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Author Topic: Hagwon Start Website & Podcast: Start, Build and Grow Your Hagwon in Korea  (Read 9485 times)

Online Tony Teacher

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This is probably not the most popular topic on Waygook.org, but I know that some of you might be considering to start your own English hagwon or tutoring business in Korea one day. If you are, I've been blogging and podcasting about my journey as a small hagwon owner. I started it in early 2013 and still run it.

I know in my profile, under my photo, it says that I'm the customer service representative for a Flower Business, which I am, but I still run a small hagwon in Gangnam, Seoul, Korea (Seocho-dong to be exact) 

The website is http://www.hagwonstart.com and you can find my opinions about certain things and lots of information on various hagwon business related topics.

I try to publish a podcast weekly, but the frequency has gone down a bit, but I will still continue to maintain this blog and write/talk about running a hagwon business as long as I own one.

If you have any questions, you can ask them in this thread, or you can just message me privately on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hagwonstart/
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 10:12:58 AM by Tony Teacher »
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Online Tony Teacher

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Possible Hagwon Startup Expenses.
This blog post lists a few things you can expect to pay for when starting an English Hagwon in Korea. http://www.hagwonstart.com/possible-startup-expenses/
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Online Tony Teacher

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If you are interested in starting an English hagwon one day, I mention the Top Three Aspects or Things you should consider in a blog post.

And none of the top 3 aspects actually include being a good English teacher and loving Children, though these two things are important as well.

Check out the blog post by visiting http://www.hagwonstart.com/the-top-3-important-aspects-when-starting-your-hagwon-business/ for more information.
Business Consultant and Coach at www.entrepreneurkorea.com and www.hagwonstart.com

Offline apancoe

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i respect your hustle...keep posting stuff and ill keep checking it out.

cheers man
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Online Thomas Mc

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Isn't opening a hagwon limited to foreigners that are married to Koreans and put the business in their wives name?

Or alternatively relatively rich foreigners able to invest 100k?

Regardless I would be more interested in how to go about this in China. Demand here is huge. Koreans are sort of over the whole English craze.

Online Tony Teacher

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Thank you apancoe, I have a feeling you are hustling and working towards things too. I wish you all the best in reaching your goals. Care to share what they are? Just curious.

Also, regarding opening up a hagwon. I would say that being married to a Korean truly helps and it is a lot easier to open up a hagwon business with an F series visa, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's impossible without one. I have an F4 visa and my small hagwon is under my name, not my Korean wife's. But, if you had an E2 visa, you would have more steps to take.

I know foreigners opening up businesses in Korea that technically aren't allowed to, but the Seoul Global Center can help you find a way. Korea is really trying to get more foreigners to invest in Korean businesses these days. Korea may not have it all figured out yet, but there are some attempts being made.

The biggest fear I had was not knowing the laws, but I realized it's near impossible to know them all anyways because they literally change every single year. But then I realized that they are just as poorly enforced and realized it didn't matter so much. And they give you chances and time to get used to the changes.

I have a Korean friend who opened up a piano hagwon in China a few years ago. She always tells my wife to move to China and start an English hagwon, but I prefer to stay in Korea. So, yeah you are definitely right that there is a big boom in China right now, but there is still a good amount of demand for English in Korea. However, parents in Korea are now more able to distinguish whether a hagwon will be good or not than they were in the past.

Also, I know of foreigners who started small hagwons (gyosoopsos or gongboobangs) with less than $20,000 US. I invested less than $40,000 in mine and $15,000 was for a deposit that I'll get back, and if I were to do it again, I could start a small operation in my own home with just a table, a white board, and a few chairs.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 04:12:14 PM by Tony Teacher »
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Offline masta100

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Hey tony, is it possible charge 25,000 won a head? I'm thinking a small group 3 to 5 students. Bam! Thats between 75 to 125,000 per hour. Ill be down with that.

I listened to your podcast, and i think u said the law was 13,000ish.... Is this true?

I want to work from my apartment. Is this possible bro?

Online Tony Teacher

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Hey tony, is it possible charge 25,000 won a head? I'm thinking a small group 3 to 5 students. Bam! Thats between 75 to 125,000 per hour. Ill be down with that.

I listened to your podcast, and i think u said the law was 13,000ish.... Is this true?

I want to work from my apartment. Is this possible bro?

It really depends on your district and what the people at the education office are telling you. Honestly, some of the people working at the office of education seem like they don't even know what the rules are.

