I didn’t always have my own tutoring business. I started out as a test prep tutor, teacher, and eventual faculty manager for a prominent education company. I climbed the ranks, but it always bothered me that the tutors and teachers doing the actual leg work in the company were only receiving a tiny fraction of what the customers were paying.
Add in the uncertainty of a brick-and-mortar business in an increasingly online world, the inflexibility of location, and the annoying fact of having to give control over my schedule to my boss, and I decided I’d much rather be my own boss!
I’ve been a proud solopreneur tutor since 2013 and have never doubted that this path is right for me.
Let’s make this happen for you too!
Being a successful private tutor has had a HUGE learning curve. Here are a few of the key lessons I’ve learned:
#1 Don’t run yourself ragged
When I look at my records from my first couple of years, I’m amazed I survived! I was doing in-home private tutoring ALL OVER TOWN. Driving expenses ate up 25% of my income and huge chunks of my time.
And while I like impressing people with my knowledge of the best coffee shop, library, park, or parking lot in every neighborhood in the greater Seattle area, I wish I had learned earlier on how to streamline.
I now run everything 100% online. My commute is just from my bed to my desk, and I even exploit time zone differences to make sure my work with customers happens at a time convenient to me.
#2 Charge what you are worth
Even with nearly 10 year’s tutoring experience, when I first went solo, I thought I needed to price myself low to get students. Not only did that force me to run myself ragged (see above), but it also didn’t show confidence in the skills I knew I had.
I’m still committed to ethical pricing – charging according to the value delivered but not pricing myself above what my ideal student can afford. But I do now make an effort to set rates that mean I’ll avoid burn out and will be able to continue to provide high quality service to my students.
#3 Going solo doesn’t mean not getting help
This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn! Perfectionism and wanting to be in control are two character traits that naturally lead someone to strike out on their own, after all!
The tipping point came when I tried to create my tutoring website. Three. Different. Times. Abandoning each one because it was too slow, too badly designed, too hard to learn, etc.
But I’ve learned that I make faster progress when I lean on and learn from others. I outsourced designing my first tutoring website, found mentors to learn about marketing and the business side of things. I’ve since become a huge fan of leaning on others for emotional support and accountability.
Year I started tutoring
Year I went solo
# of students taught in 2019
% of my students I find through referrals
# of time zones I regularly think in while tutoring
I’d love to hear from you!
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