How do you get so many tutoring clients? I’ve been asked this question over and over again, no matter which country I live in. Well, the answer is pretty simple. While I’m sure my marketing degree helps me a bit with my advertising copy, there are a few simple tips any teacher can follow. Hint: I’m going to spill the answers in this post!
Don’t tutor privately? As a side income or full-time job, it’s really an incredible experience. I love the one-on-one time, watching students grow individually, and making plans for their success. Especially when you teach the same students year after year; it’s wonderful. Plus, if you live in a country where English teaching may not be the best paying job, private tutoring can really help out with the bills 😉
So, imagine you are just starting out as a private English tutor. What do you need? Here are my top 10 essentials:
1. Set a small advertising budget.
Yes, you need to pay for your ads. Google “English tutor ” or “English tutor listings” and you’ll come up with the sites that students will find when they search. Sites like Find a Tutor or Tutor Index usually offer annual advertisement fees that are quite low ($30 to $50). Consider that you could charge that for an hour and a half of your services, and it can bring you monthly revenue. Doesn’t sound so expensive anymore, right?
2. Clearly List Your Credentials
I recently answered a post on one of the English Teachers Facebook pages I’m part of from someone who wasn’t sure a certain site (that I use all the time) was worth using anymore. I asked him if I could take a look at his ad, since I often get clients from that site. Then I noticed right away that he hadn’t listed his exact credentials. Listing your degrees, TESL certificate (if you teach ESL) and really convincing your potential clients that you are the right teacher for them goes a long way.
3. Teach ESL? Post Bilingually
Which leads me to my next point. If you teach English as a Second Language, be sure to post bilingually! Now, in Canada this was definitely not an option for me, since my clients were from many different language backgrounds, most of which I didn’t speak. If you’re in Spain or Italy though, I’m willing to bet that the parents of your younger tutoring clients don’t feel comfortable speaking English. So, while I’ll always recommend speaking to the kids in English, speaking to your employer (the parents!) in their native language usually gets your brownie points.
4. Offer Personalized Lesson Plans Based on Your Student’s Goals
Personalized lesson plans are the most valued service I provide to my clients. I’ve had parents and students tell me this time after time. Why? It’s simple. They are more than willing to pay you a fair wage for you to teach their kids (or themselves, or their corporate employees) English by doing exercises out of a textbook. When you implement your own activities, make a super organized lesson plan for the semester, you overdeliver on your promise. That’s valuable!
5. Offer A Free First Lesson (if you’re just starting out)
Free lessons really depend on your market. When I left the corporate world in 2011 and took my tutoring business full time for a year, I offered a freebie in my ads. After a couple months, though, I noticed I was giving away free lessons when I really could have been charging for that time; my demand way exceeded hours in my day!
6. Offer A Free Consultation (even if you have years of experience!)
On the other hand, consultations should always be free. I always meet with my students for 30 to 60 minutes before we even set up a first lesson, to make sure I can meet their needs before they commit to lessons. Need help knowing what to include in a consultation? Stay tuned! I’m making a free worksheet on this as we speak 🙂 Just sign up at the end of this post and you’ll be notified when it’s added to the free library.
7. Word of Mouth Is King!
I can’t say this enough times. Word of Mouth is amazing! If you do your job well, your students will be your best advertisements. Word of mouth has brought me more clients than I can count, and I am amazed every time.
8. Plan, Plan, Plan – And Share this with your students!
Planning goes hand in hand with #4. Don’t plan for lessons twenty minutes before. Really. Don’t do it. Take a week at the beginning of the semester and make detailed plans for all your students. Don’t know how? Stay tuned! Scroll to sign up at the bottom of this post and you’ll have access to my library of free printables, coming very soon!
9. Get the Latest Technology…and mix it with old-fashioned fun.
I love technology. I’m always searching for new tips and tricks, software I can use, and basically tools to make my life easier (Keep checking out the “Teaching Tips” section of my blog, as I’ll be adding more posts to it shortly). However, sometimes it’s also great to have some old-fashion tech in your tutoring bag, like a mini whiteboard with multi-coloured pens (kids LOVE learning to write and spell on these!), post-it notes, or flashcards. If you’re teaching ESL, my Ultimate Phrasal Verbs game is one example. Grab the game and instructions in the free welcome pack printables by signing up at the end of this post.
10. Don’t Undervalue Yourself!
How much can I charge? I’ve been asked this question a lot. It depends on your experience of course, but I do find that if you can prove you provide value, your clients will be willing to pay more (even in a country like Spain, where some teachers advertise lessons for 10 euros an hour). I charge double that and make a point of including exactly what students are getting when they sign up to my services.
That’s my list! I’m working on making a few more resources on this topic, but I’d love to know what you’re most interested in. Please comment below and let me know which numbers (from #1 to 10) you would like to know more about.
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