I heard of some people who were told that they were allowed to charge whatever they want for one on one tutors, but they had to charge lower for groups. If you are going to teach a group in the Gangnam district, you are technically only allowed to charge each student 238 won a minute, which works out to be 14,280 an hour and you can teach up to a maximum of 9 students.

Larger Hagwons are legally allowed to charge 262 won a minute, while pre-schools are legally allowed to charge 229 won a minute. Also, the limit of students these larger hagwons can teach is much higher and depends on a bunch of factors.

However, these limits sometimes change depending on the person you talk to at your office of education. I'm not making this up, this has happened to a bunch of people I know. So, you really need to go in person and find out.

Regarding starting a small study room in your apartment, you can legally do that. However, you are technically supposed to get the approval of your landlord, so that you can actually register it as a business.

There are a lot of things you are technically supposed to do, which a good percentage of businesses in the hagwon industry are not actually doing.

The best advice I can give you right now is to join the "Hagwon Startup Group" on Facebook and search for what people have talked about already. Some people have mentioned things about rules in their respective districts, so you can find out more information there.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 10:14:41 AM by Tony Teacher »
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Offline apancoe

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Thank you apancoe, I have a feeling you are hustling and working towards things too. I wish you all the best in reaching your goals. Care to share what they are? Just curious.

Tony - this will be my 7th year teaching at a public elementary school. I'm single and really enjoy living & working in Korea so I've really started to put some serious thought into staying in the ROK for the long-term. I'm 31 (relatively young?) so I've found myself thinking more about future business ideas or investments, rather than partying and such. You're the first person/source I've seen that is really going step-by-step laying out the whole process of building a hagwon from the ground up. I don't think I'm anywhere close to that yet, but I subscribed to your channel and will be following your progress. Best of luck man - maybe we'll cross paths in the future.
too many blueprints & not enough architects

Online Tony Teacher

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Thank you apancoe, I have a feeling you are hustling and working towards things too. I wish you all the best in reaching your goals. Care to share what they are? Just curious.

Tony - this will be my 7th year teaching at a public elementary school. I'm single and really enjoy living & working in Korea so I've really started to put some serious thought into staying in the ROK for the long-term. I'm 31 (relatively young?) so I've found myself thinking more about future business ideas or investments, rather than partying and such. You're the first person/source I've seen that is really going step-by-step laying out the whole process of building a hagwon from the ground up. I don't think I'm anywhere close to that yet, but I subscribed to your channel and will be following your progress. Best of luck man - maybe we'll cross paths in the future.

Yeah, 31 is young, I got a year on you, two if we are going Korean age, so I'm relatively young I guess. But, there are some teachers that are 20 something, as well as others that are older than us both.

I'm glad you are enjoying the life in Korea and see yourself making a long term plan to stay. There are a good amount of people like us who are planning on staying in Korea for the long run, and I have a feeling the number will grow in the next 3-5 years.

I hope the information I put out there is helpful. I was searching real hard for information on starting a hagwon awhile back and couldn't find much, so I figured it might do some good to create some content.

Outside of teaching English, it is a challenge to make a living in Korea, but not impossible. There are a good amount of people who have started businesses outside of teaching, but most have been investing a lot of capital or getting investors to start out. 

Hopefully there will be more ways for expats/foreigners in Korea to make money outside of teaching, because not everyone who wants to stay in Korea wants to stay in the English industry. But for now, I believe starting a small hagwon is the best way to go for most people.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 06:06:40 PM by Tony Teacher »
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Offline apancoe

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hey Tony -

  you're spot on with you said. i agree that in a few years, there's going to be an increase of people looking to make Korea their home instead of just a landing spot for a year or two. as far as business goes, hagwons still seem like the safest bet (if you can call it safe) for foreigners to start, but i'm curious to see what other options present themselves in the next few years.

  also, I wanted to say thanks for taking the time to respond. i'll keep an eye on your youtube channel for the next video.
too many blueprints & not enough architects

Online Tony Teacher

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hey Tony -

  you're spot on with you said. i agree that in a few years, there's going to be an increase of people looking to make Korea their home instead of just a landing spot for a year or two. as far as business goes, hagwons still seem like the safest bet (if you can call it safe) for foreigners to start, but i'm curious to see what other options present themselves in the next few years.

  also, I wanted to say thanks for taking the time to respond. i'll keep an eye on your youtube channel for the next video.

