For foreigners living in Japan, starting your own language school has to be the most common business considered, attempted and, in varying degrees, failed at. While the market for another English school seems to be saturated, there are many opportunities for hard-working, entrepreneurial minded foreigners in Japan.
The reason starting a school is so easy is also a reason why it can be hard to have even mediocre success. There are no special licences required (unless you want to offer dispatch services), space to teach the lessons and often you can get your first few students through friends, acquaintances and connections you have made in the community from living here for a few years. That also means that it is easy for other foreigners to do the same!
Reasons to go it Alone as a Teacher
For all the love we have for Japan, there’s no doubt that English teaching as an industry has plenty of room for improvements. You might be stuck in a chain company that cares as little about you as the students they are meant to be serving. Maybe you asked for your paid holiday and your company gave you some schpiel about teamwork and that’s why they are breaking the law and not letting you enjoy your summer. All you know is that you would rather be doing all this work for yourself than for someone else. You just need to get some students, right?
Not so fast. Starting an English school in Japan is not only a big responsibility, but a tough undertaking. You might be a great teacher (and for your future students’ sakes, I hope you are), but running a business is a completely different task with a different required skill-set than teaching English classes. If you plan to make the jump from being a full-time …continue reading