How to be a paid English tutor with the NiceTalk app


LOADS of Chinese students are looking for conversational English partners. 

Would you like to get PAID to help them?

The NiceTalk app is doing just that. English speakers around the world are logging in and getting paid ten dollars an hour to help Chinese students practice conversational English.

Get paid to know English

You can chat as much or as little as you like. One of the top tutors told me he was chatting about 6 hours per day and making as much as $350 per week. So, it can become a pretty decent source of extra income.

I’ve been testing it out and I’m having a lot of fun with it. It feels like I’m getting paid to make new friends and hang out. Already I’ve met one guy who I have a TON in common with and we’ve had 3 long chats!

Does it really work?

Yep. After I was accepted as a tutor I started chatting with students right away. New tutors get $10 in their account just for signing up. You can cash out once you’ve earned at least $20. Pays weekly to PayPal. Here’s my first payment… 

Nice Talk Payment proof 1

What YOU Need to Have…

1. You need to be fluent in English 

If you speak clearly, you’ll be fine. If you happen to have a thick accent you may find that students don’t choose you as their tutor quite as often (even if your English is perfect).

If you have TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification or IELTS/TOEFL teaching experience they’ll definitely love you at NiceTalk… but many do just fine without those qualifications.

2. You need fast internet 

Stable and high speed internet access is required. You don’t want to be dropping those calls! Your speed is required to consistently be above 300kbps for uploading and 500kbps for downloading.

3. Your smartphone needs to be good

NiceTalk works with Android and iOS. Their site says that phones with iOS 7.0 and Android 4.0 are preferable.

4. You need a quiet environment

You’ll need to be able to focus on your students. No chatting in a busy Starbucks or with squealing kids running around in the background.

5. Be patient and friendly

Some students are just beginning and will require a lot of patience. Some speak quite well and it will feel like you’re just hanging out (stopping every now and then to correct them with a word or two). Either way, your job is to be helpful to them. If you make it fun and keep things upbeat you’ll both enjoy yourselves, and… they’ll keep coming back again and again.

How to Get Started…

Click HERE to create your account

You’ll see this first…

NiceTalk App sign up

*UPDATE 7/28/16: NiceTalk no longer offers a referral bonus.

Fill out your information to create an account. 

My referral code is in the bottom field. As a way of saying thanks for signing up with my link I’ve created a private Facebook group to help you get started, share NiceTalk tips, etc. AFTER you’ve been accepted as a tutor you can request access here.

NEXT… you’ll need to download the app…

Nice Talk set up 2

Click “Download now”

Then you’ll see this…

Nice Talk set up 3

Click “Install”

Then you’ll see this…

Nice Talk set up 4

Click “Install” again…

If you’re using an iPhone / iPad you may see this message next…

Nice Talk set up 6

If you see this message, go to Settings > General > Device Management > then choose “Hangzhou Feizhu Technology Co., Ltd”

Nice Talk setup 7


Nice Talk setup 8


Nice Talk Setup 9.

Then you’ll see this…

Nice Talk Setup 10

Click “Trust “Hangzhou Feizhu Tec…”

Nice Talk Setup 11

Click “Trust…”

Then you’re ready to login!

Since NiceTalk is still a new app (and not yet in the iTunes store) this is the installation process for iOS.

Installation for Android Phones & Tablets is easier…

1. Download the app

2. You might need to allow the app to install within the security settings. 

Next… Record & submit your introduction video

This is kind of like your “audition” for NiceTalk…

Nice Talk 12

Suggestions for a good intro. video…

  • Say your name and where you’re from
  • Speak clearly and loudly
  • Do you have experience with tutoring English?
  • Do you have teaching experience in any capacity? If so, talk about your experience… 
  • Has anyone complemented you on your communication / teaching skills? Talk about that.
  • If you don’t have experience teaching / tutoring, that’s okay… they mainly just want to see that your English is clear, that you’re friendly and can be patient / helpful with students who are learning something new and challenging.
  • Talk about your interests: What do you like to do for fun? Do you volunteer in your community? Show you’re a well-rounded, friendly person who’s NOT boring and might be interesting to chat with for a while :).  
  • Have you been to Asia? If you have experience with the Chinese culture specifically that would be a plus.

