Is Tutoring A Viable Business?
The education industry is the one sector that has one of the highest ROI percentages compared to any other sector. And currently, the online education market has become a booming industry especially ever since the worldwide closure of all educational institutions due to the widespread corona pandemic. Although online courses prevailed even before the pandemic hit, they were more focused on enhancing one’s education rather than just simply reiterating the school curriculum.
The tables have now turned, for the better or for the worse. Education is the basic necessity of a human, without which it is highly challenging to lead a good life. Initially online tutoring classes were started in order to make education more reachable to people who are not able to afford to go to institutions to learn. And given the current situation and no solution at bay, the whole teaching fraternity had to resort to this very idea. And now this has become a go-to medium of teaching for any field, be it fine arts, music, dance, etc. Online teaching has become the next big thing in the current market, and as per analysts’ predictions, the US private tutoring market will grow by $7.37 billion by 2023.
The majority of the people who start their own tutorials, online or otherwise are usually looking to make some extra bucks. If you are keen on starting a tutoring business, then this article is tailor-made just for you. Starting a new business may seem like searching for a pin in a haystack. But with some guidance, you will definitely be able to build your very own virtual tuition business and manage it successfully.
Wondering if starting a tutoring business is a good idea? We have listed a few pointers below which should help you decide what the right decision for you is.
Why The Tutoring Business Is In Demand
To start off, let’s understand why the tutoring business is in popular demand?
This might help clear your vision as to why you can consider this lucrative sector as a strong competitor for your business venture:
- It is convenient for both teachers and students. The time you take in traveling from your place of stay to your educational institution can be put to good use in some other productive way.
- Teachers can reach out to a greater number of students at a time and across different locations.
- Self-paced personalized learning with interactive tools
- An efficient way of sharing study materials
- Flexible timings
- Immediate feedback system
The question that immediately arises in everybody’s mind is whether they are fit for that particular job. No one is born to do a certain job; it all comes with hard work and perseverance. Below are a few pointers you should keep in mind if you want to be successful in the teaching field. These are the fundamental attributes that will help you stand apart and become a good and trusted tutor:
One of the most basic necessities for a teaching career is systemic educational qualification. This is not only a certificate to show how well you are equipped to teach students but also a qualifier to help you build the required trust between the students, parents, and teachers. Here is a list of basic qualifications and the level of education:
- High School Diploma or GED: Can tutor elementary, middle school, and also to a certain extent high school students as well
- UG Degree: Can tutor elementary, middle and high school, and also college students depending on your area of expertise
- PG Degree: Can tutor elementary, middle, high school, and college students. Also, depending on your area of specialization, you can help teach and prepare adults to finish their GED or similar level of education.
You need to be a Subject Matter Expert at what you are doing. Though you will learn most of it on the job, any prior experience will add value to your virtual teaching platform. With experience comes a certain level of understanding on how to diagnose a student and knowing strategies to address any issues that may arise.
Engagement And Collaboration
This is one of the pivotal requisites in making you a good online tutor. You need to understand your student’s needs and be able to identify if there is an issue with the student-teacher interaction, etc. You should be able to motivate them, think of innovative solutions to keep them attentive.
How To Create A Tutoring Business
Launching Yourself Through An Existing eLearning Website
Though it might seem pretty straightforward, there is a myriad of management processes happening simultaneously at the backend. Starting with your own tutoring platform is not the only option for you to enter this business. You could first register as an online tutor on an established virtual tutoring platform and gain hands-on experience of the operation and management processes.
It is very simple to start off as an online tutor.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
You need to fill out a virtual form with your bio, basic credentials, and probably a profile picture of yours, and many more criteria depending on which platform you are registering on. Some companies might also ask you to submit a copy of your certificates and ID proof.
Once you have submitted all your details, the company’s verification team will validate all your information to check your authenticity. Some even go as far as doing a background check. Only once you pass all these verification processes will your profile be made public on that site.
- Start tutoring
Once you are verified and registered as an official tutoring member of the website, you can schedule live classes with your students per that website’s guidelines. You can either choose to do one-on-one or one-to-many tutoring sessions.
Here is a list of some of the established online tutorials for which you can register and get your career started:
- Learn to be
- The Princeton Review
- Revolution Prep, etc.
