So, you are an expert in some area and would like to earn a few bucks sharing your expertise. It isn't as difficult as might think. There are several ways to build a part-time business tutoring others.
Step 1: What to Tutor
You'd be surprised by what people are looking to learn. Some people, youngsters and adults, learn better in a one-on-one environment. This means that there is a market out there for tutoring just about anything. The most common are subjects learned and tested in elementary, middle school, high school, and college. Test preparation is anther common area for tutoring, such as SAT, ACT, GED, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, and many more.
Sports. Parents are always looking out for the advancement of their children. This includes athletics. You can "tutor" sports. Individual coaching allows athletes to work on technique and other areas to improve their game outside of their regular team or coaching sessions. Sometimes an adult would like to learn a new sport and doesn't know where to begin. Often it is a comfortable setting to get one-on-one sessions when beginning a new sport.
Music/Arts. The same can be said for the arts as was mentioned for sports. Some areas to consider: instruments, singing (voice), drawing, painting, sculpting, theater (acting), modeling, graphic design, scrap booking, interior design, sewing, quilting, photographyâ€¦
Step 2: Getting the Word Out
There are the traditional, yet effective methods of getting the word out such as posting pull-tab fliers at the local community colleges, universities, laundry mats, and grocery stores. You can also place half-sheet or quart-sheet sized fliers under the windshield wiper blades of cars.
Another familiar approach to advertising is placing ads in local papers. Placing an ad in your local newspaper will probably require a small investment to run an ad for a short period of time. Other option in print could include school newspapers, both at the college level as well as at the high schools in your area. Your church, community centers, and daycare centers may allow you to advertise in their newsletters.
Networking is usually a very effective tool for building a business and that includes a tutoring business. Tell everyone you know! Talk it up. Tell your dentist, your doctor, your accountant, your hair stylist, your sister's boss, everyone. If you cannot talk to everyone you know in person, email. If you are part of a social network community (facebook, myspace, twitter, etc.), post your business. Then get your contacts to forward the message to all of their contacts.
Then there is the internet. There are many sites to advertise your tutoring services. Be aware that some will charge you to post your profile and connect you with students. It may be to your advantage to do so. However, at first you should consider trying some places that connect you at no charge. Advertising your services on Craigslist is a start. If you choose to do this, you may have to repost daily or weekly to keep your listing in a prominent place. Although Care.com is primarily for childcare services, it has a special place for tutors. Then there is Wyzant.com. Wyzant is a comprehensive service that allows students to post a request for a tutor, search tutor profiles, and tutors can search student posts. You are able to offer a background check at a minimal cost. Students can request a background check as well (the tutor must approve this first) at the student's cost. Tutors earn a percentage of the tutoring fee and the percentage increases with the number of hours you tutor for the company. Please remember that this is just one forum for finding students, you do NOT sign a non-compete contract. There are other sites that host similar services.
Step 3: Managing Your Business
The Student. Be professional. Be punctual. Be prepared. Have a plan before walking into each session. In addition, have high expectations of your students. Be upfront with your policies and expectations. Have a clear cancellation policy and stick to it. Ask students to come prepared and on time. Set goals and visit them during the session and at subsequent sessions, adjust as necessary. This is particularly important when tutoring children. You will be able to provide parents feedback about progress.
Setting Fees/Payment. Research the current tutoring rates in your community. Some things to take into consideration when setting rates are your time, your level of expertise and experience, and your economic goals for your tutoring business. It is not uncommon to set fees at different rates for different subjects depending on your preparation, difficulty of the subject, materials you must provide, and so forth. It's your business and you can be flexible. You may feel that you need to have a short session at no cost to determine if you are a fit for a prospective student. If things work-out then set up a full length session at your regular rates. You can also offer special rates for groups, seasonal discounts, or workshops to bring in more business.
Determine the types of payment you are willing to accept. It is possible for students to pay with a credit card if you are using a company that collects payment for you, or you can use a forum like paypal. Have a policy in place and explain it to clients if you accept checks. Establish payment procedures with your students before you meet for the session so that it does not become a distraction during the tutoring session.
Safety. A lot of tutors offer to tutor in the students' homes. This is very appealing to parents. However, keep your own safety in mind. If possible, meet somewhere public like a local library, a college's open (common) area, community center, or public meeting rooms. If you are meeting a student at his or her private residence, let a few people know where you are going to be and for how long. Make sure they check up on you.
You now have some basic tools to begin your tutoring business. The earning potential is up to you. The gratification of sharing your knowledge is priceless.