Yeah, I'm really curious too, so I'm working on other things too. There are a bunch of people who have gone outside of the teaching industry in Korea, but they hustled real hard. I think starting a hagwon from the bottom up is probably the safest business you can start, but no business is truly safe. And it will take a lot of work to make it good.

I probably won't be making a video any time soon, but I will continue to make podcast episodes here and there. If you want to get an idea of what people in Korea have been doing to build businesses or make a living outside of teaching, you can check out http://www.marketinginkorea.com There are a bunch of interviews available of non Korean people in Korea making a living doing things besides teaching. So, you can get some ideas there, but there's really no limit to how you can make money in Korea.
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Online Tony Teacher

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Here is a post I wrote awhile back about 5 points to consider when marketing your hagwon business.

http://www.hagwonstart.com/5-points-to-remember-when-marketing-your-business-school/

The 5 points are simple:

1. Give The Parents What They Want and Maybe What they Need
2. Make Your Hagwon Business Standout
3. Have a Good Pitch Ready
4. Know Your Target Market
5. Deliver More Than You Promise

Please feel free to leave comments and questions.
Business Consultant and Coach at www.entrepreneurkorea.com and www.hagwonstart.com

Online Tony Teacher

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I wrote a blog post earlier this month about 5 Things I learned as the owner of a small hagwon in 2015.

Here is the link to the post: http://www.hagwonstart.com/5-things-i-learned-in-2015/

In short, here are the 5 things I learned.

1. You Canít Trust Parents.
2. Donít Put Up With Parents
3. Donít Blame Yourself (too much) For a Studentís Lack of Progress
4. Never Get Too Comfortable
5. Try to Keep up with Real Estate Information in Your Area

Check out the link for more in-depth information.
Business Consultant and Coach at www.entrepreneurkorea.com and www.hagwonstart.com

Online Tony Teacher

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Hey guys, Tony Choi here again, if any of you are interested in how my hagwon is doing, check out the latest podcast episode. I just talk about how things are going for me and how my experiences can help you when you start your own English teaching business in Korea one day.

You can hear the podcast by visiting the following link:

http://www.hagwonstart.com/hs058-my-hagwon-update-june-2016/
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Online Tony Teacher

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Here is a blog post on an English Hagwon's reading curriculum.

http://www.hagwonstart.com/english-hagwon-reading-curriculum-part-2/

Reading is probably the backbone of most English hagwons, so it's important to figure out what you will teach and how you will teach it.
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Online Tony Teacher

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Here's a link to my latest podcast episode:

http://www.hagwonstart.com/hs061-dealing-with-students-july-2016/

I just talk about some of my current experiences with students and how I handle them.

Of course every teacher has their own strategies dealing with students, but it's gets a little trickier when you are trying to keep the students at your small school, so that you can cover your expenses and further grow your business.

Feel free to leave comments.
Business Consultant and Coach at www.entrepreneurkorea.com and www.hagwonstart.com

Online eggieguffer

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Here is a blog post on an English Hagwon's reading curriculum.

http://www.hagwonstart.com/english-hagwon-reading-curriculum-part-2/

Reading is probably the backbone of most English hagwons, so it's important to figure out what you will teach and how you will teach it.

Sad that the kids have to do the same boring old reading tasks that they have to do at their schools during the day which have nothing to do with how we read in real life, but I guess if your aim is to get them through the university tests and it's what the parents want....

Online Tony Teacher

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Well, there are different reading curriculum that hagwons follow, some are academic readings like TOEFL, some hagwons have short story books, and some have their students read novels and carry on discussions.

I would say that all kids at times have moments that they don't want to be at the hagwons, but I found that a lot of the elementary school students actually enjoy coming to my hagwon, or maybe they're tricking me into thinking that. I do believe that once kids get to middle school, the hagwon readings can get really boring and it can all be about the scores, but as long as the hagwon isn't overloading the kid with homework; I found that a lot of the children actually enjoy their time at their hagwon. This of course is based on my experiences. 

It depends on so many factors.
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Online Tony Teacher

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For those of you interested, here is a post about the homework system I have created and implemented at my small hagwon (gyosoopso) in Seoul Korea.

http://www.hagwonstart.com/homework-system/

In the post, I further discuss what the students do, what the types of homework are, and some things I have learned.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Business Consultant and Coach at www.entrepreneurkorea.com and www.hagwonstart.com