I taught English as a Second Language for nearly five years. I met some great people and enjoyed the freedom of working from home at the same time.
Online tutoring is an easy and simple business to set up. Once you’ve found customers, you can pay yourself immediately.
You can teach anything online from languages to origami. Teaching online is a great way to make money from your passions. This article shows you how to start a business teaching students one-on-one.
How to start an online tutoring business
To get started you’ll need:
- A computer with internet access and a webcam
- A headset
- A Paypal Merchant Account
- A basic website
How to set up your website
I recommend that you set up your site with a domain provider like Bluehost and WordPress.org. You need a custom domain to look professional. Your website should have:
- A home page promoting yourself, your work experience and qualifications, and the benefits of lessons.
- An about page where students can read a bit more about you. You can add a few personal things like hobbies, but don’t go overboard. Sell yourself by emphasizing any relevant career history.
- A page with your lesson prices and PayPal buttons for your students to buy lessons.
- A contact form so students can email you.
- A FAQs page with your terms and conditions.
Avoid overwhelming your students with too much information. Stick to the basics.
Whilst your website should look professional, don’t spend months perfecting your content. The sooner you start marketing, the sooner you start earning.
How to set your prices
You don’t need a lot of students to build a successful tutoring business. However remember that you have to spend time preparing lessons. So make sure you charge a decent hourly rate.
Research what your competitors are charging. But don’t set your prices too low. Customers tend to associate low prices with low quality. So aim for a rate in the middle. Consider offering more specialized services like exam tuition where you can charge a higher rate.
Think like a business person. Time is money. Plan what you will do if your student wants you to correct a lot of work outside lessons or keeps talking after the lesson has finished.
Most teachers will never be rich. But the good news is that an online tutoring business has low overheads. So as soon as you find students, you can start paying yourself. Once you get one student word-of-mouth spreads and you’ll get more inquiries.
How to market
Offering a trial lesson or taster session will entice potential students to try your service. Ask your students what they want from your lessons, then explain how you can help.
For example, many of my students wanted to develop their vocabulary. So I emphasized my experience as a classroom assistant taking notes in subjects ranging from car mechanics to beauty. Therefore I knew lots of words I could teach them.
As well promoting your business through your website, you can also find students by placing online classified ads. Search on Google for classified job boards for your subject.
Social media is another great and free way to advertise. You could make teaching videos on YouTube, start a Facebook group where you post useful content, or answer students’ questions on Twitter.
Also participate in forums for your subject. Many forums will let you put your website address in your signature. Demonstrating your knowledge without spamming or constant self-promotion will attract visitors to your site.
Consider starting a newsletter or offering a free e-book. Students may be nervous about buying from someone they don’t know. Writing free content shows you are an authority on your subject. I’ve bought lots of online teaching products because I was impressed by the seller’s free e-books or newsletters.
How to deal with problems
Some students may turn up late or not at all. Before a student starts lessons with you, send them an email with your terms of service. Make sure they appear on your site.
Give the student only the allocated lesson time. So if lesson was scheduled from 12.00 to 1.00 and the student turns up at 12.15, the lesson would still end at 1.00. Also if students don’t turn up or notify you of a lesson cancellation at least 24 hours beforehand, they must still pay for the lesson.
If you have technical problems, for example if you use Skype and the picture freezes, plan what you will do in these circumstances (turning my camera off or hanging up and starting the call again usually works).
Depending on what you are teaching and the nationality of your students, you may have students in different countries. Use an online time converter (Google time converter) to schedule lessons. Check when daylight savings begins and ends.
How to maximize your income
As a tutor your income will be limited to the amount of time you spend with clients.
By developing products such as e-books, webinars, and self-paced courses with pre-recorded or pre-written content; you can increase your earning power. Start off with something simple like an email course.
Automate as many of your processes as possible. For example, use an auto-responder to subscribe customers to your newsletter mailing list rather than adding them manually.
How to make online tutoring for you
Online tutoring is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money on the internet.
Experiment with different marketing methods to find what works best for you and your business. I had more successful using classified ads and written content than video.
Once you are established, increase your income by providing e-books, webinars, and self-paced courses.
Do you have any questions about online tutoring? If you are an online tutor, do you have any suggestions or tips? Leave a comment in the box below.