TIP: Relax! You have the option to re-record your video if you don’t like the first take. If the first one doesn’t go so great, just keep doing it over until you’re happy with it. 

After submitting your video the approval process takes about two days.

Completing the rest of your profile…

While you’re waiting for your video to be approved… go ahead and complete your profile. This is what students will see when they’re trying to decide who they’re going to choose to chat with. You want yours to stand out!

  • Add a nice photo of yourself
  • Fill out the Education section (400 words max)
  • Fill out the “Introduce Yourself” section (400 words max) – Talk about anything that you think would be interesting to someone meeting you for the first time. 

Here’s what I wrote: “Hi I’m Gabe. I have a wife and 2 young kids. I played saxophone professionally for many years but now I’m mainly focused on writing, marketing, social media and online business. I love to travel and have been across much of the western part of the world (North/South America, Africa, Europe, Middle East). I haven’t been to Asia yet so it will be fun meeting you :).” 

  • Fill out the “Interests” section (400 words max) – Talk about what kind of music you like, Movies & TV shows (a lot of the students watch American TV shows), hobbies, etc. A lot of times people will select you because they have something in common. Fill this section (and the “Introduce Yourself” section) out as much as you can.

Record a good profile intro. video

This is the video that the students see and probably the best way to introduce yourself.

Here’s the first one I recorded…

Here’s the one I’m trying out right now…
TIP: I discovered that the NiceTalk app will not show videos in landscape mode (meaning they are shown in portrait mode but sized smaller). Videos appear best when filmed in portrait mode. 

Suggestions for a good profile intro video:

  • Record in a well-lit area
  • Be friendly and engaging – NOT BORING!
  • Where are you from? What do you do for work? What do you do for fun? etc. etc. etc.
  • Talk about your interests (just like in the written part of your profile)
  • Sometimes it helps to be a bit more animated in your face than you might normally be in real life. Give it a shot and see how it goes. You can always delete the video!
  • Speak clearly and try not to go too fast.
  • Don’t make it too long. Around 1 min. is plenty.
  • You might want to write down an outline (and keep it out of the shot) to help you stay on track. It can be hard to say everything you want to say in under one minute!  

How long does it take to get accepted?

The process is supposed to take two days. When I applied, there must have been some kind of mix-up because it took six days. This is still a new app (and growing fast) so I cut them some slack. I emailed them and everything got sorted out. If you don’t hear back within 3-4 days, send an email to support@nicetalk.com to check up on the status of your application.

Once you’re accepted…

Go to the “Home” tab on the app. You’ll see this screen…

Nice Talk 2

As soon as you tap “Online” you’ll be available to chat with students. They’ll check out your profile and, if they like what they see, they’ll call you.

Best times to reach students in China…

Certain times are better than others when you’re talking to people on the other side of the world (at least from the U.S.). I personally leave my phone online for most of the day in the U.S. and don’t get very many calls. Not a lot of people are up for practicing their English in the middle of the night. BUT… once I hit the peak time window sometimes I get one call after another! 

Peak Call Times – 4pm – 11pm China Standard Time

For folks in the U.S. that means…

1am – 8am Pacific

2am – 9am Mountain

3am – 10am Central

4am – 11am Eastern

*Fun Fact: China has only ONE time zone.

