Jun 20, 2017
Seven things tutors should do to get a professional edge on the tutoring competition.
For tutors, competition can often be high and it’s important to set oneself apart from the majority in order to ensure a successful and prolific business. Ensuring a high level of professionalism is one element that can make or break your success as a tutor and help you secure work through increased client interest. Appearing more professional within your business may seem a bit daunting at first glance, but there are many simple ways to step up your game without breaking the bank. Here are seven things you can do today to elevate professionalism within your tutoring business:
Potential clients often want to get a good idea of who they will be working with prior to engaging, and one of the first impressions you can make is through your online presence. It’s also a smart move to make sure you’re aware of what others see when they search for you and clean up your public information as necessary. Do a quick Google search of your name (include your location if your name is relatively common) and see what comes up under both the main feed and images. You should be able to see everything that others will when they look for you, allowing you to easily view which profiles need to be updated, if any. You’ll also want to check out what others can see on Facebook, although the privacy settings can be a bit confusing. Pro tip: clicking next to your Facebook activity log will bring up a “View As” option, allowing you to see your profile through the public’s eye.
Today, the first place people turn to locate services and get information is the internet. In fact, a Pew Research Center study found that 58% of consumers will look online before making a purchasing decision. Websites are an important tool to make a business seem more established and help you get found by potential clients. When creating your website, you should provide your professional bio, credentials, contact info, and available services, as well as testimonials and a professional bio which will help elevate your approachability. And, if you’re looking for a great free resource to create your website, check out Clark!
Investing in business cards is one of the most important steps you can take to appear professional right off the bat. Not only are they important for providing contact information on the go, but they are excellent drivers of word-of-mouth marketing. You should always have more than one on hand so that you can give out a few at a time for people to pass along. When creating your business cards, keep in mind that you’ll want them to stand out — consider printing them on unique paper or add an eye-catching design so that your card won’t get lost in a pile. Along with your general contact information, it’s also a great idea to include a URL to your website so recipients can find additional relevant information. You can print them yourself at home, but there are many affordable companies that you can outsource the job to, such as Moo and Vistaprint. These companies provide interesting and professional-looking design templates and have wonderful specialty paper options to choose from.
It’s very possible that many clients will be interested in communicating with you through email, and it’s important to treat all electronic correspondence seriously. Responding with typos and incomplete sentences may be a result of trying to get back to someone as quickly as possible, but it’s probably more important to write a professional email even if it means waiting for a bit to reply. You should also consider creating a specific email address for your tutoring clients to separate your personal life from your work. If you have your own domain name, setting up an email address through your website can be a great professional touch. Finally, don’t forget to set up an automatic signature to ensure that each email you send contains relevant contact information and looks more sophisticated.
Since everything is searchable these days, it’s essential to assess your photos across social and professional mediums. Investing in headshots is a good idea, but it’s not necessary to appear professional. Whether your photos are being taken by a friend or a photographer, make sure that your pictures give off a polished vibe. Put yourself in a potential client’s shoes when considering which photos you should use — if a quick browse for tutors were to bring up three profiles with three different photos displaying a close-up cat, a group of friends at a bar, and a professional headshot, which would you click on first? This doesn’t mean you can’t look like you’re having fun — in fact, it can be great to show off a bit of your personality. Try to ensure that your photo checks off the following boxes:
You are the only person featured and your entire face is clearly showing
The lighting is good and the photo is crisp and clear
You are wearing appropriate attire
The photo steers clear of selfies and awkwardly cropped group shots
Visibility and transparency is highly valued and well respected, especially by those who are paying for your services. You’ll appear much more professional if you arrive to sessions with general information about your tutoring business to distribute, guidelines for the engagement, and a learning plan to help track progress. Students and parents will thankful for the excellent communication and clarity. Some items to consider having on hand include an information sheet, your contact information, a rate card, and a tutoring engagement contract, among others. You should furnish your students with a learning plan for your overall engagement and, during your sessions, try to create a lesson outline for a frame of reference. Finally, one of the most important things you can provide as a professional tutor are progress reports. These not only give you and your students a view of where you are in your sessions, but provide a reason to reflect (and redirect) goals and create action plans.
Cash and checks have always been reliable payment methods, but your business can be limited if they’re the only forms you’ll accept. Diversifying your payment options not only elevates your professional appearance, but often increases the number of potential clients who will engage your services. Some very quick and simple organizations with business-supported features include PayPal, Venmo, and Square. The latter allows you to physically swipe the card on-location as well. Keep in mind that, while relatively simple, utilizing these platforms will require you to keep track of your own finances, so it’s important that you establish your own accounting procedures. Furthermore, these applications will place a small fee on the business for each transaction. If this seems a bit daunting, consider joining a platform that will manage your transactions for you.
Professionalism may take a bit of legwork to establish, but it’s well worth it in the long run. Putting in the initial labor can ultimately help you increase client interest, boost referrals, and even grow your earnings. Remember, it doesn’t have to be difficult — when you join Clark, your business website, lesson plans, and payment management will be taken care of, completely free of charge and without you ever needing to lift a finger.
For more easy tips on elevating your professionalism as a tutor, join Clark today!