May 18, 2017
Set yourself up for a successful transition from teaching to tutoring.
If you’re a teacher, chances are you’ve considered a side job to help supplement your income. Whether your goal is to pay off debt, save up for a fun purchase, or just add money to your bank account, tutoring might be the perfect side hustle for you. The hours are flexible, the demand is high, and you’re in control of your rates. Plus, you’re already an expert on your subject matter — so why not bring in some extra cash by extending the work you already do beyond the classroom? You may be wondering how to get started as a tutor, and the first step is setting yourself up for success. Here are four fundamentals to start your tutoring side gig on the right foot:
As an experienced educator, offering tutoring services in your subject matter is the most obvious thing to do. However, it’s ideal to take it one step further and identify a niche where you can find high demand and increase your profits. Look around at other tutors and services offering assistance to students in your topics — are there areas of subject matter that aren’t being covered? Are there specific new and untapped trends you’re seeing that you can hone in on? Is there a certain age group segment in the market that isn’t being served by current supply? Are you noticing a high demand for online services that you can tap into? While it’s a great idea to look for areas where tutoring supply is currently low, it’s also important to ensure that that client demand is there. If you’re not sure, consider testing out the demand by reaching out to students and others who might be able to tell you whether there is a need tutors with that specific expertise.
Chances are that you’re already certified to teach. However, you can make yourself even more marketable by getting a tutor-specific certification as well. There are a handful of associations that offer these, such as the American Tutoring Association and the National Tutoring Association. These programs will set you above much of the competition and allow you to increase rates. Whether you decide to get certified as a tutor or not, you’ll want to present your qualifications in a clear and upfront way when marketing yourself. First, you may want to create a separate tutoring resume for prospective clients with qualifications listed at the top that you can present to prospective clients. Furthermore, any online or print marketing you engage with should list these as well, such as Craigslist ads, your LinkedIn profile, and paper flyers that you’ll post around schools. Finally, don’t forget to include any other important qualifications you have, such as fluency in other languages, teaching to students with special needs, and more.
Because you’ll be bringing in income from your tutoring sessions, you’ll need to report it each year (unless you make under $400 in the calendar year after your business expenses). If you’re planning on doing minimal business as a tutor, you can set your business up as a sole proprietorship. This is the simplest form, but it doesn’t protect your personal assets should you run into issues if you end up owing money. If you want to further protect yourself or if you think you’ll make a good amount of revenue, consider filing an LLC for your tutoring business, which will protect you and your personal assets should there is ever a liability issue that arises with clients. Either way, it’s a very smart idea to understand how your income will be taxed and prepare to set this money aside accordingly.
Your time is valuable and, as a teacher by day, certainly not infinite. Between the time you spend in the classroom, grading assignments and determining upcoming lesson plans, you’ll want to ensure that the time you do have to tutor is well spent. Setting your policies up front is crucial to ensure you aren’t wasting any precious hours. Specifically, you’ll want to determine how far in advance cancellations will be granted free of charge and what will happen should a client cancel outside of the acceptable range. Other important procedural guidelines include determining how you’d like to be contacted, how you’ll confirm your sessions, and whether progress reports will be included in your rate (and, if this all seems a bit daunting, Clark can help you out with this!.
Luckily for those looking to bring in extra income, starting a side hustle is easier than it’s ever been. Tutoring is a flexible and rewarding endeavor and, as a teacher, you already have the skillset to make it a natural fit. However, all success grows from a strong foundation, and ensuring you have these four steps down first will help you accomplish your tutoring goals. Stay tuned — in next week’s part 2 blog post, Clark provides tips for how to engage with your first clients!
For advice and support with your tutoring side hustle, Clark’s got you covered. Join today.