A few tips for success with NiceTalk…

  • Choose your talk location wisely… There shouldn’t be other people/pets/things distracting you or the student. You both need to be able to focus on the conversation. 
  • The NiceTalk app has a ranking system based on reviews and time online. The better your rank, the more attractive you are to potential students. 
  • Don’t worry about using other apps while you’re waiting for a call. NiceTalk will send you a notification.
  • Make sure you’re ready to talk when you press the “Online” button. If you miss a call twice you will be taken offline automatically. This can also affect your ranking as a tutor. If you go to the restroom or need to do something… take yourself offline first! 
  • When you’re in a call with a student, make use of the chat function so that students can see certain words typed out. After pressing the chat button you’ll see a chat area appear over the video screen. Just press the “X” when finished and you’ll go back to the video chat.
  • Don’t dominate the conversation. Focus on the student and make sure they are actually practicing their English. Conversations flow differently with different students. Some have an easy back and forth, some are more challenging. Don’t let them just give you one word answers, etc.   
  • Have some conversation topics ready just in case. Some students are beginners and you can talk about simple topics: What did you eat for breakfast today? What do you like to do for fun? etc.  Some are more advanced and you can have quite an in depth conversation: Talk about a difficulty you have overcome in your life, Talk about a person who has inspired you, etc. 
  • Try to help the student get some real value from the conversation early on. A lot of people are just trying this out and want to see if you’re the right tutor for them (there are a lot of others to choose from). Don’t be nervous about it… but remember to really seek to help them. If you do that, it’s good for everyone. Their English improves and you just might have won a repeat student (and a friend). Ask a few questions to get to know them at the start and then ask them if there’s anything specific they’d like to work on.
  • Don’t be shy to stop the conversation and correct them when they mispronounce a word or get a phrase wrong, etc. They’ll really appreciate it!  
  • Some students will want to use you as their exclusive tutor. At this point, the app has no ability to schedule chats so the two of you will have to agree upon a time to connect. 
  • Be encouraging! Of course, there’s usually room for improvement (and you should be honest about that) but find things about their English to praise them for. A few encouraging words can mean the world to someone learning a difficult skill.  

Increase your earnings with the NiceTalk Referral Program…

At the time of this writing NiceTalk pays $20 for each referral that is accepted and chats for 100 minutes on the app. A nice way to increase your earnings, for sure!

Final thoughts…

After two weeks of using the NiceTalk app I’m very pleased with it. I’ve met so many interesting new people and had some great conversations. I can’t believe I get paid to talk about my favorite TV shows, music, current events, and even politics. One of my NiceTalk friends has already called me quite a few times. We’ve already connected elsewhere on social media because we have so much in common. Maybe I should’ve called this post: “How to Get Paid to Make New Friends.”

The funny thing is… The fact that people are paying you to chat with them isn’t weird at all. You have a skill that they want. The way they learn is by practicing with someone like you. It just happens to be something that we take for granted every day.

Apply to be a tutor with NiceTalk HERE

When you’re accepted, join the private facebook group HERE. I’ll be happy to help get you off and running on the right foot. 


  1. Hi Gabe

    I’ve been getting your email’s for several months. I am enjoying it quite a lot. There’s something different about the way you present your offerings, has a more personal tone to it somehow.

    Anyway, I am interested in the “NICETALK” program. I want to know what equipment is needed. I have only a desk top computer and a very old cheap cell phone. Also I have a landline phone

    I do not have an Iphone,Smartphone, or anything with Android.

    I’m wanting to know please, exactly what equipment is needed.

    I am a senior citizen and enunciate well and could use the money.
    Will you please help with any info. you have?

    Jerry W. Odom
    East Coast Time

    • Hi Jerry! Thanks so much for the kind words. I wish that NiceTalk was available on the computer but it’s not (at least at this point). I would suggest picking up some kind of iPhone or Android phone if you want to start working with NiceTalk. I would imagine that Androids would be more affordable. If you’re buying one, make sure that it is at least running the 4.0 operating system. You can find used ones on ebay and other sites online… Or you could see what kind of deals your cell phone company is running. Tell them that you want to do video chats with the phone and they’ll tell you your options. Sometimes they can be quite affordable. Also, stores like WalMart will run sales from time to time (I’ve seen smart phones – that would probably get the job done – for $10-25). I wish I could tell you exact models to look for but I’m not an Android guy. You could ask someone at the electronics desk at WalMart, Target, etc. and they’d point you in the right direction. If you don’t mind spending a bit more… then I’d go with an iPhone :). You can find those used on ebay (and other sites) as well. iPhones need to be running 7.0 operating system at least. Hopefully that helps… Let me know how it goes.

  2. Thanks for all the help, Gabe. The Nice Talk app is really cool. It was easy to set up, using your detailed instructions. And it was easy to make the intro video right on my phone inside the app. Now I’m approved and ready to get going. I’ll check back later. Thanks again!