Here are the pros and cons of registering through an already existing virtual tutorial:
- You have to pay a part of your salary as commission to the website that is hosting you
- You have to abide by their rules and regulations
- Follow a particular schedule
- Follow a specific teaching pattern—live sessions or recorded sessions, etc.
- Finding students is easier
- No need to worry about developing and maintaining your website
- New opportunities will come your way
- You will learn all the technicalities of running an educational website
…and many more
Developing Your Own eLearning Website
Understand that starting an online tutoring business of your own requires more of your time and hard work than the previous option. But the rewards are worthy of your collective efforts.
Let’s jump straight to it.
1. Drafting A Business And Revenue Plan
Planning is everything. Spontaneous decisions might lead to unforeseen risks. Planning a business needs organizational skills. This will help you cut down a lot of chaos. A detailed business plan is downright necessary to get started and head in the right direction.
Here’s what you need to include in your business plan:
- Executive summary
- Product or service description
- Industry analysis
- Competition analysis
- SWOT analysis
- Marketing and sales plan
- Operations plan
- Financial plan
- Milestones schedule
Once done with your business plan, you need to also draft your revenue plans for your website. Just like how a business plan is the foundation of your operations and management, a revenue plan is a basis for the financial aspects of your tutoring business. Without a proper plan, the investment you put into this business will be open to the risk of mismanagement.
Here are a few models you can adopt in order to gain good revenue:
- Membership or subscription fee model
- A freemium model
- An exclusive fee structure for one-to-one and one-to-many classes
- Different charges for certifications and course materials, etc.
2. Know Who You Are Up Against
This is the key to how you run your business. The two major groups of people you need to be aware of before starting your own tutoring business are:
- Your competitors
Knowledge can be gathered from any source. You can even learn from your competitors. Observing is the key here. You can learn:
- How they attract students
- Their operation strategy
- How are they are managing the course schedule
- What payment system are they using
- How they integrate safety measures, etc.
- Your targeted audience
Without them, there is no virtual eLearning website. Hence, it is of utmost importance that you study the customer base you want to target. Your “how” and “what” to teach is based on this step. You need to understand their:
- Level of education
- What they are looking for from online learning
- Their educational goals
- Age group, etc.
3. Select Your Niche
The center of your business is to decide what you want to teach your students. Your whole platform will be developed based on this decision. In order to pick the right subject for your tutorials, answer these questions for yourself:
- Which is your subject matter of expertise?
- How comfortable are you teaching that subject?
- Is it in demand in the present market?
- Would it attract and benefit the students you are targeting?
This decision plays an important role in attracting the right attention for your virtual learning platform.
4. Determine The Execution Of The Course
This is the stage that makes or breaks your website. You need to plan your teaching method very carefully, keeping in mind all the characteristics of your student base.
- Introduce SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) learning programs;
- Divide the course into modules that can be easily taught within a fixed duration and don’t seem to be too overburdening to students;
- Your course materials should be planned in such a way that the modules should be leading up to the aim of that subject rather than have loose ends; and,
- Adopt an LMS (Learning Management System) in order to help you plan, manage, and execute the schedules in a more efficient way.
To execute your tutorials virtually, you will have to adopt either of the below methods:
- Synchronous tutoring
The tutor and the student have to connect live for this kind of tutoring.
- Asynchronous tutoring
The tutor can upload the course material and the student can access the material at their convenience.
- Combination tutoring
Utilizing the added values of both synchronous and asynchronous tutoring, you can formulate your own style by combining the first two methods.
Now that you have decided on all the front-end parts of your online tutorials, let’s check out how to build your website.
5. Developing Your Tutoring Website
Having technical coding knowledge has nothing to do with you being able to or not being able to build your virtual eLearning platform. Apart from building your own platform, there are other ways to build and launch your website too.
- Hiring a tech team to develop your website from scratch
- Buying a ready-made software platform—turnkey solutions
If you have the time and the financial strength to build your own virtual platform from scratch that would be the best option. But if there is a crunch in both the parameters, then the best method would be to buy a pre-developed platform and customize it to suit your needs. Also, you will be getting the whole source code of your website so that you can edit your website per your interests in the future.
Whichever method you choose, make sure that you have all the following basic features on your website:
- The in-built virtual writing board software
- Document sharing facility
- Notification alerts
- Progress analyzer and tracker
- Class scheduler
- Payment gateways
- Dashboards for admin, tutors, and students
- Review and rating options
Here are a few well-known names in the industry of developing software:
- Apple Final Cut Pro
- Adobe Premiere Elements
- Articulate Storyline
- WizIQ, etc.
