right” reasons?

The Formula 1 formel for success is intrically wound into a freelance teacher’s psych and the existing market environment.  For example, teachers become freelancers because they have three ideals before their eyes:

Money – Freedom – Recognition

Money to live on;
Freedom to choose the time to work (or play);
Recognition for their ability and work.

1) Money is Scarce (or is it?)

Freelance teachers can earn a decent to a very good living, but what happens when good market conditions turn sour? This is when the Formula 1 success formel springs into action.

Market conditions may be bad, and the global recession may seem to dominate the world. History, however, has proven recessions are cyclic and while some companies fall prey to the recession – for freelance teachers the opposite often proves true. When the world appears to stall and eyes sink to the ground in the hope of being overlooked by bad luck, vultures (or whatever other bad or disastrous condition you can imagine), you as a freelancer can look up expectantly and be hopeful of good market conditions. Now’s the time for the Formula 1 driver’s formel for success.

Accidents rarely happen in Formel 1 racing...

Accidents rarely happen in Formula 1 racing…

Accidents rarely happen in a Formula 1 race, but when they do inexperienced and unprepared drivers automatically slow down as they react to the accident scene. (Didn’t your eyes jump to the accident photograph and stay there for a while?)

Formula  1 winners do exactly the opposite. They put their foot down hard and accelerate.

In times of “global recessions”, you need to react as a Formula 1 driver intent on winning. People frightened for their jobs are scared. They hope they are not the one who’s going to lose their job. They invest in their education. Others, who have already lost their jobs, are looking for ways and means to make themselves attractive to prospective employers. They are looking for a trainer and mentor to get them over this crisis. A Freelance Teacher is that person.

As hard as it may sound, the market in times of recession couldn’t be better for freelance teachers! 🙂

There are more students entering the education market than before and your earnings increase in proportion. Scarcity is not a word a freelance teacher should be using in times of recession. Is this true of the second ideal? Freedom?


2) Freedom is – having enough time

Freedom is nebulous. Freelance teachers are often hazy about how they define their Freedom. It’s closely intertwined with money, like…

… enough money to take time off to drive to the coast and walk along the beach.
… Time to take off at the drop of a hat for a long planned weekend to visit family, friends, gardens, museums or
… anything else we have or do for hobbies or interests.
… A dream holiday abroad?


Do whatever and go wherever your heart takes your fancy.

However — what can you do with freedom — if you don’t have the time?

Freedom is having enough time and the money gives choices. What and how you would like to do with your free time. Enjoying the results of earning well and having the time to reap the benefits of your work depends on recognition. Recognition for the work you do and its value to your students and customers. Recognition is the fuel that motivates the freelance teacher and the force that ultimately brings in the students and customers.

3) Recognition

When we talk about recognition, reality shows another picture. The picture proves recognition is far less than the 100 % we aspire to reach. If we are lucky a freelance teacher’s recognition factor might just reach:

(a) ca. 50% as a teacher 😐

(b) ca. 50% respect and recognition for the value you give  🙁

Recognition is only visible when your work stands out from others. Even the elite of any teaching niche were once average teachers. How did they move up? What have they done to get out of being average into the elite and called-for zone?

Study the elite in your teaching niche and you will recognise most have specialised in some way. By specialising they have managed to stand out from the rest; the average. That’s when the elite cycle begins. When the cycle recognises your expertise in your chosen niche, the money will follow and with it the chance to gain the freedom you need to balance your work-life-balance.

Expertise has to be nurtured and maintained. It’s too easy to fall back and lose momentum. Your expertise availability must be easy to find by interested students.  Your USP (unique selling point) is responsible for this job. The more students you teach, the more recognition and respect you gain for your work. The more recognition you gain, the more students  => the  more money => the more freedom.

And all your problems are over!

Oje! 😯 They are NOT over…

Teaching has an inherit problem. You don’t get paid (or rarely) if your student doesn’t turn up. You don’t get paid if you go on holiday. If you are sick – you don’t get paid. This formel equates to:

no student => no money and no recognition => no freedom to have time for hobbies, family or friends, or travels.

So where’s your freedom of time and the choice money brings? A link is missing in the equation…

The missing link and Summary

The missing link lies within your freelance business structure. It’s an age-old system that  has proven itself since before biblical days: the 3-prong structure.

If your three freelancing ideals were…

(1) Money

(2) Freedom and

(3) Recognition

…then there is no way past the chequered flag without developing a 3-prong business structure (consultancy, training, and leverage) for your Freelance Teaching Business to complete the equation.

As well as having the nerve of a Formula 1 racing driver.

Winner! You've crossed the chequered line!

Winner! You’ve crossed the chequered line!


See also:

6 Biggest Teacher Freelancing Mistakes

To Specialise Or Not To Specialise — That Is The Question

Spotlights On! …And Action! (What Is USP?)


What Do You Think?

Do you have something you would like to add or say about your experiences and why you became a freelance teacher? Add your comments and suggestions in Leave A Reply Comment box below…

4 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Not sure what you mean by leverage?

    I would recommend that anyone with time on their hands, especially during the weekdays-daytime, takes an interest in dealing in shares on the stock exchange. There is money-a-plenty to be made, even from a small sum of money, the sort an EFL teacher has, so I am not talking about thousands but rather hundreds of whatever your domestic currency is. But I would recommend thinking in £ or $, not €.

    This might also eventually lead to another lucrative arrow in your EFL skills base

    Best regards

    • Hi Lawrence,
      Leverage = products

      Hmmm… I am pleased for you that you can make a second living from your stock exchange activities. 🙂
      However, actively dealing on the stock exchange has often been compared to swimming in the sea full of sharks. If you know how to protect yourself when you go swimming with them, then by all means go and swim with the sharks. However, if you don’t know how to swim with sharks, then I’d be wary about jumping into a sea full of sharks. 😯 But that is my opinion.

  2. “consultancy, training, and leverage”

    Could you please elaborate on these?


    • Consultancy, training and leverage (products) are the 3 main prongs of a business structure. Each area is huge in context — which is why I break it down into smaller, tiny steps. You can read these small steps one by one in my articles.
      Consultancy = face-to-face work with your student and customer
      Training = group work
      Leverage = products

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