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He Teaches the World How to Speak English

Rob Sharpe
Credit: Rob Sharpe
Robert Nelson Co-Founder of Expats In Mexico
Robert Nelson

Expat entrepreneurs in Mexico have started a wide range of interesting businesses, from magazines to restaurants to retail stores. Then there is Rob Sharpe. He teaches the world how to speak English.

In our new article, “Expat Entrepreneurs in Mexico: Teaching English to the World,” we find Rob Sharpe, a free spirit by every definition of the term, teaching English online to people from all over the world from his new home just north of Puerto Vallarta on Banderas Bay.

Sharpe, who turns 60 this year, was “one of those guys” back in the ‘60s. You know, the guy who jumped on his motorcycle and crisscrossed the country and only touched down once in a while to tell tall tales of his adventures to those who lived more conventional lives.

“I worked literally hundreds of jobs for almost 10 years,” Sharpe said, “from juggling to acrobatics to working in a psychiatric halfway house. I stopped running when I was 28 and met a woman in Seattle who was well educated. She influenced me to go back to school.”

He earned a degree in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and worked in the office copier business for many years before deciding to head south to Cancún with his wife Marvy, who was born in Mexico.

After landing in Cancún three years ago, Sharpe decided to use his English degree to teach English as a second language online. He received his Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification through the Cambridge University online program and set to work building his business.

“I work online with italki.com, which is based in China,” Sharpe said. “I freelance with them and they take a 15 percent commission. People pay through the site and if they like your video, they contact you. They buy credits and however much money they accrue they can buy either my classes, which are US$20 and hour, or somebody else who charges less. It’s up to them.”

Sharpe told us that his video receives lots of views because people say he speaks clearly, has a good accent and is older, which, they believe, equates to more knowledge. He also does work for a Russian school. It pays less but has a more consistent flow of students.

He also has his own website, Sharpe English. It has animation, pronunciation videos, quizzes, a PayPal payment option and booking calendars.

“My long-term goal is to develop pre-recorded courses with videos,” Sharpe explained. “People like my voice and the way I teach, so I’m going to do video with downloadable PDFs on different topics, almost like a podcast or an eBook. I’m going to merge them as a course so if you want to work on verb tenses, for example, you can easily get it. It may cost a hundred bucks, but there may be 10 sections that you can download, watch and then do your homework.”

Rob is a very interesting guy with an unusual business. Find out more about him, what he does and Puerto Vallarta by reading the complete article.