May 25, 2017
It’s time to set your rates, market yourself, and grow your tutoring business.
Thanks to part one and part two of Clark’s Tutoring as a Side Hustle blog series, you’re well equipped to take your teaching career beyond the classroom. Now that you have a strong foundation and have started consulting with potential students, it’s time to set your rates and ramp up on self-marketing to bring in more clients. Read on for five tips to ensure your advertising is as effective as possible:
Setting an hourly rate is difficult enough when starting a side hustle, and when you’re first getting started with tutoring, it’s unlikely that you’ll already have a line of students at your door. Before setting your fees, take a look at the going rates of other local tutors who specialize in the same or similar subject matter. It may be wise to set a range of rates to feel out the market demand for your services. Finding the sweet spot will make it easier to get your first customers in the door. Your rates can (and should) increase as you continue to build your client base, gain tutoring experience, establish referrals, and grow demand. Just remember that, as a new tutor, striking a balance is important — you want to attract new clients but it’s important that you don’t devalue your expertise with too low a rate.
It’s also crucial to consider time spent commuting and incorporate that time into your rate as well. If you want to keep pricing low, consider having students come to you. Alternatively, you can schedule back-to-back sessions during certain hours and set up shop at a local coffee house. Setting up a convenient meeting point will certainly save time if commuting is an issue that will eat into it.
Along with setting a range of initial rates, it may also be wise to begin broadly in terms of the topics you tutor. If you’re an AP Chemistry teacher, start by marketing yourself as a general science tutor, for example, to cast a wider net and land your first clients. Again, this can change over time — hone in on a specialty once you’ve established a strong client base with solid referrals. There may be a smaller pool of students looking for tutors in more specific topics, but at that point, you’ll already have a good number of clients and the increased complexity of subject matter will allow you to raise your rates.
There is an abundance of online tools to assist in website building (Clark has a great free one!). Many people are turning to the internet to find professional service providers, and parents and students are doing the same to search for tutors. In fact, The Pew Research Center found that 79% of parents get important information from social media platforms. Thus, it’s undoubtedly a smart move to ensure you have a solid internet presence. It also helps to convey a greater sense of professionalism and is an important part of building your brand as a tutor. Whether your website is complex or simple, you’ll want to at least include a strong but approachable bio, your past experience and credentials, and methods of contact. Other helpful sections include testimonials, available services, and pricing, among others.
While word-of-mouth referrals might be the most likely to turn prospects into clients, that conversion process can often take a while. In the meantime, utilize social networks to spread the word about your new side hustle and continue your social media marketing even after you have clients. Follow and interact with relevant influencers and local parents or students by searching for hashtags, joining conversations, and finding groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s also a great idea to let your contacts know what you’re doing and tag them in your posts, upping the chances that they’ll share your information with their networks and increase your visibility.
While your teaching day job probably doesn’t involve a ton of digital marketing, there are many easy-to-use tools available online to assist. It may seem daunting at first, but services such as Facebook Business and Twitter Ads are surprisingly simple and guarantee more relevant eyeballs on your business. If you want to take it one step further, Google Adwords can help your website get found when people search for tutors related keywords. With these tools, you’re in control of how much you want to spend, though the more you pay the more exposure you’ll get. Either way, it’s extremely helpful to utilize these platforms given the increasing frequency of internet use to search for professionals. If you have a bit of extra cash, you should consider spending it here. Spending the money up front on strong digital marketing can often pay off down the line as your business scales.
As a teacher, you already possess the key ingredient for building a successful tutoring side hustle — a strong background in education. Once you have the important business basics down and get savvy about landing your initial clients, all you have left to do is market yourself. Utilizing the available resources, keeping tabs on the market, and leveraging the experience you already have as an educator can lead to a successful and prolific tutoring side business.
Need some help taking your tutoring gig to the next level? Clark’s got you covered with all the virtual assistance you’ll need. Join today.