Tutoring As A Side Hustle (Part 2): Your First Clients

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Tutoring As A Side Hustle (Part 2): Your First Clients

Four steps to take as you plan your tutoring engagements and recruit your first clients.

In part 1 of Clark’s Tutoring as a Side Hustle series, you learned how to lay the foundation to set up your successful tutoring side gig (if you missed it, you can check it out here). Your next steps are to recruit your first customers and get the basics of the business down. While you may want to hit the ground running and rake in as many clients as possible, taking a prudent approach is much more likely to set you and your students up for success. Here are the next four steps to take as you start to recruit your first clients and plan your engagements with them:

1. Start with familiar clients to foster word-of-mouth recommendations

While casting a wide net is helpful to generate your first clients, it’s important to strike a balance and pursue students who you’re confident that you’ll be successful with. One key reason for this is that word-of-mouth referrals are often considered the best type of marketing. Students whose session outcomes are positive are much more likely to promote your services to others organically. Set yourself up to secure valuable word-of-mouth recommendations by starting out with students you know or those whose tutoring needs are very familiar and simple to achieve. To get a head start on building referrals even before you have clients, talk to your friends and family and ask them to help spread the word based on your teaching credentials.

2. Evaluate the challenges a student faces and where they most need help

Since you’ve now determined your niche, you’ll want to ensure you properly evaluate each student who is interested in working with you and whether it’s a good fit. Take note of students in your school who may benefit from extra outside attention as they may be the easiest initial clients to land. Once you have prospects, make sure you discuss with them (or, with their parents if they’re younger) the challenges they’re looking to overcome and compare their vocalized needs with the weaknesses you can see on their schoolwork. From there, it will be easier to determine whether your expertise will be a good match for their goals, which will ultimately be more likely to lead to a successful outcome on both sides.

3. Determine student learning styles prior to starting your tutoring engagement

Through your teaching experience, you’ve probably noticed learning style differences among your students and it’s likely that you’ve tested varying methods of delivery on your subject matter to accommodate this (for example, presenting both visual and written lessons containing the same information). In fact, a study from The University of California at Irvine found that there are 8 different types of intelligence styles that people can possess. Figuring out which your student falls under and preparing sessions accordingly is a great way to ensure success. There are many free online tests, such as this one from educationplanner.org, that you can administer to your students to determine this. You can also plan on spending your introductory session discussing how they’ve learned most effectively in the past, which classes they’ve loved and excelled in (and which haven’t been so successful), and the style in which they most like to learn to zero in on how your sessions should be structured.

4. Creating both overall and incremental learning plans to reach goals

When you first sit down with your students, you should discuss their goals for your engagement. Not only is their overall objective important, but setting goals in increments throughout your engagement is immensely helpful as incremental learning has been shown to be extremely effective for academic success. If you’re working with your student on a specific subject, align your sessions with their syllabus so that you’re one step ahead of the curriculum in school. Or, if you’re working with your students on standardized test prep, divide your sessions up by test section with a cumulative review at the end. Whatever your sessions focus on, providing your students (and yourself) with a big-picture view of the framework will set expectations and provide both of you with a goal to measure against. The smaller incremental check-ins will also be immensely helpful to remain on track.

When you’ve gotten the business basics down and you’re ready to start your sessions, getting all of your ducks in a row is imperative to ensure success down the line. Although you may be skilled in educating as a teacher, one-on-one sessions are different than the group class setting you’re likely used to. Now that you’re armed with some tips for getting started, stay tuned for part three of Clark’s side hustle blog series for valuable tips on how to market and promote your new gig.


Need help getting set up with your first clients as you start tutoring? Join Clark today for all the support you’ll need in your new side gig.