Online tutoring is a fantastic option for starting a small business that makes a significant impact.
As a tutor, you have the potential to make a lasting effect on the academic success of the students you work with. But how does one start a tutoring program?
If you are passionate about teaching and want to help others, you already have everything it takes to be a great tutor. The trickiest part is getting your tutoring service started.
This article discusses how to map out an online tutoring service, build and execute a business plan, develop your pedagogy, and work toward expansion and sustainability for continued success.
Understanding the Need: Why Online Tutoring is in Demand
Online tutoring responds to a gap in our current learning system. The learning time lost during the pandemic negatively impacted students across the globe, particularly students with learning differences.
To be successful in tutoring, you must understand the specific needs of your students and how you will address them as a tutor. Identifying these anticipated needs before you map out your tutoring service will help keep your process student-focused and well-rounded.
You also need to conduct market research to learn more about the demand for tutoring in various subject areas. You will get an idea of what your competitors charge and the services they provide their tutees. Once you have enough background information, you are ready to develop a business plan.
Mapping Out Your Tutoring Service
As you navigate how to tutor online, you will start with a general road map. This map will help you determine what your business is and who it will serve. It will provide you with a solid structure to build your business around. Now, let's dive deeper into how you map out a rockstar tutoring business.
Business Objectives and Goals
First, you'll need to write a list of goals and objectives for your small business. Your business goals outline what you want your business to achieve in a set amount of time. In contrast, your objectives outline your more holistic aspirations for the greater purpose of your business.
Examples of tutoring business goals:
- Build a tutoring website
- Create a persona for your ideal client
- Write a business plan
- Start networking to find prospective clients
- Read more subject-specific books
- Get a tutoring certification
Examples of tutoring business objectives:
- To increase student knowledge of a subject area
- To build confidence in reluctant learners
- To provide helpful learning tools and skills
- To teach soft skills for success.
- To tutor students in a positive and supportive environment
Who Will You Tutor?
Next, you can identify your ideal tutee, create a list of their needs, and then figure out how you will respond to them as a tutor. To get a good feel for your ideal tutoring client, consider the following details about them.
- Socio-economic status
- Geographic location
- Family attitudes toward education
- Cultural attitudes toward education
- Primary language
- Hobbies and interests
- Key stressors
- Academic strengths
- Academic weaknesses
- How they will access tutoring sessions
Write a Business Plan
You have already started to develop some of the critical components of your business plan in the previous two steps. Your business plan is the roadmap to get your business up and running. You can refer back to this plan regularly and make revisions as needed.
The essential parts of a business plan include the following:
- Executive summary
- Business description
- Business goals and objectives
- Description of services
- Market research
- Marketing plan
- Financial analysis
- Financial projections
Design the Curriculum and Write Lesson Plans
Now that you know your tutoring business's 'why' and 'who,' you must develop what you will teach. Writing lesson plans can be easy and fun when you have access to the right resources and support.
There are many websites with resources and templates to help you get started. Once you have a great lesson plan, file it away and start to build a lesson library. Eventually, this will save more time in planning your sessions.
Structuring Schedules and Session Formats
Determining the appropriate duration and structure of tutoring sessions is another essential aspect of structuring your business. You need to decide if you will offer group, individual, or a combination of tutoring sessions to your tutoring clients. You also must determine how long sessions will run and create a policy for making up missed sessions. Then you will determine your pricing and if you will charge hourly or by the course.
Scheduling software makes it easy to set up sessions and keep tutoring clients up to date on their schedules and payments. Features like email reminders, invoicing, digital payment, automation, and integration tools are all features that will help you get the most out of a business management program.
Identifying Key KPIs for Program Success
How will you show students and families their level of growth when you tutor them?
You must have a system to track student growth and monitor progress regularly. Tutoring notes are a great way to record all tutoring sessions and monitor growth toward individual student goals. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) with each student before beginning services and track them regularly.
Tutoring notes templates help streamline your feedback and observations. Keeping your notes in a digital format makes them easier to share with stakeholders and file safely. Include a section for feedback from students and stakeholders.
Executing the Business Plan
Obtain Business License
When you apply for your business license, you will decide if you want to file as a sole proprietor Doing Business As (DBA), your business name, or a limited liability company. There are varying benefits and drawbacks to registering as a DBA or an LLC, and you need to be aware of what they are when you make your decision.
As a sole proprietorship, LLCs and DBAs are owned by a single member of an unincorporated business. You are no longer a sole proprietor if you choose to incorporate your business. This will also place you in a different tax bracket when you file.
After registering for a business license, you should consider purchasing business insurance to protect yourself from financial and legal trouble. The two most common types of insurance for tutors are Professional Liability (Errors and Omissions) and General Liability Insurance.
Implement Marketing Program
Promoting your startup tutoring service can be both challenging and fun. This is where you attract your ideal clients through targeted networking and advertising. Using multiple methods and tactics is the key to successfully marketing your tutoring business.
Some ways you may promote your tutoring business and earn trust include the following:
- Start a referral program with existing clients
- Display certifications and credentials on your website
- Attend open house nights at schools
- Conduct classroom visits
- Display subject matter expertise and services on all marketing materials
- Attend college nights
- Network with teachers
- Find a high-demand niche
- Create a tutoring profile on your preferred social media
- Create a unique business name
Manage Tutoring Business Finances
Bookkeeping for your tutoring business is crucial to building a sustainable business. You must be organized and keep a detailed record of your income and business expenses for tax purposes. Doing so will help you maximize savings and stay compliant with tax laws.
Pedagogy and Methodology
While you do not need a teaching degree to become a tutor, you must understand how to incorporate effective teaching strategies to foster an engaging learning environment.
Pedagogy is the method of how you teach in theory and practice. Educators form their pedagogy through their learning, cultural influences, and belief systems.
Methodology is what you do as an educator to teach your students. It includes the learning activities, assignments, projects, and assessments you ask your students to complete.
Your pedagogy and methodology work together to build the learning environment you provide your students with. Understanding what influences and beliefs shape your teaching style will help you effectively brand your tutoring service.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Tracking student growth as a regular practice in your tutoring business is essential. Tutoring notes are an effective way to reflect on tutoring sessions and gather feedback for improvements. Tutoring software programs also offer features to help collect data and track progress.
How to Encourage Future Expansion and Sustainability of Your Tutoring Business
Even if you don't envision your business becoming a franchise, you want to create one that will thrive for a long time to come. To do this, you need to be able to adapt to changing market dynamics, seek partnerships and collaboration with other industry professionals, and continuously improve your practice with continuing education.
By automating your administrative needs, business management software will help you focus more on these tasks. Even if you have a sole proprietorship, that doesn't mean you must do it all alone.
Practice was created to help businesses of one streamline their administrative tasks and build positive customer relationships. Try it for free and level up your tutoring business.