6. Market And Promote Your Website
Now that your whole platform is ready to be launched, you will have to market it in such a way that it reaches a global audience and gets the right traction it needs to. Given the world is connected through social media, take advantage of this application and try reaching out to as many people as possible. Here are some popular marketing methods that can be used in order to obtain a good SERPs ranking and hence get the required attention of the right audience on the search engine result page:
- Social media marketing: e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Multimedia marketing: e.g., Google ads, pay per click
- Content marketing: e.g. email marketing, newsletters, blogging
- Influencer marketing
- SEO technique, etc.
7. Student Retention
Last but not the least, you should plan how you are going to retain your existing student base. This is the main cause of the success and failure of any virtual platform. You have to come up with a creative, out-of-the-box strategy in order to keep them engaged.
Here are some tips that you could follow:
- Invite guest lecturers
- Use animations, PPTs, storytelling methodology
- Conduct pop quizzes
- Organize healthy virtual group discussions and debates
- Give knowledge building assignments and team projects
- You can also make students present sessions by themselves
- Always make sure to have regular contact with your students virtually
…the list can go on.
Thus, you will have your very own online tutoring platform. However, this comes with its own share of advantages and disadvantages too.
- You have to earn each student on your own.
- Seeing a profitable ROI will take a while.
- The whole management and operations should be taken care of by you.
- Marketing and promotions are your responsibility.
- What you earn goes only into your pocket.
- You are the rule maker.
- You can schedule classes according to your convenience.
- You can follow your own business plan, etc.
Now let’s take a quick look at a case study to help you understand how online tutors feel.
Case Study 1
Dr. Dawn A. Lott
Currently, a professor of applied mathematics at Delaware State University in Dover, Ms. Dawn got introduced to an eLearning website called takelessons.com by her sister who was a student on the very platform. With initial skepticism, Ms. Dawn registered as a tutor. But as she got more comfortable with the website and the students, she really started enjoying helping out kids with math.
She describes this experience as one of the most rewarding in terms of the satisfaction she gets when the students bring their report cards and show her that they have done better in math than before. Knowing that her guidance has helped to have a positive impact on her students is extremely gratifying.
Here are some of the tips that she has to share through her experience regarding the same:
- The student-teacher connection is very important, and it is the teacher’s duty to make students feel comfortable so that they can have interactive sessions.
- Consistency is the key driver.
- The teacher has to swoop to the student’s level and teach them with innovative methods.
- Given it is virtual, small actions take you a great way. Congratulate the students on small accomplishments too. This will help them to keep their morale up and pumped.
Case Study 2
What started as a side job to this multi-instrumentalist has now become the sole bread-earning source, earning her an income of about 90K USD annually. Currently teaching about 60 students, who are spread across the whole of the USA and internationally too, Susanna gets to teach students from all kinds of backgrounds. She has helped students perform for the school band, where some of them even play the lead. Her students even take part in competitions and have performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York City, two years in a row.
Though she was a bit doubtful at first, she now has grown to be a confident woman who trusts her capabilities and her marketing strategies. Here is some of her wisdom that she shared regarding the online tutoring business:
- Flexibility. Be open to teaching at all slots that you can and all the subjects you are good and confident about.
- Be willing to work with people of any age, especially adults since this is currently a huge market.
- Research your market and decide on your course rates.
- Market yourself well. Use flyers, posts, local community boards, social media, and all the modes that you can. Even put up your profiles on sites like takelessons.com to help you reach a larger audience.
- Keep interacting with the audience by posting pictures and videos of your students and you and about your classes so that people also get a glimpse of what you have to offer.
This is what it takes to start a tutoring business. Starting a business, in general, is a huge decision and needs a lot of careful planning and precise execution. We have laid out all the steps and pointers that you need to be mindful of in order to make informed decisions. Hope it has helped you in getting a clearer understanding of the choices you have, the ways in which you can build your business, and other technicalities involved.
Now the ball is in your court.
What do you feel about starting a new tutoring business? It is completely left to you. It is now your move to make!
Know that whichever decision you choose, we are always there to help you with all the technicalities. Do feel free to reach out to us anytime.