  3. Hi i applied to nicetalk but was rejected, the reason wasn’t stated clearly. But i was told it was about my video and profile. I don’t have an English certification, but i have a college Degree in Computer Science & I speak fluent English. Is there any need to reapply.

    • Sorry to hear that, John. I’m not quite sure why they don’t accept certain people – it sounds like you’d be qualified. I don’t think it’s possible to reapply but you could send them an email here to ask for more details: support@nicetalk.com

      Another site you might want to try is thetalklist.com – I’m still looking into it, but… I think they let anyone create a profile on their site. Once I’ve tested them out more I may write a post on it.

      • Hello
        I just created a profile on thetalklist.com Can you tell me what is your experience with them?
        Thank you in advance!

        • I remember setting up an account with them over a year ago. I remember finding that their website seemed to have a lot of issues. It could be different now. It wasn’t very easy to get rolling with their system at the time so I just stuck with PalFish. If you want to sign up for an account with them, you can go here: http://gabeturner.com/tutor

  4. This looks like a really cool app. I don’t think I could do it because of the time requirement, but this is super cool to know about if you need to earn some extra income. I’m so wary about downloading apps, right now, but this one looks okay.

    I think. ;)

  5. Hey Gabe –
    I was approved! Now, I will just need to figure out the best way to get started. If you have ideas or suggestions, it may help me get started quicker! Thanks for the video on signing up with NiceTalk. It worked pretty well with my Android (Samsung s3)… take care!

    • That’s great :). Review the suggestions on this post and just press the “go online” button during the peak times. Once you’ve done a few sessions with students you’ll see how it’s done. Start with a few small talk, get-to-know-you questions and then ask the student what their goals are / why are they wanting to practice English / is there anything specific that they’re wanting to improve, etc. Then let that be your guide as to how you can best serve them. Some want to work on specific things and others just want to “free chat.” It’s good to have a few discussion topics ready in case your mind goes blank :). Make sure you are letting them talk and remember that listening comprehension is something they need to work on as well so you need some back and forth… but don’t dominate the conversation. They love it when you stop them and correct their pronunciation – if you hear something that needs fixing… definitely let them know. If there’s a good connection between you and the student, you can ask if they’d like to meet again sometime. Some will take you up on that and you’ll have a regular student. You can also check out some ESL videos on YouTube. Learn a bit about the TEFL test and other English tests that foreigners have to take in order to go to college in the U.S. Many of the students are preparing to take those tests and that’s why they’re practicing on the app. Don’t get overwhelmed, though. You know the English language well and can help these people out a TON. It’s been really gratifying to see what kind of help I can offer to all these people. You’ll do great… you’ve been practicing for this all your life without even knowing it :).

  6. Hi Gabe, I wish I had found your webb site earlier, I applied to nicetalk way back in Feb, but I couldn’t get past my Ipad not trusting this Developer.
    I’ve contacted Support@ nicetalk but no reply as yet.
    Should I down load it again and begin from the start ?
    Many thanks
    Judy Shrimpton

  7. Hi Gabe,
    thank you for the information that you share about nice talk. I just want to ask, is there a one on one interview over the cam that you need to take in order to be accepted?……

    • I did chat with someone from NiceTalk for 2-3 minutes but I’m not sure that that’s the norm. I think he was wondering if I might be able to do some business specific tutoring for them. If anyone else has had to do an interview please chime in :).

  8. Are Filipinos like me OK to apply for this? I’ve been teaching English online for 8 years now so I hope I could join this soon.

  9. Thanks for the great instructions and for introducing us to NiceTalk. I have a question about your intro video for students that you are experimenting with. How did you get the photos and map images into the video? Are you uploading the video onto your phone and if so, how do you do that? Or did you work with the video right on your phone as it appears in the app?

    • Glad you liked it! I used iMovie to add the map and photos. I did a YouTube search to learn how to do it a few years ago :). It’s totally not necessary… I just added them in because I knew how to do it pretty quickly. I shot the video on my iPhone, uploaded it to my computer and added the photos in iMovie.

