Over the last three years, more people in the US have started side hustles as a way to increase their income. It is estimated that 34% or 1 in 3 Americans now has a side hustle. Sometimes these secondary roles are taken on in the hope of growing a future business or switching careers. One popular side gig is tutoring.
Most schools won’t allow teachers to perform a side hustle as private tutors. There can be a conflict of interest, especially if said teacher recommends tutoring to a particular student and then financially gains from this activity.
However, teachers that have halted their careers or retired, or those individuals who have in-depth knowledge in a certain area can tutor without any problems. Tutoring can start as a side gig but easily progress into something more substantial.
Research done by Zippia shows that there are currently around 295,109 private tutors employed in the US. The need for private tutoring is always there, it is just a matter of understanding how to get started.
Below are a number of steps to help you start your tutoring sideline, and perhaps develop it into a full-time educational business.
Decide on your niche subject
Look at your strengths and weaknesses first. What are you most qualified in, and knowledgeable about? Someone who is qualified in engineering and has been employed in this industry will have both practical and theoretical knowledge to pass on.
If you have a degree in education then you can become a certified tutor through your local Department of Education. Alternatively, try the National Tutoring Association for certification.
If you are a qualified English teacher then it makes sense to concentrate on this area. However, you will also need to be up to date.
Syllabuses change, and if your students are studying for their SATs or other exams you will need to be current. Take time out for studying any area where you have weaknesses to get up to speed.
Who do you want to teach?
Decide on your teaching model. Are you looking to teach in small groups, one-on-one, or online? Do you prefer teaching children or would you like to get involved with adult education?
Your chosen subject can have some bearing on this decision. For instance, it is easier to teach English online than it is to improve someone’s biology or physics grades that way.
Once you have established what you want to teach, and who to, it is time to find some students.
Find your students
Knowing how to find students to tutor is essential to whether your new venture thrives or fails. Ideally, once you have established yourself as a respected local tutor you will find you receive students through recommendations and word of mouth. Until then, you will need to advertise and make yourself visible.
Ask local schools and colleges whether it is acceptable to advertise on their noticeboards. This is where many students will first look. Indeed, many college students themselves offer to tutor and coach this way for extra cash.
Build an online presence through social media and a website. Local SEO can help you be found more easily online and the use of Google My Business and LinkedIn are valuable tools here.
Register your business
It may be hard for you to think of your fledgling venture as a business, but you will be charging fees for your services so you need to register. If you don’t wish to use your own name, and you probably shouldn’t, you need to register a DBA - doing business as. You can set yourself up as a sole proprietor and once your name is chosen you can register it with the Secretary of the State.
You will be responsible for paying taxes and reporting income to the IRS. Your personal and business tax will not be separated and you can use one tax return for everything.
Decide on pricing
The average annual salary for a private tutor is $56,348. However, this may be more reflective of a full-time tutor working in tutoring centers. For private tutors operating alone an hourly rate of between $25 to $80 is common. For online tutors, it drops slightly with the range being between $25 to $50 per hour.
SAT tutoring can be a lucrative and rewarding area to teach. Tutors in this niche charge between $45 and $100 an hour. The disparity between the hourly rates can be put down to region, subject, experience, and qualifications.
You may feel that you are worth $80 per hour, but are the students in your area able to pay this? There are many factors that influence academic performance including finances. You need to be able to offer a service that can help with student progression but remain affordable.
Where will the classes be held?
It is very common for lessons to be held online with digital nomads enjoying travel while teaching ESL across the world, but is this the arrangement you envision for your business?
Many private tutors choose their homes to welcome students into. This can work if you have the space for small groups, or if you are only going to teach one-on-one. However, many tutors are uncomfortable with advertising their home address.
The alternative is to rent a room somewhere. This will have to be factored into your budget and how you price your classes.
Gather all the materials and tools you will need
It is likely that when you were studying to bring yourself up to date you gathered several books and learning materials. Make sure you have everything you need to run your classes smoothly too.
If you are going to teach online, make sure you have fast WiFi so the class can go uninterrupted. Whatever the current syllabus is, you will need all the texts that are required to help students pass their exams.
There are plenty of study hacks to pass exams and assist in learning. Private tutoring can help boost a student’s learning and understanding too. However, you will need to prove your worth to both parents and students to succeed in the long term.
If you choose a subject that you are confident and knowledgeable in, and you make sure you are current with the syllabus, you could make a good tutor. This way you can bring in extra income but also help students achieve their goals.