  10. Hi Gabe! Thanks for this blog post. Been looking for good reviews about NiceTalk. Wasn’t sure if I could trust it. I went through the process of downlading the app with my Iphone but the only thing that doesn’t seem very clear to me is the part where I need to click “trust” – would you know if it is safe? What “data” are they able to access once I click trust? Thank you! :)

    • Hi Natalia, Sorry for the late reply… If I’m remembering correctly, the reason you need to click “trust” is because it’s an app that’s not approved in the itunes store yet (I totally don’t know why, it’s been over a year now!). Anyway, it’s perfectly fine to use and it won’t do anything to your phone. It’s just a security thing with the iPhone. Me and thousands of others have been using it for a long time – no need to worry.

  11. Can’t seem to find source of any info about whether this can work via Payoneer or a PayPal is a must…

  12. I recently downloaded the NiceTalk app in hopes of teaching English and getting to know people in China. I am bilingual in English and Chinese, but for the purpose of tutoring I may stick with English. I tried making a video by pressing the camera button from the bottom of the screen but the phone would not record for some reason. Have anyone ran into a similar situation? How was that resolved? Thanks for any replies.

  13. Hi , Gabe . I am Aradhana and i just applied…. for NTT now ……I am just worried because i am an Indian and will they approve my video? i speak fluent English bust still I am worried …

  14. Hi there.
    Thanks for the great video on YouTube and this Page.

    I just wanted to ask because I applied on nicetalk last Saturday and it still says that I need to wait to be approved. Confused as it’s already been four business days.

    Appreciate your help. Thanks

  15. Hello Gabe,
    Thank God I found your site! I was able to wiz right through the process got to Login and I hit enter I get Failed to connect to server please try again later. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks in advance.

  16. Hi Gabe. Great article. I am a CELTA qualified English Teacher living in Vietnam and am really interested in this for some extra cash.

    One question: can I use my Android tablet without a SIM card or do I need to use a device with a SIM & Phone Number to use the application?

    • Thanks Eddy! I’m pretty sure you have to use a phone with a real phone number. You could TRY to use a free phone number (like Google Voice or Text Now) but I don’t know if that would work. Good luck! Let me know if you find out :).

  17. I signed up online then downloaded the app. When I try to login, I keep getting an error message that says “Failed to connect to server. Please try again later.”

    I reset my password and that didn’t work. I typed in a wrong password to test it out and the system recognized the wrong password. I also added an extea character in my email and it recognized that the username didn’t exist.

    But for some reason, I just can’t get past this “failed to connect to server” error message.

    Anyone else experienced this? How can I login already? Would like to send in a video.

  18. Hi Gabe, can you tell me what the pay is with Palfish and Nicetalk? What hours can you teach? Is it mainly adults? I applied to Palfish through your link and it asked me for a number and then after went through to Itunes website? Any other app companies for adults would be much appreciated.

    Thanks, Dave.

    • Hi Dave, So sorry for the late reply… When I was doing NiceTalk I believe I was getting $10/hr. Not great, but… With PalFish (where I’m tutoring now) I make about $15/hr. PalFish lets you set your own rate so most people start out cheap so they can get some hours under their belt and then gradually raise their rate. I don’t have any experience with other apps so I can’t recommend more. PalFish is quite good if you work at building your following there. If my link for PF doesn’t work for some reason I’d recommend getting it from the app store. Best of luck!

  19. Hi, I just want to know if people from Serbia can do this job?

  20. Hey Gabe,

    Thanks for all the great info man, these new apps are opening up great new ways to reach out an informally teach … and you are right, also to make new friends.

    I’ve logged a little under an hour of chatting in NiceTalk since getting approved a few days ago … and thrice that in Palfish. And needless to say, connected with a few students I would love to continue working with in the future.

    However, I too, have run into this infamous “failed to connect to server” error message. And likewise haven’t been able to get around it.

    In ernest, is this something to do with the great Chinese “fire wall” … or just some tech error?

    Has anyone else run into this “failed to connect to server” error message problem … and managed to solve it?

    Thanks for all the insights Gabe, keep up the good work.

    • Hey Rob, Glad you found this helpful. I haven’t ever had that error message myself. Have you joined the facebook group I linked to in this post? That might be a better spot to ask questions. Good luck!

  21. Hi Gabe,
    I was wondering how long does it approximately last- one chat?
    And am I able to end it whenever I want or do I need to wait for him to end call?
    Thank you for amazing reference, you were so helpful, and because of you and your site I am starting to work on NT.
    Best wishes :)

    • Thanks Teodora! Sorry for the late reply… the calls can last any length of time. I’ve talked for 2 hours with someone and I’ve talked for 10 min. with others. You’re the teacher so you can call the shots. If I’m getting tired I’ll lead the call to a close but usually I want to keep it going as long as I can. But if the student has clearly had enough I don’t want to just drag it out for no good reason. You’re in it for the long haul so you want to make the student feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. Feel free to join the Facebook group I link to in this blog post if you haven’t already. There are tons of good tips in there!

  22. I just registered but I don’t know what the next step is.please help

    • Well, if you’re approved you’ll need to set up your profile and I talked about that in this blog post. You can join the Facebook group that I linked to in this blog post also – lots of great tips in there.

  23. Thank you so much for posting this. I had no idea what to post in my intro video. I’m unsure if I should use my legal first name or something else. People in the States have a hard enough time with my name, I don’t want to turn off people in other countries. Any ideas?

    • So glad it was helpful for you :). If you have some kind of a nickname that’s fine to use that. If you want to choose something else I don’t think it would be a big deal. You can say your real name and say, “But you can call me ______.” Most of the Chinese students pick a western name for their English speaking friends to use for the exact same reason. Good luck!

  24. Hey Gabe, this text was super informative, thanks a lot! Although I am experiencing a problem at the moment, and judging by the comment section in the Play Store, I’m not the only one. I can’t do anything in the app because it keeps telling me to update it (even though it is fully up to date) and when I hit “update” it just takes me to my browser. I’ve seen a lot of complaints in the comments about this, and they don’t seem to be doing anything about it. So, is the story still legit or..? :/

    Best regards

    • Hmmmm… Sorry to hear about that, Maria. I haven’t heard about that problem. I’ve switched completely to using the PalFish app since the writing of this post. I really need to add an update to it. But, until then, I recommend checking out PalFish: http://gabeturner.com/tutor -It’s very similar to NiceTalk and it might be easier for you to just get started there. Most of the recommendations from this post apply to PalFish so I think you should be able to figure it out :). Good luck!

      • Wow, thanks for a quick reply.
        Yeah, I’ve noticed you mentioned PalFish several times so I thought I’d check it out and I love it! At the moment I’m completing my profile and I’m really trying to make it look good because I’d love to work there, it seems like so much fun, very easy, and the cash is good too. Hopefully it’ll work out.
        As for NiceTalk, I sent them an e-mail about the problem, so I’ll see if anything happens.
        Thanks again for sharing all of this info, I really appreciate it. :)

  25. Hi Gabe
    I downloaded the app via your website a while ago and I had to get a new phone
    Now I’m trying to get it downloaded again and I’m struggling cos I’ve already signed up with my email address
    Please help
    I cannot download it via the play store
    Thank you!!

    • All I can think to recommend is to go through the same process you did before to download the app and then login with your account info. You can also email support@nicetalk.com – You can also give the PalFish app a try here: http://gabeturner.com/tutor It’s very similar to NiceTalk so you should be able to figure it out. I actually recommend that you sign up with PalFish instead… there’s more opportunity to make more income there. It’s a better app. Good luck!

  26. Hi Gabe,

    can you just tell me do i need to have headphones in order to work for nicetalk and stuff like this, or i’m perfectly fine without them??
    I saw in your intros that you don’t use them, but i’m just asking because of the sound and clarity

  27. Thanks for the advice I was wondering if I have to have any experience or qualifications or degrees to join. I am a fluent English speaker and I live in the UK.

    • No, you don’t need experience or degrees to join. But… it definitely makes you more attractive if you have TESOL, TEFL, etc. certification. I don’t and have done just fine.

  28. Hello ! I just need to know how long is the class ? Is it 25 minutes, 30 minutes?

  29. Is there a dress code other than the obvious? I used to work with TutorABC and they had a business sort of dress code (Dress shirt and tie).

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